#15 | The Upside of Failure

It’s not surprising that failures are mostly shared only after you’ve found success.

In that way, success becomes a shield.

“Sure, I failed at X, but it paved the way for Y.”

Well as of today, I have no side hustle success story to redirect you to (yet).

Instead, I come only with insights gained through a failed attempt.

The Beginning

On September 15th, 2021 Mike sent a text to our group chat that read:

“Just hit publish on article #100 and had my first $100 dollar day yesterday.”

Text from Mike saying he published his 100th article and had his first $100 day in profit from his first blog.

Up until this point, I had celebrated all of his progress updates while having absolutely no idea what he was doing.

No longer.

I hit publish on my first article 53 days later.

Like any new field I wander into, I allowed myself to fall entirely down the rabbit hole.

Some would argue *cough* my wife *cough* that I became obsessed.

While working a demanding 9 to 5 in biotech, I was getting up at 4:00am and staying up past midnight.

I couldn’t get enough.

I published over 100 posts and surpassed 50,000 pageviews a month just 6 months into my first site.

Right around that time, Mike called me up one morning and told me there was an opportunity to start a business together.

We would begin just by sharing monthly income reports for each of our respective sites. If we could build some interest, we’d figure out what was next from there.

I was immediately on board and Niche Twins was born in May of last year (2022).

Later that same month, after my very first income report, I lost half of my site’s traffic overnight in the Google May core update.


Choppy Waters

My greatest fear in sharing the progress of my site was failing publicly.

That fear materialized almost immediately. And like most fears, it had some merit but was mostly irrational.

As it turned out, I wasn’t the only one on the Google update rollercoaster.

Sharing my wild traffic swings opened the door to conversations with countless niche site owners – some were experiencing the same thing and others had come out the other side.

I learned more about SEO in that first month of trying to help my site recover than I had in the previous 6 months combined.

If failure is a great motivator, what does that make public failure?

After two months of adjustments, my site not only recovered, it soared to new all-time highs. September ended with $2,300 in earnings.

I was back…

…until the Google October 2022 update hit me again.

My site has been in a downward spiral every single month since.

GSC impressions and clicks for TheFlexibleWorker.com through May 2023.

If I had to distill what I’ve learned over the past 18 months into a single sentence, it’d be this:

The gap between creating something and creating something to last, is vast.

There are about a hundred sub-bullets I could add to this, but I’ll save those details for next week. 😉

Personal Note

We all know you should ignore negative comments on Twitter.

Negativity bias ensures you’ll feel the sting of a single, shitty comment far more powerfully than you’ll feel the joy of a thousand voices of encouragement.

But I am human, so I read them. And yes, sometimes I even dwell on them.

When a Google update hit my site for the second time, some said I must regret starting Niche Twins with Mike.

After all, his site was soaring while my site was actively getting destroyed.

What a strange perspective.

Does it suck watching your first site slowly die?

Of course.

But what’s there to regret about learning an entirely new skill, engaging with an incredible community of like-minded people, and getting to work with my brother every day?

I’ve learned as much from Mike, if not more, than anyone in this space.

I feel nothing but incredibly grateful to be on this ride with him.

The reality of group ventures (and life) is this – sometimes you’re the lead and sometimes you’re the supporting cast.

When it’s your time to be the latter, don’t jump on the lead’s back and just enjoy the ride…get behind them and push.

Next week I will reveal my site.

Have a weekend. ✌


mike keith always be publishing

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