Introduction & Asking For Advice (Business & Life)

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Hey guys, I'm Luke.

I've been using this forum for a while now but have yet to post, so here goes...

I've just turned 27 and am based in the UK. I've been in the space for around 4-5 years now with multiple failures but more recently a couple of successful sites.

I made my first site exit at the beginning of the year with a five-figure sale that I mostly used to pay off debt from my younger years being irresponsible.

I'm in a bit of a predicament, so I thought I'd take this opportunity to be my first post on BuilderSociety.

Despite being 27 (feeling old), I'm still living at home with my parents. I've only just managed to clear myself out of debt fully, but because of this, my credit rating is shot to bits.

This means moving out and renting my own place is tricky, in the UK anyway, especially given that my monthly income from my portfolio is nowhere near high enough to move out.

I work part-time to bring in some money to survive (around 800/m) whilst I work on my sites on the weekends and two of the weekdays.

I have very little expenses as I paid pretty much everything off when I sold my site at the beginning of the year, roughly 100/m expenses.

The home I live in is cramped, small, and less than ideal for a 27-year-old man trying to build his business. It's in a rough area of the UK, surrounded by negative people, as well as drugs/alcohol.

My current portfolio looks like the below;

- Site 1 = $85/m (just over a year old - sitting marinating)
- Site 2 = $15/m (6 months old, but heavily front-loaded with content)
- Site 3 = not monetized just yet

I'm confident I can get there but I think it's the patience that's getting to me. This is amplified by being in the house I'm in and the area.

I am at my wit's end, struggling to cope with living here and feeling like I'm in a rut. I've doubled down so much on these sites over the last 6-months, especially site 2.

Writing 3-5 articles per day, and really pushing to hopefully get my monthly income from my portfolio up to a point where I can move as fast as humanly possible.

However, as the site is still young, I don't anticipate my sites bringing me in the $2000 or so I would need to move out of here in the UK anytime soon, which is really stressing me out.

The thought of staying here even more than a few months is crippling. Every day is a grind and it's really taking its toll.

The gym is the only thing that keeps me sane. I lift heavy iron every day and eat as clean as possible, helping me blow off the steam, but I feel I'm at breaking point and need to act now.

One option is to potentially sell Site 1, and even though I would only receive a few thousand $ - move to somewhere like Bali temporarily whilst I was for Site 2 and Site 3 to really start catching up.

I'm wondering if anyone has even been in a similar position, and if so, how would you go about getting your portfolio of sites up to full-time income as quickly as possible?

At the moment I'm pouring all of my earnings from my jobs and sites into link-building to try and push things forward.

Any advice is appreciated, and my apologies for the heavy introduction thread.
 

Ryuzaki

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We've had a lot of members in your predicament, and some still are. Hell, I lived on Taco Bell and ramen noodles and Little Caesars for a looong time. We've had guys go from living in their day job's broom closet (not kidding) and sleeping in their cars to making more money than most of us have thought was possible, in a short amount of time. Sometimes, you just gotta pay your dues.

I'll tell you this though. The eagerness to be completely independent is good, but taking that dive too soon can really make things worse. You think it's stressful now? Wait till you don't have the time or energy to work on your business because you have to work a full time day job to pay the rent, internet, cell phone, utilities, etc. And your brain is too zapped to be real efficient after you get home. And now you see no end in sight because you can't devote enough time or money to get the biz growing.

It's my opinion, and one that can be wrong if the gamble goes well, that selling off any of your income-producing assets in order to get more money on hand is moving backwards. It's not just kicking the can down the road and delaying your freedom, it's actively moving backwards.

I couldn't live with my parents, so I'm speaking from inexperience there. But I definitely was the guy that had to work the day job while getting all this going and it was rough. You're in a position where someone has let you reduce your expenses to $100 per month. I'm speaking in terms of a low cost of living state in the US, but even people renting with roommates are going to have $3,000 in expenses per month, and even much higher at this particular point in time.

I wouldn't take it for granted that you're basically living for free at the moment. It's a good position to be in in order to shovel coal into the furnace that's your business.

If this, even hesitatingly, is agreeing with you, I'd consider shifting some of the link budget towards a content budget at this point, if not all of it. Assuming you're doing good keyword research and on-page optimization, it might be better use of your cash for the time being?

How much content would you say is on each site? And what are the DR scores for each? How are they being monetized? What's the monthly traffic looking like on each one?

Hang in there, when things take off in the algorithm they tend to take off much faster than anticipated. You may not be too far off from your goal, assuming you're not doing anything catastrophically wrong.
 

bernard

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I can't comment on the actual websites, but like @Ryuzaki I agree that selling assets is not the best idea, I sold my site for something like yours and I regret it, though I could sell my current sites for more.

Also, as Ryu also said, if you're living rent free, dude, get to work. You need to hustle 14 hour days.

Then again, living with your parents might drive you insane, literally. Move out, somewhere cheap, which I know is difficult in London and probably a few other UK cities, but make it work. You don't need much at all, you just need to be central because you're young and a bed and a desk. Share a flat, rent a room.

I will also recommend what I always do, which is get a job with an online marketing firm to pay your expenses, make friends and learn a lot of lessons.

Believe you me, they'll be absolutely stoked to hire you. Having sold a web asset at your age and knowing all that goes into that is waaaay ahead of your average graduate looking for their first or second job. You're a talent bro! But hurry up, because once you turn 30, you're no longer a talent, now you're a loser. Telling you from experience bro.

So that's the plan:

1. Move into the city, as small as needed, to be "central" so you can have fun on the cheap without splurging on cabs

2. Keep lifting, always keep lifting

3. Get a part-time job at an agency and learn the ropes and learn what you don't know

4. Work 14 hour days in the weekdays splitting time between your projects and your job, lift/run 1 hour a day, then party on the weekends, work 14 hours on Sunday.

5. Wait 1 year, see how much of a baller you are if you haven't succumbed to stress
 
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We've had a lot of members in your predicament, and some still are. Hell, I lived on Taco Bell and ramen noodles and Little Caesars for a looong time. We've had guys go from living in their day job's broom closet (not kidding) and sleeping in their cars to making more money than most of us have thought was possible, in a short amount of time. Sometimes, you just gotta pay your dues.

I'll tell you this though. The eagerness to be completely independent is good, but taking that dive too soon can really make things worse. You think it's stressful now? Wait till you don't have the time or energy to work on your business because you have to work a full time day job to pay the rent, internet, cell phone, utilities, etc. And your brain is too zapped to be real efficient after you get home. And now you see no end in sight because you can't devote enough time or money to get the biz growing.

It's my opinion, and one that can be wrong if the gamble goes well, that selling off any of your income-producing assets in order to get more money on hand is moving backwards. It's not just kicking the can down the road and delaying your freedom, it's actively moving backwards.

I couldn't live with my parents, so I'm speaking from inexperience there. But I definitely was the guy that had to work the day job while getting all this going and it was rough. You're in a position where someone has let you reduce your expenses to $100 per month. I'm speaking in terms of a low cost of living state in the US, but even people renting with roommates are going to have $3,000 in expenses per month, and even much higher at this particular point in time.

I wouldn't take it for granted that you're basically living for free at the moment. It's a good position to be in in order to shovel coal into the furnace that's your business.

If this, even hesitatingly, is agreeing with you, I'd consider shifting some of the link budget towards a content budget at this point, if not all of it. Assuming you're doing good keyword research and on-page optimization, it might be better use of your cash for the time being?

How much content would you say is on each site? And what are the DR scores for each? How are they being monetized? What's the monthly traffic looking like on each one?

Hang in there, when things take off in the algorithm they tend to take off much faster than anticipated. You may not be too far off from your goal, assuming you're not doing anything catastrophically wrong.
Thanks a lot for your reply, it really has helped put things into perspective and I'm glad I'm not the only one that is going through this.

I think you're right with regards to making the move too early and then being in a sink or swim situation when it comes to utilities, bills, etc. I certainly wouldn't want to get myself back in a debt situation.

I definitely am appreciative of the fact that I'm essentially living free, but I'm also incredibly keen to get my sites to the level they need to be at to jump ship.

I don't think I'm going to sell Site 1 based on what you've said, as I do feel that selling my previous site has quite literally put me back and now I'm in the rebuild phase.

Content-wise:
Site 1 has around 100 posts and a DA of around 10.
Site 2 has 226 posts, all well-written and also around 10 DA. It's literally just turned 6-months old and is starting to show good signs. I'm hoping it's ready to explode any day now as it comes out of the sandbox, but I do feel I need to build some links as I've not done any active link building yet.
Site 3 has around 30 posts about a 5 DA and is still in the sandbox marinating. This niche is great I just think this site needs more content and links and it can be a good earner.

In the meantime, I think I'm going to start looking for a part-time marketing job. As @bernard mentioned I feel I could walk into a marketing job quite easily and earn more than I'm earning with my friend.

My friend is just a startup and I'm just doing general customer service work to help him out, yes I do enjoy it but it's less than a minimum-wage job which is taking 3 full days of my time.

Do you think my money is best spent on links for Site 2 to really push it out of the Sandbox and get it going, or would you stick with content and keep building?

Thanks again for your detailed response, it's good to know there are people here who actually understand what it's like trying to get these sites up and off the ground whilst still living life.
 

Sutra

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get these sites up and off the ground whilst still living life.

If you want to make a lot of money stop “living” life. Work is life and that is living. That is you at your best, distilled down to your essence. You must sacrifice everything. Your family, your friends, your “self”. Everything. There is no balance. At every new level you will have to drop more of “you” and more of what you consider important, and who you consider important, in order to reach the next level.

You will come out the other end transformed. You will be shunned, resented, and utterly alone. And it will be worth it. So completely worth it.

If you want it, go get it.
 

Ryuzaki

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Do you think my money is best spent on links for Site 2 to really push it out of the Sandbox and get it going, or would you stick with content and keep building?
After seeing the amount of content on the site and the DA score, I'd suspect you could benefit from some links for sure. But that's not going to get you through the sandbox. The only thing that does that is time. But in the same way you've preloaded a lot of content (hell of a good job, too) that you could preload links so when the site does pop it can pop much harder.

But yeah, if you're pumping 5 posts a day on it, that's probably plenty for now. I'd just make sure you're going after keywords you have a realistic chance of ranking for (in terms of your DR / DA score). Better to have sure fire wins once things pop off than 500 posts all ranking in position 12 and getting you zero traffic.
 

illmasterj

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It's my opinion, and one that can be wrong if the gamble goes well, that selling off any of your income-producing assets in order to get more money on hand is moving backwards. It's not just kicking the can down the road and delaying your freedom, it's actively moving backwards.
Hey Ryu, how do you manage your risk here? The general rhetoric of the community is only work on one site, but we all know that Google can put an end to a site with little rhyme or reason. I've always had multiple sites on the go at once, which I can certainly see has hurt my success, but it's also helped me to sleep at night.

Do you build your sites to they would be just fine without any Google traffic? Or is it just a risk you'd be willing to take (1 site bank rolling your life and praying the Google gods don't screw you).

If I was guiding someone younger these days, I'd think more down the road of:
  1. Build site 1 to $10k per month or more, then,
  2. Put site 1 into maintenance mode, halving the content you're publishing, then
  3. Investing any left over revenue from site 1 into site 2
  4. When site 2 reaches $10k per month, sell site 1
If the OP can cash out for a guaranteed 5 years or more of living expenses (depends on location), this seems to be a good move to me.
 

Ryuzaki

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Hey Ryu, how do you manage your risk here? The general rhetoric of the community is only work on one site, but we all know that Google can put an end to a site with little rhyme or reason. I've always had multiple sites on the go at once, which I can certainly see has hurt my success, but it's also helped me to sleep at night.

Do you build your sites to they would be just fine without any Google traffic? Or is it just a risk you'd be willing to take (1 site bank rolling your life and praying the Google gods don't screw you).

If I was guiding someone younger these days, I'd think more down the road of:
  1. Build site 1 to $10k per month or more, then,
  2. Put site 1 into maintenance mode, halving the content you're publishing, then
  3. Investing any left over revenue from site 1 into site 2
  4. When site 2 reaches $10k per month, sell site 1
If the OP can cash out for a guaranteed 5 years or more of living expenses (depends on location), this seems to be a good move to me.
I realized I kind of misspoke. I was specifically talking about the context of @LukeC's post, where he really doesn't have any risk yet. Selling off cash flow before you have meaningful cash flow doesn't really get you anywhere. And selling off your only cash flow, I think, is bad too, which is what you're getting at.

I don't think Google really axes a site that's not doing anything wrong. This current update, I feel, is likely a big mistake they need to fix.

But I do know they're trying to watch what they index and keep in the index. I've seen them shedding indexation from certain sites in the past year, and my theory was that they don't want to index all this AI content coming online. Could they be extending this to newer, untrusted, low authority sites, too? Maybe, but it's more likely sites that should be indexed are getting caught in the crosshairs as they figure out how to get it right. Sites that are disappearing right now, tend to be the whole site for the most part, which is not the pattern I've been seeing. But I digress.

I don't build sites that are independent of Google traffic. My sites rely on Google rankings. Your 4 step plan is pretty much to a T exactly what I did recently. I just sold a site around that profit mark only after I built a second one to that point. The key, as you point out, is that not only was the sold site not my only cash flow, but I'd replaced it first, and I have several more projects earning that much or more. I'm not sitting on one stream of income, but many.

There is a time to cash out, in my opinion, but not when a site is making under $85 a month and hasn't gotten out of the sandbox yet. All you do is lose another year and investment money starting up the next thing. A site making $85 can make $1,000 pretty easily. Same goes for site 2. Both are desitined to "pop".

When you're essentially earning nothing, there's not only not any risk, but there's no diversity and nothing to be afraid of yet. It's simply not time to sell, but to get back to work. Things that are NOT helpful, I think, include:
  • Selling tiny cash flow for a tiny lump sum that can't impact your life or other projects in a meaningful way
  • Trying to reduce your expenses, which are already only $100 a month across your entire life
  • Increasing your expenses by willingly giving up the $100 a month expense lifestyle, especially by moving to some foreign country where you'll be isolated and possibly get stuck (like the classic starving artists in NYC or Nashville or Los Angeles serving everyone coffee because they can't afford to get back home and can't afford to succeed there either)
  • Selling projects before the universally understood sandbox is up because you're tired of paying your dues
  • Selling projects before they pop at all, in any fashion, and starting over with nothing to show for it
You mentioned cashing out for 5 years of living expenses. That's exactly what he doesn't want to do. He doesn't want to live with his parents any more, and definitely not for 5 years more. He's not going to live for $100 a month anywhere else, so that's the only way 5 years doesn't become 1 month on his own. $3,000 doesn't get you anywhere out in the real world. It might get you a decent domain to start over with and pay for the first few months of hosting.

His site #2, if the keyword research is good and the content is good, that's earning $15 per month at month 6... I'd give him $3k for that right now if it passed my sniff test. Because it has 225 posts on it. By the end of year 1, one of my most recent sites was earning $1k a month at that level of content, and $5k per month just under 2 years, and $10k per month by around 2.5 years. Selling it now would be insane. Buying it now is a no brainer if it's good.

This thread is really about letting a lack of patience sabotage your time tables.

SEO has a very predictable time table that Google built in specifically to get people (spammers mainly) to give up too early. The patient end up with cash cows. The impatient end up starting over, over and over, until they exit the industry. One of our rising stars did this exact same thing. Sold his first project, bought a toy with it, tried to sell the toy and lost it to theft, and now had no money and no site. I've seen it many times, but I hesitate to keep telling stories because these people still read the forum. But they know what I'm saying. The pattern is selling your first winning project before it's really won, squandering the money, and being at ground zero, and then essentially giving up.

I'm rambling. I agree with what you posted entirely. It just doesn't match up to what the OP is talking about. The only thing I'd change is that if you sell site 1 at $10k, then you shouldn't sell site 2 till $20k or much higher, etc. You should level up each time since you're learning more as you go.