August 19, 2013, 5:00 am

Life as an Entrepreneur Sometimes Sucks

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Business
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Being an entrepreneur is not always fun. Recently, I experienced the ugly side of having a business. It was probably one of the toughest moments I have had with my online company in the past 5 years. No… I’m sure, it was the toughest moment I have ever had.

 failure

I had to let go Martin

 

Martin, mostly known as MD on this blog has been working for me for over three years. I first hired him for his passion and writing style that connects with my personality. I rarely meet people in the financial blogosphere who are a little crazy like me. This is why I have enjoyed working with Martin so much. He is always on top of things, ready to do more to help and is creative. Definitively, there was nothing wrong with his work. This is why it sucked so much to tell him that he won’t be working for me anymore.

 

If the Guy Works Well – Why Do I Have to Let Him Go?

 

This is when being an entrepreneur sucks; when things are not going the way you want. It’s been roughly 18 months that Google targeted link selling sites in the financial industry. It was no secret that back then, I was making tons of money from this industry. I even averaged over 10K/month for 6 months in a row with no indication of this slowing by any means. Then one day, it all fell like a brick on my head coming from the Empire State Building. Google started penalizing sites that were buying or selling links and it was more effective than a witch hunt.

 

In the span of 2 months, my private advertising business dropped by 70% and there was nothing to bring it back. I had to turn on a dime and work on another business model with my friend. We came up with several great ideas and saved most of our income. To this date, we are still in line to generate a 6 figure gross revenue. But the difference is that we don’t have much growth anymore and we are keeping it in the low 6 figures. Unfortunately, Martin’s work was directly linked to the private advertising segment of our business. Therefore, most of what he used to do that was highly lucrative for us isn’t generating much anymore.

 

The Need to Be More Hands-On

 

I’ve personally struggled a lot since 2012 to thinking of a better business model to keep producing growth. When it comes down to my performance, I’m not easily satisfied. The status quo is synonymous of failure for me. Not showing a 20-25% growth of income last year was a total failure. In fact, for the first time in 5 years, we dropped by 4%. I just can’t accept that. Not while other website owners are still increasing their income.

 

The point is that we didn’t prioritize the right business model at first. That’s not a big deal when you realize it and you start working on something else. But this is not what we did. We let the company drift for a while thinking the business would come back by itself. The plan was simple: find other ways to keep our existing income streams as is and a better way for private advertising to come back like a tsunami. We kept Martin for this reason thinking that we could wait a while and still make money from this business later on in time. Unfortunately, this scenario never materialized.

 

We took life for granted a little bit too much for the past 18 months. After saving our income in 2012, we were relatively happy with the result and thought growth would come back in 2013. But its not. And the reason why is simple; because we are not fully invested in our company.

 

With the birth of my third child and my partner’s first baby, we completely stalled our involvement in the company and made sure someone else was paid to handle everything. But the truth about entrepreneurship is that it’s always rolling and you can’t sit on your couch for too long. The business changed quickly and we didn’t follow the parade. This is why we are now trailing.

 

By cutting an employee, we force ourselves to work more hours. This is the only way that we will get the real feel for our company back. We will be able to create a real direction and come up with better projects. We will become more hands-on and this is the kind of factor that will bring the business to life again.

 

Still, It Leaves a Sour Taste

 

I can imagine that it wasn’t Martin’s best day of the year when I had to tell him that he will not be working for us anymore. This was truly not a great moment for either of us. On his side, he lost a stable source of income. Since he was working on several projects, having a reliable source of income is always welcome. On my side, I put a friendship at risk and I have a feeling of failure. I failed to keep him on our team and failed to produce enough income to keep him on contract.

 

But this is a situation most entrepreneurs encounter on the path. Nonetheless, trust me, it really sucks.

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Comments

Sorry to see MD go. He’s a good guy and I know he will land on his feet and do well.

3 years is like an ETERNITY to be employed online, so well done Martin!

Ahh, the good ‘ol days of direct advertising. It seems to me the cycle is repeating itself over and over again with new bloggers. They load up the easy money with all the links, get paid, then get crushed. But in the meantime, it’s good while it’s good!

The big problem is folks who extrapolate direct advertisement income as a sustainable way of life and quit their jobs because of direct advertisement income. That is a dangerous game.

Stick to affiliate revenue and your own products folks!

Sam

This sucks to hear. Martin is a good guy. Affiliate income is a safer advertisement model, but nothing is guaranteed. Sorry to hear about all of the issues.

Picked this up from a retweet.

Sorry to here about any job loss, ever.

Life certainly manages to get in the way sometimes.

Sorry to hear the news. Tough call, but I give you credit for being a good leader and business man. Give yourself some slack as you both were dealing with new little ones. At least you weren’t blowing all your money on fast cars, right? Or were you? Haha. Keep your head up!

That does suck indeed. However, business is business and I’m sure Martin understands. Plus he will do continue to do just fine with other contracts.

MD will be fine. If he understands business half as much as I think he does, he most likely expected this.

Hey Buck!

the RX-8 is paid… so it’s not that bad! hahaha! Thinking of selling it next spring though…

Hey Mike & Fiscally Fit,

yeah, business is business but it still sucks! I don’t feel bad as a businessman, but I feel bad as a man. Unfortunately, I have to be both!

It not easy to survive a 70 per cent plunge in revenue. You have done well, keep it up. You have shown your entrepreneurship, surely you will see success again, maybe till then you can employ MD back.

Sorry buddy! Did he take it well? I am sure he did but just curious how the actual convo went

by: The Financial Blogger | October 7th, 2013 (7:39 pm)

He’s a professional, it went “well”. I’m just curious to see how it will go at Fincon in a few weeks.