The year 2005 & HUGE props to rfung for some serious motivation!

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In 2004 I left college, sold the web hosting businesses I had built, and went to work at HostGator (1st official employee woot woot!). It was an awesome opportunity and I was so happy to NOT be on call 24/7. I loved working at HostGator but Boca Raton Florida wasn’t a good fit for my personality. So my awesome boss let me move to Ireland where one of my best friends was studying at the time :). I landed in Dublin around Halloween 2004 and I was able to stay until May 2005, at that point my tourist visa shenanigans ran out. I managed to score a room in a shared house prior to landing for only 150 euros a month (remember this is pre airbnb). And within 72 hours of landing I had my own little office at the Guiness Enterprise Center. I even got them to bump up the bandwidth for the entire building so that I had good VOIP quality for voice calls from the States.

At some point I realized I was ready to build a business again. I was pretty driven because I realized I wanted more control of my time so that I could travel and do what I wanted (the shock of the “real world” was rough after 5 years in college). Plus I wanted to get out of debt faster, and I thought a little income from side projects could help speed that up. I was in debt for student loans and credit cards that I used to start the first business, pay for part of my time at university, and lived on during school.

I knew I wanted to build a website based business since I had so much experience doing that, but beyond that I wasn’t sure. I started reading about seo, ppc and online marketing at WebmasterWorld.com and every other forum I could find. I knew I wanted to build a website but I wasn’t sure how to monetize it and build it into a revenue stream. And that is when I found rfung. Rfung was a user on WebmasterWorld.com and he posted a thread on how he built his income up to $20 dollars a day, and eventually $100. And then a second post on his quest to $300 dollars a day.

This was incredibly motivating and it really helped me zero in on affiliate marketing as a way to build a business with a passive income stream. And he heavily influenced me because he was traveling while doing this and pursuing other passions like…

As far as Europe, the plan so far is up for grabs – fly into Gatwick, go south to Brighton where I have a cousin, go north to Glasgow where I have a friend. Cross the channel to France and into Spain, where I’ll sign up in a flamenco guitar class for a month or so, then work my way through France into Holland where I have another relative in Amsterdam.

When I got back to the States in May 2005 I was super motivated and working like crazy to build a cool website. I convinced my friend Joel to do the coding for the backend and split the profits with him. By this point I was learning everything possible about search engine optimization and totally loving it (incredibly valuable skill).

Fun Timeline:

May & June 2005
Our first website launched in May with the goal of teaching people how to resell web hosting. It was called MyResellerGuide.com but had a quick name change to ResellerGuide.com as soon as we got that domain a week later. By June we were making a little money off it. In fact I emailed Joel about how excited I was to make $12.07 in a single day off it in late June :). You can still read all the articles I wrote as it hasn’t changed much since we sold it a long time ago (since taken down it seems).

July 2005
We created three more websites and they were ranking for their target search terms within five days. We got our first sale on July 9th, two more on the 11th, and then nine sales… and it just kept growing. We had found a great niche and it was blowing up. It took 30 days for the sales to clear, but when we got the check-in early September it was half what I was making with my full-time job (which felt amazing).

August/September/October 2005
We kept building and by October had five sites going strong. We also launched a b2b business called Certified Hosting Reviews. We shut it down as it wasn’t working, but we learned a lot from it. We should have taken it bigger in scope as there are a lot of businesses doing this now (RatePoint/ShopperApproved).

November 2005
This entire period was a blast, I would often work my day job, then work all night on my projects, and then go to work on my normal job and then sleep. Crazy fun :). By this point, I was making twice what I was at my full-time job annually. Mind-blowing.

December 2005
I turned in my resignation to my normal job on December 1st, and my last day was late January.

January 2006
By January Joel had built a new system that let us spin up dozens of new sites easily and manage them easily. This allowed us in one month to launch around 25 to 100 new sites. And then I filled in loads of content and users followed up with any more as they ranked in Google.

February 2006
By February I paid off all my debt, which was an amazing feeling after feeling that pressure for so long.

when-your-favorite-tv-show-comes-back-from-a-break

And by this point, Joel had built a custom tracking web app that we designed which gave us a MASSIVE edge for the next couple of years until we sold this business. It was way ahead of its time, in fact, we are still using the core part of its codebase.

June/July 2006
By this point, I was fulfilling some of my desire to travel :). I was running the bulls with my brother in Spain, and traveling around Europe while working for myself.

So I send out a big cosmic thanks to rfung!!! I know he inspired a lot of people on those forums :), including me.

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Thanks rfung!
Ben

PS, I asked in Dec 2006 what happened to rfung and he posted a short update here if you are curious where he ended up :).

PS2, I’ll try to do another post on earlier businesses at some point too. We eventually sold the website network described above, and crazy enough Ziff Davis owns them now. And funny enough we eventually bought the hosting company Site5, who we started working with in 2004 with some of these sites.

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This is bwb’s personal blog so he can share his thoughts with the world, however scary or silly they might be. Plus family and friends can track what I am up too, and where I am in the world.

I am pretty simple. I love Mangos. I love the ocean, although mostly at sunset as I’m a ginger. I love to travel, eat exotic food, read, and use my imagination. I love creating and developing ideas into businesses, understanding how all businesses work, and building cool stuff. I am a globalist and see the entire world as my responsibility and playground. And, I am married to an amazing woman who makes life even more fun :)! And, we are now the proud parents of Calico Jack :).


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