Happy third birthday, erica.biz! It seems like yesterday that I decided to change my little personal blog into a powerhouse business blog with a real community behind it. When I launched erica.biz on December 4, 2007, I wasn’t sure where it would go. A lot of people held the opinion that the blogosphere was “saturated.” What I learned was that a new perspective–if it’s fresh and interesting–is always welcomed.
The first heartfelt blog post I wrote after I launched erica.biz was called “Hitting the jackpot doesn’t mean instantly becoming happy.” In it, I emphasized an issue I see with all too many people: Thinking that once you win the lottery, sell your business, or meet some other huge goal that everything will be okay.
The reality is that it doesn’t change much. You’re still you. And if you’ve made a goal–and then met it–that involves having a lot more free time, your life can become difficult. Suddenly, all those things you’ve been ignoring, like your health or broken relationships, come sharply into focus.
It isn’t easy.
I spent three weeks crying my eyes out after I sold my business. I watched myself, as if through a distorted lens, go through every stage of grief. I felt like I had lost a family member. I grieved for my office (the only social life I really had), my employees, my customers.
I remember the pain so clearly, and for that blog post, I wanted to bring my pain out in the open so that others would understand that retirement isn’t a panacea. I still feel fortunate that I was able to “retire” for a couple of years at such a young age, but the onslaught of personal growth it brought about was unexpected.
That’s really what my blog has been about for the past three years. As a consistent drumbeat of “make easy money!” sweeps over the Internet, I’m here to show the other side. The hard work, sweat, and tears that make up running a 7-figure business. The constant internal debate between hiring someone and doing it all yourself. The flack that you get when you become successful. Basically, all the stuff no one talks about when it comes down to running a business.
I do a fair amount of interviews, and a common question I get is “What is erica.biz all about?” And I usually say “Business success.” But really, the most popular posts on this blog have been about failure. About those times when we don’t think we’re going to make it, or when something didn’t go right. That moment when we all wonder, “Is it really worth it? Is anyone else going through the same thing I do?” That’s why this blog exists.
This blog is about bringing together a community of people who get that online business isn’t easy. The Internet is not a slot machine where you pull the lever and money comes tumbling out. Online businesses are real businesses. Your business involves making decisions every day that affect other people’s lives. It’s about learning to sell your little heart out and being okay with that. It’s about shaking them haters off. And it’s about understanding that there will be times when you’re in a deep funk, but even during those times, you know in your heart that you’re doing the right thing. That you could never go back to working for someone else.
And it’s about celebrating the wins. Oh, the wins…made that much sweeter by all the times we didn’t win. It’s about commenting excitedly that you signed a big customer and getting other supportive comments from the folks who read here. It’s about attending webinars, asking questions, and learning. And it’s about sharing–and embracing–your successes.
That’s why I’m here. This blog has grown from just me, writing my “diary” out loud and hoping someone reads it, to a thriving community of small business owners who hunger for success. I am honored and humbled by every one of you who chooses to read my site. And I thank you for being here. I no longer write for just me; instead, this blog is now about you.
A toast…to the next three years!
A Success Story!
Now…for a success story. One that’s been a while in the making.
As you may remember, I decided to start a startup in 2010. Then, at South by Southwest in March 2010, I launched my startup, BestBlogs.net.
In June, a huge opportunity showed up–I bought, and then decided to promote, a product called Profit Instruments. Profit Instruments included an SEO technique that worked, but that technique required a lot of manual labor. I offered two webinars to those who purchased Profit Instruments through my link, and during those webinars, I recommended hiring people on oDesk to do manual link building. However, most of my customers were a bit leery of hiring people on oDesk to do link building.
So, after talking with my developer, we decided to launch a service whereby we would hire full-time employees and have them do link building for your site. I named the company Whoosh Traffic.
A month later, we made the decision to take BestBlogs.net down and focus entirely on Whoosh Traffic. We launched in October in beta, and we’re now getting ready to take the Whoosh Traffic site out of beta and launch full throttle in January.
The reason I’m sharing this with you is…trend lines. What do I mean?
I launched Simpli Hosting in July, 2001. In July, 2003, two years later, Simpli’s monthly gross revenue was $2,209.59. A crazy small amount for two years of work, right? (I was still holding down consulting gigs at the time to support myself.) But I knew Simpli was going places…because I could see the trend line. The trend line was going up.
Four years later, in 2007, we had a blockbuster month, doing over $76,000 in revenue in one month. And the trend line continued up from there. Had I held the company past September 2007, I would have seen our first 6-figure month in either late 2007 or early 2008.
Whoosh Traffic has been open for two months, and we’ve already eclipsed the monthly revenue that Simpli had in July 2003, after Simpli was open for two years.
I wrote, in 2002, about Simpli: “I have a feeling this is going to be Big.” I knew I was on to something then. And now, I feel the same way about Whoosh Traffic.
This is going to be big.
So, one more toast: This time to success. Your success, and my success.
Here’s to an amazing 2011 for you, your family, and your business!
- Hitting the jackpot doesn’t mean instantly becoming happy. The straight-from-the-heart post that was the real beginning of erica.biz.
- 2010 Goals. I announce my goals at the beginning of every year, and review them every quarter. Here are my goals for 2010.
- The REAL American Dream (Hint: It’s NOT Owning A House!) Written in early 2008, this was the blog post that “put me on the map” as a blogger. Picked up by several personal finance blogs, it sparked a heated debate in the comments–with 88 comments posted. It’s still one of the most interesting reads on erica.biz.