How My Persistence Turned Into a $12k/Month Online Business

Today I have a special treat for you – a guest post that should inspire you.  As I’ve said before, I rarely ever publish guest posts on my blog.  In fact, today’s is only the second one I’ve ever published (you can find the first one, Maren Kate’s, here).  The only time I’m really open to publishing guest posts is when they’re written by people I follow and admire – Spencer is no exception.

Like me, Spencer was also a participant in Pat Flynn’s niche site duel.  The only difference is, Spencer has been wildly successful with his niche sites, and has a large inventory of them too (I believe he owns over 200 niche sites!).  I think it’ll be better if I let Spencer explain.

Take it away, Spencer…

I have always believed that its important to dream about what could be. This might be dreaming about the lifestyle you want, where you see your business in a year, or improving your situation in some other way.

However, what I believe is even more important than dreaming big is the persistent hard work to make that dream a reality. This dreaming and then persistent positive attitude and continued hard work through education and taking action has allowed me to quit my full time job and now bring in over $12,000 per month from my online business.

I wanted to share briefly some of the highs and lows that I have had along the way before I was able to finally quit my job last month (March 11th, 2011). You see, I am like most of you. I went out and got a degree and then started to work in the corporate world. However, I really knew all along that I wanted to be an entrepreneur. The only problem is that I didn’t know what business I wanted to go into.

My Many Failures

Back in 2005, I started learning how to build websites as a hobby. This transitioned into learning about search engine optimization and monetizing my websites. My very first website was a personal finance education website because I figured I knew alot about finance with my degree in Finance and my professional career being in the financial services sector. I put in countless hours into that site creating the absolute best content I could produce. Guess what happened? Almost no one ever came to my site!

Okay, maybe you have been there and done that. You build a site with all your passion and hard work, only to realize that no one is visiting it. Its kinda depressing. Well, I picked myself up and built a new site more narrow in focus – I figured a laser targeted site might do better in the search engines. So, I built a credit repair informational site. Well, I did get a few trickles of search engine traffic, but I am still talking like 10 visitors a day here. Another miserable failure of a website.

Well, I picked myself up again and then started building sites focused on affiliate products from clickbank, commission junction, Neverblue ads, and others. Fail, fail, and more fail. I did make a few sales, but never really more than maybe $100/mth or something. All along the way I almost quit and decided I was doomed to a life in the corporate world forever. My own brother told me straight up that I was chasing an unrealistic dream – that I would never “make it”.

This was around 2008 – so I had been failing at trying to create an online business for about 3 years. The list is too long here to discuss the other business ideas I attempted both online and offline – but to say the least – they didn’t go anywhere.

Just when I was about ready to quit, I would allow myself to dream a little. What if?? I allowed myself to be motivated by the success of others, and most importantly I picked myself up and started experimenting with new ideas.

I Discover A Model that Works for Me

In 2009, I finally discovered the business that has eventually led to my success. I built 2 small niche websites that instead of going after something highly competitive like “credit repair” targeted less competitive terms – worm farms and buffalo nickels. Did I build these 2 sites and then suddenly strike it rich? Absolutely not. However, they both started making me about $20 per month (each) from Google Adsense. This happened month after month whether or not I did anything to the site. The light bulb finally went on and I realized that I was making a profitable passive income here.

I wish I could simply say the rest was smooth sailing to success; however, I continued to experience serious hurdles which again almost caused me to quit. I had sites that were doing well suddenly stop doing well. I had long hours, lots of late nights, and still lots of questions from my brother (and others). However, by the time January 2010 rolled around I had built dozens of these small niche websites and I was making over $2,000 per month! I could see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Well, in 2010 I built over 200 niche websites and last month I pulled in about $12,000 just from Google Adsense (I also had some income from other affiliate networks). So, despite my MANY failures, I was able to keep a positive attitude and allowed myself to continue to dream a little. However, that’s not all. I worked like crazy to make those dreams a reality. I continue to work like crazy. However, instead of working late at night after my full time job, I now work during the day at home on my own schedule because the corporate job is no longer there!

Download My Free Guide

Anyway, if you want to learn some more specifics about my business and exactly how I build niche websites, you can download my free guide right here on my blog.

So, yes there is a lot of technical knowledge that needs to be learned in my business; I feel its important for any entrepreneur to keep the right outlook and focus in their business. Hopefully this post can help to keep a fire lit under you as you pursue your entrepreneurial dreams and keep the right attitude for success!

Feel free to leave a comment below, and I will do my best to respond.

Note from Eric: Thanks for the guest post, Spencer!  If you want to read more about what Spencer is doing with respect to niche sites, check out his blog: Niche Pursuits.

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30 Responses to “How My Persistence Turned Into a $12k/Month Online Business”

  1. Excellent post for inspiration. It also shows that everyone fails, but the one who wins is the one who tries again (and again and again :) ).

    I would certainly like to see more guestposts who’s “done it”.
    Rasmus recently posted… Why some people are taking action and others are not

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks, Rasmus. Persistence definitely seems to pay off, and it doesn’t seem always been instant either.

    [Reply]

  2. and This was made through alsmost google adsense (and some affiliate)in whihc most big bloggers don’t really endorse.

    More cheers and Inspiring!
    Marco Lee recently posted… Making Money with Twitter through Sponsored Tweets

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    I agree – Spencer’s AdSense earnings are outstanding. It’s just simple proof that you can make a living with AdSense if you really come up with a good system to do it.

    [Reply]

    Marco Lee Reply:

    I did not notice that I made too much typographical errors. It must be the keyboard. :) )

    [Reply]

  3. Congrats! Wow 200 niche sites. Did you build all these up by yourself or did you have a VA?

    so did you basically have a system that worked and applied it to all 200 sites?

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    See Spencer’s reply a couple comments down…

    [Reply]

  4. Check that out…that’s one great guest post there, Eric. Worm farms and buffalo nickels? Awesome. Just goes to show you what you can do with a little persistence and sweat equity.

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Exactly! I guess there’s still nothing quite like hard work and persistence when it comes to getting the results you want. :)

    [Reply]

  5. Hey Benny, great question. I did not build all the 200 sites myself, I did a lot of outsourcing. This includes article writing, site building (sometimes), and link building. I have developed a great system that works for me and now apply it over and over again.
    Spencer recently posted… Niche eCommerce Websites

    [Reply]

  6. Wow! 200 sites!? That’s amazing. What is the maintenance on these sites like? Or is it a set it and forget it kind of thing?

    Also do you use primarily adsense to monetize these sites? or are you using affiliate products?
    Zero Passive Income recently posted… President Obama’s 2010 Tax Return REAL – 5 Lessons You Can Learn From It

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    I’ll let Spencer answer your first question because I’m not sure how he maintains each site, but I do know that he does primarily use AdSense to monetize the sites.

    [Reply]

    Spencer Reply:

    Most of the sites, there is very little if any maintenance. Initially it might take a couple of months to rank a site well, but once the site is on the first page of Google very little needs to be done. Some of my bigger sites I will add new articles maybe once a month. For the most part once the site is built and ranking, its fairly hands free.
    Spencer recently posted… Niche eCommerce Websites

    [Reply]

  7. Wow, that’s a really incredible story! I think it’s the persistence and just making it through the early ups and downs that are the hardest part. Thanks for sharing your experience in working through the doubts and the hurdles to get to where you are now.
    Master Dayton recently posted… Freelance Writing 2011- So What Now

    [Reply]

  8. Persistence is the key to success, its what the elderly people said and in your cases, its been illustrated vividly. Persistence is one of the key factors required for anyone to succeed and who else would understand it better than you. Hats Off to you!!
    James@Chainsaw reviews recently posted… Earthwise CCS30008 18-Volt 8-Inch Cordless Chain Saw

    [Reply]

  9. The ‘system’ Spencer has is really working for him! 200+ websites is really impressive in a relatively short period of time! At the rate I create sites, it’d take me a lifetime to achieve that number :)

    Outsourcing is in my plans and hopefully I can implement it sooner than later. Question, do you have any wisdom on how to get people to click on your Adsense ads or is it just the sheer number of visitors you’re getting and hoping they’ll click on them? Congratulations on your success!

    [Reply]

    Harlan Yee Reply:

    One more question. You must be spending a lot on domain names? How did you deal with the costs as you continually increased the number of your websites before you hit $12,000/mo? Or even before you hit $2000/mo?

    [Reply]

  10. Awesome, awesome, awesome guest post. Very motivating story. No matter what your dream (corporate world or entrepreneurial) persistence is critical.

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks for commenting, Ian. I love stories like this too.

    [Reply]

  11. Spencer you are my hero after mike. Some of my niche sites are one page 1. I am not monetizing because the content in these are less. Hence less traffic. Also, most of these don’t have exact more than 1.5k.

    Also, when i read your pdf in which you mentioned about cpc. Most of my sites are amazon targetted and cpc is less $1 except 2 sites. I am positive for future

    [Reply]

  12. You often hear from people that have “made it” that they made several attempts at learning what worked for them. That’s really hard to put so much effort into a site and then just drop it. That shows, however, how important it is to understand your competition and niche.

    Very encouraging story. Thanks for sharing.
    Laura recently posted… Elance Referral Program- Earn 50 Per Referral

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    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks for the comment, Laura! :)

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  13. Its indeed an inspiring article and I must say Thanks for sharing the saga of your success with us. I believe that not only many will be benefited and propelled in the right direction, but also many will have the courage to hang on to their business even if they aren’t making much profits.
    Adam Gardner recently posted… Updating your Outdated Furniture

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  14. Spencer,

    Do you use Market Samurai for link building?

    I used the free trial and love the way they have the pingback finding feaure. I hope that works better on new sites than too many incoming one way links too fast that got a couple of my niche sites kind of punished by google.

    Thanks for your website wisdom!
    paula neal mooney recently posted… Another SCAM- You Are Today’s Lucky Washington Winner from SurveyPrizeCentercom

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  15. Awesome post Spencer. I must admit that the most impressive thing is not your income, but your persistence. I am really glad that you achieved your dream. I hope someday I will be the one with a post similar to this. I have one question. Do you link between your 200 blogs? If you can add 200 backlinks to a new blog in one day it must be very effective I guess.

    Keep up the good work.

    Cheers Alex
    Alex recently posted… Why is my blog a DoFollow blog

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  16. In everything we do we need to learn the theory, but that’s nothing if there’s no ambition and the will to work towards a goal.
    Spencer is a nice example of someone who put these to practice and proved it works.
    Antonia recently posted… Hypnosis Training – The 4 Stages Hypnosis Protocol

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  17. Im still learning this concept, taking me a bit to get my head around it

    [Reply]

  18. I guess that’s the secret, discover what works for you by trial and error, then push on it till it bleeds money.
    I’m looking on getting your book right now, should have some interesting info in it.
    Amit recently posted… All Terrain Forklift Training and Certification

    [Reply]

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Why Niche Websites are a Great Business Model | Niche Pursuits - May 23, 2011

    [...] before you see any success.  In fact, I had years of failed websites before I saw any real income (read my recent guest post for some of my [...]

  2. What do Worm Farms and Buffalo Nickels have in common ? | Passive Income Playbook - May 30, 2011

    [...] was reading about his success story today on My 4-Hour Workweek blog. It really is a great example of what can happen when you persist and find a way that works [...]

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