When I first started my career on the internet I was in my basement. I had no employees. Other than a $299 server cost I had no other expenses…. I taught myself how to program, although not very well, I was able to produce a website that would go on to create a lot of money.
I went from unemployment to a million dollars in no time. I was so disorganized that I literally took a box of receipts to H&R block at the end of the year. Yes, H&R block did my tax return when I made my first million.
Bottom line – I was focused on making money and would go on to make a lot of it.
I didn’t know how to do things “the right way”. However, I did connect with a good accounting firm who introduced me to quarterly income taxes. Whatever just pay it. I hired my mother-in-law who would come down once a week and get the receipts and what not and take care of finances. I never had to deal with it and it was great.
I remained focused on my main site, affiliate marketing, PPC arbitrage, churning and burning MFA (made for AdSense) sites, etc etc. Was a lot of fun.
I brought on a part time contractor who shortly turned into a big part of my company. We created an advertising network called AuctionAds. After 4 months of starting the company we sold the company for millions.
That was somewhat of a rally killer. For those who don’t get that reference – it comes from baseball. A team is getting hit after hit then hits a homerun… and then produces no more runs. While the home run was great it killed the rally.
Anyway, after that large windfall I decided it was time to build a “real company with real employees”.
So I got out of the basement, got a office, and hired employees. This went on for the next 6 years. Each year I grossed more money but brought home less.
Around year 4 I started the PAR Program and was up to 18 full time employees with a huge downtown office and between payroll and many other expenses I had over half a million a year in overhead. The worst part is I felt like *I* was working my balls off just to pay my employees salary and provide them with a great work environment.
Also during this time, a lot of my time was focused on items like maternity policies, who can go on vacation, office drama, etc etc. Half of the day was meetings to see who was doing what. I got most of my work done before 9 and after 5.
I don’t blame them what so ever. I was trying to do a role that I hated and was not good at. For the first time in many years I actually did not enjoy what I was doing….. in fact I hated it.
When I hit 40, as I have written before, I had a massive “come to jesus” moment.
WTF was I doing.
I called a meeting the next day and told my employees we were killing the downtown office, downsizing employees, and I was no longer accepting new clients for the PAR Program company and was going to be selling it.
2 Months later I was down to 4 employees who worked from home. I was very happy.
While servicing our existing PAR Program clients (which wasn’t a lot of work) I came up with the idea for the ShoeMoney Network.
As you might have read I sold the PAR Program company in late November.
When that sale had happen I was already hitting the ground running with the ShoeMoney Network.
I actually created the site from scratch 100% myself. I did all graphics (they were bad), all programing, all video’s and of course the marketing.
In the first 2 months it did over $100,000 in revenue.
Since that time I have 1 employee, a partner in the company that handles day to day operations and several contractors who deal with shit I don’t want to.
And as of the time of writing this the ShoeMoney Network, I have no doubt, will be the most successful thing I have ever done.
I don’t deal with any employee bullshit. No 401k plans, no maternity leave, no vacation, no sick days, no policy bullshit. I am back to the basics and able to focus on making a great product which will have a great side effect of making money.
Looking back I regret nothing. Shit happens.
It’s a great thing when you realize you still have the ability to surprise yourself. Makes you wonder what else you can do that you’ve forgotten about. – Lester Burnham, American Beauty.
I couldn’t have said it better myself.