Start a $10 Million Online Business [6 Key Steps]
- We're all familiar with one hit wonders, the musical artists that hit the top of the charts acquiring national fame, and then leaving you stuck with that song that you just can't get out of your head. ♪ Lets kick it ♪ But one hit wonders don't just apply to musicians. We see it with athletes, we see it with businesses, and we also see that with online entrepreneurs. These are the guys that come out of nowhere, achieve massive success, and then all of a sudden you never hear from them again.
- Hi, how are you? - And then there's me, I started a blog way back in 2008, eventually made my first Google AdSense check, and eventually figured out a way how to turn this blog into an online business, and generate over $10 million in revenue. Since then the blog has had a few facelifts. I've grown my family and my facial hair, and even have some white hairs that I just can't stop. So what's different about my story? How have I been able to survive? ♪ I'm a survivor, I'm not gon' give up ♪ But not just survive, also thrive and make over $10 million with my online business.
Especially when you have companies like Blockbuster, and Barnes and Noble, and Borders, and all these companies that we just thought would be around forever and they are gone, and yet here I am still sticking around. You know somebody asks me this, and really just started thinking and asking myself, like, what have I done that is different than anybody else? And I wanna share what these things are, what are the six things that have led to my success in starting an online business that is still going. Because yes, I have made over $10 million, but guess what? I'm not done yet. I'm still gonna make a whole a lot more, and have a ton of fun along the way. So when I started asking myself, and thinking, man, like what have I done? Like what are the things that I've done that I've done differently? And the first thing when I looked at some of the success I've had is I recognize that one of the first things that I have allowed myself to do, and this is a big one, I mean, it sounds so trivial but it is so, so true, and what I've allowed myself to do is fail.
I have given myself permission to go out, and try something new, and if it doesn't work out that's okay. Like that is okay. And I know it sounds so small, but it is such a big deal because a lot of times people don't try something because they have so much fear that they're going to mess up, that they're going to fail, that it's going to be a flop, and then they have to face the music. And oftentimes music is your spouse, it could be family, it could be your parents, it could be coworkers, it could be friends, it could be your community, it could be your neighbors, could be people at your church.
There's just so many people that we've put so much, we give them so much power to dictate our self-worth, and it cripples us. And that's something for whatever reason how I'm wired I just allowed myself to fail. Now, a part of that, a part of allowing myself to fail is also believing in myself. You know, I feel like if you're gonna give yourself permission to fail, that also means that you believe in that if you do mess up, if it doesn't work out, then you believe that there is something else out there for you.
So with that, you know to get more specific allowing myself to fail, you know I tried, and I've shared this before, I've tried multilevel marketing, I tried real estate. When I was still a financial advisor I tried so many different marketing strategies, marketing tactics. I just thought were, man, these are some amazing ideas that were a complete flop, so many, but I gave myself permission to mess up.
And I'm not sure if somebody else wiser than me shared this so that I understood because what I realized by going through this any time that I messed up, anytime that I I would try something new that it didn't quite work out I knew that just on the other side was something better, something bigger. And I allowed, I'll not say allowed, but just by going through this process of failing I learned a ton, I learned so much from all of these failures. Like, oh, I'm gonna try this great idea, this sounds awesome. Oh, well guess what Jeff, like no, that at ain't awesome, ain't gonna work, it didn't work out, that was silly, that was stupid. I can remember I had ordered these brochures. I read this book, amazing book, something about branding.
And in this book it talks about how you can do all these things to make yourself different. So I hired a marketing agency, paid them a couple thousand dollars. And this was a time in my career that I didn't have a couple of thousand dollars. And I was like, oh man, I'm gonna create this brochure. And sure enough like this is going to bring in all these new clients. That didn't happen. That didn't happen.
They looked awesome. I mean it was amazing brochure. Like by far one of the best brochures I've probably ever seen from any other advisor in the area. Nonetheless I can't tell you that I gained any client because of this amazing brochure.
Once again it was a flop, it was a very expensive flop. I remember my wife even asking me like, do you really think this is a good idea. I'm like, yeah, babe, you don't you'll understand like this is awesome. I've read this book, and it had all these suggestions, like this is gonna work.
Yeah, it didn't, it did not, and that wasn't the only one. There were other business ideas, other business ventures, a $8,000 business venture that was a complete flop. So there were a ton of them but once again I believed in myself, I believed that there was something else out there, allowing myself to fail, also believing in myself. Number two was what I would call SYNRGy, and not the type of synergy that you might be thinking of. You know, this SYNRGy, S-Y-N-R-G-Y. So synergy here stands for serving your network with radical giving, serving your network with radical giving.
Nothing has changed since I started my career, started my business. So many people are out for themselves. All they care about is themselves period. And I get it, you wanna take care of yourself, you wanna take care number one especially if you have a family, you have a spouse, you know, people that are depending on you, but when you look at your network, and trying to build your client base, and trying to serve others it's where the magic happens. And what I learned going through not just the financial planning practice but also with the online business, serving my network with radical giving.
So for me my network was other financial bloggers, and the way that I was serving them with radical giving was I was linking to them, I was quoting them, I was sharing their articles on my social media. I was making an effort to get to know them, to understand them, and recognize areas that I could give back. With my readers, with my subscribers, I remember answering people's questions, replying to these lengthy emails about their financial situation, and trying to give the best that I could, when that was too time consuming because I had so many people reaching out I would then reply with a video. Had a really cool piece of software where I could just hit record it would be embedded in that email. I'm telling you these people were shocked that I would take the time to answer their question.
I mean, just to answer their question alone was amazing. But when I did it through a video, I mean, they were blown away. I remember there was a few times where people would watch this video, and I would always say their name in the video so that they knew this wasn't a canned video.
Like this wasn't something that I sent out to a 100 other people. So like I would say, hey Brian, hey Stacy, thanks for your email, thanks for reading, or watching, or listening, however they discovered content, and then I would answer their question. Just a simple way of serving my network with radical giving. And it was just something that I...
Golden rule, do unto others what you have them do unto you. And it's like, man, if I'm gonna go out and ask for favors, if I'm gonna go out and ask for help, I wanna make sure that I have given at least as much that I want in return. I see the opposite side of this where people are contacting me. They don't know me, we don't have a relationship, and they lead in with an ask. It's like, hey, you don't know me, we've never talked, I didn't purchase your book, I don't really watch your YouTube channel, or read you blog, oh, by the way do you mind if you can help me do this? That's not really serving at all.
Now I guess you could consider serving would be giving to them, and I'm sure I have done that in the past but with limited time right now I want to serve those that have been willing to give to me, that have given to me, that have shown an interest at least. Like at least that they watched a video, at least that's something. I mean, it's not a lot but it's something.
And I care, like I wanna help others, and that's just how I live, like that's how I started the online business, was giving my expertise, sharing my experience, sharing in a way that I knew could help others. And there was no money in the beginning. Like there wasn't. Like I've shared this before. Like it took me nine months before I made any money from the online business. Nine months of working my tail off before I made my first check which was $152.
And the whole time was me publishing the content. This is before the YouTube channel, before the podcast, it was just me publishing articles that I thought would help others, and that has never changed. So number two, SYNRGy, synergy serve your network with radical giving. Number three is being the expert, becoming the expert, or be the expert with two different components of that. So one component of being the expert.
Now for those that don't know me I'm a certified financial planner so I have that designation. So if you're watching this maybe you're like, oh, but yeah, see, I can't be the expert because I'm not a CFP, I don't have that designation, I don't have any sort of designation, I don't even have a college degree. Like how am I going to be the expert? And one of the ways I recognized before I had the CFP designation, before I was a quote unquote expert in my niche, in my space, what allowed me to be the expert was I was generally curious about how things work. So when there is something that I am interested in with say investing, or with blogging, or with sneakers, or with sports cars, or with whatever, if there's something I am interested in, if I'm curious about it that means that I'm going to go to great lengths to understand as much as I can about that topic because I want to know. I want to know how it works, I wanna know the process, I wanna peel back the curtain, I wanna look underneath the hood, and I wanna understand how it works.
I've recognized like I can spend too much time understanding how things work, but looking back at the business, the online business in particular, I didn't know anything about SEO which is search engine optimization. Didn't know anything about any of that, and I recognize that if I want to rank in Google for some competitive keywords. So that would be like Roth IRA rules, or best life insurance, or passive income.
If I wanna rank for some of these competitive keywords so when people go to Google and type those phrases in they come across my blog then I better know a thing or two about SEO. And at that time in the beginning I didn't have a lot of money to hire like an SEO consultants. So it wasn't like I can go out there, and pay somebody to teach me. And maybe I could have, maybe that's a limiting belief where how much that would have cost, but back then it was man, I don't wanna spend that money, I wanna figure it out on my own so I just started reading and learning as much as I could about SEO so that I could start ranking for these competitive keywords. And lo and behold after doing all this research, after talking to other bloggers, networking with other bloggers, and also finding ways I could give back to them talking about SYNRGy again, I eventually figured out how to do it. And it was just my voracious curiosity that led to me finally, finally figuring it out.
And then all of a sudden guess what? I started ranking for these certain keywords. So with cryptocurrency whatever it is be curious, and be curious to the point where you want to become the expert in whatever topic that is. And I'm not talking expert to where you have to get on stage, and give a dissertation on whatever that topic is. What I'm meaning about being the expert is that having enough information, having enough knowledge, where if somebody asks you a question on that topic you could speak about it intelligently, or you could have a conversation with somebody else who knows a thing or two about this topic. You could have a very good and diverse conversation about that topic because you've done enough research on your own. That's how people become the experts because they learn, 'cause they go out there and they read, and they ask questions, and they go out there and they dabble, and they try things, like that's how you become the expert.
So the first part of being the expert is having curiosity, and then going out and seeking that information so that you understand it. The second part is how you position your yourself. So with me, yes I mentioned, I am a certified financial planner. I had that designation once I started the online business, once I started the blog. But just because I was a CFP didn't mean that everybody knew who I was.
And just because I had the designation, the CFP had the alphabet behind my name doesn't mean that people immediately respected me for my thought leadership and the things I had to share. I mean, it definitely helped, but there was still more that I had to do. So what did I do? Like going back, thinking back in the beginning what were some of the things that I did. And starting the blog was one of the first ways which is so funny, it's so interesting because it's just a website, it's just a blog.
Starting a blog even though I'm a CFP isn't that's exclusive to me. Like you can go out and start a blog. And I can remember after publishing several articles on different financial planning topics, when somebody would then ask me a question like typically in the office or maybe out in public. And if they ask me a question about an article that I had on my site I would then say, yeah, actually I wrote a topic, or I wrote an article on that topic. If you wanna check it out here it is.
And I would tell them to go check it out, or I would send them an email with the link with that article. And the thing was so interesting about that was even though it was a blog, and anybody in the world can start a blog, but because I wrote an article about that topic, and published it on my own site, not somebody else's site on my own, it's like, oh wow, you actually wrote about that, that's very impressive. Like, yeah, I would love to check that out. It was just so interesting to see people's perception of me being an expert only because I wrote an article on it.
And that thing wasn't published on Ford, wasn't published on CNBC or any other major publication, it was on my blog. So that was one of the first things that I did to position myself as an expert. I then used this blog as a way to contact the local media.
So I contacted our regional newspaper, I contacted our local ABC affiliate, and just share, hey I've got this blog, I'm writing articles on different topics, and I would love to come on and share some of the things I'm talking about because this is inspired by people that are contacting me, or some of my existing clients so I know this would be a benefit for your readers. And once again they didn't really care I was a CFP, but it was like the fact I had this blog that I was publishing content on, and could show and demonstrate, I guess, that it was a value to my readers then it could also add value to their subscribers, their viewers as well. And that got me in the door to both the regional newspaper, and also the ABC affiliate. So I started going on the morning news. Stupid early, I think I had to get up those mornings like at 5 or 5:50, to put on my shirt and tie, and my suit and go, and be on the news, and talk about whatever topic that was. But now people are seeing me not just on the website but now they're also seeing me on the local news which just gives you that third party, just some credentials, just showing to other people, hey, like this guy not only is he writing his own stuff but he's also on our local ABC affiliate so he has to be legit because he's on that local ABC affiliate.
So that was just like some other ways. And then I use that to then start contacting other media publications. So that's when I started writing for Forbes, and CNBC, and Entrepreneur, and some of these bigger publications. I also use some of that footage from the ABC affiliate to be on other media, other video, other interviews. So then I would start doing that, and then I got contacted by bigger publications.
So then all of a sudden, boom, now have those third parties that are also basically positioning me as the expert because of that. Now, if you feel like this is not something that you could do 'cause I shared a lot in that, one other way that you can position yourself as an expert was like, oh, I don't have a designation so I can't contact a local news affiliate about being on, one of the ways that you can is by using HARO, which stands for help a reporter out. And this is just another way. So with HARO you have journalists that are writing articles for all these different publications, and they're looking for experts they can quote in these articles.
And I think HARO sends out up to three emails a day looking for these type of type of experts. So whatever space that you're in just sign up for the free email list, get those requests, and then when you see something that you can comment on you then submit it to that journalist. And then if this journalist is say writing an article for let's just say CNBC, or Forbes, or whatever, and then they use you then you can show that, hey, I was quoted in, fill in the blank, Forbes, CNBC, Business Insider, whatever publication that is. And now it's like, oh, everybody that is potential client, a potential customer now looks at you as like, oh wow, look, you were quoted in, fill in the blank, Forbes.
Like that's awesome. So that's another thing that I did that you can do as well, because with HARO like all these journalists there seeking and craving having quotes from experts. And if you can give them something of value that is awesome. I can remember one of the first major quotes that I ever got was in Fox News which was a big deal at the time because I'd never been quoted in Fox.
And for those that understand the concept of getting a backlink. So this journalist reached out to me, I gave her a quote. I was super prompt in my response.
And I said, hey, anytime you need a quote for anything else feel free to keep me in mind and she did. She ended up reaching out to me again. And then that second time is when I asked her, hey, do you think that a Fox would be okay linking to my blog? And for those that don't know like this is a big deal. If you can get a backlink from a major public publication like Fox or Fox News that's a big deal.
And at first I don't think they did it, maybe they didn't do it the second time, but the third time I ended up asking again, I'm like, you know what? I might as well ask. I did and they allowed it, and I'm pretty sure that that back link still exists to this day. And just to give you an idea.
For those that are trying to get backlinks from big publications like at Fox News or CNN, somebody once told me that getting a backlink from one of these big sites you can value that from anywhere from like 5 to 15, maybe even $25,000. Like that's how much that back link is worth, excuse me. So for me to get a backlink from Fox News in the way that I did, and all because I responded to this HARO requests, and then I served my network, I overserved giving everything that I could. I was prompt and continue to serve, continue to serve, and then I asked and then sure enough, boom, I got what I wanted, what I needed, and that was a huge, huge win. - Woo-hoo! - Okay, so number four is a bit cliche in a sense, but I wanna give you some details on how I did this 'cause you hear this a lot, but I was willing to invest in myself, and you hear this, you know, you are your best investment. You should always invest in yourself, blah, blah, blah.
And some of the ways I talk about that you could do this simply are, just reading books, listening to podcasts, buying a course, hiring a coach, hiring a consultant, be willing to reinvest back into yourself, into your knowledge, into your experience. So getting a designation, getting your college degree, so on and so forth. But what I wanna talk about now, or at least with this part is to create a business that ends up grossing over $10 million you're not gonna get that from a podcast. You might get the initial idea from a podcast, or a YouTube video, but as far as like scaling it, and understand all the nuances of how you grow it from an idea and making $152, and so where now you're making over a million a year it requires more. One of the big things that I did, and it was a huge, huge risk on my part was hiring, or joining a business coaching program. And this was a coaching program that was geared towards entrepreneurs.
This program is called, and it's still around to this day, the Strategic Coach, founded by Dan Sullivan. During this time of my life where I was making a lot of money. Actually at that time the minimum that you needed, was it 100 or 250? I forget. It was at least 100. So you had to be making at least $100,000 a year to be able to join this program. It was 100,000, that's right.
So you had to have 100,000 to get in, and then they had different levels. I think there were like three levels. So 100 to 250, 250 to 500, and then I think over 500 was like a different program.
So at this time I was making over 250,000. And if you're wondering, well, how did they know how much of your making, well, you had to hide your tax return that your CPA had to sign off was legit. So that's how they verified it. And so when I joined I was in that 250, I was just over 250 at that time. So I was in this group of other entrepreneurs that were making between 250 to 500.
Now to be in this program it wasn't cheap. I think I started off and it was around $8,000. That was a lot of money. And the only reason that I even considered it was a former mentor of mine, the advisor that had hired me back in the day when I was still in college, he told me how he had hired two different business coaches over his career. I remember when he first told me that I was like, wait, what? You hired a business coach. And he played basketball a little bit when he was in high school and college, like I get you hiring a coach to help you with your game, but just the concept of hiring a coach to help you with your business game it just didn't make sense for whatever reason, like that just shows where I came from, like my upbringing, you know my parents they never hired a coach for anything as far as I know.
And he didn't tell me how much it was. But what I did know was here I am looking at this guy who has shared with me that he had hired two business coaches in his life, and he is making at that time I think between 400 to $500,000 a year, which where we lived in Southern Illinois where if you were making over $50,000 a year that was a lot money, and this guy's making 10 X that I'm gonna listen to him. I'm gonna listen to what he has to say. I got to this point I'm making $250,000, but there was something that was missing, and I didn't know what it was so I felt like maybe this is the thing that I need to do. So I hired a coach, and I went joined this coaching program, and it was $8,000 a year. I ended up doing that program for five consecutive years.
And after doing that program for three years my income, my revenue, excuse me, went from 250,000 on up to almost 750,000, so that was my revenue. My income of that was, I think with expenses I think it was still between 4 to 500,000 in three year y'all, three years I saw my revenue almost triple. And I look at that coaching program, the Strategic Coach as being the reason of why. And I'm sure you're probably wondering, well, what did they do? Do they do all this stuff for you? I mean, here's the crazy thing about that.
You talk about investing a lot of money into something that you're not sure what the results are going to be, so this coaching program you spend all this money, and what you got was you went up, so I went to Chicago, that's one of the locations that you could go, I would go there four times a year for one day. So four full days I would go there for the entire year, and I would sit in this conference room style. It was I guess like a classroom.
Very cool though, very trendy with I think, usually about 30 or so entrepreneurs, pretty small class and that was intentional. And we would have a coach that would train us, or teach us a little bit, and we'd have some breakout groups. And we'd get a binder of our materials, all that stuff. And that's what I got.
Like I didn't get anything else, they didn't come to my office, and give me some one-on-one coaching. They didn't like take a look at the books, or take a look at what I'm doing. I mean, it was all self-driven, and actually I'm just talking about this I would love to do another podcast or show where I talk more in depth about what changed, and what allowed me to make as much as I did, and I will. But what I wanna talk about on this part is just the willingness to invest in myself, and that was a huge investment at that time. After that five-year period another huge investment for me was joining Michael Hyatt's Inner Circle which was his, we'll call it his personal mastermind group.
He now has a more full-blown coaching program very similar to Strategic Coach as far as I know, but at that time it was his Inner Circle, and there was only, I think there's supposed to be 12 but there was only 10 of us I believe if I recall. And to join that program that was $25,000. That was another huge chunk, I mean, that was a big chunk of money. And I'm sharing this because these were the things that I had to allow myself to do, and in a vacuum that would've been impossible.
There's no way that I couldn't could have invested that amount of money without can counsel from other people. But after talking to other successful people that were either where I was, or were a few steps ahead of me, or a lot of steps ahead of me, and just asking them, I remember after the whole coaching program, like talking to other people that I knew that had hired a coach, and just wanting to hear from them like, okay, you told me you did this, what did you get from it? And would you do it again? And when I kept hearing, yes, yes, I would, absolutely yes. One of the best things I ever did, blah, blah, blah. I kept hearing that over and over again I'm like sold, I'm in. And I talked to my wife and fill out the information, send off the check, fill all the information, and then boom I joined this coaching program. And I'm so grateful that I did.
Willing to invest in myself. There were other ways I invested in my self. One that was really hard for me was hiring full-time employees. You might wonder how's that investing in yourself? It was investing in myself because I was tired of doing crap that I didn't get paid a lot of money to do that I didn't enjoy doing. So investing in myself was hiring somebody to take all that stuff off my plate, and then free myself up to do what I get paid to do that I love to do.
That was full-time help, that was contractors, that was just a ton of different people along the way. But all these huge fears that I had to get through which seemed like so, it just seems so funny now looking back but these were all big deals to me, huge deals. I remember how afraid I was to hire my first full-time assistant because at the time my office had an new assistant that we shared, so I had somebody part-time already that I was paying a portion of their salary, but then to hire somebody full time, and pay them all out of my own pocket that was a lot of money.
I can't talk about number five without thinking one of my daughter's favorite movie. ♪ Let it go, let it go, let it go ♪ I just totally butchered that song. So letting go, number five was letting go. Something that I'm not sure I could ever admit this until later on in my career but I can be sort of a, I won't say control freak, but when you spend all this time working on something, building something that you have poured countless hours, and so much energy, and so much frustration in, it is so hard to just turn that over to somebody else.
if you have kids you get this. You love your kids, you would do everything for your kids, and to take your kid and drop them off at a daycare that's hard, it's hard, it gets easier over time. But that first time especially it is so hard because you are now trusting that these people are going to care for your baby just as much as you, and they're not. I don't care who they are, or how much you pay they're never going to give your child as much love as you can, period. So now let's apply that to the business, right? You've built this business that you have given your soul to, and now you're just gonna turn that over to somebody else, that is hard, I don't care who you are.
And you can talk to any entrepreneur in the beginning it is hard to just delegate some of the duties that are taking care of. And I finally had to let go, I finally had to start delegating some of the tasks that I was doing with my business. And there was a lot of things. One part of delegating was letting somebody else write some of the content of the site, not even writing in my name just writing in their name, and publishing content under their name that was such a hard thing to do. Later on it was, one way that I would expedite publishing content on the site was I would use a transcription service. So I would call in with some notes, and just share some stories.
And then I would give that to an editor or a writer, and then they would take those notes, and turn that into a written blog post. And in the beginning that was hard. Like that was hard to do but when I recognize like how much time I'm saving by doing this, and once again it's freeing my time up to do other things, now I can write more content, or record more videos, or record more podcasts 'cause I freed up more time it was hard. But then I started seeing why it was so important.
Another thing that I did in the beginning, another hard thing was just managing the affiliate relationships on the website, that was something that I did. And turning that over to somebody else, and trusting that they are going to do everything that they can to help your business make as much money as it could. I mean, just think about that. Like can you really trust somebody to do that? I guess that I did, but that's something that I did even though the person didn't quite work out but that led me to somebody else that could do it, and did it at a much better level than I could, and then yes. And we develop like a compensation structure so that they would get rewarded for their efforts. Like that's one way that you can do it to make sure that they have a similar, a vested interest in how much you're making if you can give them some sort of incentive.
Just some things I didn't realize could be an option in the beginning but it was. So letting go was delegating a lot of stuff. Another way that I let go, and this was a hard one was taking on strategic partnerships, and with the partnership for those that if you realize this a partnership is the equivalent of getting married to somebody in business. Hiring independent contractor where you can let them go at any time that they are not performing, not doing what they promised.
With a full-time employee if they aren't performing the way that you have outlined in your job description of what is expected of them, you can let them go. With a strategic partnership, or with any partnership for that matter, if there is a legal document that is binding you it is not as easy to let go, you can't just let them go. Just like getting married, once you get married you can't just say, okay, I'm done here.
There's a divorce and there's usually attorneys involved, and a lot of paperwork, and a lot of headache and frustration. So for me to get to a point where I was, I wanna say I was ready, but I recognize at that point in my business I needed to find somebody that could take me to that next level, and the only way to do that was by taking on strategic partnerships. And one of the first partnerships I took on ended up being, it was an amazing partnership. At the time I was making I think around, gosh, what was it? I think it was like just under $20,000 a month from the site.
And it might've been even less than that. Maybe it was like 15,000. Either way over the next three years I went from making, it was the same time with the whole coaching program, making $20,000 a month to making over $100,000 a month. That is what a strategic partnership can do if you find the right one. But in order to do that you have to let go.
♪ Let it go ♪ ♪ Let it go ♪ Moving on to the last one, number six, do not forget. And there's a few things that I did not allow myself to forget, actually, no, that is a lie. There were times that I did forget some of this, but I was able to recognize that I was forgetting, and I needed to just reassert myself. And so one of the things is, don't forget where you came from, don't forget your roots, don't forget the people that got you there, the people that made the sacrifices don't forget them. And for me a big part of that do not forgetting is remembering where I lived, where I was raised, the house that I've lived in, where I came from, the clothes that I wore when I was in grade school, the shoes that I wore when I was little, oftentimes they were either Payless, or they were hand-me-downs from another family friend.
I've shared this before. I did have a pair of Nike Air Jordan 4 which I now own, I repurchased a couple of years ago on StockX. It was the first pair of Nikes that I owned, and that was in the sixth grade. First pair of Nikes, first pair of brand new designer kicks was in the sixth grade. And I don't forget that because I wanna remember where I came from and where I'm at today.
Now I did say that there was a time that I got a little too focused on making more money, I got too focused on who I was hanging out with, how many followers I had, how many readers I had, I got caught up in that. A lot of that was comparison syndrome, looking at other successful people, and comparing myself to them, and envying them for what they had that I didn't have even though I had more than enough, and still have more than enough. And there was a time that I was more excited about meeting somebody new, what I would consider networking which is a good thing, but I was more focused on meeting new people because I wanted to meet them of the hope that, oh, could they advance my career? Could they advance my business? And I found myself hanging out less with some of my original friends.
Now there are some friends that I had to politely cut ties with just because of where I was going, not just as a business but as a family man. Like there were just certain behaviors and routines that they were fine when I was in college, but now as an adult, as a parent, I just wanted to get away from that. So like there is healthy separation. But there were some of my really good friends that still had good qualities, and we had such amazing stories, and I just found myself, and everybody gets busy like I get that, but I stopped making the effort. And I went back to these friends, and I've made amends for that. I mean, it was, I won't say a dark period of my life, but it was just a period where had a lot of growth, had a lot of success, and I kept wanting more, wanting to push the envelope.
I can proudly say that, you know, I can recognize that was not healthy behavior looking back on that. And once again part of that is remembering, not forgetting where I came from, and also not forgetting what my purpose is. You know, why did God place me here? And why has he gifted me with certain talents? And why has he put certain people in my life? You know, remembering that purpose, and that is a big one because something I'll share more in a future video two years into starting the blog, Good Financial Cents, I was hit with what's called a algorithm update, a Google algorithm update. Which basically means when Google does these algorithm updates it affects what's being found in search engines.
So if you are a site owner, and you are ranking number one for the best pet food that exists in the world, that's a horrible keyword but I think you get the idea, like the best pet food, and you have a online pet store, or online dog food store, or whatever, and you're number one, you're making a lot of money, that's awesome. But then Google does an algorithm update, and now you go from number one to page two, or number one to number five, or number one to page three. Page two or page three basically your dead. No one knows that you exist. It is the equivalent of having a brick and mortar store on a major high way, or a major road where you just get all this foot traffic because all these people are driving by, and then all of a sudden the city comes in or the state comes in, and they close that road and reroute people somewhere else. Now nobody is coming to you because of that, that's the same thing.
So back in, I think it was 2011, my site was hit with a Google algorithm update called Google Panda. And essentially what happened was I was getting over 100,000 unique visitors per month on the site which was amazing having self-taught myself search engine optimization, and backlinking, and everything that I had to do. And literally with a flip of the switch my traffic went from over 100,000 unique visitors a month to under around 20,000, in the low 20,000 a month just like that, just like that. I'll tell you right now I wasn't doing anything illegal, I was not buying backlinks, I was doing everything the best way that I knew how, and I had no idea how to fix it, I had no idea how to change it.
Looking back I'm grateful that it wasn't my main source of revenue so it wasn't like I had to shut down. But at that point I had put almost three years, three years into my site, my blog, and I'm having some amazing success with it then all of a sudden, bam, somebody whacks me in the knees, and I don't know how to fix it. I took some time off. It was I think like a few weeks where I didn't write anything. I was down, I was depressed.
Like, oh my gosh, what do I have to do? And I finally had to ask myself what was the purpose of this site? Why did I start this? Was it to get 100,000 unique visitors a month? Was it to make $100,000 a year? Why? I had to remind myself the purpose of me launching this site. I mean, initially it was a marketing tool for the practice, but underneath that was a deep desire to educate others, to share with people my experience of not just being a financial planner but my experience having two parents that filed for bankruptcy, and having two parents that struggle with finances. And seeing all those financial mistakes, and seeing how much of an impact that was on their life, and also my life, like that was my purpose. I wanted to help people not make those same financial mistakes, and that is what kept driving me. And what an added blessing, now I would either get new financial planning clients, or figured out how to make money from ads, and all that.
Like that was awesome but the purpose was helping others, it was helping others. And I had to remember that because had I not remember that if it was just all about money, all about traffic, and how many visitors I have I would have quit, I would have given up and I didn't. I took some time off, reminding myself what the purpose was, and then I recommitted, and I pretty much doubled down 'cause at that time prior to that I didn't have a YouTube channel. And I went from having a blog on Good Financial Cents to then launching the YouTube channel which was Good Financial Cents has since been rebranded to Wealth Hacker, but I basically went all in even more so.
I thought I was all in before, I recognized, no, I can do more, I can do more. So I went from having not just a blog but having a blog and a YouTube channel. And then not too long after that is when the podcast launched. So then I had the blog, and the YouTube channel, and the podcast, and then not too long after that I wrote a book. So I just kept going and remembering what my purpose was.
So remembering where you came from, remembering your purpose, and also reminding yourself where do you want to go? What do you want to accomplish? What do you want to achieve? And this is a big one for me because as I've gained more success, as I've met more people and network more, and what ends up happening is all these opportunities come to you. Like before you couldn't even find opportunities, and now people are finding you, and that's a good thing, can be a good thing, it's not always a good thing. But even the ones that are good if I ended up saying yes to all of them which I wanted to at the beginning, it is a huge, huge distraction, and taking away of what the purpose is. And I'll give you a recent example.
Just had a guy reach out to me on Twitter, and it's somebody that I know him, we don't have like a great connection but I'm at least aware of him. And I know that he recently launched some sort of program, I don't know exactly what it is. And he just reached out to me, and he gave me, it was a great pitch. It was something like, hey, if you got 10 minutes to hear me out, and if you like the idea or you don't like the idea I'll donate a portion of, I don't even know what the percentage was, but basically he was offering to donate money to the charity of my choice just by taking a 10 minute call with him. I'm like, how do you say no to that? Like, oh wait, a charity can benefit all I got to do is talk to this guy for 10 minutes. And what I ended up saying to him was, man, one, I really appreciate you reaching out to me.
I can tell you're really excited about this new thing that you're working on. But right now I have committed to completing a project which you'll learn about here soon. And this is something that I've been wanting to finish, I had to table it because of the summer, and just with my kids being home but my kids are back in school. Like at the time of this recording this is their first full week back in school, and I finally have the time that I need to finish this thing and launch it, and I don't want to be distracted with anything else. I don't care how amazing it is I want to finish this. That is me not allowing myself to forget where I want to go, what I want to achieve, what I want to succeed, and not letting a shinny object no matter how shiny and how amazing it looks distract me, and preventing me from finishing what I have set out to do.
That is a hard one, and as I mentioned earlier like something I struggled with, I forgot what I wanted, it was to help people, but then when I started making more money, and started meeting other successful people I forgot about all that, and I just wanted more of it. Don't know why I wanted more, I just know that I wanted more of it. And that was a time when I forgot not only where I came from, not only what my purpose was but also I truly wanted to go. And now that is my driving force in how I make decisions, how I choose certain projects, how I invest my time and my money is remembering not forgetting where I want to go.
And these are six of the main core reasons why I have had success. And I probably could have added another five more. And there's a few others, I have some notes here on some other things that I didn't get a chance to mention, but I will definitely mention on a future show because I wanna share and reminds you that I don't care where you're at in your financial journey, it is not paved in brick, it's not paved in gold, it is not easy every step of the way. And I wanna share some of the huge lessons I've learned and just be 100% transparent in some of the biggest mistakes that I've made. Or some of what I thought at the time was small either changes or small investments looking back ended being so big, so huge.
And my goal in doing this series is just for me going back and remembering myself, but also remembering, gosh, like what were some of those either huge milestones, or huge pain points in the beginning through some of those tough times that have led to where I'm at today. So that's why I wanted to do this, that's why I'm continuing this series of Wealthy OG so that I can give back, so I can radically serve you, and hoping to share some sort of nugget of wisdom that can help you achieve whatever it is that you are out to achieve. So I hope you enjoyed this show and the future ones. If you did please like, share, all that good stuff. If you haven't subscribed to the channel please do. If you're listening to this in the podcast be sure to leave us a review.
All of this is greatly appreciated helping to get the Wealth Hacker GFC Nation message out. All right, y'all, this is Jeff Rose reminding you as always it is your money, your life, and only you can make it awesome. Until then peace. (upbeat music playing)