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Thread: 20 Months Later

  1. #1
    SitePoint Evangelist tylercruz's Avatar
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    20 Months Later

    Remember me?

    I have not been very active on Sitepoint for a while mainly because I've been so preoccupied with other things. For those of you who don't know me or don't know why I'm writing this thread, here is a bit of background information.

    The Genesis

    A little over a year and a half ago on May 9, 2005, I had created a thread announcing my situation of living at home with my parents and my decided departure to move out on my own and attempt to do this 'web thing' for a living.

    That thread garnered a lot of interest with 191 replies and over 10,000 views.

    Five months later I posted a follow-up thread as I had a number of people ask for an update. The resulting thread was titled "Five Months Later" and turned out to be even more popular than the first with 483 replies and over 32,000 views.

    Due to several suggestions from people and not wanting to clog Sitepoint with my ramblings, I created a blog which showcased my day-to-day work-related thoughts and actions.

    Anyhow! I realized that it's been 20 months since my original thread and thought that it may interest some readers to give an update on how things have been going.

    The Update

    Please understand that in no way shape or form am I attempting to brag or show off here. I completely understand that I'm a very small time player, and even on Sitepoint alone I could probably name at least a dozen members who are making 10-times as much as I do. It is meant to inspire and motivate.

    I created this thread simply to showcase an update of how things have progressed with me since my original thread and entry into the real world. This thread will present the updates from my Five Months Later thread:

    Personal Life

    I'll start briefly with my personal life. I've been with a new girl now, Lisa, for over a year who has been great. I actually did follow through on joining MMA... although I only lasted a few weeks (it was actually the cardio that did it for me, not the actual rolling or sparing believe it or not) before quitting like a sissy.

    [Photo: Me!]

    I play badminton twice a week and absolutely love it. I'm pretty quiet though and am not a partier or drinker so I keep a fairly quiet life in that respect.

    Web Entrepreneur

    Workwise, I must admit that I don't think I've been able to put in the extra work that I should be. I still find it very difficult to focus and keep a good work ethic. As a result, I still only work an average of an hour or two a day.

    However, the past few weeks I've been putting in the extra effort to work an hour or two more each day, and it has helped a bit. So lately I've been averaging about 3 hours a day of work.

    Even then, you could hardly call it work as I'm sitting at home, relaxing at my quiet desk at home, usually drinking a hot beverage, and listening to music...

    In my last thread, I had mentioned my plans for DomainForums. While I did put in a bit of effort, I ended up selling it about 3 months after I bought it for $14,000. I must admit, I did it partly to grab some quick cash to buy a new car (2004 Toyota Corolla). In hindsight, selling DomainForums was a bad decision. I could have afforded the car anyhow but wanted to limit my interest expenses. DomainForums.com is still #1 on Google for "domain forums" and it was just a poor decision on my part. Oh well, I'm young and stupid... I'm allowed to make a few mistakes, aren't I?

    Throughout the past 15 months I also sold and bought a few domains and sites, but nothing major. I did develop, though, several new sites. I put a lot of time and energy into a new poker site, but the programmer I had hired had completely disappeared and split halfway through. The project remains half-completed to this day as I haven't found the heart yet to continue with it as it was a hard hit.

    I also created numerous forums on various topics I'm interested in (Web Entrepreurialism, MMA, Movies, Cooking, etc.) as well as a couple of webmaster-related websites.

    My MMA forums are doing well and my webmaster forum is doing okay, although it could be doing a lot better. My webmaster which reviews ad networks was launched just a few months ago and I'm finding it difficult hiring people to write professional ad network reviews. I may look to outsourcing but only if I'm forced to.

    My poker forum is still my largest and most profitable site, but then again I do spend a large chunk of my work time allocated on it.

    The recent US legislation poker 'ban' hurt. It was an unfair and illegal bill, and although it did hurt, it didn't cripple me as I sell most of my advertising privately and have always had an enormous interest from potential advertisers. Yet, the 'ban' hurt nonetheless; one advertiser was paying me $5,000 a month for heavy campaigning. After the bill they were forced to leave the US market.

    The poker 'ban' was a bit of a downer because it was an unforeseen (although I knew they were attempting to pass it many months ago) incident and something I couldn't stop. It was out of my hands and not a business decision.

    My blog's success has surprised me. I average around 900 unique hits a day, an Alexa ranking of 26,892, and an RSS readership of 176. I spend a lot of time simply writing posts for my blog. And it's great fun, too.

    It's dwindled a bit now, but at one point I was making several hundred dollars a month from my blog!

    I'll end this section with some pretty big news but will try to keep it short and sweet this already this thread is becoming epicly long.

    I've been brokering a domain name for a client for a while now. I'm not a domain broker, but found out somebody here in town owned a prestigious domain. I took it upon myself to create the opportunity to broker it. I felt it was a win-win-win for everybody since although I'm not a domain broker by trade, that I have a fair bit of knowledge, experience, and contacts in the industry.

    After quite a while of searching for a buyer near our asking price, I found one. The past two weeks I've been on the phone with the buyers and the owner closing the deal. It was opted to go through lawyers which slowed things down a bit, but the transaction is well underway and should be completed within a few days.

    An NDA was signed so I cannot give any specifics out, but my cut will be a healthy 5-figures!

    Now if that isn't making money out of thin air I don't know what is!

    Income and Toys

    I'm currently averaging $256 USD a day now and a progress chart can be seen below:

    [Photo: Earnings Chart]

    I have doubts that I'll be able to continue on such a growth trend however. At least not if I continue to slack when I should be working.

    Other than my new car purchase and a bit of money here and there on things such as an XBOX 360 and mini-vacations, I've recently just made a massive purchase.

    I just bought a condo! It came to around $222,000 (Canadian) and I move in exactly 15 days. I can't wait!! It's a 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom 1163-square-foot unit which is brand new. Thus, brand new appliances, and finally I'll have my own laundry room and my own dishwasher!

    [Photo: Car]

    [Photo: Condo]

    The Future

    I only have a few goals for the near future:

    I'd like to increase my daily earnings.. one cent, one hundred dollars, I don't care. I'd like to grow at least one of my 'up and comer' sites substantially (preferably my webmaster forum, ad network review site, or my MMA forum). And I'd like to work an average of 3-4 hours a day.

    The Motivation

    The point of this thread was partly to give an update on how things have been going for me since I took the plunge and started doing this for a living, but more to act as inspiration or motivation.

    Personally, being motivated or inspired to work is extremely important. A lot of people who may be reading this are already doing extremely well, far beyond where I'm at, but for those of you that are just starting out or perhaps in the game but kind of plateauing, hopefully this thread helps motivate you to work some more.

    I'm doing fairly well now, but really, I'd be perfectly making only $2000 a month. Where I live (Vancouver Island, Canada) at least, $2000 is more than enough to live a very comfortable life. When you're a web entrepeneur working at your discretion and from the comfort of your own home, when you're doing something you absolutely love, whatever you make is really just a bonus.


    Well, that's all folks. Maybe I'll give everyone here another update in another year or two...

    If you'd like to contact me, you can e-mail me at tylercruz@gmail.com but please do not PM me. The best way would be to respond in this thread though... of course.

    Good luck and good earnings!
    Tyler Cruz
    TylerCruz.com
    PublisherSpot.com: Professional Reviews of Ad Networks

  2. #2
    SitePoint Guru Logus's Avatar
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    One of the blogs I read on daily basis.. even though you update it once a week

    Very well done man.
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    SitePoint Addict longroad's Avatar
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    I remember your first thread, you've come a long way

    You are making great money, $200+ a day is awesome. More than most earn at their day jobs.

    You really need to work on your motivation by the sound of it. Although the money you are earning is enough, it just depends how far you want to take it!

  4. #4
    SitePoint Evangelist Kylecl's Avatar
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    what happened to the post that said "sounds fun" .. that was awesome.

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    I'm glad to see this thread is back up... when I clicked reply earlier today the thread was gone ! (Tyler, I had a feeling it was the links...)

    For some reason it doesn't seem as though so much time has passed since your initial thread on this topic... You've definitely made a lot of progress in the past 20 months. It's great that you post about what you're up to & your successes on the net, interesting stuff as well as motivational.

    Around 0.5 of the daily visits to your blog are probably from me. I visit it maybe 2 or 3 times per week to see what's new. You mentioned your blog is getting 900 unique "hits" per day, by that do you mean unique visitors? I also check out one of your other sites but haven't registered there yet.

    That gambling related US legislation that you mentioned, are you referring to the law passed a few months back which made it illegal for financial institutions in the US to process payments for online gambling? That wasn't actually a ban on online poker / online gambling, but it still had a huge impact on the industry and many sites such as yours. Online gambling was already illegal in the US... actually, as far as I know, online gambling in the US has never been legal. Personally, I'd like to see it be made legal... I see no reason for "big brother" to make this sort of decision for me of whether or not I gamble online. I don't, but I probably would if it was legal where I live.

    So about the domain you're brokering... be sure to let us know the domain when the time is right, I may just have to bookmark it depending on how the resulting site turns out.
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    SitePoint Evangelist tylercruz's Avatar
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    Thanks guys.

    john2k: Yeah, 900 unique visitors a day. However, I believe Urchin on my server to falsely inflate traffic logs a bit. I plan on doing some comparison checks in the future when I have the time.

    In regards to your poker 'ban' inquiry - yes, I'm referring to the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006. I actually write about it in a bit of detail here: http://www.tylercruz.com/?p=159

    I understand that it's not a true 'ban', which is why I always write 'ban' with these lovely single quotes

    Regarding the domain, I will probably never release the name of it due to the NDA, but if you do a bit of searching around, you'll find out what it is/was In fact, you said the name in your last sentence...!
    Tyler Cruz
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    PublisherSpot.com: Professional Reviews of Ad Networks

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    am I a Guru? guk6kk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kylecl View Post
    what happened to the post that said "sounds fun" .. that was awesome.
    yes! it was nice indeed . $200 is a great amount but I wonder what will you do when you can't pay your mortgage anymore

  8. #8
    SitePoint Evangelist tylercruz's Avatar
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    Yes, there's a lot of people who would like to see me fail. It only fuels me though, and brings all the more satisfaction for when I do hit milestones
    Tyler Cruz
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    Tyler

    That's a really inspiring story mate! Keep going hard out - sounds like you're well on your way to leading a fantastic life. Unfortunately, I haven't been quite so smart myself. I'm married with two kids, working fulltime in a job I hate and renting. I'm putting in as much of my spare time learning about opportunities on the web so that I can have a bit more time with my kids and also (one day) to buy a house.

    I'm really glad I read your thread just now, because its inspiring me to keep going with this. Thanks man!

    Hairybob

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    Quote Originally Posted by john2k View Post
    So about the domain you're brokering... be sure to let us know the domain when the time is right, I may just have to bookmark it depending on how the resulting site turns out.
    The domain was bookmark.com, Tyler mentioned it in his blog a while back.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by tylercruz View Post
    Regarding the domain, I will probably never release the name of it due to the NDA, but if you do a bit of searching around, you'll find out what it is/was In fact, you said the name in your last sentence...!
    Yeah, I know... I was going to place a " " at the end of that sentence but decided not to since it seemed you didn't want to mention the name... didn't want to lead anyone to catching on to what it was...

    Quote Originally Posted by tke71709 View Post
    Tyler mentioned it in his blog a while back.
    a fellow tylercruz.com blog reader! That's where I remembered it from... also remember it being mentioned on another forum maybe sometime last summer. In any case, what a great domain and even better to see a fellow SPer earning a nice commission by brokering the sale.
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    Serial Publisher silver trophy aspen's Avatar
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    Be careful not to judge your success based on how much you spend or what you buy, that is a good way to end up poor and in debt.

    I know what its like, you finally make it and you feel like you need to buy something to show off your status and maybe prove to family or friends that yes, you actually are doing quite well. Just be careful with it. You cannot predict the future and it is important to save enough that you'd be able to live at your current lifestyle, for atleast 6-12 months if you lost all your income.

    Business expenses count too. People think (hey, I can just write it off my taxes). Write offs don't save 100% of the value though, just whatever your tax bracket is in value. If you pay 30% income tax and you spend $1000 on something you writeoff, you really only save $300, thats $700 still coming out of your pocket.

    So remember, spending money isn't what legitimizes your life or business.
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    SitePoint Enthusiast cloudybutnice's Avatar
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    I'm pretty new to the forum. Great story, well done and thanks for sharing.

  14. #14
    SitePoint Evangelist tylercruz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aspen View Post
    Be careful not to judge your success based on how much you spend or what you buy, that is a good way to end up poor and in debt.

    I know what its like, you finally make it and you feel like you need to buy something to show off your status and maybe prove to family or friends that yes, you actually are doing quite well. Just be careful with it. You cannot predict the future and it is important to save enough that you'd be able to live at your current lifestyle, for atleast 6-12 months if you lost all your income.

    Business expenses count too. People think (hey, I can just write it off my taxes). Write offs don't save 100% of the value though, just whatever your tax bracket is in value. If you pay 30% income tax and you spend $1000 on something you writeoff, you really only save $300, thats $700 still coming out of your pocket.

    So remember, spending money isn't what legitimizes your life or business.
    Yes, I understand and agree.

    Really though, there isn't really any 'bling' I've bought. Pretty much everything has been practical. The least practical thing I bought was an XBOX 360, but that's relatively cheap.

    The car was practical. It's a 2004 Toyota Corolla with virtually no milage so I went for affordability and dependability.

    The Condo was a smart business move as condo prices here have been skyrocketing at a constant rate over the past couple years, and I'd rather put money into a mortgage than into rent.

    As for taxes, whenever I buy something I almost never consider it's impact on taxes. I'm actually not one of those people who thinks "write-off" as what I can actually write off is very little, and as you said, counts for very little as well.
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    I agree with aspen about saving some money... it's definitely important to have a buffer. I was on a great winning streak for quite some time then hit a very rough patch. I'm just about out of that downturn & should be back in shape soon, but without the having the buffer things would have been entirely more difficult to weather.

    Quote Originally Posted by aspen View Post
    Write offs don't save 100% of the value though, just whatever your tax bracket is in value.
    A good friend of mine mentions on occasion that he must spend money on this or that because he "needs" the tax write-off. Every time he says that I remind him why it doesn't work the way he thinks it does. For some reason it never seems to sink in for him that buying unneeded stuff just for the write-off doesn't make sense...
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    SitePoint Evangelist tylercruz's Avatar
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    Yeah.. it's kind of smiliar to the mindset of users who buy stuff on credit. To us, it's incomprehensible why anyone would want to do that or even think about that, but to them they view it as 'free money' or don't really understand what the hell they're doing...
    Tyler Cruz
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    Thank you for this. I've been working on a fansite, wasting money each month on my extremely tight budget, because my motivation has been going down. Not sure if I could keep up with something and am not sure how it would work out.

    This shows that rewards can be found, with hard work given. Thank you for this information, thank you.

  18. #18
    am I a Guru? guk6kk's Avatar
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    A condo is a liability and not an asset for you since you live in it. You are lucky that you live in Canada. I mean here in Rome, with 500,000 Euro you still cannot buy a decent house. You need at least 1,000,000 Euro to buy a good house with atleast 2 bedrooms.

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    SitePoint Zealot activeweb's Avatar
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    A buffer alone won't save you if things were ever to get bad. I agree you need a buffer, but keep investing that money so it makes you more money. The more assets you own (including online assets) = the more income being generated = the less likely you will ever see hard times.


    Congratulations on your continued success Tyler, and best of luck to you in 2007

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    Interesting read. I never read any of the old threads (haven't been around long) but it seems you have come a long way - well done

    It's something I'd love to do and you've given me some inspiration and shown that it can actually be done.

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    SitePoint Evangelist kashaziz's Avatar
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    Inspirational stuff Hope you cross $400 a day in '07

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    Quote Originally Posted by tylercruz View Post
    Yeah.. it's kind of smiliar to the mindset of users who buy stuff on credit.
    The way I see credit is that it's a necessary evil. Good credit is important for many different reasons and in order to build/earn good credit you must prove that you are worthy of the best credit ratings, by using credit, paying the bills on time, not using too much of your available balance, etc, etc.

    I wouldn't recommend carrying a balance if the interest rate is high, though. In that case it would be enough to just use the card and pay it off 100% each month. This way you aren't being charged any interest at all and are still building a positive credit record.

    It's even possible to make money with CC companies. Back when prime rate was extremely low I had some no-fee balance transfer offers at 1.99% for the life of the loan. With those types of offers a lot of people borrow that money at 1.99% and put it elsewhere earning maybe 5-7% risk-free. Doing that both helps to build your credit history and earns money. Obviously, the more you can borrow at that rate the more money you can earn.

    Quote Originally Posted by guk6kk View Post
    You need at least 1,000,000 Euro to buy a good house with atleast 2 bedrooms.
    There are areas in NYC where apartments/condos can cost several million. That's generally in a limited area, though. Is that price you mentioned the average price for a home in a non-exclusive area of Rome or just in the "rich" neighborhoods?

    Quote Originally Posted by activeweb View Post
    A buffer alone won't save you if things were ever to get bad. I agree you need a buffer, but keep investing that money so it makes you more money. The more assets you own (including online assets) = the more income being generated = the less likely you will ever see hard times.
    I agree. It's not a good idea to let the cash buffer sit in a bank account earning less than 1%. There are plenty other liquid investments that can be used for holding that cash while earning a good rate on it.
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    am I a Guru? guk6kk's Avatar
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    Yep, that's the average price around and close to center. But, with 500,000 Euro you'll just get a crap old house 15-20 km from center.

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    what is the main source of your revenue? adsense?

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    SitePoint Evangelist tylercruz's Avatar
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    guk6kk:

    "A condo is a liability and not an asset for you since you live in it."

    Well technically a property is always a liability unless you're gaining money from it (i.e. renting it out), yes, I agree and I never said it was an asset. However, it is still smart for me to have purchased it. The condo market here has simply seen a steady increase over time, and with the buyer's market about to close here and with prices only going to continue to soar (Ex. The winter olympics are arriving here soon), it's best I get in now while I still can.

    activeweb:

    Yeah, I agree. Which is why I'm trying to diversify my online portfolio as much as possible. It's also why I'm starting to put money into offline things as well (mortgage instead of rent for example). Real estate is very interesting to me now and I'm considering buying another place to rent out as well...

    css59:

    My main source is from selling ads privately. My poker forum makes up the majority of my income, although I also make a good 'side' chunk of change that I don't factor into my daily earnings from doing things such as site/domain flipping, brokering domains, etc.
    Tyler Cruz
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