Hi All

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Just joined after being told about the community a few months back.

Started SEO in 2010, dabbled with some affiliate sites but then fell into the depths of agency life/quick money. Now, I need out of the agency game, bad.

Currently have a few sites on the go, all small time:
  • 1x established affiliate site doing around $1000 a month, which I want to grow to $5k.
  • 1x fresh affiliate/Amazon Associates site, generating nothing right now
  • 1x local rank and rent site, just getting off the ground now. Could be an interesting model to repeat on, but it is less passive than the affiliate only sites.
I'd really like to be in a position where I have say 3-5 sites doing around $5k per month, but I know it'll take time.

Here to learn a lot, and have my eyes opened to all of the opportunities I'm not seeing.

Thanks for having me
 

Ryuzaki

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Welcome aboard. We've had a good number of people wanting to bail from agencies lately in order to do their own thing. I keep saying that I think keeping that job until you replace the income is the ticket, because you'll have cashflow to immediately invest and scale time. You can't scale your own time, but you can buy other's time, which will help your site grow a lot faster than trying to bootstrap it (which is what I did on this last round, it's been a long ride).

What I'd consider is focusing on the established site with 80% of your time. It's already a proven concept and getting it to $5k a month would impact your life far more and be easier than the harder work of getting the fresh sites to $1k a month.
 
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I definitely agree. I was in a place recently where jumping ship to start my own web/seo agency sounded like a great idea compared to my current workload. I'm a full time student (summer school right now) in addition to my position as the business process/systems analyst at an SEO SaaS company, and have recently been working a side job too for some extra income. I initially wanted to hone my web development skills through building everything myself, but the advice from @Ryuzaki to use my limited time to manage my projects, rather than own every piece of them, struck home.

I know more than enough to be dangerous, but I can use my experience to lay solid groundwork via outsourcing to the right people for the right price. Not to mention the networking/consistent income/etc. that comes with a regular paycheck, benefits and everything else.

It's like the difference between working on cars in your garage for fun, and starting a serious auto shop business and investing in your own knowledge and ability to lead and manage. But of course, staying as involved as possible with every piece and building for scalability are key.

I know that feeling of needing to get out badly. I had to take some time off recently to attempt to rebalance my work/school/life balance, and it's going OK so far. But if you can float for awhile and your sanity depends on it, only you know if it is the right call.

I would also add a grain of salt, and everyone's experience is different.
 
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Thanks @Ryuzaki and @Saleasy. I'm in no rush to get out - but I have a strong drive to get out. I had my f-this event late last year and it really took a while to work out where to focus. I've told myself by end of 2019 is the time I'll make the switch (if not sooner)

But in the mean time I've switched a few small clients for 1 decent sized client who takes around 25% of my time, and that is plenty to live from.

Ryuzaki, I note your suggestion to grow the cashflowing site first. Currently it's a high maintenance site that converts well but if there was a scenario where I couldn't work on it for 2 months, the income would dip. I want to change this business model a little and make it more evergreen. This should increase income in the process.

My rank and rent site is kind of "divisional" - no one rents the entire site, but instead portions. All going well, the whole site should end up rented by November.
 
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Update:

Rank and Rent

So far, my rank and rent site is the most lucrative, but we'll see how long that lasts. For December, it will earn around $1350. All going well in January this will be closer to $2000 with 4 businesses overall sharing different sections of the site. I have a suspicion that one will pull out though.

It's clear to me that generating leads for other businesses is not as easy as it seems. I can't guarantee leads, some leads will be timewasters, some businesses have terrible sales follow up, etc. Long term I do believe these businesses will get good value out of the agreement, but not all business owners understand that.

I can see that these types of sites can be very easy to maintain but in order to pull that off I'm thinking the value proposition needs to be so good the business can't say no. That may mean keeping "rental" prices the same and growing the site/number of leads, or dropping my price.

Affiliate Site #1

See this thread

Affiliate Site #2

I trialled some writing services for this site as I want to grow the amount of content on it quickly. I couldn't find any agencies that could manage it (it's technical content, you need to know it).

I've now found a writer who will do it for 5c per word. I'm working on getting them into an SEO/internet article format, and they're getting close.

Black Friday/Cyber Monday saw this site earn around $100 in commissions. It's a long way from where I want it to be, but is definitely some promise in the niche. Rankings are all over the place (seems to be the norm for many people right now), but the site is about to hit around 2000 users per month.

I think this website is going to be in the red for another year or so, but when it takes off it will be amazing. The market is huge and few people are building affiliate sites on this topic, probably because it's difficult to write on, and there are few affiliate programs.

My vague plan is to turn it into a dropshipping site once it's very established, or contact vendors to see if they'll setup affiliate programs for me.

Right now, all of the articles that we're writing are "best X for Y". I don't know if Google will hate on me for this. I'll be creating a user generated content form to encourage people to share their content as a different post type, but mingling that on the home page with the money content.

If they share their specs, I'll try and set up a system where we write 250 words or so talking about their setup, so it's almost like a featured editorial. Theory being this will help to get social shares as in my experience people are very proud of their shit.

How successful this will be I'm not sure.

Overall this site is one I'd like to get on autopilot ASAP. If I can get regular content posted, I'll ignore it then double back in a year's time.

Affiliate Site #3

A deal came up to buy a site that had just been hit by the August Google updates. I made a low offer as it was really uncertain what the future holds for this site, and as it turns out that was a good decision.

It's not earning much, but right now is about $400 a month when I'm ignoring it.

There's a lot wrong with it - which to me is promising. While in a completely different niche to Affiliate Site #1, it's monetized in the same way and gets traffic in the same way. My plan is to use the exact same theme layout/structure/system to manage it, just the branding will be different.

Conundrums

Right now I'm torn. Affiliate Sites #1 and #3 probably should be my focus, but I can't help and feel the Rank and Rent style of business may be a better model/easier to scale.

I am ready to make this (websites I own/operate) my sole income source, but don't really know which path to take yet.

I think I've also been thinking too small. More, smaller websites seems easier/faster than fewer, high earning sites. But from a maintenance point of view, I know 1-3 sites all earning a lot is much easier than 20+!

There is still a lot to work out, but I am making (slow) progress.