Everyday you sit at your desk watching that dreaded clock tick slower and slower. You haven’t seen your husband or wife in what seems like ages, and the bills are due in a few days. Again. You start thinking of that chunk of money the two of you have been saving for a rainy day and you ask yourself, “is that day ever gonna come ?” Who knows. Continue reading How Do I Start To Invest My Money Into An Online Business?
Here’s a story…
2 years ago I quit my career in the customer service industry to pursue my dreams of making money, from home, on my own terms.
I learned everything I could about building great websites and blogs and started flipping them online for cash, which at it’s peak was generating more than 3k per month in profit. I know this doesn’t sound like a lot, but for a kid who’s spent the majority of his life broke, 3k per month was bling bling!
After my days as a rock star site flipper sizzled down, I got into the offline market and started pitching my services and expertise to local businesses – which was in the later part of 2009. I knew that I was the best at what I did (WordPress and social media) and had this innocent idea that I would make way more money building a 5 page website for a business than I would flipping it online.
Work the same (8-10 hours a day) and make more money – it was a no brainer.
12 months later…
I have been grinding full time as a guerrilla web designer, copy writer and social media guy, helping businesses all over Canada get more leads, clicks and phone calls from their websites – and things have been good, but there’s just one thing…
I’m still trading hours and tasks for dollars, while working on the client’s clock. Sure, I make about $300 per month passively through Google Adsense and a bunch of niche blogs I own, but at the end of the day if I stop working, the money stops coming in.
Here is where the problem lies.
When I quit my job, it was because I wanted to work less and make more. I wanted to make money while I sleep and remove myself from my businesses with no fluctuation in my bank account. After two years of being able to say I “work at home” I’m not sure I’m on the right path…
It is the work at home curse.
When someone first discovers how to “make money online” and the glorious lifestyle it can bring you, everything is covered in sparkles and ribbons. The grass smells so sweet and the possibilities are endless. All you need to do is to build a bunch of websites that make money when people click on them, quit your job and travel the world while you become a millionaire.
I know for a fact that there are thousands of people all over the world that are “working from home” and are their own “boss”, and so many of them are just as tired now as when they were working for the suits. The question I’m really trying to confront is this:
At what point should I stop romanticizing the fact that I’m self employed and actually start making money doing something I love?
Don’t get me wrong, the Internet has been a passion and fascination of mine for 15 years, since my very first encounter with America On Line (remember the free CDs?)
Anyways, I guess what I’m trying to say is all any one can do is dig deeper and wider in hopes of striking “the force” when everything finally aligns… Consider this day 1 of my personal revolution.
P.S. You can obviously see that I’ve gotten extremely bored with current design of the blog and decided to start experimenting in real time. Bare with me!
It has now been 4 official days of internet service with no interruptions or crashes. This is monumental! It seems that that box of connections at the back of our building was in complete dis-repair; with no cover or protection. There may even have been a family birds living, what seems like, on our line. It would definitely explain the random signal dropping. My condolences go out to the family that we displaced, but there are plenty of actual trees in this neighbourhood. To think that all this time we’ve been calling customer service, all someone needed to do was physically walk to the back of our building. Sometimes I cannot believe that it took 2 months for major internet providers to provide us with the connection we need, especially since we live in the heart of a metropolitan city. We unfortunately took this service for granted. Non the less, it feels so good to know that we’re back on track. I feel like I barely got a taste of working from home and everything went in the shitter.
In hindsight, it may have been a good thing. Sometimes the only way to look at these experiences is as positively as possible. We have DEFINITELY learned some important lessons and are better for it now. But in that time, I can’t even begin to describe the frustration we were feeling. It makes me think back to the post I wrote about Copreneurs and how this was one of those times that could make or break us. Thankfully, we kept our heads on and dealt with it, with minimal tension.
It’s such a different type of stress. At a workplace, the conflict would have been a big mess during the day, but eventually you go home and forget about it for the night, until you have to go back in the morning. But for all of you that work from home and run your own business, you understand the black pit in the stomach and never ending swimming in your head. The stress in 24/7 and there’s nothing you can do but move forward. This is all still so new to me, and I’m not going to lie, we talked about me going out and getting another job.
I’m still holding out.
Things are back on the way up. Elijah’s got tons of work coming in and I’ve even got some design jobs rolling my way. It’s funny how life sometimes make things suck as much as possible and then flips it instantaneously, in my opinion to make us appreciate what we have in our lives. If anything, this past downturn is just the “rock-bottom” chapter in our success story. Look for it on shelves at your favourite bookstore in 2015.
The other silver lining, albeit small, is that I’ve uncovered my love for crafts! It may sound lame to some people, but I bet those people wouldn’t be saying so if they were curled up in a hand knitted blanket of awesomeness!
Here’s my latest project.
I’m definitely not a pro, but these are what my family and friends can expect for Christmas. Not only is it going to save us money, but it has kept me sane during these past few months.
Now that Elijah and I are slowly starting to get back into the routine, I look forward to sharing more of my musings with you. We have a ton of projects on the go, and I can’t wait to share them. Keep you’re eyes peeled, ’cause we’re back and with a whole lot of wind in our sails!
I’m really feeling the writing bug biting me on the ass right now, so I decided to capitalize on this moment and stop being a stranger around my own blog. Here’s what’s on my mind and what’s happening right now in the world of Elijah and Veronica…
Over the last month or so it has been apparent that Veronica is getting antsy about joining me and taking the work at home plunge, as I like to call it. This is awesome – but it is also presenting some challenges.
When we originally started this blog back in July of 2008 (just got the GoDaddy renewal notice) our plan was that I would quit my job, put into action everything I had been teaching myself for the 7 months prior to that and set up a network and foundation so that hopefully, within a year or so, she would leave her job and we can begin living the coprenuer life we’ve dreamed of since we first met.
Well, reality (opportunity) is definitely starting to knock…
Not only have I surpassed anything that I could have imagined – but I’ve also managed to learn an insane amount of information and techniques in this short amount of time (with a little blood, sweat and insomnia of course). This means that we are now in a position to complete the last step of phase one and begin putting into place the milestones that will ultimately give us the freedom and space to live and build a family without corporate chains attached. The dream of every modern day, twenty-something hippie child…
More closer to thirty-something, but that’s besides the point!
It seems that now that things are pretty much where we planned for them to be, taking the initial plunge is not as easy as it once appeared to be – for Veronica that is. You see, by nature she has always been concerned with being “liked” or civil with her employer and fellow employees. This tends to involve treating people well and not stepping on any feet during her course of 9 to 5 existence.
Myself on the other hand have never been close with co-workers, or integrated too far into any company for that matter – because I always had the attitude that it was a job – and it was temporary. If me leaving screwed somebody over, that was the companies problem – not mine.
She is now faced with a challenge in the form of trying to identify the right “time” to break the news, and the right “way” to part – in the most humane fashion.
When taking the work at home plunge, here are some questions to ask yourself before hand:
- Do I really care about the people I work with?
- Am I financially ready to work from home?
- How much money will I save from working at home?
- If all hell breaks lose, do I have a backup plan?
- Is my at home environment equipped to ensure maximum productivity?
- What sort of day-to-day challenges will I face when working at home?
- What benefits will I gain from working at home?
- How can I leave my company while maintaining credible references?
- If I hate my boss, how much will I get charged if I piss in his/her coffee?
All in all, I really believe that we are in a position to take plunges and make mistakes – after all, we don’t have any children (yet), mortgages, car payments or anything else restrictive. If our business fails (which it won’t) we can always get some bull shit jobs to pay the bills. If we go completely broke (which we won’t) we can always get celebrity makeovers and stage a sex tape which we’ll sell to TMZ.com for a quick 10 g’s…
The ultimate question is: Will you ever be 100% ready to do anything in your life?
The answer is no.
So I say do it. Don’t ask for permission, learn from your mistakes and pay the consequences when they arise. Of course if you have kids, a car, a house and a family then don’t be stupid. But if you don’t – be stupid, work hard and make it happen. There really is no reason why it shouldn’t work out in the end!
I recently had a mini vacation from work; Friday, Monday and Tuesday off. 5 days in total. It wasn’t enough time to really do anything substantial, but it was enough to get me thinking about spending all my time at home, and with Elijah. Please don’t misconstrue, I’m not worried about our relationship but working at home will definitely change the dynamic of our journey up to this point and is yet another chapter of our lives together – cue violins.
I’ve mentioned before that I tend to get looks and concerned comments when I tell people, especially the ones I’m related to, what our long term plan is. A lot of the intrigue that’s generated around our business venture is the fact that we are both going to be at working at home together. People seem so curious about how this is going to work out, as if watching a science experiment. Here are my well thought out reasons why I want to work from home with Elijah:
- I won’t have to get up at a godforsaken hour in the morning
- I can wear my sweatpants to work, provided we are not leaving “the office”.
- We will be able to save some money, not having to worry about transportation expenses.
- I will have more time and energy to focus on other things I’m passionate about, like design and art.
- Elijah and I will learn and grow together in many ways.
- Down the road, when we have a family, we will be able to spend lots of time with our children.
- Our family will function as a sole unit. Working, living and loving together.
I can tell you from experience that in today’s world of “each parent off to a separate place of employment” the family unit is broken down significantly. For example, both my parents worked for the same company but in different positions, and in order to save money on a babysitter for my brother and I, my parents worked opposite shifts. My mother worked from 6:00 am to 2:30 pm and my father worked from 4:00 pm until midnight. Between the time my mom arrived from work and my dad was getting ready to leave, they had half an hour every day to see each other. I couldn’t imagine only seeing Elijah for 2 1/2 hours each week. Not to mention the fact that as children we barely got to spend time with our dad, except on weekends. I would prefer not to reenact this scenario with my own family, which is why I want to have my home and profession be of the same entity.
Let’s explore this concept shall we?
Its seems as though the concept of working from home or working with your partner is “new” or “trendy”, when in reality it’s the way the family unit functioned for most of our existence as humans. Throughout history the family worked, and played together. It was unheard of to leave your loved ones for any reason, let alone to work, and in any situation where productivity was essential for survival there was evidence of a family involvement. Think about working on a farm where the family is an economic , as well as social unit. It is only with the industrial revolution that home and workplace became a separate entity – each with it’s own set of guidelines and relationships.
Elijah and I have always felt that we “gelled” and worked exceptionally well together. Every challenge or large project we’ve taken on in our relationship has been successful. We’ve always been on the same page and it’s crucial to share the same passion or vision when attempting to go into business together, therefore maintaining focus on the bigger picture allows you get past all the smaller issues.
There are several guidelines available to working with your life partner from home. At Uplift.com, Alicia Fortinberry has been working with her husband Bob, for almost 20 years. Here is some of her experience sprinkled with my words of wisdom and interpretation:
- Don’t separate work from the rest of your life. It will never happen as smoothly as you want it to, so view the work as a continuum of the relationship. If you share the passion, then it isn’t a burden. Elijah and I talk about the business a lot and it’s as much a part of our family as our cat Shandy is.
- Work with other people. This makes so much sense to me. Working with other people keeps the juices flowing and provides fresh ideas and a sense of support – as well as mental break from your loved one’s brain.
- Maintain a nexus of friends outside of the core relationship. This is so important, even in a non-work relationship. One person cannot meet all your needs, no matter how great and supportive they are. Women need the presence of women and men need the presence of men. It is common these days that couples who work and live together fall into the trap of neglecting outside relationships, whether it is because of lack of time or trust. Allowing the other to “step out” of the relationship and just be with friends or family is important at every stage in any relationship.
- Explore and maintain shared beliefs. In our society, as well as throughout history, common belief systems are the most significant bonding tools. This is true in any single relationship, where if there is no basic agreement on core values and matters of faith, there is little chance of the relationship surviving. Although this topic is not always on the forefront of the success of a relationship, it definitely plays and important part in the endurance of one.
- Develop relationship rituals. These are things that as a couple you do by agreement and awareness. Going for breakfast every Sunday or going for a walk every evening are examples of rituals. Don’t confuse these with habits. Habits are things that are done without even consciously thinking about them. Rituals renew your sense of togetherness and commitment to each other. The breakfast date is one of the things that Elijah and I try to do as often as we can. Going to bed together at the same time is another one – although he usually gets up after I fall asleep to blog and brainstorm into the wee hours of the morning.
- Work out mutually agreed roles. This clear definition of responsibilities is necessary because it eliminates confusion and hostility. Having clearly defined roles in the business and in the home life allows each partner to know what they are responsible for and what they have authority over. As a couple, Elijah and I should try to figure out who is better qualified for each task, and then let eachother focus on it. We’ve never been practitioners of gender based stereotypes and that won’t be starting when I eventually quit my job. These roles shouldn’t be considered concrete either, they will change and shift as time moves on and life progresses, allowing us to complement each other when needed. Balance.
- It is also important to remember that while the roles and tasks are divided, there may be times when one person may have to work harder than the other. This may result in anger or animosity, however it is the natural cycle of life. Even at my day job there are times when I am much busier than my colleagues and I get jealous of their momentary freedom, but eventually it switches.
- Be honest and concrete about what you need from each other. It is never ideal to second guess what your partner wants or needs. This again applies to all relationships. You can’t expect him or her to decipher the code of facial expressions or subtle grunting noises. Communication is so important in any relationship, business or personal, so never be forced into the position where manipulation is necessary to get what you want. Communicate as clearly and as often as you need to.
This list definitely puts things into perspective for me. This new venture is not going to be all butterflies and roses – it’s going to be something that we have to work very hard at. I have a couple of points that I would like to add to this list that I’ve picked up along the way:
After working at a residential summer camp in many different positions, and for many years, I learned that there’s no time for laying blame when things go wrong. Shit happens and there is not much you can do about it except find a reasonable solution as soon as possible. Here’s and example of what I mean:
Task: Sixteen kids all waiting to go on a canoe trip.
Problem: The canoes floated away after not being tied up correctly.
Solution: Quickly organized a beach day with games and swimming.
When it comes to kids quick thinking is mandatory, and with business I think it works the same way. The more responsibilities and tasks we add to each others roles, the more problem solving is going to be required. Better to get good at it now instead of when things are much busier.
I also think it’s incredibly important to keep having fun with each other. This is the reason that our main goal with the online business is to be mobile and travel. I’m so excited to experience new things and explore places I’ve never been, and even more excited to do it all with the man I love. Eliminating the staleness of the day-in- day-out will keep the relationship fresh and vibrant. Even if travel is not possible immediately, trying new restaurants, or exploring a part of your city that you’ve never seen together will be something you’re sharing that’s not related to work.
I recently came across the term used for defining what Elijah and I, and many of you are attempting; Copreneurs. It is used to categorize couples who are exploring entrepreneurial paths together as a team. I like this term because it highlights the fact that we are a team – which is something Elijah and I have always thought of ourselves as. Our successes are so much more rewarding because we are able to appreciate them together, and realize that we wouldn’t be where we are today if it weren’t for each other. If one of us succeeds, we both succeed.
We’re on our way to starting this journey together, and there will definitely be highs and lows – but I think if we can keep focused on our goals, and each other, this will be the smartest thing we’ve ever done. So here’s to practicing what we preach.