If you’ve only been reading my blog for 2-3 years, then you might think that I’m solely an affiliate marketer.
The fact is, though, that I actually have a lot more experience with creating websites from scratch and monetizing them. It’s how I made my living from around 2004-2012, with my blog and affiliate marketing income taking over since then.
The main reason I turned to affiliate marketing around 2012 is because in early spring of 2011 I sold my largest money-making website. I agreed to a non-disclosure regarding the actual sale price, but let’s just say it was around an average 2-year salary.
While a nice chunk of change in one go, it also meant that a lot of residual money each month was gone, which is why I decided to give affiliate marketing another try.
I’ve had many other websites too. Probably around 30 or so. Almost all of them have been sold off now, although I do still have some abandoned sites lying around such as Movie-Vault.com and PublisherSpot.com (some more are listed here). Feel free to shoot me an e-mail if you’re interested in buying any of them from me!
The point I’m trying to make is that I have a lot of experience building websites, many of which have made a decent amount of income (although I’ve made just as many if not more which were complete flops!).
Anyhow, I can’t remember exactly when, but sometime around a year ago I came up with an idea for a new website that I thought would be great.
First of all, I think that there’s a definite need for it. Why do I think this? Because I’ve personally been in the situation many times where I could have used such a website, and I know others have as well. It solves a problem that people are constantly having.
From my research, I couldn’t find an existing website that addressed this. In fact, I was surprised! I did find some websites when I was searching for domains that had the rough idea in mind, but never actually built a website around the idea. There may be some simple apps around this idea out there (I haven’t looked), but the idea is really best suited in a website (at least at first).
It’s a website that has enormous potential… I’m talking about the sky as the limit. This is what gets me excited. It certainly has the possibility of "blowing up" in no time.
It’s a free website and has an open demographic; anyone and everyone can find a use for this website.
While free, I have 3 monetization ideas for it: standard display advertising, optional "promoted" areas which would be suited towards larger companies, and a possible credit system, although I am not too sure about the last one as it may make the website too convoluted for the regular user. I am never concerned about monetizing a website though.
It is not a content-based website. It is more a community or social-based site. This would aid greatly in spreading the word of the website too, as social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook would be a big part in propagating its arrival.
Development-wise, I’d rate it about a 5 or 6 out of 10 in order of complexity to program. It’s a unique idea and will be media-rich which is always a bit of a pain to deal with, and there will need to be a comprehensive administration area in addition to the main core of the website.
It’s been a few years since I outsourced for a website to be programmed up from scratch so I may be off a bit in my estimates, but perhaps $4,000 – $5,000 for programming might be close to reality.
Design + HTML would be the typical standard costs… probably around $3,000.
Then you have other costs such as domains and possible custom introductory videos, etc. maybe $1,000-$2,000.
All in all, it will probably cost close to $10,000 to get off the ground. I didn’t allocate any money for advertising or promotion.
Do I Want to Take This On?
So I’ve had this website idea for around a year now. It’s always on the back of my mind.
And when I have something on my mind that I can’t shake, it’s very difficult for me not to do something about it. Whether it’s something I want to buy or an idea I want to implement, I usually end up buying it or implementing it.
I mean, a year ago I posted about how I was thinking of investing into real estate and 12 months later I am literally holding the keys to my first income property in my hand.
There are a number of problems with developing this website idea though:
- With my health as it is, I’ve been having a very difficult time focusing and working lately.
- My company’s income is currently low as a result of the above and having just bought an income property
- I still have existing websites which have been abandoned. I should get rid of them first.
- I have other priorities I need to take care of first such as finishing my corporate taxes and getting caught up with e-mail.
- The idea could fail miserably. This really isn’t a concern though since my whole business live has always been about calculated risk.
So if I did take this on, I’d probably make it a personal perquisite to get my taxes sorted out first, sell at least 2 more of my websites, and then get all caught up with e-mail.
That way, I’d have a lot less baggage and would be able to focus on the development of the new website.
There’s also the possibility of partnering up with someone else. I’ve never partnered with anyone in a business endeavour in my life before though…
There are also options such as having others invest in the project for a piece of the pie, though it may be difficult to do that properly legal-wise. I actually did exactly this back in 2009 and had a number of interested parties, but ultimately nobody invested in me. It’s a good thing they didn’t too, since after I ended up funding it myself it ended up being my worst venture ever!
If I did get investors into the project though, I’d probably want to up the development costs a bit and spend a little bit on promotion, so maybe closer to $15,000-$20,000.
I don’t know. Creating a website with a budget (as opposed to launching one for essentially free) is always a risk. I really don’t know what I will do.
But it’s certainly an I idea have and it’s constantly reminding myself of its presence.
A couple of months ago I announced how I finally signed up to Instagram. While it took me a long time to do that, it took me even longer to sign up to Facebook!
Sure, I have a couple accounts for advertising, as well as a personal account that has always been inactive with like 4 friends, but I never made a Facebook account for my blog or business side of things believe it or not.
That is, until now.
So, why the sudden change? Well, now that I am more or less actively blogging again, I want to start sharing my posts and build up my audience a bit. I also always wanted to keep separate accounts for personal and work and just never got around to making one for work.
And… I’m simply not the biggest fan of Facebook. In fact, to be honest, I will not be terribly active on Facebook – but my account there will be.
I’ve set things up so that my blog posts as well as my Instagram and Twitter posts will automatically display on my Facebook Timeline so friending me on Facebook is a good way to stay informed of my posts and updates.
So, follow me on Facebook. My Facebook profile can be found at http://www.facebook.com/tylercruzdotcom.
I do not have a page yet, just an account. I am not sure if I will create a page or not but if I do it won’t be until sometime down the road.
Added Facebook to My Blog
I’ve added Facebook icons and buttons to my blog, located on the top right section.
I actually also added these for Instagram when I signed up to Instagram as well:
And I also updated my e-mail newsletter template footer:
Automating Posting WordPress Posts to Facebook
I spent too much time on this, but ended up getting exactly what I wanted.
Again, one of the main reasons it took me so long to sign up to Facebook is because I didn’t want yet another social network where I would need to spend my time posting and staying active.
It was very important to me, then, to be able to automate posting on Facebook as much as I could.
This proved to be very easy for Instagram since it was already a built-in option (in Instagram), but I wanted for my blog posts to automatically appear on Facebook.
I did a lot of searching through various WordPress plugins that would do this, but all of them had inherent flaws which I did not like.
A bunch of people and websites suggested the plugin Jetpack to me, but I found it to be extremely bloated and it ended up putting a huge strain on my server for some reason (I have issues with my Heartbeat API [/wp-admin/admin-ajax.php] so it was probably that).
I also tried NextScripts: Social Networks Auto-Poster but it too caused some issues.
Another thing I didn’t really like about these WordPress plugins is that most of them would only post to Facebook once you physically hit the Publish button in WordPress. The problem with that, for me, is that I actually don’t use WordPress to write, edit, and publish my blog posts. For the past 10 years I’ve been using Windows Live Writer.
I was willing to give that up and just use the standard WordPress editor, but fortunately I found a better solution (for me anyway).
Thanks to Kevin Muldoon for the tip – he mentioned that I could alternatively use HootSuite or dlvr.it which are 3rd party services which let you manage your social networking sites. One of the things they can do is automatically post your blog posts to Facebook, and the way they do it is simple – through your RSS feed.
I ended up using dlvr.it even though it’s way smaller than HootSuite mainly because it looked to be a lot more simplified to me; all I wanted to do after all was have my WordPress posts automatically post to Facebook, nothing else.
I actually set it up do both Facebook and Twitter – the whole process only took a minute!
Here it is in action:
I love how it automatically includes a photo from the blog post too!
Feel free to set the same thing up if you haven’t already!
Anyhow, I’m now on Facebook, so please follow me there at http://www.facebook.com/tylercruzdotcom.
It’s been a week since my last post and since I’ve been getting slightly better with the post frequency over the past 2-3 months, I thought I’d better throw a new post up.
There hasn’t been a whole lot that happened over the past week. I guess I took it a little bit easy once I got the keys in my hand which marked the completion of the property purchase. And of course, my health issues have really forced me to take it as easy as I can whenever I have the chance to do so.
That being said, I did make some progress in setting up the property management of the property.
Contacting the Tenants
When I received the keys to the property from my realtor, I also received the contact information of the tenants.
Before agreeing to take the property on, the property manager I chose (after a lot of shortlisting and research), told me that it was her policy to physically view the interior of the property.
So, I contacted the 3 tenants to schedule a time for her to go take a look. I only managed to reach one of the tenants and left voicemails for the other 2, but upon reflection I probably should have tried making contact with the other 2 one more time first.
Showing the Property
Anyhow, a few days later I met with the property manager at the property and after a bit of conversation I proceeded to the bottom unit. It was a really surreal feeling having the keys in hand and knocking and then announcing myself before going in, like I was suddenly a realtor or something. A landlord, I guess. It brought upon a strong sense of both power and responsibility.
I was also terrified that the tenant maybe didn’t get my voicemail and that she was still in the unit sleeping or taking a shower. I was really scared of that happening.
Anyhow, the very first thing the property manager said when she walked in was "Do you smell that? That’s marijuana." I didn’t really smell it, but I’m not all that familiar with the smell in the first place. She didn’t really comment too much further, as I’m assuming it’s pretty damn common for tenants to smoke here (I live in BC, Canada after all) – she did seem a little bit surprised though and I think she mentioned it more to see if I was okay with it or not.
As an aside, she noticed cigarettes in an ashtray on the outdoor "patio" area as well, but it seems like the tenant smokes outside since there is absolutely no sign of a smoker living there on the inside.
When we went to take a peak at the bedroom, we noticed a dog sleeping on the bed (he/she looked really scared!). The tenant didn’t have a pet on her lease so we discussed the raising of the rental price and/or adding in a pet security deposit.
The property manager really liked the unit and I proceeded to show her the upper unit which she also really liked. I couldn’t manage to open one of the bedrooms there though… it’s possible it was just a bit stiff (there was no lock), but I didn’t want to brake anything so I just didn’t go in there.
Anyhow, she really liked the property and was fine with taking it on. I guess she has run into a lot of extremely scary properties in the past with crack addicts, hoarders, and whatnot which is why she now demands to see the property in person first. In fact, she had a lot of interesting (and scary) stories to tell me as we went through the property.
After the showing of the property I picked up some Greek and Lebanese food, went home, and had a nap.
When I woke up, I saw I had a voicemail from one of the upstairs tenants. Listening to it, he said that when he got home he noticed that the door of the lower unit was left wide open!
My heart exploded and I was both terrified and pissed off at myself. I was pretty sure I had locked both the doors… but maybe I didn’t? Or maybe I thought I had locked them but didn’t properly?
There are 3 reasons why I was terrified:
First, I was 99.9% sure I had at least closed both doors which means that if the door was found to be left wide open, that somebody must have opened it; the wind wouldn’t open it for example.
Secondly, while the property itself is quite nice, the location itself is in downtown area which means that it’s definitely not the safest area in town.
Lastly, the lower unit is the unit where the dog was! As a huge dog lover and owner myself, I was terrified that the dog may have run away or been stolen on top of a burglary or vandalism. And it would have been all my fault!
I immediately phoned the tenant back and fortunately it was just a scare! The girl in the lower unit had simply left the door open herself after she got home! Ahhhh!
This is just one of the many reasons why I’m using a property manager – I do NOT want to be responsible and have to deal with this stuff! I’m not used to that kind of drama.
As we left the property, the property manager gave me a pile of paperwork to fill out.
I did so the following day and then made copies of the keys and dropped them all off at her office.
It was my first time visiting the building where she worked actually. It’s a new company (just a little over a year old) but is already quite large and growing rapidly. From the outside the building looks pretty drab, so I was really surprised when I went in to find it like a high class resort! It’s actually the nicest business building I’ve been in in my city.
Afterwards, I e-mailed her a comprehensive list of the repairs and improvements so that she can manage that as well (she’ll just send me the quote for the items and I’ll select which I decide to go through with).
So, this "passive income" is almost completely set up and ready to rock!
Nearly one year ago exactly, I announced how I was interested in investing (or rather, having the company of which I am the sole shareholder – gotta keep the lawyers happy) in buy-and-hold real estate property for "passive income" generation.
Yesterday my realtor confirmed that the lawyers said everything went through fine and he handed over the keys to me!
I also requested and received the tenants’ contact information so that I could arrange for them to meet with my property manager. I have yet to do that because of the weekend, but plan on doing so on Monday or Tuesday.
With the keys and contact information in hand, everything is now 100% complete! At least, ownership-wise anyway – I still need to have the tenants renew their leases with my property manager, and I need to greenlight the fixes and improvements to the property.
I find it a little bit mind boggling that it took me an entire year to obtain a property. The market here was just really dead and hardly anything was coming on the market. And I also spent a lot of time learning and researching, as well as unimaginable hours working and programming my analysis spreadsheet.
As I mentioned in a previous post though, all the hard work is done – the only thing stopping me from purchasing property #2 is money. I drained a pretty damn big chunk out of the corporation’s bank account on this property, and I still need money to pay for taxes, accountant’s, lawyers, and myself in dividends, so it will be quite a while before I purchase another property to be honest.
Here are a couple of more photos of the property for you guys.
This one is the kitchen upstairs:
And another angle of the kitchen and eating nook:
Now if you’re a really longtime reader of my blog (I’m going back nearly 10 years now), you may remember how I used to income my monthly earnings on the side column and update it once a month.
I was actually considering adding a section like this again, but this time solely to include rental income, so that it’d look something like this:
Door #1: $1,100
Door #2: $900
Door #3: $1,050
… but then the realization that I currently only have 2 doors made me decide to cancel the idea. Well, at least until I have another property.
But it does lead me to my next point…
Money For Life
You know those scratch-and-win lottery tickets that give you money for life? Like $1,000 a week for as long as you live? Well this is how I view income property. To me, having an income property is just like winning one of these lottery tickets.
My local real estate market is actually rather horrible in terms of buy-and-hold investing; cap rates are horrid. The average $400,000 property will only yield around $2,200 a month in rent.
But even so, that’s for life. The property I just purchased only brings in $1,650 a month in rent, and after expenses (of which there are plenty), I’m only walking away with a very small portion of that.
… but it’s for life! It’s not a campaign that can die tomorrow or a website that dwindles off after years of hard work.
And then of course there are the major benefits such as property appreciation, rent appreciation, leveraging options, and equity gain/payoff.
Yes, there are other ways to make money for life such as GIC’s, but I like the rate of return and the level of control I have with real estate.
I can’t wait to acquire more property. I just need to make some more serious cash before I can do so. And for that, I need to look back towards the Internet!