Do What You Love, Love What You Do, Episode 4: Loving My Fire (An SBI! Success Story)
By Rachel Bruner, lovemyfire.com
Tell us about your website, www.lovemyfire.com. When and why did you start your site?
In 2011 I received a Kindle Fire for Christmas. Having little hands-on experience with e-readers and tablets before this, I was thrilled to learn all that my Kindle Fire could do.
I loved figuring things out and wanted to share my insights with others, but when I searched online the only resources specifically dedicated to this new tablet were a few forums and a blog.
Around this time I was seriously considering starting my own business creating websites for others. Although I had years of website experience, I wasn’t really thrilled with the idea but I wanted to keep working from home, I wanted to be my own boss, and I was definitely ready for a job change.
In February of 2012 while searching for tools to more easily create websites for others I stumbled upon an article that mentioned a company that helped you create a profitable website business. I didn’t clearly understand what the article meant so I went straight to the company’s website.
As I read about SiteSell and learned what SBI! could teach me, a light bulb started to flash inside my head and I began to feel very excited. I knew I’d finally found the missing pieces to help me create a successful and profitable website business of my own.
I immediately signed up for SiteSell and started going through their Action Guide. Being passionate about my Kindle Fire and knowing there wasn’t a website just for this tablet, I knew it was the perfect topic for me.
Although the number of people searching for specific “Kindle Fire” content was small, it was a new topic and my gut told me it would grow. I knew there must be other Kindle Fire owners out there who would love to know what I could share with them.
I decided to go with my gut, made plans for my online business, and on May 16, 2012 my website went live.
The well-known phrase, “If you build it, they will come” fit perfectly with my site, but the key to my success was creating a website around a topic that I’m passionate about, which made my “work” a ton of fun!
Are you working full-time or part-time on building your website / online business?
When I started my website business I was definitely putting in full-time hours, and continued to do so for most of the first year. Now, it depends on what I’m currently working on. Sometimes I work full-time, especially when I’m researching and working on a new article, but most of the time it’s a part-time thing, which I love!
I can easily put in as many – or as few – hours as I want. Of course, creating quality content takes effort, and I make sure that the time and effort I put into my site is useful for my site’s visitors.
So far, what has been the biggest challenge for you?
Surprisingly, the biggest challenge has been responding to all the requests for help from those who visit my website. This is obviously a good thing, as the more visitors you have to your site the more successful it is, but it has also been a huge challenge.
I believe having a technical topic probably brings in a higher percentage of questions than your average website, since people are often looking for specific help with electronic devices.
During the first year alone I responded to over 2,000 comments and questions posted on my website, social pages, and emails. During the second year I tried to keep up with the increasing demand but my health, sanity, and time with my family really suffered.
Eventually I realized I couldn’t keep up with the demand, not if I wanted to have balance in my life. I let my site visitors know that I loved receiving their comments and questions but that I wouldn’t be able to personally respond to each and everyone of them.
To help, I added an FAQ and some other resources to my site and then I prioritized which questions I would answer. Problems that would take extra time to troubleshoot were filed away, while I focused on answering those that didn’t take as much time and effort.
However, the demand for Kindle Fire support continued to increase, and in December of 2014 I was fortunate enough to be able to hire an assistant to help me out!
My amazing assistant now responds to most of my site visitors (on my behalf) and she does a fabulous job. Thus, my biggest challenge has been conquered and I’m able to once again focus my time and effort on other areas of my business such as updating content, creating new content, and other fun projects that are in the works.
What do you enjoy most about being an online business owner?
I love being self employed and owning my own business! I work when I want, for however long (or little) that I want, and I do it wherever I want. It’s given me freedom to work around my busy schedule, to raise a baby (who is now a busy toddler), and everything else that comes with the craziness of life.
However, I equally enjoy being my own boss. I LOVE being in control of what I work on. No one tells me what I can or can’t create for my website. If I want to create a specific resource then that’s what I do. If I really don’t want to do something, then I don’t.
Of course, I still need to work on some things that aren’t as fun as other stuff, but overall I’ve established a good balance between doing work that has to be done vs doing work that I LOVE to do.
Has your life changed since you started your site? Can you describe these changes for us?
My life has absolutely changed in many ways since starting my site!
Besides the changes mentioned previously, my site is financially profitable. It pays for our mortgage as well as other needs and wants, like my husband’s new truck and preschool for my toddler- which lets her learn and socialize while I get some toddler-free time to work.
Another not-so-obvious way in which my life has changed is my self-esteem regarding my education.
Although I’ve always done well in school, I never earned a bachelor’s degree. During my college years I went to a technical school where I received a two-year degree in Computer Information Technology.
Over the years all three of my siblings and each of our spouses received a bachelor’s degree. I was the only one without one, and I began to feel a bit lesser because of it.
However, about a year after creating my website business I realized something that changed the way I see myself: I had learned a marketable trade.
Most of my website experience is self-taught but with the business knowledge I learned from SiteSell I now see myself as a skilled business owner, because that is what I am!
Just like a plumber, electrician, or cosmetologist gains their skills from a specific trade school, I gained an education as a website business owner from SBI!
Why did you choose SBI! to build your website / online business?
Before starting my Love My Fire website I worked for 10 years as an independent contractor for a big website, and before that I spent a few years tinkering with a website selling my mom’s scrapbook poetry.
Although I had experience with website creation, and even made some money from these endeavours, I didn’t fully know how to create a successful website business.
When I found SiteSell I realized that this company had the missing pieces to the online business puzzle I’d been working on for so many years. It was clear to me that the benefits they provided were exactly what I needed if I was to achieve what I wanted.
Jumping in with both feet was a risk for me, as I quit my other job before my site even started earning money, but it was definitely worth it and I haven’t looked back!
With SiteSell I continue to learn and grow as a business owner. SBI! has provided priceless information, tools, and resources that have helped me get to where I am today and will continue to help me with my goals and plans for the future of my business.
What one piece of advice would you give someone who is just getting started in the online business world?
Well, I have three pieces of advice, if that’s alright. 🙂
First, trust your gut instincts. Don’t second guess yourself. If the time is right, if the topic is right, you’ll know it.
Second, don’t give up. Just like anything worth doing, learning and creating a successful online business takes time and effort, but in the end it’s worth it.
Third, enjoy yourself! If you’re not loving what you’re doing, then you’re not doing what you love. Examine your life until you find what you love and then go and do it!
Not only do I love both my Kindle Fire and my website, but I also love SiteSell because it made my business possible! Thanks SBI!
If you ever dreamt of starting a small business online, now is the time. SBI! provides all you need: process, tools, guidance and support.
Learn From More High-Traffic, Profitable Solopreneurs
- Recent Success Stories With Takeaway Lessons. Read more recent inspiring stories from our blog. They deliver useful ideas and takeaway lessons from folks who’ve “done it and won it.” If they can do it, you can, too!
- Multi-Year SBI! Reviews. We take a deep-dive into the long term, full business stories of several different types of solopreneur successes. They periodically update their progress so you can see how they and their businesses grow over a period of years. This gives you excellent insight into what solopreneurs can accomplish with real online businesses.
- Hundreds of the “Top 0.5%.” Every one of these SBI! businesses (hundreds of them) rank in the top 1 million active websites (out of approximately 200 million!). That’s all the more impressive because 1) we are such a small community and 2) many Top 0.5% sites are mid-sized or large companies.
Solopreneurs fail at astronomical rates. SBI! makes you 100x more likely to succeed (that’s not a typo!). It will never be easy, but we do make it way more doable.
Scan the wide variety of solopreneurs who are winning in real niches. Use it to get a feeling for what SBIers do, as well as to generate ideas. What do you know? Turn it into a business.