The Decision To Get A New Job Comments50 Comments

After months of plugging away on a few different projects, I’ve decided that it’s time to get a job again.

It seems that I’ve been going through this cycle the last several years. I’ll work a job for a year or two and then I’ll get the itch to be my own boss again.

Usually it ends up being a premature decision. I eventually grudgingly jump back into the job market to boost my income. Then my side projects get pushed to the back-burner.

What Went Wrong This Time

When I left my last job, my website income was much more than I was making at my daytime job. Things were looking quite promising.

Unfortunately it was based on an unstable traffic source: organic search engine rankings.

Ironically, on my first Monday working from home my main websites were hit with a Google rankings penalty. That morning I had plenty of high page #1 rankings, but by late afternoon they all came crashing down. Ever since, those websites do not rank higher than page #5.

You might assume I must’ve done something pretty bad to lose all my rankings like that. I guess it’s a matter of perspective.

I had been doing some aggressive marketing and riding that momentum to the top of the search engine rankings. At the same time I had been neglecting improving my websites to be more than just affiliate portals. Basically my shortcuts caught up to me at the worst possible time.

Of course I didn’t lose all my monthly website income, but it was a big enough hit to affect my finances. Despite months of corrective work, I just couldn’t recover my rankings.

So Now What?

This week I will be meeting with some of my previous employers to discuss potential job opportunities. It sounds like they’d be willing to hire me again, but I need to make sure it is a good fit. If that doesn’t pan out, I’ll be polishing up my resume and looking for something new. It’s either that or start dipping into my savings to cover my bills.

This doesn’t mean the end of the Modest Money blog though. I will be doing what I can to still regularly post here, but I’ll have to scale down my activity on other blogs.

I also have some other side projects going that may evolve into bigger priorities. It shouldn’t be a problem juggling all that, but I may need to start recruiting some guest posts. Send me an e-mail if you are interested in contributing.

Education is another factor to consider while hunting for jobs. Some might land their dream job without a degree, but these situations are rare. The rest of us need to be able to prove that we have adequate knowledge of the field we’re going into, and there is arguably no better way to do this than by going back to school. If you’re in a situation like mine, you can earn a degree in a field like Network Administration online. Not only will this prepare you for the workforce, but you can balance classes with work, making it an ideal choice for anyone running their own business like me.

Have any of you recently had to decide between steady income and the risks of running your own business? For those of you with thriving businesses, did you ever have to step back and get a job while things build up?

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By : Jeremy Biberdorf | 5 Mar 2012
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50 thoughts on “The Decision To Get A New Job

  1. Carrie - Careful Cents

    I definitely love the freedom to be my own boss, and to create unlimited income potential. However, I will always be one of those people that has a back up plan. If/when I do make more income doing freelance, I will probably quit my full-time job (or drastically cut back). Then I’ll try to find a part-time job in the same career field. That way I will always have some steady income, and then some side hustle income as well.

    Sorry to hear about the Google update messing up your site traffic and income. That’s one of my biggest fears. People on the internet are so fickle, one day I’m very popular and then next I’m not. It’s too much of a roller coaster to depend on for steady income.

    Reply
    1. Jeremy

      Yes I probably should’ve transitioned into self employment with part time work in between. It’s just easy to get overoptimistic when big numbers are showing up each month with a steady increase. You don’t expect the carpet to be yanked out from under you. I guess I always consider my backup plan to be going back to work full time. With me it’s either all or nothing.

      Reply
  2. American Debt Project

    This is the first time in my life that I am learning to develop some side work consistently while working full-time. I like my job, and my side income is nowhere near close enough to replace it. What I am trying to do is learn to be consistent enough to manage a few different online business (blogs, ebay and something else I haven’t decided on yet) and some real world businesses, while working at the same time. That’s totally new to me!
    Good luck with the job search. I know how it is to get burnt out on a job. I will say that one thing that has kept me at my current job is my independence and level of responsibility. It’s nice to know people trust you to get the job done.

    Reply
    1. Jeremy

      You sound quite ambitious to be working a full time job and trying to juggle a few different online businesses and real world businesses. Just make sure you are not spreading yourself too thin.

      Reply
  3. Tackling Our Debt

    Sorry to hear about your trouble with google. I think that happened to a lot of people and they too felt the loss financially. Working online is a tricky business because so many things are out of our control. I’ve read stories of people spending 5 years working on their eBay stores and making lots of money only to wake up one morning to find that someone reported them for bad behaviour and eBay shut down their store. Nothing they could do about it. Not fun.

    Best of luck with your job search! Keep us posted!

    Reply
    1. Jeremy

      Thanks for the support! Yes online businesses are much more unstable than a regular business. One day you can trigger some kind of automatic penalty and see everything go down the drain. Through this blog and some other projects I have been learning some different marketing strategies that should make things more stable. A lot comes down to diversification and never over-relying on any one traffic/income source.

      Reply
  4. CultOfMoney

    That’s really quite the story about the good update and your pages and incomes being so affected. I really wasn’t even aware of the power that google algorythm changes could have prior to the last month or two. I’m really sorry to hear that it affected you so badly! I have heard of others also being hit by the Panda change, was it focused mainly on the type of site that you had, or was it more broadly reaching and really just upended the entire system? I wonder what type of processes, insurance, or hedges that you cuold put in place to minimize something similar in the future, if any? Anyway, best of luck with the job search, at least things seem to be picking up, so hopefully now that you want a job, the wait won’t be long!

    Reply
    1. Jeremy

      I was hit in the middle of a major shakeup in the google rankings. The niche I was in was hit particularly bad and affiliate websites were targeted a lot too.

      The only sure way to protect against this is to diversify your traffic and income sources. You need to find ways to get by on alternate traffic sources beyond search engines. Even if you’re doing well with search engine traffic, you have to recognize that it is not secure. You have to do what you can to build up traffic from other websites, social media, paid advertising, etc. Also be sure to pay close attention to google’s ‘rules’. You can still get hit by something unexpected, but if you think you’re within the rules you should be safer. Their rules are rarely black and white though.

      Reply
      1. CultOfMoney

        As you know, if there’s something I am really poor at, it is social media. I could blame a lack of time for part of it, but it really doesn’t cross my mind most of the time that I need to do something social promotion-wise. Currently, I think I’m lucky to have a dozen people a month come from google. :) Sounds like that’s not such a bad thing at times.

        Reply
        1. Jeremy

          You might want to consider trying to mix in more social media. The great part is that it will send traffic and also help search engine rankings.

          Reply
    1. Jeremy

      Thanks Nick. Well it looks like it might still be a few weeks away if I do get a job. So I’ll still be pretty active here until then. After that I might just have to rethink posting frequency and how much time I can commit to other tasks.

      Reply
  5. Walter Martin

    Getting a job at all can be difficult for some! I once read a great post by Steve Pavlina about never getting a job. I have enjoyed life without a true job; thats for sure.

    Reply
    1. Jeremy

      I wish I was able to never have to get a true job again. It is so much more rewarding working for myself. Since I do marketing work for my daytime job it is a bit frustrating seeing how much money I make my employers but then not getting paid enough.

      Reply
  6. Lindy Mint

    I’ve been reading a lot lately about how Google is moving more towards measures aimed to root out the niche/affiliate blogs. Bummer it happened right as you were going full time, and a good reminder that the online business is not entirely stable.

    Best of luck on your job hunt.

    Reply
    1. Jeremy

      Thanks Lindy. Yes the timing wasn’t great. I guess I was due for the wake-up call at some point though. Google has been fighting back against sites that they deem to be low quality.

      Reply
    1. Jeremy

      Thanks! Yes it is easy to get a bit worried when the numbers just aren’t there early in the month. Online income can have its ups and downs even if you don’t get hit by a search engine rankings penalty. There is a randomness to when people are going to click on your ads or buy products through affiliate links. You can just put your best effort forward and hope for the best.

      Reply
  7. Kari@Small Budget Big Dreams

    Stinks you were hit so hard by the google ranking changes. For a while I was making pretty good money writing for some online content mills. The work wasn’t emotionally gratifying, but I like to write and was enjoying the extra income. The google changes hit the content mills pretty hard too. Now there are hardly any article requests and my monthly side hustle dropped significantly. Wish I had hopped on that a little quicker and made some more money with it, before it got shut down. But like you said, it’s hard to rely on in the Internet for steady income with so many variables outside of your control. Hope you continue to post at Modest Money as much as time permits!

    Reply
    1. Jeremy

      Sorry to hear that the Google changes also affected your freelance work. I guess writers would be directly and indirectly affected by it all too. It had become quite easy to get a site ranked well filled with outsourced writing. Suddenly it became important whether the site on a whole was actually satisfying visitors. I guess we just have to roll with the punches and adapt our strategies when necessary.

      Reply
  8. Money Infant

    Were you hit last May with the Panda update? I was and it also came at a very bad time for me as I had just left my job and we were getting ready to move to Thailand. Ah well, there is no appeasing the Google god. This time around I am trying to set things up so I am not as dependent on search traffic and the whims of the big G. Hope the job search goes well for you and that you are back at the entrepreneurship game again soon. You know it’s like an itch that has to be scratched. :)

    Reply
    1. Jeremy

      No I wasn’t hit until August, but I know they had been gradually rolling out Panda algorithm updates every month or so. You’re right that we have to do things without depending on search traffic. It’s nice when it’s there, but you have to accept that it can be turned off like a tap at any time. I hope I can get my biz going again so that I don’t have to work for ‘the man’ too long.

      Reply
  9. WorkSaveLive

    Good luck with the job search, Jeremy!

    That’s unfortunate that Google changed everything. I’ve been very leery of Google. Since I’m new to this whole blogging thing I always am nervous that I could be doing something wrong. lol.

    I think I’m fine though. Hang in there…hopefully you can find a job you enjoy and also maintain your current side jobs!

    Reply
    1. Jeremy

      Thanks Jason. Yes don’t trust the search engines to always send consistent traffic. You shouldn’t have much to worry with your blog though. Still, focus on the traffic sources that you have more control over and you’ll be fine. You’ve made really good progress with your blog so far.

      Reply
  10. 20's Finances

    Wow – that’s a scary thought. I would hate to have to go back to a regular job after losing all of my online income. Talk about a hit with a little realism. Good luck making the adjustment. I definitely wouldn’t want to go back to the 9-to-5 after stepping away from it all.

    Reply
    1. Jeremy

      For sure! When you start working for yourself, you feel such independence and freedom. Having to go back to work is a bit of a kick in the junk. At least I’ve gone through this before and know what to expect. You become less employable after being your own boss though. When you’re suddenly not in control of things, it’s easy to get frustrated over all the little things you think should be done differently.

      Reply
  11. Paul @ Make Money Make Cents

    Sorry to hear, and Good Luck finding a new job. What do you think is the best alternative to search engine traffic?

    Reply
    1. Jeremy

      Thanks Paul. The best alternative depends on the kind of site. I’m hoping to build up one of my other websites to convert well enough to justify paid traffic. For this blog I’m trying to rely more on social media and referral traffic. Really, you want to be well diversified so that you always have other traffic sources to fall back upon. Ideally you can also build up a decent sized following and/or mailing list.

      Reply
  12. MoneySmartGuides

    You sound a lot like me with work. Maybe try to find a small firm that you can use your entrepreneurial skills. Also, try to find a balance. I work a full time job and write for a blog. In the coming months I’ll be writing for an additional blog and be working on another idea. I’ve learned to balance things out. I don’t get stressed when I have a night when I do nothing. I see it as a time to recharge.

    Good luck with everything. I’m sure you’ll figure it all out!

    Reply
    1. Jeremy

      Finding balance is tough when trying to juggle multiple projects and a job. It seems there is never enough time in the day. I’ll have to do a bit of outsourcing when I get back working full time again.

      Reply
    1. Jeremy

      I’m the same way. I’d rather be fully in control of my situation. When someone else is calling the shots you can be limited in your earnings and the ultimate success of your career. Some people prefer to have someone else control things though.

      Reply
  13. MyMoneyDesign

    Congratulations on your decision. I know the prospect of being your own boss is great, but what is it about work has caused you to leave in the past? Is there something about the places you’re applying to that isn’t right? By the way, what is your profession?

    Reply
  14. Jeremy

    I think it is mostly the nature of my profession that leads to the job hopping. I do website marketing work. In the first 6-12 months you can make considerable progress. Then progress starts to slow down as focus shifts to just maintaining current traffic/sales levels. A lot of employers end up seeing this as an investment that is no longer pulling its weight. They just don’t understand the way it all works. At the same time, I often end up getting bored marketing a specific niche for a long time. So the times that I got laid off instead of quitting, I was pretty much ready to leave anyway.

    Reply
    1. MyMoneyDesign

      That explains a lot! I’m surprised more companies don’t contract you (either independently or through a parent company) for this task. There are a lot of terrible websites out there that need some help.

      Reply
      1. Jeremy

        I could go after contract work if I wanted, but there are drawbacks. For my time I’d rather work a job with commission involved or work on my own stuff. With contract work it’s tougher to deliver the results they want for the price they expect. Plus you have less control over things with contract work.

        Reply
    1. Jeremy

      Thanks for the warm wishes. The talks are still progressing. I met up with one of my previous employers yesterday and it went pretty well, but I didn’t really push them for a job. The other employer basically already offered me a job, but I won’t be meeting with him for another 2 weeks. It’ll give me some time to think about the 2 potential opportunities anyway.

      Reply
  15. Christopher

    Good luck on the job search. I right out of college had the toughest time finding a job. Sorry to hear about google too. That stinks. I am really new to all of this and am not able to diversify yet. Hopefully someday. If you are bored check me out! :-)

    Reply
    1. Jeremy

      Thanks Christopher. I think for a lot of people that first job out of college is the toughest one to get. Armed with just education and minimal experience, it can be tough to find an employer willing to give you a shot. It’s far easier to hire the candidate with job experience which can be verified through their references.

      Diversification is much easier with blogs. Just stay active on other people’s blogs and get involved on social media. That social media and referral traffic acts as solid sources of traffic. It will also lead to better search engine rankings.

      Reply
  16. Van Beek @ Stock Trend Investing

    Yes, I recognize that push and pull between being your own boss and having a job. It is not only the money. One of the things I miss running my websites from home is to work together with a team that you meet regularly towards a set of common objectives. Getting that would be a major motivator for me to get a job or start a company with on-site staff.

    The negative consequences of your dependency on organic traffic is a good lesson. Therefore I am building as well a membership service with long-term paying members.

    Reply
    1. Jeremy

      I agree that there are also drawbacks of just running your own home business. It’s not for everyone and some people miss things about a real job more than others. I find that networking with people online still gives me some of that group effort component.

      That’s a great idea to setup a membership service. A lot of the top affiliate marketers started shifting their business models that way once it became clear that Google was going to target affiliate sites. With that kind of business model you can easily rely on other traffic sources such as word of mouth, referral sites, social media and paid traffic.

      Reply
  17. Drew @ Epicfinances.com

    I thought my PR was going to go to 1 or 2 last ranking, but I stayed PR0 — There is probably a reason why my site didnt rank higher, but I have no clue.

    If my page doesnt rank the next time around — I’ll have to rethink a lot of things.

    Reply
    1. Jeremy

      I suspect that the reason your PR didn’t improve is that you were probably focusing on blog comments for links. In this niche most comment links are nofollow, meaning they don’t transfer PR. If PR is important to you, you would need to find other ways to find dofollow links. Don’t worry too much about PR though. It is just a number and doesn’t mean you suddenly get search engine rankings or anything. Just get active networking with a lot of bloggers and the PR/rankings will come in time.

      Reply
  18. eemusings

    Ah yes, the Google giant!

    SEO is definitely key for any website but equally important strategically is building a loyal audience.

    Good luck with the job hunt! I think it’s fantastic that you’re able to transition so easily between employment and self-employment.

    Reply
    1. Jeremy

      Transitioning to self employment is the easy part. The tough part is transitioning back to working for someone else at a 9-5 job. That is always a bit of a challenge, especially as I try to maintain by side business at the same time.

      Reply
  19. Terry

    Thanks for sharing your travails with us.

    I think that many people who makes a living on the internet have to keep the option open of returning to the workforce, at least on a part time basis.

    Best of luck in the job search.

    Reply
    1. Jeremy

      I do agree with that. Most internet income is just too unstable to really commit to long term. You might never have to resort to it, but getting a job again is a real possibility. Thanks Terry.

      Reply

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