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Old 03-25-2015, 09:43 PM   #1
animalstyle
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Spam animalstyle's Journal

So here it is. Some transparency into my situation, where I am now, what I want to accomplish.

I have been around IM for a while in a minor sense. I've had a couple projects begin gain steam and then fizzle (my lack of motivation) that now sit and generate a couple hundred dollars a year in ad revenue which pays my hosting. I have another 3rd project which I have consistently working on for about a year and a half now as a passion type project which is further along than anything I have ever done. In my next post, Ill start there.

I have trolled and kind of posted to wickedfire for a long time, probably 2010-11. I am coming into this with a fresh start.

My goal with this thread is to make no posting promises upfront, just show how it goes no matter what. If and when we see this then we know shit is getting serious:



My Situation
My current employment/financial status is important because I think it plays a big role into this whole thing - reading Loueys posts, its all about cutting shit out of your life that holds you back and wanting the shit to make it really happen:

I have done the full time job thing and fuck that. I found ways out of that pit 5+ years ago and I don't want to ever go back.

I have 3 different 'part time' sources make up my income:
  • I have a part time 'real job' thing on the weekends.
  • I have a skill that I sell (not on any corners) for a good rate that takes a small amount of my time (200-300 hours per year) - it is a fulfilling gig and I love it.
  • I also have a job doing some IM related work in a position that has complete flexibility and my goal is to work something like 2-3 hours M-F there. I get to work for a decent rate and learn in the process. I don't love this job, but it provides me freedom and soon to be about half my current income.

The 'real job' job is sucking my soul, paying the least out of any of my gigs and causing me unhappiness in my personal life - I'm getting out. I have expressed my desire to leave to those that need to know, I am wiping my hands of it on good terms, and that shit is underway although it may take a little bit - will update when I am free.

What this will leave me with is something like 15-20 hours of work per week from 2 sources, netting me in the mid $xx,xxx range. I have a comfortable living situation, zero debt, and if I lost all sources of income tomorrow, I could float for a year living the same lifestyle I do now.

I read that paragraph above and I think - I have it pretty easy right now - FUCK THAT. That is really what scares me. I don't want to get stuck in this mode or let a comfortable living hold me back. That leads me to my goal:

I want to make $xxx,xxx a year through internet marketing and create a real future for myself.

This journal is a mind dump, place to report my progress. I will follow up with the current project I am working and start the process there.
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Old 03-25-2015, 10:05 PM   #2
CPR_dummy
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What were you planning on getting into?
Why do you want to get into it?
Are you passionate about it?
Can you make a different in the field and offer value?
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Old 03-26-2015, 12:23 AM   #3
animalstyle
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So here is my current project status and it should answer the questions you answer CPR.

This post will basically be an overview of what I have done to this point, and I will follow later with business development work.

Aside from the 2 MFA sites I mentioned, I have a project which I began working on at the beginning of 2014. The project is on something I am passionate about, in a unique industry - more on that later. My thought process during the planning stages was to grab the URL and start building, I knew there was nobody else out there in the space doing a half way decent job, and there still isn't today. I had a general idea of the direction I wanted to go, and the competitive field for the type of site in the industry is small. Unfortunately I didn't think much beyond a small scale business plan that I later found out would be unsuccessful. Since then though I have some good ideas and think there might be an opportunity here. There is so much about the industry that will determine the future of this site and I will hold off until later to talk all about it.

The Site as of Today:
The site hosts a database of physical business locations in a worldwide industry. It also features many sections with content that links to these locations in useful ways. It is built as a big brand, my name is on it, it is within a small industry where I am known and the players in the industry know me/of me. I am not fucking around with the site, if I can't do something legitimate with it I won't push any further.

The articles on the site are all hand written. I know my shit on this topic and for anything other than general/broad topics, the articles would stick out like a sore thumb if they were not completely up to a certain standard.

Here are the stats since I pushed the first notification about the site in Oct last year. Up until then the traffic was trickling in from SEO which is why it does not start at zero:



Important to note is the initial growth of the site was followed by the opening of one of the new locations held within the database. You can see the swell of visitors that this created, and I think it is important to note that because that shit will happen again, and again.

Currently I am seeing about 230 visitors a day / 7k uniques per month.

The site itself is built as a big branded site serving the community around the industry. After reading ccarters monetization post and thinking more about the direction that I can really use the site to make some money, I have decided the site is best filed under lead collection/informative - with a touch of local business listing database. Although I am doing this all backwards (read: wrong), I am going through the checklist on that CCarter post as though I am just kicking this thing off. I printed the market research packet and writing it up, re-checking the big brand checklist.

Lead Collection
I am collecting emails. I have been doing it since the site got kicked off and right now I am at about 650 emails total. I just made an update that should see my email collection rate double. I would estimate right now at current conversion and traffic levels I will see about 2k new signups a year.

Today I sped this mother fucker up.
The site runs on wordpress and is decently heavy from a database standpoint. I am on a shared host. Lots of database lookups on every visit were causing the site to run quite slowly. Today I optimized some of the pagespeed suggestions, enabled a CDN, and set up WP Super Cache. From practical tests, the site is WAY faster now, and I am looking forward to seeing what this might do to the visits. I can't believe I didn't do it before.

My homepage went from 74/100 to 83/100. My initial server response time was 2+ seconds and now its 94ms. The difference is huge by the numbers and in the practical browsing experience and I still have room to improve.

Goals
My long term goal is to become the absolute authority in the industry. I am already partly there and because of the outdated/lack of information on other sites I should be able to get there quickly.

I am posting some guest articles and articles in print/online magazines around the industry for more exposure, awareness, and brand recognition.

I believe being established with high traffic levels/loads of leads will be the key to any monetary success with this project.
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Old 03-27-2015, 12:03 AM   #4
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Recently I've been getting sick like fucking crazy. Twice in two weeks now. Spent yesterday and a good part of today feeling like shit. Today I spent most of my day cleaning up around my place, deep cleaning the fucker and getting rid of old shit. Not like I am living in a shitbox to begin with, it just has been sitting all winter and time for the old spring cleaning. Overall better health will lead to more productive work.

Had some progress getting myself out of the soul sucking 'real job' part time gig - should have a clear date of when that is over by the end of the weekend. This makes me happy just seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

Not too much time spent on the site today, but made a couple improvements:

Completed today:
  • added tracking for my search bar to analytics (really easy to do and good insight into what I am missing on my navigation)
  • I added 4 new pages to my business database.
  • Had thumbnails loading for a map listing on a prominent landing page. Removed the long list of 70 or so thumbnails and reduced the overall size of the page and the load time from about 6 seconds to 2 seconds.
  • Set up tracking on my lead collection and added it to analytics as a goal to track conversions.
  • Updated my homepage to bring it out of the stone age, looking more big brand now.

Business Side:
Here is the business setup have crafted in my head:

I said before I am a mix of a business database site, with lead collection (which is happening on these business listings as well as across all other pages)

My idea is to create a premium paid business listing setup limiting or removing the now present contact options/calls to action to push people from my site to the business' site. Along with this I hope to work with businesses directly to collect a referral fee, broker deals, and utilize my list and traffic to feed these options.

Some insight into the industry:
  • The industry is worldwide
  • Outside the US there are multiple competing businesses in the same industry
  • inside the US there is currently only one brand, and one with a HUGE lead
  • The industry cannot support too many businesses in one location, there is no city (meaning large, think millions of people) in the world that has more than 2-3 of these businesses
  • Most of my traffic is US based coming to US business listings.
  • My best business opportunity is to work with the one brand in the US who currently has little to no competition when gathering traffic, aside from me.

So with the above information you begin seeing my picture. After writing it all out, I feel like right now I may be thinking of using the site in too many different ways that might not work if all of them happen at once.

Questions:
  1. Am I wasting my time here? Is this site better off collecting traffic and selling ads until I can market my site as a resource when and if competition between listed businesses comes?
  2. Would approaching a business for a premium listing and then asking to work out a referral deal be shooting myself in the foot? Maybe include a 'premium' database listing in the deal?
  3. Can anyone with experience in subscription/premium database sites help me out with some guidance? How to best play it in any market/my market?
  4. When optimizing site speed, how long does it usually take until the G recognizes your efforts?
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Old 04-11-2015, 07:50 PM   #5
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A great thread you started, animalstyle.

Do you have the clear date for getting yourself out of the soul sucking 'real job'?

The main objections about the industry you mention is:

If there is only ONE brand in the US,
how will you ensure to get this brand to hire your services?
Do you have personal contacts into the brand company?
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