I ran into an old friend the other day. Someone who hasn't seen me in 11 years. It's amazing how a quick walk down memory lane can really bring things back into perspective...
The first half of this year has been nothing short of a crazy roller coaster ride. Or more accurately, a serious obstacle course.
I've joked that I must have signed up for a Life Endurance test at some point, and just forgot that I did -lol.
I've been learning some hard lessons lately, and forced to make some serious changes in my life and business. Some of it has been fun, most of it has not.
I know, I know - everyone thinks I have it made. And honestly, in many ways I do. But I put my pants on one leg at a time just like everyone else, and I am certainly not exempt from the crazy curve balls of life...
Dramatic Revenue Drop
As the year started and I was wrapping up my books for 2011, I found myself in an odd place financially. It was the very first time in my history of 15 years in business that I had earned less than the year before.
Every single year I have earned more than the year before - until then.
I couldn't quite put my finger on the reason. 2010-2011 had been rough years for me personally, and I had relied heavily on my passive income.
When I was actively working it wasn't necessarily on "money tasks" but rather on the things that I enjoyed doing.
While analyzing my books, I assumed this must be the source of the dramatic revenue drop. Me. That's always the first direction we look when things aren't going right, isn't it? As well, it should be - usually.
Robbed & Hacked
Other than that things were going pretty well in my life. Well, mostly. I kept experiencing major downtime with my sites. You may recall visiting one of my sites and finding it down - more than once over the course of about 10 months, even.
I would get on a support call with my host and it would "be fixed", but only temporarily. It was driving me mad but I didn't know what else to do.
Then, during the first quarter, I discovered that my domain (ClickNewz) had been stolen by a nasty hacker. If you're wondering how that happened read this, as it explains exactly what happened to me as well. I had to jump through a number of hoops over the span of several weeks, but did finally manage to regain ownership of my domain.
Next, I found myself seriously hacked. Or my sites, I should say. The hackers locked me out of my own sites and redirected my email so that I couldn't even do a successful password recovery.
Once I hired a security team, it became obvious that previous hacks (that were less obvious) were the source of my site downtime all along.
That downtime cost me almost $80,000 in passive income last year. BINGO! I found the source. And it wasn't me. LOL...
Perspective & Gratitude
In addition to all those hassles, the expense of the security team and loss of income, I had many personal issues pop up. It couldn't be small things either. Oh no - life was really pulling a doozy on me. From a major health issue to losing Mylah & a few other curve balls in between that literally knocked me back a few paces.
That "walk down memory lane" I mentioned earlier, really put things back in perspective. As bad as things continued to get, my life was still nowhere near what it was a decade ago when I was going through an even worse time.
Even with the major drop in gross income, I still pulled a 6-figure year. I had two healthy, happy children and a (very nice) roof over my head. And I had friends and resources I could count on as I made my way through the current "obstacle course" of unexpected circumstances.
Worst Case Scenario
At one point things seemed downright impossible. I had those days where I just wanted to crawl in a hole, and pull the hole in behind me. I settled for crawling in my bed and pulling the covers over my head.
That's normal. But I had some very ambitious goals for this year, and I was not about to just give up or give in. I literally had to drag myself out of bed and walk through the "recovery tasks" one at a time - no matter how long they took me.
Yes, at one point I became completely exhausted and felt that "victim mentality" creeping in, but I forced myself to just keep moving forward. And just as I'd get to a point of being able to say "wow, I am so glad THAT is behind me!"... boom, another curve ball. It was disheartening to say the least.
I discovered an exercise that was extremely helpful. It was to simply sit down, clear my head of all the worries and what if's, and draft up a very literal Worst Case Scenario. Interestingly, in each of the cases, it wasn't nearly as bad as it seemed in my head. There was always a "best next step", a solution if you will, and so I focused on that. And of course, in most cases I never had to refer back to that Worst Case Scenario - but at least it was out of my mind, on paper, along with workable resolution. Which was comforting, and reduced unnecessary stress.
Things Are Looking Up!
For awhile there I admit it was ME looking up, half expecting the sky to fall on my head. LOL. I literally felt like I was under constant attack. And for awhile there, between hackers and thieves and "friends", I literally was.
While I'm less than two weeks out from the latest blow, my gut feeling is that this phase is coming to it's end. You know that old saying "this too shall pass". It's true. The one consistent thing in life, that you can truly count on, is change.
This is not the most comforting thought when things are going fabulous, lol.
But it certainly is when they're not.
All said and done, I'm very pleased with how I handled each of the situations. And I am feeling inspired and motivated again, and ready to get things back on track around here.
Life can be nuts sometimes. Business can be frustrating. I encourage you to dig deep down and find your resolve, and power through whatever comes your way.
Whatever you're going through, or whatever comes up in the future, know that you're not alone. Crap happens to ALL of us. And while it's no fun while you're right in the thick of it... it IS what makes us stronger, builds our character, and pushes us to pay more attention to the important details in life.
Just remember, it's hard to put all you are and have into super cool ambitious goals from a point of complacency. The more challenges and obstacles you face, the harder you'll work to get where you'd rather be in life.