Success Requires Sacrifices

Whoever wants to build a business has to think about how that’s going to work with the other aspects of their lives. I think that to a certain extent these sacrifices apply to Niche Websites owners, at least for a while.

Have you listened to an Internet Marketer Video or Webinar? Or read one of their e-Books? Did they talk about how hard their life was when they got started? In many cases, they were poor, had to go to a sad job, or just lost their job after 10 years of working hard for that employer… And then they finally found out how to make it work for them and made a ton of money online. Some are just starting and they may not yet be that rich… But some, like Frank Kern, made it to the top, for sure. So it does happen. In case of Frank, he talks about how he lived in that small apartment and could barely feed himself.

On my end, I don’t really consider that I was in such a situation, even though I did happen to live about one year of my life with just $20 to $30 a month… However, I did not get out of it because of Internet Marketing. It would not have been possible since that was before the Internet anyway! (Yes… such a time existed in the past.) In my case, I found a perfect contract for which I could work from hotels, apartments, businesses, and that gave me the chance to travel the US far and wide.

Now I wanted to underscore a few points that you may want to consider when attempting to create a passive income with a Niche Website. The impact this hobby may have on your life, other work, family, etc.

Early Success

If there is one thing I would strongly advise about, is to look into getting successful early on if you can. Later, once you have a wife and 3 kids, it becomes much harder for one simple reason: you need to provide for your family and if you can’t do that, you are likely to lose it. So attempting to reach success at the time you already have a family is dangerous, to say the least.

Instead, what many do is to create their business in their early years. If you’re 20, you probably want to go out every Friday and Saturday night to find the cutest chick on the block and have fun at her place later. This is great and if you can afford it, perfect. Only if you want to create a business, chances are you won’t have the time to do any of that. Even just dating takes time and a significant other (SO) will quickly notice if you spend more time on the computer for your business than with them talking about last night sunset and other important life events. That being said, if that SO has a similar mindset, you’re likely to click and you both will understand exactly why you need to spend that extra 3 hours on the computer tonight. It just doesn’t happen that often.

Note that does not mean success will come within 6 months and you can now retire. Building a real business to where you can actually hire enough people to maintain it (think about the fact that employees work at about 50% of your pace—not all of them, but many—and if you were working 80 hours/week, that means you need 4 employees to replace yourself already… That’s 4 salaries. But if you’re reading this post, you’re probably not there yet.) This process is likely to take you anywhere from 5 to 10 years. Many succeed around 7 to 8 years in the business. And that’s if you picked the right type of business because some are fads. They sparkle for a few years and disappear into a black hole not too long after that (one good reason for diversification.)

So, to increase your chances to make it one day, you want to start early and try until you make it. I’ve started as soon as I could (I was about 19) and I’m still at it (48… Hmmm… okay, I had a good life already, but I’d like one of those where I can earn money without working like a dog.) Now I know that I will succeed in this endeavor. I did succeed before in pursuing my goals, there are no reasons for things not to start happening as expected.

Impact on Your Health

I think that there are three main reasons why your health is likely going to be impacted by your behavior when attempting to succeed and make it big as a business person:

Lack of Sleep

If you want to get a company off the ground, you are likely to work late hours again and again. Each time you have a new client that looks worth it, you will spend hours on it until it all works. Since at the start you don’t have any resources you can offload your work to, you are likely to spend extra hours, late nights, to finish up all the necessary work.

This is true with Niche Websites too because you want to communicate with your readers. If you hope that your readers will just appear one day and purchase from you without any interaction at all ever, you should think again. I’m not saying it’s not possible, just that it’s unlikely. It will very much depend on the subject too. If you talk about cooking, people can probably afford to test this or that and see how things work for themselves. If it is about buying this or that camera lens, knowing that one lens can be $1,200… chances are your reader is not going to buy two of those! (Don’t believe me about the price? Check this list on Amazon.com and don’t blame me if you buy one of those…)

So in other words, with a Niche Website, at least at the start, you want to answer to the comments and if you were to create a Facebook page and other such accounts (Twitter, Instagram) you want to communicate with your potential customers (i.e. leads). Good and prompt communication will help you make sales. I’ve done it countless time with great success.

As a result, you may end up having a lack of sleep. This happens to me at least. Note that I’m in no way suggesting you should do the same thing. Some people feel like they function way better (in a much more efficient way) when they don’t miss even 1h of sleep. Do as you feel. Most of the entrepreneurs I know of tend to not sleep enough. This can have a negative effect on your health, especially long term. Although it will be a lot easier to do that in your early years (at nearly 50, it’s not that easy to go without sleep… although I still have some really short nights!)

Eating Disorder

This one is possibly less likely for many, but again I’ve seen this impact people in both direction. On my end, I tend to skip meals (Anorexia). If I have a lot of work, I just don’t have the time to fix myself anything and end up not eating at each meal.

On the other hand, some people end up eating too much (Bulimia). They’re at home and bought this large bag of potato chips, tortilla chips, pretzels… and they do not stop eating some of those while working.

One reason for which I skip meals is not just the eating part, it’s also due to the fact that I brush my teeth after every meal. It really lowered my dentist bill! So I would recommend you think about that one too… But that takes time when I can’t do much because I need some concentration brushing and thus can’t even just think about my current problem. Also if I were to have snacks, I’d have to brush my teeth over and over again. This is called a Habit Loop. Something that can be positive (exercise daily) or quite negative (smoke cigarette after cigarette.)

Stress

I would imagine that you heard of stress. The lack of sleep and eating habits can be a side effect of the stress too. I don’t think that affected me as much, but I know that I had both problems happen in part because of me being stressed out because I missed a couple of checks. When a customer owes you over $80,000 and you have to pay your employees… it’s not like “oh, I’m so rich!” It’s like “Darn! I have to ask the bank for $50,000 so I can make sure I can pay my employee…” This means you have unpaid invoices which cost you 7% because you have to borrow money against those invoices.

Stress comes in all forms and shapes. For a business person, there are usually a few points that are really sticky with this one:

The Income is not showing up

This is probably the worst one you’ll feel with your Niche Website because it will take a  good 6 months for the traffic to build up. Then the first users sent to your site by Google are more than likely to make only very quick visits. That is, they will click on a link from Google and end up on your site, check out the page really quick and close it because it was not quite what they were looking for.

It takes time to build up a good level of traffic for a website. You have to have the patience and that means the income will eventually show up, but it is likely to take a while (3 months if you have a really good and “lucky” Niche Website and up to 9 months to start showing some form of income.)

Any business has a similar problem. You need to find customers and unless you get a business where one customer pays 99% of your bills (a type of business model I have had,) it is likely going to take at least 6 months to ramp up.

Things Are Not Working as Expected

In my carrier as a software engineer, I have my share on this one.

In your case, it should not be a big problem. For a Niche Website, you just need to have a working installation of WordPress and off you go. However, I have seen people trying a new plugin just before they want to go live and… the plugin messes up the website, maybe because it’s not compatible with your current version of WordPress or you installed another plugin in conflict with this one. As an engineer, I know better than messing around with such. In your case, you may want to remember doing a manual backup just before testing a new theme or a new plugin so in case the change breaks your Niche Website, you can always revert the website back to that version.

Delays Prevent Release on Time

In real life, you need to have goals within a given amount of time otherwise it will break. That is, setting a goal such as:

I will go to the gym 3 times a week

and not specifying that it will happen this year is not going to do anything for you. Now rephrase that statement as:

Starting today, I will go to the gym 3 times a week

It may not sound like these two statements are much different but now you clearly said “Starting today” which means you won’t be able to start next week, next month, next year. You just can’t wait since it is going to start today.

That being said, there are still times when you just can’t perform. You know… Life. For example, your grandmother died and you have to go to the burial. If you are on a tight time budget to complete your Niche Website, such events will create delays. Nothing you can’t counter, though. Although if you’re like me, you don’t have 1h here or 1h there. You are pretty much always working on something or other. I spend some time reading, if you have not already, I recommend you read Fooled by Randomness and the other books like Nassim Nicholas Taleb (click the link to get the box set from Amazon now!) I also watch videos. Many different types: self-improvements, TED Talks, and movies. Guess what, I do that while working on tasks that don’t use much of my brain (not while writing content for my websites, though!) I also take care of the house a bit, trash/recycling/gardening (mainly taking care of the lawn, nothing too complicated.) So it’s not like I do 100% work and only that, but I certainly do a lot of that.

Friends and Family Relationships

As mentioned earlier, you are likely to suffer in terms of having a good relationship with your significant other (SO) while you are working day and night. This is actually the lot of some poor people who have to make ends meet by working 2 or even 3 jobs with not much hope of creating a passive income either… At least, with a business, you are working on the passive income and possibly having people work for you and thus a permanent income even while you are on vacation, or worse, have to have a stay at the hospital for a while.

If you are lucky (and I guess with the Internet this is more likely to happen now a day) you may be able to find an SO which has a similar schedule and enjoy each other’s enthusiasm in creating businesses. However, this is rare. If you look at billionaires, many married late or never. That’s the fate of the financially fortunate.

Note that it is also known that not have a good relationship with various people can be detrimental. If you are working with staff, though, you are likely to have some form of relationship which keeps you healthy enough. However, it is likely to be a different type of relationship than the one you really need.

Employees

As things start going well for you, you may want to hire employees. This is another source of stress. For example, in a store environment, where there is a cashier, it is not rare to end up with someone who steals from the cash register.

For a Niche Website, you are likely to offer your employee the means to edit your website content. This is a liability since the employee could end up breaking it all. If they can edit any one page on your website… who says they are not going to edit all your pages and inject spam links everywhere? (you can quickly find the links with the Broken Link Checker plugin, but that’s not my point here.)

This is a real source of stress until you find the right reliable people. At first, you will have to chance it. Just make sure to create a backup first. Also, I strongly suggest you start working with the person for a while until you are reassured that they won’t be messing up your existing content. Then you will be able to give them access to your website.

Hackers

On the Internet, one of the common sources of stress for many site owners is hackers. Although most websites don’t ever get hacked, once you start having over 100,000 hits a month on a website, you also get many hackers to visit your place. This certainly increases your chances that one gets interested in penetrating your site and steal something. If you have an item for sale or if you get a large traffic, it can be of interest to them.

On an e-Commerce website, hackers attempt to gain access to elements such as credit card information or at least user name, address, phone numbers, etc.

On a website with large traffic (around 100,000 hits or more), hackers are likely to attempt to hack the site to add their own content. I have seen that with porn quite a bit. Less with other things. There could also be some rather subtle hackers who add a link for themselves and do not otherwise hack (destroy) your site. So far, though, I’ve heard of such a hacker. Maybe hackers are not that smart? (stealing SEO juice illegally from perfectly legal websites, though, sounds like a marvelous idea. That is, something that could be rather useful for a hacker to do.)

Ridicule

As a business owner, once you succeed, you are viewed as a king, a master, a savant, etc. Until that point in time, though, you are just a ridicule idiot chasing the wind.

Over time, assuming it takes you 1 or 2 years to start getting a decent passive income, it is not unlikely that people will attack your pride over and over again. However, you should definitely be proud of yourself for at least trying, which many people don’t even do.

This is where I will pitch in the “You Need a Coach” selling argument. If you’ve been on some webinar where a person says they are a coach and they will teach you how to do this or that (Internet Marketers do a lot of those videos) then they will say that at some point. Actually, if they’re good at it, they’ll probably say that 100 times in less than 1 hour.

The Coach does not necessarily teach you anything (I think I don’t take much of a risk if I say that most of us think of a coach as a teacher,) however, a good coach is going to keep you on track because he will push you in pursuing your goals, even if they look outrageous to everyone else, your coach will make sure that you continue to move forward by working on your Pride, a primary driver, what ensures you get up every morning and go on with your endeavor.

Comfort

I find it fascinating that so many think they need this or that gadget, whether brand new or not. I resisted having a smartphone until 2017. Really a flip-flop was more than enough (and just like the StarTrek communicators!)

If you need some cash for your business or are making less because you shrunk your hours at your other job, chances are you will be strapped for cash. This is when you want to think twice about purchasing frivolous items like a diamond ring or a sports car. Instead, use that money to grow your business faster.

When I started, I had one desk and one chair. I would sleep on the floor with just a sheet as my bed. I had a pillow too. I don’t like to sleep without a decent enough pillow. For me, having a bed is already frivolous. You may want to draw your own bar a little higher, but I’m quite a bit of a minimalist outside of the computers I want to work on (i.e. a $10,000 computer makes sense to me as a software developer; however, a $400,000 car is not sensible at all, especially since I work at home.)

Hobbies

Unless your work in your hobby, you will most certainly have to cut that short. Frankly, I would personally prefer to be learning how to fly a helicopter as a hobby anyway, and for that I’ll need this passive income and that team of people working for me because I just can’t make enough money on my own to afford flying these engines (it costs quite a bit more than a car in terms of gas, and you really don’t want to go out of gas in a helicopter while flying.)

Note that happens to quite a few people. For example, Michael Schumacher became a Ferrari race driver. One of his dream as a kid was to be driving a Ferrari and if it were its job, he would really be living the life! Therefore he worked on becoming a race driver for Ferrari and succeeded really well.

On my end, I love programming computers and that has been my job for some 30 years. It does not exactly feel like a job to me since I love that, although, between the deadlines and the pressure of having to make money at it, there are limits to the dream (I bet Michael Schumacher also had a few drawbacks from his carrier.)

So… this is why people often tell you to choose something you love to do to create a business in something you love to do and not just try to create a job for yourself. Talking about something you don’t like for days is not going to be very productive (you’ll most certainly have difficulties generating the content for things you are not interested in unless you immediately get paid properly to do the work.)

So your Niche Website should be a part of your hobbies, but it will eliminate the chance you have to have a hobbies in your free time (i.e. you’re going to use that free time to add to your business and source of income.)

This is linked to how happy you’re going to be running your business when you would instead want to be able to go out with friends, go for a swim on the weekend, go for a trek once a month… while building your business, many of these perks may not be available to you (it very much depends on how you build your business, whether you start with or without money, you may get seed money from Angel Investors, for example, giving you a fairly normal life as you would be getting a salary while building your company… you may even have some weekends to yourself.)

Self Improvement

Just like software gets updated and improved all the time, you should improve yourself by reading, meeting people who can help you improve, watching Self Improvement videos, etc.

Note that there’s a lot to learn. To some people, what’s important is knowledge as in culture or history, others like science or as I just mentioned, Self-Improvement. (Note that Self Improvement is a part of psychology, which is also science too.)

I think that Self Improvement includes several important topics as you are working on a Niche Website:

Learning About the Niche Website Technical Aspect

My website here is a good example. You can better yourself in this domain by reading my posts. I’ve very long, content-packed posts so it’s going to take you time to go through all of them (you’ve been warned! although if you’ve read all my other pages first… ha! ha! Sorry, I think that’s funny. But hey, you’re now ahead of the pack!)

This could be one of your Self Improvement tasks. Make sure to read every one of Alex’s Blog Posts so I can get on with my own Nice Website(s) and start making passive income. It’s definitely not mandatory, though.

Learning How to Keep a Schedule

Some people like the idea of following a tight schedule so they get somewhere. Others, like me, think it’s not automatically such a good idea because a tight schedule creates pressure (see Stress above) and it can be more dramatic to miss a deadline than just seeing permanent progress even if it looks a little slow at times.

I actually wrote a post about Time Management. If you want to improve in that arena, I strongly advise that you read that other post in its entirety.

Learning about Daily Goals

While working by yourself, it’s really difficult to keep on track. After all, watching that moving over at your girlfriend’s place sounds way more exciting, right?

Well… One aspect of keeping on track is to have a To Do list. Various people prefer to call that differently, although, in the end, I think that it is a To Do list. Do you write down what you want to buy next time you go to the grocery store? It makes it easier when you are at the store, right? Well… that’s the exact same thing with any type of tasks.

This is a habit I picked up from my mom. I write my To Do list on an envelope like this. This can be a daily or a weekly job for you. Whatever envelope with a white back will do! (Especially bills, because it feels like these guys gave you something for free! Ha! Ha!)

I don’t personally write all the details down. In most cases, I write my goals on a used envelop (why waste money on buying paper when you get all the spam with nice white envelopes?!) I have roughly 3 levels:

Long-Term Goals—these often only make it in my head and not on paper, I’m not likely to forget those as I think about them all the time anyway

Short-Term Goals—something I will accomplish within the next few weeks or months; this I write on a specific envelope. It’s a list that stays alive for a while.

Daily Goals—these are tasks I want to accomplish today. Often something happens that I can’t finish it all today, but in many cases, it gives me a way to keep on schedule because otherwise, I will do work that is probably less important for today… (like writing this page? Ha! Ha! That is, it was not really on my schedule but I had the idea so I went ahead and wrote it anyway.)

What I do, especially, is keep those envelops until all of the goals on them were scratched. When you go to the store and buy everything on your list, you can throw it away. I also throw away my goal envelop once all the goals were accomplished.

Short Term Goal envelops are not likely to get scratch quickly. Also what happens is that I add a few new tasks once in a while. So to make it more manageable, I actually prefer to copy the list once most was scratch. Starting with a fresh list allows me to add a few more items without feeling like I reached the bottom of the enveloped and not so much was accomplished.

In case of the daily goals, they should get scratched quickly and by the end of the day, the envelope can go to the trash. At times it can remain around for two or three days, especially when some event happens in between that took me off track legitimately (i.e. it was not a distraction like going for a long bike ride when there was still some work to do on that daily list.)

Lack of Stability

One of the main aspect of running a business full time (once you get there) is the lack of stability until it really takes off. This means that you get paid whenever there is work done and there is not always work to be done.

I have had long breaks when there was no income refilling my savings account. This can be stressful.

Also quite often a business changes. You are to be willing to change your core business to where the market is taking it. For example, Apple is working really hard on iPhones because they have a huge market share and must make sure to not lose it. They have a much larger market share with the iPhone than they have with the Macintosh (although their iPhone customers are not unlikely to have a Mac as well.) This is because that business includes a recurring monthly fee. In the end, this generates way more money than one sale of a Mac OS/X system. Although both business models are good and both are still producing quite a bit of revenue for the company.

Companies that don’t adapt quickly enough will possibly even close their door! Large enough companies generally get sold to others (like Compaq or Pan Am) but smaller ones just disappear completely.

One good example of a small company that had the wit to change their course midway is Twitter. Their first version was an interface to send SMS messages and contrary to the SMS system at the time, it would keep track of various people messages and allow you to view them. This did not work well at all because sending an SMS was still being charged, although the charge was rather small, after 100 tweets… you’d still see a nice little difference on your bill. Later they switch their system to a website and that took off quickly. That switch was not something that they even had in mind when they first started the company. The investors were ready to unplug their investment. The move saved their company and gave them the chance to grow to the success it is today.

One advantage of a small business, such as your Niche Website, is it generally can very quickly change. You have to be flexible and recognize market shifts and then quickly adapt to the new trends. For example, many Internet Marketers switched from Google AdWords to Facebook Ads. They can sell the same products with better margin as the ads cost less for the same amount of traffic generated.

Long-Term Rewards

I think the potential long-term rewards of developing a strong business totally beat the sacrifices you have to make to get there. I have had a taste here and there for such rewards. If you think you’d like such too, you will need patience and start improving yourself. If you keep the same habits of watching television while smoking expensive cigarettes instead of using that time and money to invest in your Niche Website for a passive income… you’re not likely to get those rewards any time soon. Oh! Of course, some people get lucky and receive a large sum of money from a relative who died without any other heir. However, many people inherit debts rather than a bank account with millions.

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