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As per Blaine Moore’s instructions, many bloggers are completing a year in review blog post recapping their blogging for the year before it rolls over into 2008.
Instead of highlighting my best articles from this blog during 2007 I’m going to do something a bit different – look at my business achievements for the year that was. This is part one of a three part series I will publish recapping the big events of 2007. Part two is coming tomorrow and part three is out on new years eve.
This year was quite simply the most amazing year I have had in many ways, but none more so than financially. This was the first year that I broke the fabled six figure income, I bought a new car, bought a house, sold a business, and started a new one, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Here’s how the year broke down…
I began 2007 in Toronto Canada, spending January and February with my family in the harsh cold of winter. During this time I went to the Strategic Profits event in Florida, which was a great experience (and much warmer) and blogged about it in these articles -
At this event I met Mike Filsaime for the first time, connected with Rich Schefren in person, and also met a host of many other successful and aspiring Internet entrepreneurs. It was a great event and I hope to make it to another Strategic Profits conference in 2008.
During this time I was of course blogging, generating around $4,000 to $6,000 per month and running BetterEdit.com, which was on track to finally crack six figures for the year (that’s revenue). I was taking home about $10,000 a month average profit in total between the two businesses, but my motivation was waning for my proofreading business and focused more on blogging.
I returned home to Brisbane Australia in late February and in March attended the World Internet Summit in Melbourne, were I met Andrew and Daryl Grant in person for the first time. This was a fun conference, but clearly targeted at beginners, so I spent more time talking to the speakers than actively studying the presentation content.
You can read my recap of the Melbourne Summit in this article -
Later in March I was invited to the Grant’s ebook conference in Brisbane. This was a great event, but one specific day – the day focused on membership sites – triggered a change of plans that would significantly impact the rest of my year.
You can read my recap of the Grant’s March event here -
Prior to the Grant’s event I had plans to release an ebook on search engine optimization for blogs. I had all but finished the book while in Canada, I had the cover designed and was planning to release the book as soon as I returned to Australia.
After the Grant’s workshop and some time reflecting, I decided to hold off releasing the book and instead go to market with a membership site, which at the start of 2007 was just becoming all the rage and would dominate the Internet marketing landscape as one of the most popular business formats for the year, with hundreds of new membership sites launching in all kinds of niches.
I wasn’t sure what to offer people, but I knew what people wanted – to learn how to make money from blogging. At the time I felt a bit uncomfortable claiming to teach how to make money from blogging when I wasn’t the top earner in the blogosphere, but I certainly felt I had a lot to teach. I was also worried about whether people wanted to pay for a structured program about the topic of professional blogging, given the amount of free information already available.
After March turned in a bumper month for blog income, totaling over $6,500, I felt confident that I had something valuable to teach that was different to what was already out there. I decided to run with a program to train people how to make $5,000 a month, blogging about two hours per day.
I’ve always been a fan of working casual hours while making a full time income or more, and that was the angle I wanted to work with for my program, which was different to other workaholic bloggers, who may make more money than I did, but worked a lot harder too.
I registered the domain name BlogMastermind.com, grabbed some of my tech friends and we set to work planning a launch for sometime in late May.
When I returned to Australia I had no place to live, I had not renewed my lease when I left my rental in mid 2006, so I stayed with my mother. I had enough capital saved up for a 20% deposit on a house and was eager to get into the market. Since I was self employed I knew I would need the large deposit and require a low-doc loan (you don’t have to have a job or prove your income, as long as you have the deposit).
I began the search for a place to live in March, targeting around the $300,000 to $350,000 price range. Ideally I wanted to live in an inner city suburb called West End, since that was were I rented prior and by far my favorite place to live – I still go there five times a week for dinners, yoga, typing in cafes and skating.
Unfortunately the entry price for a two bedroom apartment was about $350,000 and Brisbane was – and still is – going through a huge real estate price boom, there’s just too many people moving here. Property prices can climb as much as 10% in a quarter and the worst part is the competition. If you find a place that looks promising you have to inspect it the day it came on the market or you might miss out.
Not wanting to invest in an apartment as my first property, I begrudgingly started to look at other suburbs. For $350,000 I could get a house if I was willing to live 30-60 minutes out of town or a townhouse if I would live 20 minutes away from town.
I began the hunt and after missing several places over several months, I became quite tired of it, especially the “silent auction” process that occurs because each property has five to ten interested parties making an offer. The email alerts for property sales kept coming in, and if anything matched my criteria I phoned up immediately to seek an inspection. With the advantage of working from home and a flexible schedule, I could call up agents immediately and organize inspections.
A three year old, three bedroom townhouse came up in the same suburb I grew up in, close to my mother’s place, near schools and a train line – a fantastic suburb, if a bit further out than I wanted. The listing price was $335,000 and I knew that was a good price, at least compared to how much everything equivalent was selling for.
I organized an inspection a day before the official inspection since I knew I would need to get in first if I wanted a chance.
The property was good. Modern, with gas cooking, a dishwasher and the exact same layout of the place I rented in West End – three bedrooms on the second floor, with the lounge, dining, kitchen and garage on the ground floor.
During the inspection the agent all but told me to my face that the owner would sell for $330,000, so I ummed and ahhed, got nervous, then made the offer. Much to my surprise the owner accepted and I had a contract (I thought the owner would wait for the open house inspection and get the advantage of the bidding war to raise the price).
I secured the loan with a broker and waited for settlement. Unfortunately, due to the ill health of the owner, settlement took a lot longer than expected, several months, and I wouldn’t get the keys for quite some time, in fact, settlement occurred right in the eye of the storm when another two big events occurred in my life.
Long time readers of this blog may wonder why I haven’t written about BetterEdit.com, the editing and proofreading online service I launched several years ago. My experience growing BetterEdit has provided a wealth of material for this blog – a brief look through my archives is proof of this – but after six years I decided to move on.
I haven’t written about BetterEdit as much this year for one reason – I sold it. The final details of the transaction are just being tied up now, but the actual sale process began around March of 2007. I had thought about selling the business for several months prior to that, especially when it was clear blogging was the direction I wanted to take, but I hadn’t seriously began the process of selling until early 2007, after I decided to launch a blogging information product.
BetterEdit is a great business. It has a fantastic business model and for the owner is a fairly dependable income source that requires very little labor to maintain. That’s why it was so hard to sell it.
In the end, I made the choice because I needed to mentally extract myself from managing the business. Even though the labor is minimal, as the owner of a business you still have to devote a certain amount of mindshare to it. There were still emails I had to deal with, I had to maintain the records and think about the future of the business and how I would continue to grow it. I had little enthusiasm for any of this, hence I knew I had to sell it.
I began sending out some feelers to people who I thought might be interested. Having contact with several millionaire Internet marketers, I thought I might be able to find a buyer that way, but surprisingly the person who bought BetterEdit came up completely randomly.
You might call it the law of attraction or just plain luck, but a person contacted me interested in developing some kind of working relationship with BetterEdit. I said sure, that sounds good, but I’m actually in the process of selling the business. They responded by asking for more details and expressed interest in buying. This all occurred online through instant messenger and Skype calls.
Over a period of several months we went through a due diligence process, settled on a price and then went to work completing the transaction. This process was quite long and protracted, which I was expecting, but to make things interesting, the actual transaction began right in the same month that I launched my membership site, Blog Mastermind – June 2007, which happened to also be the month when my house finally settled.
I’m not at liberty to disclose the final selling price of BetterEdit, but I can say it was the first time I have ever made six figures at once (just!).
BetterEdit had a good financial year from July 06 to June 07 (the Australian financial year), and as I said at the start of this article, it broke six figures in revenue for the first time that year. The business had a fantastic year-on-year growth curve of around 100% revenue increase each year on the previous year and yes, if I was only interested in business for the money, I probably would not have sold BetterEdit. I know from a happiness point of view, I definitely made the right decision to move on and I have no regrets.
I’m proud to say that BetterEdit was the first six figure business I ever built myself from scratch. Running the business taught me a lot, plus it granted me the freedom to blog as much as I wanted. Overall it was a great experience, including trips to university campuses in many different cities in Australia, Canada and the USA, but I’m happy to have moved on.
You can now continue and read part two of this series – What Do You Do When Everything Happens At Once? – 2007 Year In Review Part 2.
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