8

Reflecting On 1 Year Of Self Employment & My July Income Report

It will have been exactly a year as of this Friday the 18th since I was let go from my job.

For those that don’t know, I previously took a job at a marketing agency in hopes to learn a lot more about SEO and get into a role I could get excited about. I was an account manager that spoke with clients on a day to day basis and more or less did all of the SEO work for these clients (it was near impossible) and I burned out fast.

I remember the Friday I was driving into work I was listening to some online training in my car from Derek Halpern about how to sell online courses but absolutely was not excited to go into work thinking about dealing with some of these clients.

I felt drained and just didn’t want to be there..

The owner knew about my side projects being that I teach online and that I didn’t have a 100% commitment to growing his company.

I mean how could I?

I came in for my typical 9-5, 40 hours a week and I touched base with all the clients and did my best to keep them happy but I was just 1 guy trying to do a lot more work then I could handle. No one else who worked there knew as much as I did about SEO and here I was managing these clients paying $1000+/month mostly for this service combined with paid advertising and some social media.

Customers complained constantly and many of them left over the 8-9 months I worked there.

Other employees were not all that happy and I just saw a much bigger picture for myself.

The owner wanted me to become the “lead SEO” and eventually manage a whole group of people at the agency.

Sure, growing within a company should be exciting right?

Well, that idea didn’t excite me at all.

I didn’t want to sit in traffic..

I didn’t want to manage employees…

I didn’t want to be in an office every day..

I simply wanted the freedom to do whatever I wanted anytime I want.

Regardless of getting raises, and growing within this company I knew that was absolutely not going to make my happy no matter what.

I’d always be “bound” to this office and having that 40 hour/week commitment.

I could have been making 6 figures doing it and I just wouldn’t have been happy. 

So despite all of the good things I did while I worked there, I continued to do my own thing on the side.

The owner became so restrictive I couldn’t use the internet for anything other than work, even on my own lunch breaks. He banned the entire office from listening to music (you literally would listen to the sound of keyboards for hours sometimes without anyone saying a word).

I honestly thought I was going to need to ask him if I could take a crap in the office bathroom it was getting to be THAT bad….

The whole work arrangement just made no sense to me, he would randomly be producing something random like a new “podcast” while I managed his 20k+ in monthly clients and I got paid only a fraction of this to do more than 75% of the work. The other 25% was someone who was trying to manage 50+ Adwords accounts most of which clients constantly seemed to complain about.

I continued browsing the internet, using my email and this led to me eventually being let go.

An opportunity in disguise?

This was what I wanted for so many years, to finally become self employed.

I knew having the mindset of “I need to find a job” vs. me going out and actually doing everything I can so I don’t need to work for someone else was my best option.

Lots of things have happened over the past year, so I thought in this post I’d simply first break down my accomplishments since going self employed and even include some of my failures.

The huge wins for me:

  • I will say the biggest and best thing that happened was I became friends with Paul James in September and we saw a lot of potential to work together on product ideas. I’ve had a lot of bad luck with past partnerships in the past many of which fizzled out or left me doing tons of work only to barely make any money in the end.

I’ve been speaking with Paul nearly every week for the last year and in a lot of ways not only has he been a good partner on product launches but also a mentor and good friend. I am grateful for his partnership because in a lot of ways I think had we not met I may have very well ended up back at a 9-5.

Networking and meeting the right people is still one of my highest recommendations for anyone looking to have real success online. 

  • I ran my very first webinar with Paul and got pretty good at running them. If you check over my past reports a lot of the biggest months where I did $10k+ was because of running some form of webinar. My best yet doing over $10k in sales!
  • I promoted several webinars with other big name marketers like Chris Munch, Dirk De Bruin, Tom Gaddis, Nick Ponte and several other guys.
  • I created an awesome free 4 part course on how to land clients with UpWork

This has allowed me to start generating a lot more email leads over the past year, and most likely if you are reading this post it’s because you enrolled in that free course or you purchased one of the products I’m about to mention!

This was my first launch with Stefan and he consistently hits leader boards with his products and launches so I was pretty excited about this one. I didn’t do a TON of work to launch it but overall did have to some good time in, the product sold well but due to the affiliate split and splitting revenue 3 ways this didn’t end up being all that profitable vs. my launches with Paul.

Believe it or not this product literally sums up EVERYTHING I’ve ever done to make money online, it was just difficult to teach so many things in one product. I ended up putting a ton of time into an eBook that went with this course.

  • I started a partnership with Andrew Giradin to help me with my Amazon niche sites.

Andrew has been absolutely awesome to work with and I probably owe him a lot more money given everything he’s helped me with. He even put up with one of my very worst client experiences I’ve ever had so this has been another successful partnership.

  • I created somewhere around 15-20 reviews for various products earning me thousands in affiliate commissions.
  • I built my email list to over 3000 people!
  • I got invited to teach on a membership platform called Drip Core which pays me $300 per training session
  • I paid for mentorship with Sergio Estevez to help me scale my online course business, I’ve been working with him weekly now for almost 3 months and it’s quite impressive what he’s having me build. It is not done yet but I’m very excited for it’s potential so I’d say this is a win, it’s also the #1 area I’m focusing on right now.
  • I built and sold several websites as well as bartered websites for work such as getting my driveway re-paved and flooring re-done in my home.
  • I’ve consistently been able to pull in around $2k+/month in passive income from marketplaces selling my courses such as Udemy, Skillshare, Amazing and StackCommerce.
  • I started a new partnership with Jerry Tian of Content DJ, we are working on an interesting software idea and it’s currently in early stages. He is an advanced Ruby On Rails developer and has run Content DJ for many years so he knows the SaaS industry.
  • Home Improvements – I know this is not directly related to internet marketing but I made so many updates to my home this past year. I literally had all of my floors re-done on the 2nd floor, my driveway paved, new paint, re-did my entire yard and fixed lots of misc. things that needed to be addressed. It really makes me feel like there is true progress when you see the home you live in improve over time.

The failures that happened:

  • The worst thing I’d say I did is I started to let “shiny objects” start to get the best of me again, which is something I’ve been dealing with for years. Some of the things I found myself doing were:

-Trying out products people gave me for free as a review copy, some of which were just outright bad and cost me money attempting to do.

-Paying for new courses on completely new topics such as Pay Per Call which required a whole new skill set of learning how to do

  • I had a lot of hit or miss things happen with clients and SEO, many clients would sign up for sometimes as little as a month and then become un-reliable. I found myself chasing down payments, making tons of phone calls and overall dealing with some issues I shouldn’t have been trying to keep them around.
  • I used an SEO outsourcer that was a great guy but was becoming less and less reliable with results and making sure my clients were happy with the work became challenging, I eventually switched up my provider and things are going much better now.
  • Skillshare randomly changed how they pay out students, so my growth there has stayed the same regardless of adding new courses I stay around the $500-650 per month bracket.
  • I had a failed partnership with a new partner on a venture I attempted, they came in and pretty much left in under 2 months. It was a total waste of my time and I wish I had never done it.

So given all the good and bad things that have happened, I’d say it’s overall been a good year. The one thing I still mostly struggle with is “fear” I’m one of those people that always looks at life like there is always a solution even in the worst case scenario.

Sometimes I let myself think “Would if I run out of savings and end up needing to go back to a 9-5?” I mean that is the worse case scenario, and I continue to think to myself this is a “failure mindset” even letting this kind of thing happen. So I basically fight myself and think a lot about my own mindset, where I want to be and what goals I want to accomplish.

For me, I feel pretty lucky to have purchased a home when the real estate market was so low. I got into a 1100 sqft home with 3 bedrooms, 2 baths for under $130k.. believe it or not I have a garage too and living in Massachusetts isn’t exactly a cheap part of the country.

My ultimate goal is pretty much to pay off my home entirely, this will really feel like to me that I’ve really achieved freedom because I will have very minimal bills and will own an asset for life.

Moving forward my #1 goal is to continue focusing on selling online courses, I am most focused right now on building a sales funnel for selling just 1 high end course which I can promote long term.

Let’s get into the numbers, shall we?

*Please note, many of the links below are affiliate links. If you purchase any of the products I will earn a commission and I greatly appreciate it. 

Income:

Tubebuddy Affiliate$41.04

Teachable Course Sales – $305.99

Fat Joe Guest Post Publishing – $40

SEO Clients & Website Design – $3500

SEO Student Coaching – $1500

PressCable – $253.51

Amazing.com (My Review) – $279.51

Udemy – $1757.08

Skillshare – $630.10

StackCommerce – $977.19

StreamStore Affiliate$88.80

Amazon Affiliate Income – $189.65

Pay It Forward Method$18.95

Scopeleads Affiliate (My Review) – $167.50

Video Course Cash Kit$3.12

Passive Profits Masterclass$8.02

Helped Someone With a Survey – $10

Created Training Videos For WhatsHelp$225

Drip Core Coaching – $300

Total Income: $10,295.46

Spent:

Google Drive -$1.99

Clickfunnels -$99

Market Hero -$99

SEO Outsourcing -$1200

Logo Design -$50

GoDaddy Domain Renewal -$30.34

Linkedin Premium -$63.74

UpWork Premium -$10

TubeBuddy Subscription -$44.82

Total Spent: -$1598.89

Total Net Income: $8696.57

John Shea
 

I'm John, I'm brutally honest, I have no shame and speak my mind without hesitation. I'm an entrepreneur here to speak the truth about internet marketing.

  • Jonathan Frost

    Well done John. I appreciate your transparency. All the best for a successful August

  • Alaa Khassa

    John I really love the honesty and transparency in your income reports.

    All the best :)

  • Josh Militz

    One of your udemy students here. Wow inspiring John. I’m working on reaching 5k a month in online revenue doing online esl teaching, dropshipping, and soon to start digital marketing. I look forward to your future posts.

    • Awesome Josh, thanks for stopping by. Sounds like a solid plan!

  • Bill Bateman

    I love the full disclosure model and appreciate your content.