Many people who are in the digital marketing world go back and forth between using it as a side hustle or making it their full-time living. The choice varies from person-to-person. It’s something I’ve battled with a lot: to get a job or be completely self-employed.
When I first started making money online it was the most magical thing in the world. My only goal was to figure out how to make more so I could quit my job and do whatever I want. That had to be the path. Why would there be any other path?
Finally in late 2015 revenue started booming. I put off quitting my job and it’s a good thing I did, because revenue was very up and down. In early 2016 I re-located and didn’t have a job lined up. I had enough money saved to where there would be pressure on me, forcing me to earn more money. After moving in April 2016, by June or July I realized that increasing my revenue this much takes time and it was time to look for another job.
In August 2016 I landed a part-time job at a hospital. It provided me benefits and obviously some extra money, but you know what else it provided? Motivation to work harder on my business so I could quit this job. Did I hate the job? No, not at all. Working at a hospital is very unique, my job wasn’t hard (administrative) and I worked two 12 hour shifts a week, which allowed me plenty of time to do what I need. Plus, not sure if you know this, but most nurses are women. So, yeah.
One of my big earners was a political website. After Trump won the election, the clamps came down on the social media sites. I used primarily Facebook to drive traffic to my site. Mark Zuckerberg took it as his fault that Trump is now the president and put the clamps down on sharing political content on Facebook. I waited too long to get Twitter and the other social media sites going, so this crushed my political site. The lesson learned was diversify.
For a while I kept bashing my head into a brick wall trying to figure out how to get the political site back to where it was, with nothing working. Finally, it was time to move on and start a keto website. Instead of building the traffic with social media, this time I was going to use SEO primarily. There was a social media presence established, but the main goal was when people search for keto information with Google, they were going to find me.
They keto website was started in May, 2017. Driving traffic to a website takes at least two or three months to get rolling. December of 2017, the keto site earned $8 with Google AdSense. The political site was still earning around $2,000 to $2,500 a month on average. At this point I still have a very good side hustle going, but not back up to where I can quit my job.
Despite this, I quit my job at the hospital. Not sure if I was looking to give myself added motivation to work on my business or what, but that’s the move I made. I quit in December 2017 and it was short-lived as I landed another job in March.
2018 was spent treading water with my political site and building the keto site. The keto site went from earning $8 a month to earning $3,500 a month by the end of the year. On top of that, I worked at a job I hated from March to October. In October there is plenty of revenue coming in from the political site and the keto site, so it’s time to move on. If I don’t absolutely hate the job maybe I don’t quit it.
In 2019 the political site had dropped off some more. Probably averaging about $1,500 a month on average. In March my keto site was hit with a Google update where the revenue dropped from $3,500 a month to like $700 within a month and a half.
It looked like it was surely time to go back to work. Then someone approached me looking to buy the site. Well at first the offer was way too low and I wasn’t even taking it seriously. After weeks of back and forth, finally I agreed to sell the site for $35,000. It was the perfect move at the perfect time. It happened in June of 2019. Now I have the money to get my business to the next level and avoid getting a job again. You can learn more about the flip here.
What did the keto site teach me? Once again, do not put all of your eggs in one batch. During the year I was building the keto site I could have started slow builds on two to three other sites. I could have expanded my social media presence and found more ways to monetize the keto sites. Those were things I tried, but they did not work as well as I had hoped. So here we go again. Time to start from the ground up. At least this time I got $35,000 to get things rolling, thanks to some stranger who reached out and inquired about buying my site by email.
So the goal from there was to start three websites and in six months to a year either flip them or keep them while they earn revenue. I was going to recreate the keto site times three and with what I’ve learned hopefully flip this one for six figures. One of the flipping processes is being documented here.
Well now that I’m a little over a month into the process of building these new sites to build up my revenue, it’s a daunting task. While the website flip was enough to keep things rolling for a while, it’s making me realize that I may be better suited to work a 9 to 5 job and just be a foreman for my new websites. Delegate tasks, order content, pay a social media manager and just go to work. My business will grow in the background. Meanwhile I’m getting paid to go to work, getting health benefits, paying taxes out of my paychecks, etc. You know, things people get when they go to work.
Another thing a job has always provided me is the motivation to figure out how to make enough money to quit this job. If I do get another job this will the third job I get that I am only getting to hold me over until my business rebounds.
To get a job or be completely self-employed?
So to answer the question, to get a job or be completely self-employed? I went to an interview and an offer is imminent. Time will tell. Maybe I am best suited to go to work and just spend an hour or so after work checking my analytics reports, assigning tasks and checking on things. Having a job also allows me to invest more of my profits back into the business. It’s looking like that’s the path I will go.
If you made it through this article, thanks for reading. Hopefully you got something out of it.