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Friday, May 30, 2008

Don't Put All Your Eggs In One Basket

Diversification is the key to long term success in working for yourself from home. I believe that. Have I done it? Some, but not to the extent that I would like to.

At the moment, my primary source of income is writing search engine results pages (aka SeRPs) for a human powered search engine. It pays well for online work, but it still just a freelance contract. So what does that mean? It can go away at any time, for any reason. That is something I don't want to be worrying about every month.

Diversification means spreading out my talents among many services. Ultimately, diversification for me means developing multiple streams of passive income, so that I'm not spending every waking moment trading my time for dollars. I know that I have to work, but it would be nice if work wasn't an all-consuming force in my life.

Bottom line is just like the old saying goes: dont' put all your eggs in one basket. If that basket breaks, you lose everything you've worked for. Want a case study? Here's a case-in-point for you ...

Over the past two years, I've really read up on blogging and earning money from blogs via various advertising models such as Google Adsense, Text Link Ads, banner ads, block ads and even Pay Per Post. So what did I discover? All of those things pay, but only a few are what I call "hands off" passive income. Adsense was one of those, of course. On another blog that I have since abandoned, I documented for several months the sources of my online income, the amounts, etc.

One thing I realized was that Adsense was a consistent performer, with no extra work on my part. I would post on some of the blogs, but nothing really overwhelming or a schedule killer. Month after month, Adsense continued to perform and even increase slightly each month, as my blogs and websites experienced more traffic. All was as it should be.

Now don't get me wrong. I wasn't making a ton of money on Adsense. The first year, I got one check from Google for $100. The next six months I qualified for another one. I was on schedule to get another one in a month or two. That's when the basket dropped. I got a nice little email from Google one day saying that my Adsense account was suspended, and that I was welcome to file an appeal, but no further action was required by me, or them. The reason they gave? Well, that wasn't really clear, but it was "possible click fraud". Okay. Wait just a minute.

I'm a white hat kinda guy. I'm trying to put together real content for real people. What happens? I get the Google slap! I know all kinds of guys out there selling black hat SEO stuff, and making a killing off of Adsense. I get the best month ever of traffic to my various blogs and websites, and boom! Google shuts down my most consistent source of passive income. Of course, I filed an appeal, but never heard back from them. I re-read their TOS for the program, and realized they reserve the right to cancel anyone for any reason whatsoever, without explanation. Wow. Nice.

Moral of the story: Get many baskets to put your eggs in!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Work At Home Dad Commercial

OK, most of you have probably already seen this commercial. Keep in mind that we don't have basic cable, and we lost our Christian satellite system at the end of March, when SkyAngel went out of business. So here for your viewing pleasure is the fantasy of the work at home dad.

When school is out in a few weeks, I'll shoot a video and show you what it's really like, 'cause this ain't it.

Check It Out: New Blogroll

OK, so before I had a list of "resources" ... whatever that meant.

I went on a search this evening for the elusive WAHD. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that's right ... in search of the work-at-home dad! It's fairly easy to find a nice list of SAHDs (stay-at-home dads), but finding the group that stays there AND manages to work there, all the while being a dad no less, is very tough!

I assure you that I am qualified to do this type of research. I've been online for over 10 years. I've used search engines that pre-dated Google! Of course, they are all gone now, but that's beside the point. Even now, I'm a freelance writer and I provide SeRPs (search engine results pages) for the best human-driven search engine online. However, when it comes to the WAHD, I believe it's an endangered species!

Anyway, my hunting tonight pulled up some new blogs. Now before you go tearing me up, I already know that some of these are not WAHDs, but rather SAHDs. That's okay too ... I picked them because they are witty. So there you have it ... a new blogroll of the blogs that yours truly will be checking out over the next few weeks. Care to join me?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Hard To Find Good Help

Have you ever noticed when you're working from home how hard it can be to find good help for special projects?

Well, we moved my desk into our bedroom so I would have a more secluded office from the rest of the house, but the fax machine stays up front with my wife's computer setup. Yesterday I had an incoming fax and didn't give it a second thought. I IM'd my wife, who set it up and got the fax off of the machine for me. Then she did something different ... she sent a special helper to bring it to me.

Now imagine having this little person as your courier each day ... this just makes it all worthwhile, no doubt about it! What do you think?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Office With A View

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have an office with a view? No, I'm not talking about the corporate high-rise view from the 50th floor overlooking the concrete jungle! I'm talking about a home office with a view that is tranquil and awe inspiring. Working from home should provide something like that, don't you think? I was thinking about that as I realized that my home office view is quite nice actually. So, I thought I would share it with you. Here is the view from my "office":

Now isn't that nice? If you take a few minutes to listen ... you can actually hear the birds singing throughout the day. It is very inspirational and peaceful ... compared to the concrete jungle! :-)

Monday, May 19, 2008


I never realized how hard it would be to be a father. I always wanted to be one, partly because of the fact I didn't have one growing up. But I can tell you now that being a good father in the 21st century is very difficult.

I want so many things for my family, and I want to provide so many things for my family through financial means. I don't want to rely on others for my income and survival. But everything takes time. Time spent every day working so I can pay the bills, time spent every day attempting to develop some passive/residual income streams so that I don't have to spend so much time working. Personal space and personal time also comes into play. Marriage is another thing that takes time. Then there is personal time with my children. Lest I forget (and let's be honest, I forget a lot!), there is also a need for spiritual time - daily time in devotion or study of God's word.

So how am I supposed to fit all of these activities into a 24 hour day? I'm supposed to sleep too, but sometimes that comes in limited quantities. I used to survive on 4 to 6 hours of sleep because I was partying all the time. Now I survive on 4 to 6 hours of sleep because I am always working on another project, another job, another website, etc. So where does it all end?

I simply don't know how to balance all of these things in my life. Fatherhood, after 7 years, is still a mystery to me. Slowly, I feel that I am losing my influence over my children. Is there any way to get it back? I don't know, but I'm sure going to try ...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I Have A Dream

Have you ever had a dream in your life? Something that you wanted to accomplish so bad that you could almost taste it? Well, I have ...

Over the years I've had three things that I have dreamed about that I have wanted with all of my heart. The first one has come true for me - I'm working from home for myself! However, as you have read on this blog, that has been a mixed bag of results. While I am technically self employed, and I am working at home, I still have to maintain regular hours and pretty much feel like I am still working for 'the man', only from home instead of at his office.

So how about those other two things? Well, here's what my other two dreams are ...

1. To be able to generate residual income, or some kind of semi-passive income, online. This would enable me to continue to work from any location that can access the Internet, as well as allow me even greater flexibility in my time. I would love to be "semi-retired" by the time I am 40 (I am 37 now).

2. I want to be self-sufficient. What I mean by this is that I want to have solar power, my own water source, grow the majority (if not all) of my own food, etc. I don't just want to go "green" because I want to save the planet ... I want to be prepared in the event of a complete economic meltdown (which I feel is coming).

So what do you dream about, and what steps are you taking to achieve your dreams? In my next post, I will share some of my thoughts on making it happen.