When people ask me ‘so what do you do?’ I never quite know how to reply. If you run an online business you’ll probably know what I mean!
When I tell people I work for myself and own an online business it triggers a range of different responses. But most people are interested, intrigued and sometimes amazed that it’s possible to create a website, grow an audience, sell products and earn a full-time income all while in your pajamas working at home!
I think a few people think I do something dodgy or just lounge around all day and claim the dole! Both of which are not true by the way!
I started ‘working online’ over 7 years ago. To be honest I can’t believe it’s that long since I made the decision to ‘this online thing’ a go! It’s been an incredible journey and I am extremely grateful for the freedom and flexibility it’s given me and my family.
From the UK to Australia
I’d recently moved from the UK to Australia and was in a job I didn’t really enjoy. I was living in a town with few job prospects and have always wanted to work for myself so I started to look in to contract / freelance opportunities.
I came across a freelancing job portal called Elance.com (which recently merged with Upwork). Scrolling through thousands of jobs, posted by companies around the world, opened my eyes to the possibilities. I knew this could be a great starting point and a way to ‘escape’ my job.
I created a profile, started bidding on jobs, and soon got my first gig creating marketing emails for a new tech start-up in America.
There was quite a bit of trial and error at first, but I soon created a system to find high paying jobs and win them! Within a month I had found enough work to leave my job.
The rest is history!
Over the next 6 months or so I grew my freelance business through freelance ‘dating’ websites, referrals, my own website and industry groups / forums. I soon replaced the income from my day job and was enjoying working on a variety of different projects for a range of clients.
Flipping Websites & Passive Income
I enjoyed the freelance work, but I wanted to find ways to leverage my time rather than trade hours for dollars.
I’d read some stories about people who had created websites that earned an income through advertising and selling digital products and wanted to know more. I spent time on internet marketing forums and found someone selling an existing website which I decided to buy to see if I could increase it’s earnings.
It cost a massive $30 and was an information website about toothache relief (which at the time I knew nothing about!). I taught myself SEO, social media management and optimized the website to increase the traffic and earnings.
I sold this website for a colossal $300 a few months later. That’s $270 profit. Hardly life changing and if you calculated it as an hourly rate was probably less than $5 an hour!
But I was hooked!
I saw the possibilities of passive income and spent the next few years buying websites, improving them, and then reselling them for a profit.
At this time the internet was like the ‘wild west’ and it was relatively easy to ‘game’ Google and get top search engine rankings for impressive keywords.
Overnight Google changed their search engine ranking algorithm and started penalizing websites seen to be gaming the system. Instantly many online business owners like me lost income, and the value of their website portfolios dropped considerably.
I spent time, too much time, trying to find new ways to game the system and whilst these tactics worked in the short-term, they never provided any long-term stability.
So I changed my focus and concentrated on growing and building a small number of long-term ‘authoritative’ websites in industries I was interested in and passionate about.
Fast Forward to Today
Today I have a few ‘authority’ websites in my portfolio, two of which produce the majority of my income. These websites either sell digital / information based products, or generate income through affiliate commissions or a combination of both.
I’ve spent time automating processes, outsourcing admin and marketing tasks, improving conversion rates and streamlining the business model. Each website in my portfolio now only requires a few hours a week each of my time to manage and combined generate a six figure income.
It’s not always perfect, and I don’t want you to think I spend every day sitting in a hammock next to the beach. Because I don’t! Sometimes there are fires to fight or hassles to deal with, but overall I love the freedom and flexible of working for myself and running a location-independent online business.
I’ll be spending time and energy to growing RewiredFocus to help freelancers and online business owners systemize, automate and streamline their businesses, and increase their personal productivity, so they can create a ‘freedom lifestyle’ for themselves.
I’m also working on another authority website to add to my portfolio – which I’ll be launching soon.
Do You Want to Start an Online Business?
I’ve just published a follow-up blog post which describes what I would do if I had to start again today. I’d love to hear what you think!