2014 Has Been An Incredible Year

A View From The New Office

A View From The New Office

All of the bloggers are doing their year-end recaps.

I love reading them.

Unlike the rest of them, I didn’t do much this year.

I spent a lot of time on forums and buying up sites and domains I never built.

I think I only finished one site all year, and it has yet to make me any real money.

So this year has been a waste on the business-side of things.

Or has it?

Here’s Why 2014 Was An Incredible Year:

I Was Interviewed.

Seeing the hundreds of shares and likes that this got and how inspired folks were by the interview, was really exciting to me.

If you haven’t read it yet, you can, here: http://www.thedailyinterview.com/quinton-hamp/

I had time to be with my wife.

Huge Baby BellyAs you may well know, we found out in December of 2013 that we were expecting twins. What followed was one of the most arduous periods of our life. There were countless doctor’s visits, weeks of bedrest and a few hairy nights of waiting on test results.

Through it all, I never had to ask a boss for time off. I could stay home and play Gin Rummy with the wife for hours, or run her across town to a doctor’s appointment, or take the 4 year old out so she could get some rest.

Did it bite into our business results for 2014? Undoubtedly. But some things are worth it.

And yes, you get huge when you are carrying twins. Baby-making is a task I sure would never sign up for.

I Had Time To Get Greasy

Growing up poor I learned a lot of mechanical skills.

But perhaps not enough.

As luck would have it, we had a head gasket go bad on one relative’s car, and the head go bad on our Cadillac. head gasket

I spent a good two months under the hood, disassembling and re-assembling engines.Rebuilding Engine

 

Moments of it were quite fun, I learned a lot, and I’m very pleased with myself.

But I also learned a very painful lesson in the value of one’s time.

Had that time invested in the cars been invested in the business instead, I would likely be about $10,000 ahead.  (At Least. )

When you first start out, all you have is time.

And when you don’t have the lump-sum of money sitting around to do a repair and you are staring at a broken car, it is very easy to go back to throwing time at the problem.

Let’s put it this way: If I had taken 160 hours to build a site that would have a return of $3,000 per month, I could have made $18,000 in 6 months.

Instead, I took that 160 working hours in a month and used it on a $4,800 repair job.

 

Yes, it solved the problem, but next time I will be inclined to let the repair sit while I build up the cash to have someone else do the repair.

Hindsight. Monday Morning Quarterbacking. All that.

The Twins Arrived

I’m blaming a lot of my lack of productivity on these two bugger-heads. Man, they take up time. And I don’t even have primary care responsibilities. Twins

A lot of nights of colic. After that we decided to have a “grumping hour” every evening which typically resulted in my wife and I pacing the house, each with a kid their arms.

Just last week I lost 6 hours of a day spending time with our little girl while she went through a teething bout.

After things settled down, I had to relearn how to work. And it was challenging to just let one kid cry while it was waiting for mom to get free, and inevitably, I’d get up and try to help.

I finally decided to rent a small office and spent nearly 3 weeks running around town to find one, repaint it (the tenants before me had loved orange), and get settled in.

I still only work about 6 hours a day there, and my schedule is flexible, but it is allowing me to get back into a more productive routine.

That’s the downside of twins.

The upside is that they are some of the most amazing people you’ll ever meet.

I seriously dig them.

Turns Out You Can Write Off Vacations

One of the major perks of being self-employed is that you have to take business trips. Lego Chicago

This year we took two. The first was up to Chicago Illinois where it snowed in March. 

I am so not a fan.

While there, I enjoyed my first networking moment as I met with Perrin (now of Niche Pursuits fame) and Eric Gati (Of My Four Hour Workweek and The Daily Interview).

We mostly talked about SEO and the long-term viability of affiliate marketing. Several ideas were discussed regarding the sizes  of websites and the quality of the content which have gone on to become some of my bigger strategy points and is likely to become the future of SEO as it pertains to the affiliate marketing model.

As a bonus, the kid got to see his first Lego store, Mom got to check out the IKEA and we all had a chance to see Grandma one more time before the twins showed up and tied us down.

In August, I had the opportunity to visit Becker in Dallas, TX for a small mastermind. 

For those of you who don’t know, Becker has played a huge role in my success. His free blog and subsequent paid courses (Infinitum (discontinued), Source ROI and Black) have taught me more about internet galvestonmarketing then a 4 year college degree ever could. When you consider that I spent 2 and a half years before Becker just to reach $1k a month … and then hit the $10k/month mark 10 months after implementing his methods… yeah, he’s played a huge role in our family’s freedom.

I’ve got to say that was an incredible, pivotal experience. We spent all day listening to Becker dump his experience on us. It was incredible, and I’m still gleaning insights from our session. We then took turns creating a plan to take our income to the 500% mark.

As I’ve begun refocusing on work, it is this plan which continues to be my main strategy.  There’s no reason not to expect us to realize this goal by August 2015 as planned.

The other huge aspect was being able to chat with others in the industry. Anthony Aires Gomez is a well-known name who has literally decades of experience as a marketer. Sitting there and soaking in his perspective really helps a kid like me break free of some of the “short-term” mindsets and begin planning for long-term success.

And it was absolutely jaw-dropping to chat with folks like Joshua Zamora and Kotton Grammer who went from 0 to 6-figures+ in less than a year. I think all of us were pretty wowed by that.

And then you had the other folks in my range, who were absolute SEO geeks. We just bantered strategies like crazy and continue to stay in touch. (These connections have since widened, and it is really impressive what having a network can do for your business. “Thank you” to every one of you who are a part of it.)

While In Texas we ran down to the beach in Galveston. The wife finally got to see some salt water, and for me it was a nice day of recharging and soaking in all of the knowledge of the day before.

Since we were traveling with the twins, my wife’s sisters graciously agreed to travel with us and help tend the kids. No way that we could have done it without them.

A Few Things Done Right

Masterminds Rock.

One thing that has gone right this year is that a 2 other bloggers got together and started a small mastermind. I was honored to be asked to join as the third party and we meet every other week via Skype to discus the challenges in our business and push each other to new heights.

I’ve got to say that it is really dang inspiring to have folks pushing you along, checking in with your progress and holding you accountable to your goals.

This mastermind may be one of the biggest reasons (in addition to the office ) for my 3rd-quarter success.

CPA’s RULE

Turns out I’m not a numbers guy and my finances were in pretty haphazard shape. Gabe has taken me on as a client and has done wonders in helping me sort out my books. He’s also been hugely patient with me as I try to dig through old records and figure out just where I put all those shoe boxes of receipts.

As we move into 2015, he’ll be there to help me evaluate my goals and make strategic moves to save money on taxes and start getting my retirement on track. (Not that I need to retire, I never work, anyways). He’s probably the only CPA in the country who understands what SEO is, making me doubly happy to have found him.

So… What About 2015?

As we look forward to the new year, I have a few very simple goals I’d love to see accomplished:

  • $500,000/year in income
  • The Launching Of The Cubicle Houdini Brand To Six Figures
  • 12% Body Fat and The Ability To Run 5k’s Again

Maybe if I can keep from fixing cars and caring for twins, we’ll actually see this happen.

How was YOUR 2014? Any plans for the New Year?

 

 

 

 

Why SEO Will Never Die

Yes, I should be in bed right now.

Yes, I should be in bed right now.

“SEO IS DEAD”

We hear that line all the time. Even Forbes has a full-length post asking “Is SEO Dead?

Well, it isn’t. And it’s not going to be dead anytime soon.

You see, computers use algorithms to find stuff.  And we have to adjust our stuff to fit the computer’s algorithms.

The day may come when SEO for Google is not needed anymore. Where their algorithm knows exactly what it is looking for and truly rewards the top sites for having the best, most relevant content.

 

But long before they lose their need of expert SEO’s other search engines will be clamoring for our services.

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We Stand On Shoulders

tbtThere sat dad.

He had left that morning for a two week long, over the road run.

We we all mentally set for the long, boring weeks ahead of us.

Boring, but it paid enough money to cover the bills.

Mom sat there, too.  Mom was stressed.

Dad called us together. He had decided that he was done driving truck. We kids were growing up too fast. He said he’d finally figured out that were were going to be broke whether he worked or not, so he may as well be rich in family.

I’m not sure any of us believed him.

What ensued was the most formative 3 years of my life.  Without training in any other career, Dad began working a series of menial tasks, often making little more than minimum wage. To fill the gap, he started a series of businesses and picked up odd jobs or worked overtime.

He destroyed his credit.

We ran through a rash of MLM schemes. Then some sales opportunities. He got hired as a radar technician and we traveled the country with him for most of a year, seeing over 20 states.

Not only did I see him give up everything that the world values — cars, home status — I spent countless hours with him. I’d be up with him before dawn, throwing newspapers to pay the electric bill. Or working at night, scrubbing floors at a doctor’s office to buy gas for next week’s commute. Or running booths on the weekend to promote whatever MLM product we were trying that time.

And the whole time he taught. Taught us about life. We talked about what traits to look for in a wife. What to look for in a career.

What dreams looked like and how to chase them.

How opportunities disguised themselves and how to still nab them. time flies too fast

We discussed finances and savings and retirement. And how some people save money from each paycheck and eventually don’t have to work anymore because they can live off of the interest.

We discussed passive income ideas and marveled at those who successfully pulled them off.

All the while watching him work his heart out (literally) for us.

At the age of 41, he had a heart attack.

Most of you have enjoyed following my success as I’ve become an internet marketer and stay-at-home dad.

father daaughter danceWhat you don’t see is that my brother and sister also work from home with similar — if not more — success than myself.  All three of us have been married for nearly 5 years (that’s better than 20% of the marriages out there), and have pretty impressive mates.

We learned sacrifice from watching him. We learned what passion really looks like. And what it means to give your all for those you love.

Today, he’s back over the road.  After a crappy divorce (which ones aren’t?) the 4 younger siblings aren’t quite as keen on him as we were.

So he’s loving them the best he can: by providing for them.

 

When people ask me if they can learn how to do what I do, I say “yes”.

But unless you had a dad as passionate as mine, you probably won’t have the inner drive to do this gig.  (And even if you did, you probably didn’t have two grandparents as great as mine)

But whether you had a good dad or a bad dad, you have to remember that the challenges we are to face are unique to us. And the good Lord gives us a lot of strength for putting up with the nonsense of others.

So for all of you with non-existent dads, my heart goes out to you. Forgive them. Pour everything you can into your kids, and stop the cycle.

And to those of you who have stellar dads, don’t forget to call ’em.

Here’s to the men who went before us, and the sons who follow.

Safe, White-Hat Places To Get “Pillow” Links From For Diversifying Your Link Profile

Hey Guys!

seobrainSo right now, we have a major problem.

I’ve diagnosed it. It’s our brain.

You see, for the past year we’ve been learning that we need to de-optimize our link ratios.  You don’t want too many links pointing to your site that say “best red widgets” when red widgets is what you are selling.

Google has taught us this lesson thoroughly.  They don’t care how the links got there.  It could have been someone performing negative SEO. It could have been a legitimate white-hat link from someone you don’t know. It could be a blackhat link that you built.

If you have too many links coming into your site with exact match anchor text, you are sunk.

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Penguin 3.0 and Panda 4.0 | My recovery

panda 4.0Unlike what Neil Patel loudly proclaimed (underneath all of his zillions of popup ads for email opt-in), there has not been a Penguin 3.0.

Not that I’ve seen, anyways.

I know, I know.

The Warrior Forum said it was happening.  We all lost rankings.

I lost 40% of the traffic to one of my sites.

And April 24th is forever branded in the mind of every SEO as being synonymous with “Penguin”.

Granted, there was some updates going on at the end of April. And some of them seemed Penguin-related.

But even in the midst of the Penguin drama, I saw a lot of Panda-like activity.  I honestly think they were tweaking the Penguin, Panda and PayDay loan algos, all at the same time.

But, unlike Neil Patel who recommends you go out and start deleting links (seriously, the guy ‘s Penguin 3.0 post is so full of nonsense, I can’t believe he’s made it this long in the game. Maybe that’s why he’s creating fake algorithm updates.), let me touch on the action I took to correct my affected site:

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