My Internet Marketing Journey header image
≡ Menu
overcoming adversity

What I have learned about overcoming adversity

As far as making money online, this month hurt. It hurt real bad. Last month was my worst month in earning money online. This month made last month look like I had won the lottery. This is the trials and tribulations that come with making money online. I would not have it any other way.

You shouldn’t be on this road –  Recalibrating

nothing has meaning except the meaning you give itAnyone who has a GPS in their car is familiar with it saying “Recalibrating” if you miss a turn that it had told you to take. If you try to take a shortcut then you will also hear recalibrating. If the road you are on ends and you are forced to take an unplanned alternate route then you hear “recalibrating.” My internet marketing journey went through some major recalibrating in July.

Sometimes it takes a while for you to experience the fallout of any action. Well I felt the fallout this month. My monthly earnings will be very close to just $2k for this month. If I was on the road I had been own I could have expected to be at around $3.5k. That is a big fallout.

There is a saying that nothing has meaning except the meaning that you give it. I first heard this saying at a Tony Robbins UPW event. During the past month my coach brought this back to the forefront of my brain. How I react to this change is completely up to me.

The positive is that after explaining what happened to my coach, he asked me point blank what did I feel about it, what have I learned and what I am going to do about it. The clear answer was that this sucked. Saying that I told him that I now have a blueprint that I created to become the top affiliate for my biggest grossing affiliate program that allowed me to get multiple websites ranked on the first page of Google. I am going to take that blueprint and apply it to my new niche website. I will be able to reproduce the successful results in less time since I knew the correct path to follow.

My new Niche Website

I am participating in Pat Flynn’s Niche Site Duel 2.0 program. I did extensive research on  possible keywords and different niches. The runner-up keywords that I chose not to use were:

  • standup paddleboards
  • geocaching
  • container gardening
  • hydrophonics gardening

It was very difficult not to pursue 2 of those keywords – hydrophonic gardening and standup paddleboards – but the universe has conspired to provide me with opportunities for both of them that I will explain later.

The keyword that I decided to use for the Niche Site Duel 2.0 is “HVAC Certification” and “HVAC Training”.  HVAC training has 3,600 monthly searches and HVAC Certification has 2,400 monthly searches.  As you can see these keywords are not very competitive. There are several other niche websites that provide information about certification and training for each of the 50 states but not much else competition.

There were 2 primary reasons that I chose this keyword over the others. The primary reason is that it allows me to mimic what Pat Flynn did with his website for security guard training on his intial Niche Site Duel. Success leaves clues. It worked for him so I can duplicate what he did and find the same success for myself. The other reason is that these 2 keywords – HVAC Training and HVAC Certification have huge CPC values in Google keyword tool. HVAC Training is at $10.39 and HVAC Certification is at $7.88. It was this potential that sold me on this keyword.

Building my Niche Website

My niche website is iHVAC Zone. Check it out. Most people participating in the Niche Site Duel 2.0 are not revealing their website and I struggled with whether or not to reveal it. My ultimate decision was this website’s tagline is “My Internet Marketing Journey.” I invite you to come along with me by having this blog and you can watch as I build my niche website.

I decided to use the genesis theme. This is a premium theme. I have always used Thesis or Flexibility themes but neither of them are responsive themes meaning they do not scale for people viewing your website on cell phones or tablets. Thesis does now have Thesis 2.0 theme but you just can’t upgrade from Thesis 1.0 to 2.0 because it has been completely redesigned. I didn’t want to take the time to learn the new features in Thesis 2.0 so that is why I ended up with the genesis theme. I spent $67 to purchase the genesis theme.

The first step in creating my website was to create a header image. I am a big fan of the Envato marketplace. Envato is a network of different websites that provide custom wordpress themes, royalty free graphic images, 3D images, royalty free music and videos. I went to photodune and purchased the images I used to create my header. I used PhotoShop to create text with special formatting to create the title.

The next step I took was to hire 6 writers on to each write me 5 x 500 word articles. I provide the keywords or article titles for them to write on. I did not use any of the writers that I have used in the past because I wanted someone familiar with this industry because the articles were going to be technical in nature. I spent a total of $265.35 to pay these writers. That comes out to an average of $8.84 per article.

It took less than 5 days for me to get all of the articles written for me. I then spent about 2 hours proofreading the articles and posting them to my new website. I used PhotoDune to get the featured image for each blog post. I purchase the small version of any image and it only costs $1 per image. In total I spent $30 for images.

I setup the articles to publish 7 immediately so my website could start to get indexed by Google. I then set the remaining articles to drip feed every 2 days. The last article will publish on August 29th.

I used the following plugins on my website:

  • Askimet
  • Broken Link Checker
  • Bulletproof Security
  • Google XML sitemap
  • Clean Contact
  • Google Anilyticator
  • JetPack
  • nRelate Related Content
  • OptinSkin
  • Pretty Link Lite
  • Top 10
  • TubePress
  • Wordfence Security
  • WordPress Database Backup

Let me know if you think there are any other plugins that you think I should be using. Or if there is a better plugin that provides the same functionality for any listed above.

The next step was to create my static homepage. I am using a static homepage on my website instead of blog posts. I am mirroring Pat’s Security Guard Training website homepage on my website. I purchased a clickable map for $9. This map allows you to click on any state and be taken to a page that tells you about HVAC certification for that state.

Gathering the information for each state has been a very painful and long drawn out process. In fact I am on the border of actually hiring someone to find this information for me instead of continuing to do it for myself. If you click on the map be sure to click the southern states of Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, Kentucky, North and South Carolina as well as Texas and California. I have collected information for these states and the rest of the states are blank.

That is the extent of what I have done for my new niche website iHVACZone. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Celebrate Your Success

During July I went over my goals that I wrote down for 2013 with my coach. This was my half-way point review for the year. I was able to claim an abundance of successes in that many of my goals were already complete. There were some goals that I really haven’t even started working on and others that I am currently working on but just not finished yet.

My coach gave me some incredible advice on the goals that I have not even started on. He said they maybe goals for me but they just may not be 2013 goals. That one bit of advice gave me the freedom to scratch them from my 2013 goals and gave me the opportunity to focus on what was left to accomplish.

The one area that I had the last amount of success in was Celebration. My coach admonished me in the most perfect manner when I was telling him about losing my most productive affiliate programs. He asked me 2 simple questions: 1) How much did I earn in the first 6 months online and 2) How much did the 10 people that work in my department in my day job earn online or thru passive income? The answer to the first question was that I earned more online that I took home in my day job. The answer to the second question was I earned more than all 10 of them combined. He asked me why I shouldn’t celebrate that success.

In July I spent some time on myself. I spent a day at the spa being pampered. I purchased a few items for myself. I did a beauty makeover one day. The crowning moment came when I trade in my 15 year old 1998 Infiniti I30 car with 254,592 miles for a brand new 2013 Kia Optima EX. Here is a picture of my new car.

Celebrate Your Success

I struggled with having a car payment since last year I was able to achieve the enviable status of being completely debt free. But since I always hold onto cars for a long time it was ok. I am going to pay more than the monthly payment and pay $500/month and have it paid off in less than 4 years.

The car has leather seats and adjustable driver and passenger seats. It has a killer sound system. The greatest thing is that it has an AUX port where I can connect my iPod and list to my music, podcasts and books while in the car. If you are not listening to podcasts then you need to start now. Podcasts allow you to listen to the struggles others had and what they did to overcome them and why they are successful today. Like I said before – SUCCESS LEAVES CLUES!

Coaching Program

I have had over a dozen people contact me directly and say they have been reading my blog and wanted to know if I had a coaching program. I don’t but my coach has been pushing me to start doing this. If you are interested in a coaching program for me, I would love to get your feedback on what you would like to be included in the program. You can leave a comment below or email me directly at

All I ask is that you give me your feedback before August 9th. I am putting that deadline because in 7 hours I am getting on a plane with my Mother and Sister and heading to England for holiday. We return on the 9th. I will collect all the feedback and then work on creating a coaching program that provides as much of the requests that I receive.



If so, please join over 1,000 people who receive exclusive notification every time I publish a new article or online marketing tips. Click on the red button below!

by Jennifer Bland

I am an Entrepreneur. Mountain Climber. Neil Diamond fanatic. World traveler. MBA grad. Soon to be permanently retired from the ratrace.My website is a diary of strategies that I have used to make money online. I share what I have learned to help others.

14 comments… add one
  1. Hi Jennifer- you have been on one amazing journey this year! I started following you earlier this year and really admired how you shared you journey both the good and bad days. Your outline of the iHVACzone is great I would have never thought of going way out of my comfort zone. Would love to be part of your coaching if you ever decide to follow through. Enjoy your holiday! Marilyn

    1. Marilyn,

      You are so right that it has been an amazing journey. I am still committed to reaching my stated goals despite the challenges I have faced. I appreciate having people come along on the journey with me and share the ride.


      PS the holiday was amazing

  2. Jennifer,

    I so want to acknowledge you for “Celebrating” your successes. This is also what I’ve been working on with my coaches this year, in addition to “living a life of balance, peace, ease, joy, well-being and fulfillment! Literally my written vision for the 2013 year!
    To openly share your journey and the adversity, challenges, triumphs and celebrations is the ultimate in “Being Abundant!” Congratulations to you!

    As the co-founder of the DistrictREIA (real estate investment association) I speak publicly about my journey, adversity, successes, failures, set-backs, learning and my celebrating. I also educate my students to do the same.

    I’ve not really ever been one for “techie” online stuff… I know just enough to get by! Recently I am realizing it is just NOT enough to be in that place. I’ve always wanted to blog, contribute to others lives through social media and have started doing so. What a rewarding and novel concept.

    Your story, openness, honesty is very touching,motivating and inspiring. YES I’d love to work with you and have you “COACH” me on how to do what it is that you did with creating online passive income.

    I am a real estate investor and I own several multi-unit commercial properties which is also a passive income source. I am not far from you. I am just West of Baltimore, MD. Not only am I the co-founder of a REIA with a nice membership I am also a coach on real estate investing.

    it might be worthwhile having coffee or lunch together to see about the possibilities of supporting one another.

    I hope your holiday is amazing and you celebrate each and every day that you are there. what a gift that you get to spend it with your Mom.

    I so look forward to hearing from you Jennfier!



    1. Tammy,

      Sounds like we are traveling down the same path. I think real estate is a great way to create passive income. I use to speak quite a bit at all the local REIAs in my area.

      I am working on my coaching program. I am thinking of making it a very huge training program that covers how to do affiliate marketing, solo ads, book royalties and creating your own products. Each section will have many videos walking you through step by step how to do it. If you are a beginner it will teach you everything you need to know. If you have some experience then just skip the videos that cover topics you already know and watch the ones that you do not know.


  3. I want to add my appreciation and admiration and thanks. Well done! Hang in there — and don’t stop keeping us all inspired.

    1. Patricia,

      Thank you so very much. It is words of encouragement like this that keep me moving forward. I write to keep myself accountable toward reaching my stated goals but then I also write to show others that it is possible. I encourage everyone to read about my Journey and if you want then jump in the car with me.


  4. I really can’t believe how much great information you are giving away on this site Jennifer.

    You give us the good and the bad and tell it like it is, this is truly awesome reading here and I can’t wait to hear you’ve reached your goal and gone full time :) Sadly I am nowhere near your levels but you have become one heck of an inspiration to me so hopefully one day!

    One question if I may…

    You have an extremely nice “other great posts you might like to read” at the bottom of your post. Do you use a plugin for this or is it custom code?

    Thanks for the great read, looking froward to your next installment,

    All the best


    1. Colin,

      It is a free plugin called nRelate. It only works with wordpress themes that have a featured image option. If you put a featured image and then select the categories when you create a new post then it will automatically show the featured image as a thumbnail and the post title for you at the bottom of the post. It is a great plugin and it is free.

      Thanks for your feedback. If you read my blog post about avoiding the shinning object syndrome you will see that I have spent thousands on products. I like the products where they overdeliver and hate the products that give you only the good side. That is why in my blog I share everything – good and bad – so that you can actually see what it is like. My tagline is “My Internet Marketing Journey” and I share everything on my journey including the successes as well as the speed bumps.


  5. Coaching program! How did I miss this?

    Yes would love to hear what you are proposing. I guess what I would like help with mostly is going to the next stage. i.e. I have an Amazon based niche website but I do not have much in the way of sales and traffic although people who have looked at it have said all looks good. I need someone to look at what I am doing and give me some constructive criticism.

    Thing is, you have an awesome work ethic and I am not sure how well us mere mortals could possibly keep up with you! :)

    Have a great holiday in the UK Jennifer… by the way, that’s where I live :)

    All the best


    1. Colin,

      I spent about 14 hours Saturday and Sunday planning out what I would like to put in my coaching program. Last night I wrote my weekly status report to my life coach detailing what I have tentatively planned out. Waiting for his feedback.

      Basically as I mentioned above in another comment, I think I am going to create step by step videos that show you how to make money online using all of the methods that I am using today. I will be about 20-30 videos per method so it will take some time to work through them. But it will show you step by step how to do them all.

      Hope to see you as a coaching student.


  6. Congrats on powering through and getting on with what needs to be done.
    I love the fact that you treated yourself to a new car. Well done. It’s so refreshing to hear it from a real person as opposed to seeing all those swanky sales pages where someone is showing off about their wares.

    I wondered if you had read Viperchill’s latest blog post all about Facebook ads. I know that you have been working with solo ads – thought that his case study might be of interest to you.
    Have a great August :)

    1. Victoria,

      I have not done anything with facebook ads. I read the viperchill article about getting websites ranked and actually printed out all 8 pages and read it on my flight over to London on my holiday. He has some great information.

      I absolutely love my new car. It is only the 2nd time in my life that I have had a brand new car. The first time my father purchased me a Mazda RX7 when I graduated from University in 1984. This is my second brand new car. It is so amazing to have a car where the total mileage is 3 digits instead of 6 digits and the age of the car is measured in months and not decades. My coach has always been on me to celebrate my successes and I am starting to listen to him and it really does improve your life.


  7. I have been following your blog for a while and I can’t even member how I found it in the first place. It is always encouraging to read real accounts and see that it isn’t always as easy as the “gurus” make it out to be but also that perseverance and “recalibration” pays off.

    1. Herman,

      I don’t care how you found my blog but I am glad that you are here. I hope my blog posts provide enough interest to keep you here for a long, long time. Life isn’t easy but like I just posted in my July 2013 income report you have to have the mindset of “Do today what others won’t, do tomorrow what others can’t”. Put in the work then you can reap the rewards and pamper yourself as a result.



Leave a Comment