Six Years Ago Today, I Came Home Without a Job

In 2005, I had the choice of having Valentine’s dinner with my bosses and some Google folks out in Mountain View or having it with my wife. I had been thinking about leaving anyway, and that ended up being the push out of the nest I needed. I turned in my notice on January 31 and walked out of the office on February 14 as a man without a job.

If you’re trying to make money online, these are the two most important things I’ve learned since I started.

It’s Almost Impossibly Difficult

Last week I caught myself thinking how easy this is. I’m not sure what spurred it, but it took a day or two for me to remember just what it was like in the beginning. Like so many other things in life, we tend to block out the bad and only remember the good.

My first foray into making money online was in 1999, and the next 2.5 years was almost a constant drain. Every night was spent making myself work on the site after having worked all day at my job. I would rather have been doing anything else, but into my study I would trudge.

What stopped it being a drain? My partner and I pulling the plug on the business. We did over $1 million in sales in 2001, but still only netted $48,000: which paid for my partner’s 16 hour days keeping everything running.

It wasn’t until the spring of 2007 that my online ventures were generating enough cash to support me full time. 8 years. And had I not been led into a particular business model while working at CareerBuilder, I probably would still be working now. I didn’t have the stamina to grind it out for that long.

If anyone tells you it’s easy, they’re trying to sell you something.

It’s Totally Worth It

I think most people start trying to make money online for the financial freedom it can afford. That was definitely the reason I did it. I’ve written before, though, that I had no clue just how awesome that freedom is. I marvel at it every day.

So while I didn’t have the stamina to grind it out for 8 years, I absolutely do now. If I somehow lost everything, I would do whatever it took to get back here.

Yeah, you may have to give up TV or Angry Birds for a few years, but it’s totally worth it. I cannot even begin to describe how awesome it is.


  • Chris Guthrie

    February 15, 2011
    at 6:29 pm

    Hey Shane,

    Can’t believe time flies so fast. Feels like just yesterday I was getting fired from my day job and that was almost 18 months ago now (sadly that’s not the best way to leave the full time employment).

    Congrats on being able to continue doing it and I completely agree – it really does take hard work.


  • Shane

    February 15, 2011
    at 7:56 pm

    Thanks, man. I actually thought about you while I was writing that. Sometimes we need a kick out of the nest to get us started.