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Return to the Rat Race
June 26, 2014|Uncategorized

Return to the Rat Race

Return to the Rat Race

It’s been a little under a month since I returned to the rat race. I’m doing the daily commute on the packed tube, I’ve got less freedom, less free time and only twenty something days of annual leave.

This was everything I wanted to escape from less than 2 years ago, but I’m actually enjoying it now, which is something a little while ago I thought I’d never say. Although it’s early days and perhaps I’m experiencing a ‘honeymoon’ period, I’m pretty confident I’ve made the right decision to return to work.

The Job Hunt

I decided early on in my job hunt that I wanted a role that was varied, which is a rarity in the digital environment as everything has become so specialised (unless you work at a small company).

My background is in affiliate marketing and SEO (although I have dabbled with other stuff). But I don’t really see myself as an affiliate specialist, and I don’t see myself as an SEO. I see myself as a well rounded digital marketer, and I wanted a job that would reflect that.

The idea of being specialised in one discipline really didn’t appeal to me, I knew if I did that I’d soon get bored pretty quick – variety is the spice of life. I was being very selective as to what I applied for.

The Job

As you’ve probably gathered, someone did offer me a job and whipping out a Wank Sock in the interview didn’t seem to deter them (yes I actually did that). Earlier this month I upped sticks from my quiet country town and I began living and working in London. I’ve got a job working as part of the acquisition team for the ‘Rest Of World’ markets at Photobox who are an ecommerce website specialising in photo printing and photo gifts.

Essentially I’m looking after a few emerging countries that Photobox have expanded into. As these markets are new it has given rise to a unique situation where it’s almost like I am working for a small company or start up within a big company. This has meant my role encompasses a broad range of online marketing including email, display, affiliate, and SEO – so there’s a good bit of variation there.

Important Stuff

A few things that I felt were important about the role I went for were:

That I learn. Learning is THE most important thing for me and I see it as something that is critical for long term development. The best way to learn is to surround yourself with others that know more than you, and because everything is done in house here there’s an expert in every discipline that I can learn from. I’m currently enjoying getting stuck in to Facebook ads which is something I have never done before.

The people. The people are great and I feel like I’ve gelled well already. Working as part of a team is something that I missed immensely when I was working from home. I’m enjoying simple things such as being part of the football team in our office and after work drinks on a Friday.

The company. I think if you’re going to immerse yourself within a job that it helps if you like what the company does. I’d feel a bit shitty marketing something shoddy like payday loans or a gambling product. Photobox products are quite emotional and it makes me feel good about myself that I am marketing products that will (hopefully) bring a smile to a customer’s face when they receive their order.

I think at this moment in time I am the happiest I have been for a while, the past few months prior to getting a job I felt as though I was stuck in a bit of a rut. I now feel like I’ve got a purpose once again, I’m enjoying the social side that comes with the office environment and being in London.

My Business Ventures

I won’t ever stop working on my own business ventures, I’ve come to accept that working for someone else will probably never bring me the kind of money that I want to be earning. When you make a website that is bringing in revenue, not only are you creating an income stream but you’re creating an asset that can be sold too which is something that you don’t get when you’re just working in a job.

Right now I happy, but I am confident I’ll return to working solely for myself again one day. I think I did everything a bit too prematurely but I’ve experienced success (and failures) and I know I am able to carry on and repeat those successes again.

I get a few people asking me how Wank Sock is doing, last weekend I paid a visit to the ETO Show where I spent the day walking around butt plugs, dildos and vibrators to see if I could source any retailers that I could sell it to as a wholesaler. Sales are ticking over without any marketing effect, but it is a highly seasonal product, it’s fair to say that this is the most I have looked forward to the period Christmas period for a long time.

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Domain Trading: Turning £150 into £4,500
April 5, 2014|Domaining

Domain Trading: Turning £150 into £4,500

Domain Trading: Turning £150 into £4,500

Back in August 2011 I read a post by internet entrepreneur Frank Paul who turned £100 into £10,000 by buying and selling domain names. It’s a fascinating post which you can read here and an updated version here.

At the time I had only just dipped my toes into the domaining world after selling my first domain (with Frank’s help and advice) and I was beginning to see the money making potential of investing in them.

In the Spring of 2012 I bought 5 domains from one buyer on AcornDomains which to this day I believe has been my best haul. I paid £30 for each of them, £150 in total and those domains were

  • ManchesterTaxi.co.uk
  • BeautyMakeovers.co.uk
  • FuneralCompany.co.uk
  • PrivateDentalSurgery.co.uk
  • VegasCasino.co.uk

I can’t remember my exact reasoning for buying them (I probably didn’t know what I was doing in all honesty), but I do distinctively remember thinking “how the fuck did I just pick up VegasCasino.co.uk for £30?” which I thought was the best of the bunch. I knew I had got a bargain.

I don’t think I realised this at the time, but most of the domains there describe a service, something I have since found has worked best (for me at least) in terms of end user sales.

ManchesterTaxi.co.uk would hopefully appeal to a taxi company in Manchester and I felt VegasCasino.co.uk would make a perfect brand name for a Casino site.

I think that BeautyMakeovers.co.uk, FuneralCompany.co.uk and PrivateDentalSurgery.co.uk had the best potential and I’ll explain why. Not only do they describe a service well, but they also have a good volume of potential buyers. There’s thousands of funeral companies, private dental surgeries and beauty and makeup artists in the UK. I felt if I attempted to contact each of them then surely at least one of them would be interested in buying.

Anyway, I’m waffling here are the sales figures so far.

ManchesterTaxi.co.uk – sold for £4,000 in summer 2013. I actually tried to build a lead generation business from this which you can read more about in this post here. I got the site ranking 2 in Google for ‘Manchester taxi’ before selling it to a taxi company in Manchester. In total I think I spent about 10-15 hours working on the site, ranking it and contacting taxi companies. I’d also never have got this price without Frank’s help, I think I was originally offered £2,000, Frank helped me get twice that.

FuneralCompany.co.uk – sold for £500 in March of this year. I attempted to contact 300 funeral director companies before agreeing on a sales price. In total I spent about 4 hours finding and emailing funeral sites with only one getting back to me, an extremely boring task but worth it in the end.

The rest so far remain unsold, I haven’t made any attempts as of yet to sell them, I used to think that the best way to sell them was to wait for companies to contact me about them, but it’s been 1 and a half years since I bought them and I’ve had no enquires – I could be waiting a very long time.

Buying and selling domains isn’t part of my core business, it’s just something I have an interest in and that I do on the side. It’s taken a lot of research, practice, learning and watching others for me to develop a better eye for ‘what makes a good domain’, and I’m still learning all the time.

I’m hoping that when I do get around to actively selling those other domains (must stop procrastinating) that I’ll soon have my very own ‘turning £xxx into £xx,xxx with domain’ posts. Only time will tell.

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Returning To Work
March 31, 2014|Uncategorized

Returning To Work

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When I tell people what I do for a living and explain that I work from home running my own business, I’m often met with comments along the lines of “that sounds amazing, I’d love to do that, you can do what you want when you want”. That’s all true, and the amount of freedom I have is great.

I quit my job because I felt like I was trapped in an office 9 to 5 Monday to Friday, I felt like I was working hard to make someone else more money. Most people do this every day, week in week out without evening questioning it. It’s what’s expected of you, it’s the norm, you’re expected to be in employment and I felt we’ve been brainwashed into believing that this is the ‘right’ way to live since a young age.

I figured there’s got to be a better way to live than this, I can work for myself, make my own money work on my terms, and since I can work remotely, I can work wherever I wanted. I’ve seen others that have been successful living this way, and I wanted it too.

It all sounds fucking great doesn’t it? – and for a while it really was.

The problem is it’s a very lonely existence.

I’ve come to realise that no matter where I decide to work, where I decide to live or even how much money I earn I am still going to be working somewhere by myself, lonely and isolated.

I feel like I’ve traded the office environment only to be confined to the 4 walls of my own house. I’m living each day with little or no social interaction, and it’s shit. I’ve tried working from the pub, the library, coffee shops (you name somewhere with a Wi-Fi connection and I’ve more than likely worked there). I try to fill my evenings playing football and weekends socialising, but it doesn’t compensate for working in isolation during the days of the week.

I’d consider myself quite a social person and I wondered whether it was just me that felt like this, but after speaking to others who do the same I’ve realised that I’m not alone, it comes with the territory.

The difference between me and everyone else that works from home is this, it seems others are a little bit older, living in a city, married (often with kids) and they have group of friends living in the area.

I’m living in a small sleepy town in Surrey, most of my friends have now moved away. I don’t have any kids to look after at home etc. Although I’ve been working to build up my own income and looking at things for the long term I realised the other week that I’m no longer happy doing what I do, and things need to change.

Come the turn of this year things were finally starting to work out for me, and I felt for sure more than ever that I wouldn’t return back to a job, but I’ve decided to reconsider.

I’ve considered a number of options including getting a part-time job at a bar, going travelling, getting a shared office space, but I think what I want right now is a return to normality, a return to London and a full time job. I’d still work on my own sites on the side, I don’t think that will ever change, but I would certainly reduce the amount of sites I actively work on. The way I see it is that I’d have 2 incomes coming in.

I’m heading away to Eastern Europe next month, but upon my return I’ve decided that I’m going to begin my job search. I’m not sure exactly what I’m looking for yet, but I’d certainly like to remain in the digital space.

I don’t regret my decision to quit my job, for a while it was amazing and I enjoyed it, I also believe I’ve learnt things that you can only learn by working for yourself. But now I can’t help but feel I’m wasting my life a little, perhaps I tried to do it all of this too prematurely?

Either way I’m excited at the prospect of looking for a new challenge, moving back into London and watching people’s reaction to Wank Sock when they read my CV.

Update: Since writing this post Finch from FinchSells.com has summed up perfectly how working from home can become hell. Certainly worth a read.

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About Me

I’m Mark, but you can call me Rofe. I'm an internet marketing guy based in London Dubai.

I believe the internet is full of money making opportunities, and I seek to take advantage of them where I can.

If there’s a way to make money online I’ve probably tried and failed at it, and then attempted it again with some degree of success.

I’ve tried my hand at affiliate marketing, lead gen, ecommerce, trading domain names, adsense, and I’ve even created a novelty gift.

Here I share my journey making money online, my outlook on life, and whatever other stuff I feel like. Thanks for dropping by.