How “Big” Are You Ready For?

I’m not going to lie; I really wanted to make good money online. I was going to add “through whatever means necessary”, but obviously that’s proven not to be quite true. I also realize that I’ve limited my online potential in many ways, mainly because I’m not ready for the consequences of taking certain actions.

Often when one thinks about how big they want to be online, most believe they want to make millions. That’s a laudable goal, but the truth is that most of us are set up to make a few hundred if we’re lucky; I was there for a short period of my life but those days are long gone.
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Is The Problem Just Yours?

A few weeks ago I went to the Annual Credit Report site to get my free credit report from the top 3 credit reporting agencies in the country. After I got my first report, I had problems getting the other 2 reports.

The problem… I automatically block javascript for every new site I visit because I hate popups and those stupid cookie messages that seem to show up everywhere. When I first got to the site above, I allowed javascript and assumed all would be well. It turned out that after I got the first report, it transferred me to another page that wasn’t a fully participatory page on their site, which meant I had to turn on javascript again. However, when I turned it on things went wonky, and I lost the ability to get the last two reports.
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Figuring Out When It’s Time To Let Go

That’s an ominous title, so let me first say that I’m not ending this blog, not leaving my relationship, and nothing else bad has happened to me. Not that any new readers will care, but some of the consistent readers might be wondering what I’m talking about; all is good with me. 🙂

services stuff

What’s not good is one of my websites, one that I’ve had since 2006. It’s called Services and Stuff, and I’m not going to link to it. The reason I’m not going to link to it is because when it expires in March I’m not going to renew it, and I’d rather not have to try to remember to remove the link from this particular article, especially since I have to try to remember to go back and remove it from any other articles I’ve added those links to over the years.

When I created that site, it was my intention to create kind of a portal site where businesses could add their links to and I could make money off it via affiliate marketing. The two images above represented “services” and “stuff”, since I hadn’t fully defined what “stuff” was going to be back then. It turns out that over the years I never fully defined what stuff was, so it turned into anything that wasn’t services.

The difference between my portal and all those directories you see everywhere else is that I was personally reviewing each site, which means people couldn’t just add their wacky sites to it. If a site didn’t fit my own quality standards, then it didn’t get listed. I also indicated that to anyone who visited the site, hoping that they’d see what a difference it was from other sites purporting to do the same thing.

I changed the initial look pretty quickly, within a couple of months actually, and what you see is what it looked like after the change. It was a lot cleaner than my original main page, which was more of a splash page without any real content on it. I thought I was on my way to making at least a few hundred dollars a day. Who doesn’t dream big?

early look after 2 months

Within a year I had added a lot more affiliate links and way more categories of both services and stuff. Yet I wasn’t making all that much money, and almost all of it was through Google Adsense, which isn’t always the best option because when people click on those ads they leave your site. Still, I was averaging maybe $2 a month; that’ll buy you a candy bar but not much else.

Over the next few years I’d keep adding pages and subtracting pages and adding links and removing links. When I wrote about leaving Commission Junction back in October, I was griping about not making a lot of money through its affiliate program. What I didn’t mention is that it and other programs of the past (like the Google Affiliate Network) kept adding and removing affiliates, sometimes totally shutting down, and most of the time they wouldn’t tell you they’d done it. Not only was that hard to keep up with but sometimes a link I’d added for one of those affiliate programs would expire, and they didn’t tell you that either. It was a lot of work for little money; sigh…

I knew problems were there long ago. Heck, my 2011 goals even mentioned that I was thinking about changing it to some kind of online store because my original idea wasn’t working that well. It took me 4 years to give that a shot, when I created a page of all the books I’d been recommending over the years on all my blogs and other books I liked. That all came crashing down with the B&N fiasco that I hadn’t realized occurred months earlier; now the only page I still have on there is my Fitbit page, which I’m not linking to yet because I’m going to move it elsewhere, possibly linking it directly to IJS… which means I have to change how it looks, which probably isn’t a bad idea. Luckily I went the route of not using CJ for any of those products; whew!

The last time I renewed the site was in 2014, and I did so because I was out of town consulting and I didn’t have any time to think about it. After all, it was kind of my baby, my dream, and I was holding onto it for all it was worth.

S&S now

Well… it’s time to let it go. What you see above is what the page looks like right now… and it’s all wrong. The movies are old; about 80% of those affiliate programs are gone because they were part of CJ. All those other pages are still around, but there are banner ads on all of those pages and, frankly, I don’t have the time or inclination to go and remove them from each of those pages. Instead, over the next couple of weeks, I’m going to start removing all the content from that site. When I’m done, I’ll only have an index page, and I’ll probably link it to this article explaining why I’m shutting it down. I’ve given it a good 10 years; who wouldn’t agree with me that it’s time to let it go?

I should have done this years ago, but now that I’ve come to this decision, I feel a bit of pressure off my shoulders. It’s like when I decided in November to give up news and to focus more on happiness. Sometimes we all need to learn when something’s not doing us any favors, or some people are hindering our progress, and we just need to let it go.

At least it didn’t take me 18 years like it took Elsa! 🙂


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Reduce Inundation For Peace And Happiness

I almost quit social media last week.

This won’t surprise anyone who knows me, but I was floored last week by the election results. Actually, the Spidey senses went off Tuesday morning and, unfortunately, they’re never wrong.

peace and happiness

I barely ate anything on Tuesday. I forgot to take medication. when I went to bed Tuesday night/Wednesday morning I never fell asleep… I knew what was coming and I was so worked up about it that sleep never came.

Around 4:30 in the morning my wife awoke and realized I was still awake. She started talking to me, trying to get me to relax, and it took maybe 3 hours or so before any of it started to take.

During her calming words to me she uttered something that I finally decided she was correct on. She said that I should eliminate or drastically reduce those things that are bringing me turmoil and to start concentrating on doing things that might make me feel better and bring me a bit more peace and happiness.

I knew that she was correct, since this is something I actually started back in January when I talked about sculpting my Facebook feed and I did the same on LinkedIn. I knew that I had to take a second look at both and some of the other places I’m hanging out online.

I decided to start with news… almost all of it. The one account I was following on Twitter that wasn’t following me back was one of our local TV news stations. I decided to remove that from my Twitter following, as I had it in my Syracuse group column. That turned out to be amazing because it never occurred to me how dominating that was in that column. The number of accounts I have there is way more manageable since I removed it.

I’d been removing a number of people from my Twitter account for nearly the past calendar year, and not just people I disagreed with. You sometimes find that in the case of something like politics, too much can be a bad thing even if it’s a good thing… if you know what I mean. lol I really don’t like politics to begin with, just like religion, so if there’s a lot of either coming from someone I really don’t need to see it. I probably need to do more but for now I’m feeling pretty content with my efforts.

more happiness

Next I decided to remove the general news column from my Flipboard account as well. Before last week I had already been removing many news sources from there, mainly those large news sites that only let you see so many articles before you have to pay to see them. What this has done is eliminated a lot of national and world news that I not only was allowing to get me upset but the stuff I really didn’t care much about.

This one hasn’t worked as well as on Twitter but it’s easy enough to see when other news sources pop up so I can delete them. The one thing I still have to think about is whether or not I want to remove Huffington Post, since it’s not really news and it’s only a small part of what they do, but right now a lot of political stuff is popping up and frankly that’s irking me.

I mentioned above about Facebook sculpting. I decided I needed to define it further. I first went into the F.B. Purity app and added more words and phrases I didn’t want to see anymore. I then went and looked at every single person I didn’t know “uber” well, changed most of them to “stop following”, and even moved a lot of them into the Acquaintances area. I didn’t unfriend anyone, since I’d done that earlier in the year, but I set it up so that it’ll take a fluke for me to see anything they put on Facebook and a fluke for them to see anything coming from me.

This still leaves LinkedIn and Google Plus for me to get to. Google Plus will definitely be last because, frankly, I’ve only seen maybe a couple of political things on there since Wednesday morning, and things move so fast there that it’s possible I might never see anything political in the coming week. I think that’s one reason why it’s a tough platform for people to warm up to, but it’s probably weathering last week’s issues better than all other platforms.

perfect life

LinkedIn… that’s a much different animal. As an independent business it’s good to have the number of people connected to me that I have, but I’m thinking that probably 95% of those people I’ve never spoken to and aren’t even in a field I deal with, so maybe it’s time to cull that list a bit more… we’ll see how well that one goes.

I will say this though. Strangely enough, I was ready to totally disappear from social media. I did change my avatar on Twitter and Facebook, and I mentioned why on Facebook. A lot of people reached out to be on that article and through private messages saying some of the nicest things and offering me support. That helped me work through a lot of my negative feelings and depression faster, as it was something I really didn’t see coming. That showed me the true power of social media; it can make some people depressed but it can also offer a way of uplifting others when they need it.

It also helped me to start thinking about writing again. I wasn’t feeling it except for a sentence or two, but I knew I had to break out of that, so this is the first thing I’ve written since last Tuesday… and I wrote this Sunday morning. Since I usually write every day, that’s saying something.

If you feel like you’re being inundated with a lot of things that are making you feel bad, maybe instead of just leaving you eliminate the parts of it that are making you feel worse than you want to feel. I know that my buddy Donna said she was doing just that very thing on Facebook because she didn’t want to deal with all the negativity. Like minds, even if we headed in different directions (she’s a New Yorker who moved to Maine while I lived in Maine and moved to New York lol). 🙂

What kinds of things do you do to reduce being bombarded with a lot of outside negativity. Do you up and leave or do you modify things so that you have more control over what you’re seeing? Let me know; I wish you peace and happiness.

Why I Try To Help

Back in June of 2001 I decided it was time to try to work for myself. I was tired of losing jobs because of things that weren’t within my control. On June 24th of that year I went and registered myself as a business with New York state and was on my way to a bit of independence.


In October of that year I was kind of in recovery mode. I’d had one short gig, given a presentation on leadership in Ohio, my first live presentation, but was mentally still in recovery from what happened on September 11th of that year. I was starting to realize that I wasn’t really sure what to do; after all, when you work in most hospitals in the country there’s not really much advertising going on because most markets only have one hospital. Also, the business of health care is much, much different than any other, although at the time I was trying to be a consultant/trainer in the area of leadership and diversity; I still had no idea how to proceed.

I floundered for about a year after that, first learning of my dad’s cancer diagnosis, then attempts at stemming the tide, which were to no avail. I finished writing my first book Embrace The Lead so Dad would have some time to read some of it before he’d get to the point where he couldn’t do it anymore. Then he passed away and, though it actually took me years to recover from it, initially I was out of it and didn’t care much about anything.

By October of 2002 I was ready to try to get back to work, but I didn’t have a clue how to proceed. The first year, which turned out to only be months, had confused me and I just didn’t know what to do; didn’t know where to go.

Then I got a break. I heard about a meet and greet event at the Syracuse Chamber of Commerce (it goes under a different name now) and decided to check it out. There were a lot of people there and I did my best to press some flesh, if you will. However, the coup I walked into was grabbing the last remaining copy of the Chamber directory, which listed every single member. I figured this would give me a chance to find some people I might be able to talk to.

After a couple of days I’d marked all the people I was going to call. None of them were in my field, but all were either listed as consultants or sole proprietors. This was my first foray into cold calling, but since I wasn’t trying to get any business it was pretty easy to proceed.

PCA guys

If I thought this was going to be easier than prospecting, I was out of my mind. Instead of finding some souls who might talk to someone new to the business, not a single person would talk to me. At least 3 of them said that I could be competition some day and that it wouldn’t benefit them to talk to me; what the hey? There was only one person who talked to me longer than a minute, and he invited me to a meeting that would eventually lead me to join an organization called the Professional Consultant’s Association of Central New York. All these years later I’m not only a member but I’m on the board, I’m the manager of the website and the main blogger on the site; some things never change do they? lol

That first meeting was illuminating, and not only did I become a member but I made a resolution on that day that whenever anyone contacted me and asked me for business advice, even if it was in my areas of expertise, that I was going to help them out. Although many people don’t believe me when I say it, I don’t believe anyone is my competitor. If there were myself and 9 other people who presented the exact same material to 100 people, each of us would walk away with at least a couple of clients. It might not be totally equal at the end, but it would prove that everyone has an audience, someone who’s ready to listen to them for advice over someone else.

That’s why over all these years I’ve worked to give advice and help people out, when I’m not trying to entertain them. From the 5th post I wrote on this blog talking about SEO & natural search through my Saturday post on ways business blogging can help, I’ve tried to offer a lot of help on the concepts of blogging and writing, SEO, social media and a host of other things. Sure, I deviate here and there, and I’ll go way off script with posts like talking about favorite children’s stories, but for the most part I’m trying to be helpful; why else would I have written a monster post on mobile speed and detailed all the steps I took unless I was trying to be helpful? It’d be much easier eating cake (mmmmm, cake….).

I’ve been a helper all my life; my wife used to always call me Dudley Do-Right but has appreciated that I’m always trying to do the right thing. I know I’m not alone in trying to help people; after all, there’s Donna and Ileane and Kim and Steve and Suzie and Dana and Chuck and a host of other people who, while trying to also get business, are in the game of helpfulness.

All of us are trying to give back in our own way, and we hope to inspire others to do the same type of thing. Think about your life for a moment; are you trying to be helpful to anyone? Will you be helpful to anyone today?

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