The following is an interactive timeline of my "journey" as an "entrepreneur" and how I "built" a "six-figure business" from "scratch."
It only took me 14 years and 9 failures. But since this is the internet, it was an "overnight success."
And it all started with my first venture: starting a rock band!
I learn how to build a website for my band because we couldn't afford to pay a designer.One of the first websites I designed in Flash™ for my band. November 11th 2002
I have an idea for a new website that would teach people how to take care of their swimming pools and hot tubs.
I worked in the pool industry since I was 13 years old, so I knew the industry well. And no, I was not a "pool boy."February 21st 2004
The band breaks up, but I continue to just talk about my pool website idea.This is press photo we used for the band. I have NO idea what I'm doing with my hands. April 17th 2005
While I just talk about my website idea, I lose the domain names I bought the year before 😞.
I buy them again, but had to pay $150 for swimu.com because someone else scooped it up.December 19th 2006
Procrastination costs money!Tweet This
I finally build Swim University after my friend (and former bass player) said, "shut up and build it already! I'm tired of hearing you talk about it."The first design of SwimUniversity.com. March 30th 2007
I purchase "The AdSense Code" book to help me make money with Adsense. I Immediately regret the purchase.April 1st 2007
I redesign Swim University and build a custom content management system (CMS), even though Wordpress is a thing that's free (but I didn't know it at the time).January 5th 2008
I form The Ace Media Group LLC under my parent's address to look professional when people (eventually) write me checks.June 11th 2008
I join an online forum to help increase traffic and make money.
Instead, I learn how to spin 300-word articles and submit them to link farms 😞.April 14th 2009
I move Swim University to Wordpress. Something I should have done on March 30th 2007.December 29th 2009
Swim University makes less than $100/month in Adsense revenue. So...fuck me.December 31st 2009
Tricking people to click Adsense links and spinning articles was a terrible way to make money.Tweet This
Swim University isn't growing fast enough, so I create a bunch of "niche sites" to increase my chances of success.
Site topics include: snowboarding, home audio recording, and Crocs. Yes, the fucking rubber shoes!April 25th 2010
I'm fired from the pool store because my boss found out about Swim University. Specifically, he found a guest post I had written on a site called FireYourPoolGuy.com.
Just one reason I think guest posts are stupid.November 9th 2010
I immediately start working as a marketing director for a fire and water restoration company.November 16th 2010
Swim University gets hit by the Google Panda update and drops by 67%. I deserved this because I spun articles and tricked people to click Adsense links.May 16th 2011
Swim University still isn't growing fast enough, so I build Dogbarkz.com: a social network for dogs.
I give up on Dogbarkz.com because I realize I don't care about people who want a social media account for their dogs.October 18th 2011
Crocs are stupid.Tweet This
I start creating regular videos on YouTube for Swim University because I liked making videos more than writing articles.May 30th 2012
I made $300 from a single sponsor. Plus, $806.54 with The Google Affiliate Network and $155.49 with Adsense this month.September 10th, 2012
I'm laid off and collect unemployment, roughly $2,800 a month. I use it to bootstrap my business.April 27th 2012
I meet Andrew Fiebert and help redesign his site, Listen Money Matters. In exchange, he helps me monetize Swim University.This is my first attempt at a redesign for ListenMoneyMatters.com. May 20th 2013
I create the "Pool Care Rap Video" which was the first thing that went "viral" on Swim University.
I stop collecting unemployment checks.September 15th 2013
Andrew and I launch the Listen Money Matters podcast because his wife overheard us talking on Skype and said, "you guys are ridiculous, so you should start a podcast."This is the original podcast artwork for Listen Money Matters. October 30th 2013
I switch affiliate programs on Swim University, from LinkShare to Amazon.
Also, I create a custom plugin that helps improve how Swim University is monetized.March 3rd 2014
I quit Listen Money Matters because Andrew and I had different opinions on the future of the brand/podcast. I focus back on improving Swim University.November 10th 2014
After I finish my end-of-year report, I realize the business made a little over $40,000 in 2014. I get taxed on $28,899.January 1st 2015
I launch a podcast called Driven that only lasts eight episodes.June 10th 2015
An intense hyper-focus on making money works with enough time.Tweet This
After finishing another end-of-year report, I realize the business made a little over $150,000 in 2015. I get taxed on $95,094.January 1st 2016
I launch MoneyLab.co (this site).January 18th 2016
I team up with Jason Zook and relaunch his "How To Get Sponsorships For Anything Course" as GetSponsorships.co.February 13th 2016
I write, produce, and drop a rap album about being an entrepreneur in only 30 days. You can buy the album here.
I team up with Jason Zook again to create Spruce Metrics: a simple analytics platform to help people grow their businesses.November 17th 2016
I take a massive month-long break from working on my business because this shit is hard.
That said, I look forward to working again in 2017!December 6th 2016
Never stop building & creating! Mild success can take a while.Tweet This
My goal from the beginning was to make at least $100,000 a year. Okay, that's not true – I wanted to be a rich and famous rock star.
Instead, I built a pool website. I still wish it didn't take 14 fucking years though!
But it did. And every step was important. If I didn't go through them, I might have blown all my money on a mansion in Florida in 2008.
Instead, I bought a modest condo in New Jersey in 2008. And I still got screwed.
I got fired, laid off, and collected unemployment. I'm glad it all happened. Without those moments, I wouldn't be where I am today – in my home office in Boulder writing about becoming mildly successful.
I have no regrets. I fucked up and fought my way through. And the best moment was when my mom stopped asking me when I was going to get a "real job."
I love you ❤️This page was design with some help from Cody House, Stephanie Halligan, and Jason Zook.
You don't need an opt-in bribe, right? I'm asking you to enter your address, confirm it, and enjoy an email update once in a while. No spam. Is that cool?