Today is a new beginning for the Work At Home Academy and for me.
I am beginning a new journey.
But to explain this new journey, I must first look at where I started originally.
I have always been an entrepreneur at heart. I have a whole list of businesses experiences in my past. I waiver in my view of them. Sometimes I look at them and I see failure. But when I really think about it, they are really a whole series of valuable lessons. What works and what doesn’t work. What I like and what I don’t want to be part of my life and business. I have a whole lot of experiential wisdom from these business endeavors.
Would I have liked at least one of them to be successful enough to make it a primary income? Of course I would. But that is not what happened. And now I can look back on them with the wisdom and insight that can only come from having gone through the experience firsthand.
Each of my business ventures ran its own course. Some lasted longer than others. I built most of them part-time around a full-time job. Some I build on a full-time effort along a regular full-time job. While a couple of them I worked full-time because I had no job and needed an income.
Budding Web Designer
I began a company with a friend doing print graphic design and web design in 1998. We met while attending graphic design classes at the community college. I was a full-time student then.
Shortly after we met I took a full-time job building websites and marketing materials for a local company. My friend was still a full-time student, but had the time to work as well. After several conversations, we decided to start the business. Gilbert’s Graphics was born.
We got most of our work from a local printer and were soliciting web site work. I did several websites for free to gain experience and a portfolio.
Shortly after that I joined the Navy and my friend continued the business for a while.
Over the next several years I built websites for myself, friends, small businesses and churches. I enjoyed it. I never charged.
Out Of The Navy: In The Real World Now
After the Navy, I continued to work in the electronics industry. I was an electronics technician in the Navy.
Occasionally I would think about web design. But the technologies had evolved massively in the years since I began. And I hadn’t kept up. It was overwhelming to consider going back into it.
Then, I got the Work Online Bug. It was purely accidental.
I have always studied marketing. Again, it is in my blood. I am drawn to it.
I have been studying Dan Kennedy for a while. I would use what I learned in my various business activities.
I was looking to purchase his Magnetic Marketing course. I looked at his website and didn’t have the $400 to pay for the course. I checked on ebay.
I found an older version that was being sold for $70. I bought it. I consumed the contents when I got it.
The guy who sold it to me was a co-founder of the Internet Business Mastery Academy, even though at the time I didn’t know that.
I ran into Jeremy and Jay through their podcast. After a couple lessons it clicked.
Jeremy was the one who sold me the Dan Kennedy course on ebay. I was intrigued. He had made money online using ebay. I wanted to know more.
I continued to digest the content from Jay and Jeremy. I was hooked.
On my birthday in 2009 I decided to buy myself a membership to the Internet Business Mastery Academy. It was $100 a month. I didn’t have a lot of money.
I had just married my wife in February of 2009. It was tough telling her about this investment. But I wanted to be upfront with her. It was my birthday present to myself.
I poured through the Academy. I constantly listened to their training. I filled out their worksheets.
I was beginning a new journey into the online world. Things haven’t been the same since.
A New Journey In Life
I learned a lot from Jay and Jeremy. They opened my eyes to a whole new world of possibilities.
I learned about niches, wordpress, traffic, autoresponders, hosting, domains, monetization and business models.
It was a good start.
After a few months, the contract I was on ended and I was forced to quit the Internet Business Mastery Academy membership to save money. But I had been bitten. I could never go back.
Here were 2 guys that had at least 57 active members at the time I was enrolled.
57 x $100 / month = $57,000.00 per month!
Even if somehow my numbers were off and they were only making a third of that?
Even if their expenses were a $1000 per month. On the low end, that would leave them with a mere $7000+ per month. I think most of us could afford to live off of that.
I had to figure out how to do something similar to what they were doing.
I began my search.
Search For The Missing Membership Model
I came across MembershipAcademy.com.
David seemed like a very likeable and knowledgeable guy. His membership site that teaches you how to set up a membership site was only $20 per month. Much more in reach for me.
I signed up. I began learning. My eyes were opened even more.
Where the Internet Business Mastery Academy primarily focused on the concepts of Internet Business, The Membership Academy focused on the details, how-to and mechanics of setting up a profitable membership site.
I learned about and set up my first WordPress installations. I could do it manually or with Fantasico. I discovered so many different plugins.
The Academy Is Born
It was at that time that I began to build this site. TheWorkAtHomeAcademy.com was born.
My original intention for this site was to chronicle my experiences and eventually package what I had learned in a complete online education environment. Similar to what you would experience at a university.
I mapped out the site to have these areas:
a commons area where people could join in different conversations.
a bulletin board where people could look for work or post work needed.
A club area where people could form and join clubs.
Classrooms where people could actively join in practical hands on education about how to build a business that they could work from home.
Some of this was modeled after what Jay and Jeremy were doing. But I wanted to focus on the University metaphor and make it a real experience for people.
I built the site. I began mapping out how everything would fit together. I assembled the technologies. I created content. Then I ran out of time.
Building a site like this takes a lot of effort and time. I was willing to put in the effort but I ran out of time.
The Dream Is Dying – But Still Alive
I had to take a second job just to cover our living expenses at the time. My dreams of working online were looking pretty dark. They were still there, but I had no idea how I would make them work.
Over the next several years I built niche sites, took courses, bought so many things that promised that I would make money online. I was looking for answers. I was chasing after a shortcut. I was desperate to make it work. I needed it to work as soon as possible. I was running out of steam.
Well, the job market dried up over the last several years. I was working as an IT consultant doing help desk work. The work was decent when I could get it. But I had no degree or certifications. It was tough.
I was delivering pizza in the evenings and trying to find a job and build my business during the days.
I got an interview with a company to help the IT director with their inventories. During the interview they discovered that I also have experience with web design, graphics and marketing. They hired me. It was only $10 an hour but the hope that I might be able to prove myself and increase my pay. The operations manager, assured me that if I stuck with it, he was sure that the owner of the company would pay more.
I worked hard. Between the 40 hours a week at the day job, the pizza delivery job in the evenings and downsizing our house, we survived.
I built 2 websites for the company using WordPress as the core. It felt good to use my skills that I had learned.
After working there for 6 months, they gave me a pay raise. I was now making $12 per hour. Not the pay increase I had hoped for. Not what I needed to survive. Soon after I lost the delivery job. I needed to find other work.
I now had over 6 months current experience building websites for a company plus the year of experience before that. I updated my resume and posted it on Monster. I started getting calls.
I got my first contract working as a web developer making more than twice what I was making before. I took several more contracts. Each one with an increase in pay until I was over 3 times what I had made at the job that I worked at for those long 9 months.
I was now making good money. I could afford to relax some. But I was still working on contracts.
Several of the contracts I had were ended abruptly with no explanation. It’s quite a shock to have your income completely cut off with no notice.
I looked around at the employment landscape and saw that even people with full employee status weren’t secure any longer. The world has changed. Employee and contract worker are in the same boat. Neither one knows if they will have a paycheck with any degree of certainty.
I knew that a business that I owned with multiple streams of income was the only security of any substance. I job would never do. I knew that I needed to return to my dream. I had never fully abandoned my online business, but I had lost focus.
I could now afford to explore some options.
I had purchased my fair share of WSOs. My hard drive is full.
I had even tried many of the things that were taught in those trainings.
I even made a dollar in adsense income.
I had built several sites only to let them languish as I turned to the next thing.
I had knowledge and skills. I had an idea of what should work.
But I was without direction.
I came across Alex Goodall in my search for order. Alex is an expert in order. I was trying to organize all the great training, tools and content that I had accumulated on my hard drive. I quickly snatched up his IM Index Organizer.
As I was going through his training on how to use the organizer, I could see the value in what Alex knew. He introduces his full mentoring program in his materials.
I had considered various mentoring programs previously. But couldn’t justify it. Who do I follow?
Well, I liked Alex’s style. His systems and methods are so well thought out. I knew I needed to learn his methods of structure. I signed up for his mentoring program.
I was now on a focused path.
Building A Solid Foundation
These last 6 months have been a real change for me. I worked with Alex to choose a business model to follow.
I signed up for the BlogCuration.com course. I learned a lot from Harlan and Jim.
I built my first Curated site: SolarTechTrends.com
I did my research. I curated content.
After several months of doing this, I found that my heart just wasn’t in it. While the solar industry is interesting, I just couldn’t get excited about it. It was just work to me. Another job. Sure, I could continue to build it and I might even make it profitable. But at what opportunity cost?
On my Skype call with Alex, he called it my “trial choosing”. Words from The Internet Professionals Master Agenda training.
I began to really evaluate everything I had done. Alex directed me to define my niche. I bought a couple programs that really helped me to begin clarifying my niche. That really took me back to my IM beginnings with the Internet Business Mastery Academy. I remember the first time I heard them talk about niches. I began thinking deeply about what I really wanted to pour my energies into.
Then it hit me. I knew what I needed to do.
I have always loved music. I have a sincere passion about music. I particularly love dance music. I also have a strong faith that has grown over the last 20 years and I love modern Christian music.
I now knew where I must focus. But how?
I had already purchased and built a site around the domain RavingFish.com
I like the name. Raving: as in raving fans. Fish: as in the Christian symbol.
I began working on the site again. I updated WordPress, put my favorite theme on it and began evaluating the niche according to the methods I had studied about niche selection.
Came up with a whole list of the things that I could do with the site and a business surrounding it.
But I still haven’t built a fully functioning and profitable internet business.
About this same time, Alex introduced me to the Network Empire training. The training in Network Empire began to reshape and complete much of the training and experience I had up until this point. I could start to see how all the pieces could all fit together and how I could truly build my own empire.
How would I build my site about my passion? How would I make it profitable? Who was my audience? I needed to learn more. I needed to further refine, test and prove my methods for building my passion and business.
Then the structure came to me. I wrote it out. It is much too long to include here and now.
Building My Empire
What I came up with was a whole empire of my own. I mapped out my structure and put everything in its place. Each part of the empire is a part of me. Each part has its own place and importance and reasons for being there. Each component also has its own priorities.
At the core my map is this site. TheWorkAtHomeAcademy.com
This site and its intended purposes, will fulfill many things. At its very central function, it will allow me the freedom to explore, learn, chronicle and develop real working business methods and processes that can be duplicated. As I do this I will be journaling and sharing my experiences with you.
Back To The Journey – Back On Track
And so now we come back to my new journey. It really is the same journey that I started with this site from the beginning. The things I wanted to do before, will come. But first, I will be building on my experiences of the past and chronicling those experiences as I proceed.
I invite you to take the journey with me.
I will be sharing what I try, what I learn and the results I get.
New Friends And Inspiration
I recently met a guy named Steve Eason that has been part of this inspiration. I met Steve at a local group that I’m part of called Career Connections. We both have a lot of common interests.
Steve is taking a very similar journey. He is building his own site: www.IngeniousInternetIncome.com
Steve takes much of his inspiration from Pat Flynn at www.SmartPassiveIncome.com
Meeting and getting to know Steve has renewed my passion for chronicling my adventure in building an online business. I look forward to sharing my travels with you openly and honestly.
I hope that you enjoy this journey with me and that you can learn from my adventures and in the end that you can create your own adventure and successes.
Wow that felt good to finally write that. I have been meaning to write this all out for several weeks now since I first began the renewal and reshaping of what my business will be.
In a way I guess I might not have been ready before now.
The good thing I realized after I wrote read through this a second time is that I have now broken through a self-imposed barrier. Up until now, I’ve had all these great ideas for what I wanted to do, but didn’t know how to get started.
Well, now I have started. Action inspires more action. I’ve got some more that I want to write. I think I will do that now.