So, I’ve been working for myself for a few months, I’ve started this website to hold myself accountable and be transparent about everything I’m doing online, and I think I’ll explain everything in this post — where I am in my process, what I’ve done so far, and what I want to do.
The first few weeks working for myself
As you may or may not know, Friday, April 10th was my last day of full time employment at the music publisher. I took the weekend off, our friends and family threw Meag and me an engagement party, and then I jumped right into working for myself and being a full time entrepreneur on Monday. That first day was great! I woke up with Walter at our pretty normal time, went for a nice long walk (instead of feeling rushed and needing to get ready to go to work), and then I hopped on my bike after feeding him breakfast. You see, one of my biggest personal goals with being my own boss was to get back into cycling and fitness. That first week, I rode every single day and it was fantastic being back out in the open air and getting some exercise.
Also during that first week, I started rehearsals for It’s a Bird … It’s a Plane … It’s Superman! with San Diego Junior Theatre. It was nice to have a little bit of structure to my week with those rehearsals to not feel completely lost about what to do. It gave me a point in my day at which I couldn’t work on the computer any longer, which I quickly realized had two great benefits:
- It put a cap on the entrepreneur-work for the day, forcing me to be productive during the time that I had.
- It forced me to stop working on the web business stuff and take a break. Granted it wasn’t an actual break as I was going into a rehearsal, but it was a break from working on the computer and thinking about my business. As anybody who works for themselves will tell you, it is crucial to take breaks and be away from the work.
So, this first week was a lot of housecleaning and life maintenance, getting ready to really work from home. I got my work space set up, I started testing a new to-do list program (Todoist is great, but I’ve actually pretty much stopped using it and switched almost completely to the Bullet Journal), and I read, read, and read. Over time, I had accumulated a pretty hefty backlog of emails and bookmarked articles about a bunch of stuff: being an entrepreneur, affiliate sites, SEO, email marketing … the list goes on. I spent a lot of time researching that week.
At the end of my first week and into the second, I started fleshing out my very first affiliate site. I had actually built the site about a month prior to leaving the full-time gig, but — now that I was actually, finally doing this and working for myself — got back on it and found the time to give it a little love and a little more content. I think this site still needs some work and it hasn’t made any money yet, but there is some potential there.
A brief overview of the site
My first affiliate site is called myalphareview.com and it’s a review site for Alpha Brain by Onnit Labs. I was diagnosed with ADD when I was 17 and took Adderall until I was 25. I really hated the way it made me feel and I didn’t want to take it forever, so I found this Adderall alternative that was a game-changer. I’m a huge, huge proponent of Alpha Brain and everything I wrote on myalphareview.com is absolutely true. The hard part about it, though, is that it feels a little forced. I’m planning to overhaul the site with some images and more content and hopefully make it feel more natural. Yes, it’s an affiliate site with which I’m trying to make money, but I also want to provide real value with everything I do. I’m not in this to be scammy.
All of that being said, over the last few months, I’m starting to see that affiliate sites may not be the way I want to go. I think they will definitely be a part of what I do, but I don’t plan on them being my bread and butter the way I did when I was dreaming up and planning this life for myself.
A few weeks into working for myself, I received an email offer from Stuart Walker at NicheHacks.com (one of the many online marketing gurus/persons I subscribe to). He was promoting a course called The Internet Marketing System by Ken Spano. I read the sales page, I did a little research, and I was hooked. I bought the system for a good price and started working on it right away.
The Internet Marketing System
The Internet Marketing System, or TIMS for short, is an online course and community developed and led by Ken Spano that teaches you how to come up with, build, and sell a product/have an online business. The whole thing is about being automated, making it sustainable, and having everything run in your backend. What I mean by that is that once you’ve built the system, it can pretty much run on autopilot and keep generating an income for you. While TIMS is definitely focused on making an online business, the process can really be used to build any business.
TIMS is broken up into six modules with the idea that each one takes one week. I’m a little ashamed to admit that it has taken me much longer than six weeks, and I’m actually still working my way through it. For one thing, there are some modules that, even if I were treating it like a full time job (which I have done and still do sometimes) and spending a serious 8 hours a day on this thing, I feel just could NOT be finished in a week. Some of the modules (the small ones within the “weeks”) take a couple minutes, but there are others that I’ve spent an entire day on.
There are a couple other reasons why this has taken me longer than the “6 weeks” that it is built upon. One, shortly after I started TIMS was when I started rehearsals for Everybody’s Talkin’. We had a pretty gnarly rehearsal schedule for the first couple weeks of that show, plus there was a lot of practicing I had to do for it. I was stressing about this for a little bit, but after talking with a good friend, I decided to wholly dedicate myself to the show until it opened and not really worry about anything else. You see, I had been looking forward to that show for so long and it was going to pass me by in an instant if I didn’t sit back and smell the roses, as it were.
Another reason for TIMS taking me so long is that, as I’m sure you’ll notice, I like to work on a lot of things at once. For example: this website. While July was incredibly, incredibly productive and inspiring for me working on TIMS, I started to get a little bogged down and sidetracked at the beginning of August. Even with the community and the support inside the program, I was still feeling like I needed something to hold me accountable and to see something tangible to feel productive. I know that good things take time and are worth waiting for, but I needed to do something that I could actually see and share with people (instant gratification much? Hello, millenial brain!). That’s when I decided to finally pursue this idea, pjbovee.com, that I had brainstormed back before I left my day job and started working for myself.
I really shouldn’t feel too badly about taking long in the TIMS program. Yes, it was designed to be a 6-week deal, but Ken also explains that you can take as long as you want or need on it. I haven’t given up on it, and I’m still chipping away while I work on this site. I’ll be getting back into it harder soon, and I’ll explain more about it and the product I’m working on in due time.
Coming up into last week…
I’ve been reading and researching this other online marketer, Alex Jeffreys. He’s another cat who seems like the real deal. I bought one of his products, called the Super Product, and plan to start going through that this week. I also watched a webinar of his and filled out an application to possibly be mentored by him. I’m not sure how far I’ll go with this yet, but I am supposed to have a phone call soon to discuss possibilities, so I’ll see how that goes, at least. I’m also not sure how much I’m willing to spend if he does have an interest in mentoring me, but I’ll have to do some thinking about that if it even does become a possibility.
Speaking of money, I get anxious sometimes about how much money I’m spending/willing to spend when it comes to my new career/business. In all honesty, I really haven’t spent much so far in the grand scheme of things, but I just hate spending money in general. Thinking this over and talking about this with my fiancé, however, I’m starting to look at it as if it were a “real” business. What I mean by that is that if I were going out to start a restaurant, I would need to get a huge loan for some major startup capital. I don’t plan on spending anywhere near what it would take to start that kind of brick and mortar business, but it is acceptable and expected that I’ll need to spend some money to get this stuff off the ground. What I’m also realizing and learning is that a lot of (possibly all) people in the internet game spent a lot, a lot of money trying to learn this stuff before it finally clicked. I’m currently justifying this with that same reason — I’m spending a little money working for myself on different products, learning everything I can from everyone and everything I can find, and I know it’s going to click eventually and everything will be fine. I know it’s going to click; it has to click. I want so badly to build this life for myself, my fiancé, and our current and future family, so I’m going to freaking do it. End of story.
One last, little thought
Maybe I should have built this site first thing after becoming a full-time entrepreneur so I could have documented everything as it happened. I’m doing my best to not regret anything, though, so — for now — I suppose I’m doing/will be doing a lot of backtracking. As more things come to me about my experiences over the past few months, I’ll share them, and I’ll definitely share all the new thoughts, experiences, and ideas as they come up.
Thank you so much for reading, and let me know in the comments if you’ve found yourself at a similar stage.