Planning For A Sabbatical At 50

Sometimes it’s appropriate to take a serious look at what you’re doing in life and plan accordingly. I had wanted to be retired by the time I was 40. That didn’t happen. And now just 2 days ago I turned 49 and exactly 1 more Earth trip around the sun, and providing that Barack Obama isn’t the anti-christ, I’m looking at the big Five Ohh No!

With that in mind, on my birthday I implemented the plan to allow for my wife Jean and I to take a year off from work and set a new direction for our lives. Where the year 2010, and beyond, will take us I’m not quite sure yet, but in 2009 I’ll be working like a mad dog to raise the funds needed and set in place a business that keeps on working even when I’m not working at it.

As a little aside, don’t think when I mentioned retirement in the opening paragraph that means you go and sit on your backside, smoke a pipe and drink powdered lemonade while playing checkers with the rest of your retiree buddies all day long. That’s not living. Retirement is living life and filling in best where the good Lord can use you, but not having to worry how you’re going to pay for it. By the time I’m 50 I don’t want to be worried about how I’m going to make the money needed to spend my next 50 years here.

I’m not saying I’ll never put out any effort in the money making department of life after 50, I just don’t want that to be the main focus of my endeavors as it has been for the last 35 years or so.

What makes up the plan for this year and what is different than how I’ve conducted business in the past is that I’ll be outsourcing almost all my content writing. Right now I’m looking at getting about 50 articles a month written for the 3 main sites that have generated the bulk of my income for some time now. Two of those sites, one being a blog, are travel related, one of them focusing on a specific city or area of the United States and the other site is a BANS site that has at its highest income level produced over $1,000 a month.

The content I’m outsourcing will be used as articles for the sites and blog posts, but the majority of it will be used for article marketing and getting those all important incoming links pointing to your site. I’m hoping by the end of this year, or actually my 50th birthday next year, that I’ll have an additional 600 pages of content, blog posts and articles working for me making the elves at Google happy.

So, with the business side of life covered, what are Jean and I going to do on our year long sabbatical you may be thinking? While that isn’t 100% carved in stone just yet, we do have several ideas we’re kicking around. First, we have to have our house taken care of because by this time next year we’ll have probably 50 to 60% of our available yard covered with gardens so we will need someone to make sure all of that doesn’t die.

And for locations we’re looking at, right now we’re thinking of somewhere in Montana where it’s dark and I can play amateur astronomer on about 40 acres of land, a cabin somewhere in the Smoky Mountains or northern Georgia or on some sort of farming co-op in Costa Rica. As far as what we’d actually be doing, well for the farming co-op, that’s fairly obvious, but for the other locations we have a few book ideas rolling around in our brains. For me I’d like to turn Affiliate Confession into a book about how to make money through all the opportunities on the web. Heck, I already have 340 pages of affiliate marketing info online already with this blog, it would probably be useful to someone in a book format. And Jean has a couple ideas for books related to her Christian counseling work and healthy eating.

And when we’re done with the year long sabbatical, what then? One thing I know for sure, life will not return to normal, normal being spending 50 to 60 hours a week in front of the computer writing, doing research, learning more about what everyone else is doing and spending way too much time following rabbit trails originating at the Drudge Report.

Depending on what we may learn in Costa Rica or what we come up with pursuing a book we could either be teaching people how to turn their yards into mini farms or promoting our books in various venues. We’ll also get back to working our yard / mini farm that we hope to get to produce 40 to 50% of our food someday.

Right now, I have to get back to working on the main goal because I’ve spent way too much time writing this blog post.

Popularity: 10% [?]

Tags: , , , ,

If you have enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing to my full RSS feed or you can have posts send directly to your inbox if you subscribe by email.

Bookmarks: | del.icio.us | Digg it | Furl | reddit | StumbleUpon


Finding Niche Market Ideas Using Magazines

The following is a guest post by Jerry from NicheFree.com where you can find Free Niche Marketing Ideas.

Finding a great idea for a niche market is as easy as standing in line at the grocery store.

Next time you are standing around waiting for the cashier to ring you up, take a few minutes to browse through the gold mines along the counter – the magazines.

Want to know what people are buying? Look in the pages before you – and take notes.

Check out the topics on the front cover. They are probably about finances, weight loss and health. Then dig deeper and see what the articles are about. What specific issue do they address?

Another great way to get ideas? Check out all of the small mini-magazines and booklets at the counter. Those are also full of great ideas for niches.

I keep a small notepad with me and jot down notes as I shop. (Why not get ideas for making money while I kill time, right?)  I can get 10 or 12 ideas in a single afternoon of running errands. Do I use all of them? No, of course not, but out of 10 or 12 I can usually have an idea I use.

Here is how I got  an idea for a wonderful niche:

While waiting in line, I saw several booklets for diabetics. Magazine articles, too. But I also saw one booklet that had quick, easy recipes that were diabetic-friendly. Hmmm…

So I started a blog that has recipe tips for quick, easy meals that are suitable for diabetics. I put up about 10 posts to put some good content on there and attract visitors. How do I monetize that? Simple. I use Adsense and I advertise products that promote diabetes control through a healthier diet (because it is a blog with meal tips) as well as Once a Month Cooking (TM).

Using the ideas all around you, you can create a moneymaking website or blog in a matter of hours – and be making money soon after.

Popularity: 13% [?]

Tags: , , , ,

If you have enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing to my full RSS feed or you can have posts send directly to your inbox if you subscribe by email.

Bookmarks: | del.icio.us | Digg it | Furl | reddit | StumbleUpon


The Harsh Realities Of Affiliate Marketing

I couldn't find a 2 by 4Just a short post today to let you know that tomorrow I’ll be starting a 6 part (maybe more) series on the harsh realities of affiliate marketing. While you can make a living online and you can even become what one would consider rich, affiliate marketing can be cold, cruel and difficult to make a buck with for those that either don’t get it or and trying too hard to become rich.

The series is mainly for newer affiliates just getting started and trying to figure out the whole game and may be a good reminder for those who have been at it awhile. If you’ve read any ebooks by gurus (most are garbage) or enrolled in courses that you purchased after reading a quarter-mile-long sales page, you may have found out that the reality of affiliate marketing is very different than the make money, get rich fantasy. There’s no doubt that this business is hard work. Some people however, just need a 2 by 4 upside the head because they just don’t get it.

My goal is to make this series that 2 by 4, with a soft cushion on the end you get hit with. Some people may be offended by something in the series because it resembles them too closely. I won’t be refering to anyone in particular in my posts, but you just may be the latest one to ask the question or leave a comment the post is addressing. Don’t worry, there’s a long line of people behind you who have asked the very same question, but sorry you had to be the most recent.

For now, here’s what the series will cover:

1. Why ranking even number 1 for some keywords is no big deal.

2. Prepare to lose money on PPC.

3. Banner ads don’t really cut it.

4. You will have a major setback.

5. Be too careful and you will fail.

6. Analysis will cause paralysis, and eventually death.

In writing this post I just thought of another topic, so now it’s a 7 part series before it’s even started.

7. Don’t count on your blog to make any money.

The post isn’t quite as short as I expected, but that’s the scoop on the upcoming series staring tomorrow. Stay tuned…

Popularity: 7% [?]

Tags: , , ,

If you have enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing to my full RSS feed or you can have posts send directly to your inbox if you subscribe by email.

Bookmarks: | del.icio.us | Digg it | Furl | reddit | StumbleUpon


Affiliate Confession FAQ

Quetions? Check the FAQ...You may have noticed another link at the top of the page leading to the Affiliate Confession FAQ. I put this up because of the increasing amount of questions I’m getting for information that’s already on this blog.

I started writing Affiliate Confession to chronicle what I’ve been doing in affiliate marketing for the last 4 years or so, what’s happening in the world of making money on the internet, what Google’s up to (someone needs to keep an eye on them) and occasionally what Jean and I had for lunch or dinner or some other off topic rant. But the main purpose of this blog is to teach people how to make money online based on how I’ve done that.

Even though the main purpose is to explain how you can make around $3,000 to $3,500 per month in affiliate marketing and show people how I’ve done what I do, I still get tons of questions wanting me to explain how I do what I do. It’s kind of a vicious cycle in that the more posts that go up explaining what I do and the more traffic that comes to the blog, the more question come in asking about the same things I just wrote about.

I’m trying to keep this at one level below a rant because I really don’t want it to come off that way, but this is a little symptomatic of why people don’t make money in affiliate marketing. Sometimes the information is right in front of you, but we fail to act on it or dig for it a little and see that the secrets are right there in the previous post or in the archives section or just below the surface.

I certainly don’t mind answering questions that are well though out and cover topics or information not covered in the blog or that can’t be found by plugging in a search in the box between the most popular section at the top and where the posts start. And if you have a burning question that you can’t find the answer to by looking around or checking the FAQ, please feel free to contact me and ask it.

And if I haven’t answered your question you may have sent in some time ago, it doesn’t mean it has been ignored, it may simply be because I can’t answer every question personally. Sometimes though, your questions have been used as material for a post because I realize that topic hasn’t been covered adequately.

All that to say, don’t stop sending in questions, just check the FAQ first, or look around the blog, because there’s a good chance your question may have already been answered.

Popularity: 8% [?]

Tags: , , ,

If you have enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing to my full RSS feed or you can have posts send directly to your inbox if you subscribe by email.

Bookmarks: | del.icio.us | Digg it | Furl | reddit | StumbleUpon


Buy Entrecard Credits On eBay

Entrecard Ads 

I’ve been doing a lot of advertising through Entrecard lately and have had some pretty good results. As you can see in the image above at the height of my advertising spree after accumulating 30,000 credits, I had 48 ads running at one time. I have also increased my traffic by 200 to 250 visitors a day via ads.

I still think it takes way too much time to find good places to advertise coupled with the fact that your ads only run for 24 hours. It is quite time consuming to maintain a level of running more than 30 ads a day. However, Entrecard has made it easier to visit the blog you are interested in advertising on by being able to go directly to that blog from the category rather than the individual users profile. This saves you a click for each blog you are interested in placing ads with.

Entrecard has also made it easier to get credits because you can now buy them on the site and they are priced at $9.50 per 1,000 credits and sold in bundles of 1,000, 5,000 and 10,000 credits each. So, 10,000 credits will end up costing you $95. It would take you over a month to earn that many credits by dropping the limit of 300 per day. So, in some ways, that is a fairly decent way to spend a little of your advertising dollars.

But it gets even better when you find out you can get Entrecard credits on eBay for less than half of what Entrecard sell them for. I purchased 5,000 for $22 and 10,000 credits for only $40 recently and as I write this post there’s a Buy It Now offer for 10,000 credits for only $30 and there are usually 10 to 12 auctions or sales of Entrecard credits going on at any one time.

Pretty simple math, if you want to do massive advertising with Entrecard and save a bunch of money on the deal, buy Entrecard credits on eBay.

Popularity: 7% [?]

Tags: , , ,

If you have enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing to my full RSS feed or you can have posts send directly to your inbox if you subscribe by email.

Bookmarks: | del.icio.us | Digg it | Furl | reddit | StumbleUpon