Hi my name is Lis Sowerbutts and yes its my real name! (Blame my father – its an obscure name from Lancashire reflecting that there has never really been any money in the bloodline!)
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The Back Story!
Born back in the 1960’s in the UK, but grew up in New Zealand and travelled and lived in Papua New Guinea, Australia, Canada – currently back in New Zealand – but will be moving soon if global warming doesn’t improve the weather ASAP!
Education: some. BSc(Hons) in Geology qualifications in Information Technology, Real Estate and Business
Worked full time from 1984 to 2007 – except when I was travelling full-time – but that’s another website. I have been a geologist, a GIS consultant, a System Support Manager, a Business Analyst and a Test Manager.
Internet Marketing and I
I came to the Internet with the usual high expectations. I’d quit a professional job which I had grown bored and burned-out with. I knew computers, so how hard could it be to make money on-line? I used the Internet ever day – I was smart and computer literate – I should be able to replace my corporate income in a few months surely?
I came very, very close to walking away from the Internet as a business making proposition. I became quite disgusted by the amount of incorrect, self-serving and flat out wrong information being sold to the beginner. The whole “make money on-line” industry appeared to be a con, preying on the next hopeful Mom, student, or recently retrenched person desperately looking to make money on-line. Instead these people often spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars chasing the each an every “Sure Fire Way To Make $10,000 While You Sleep!”. The only people making money appeared to be the ones flogging the courses (and their affiliates).
I thought that it would take me a few months to start making a thousand or two a week. Instead I found con after con which involved charging people for information that they could get for free on the Internet – and which, quite frankly, would not make them any or much money at all until they had developed the skills and contacts which literally takes years to develop.
You see no one actually tells you that just as it takes many years of study and practice to become a plumber or a teacher, it also takes, about the same amount of time to develop a successful, legitimate on-line business.
I built a beautiful website with lots of great content on a subject I knew a lot about. No one came and visited. I started blogging – even my friends stayed away! Did I suck at writing? I thought I did – otherwise why wasn’t everyone coming to my site and making me money? That wasn’t the problem though, I don’t claim to be a talented wordsmith but I can construct a competent sentence
There were instead I had two problems:
- I didn’t know how how to get traffic to my website
- I didn’t know how to turn those lookers into buyers when they got there.
I was a competent writer and I found the technical stuff easy to learn and fun. The piece I missed was marketing. I didn’t know how to market – in fact I didn’t even WANT to know how to market.
To me marketing was a dirty word – wasn’t it the marketers who were ripping everyone off and selling them “systems” which just wouldn’t work unless you had an email list of hundreds of people who knew even less about on-line marketing than you did? Marketing was the stupid ads on TV telling me that buying particular brand of toothpaste would improve my social life! Marketing was all a con as far as I was concerned!
Marketing on the Internet seemed to be all about getting a whole lot of people to sign up for your dodgy e-book or course and then selling them everything under the sun.
But I don’t like getting a long sales letters day after day in my inbox – demanding that I act now before it was too late! It turned me off and I thought that I was probably not the only person that it turned off.
I gave up on Internet Marketing. I got a low-level job, and just kept on writing at HubPages for fun, because I liked the community and because I enjoyed the feedback I got. I got a part-time semi-professional job – which was quite fun – but the whole being self-employed thing wouldn’t go away! I had become allergic to asking permission to have a day off or to take a long lunch! I still thought that their was only trick I had to find and then I would be rolling in the dollars! I hadn’t realised that I was building a business and a business takes quite a while to develop.
Then slowly it started to happen. I got better at figuring out which hubs would make money, I did more of them. One month my income doubled from HubPages, its stayed at that new level for several months and then, pretty much doubled again. Hubs I had written months earlier kept on making me money, even though I hadn’t even looked at them since I published them! I had a couple of people ask me to do some freelance writing for them – gosh! I started using the keywords which worked on my hubs on mini-websites.
An Over Three Year Timeline to Overnight Success
Sept 2007 – going to be make money online by Xmas – know how to install a website – how hard can this be?
Jan 2008 – got a job! – Kept “playing online” though – mainly on HubPages and this pre-cursor to this blog.
March 2008 – made my first $100 payout from Adsense – it had only taken 12 months!
June 2008 – made my second $100 payout from Adsense – that only took 3 months! I started to make money freelancing – customers found me via my writing on HubPages and asked me to do freelance writing for them. This turned out to be something I didn’t want to do long-term but it certainly started providing some cash flow for my business. If you seriously interested in Freelancing as a career check out this post
January 2009 – my “real” job disappeared as the mineral exploration industry in Western Australia collapsed in the wake of the GFC.
March 2009 – I was nearly depressed – I was still useless at making money – I made a total of US$450 that month – most of it from freelance writing. I really didn’t know what I was doing. I appealed for help in a private forum – I didn’t get hugs and kisses – I got a wake up call – I was spending all my time learning and reading and precious little doing. I didn’t have enough sites, I didn’t have good enough keyword research – I thought of quiting. But I still needed an income, I didn’t fancy my old career in IT, and couldn’t think of anything else I wanted to do. I realised that being in business was at least in part – the natural born entrepreneurs really don’t understand how all this marketing and selling is alien to many of us. All I can say I am still learning – and hopefully improving.
April 2009 – my first $100 month with Adsense – I’ve had a payout from Adsense every month since. The Keyword Academy launched – I joined to become an affiliate because I thought I had some traffic that may like the offer. I did but I also found a whole new way of doing keyword research. A method that worked
June 2009 – I earned over US$1000 for the month.
November 2009 – I earned over US$4000 for the month. I know the answer to whether its worth trying to make an income online. But it still wasn’t perfect – most of those earnings were from freelance work – which was a little to much like having multiple bosses for my liking.
October 2010 I wanted to up what I call my passive income – my income from Google Adsense and other affiliates. It took me nearly a year to get over the $4k mark again – but this time nearly $2500 of it was from those sources.
January 2011 – I finally made my $2500 badge at The Keyword Academy – $2500/month of passive income using (mainly) the techniques they taught me. Half of that amount is from Adsense, the rest from other affiliates.
Today I make my income from
- affiliate sales from HubPages, mini-sites and this site;
- Adsense from HubPages, InfoBarrel and other niche sites;
- Freelance SEO
November 2011 – Wow wonders never cease – after years of saying I wouldn’t do it – I’ve done it – this blog has a real live newsletter – sign-up below and get spammed! Just kidding – I will keep you up to date with my earnings though, transparency is important to me – but I don’t intent to publish detailed earnings on this site – instead those reports will go to my subscribers. Oh and some other useful information which its not always best to publish in the open.
September 2012-It’s been a rough year, changes in the Penguin algorithm saw my niches sites, plus my new authority travel site disappear in the rankings at the end of April, and to sink without trace in May. Are there still ways to rank in Google, yes, can I be bothered starting again to chase the elusive payout. No. Not really. Instead I noticed that my non-fiction indie book was the only stable income I’d seen for the last year. Time to get serious and join the eBook revolution!
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