Grad school is crazy…

College campus

Hey subscribers and surfers, you might be wondering why it is so quiet around here lately.

Long story short: grad school is crazy and I had to take a regular full-time job to supplement my web income. My fiancee has always wanted to get her terminal degree before we have kids, so about a year and a half ago we packed up and moved out to the middle of nowhere to help her get that degree. She is already an incredible artist and an extremely talented teacher, but she kind of got to that point in her career where she couldn’t advance without the top level of education.

Luckily, having a web income means that I was able to support us both financially – even in a small college town that doesn’t have much of a local economy beyond the school and bars surrounding it. Of course, my fiancee isn’t able to work because grad school hours are incredibly demanding. If you’re not in class, you’re teaching a class or presenting at a conference. And if you aren’t scheduled for something specific, you’ve got a few dozen papers and projects to finish before next week.

For a while, everything was good – even great. But those school costs add up quickly and the volatility of Google’s updates last year made stability a potential concern. It probably didn’t help that some early success with the web biz drastically raised the standard of living we’d come to expect. We might not have designer clothes and new cars, but we do like to travel as much as we can and eat good food every day. Did I mention that tuition is incredibly expensive?

Anyway, the later iterations of Google’s Penguin filter put some stress on a couple of my popular websites, and a really lucrative affiliate deal expired on Commission Junction, so there was a scary month or two in there. I know everyone else just takes out six figures in student loans when they’re in grad school, but that’s not a bill we want to worry about for the next 30 years. Neither of us is a big fan of debt, so I was scrambling for a fix.

The SERPs came back with a bit of work, but the experience had kinda freaked me out. Looking around the local job market wasn’t too comforting, either. My SEO resume got me a lot of phone calls and emails, but they all wanted me to relocate to some actual city several hours away from where I am. Just when it seemed like we where in for a bumpy ride through the last year of grad school, a web company I’ve already worked off and on with started going through a corporate transition that allowed them to offer me a full time job. The pay wasn’t great, but I could work remotely from home, online. That definitely helps since the office is five hundred miles away from this place I am currently calling home.

So the pay on this new job isn’t great, but the websites still bring in some supplemental cash despite the fact that they don’t get updated as often as I’d like. Even through the rough patches, working on the web has allowed my fiancee and I a really flexible lifestyle with time to chase our dreams and other interests. Even now, through the next transition, that freedom provided by the web hasn’t really changed.

For now, I’ll keep chugging away with new posts when I can, but what was once more than a full-time job will now be limited to nights and weekends. Who knows? I might be able to get a fresh start and start a new, big launch in another couple years – when this grad degree turns in to a job as a professor. I’m not too sure what the future holds right now, but I do know that I’m excited to find out!

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