I’ve been in online business for over 15 years. I absolutely adored my business. And now, for the last year or so, I haven’t done any work.
Before I continue, here’s a video of me explaining in slightly more detail what’s in this article. If you prefer to listen and watch rather than read, this is for you:
Originally, I was doing freelance design for clients. My blog increased in popularity in the late aughts (2000s) so I pivoted to sell digital products, mostly online courses, as that was making more money passively.
I did this all while I was living in London, and, in 2014, I decided to swap expensive, cold, miserable London for cheap, hot, beautiful Chiang Mai, Thailand. Everything went well in Thailand.
I met some awesome people and business was good. However, my dad died in 2015 which meant I had to return and spend time in the UK with my mum. The combination of moving abroad along with the extra travelling meant I had less time. But the business was making money passively and, even though I was doing slightly less, the money kept coming in …
What was I doing before?
I used to do a lot. Most weeks I would write a 1000-word blog post, make a YouTube video, reply to multiple customer emails and messages, as well as oversee a multitude of freelancers working on various projects.
Added to that, I would publish video courses and books. I wrote about 8 books and created over 20 video courses. I used to try to complete a book or a video course in under a month.
And, if that wasn’t enough, I had also added new businesses (Amazon FBA, Amazon Merch and PoD, low content book publishing, etc.) to my core business of creating video courses for aspiring online entrepreneurs.
Looking back, that was a lot of work.
What am I doing now?
Nothing. Or, very little.
How did that happen?
Slowly at first, and then all at once…
I last published an online course back in 2018. After that, I didn’t make a conscious decision to take my foot off the gas. It just … happened. So, the truth is, I’m writing about a stage in my life that I don’t understand fully anyway.
But there are a number of factors that led me to spend less time on my business. And, as I have tried in the past to share entrepreneurial experiences with others, I will do so again. Maybe it will help you.
As I’ve already said, I used to do a lot. I was a content machine … regularly publishing blog posts, making YouTube videos, creating online courses, writing books, responding to readers’ comments, and managing multiple social media channels.
I loved it. It was my passion, my life. I loved helping people with their online businesses.
However, my online business brand was … me. I was the face behind the business and its main contributor. So, if I couldn’t or wouldn’t do the work, the business suffered. I never thought this would be a problem but it became one.
Too many businesses
The core of the business was my online courses that taught WordPress website design, web design business, email marketing, SEO, cyber security, etc. Selling courses made more money than anything else. I’d been making courses for over a decade. But I’m easily bored and I was so enthralled the opportunities online business offered that I wanted to try more and more businesses.
I added Amazon FBA, Amazon Merch and PoD, low content book publishing to my business empire and created content and courses around those subjects.
So, when I started to take my foot off the gas four years ago, the obvious and sensible thing to do would be to forget about the new businesses and double-down on the core business. But I didn’t do it. Why? Well, I didn’t want to let go of anything. I wanted it all!
This was a big mistake. Once I sensed problems were coming, it would have been sensible to hone down on Just One Thing.
Lisa Irby is an online entrepreneur with a large following. I, for one, have been following her for well over a decade. She had been successful in the fields of web design, web hosting, WordPress, affiliate marketing and Youtube. And then, a few years ago, she ditched it all and concentrated on Print On Demand.
That was sensible. She had a lot of things going on. But, because she’d done everything the right way (she had an email list and had been blogging and Youtubing for years), she could successfully pivot and take most of her existing audience with her.
I should have been like Lisa. However, I was more like Rob. I tried to keep all my plates spinning. I said to myself, “I’ll sort it out. I’ll think of something.” I didn’t. Once one plate smashes, they all do. Watch the ego.
Wanting to be a “guru”
I have an ego, we all do. Half the pleasure of being successful is the recognition you get from it. It boosts your ego to hear people saying that you’ve done well.
This affects all of us. We all love a pat on the back and the feeling that we’ve done something people like. However, even that can be like a drug.
So, I wasn’t content with being a blogger who created content about online business. I wanted to be the next Pat Flynn! That was a dumb thing to aspire to. There’s no way I have the sort of character to do that. I was better off concentrating on my core subject.
But, my ego got the better of me.
I’ve actually never had a problem with social media. Other people have much worse experiences with trolls, etc. But I never really liked social media. I never ‘got it’. Also, remember I started blogging in 2005/6 before social media took off.
However, as a blogger and someone who sells digital products online I, of course, have to engage with social media.
Sometimes I enjoyed it. When I went to Jaipur, India, on holiday before the days of COVID and shared on Facebook that I was there, I was immediately contacted by two Jaipur locals – people I’d known through Udemy.
However, I became too self-conscious to share every trip I was making, every meal I was eating, or everything I was doing. It’s fine that other people want to do that, but it’s just not me. And now I hardly ever post on social media.
I’m 53. Before my 50s, I had the feeling of having my whole life ahead of me and energy to hustle on and make a dent in the universe. Now you could say that I have more of my life behind me than ahead of me. And this fact changes your view of the world.
So, at least, I know that I’m going through something similar to what other people have gone through.
But I don’t seem to be conforming to the stereo-typed menopausal male. I don’t have any plans to buy a Ferrari and drive it top-down with the trophy model girlfriend. (At least, not yet!)
However, I do seem to have hit a wall of uncertainty. I’m uncertain about what I want to do which is a new feeling.
I’m uncertain about advising about web design as it’s been a long time since I did web design for clients. I’m uncertain about advising about running a web design business as I’m sure the methods I used to get clients are out-of-date now. I’m now uncertain about the PoD business as I haven’t even created a product in a year now. I haven’t created an online course in nearly 4 years!
You ask a young man what should be done about the pandemic, politics, the economy, US-China relations, etc., and you’ll get answers. Ask me about anything and I’ll say “I don’t know”.
So, now what?
Now, I have invested in property and other assets which gives me a “runway” or a period of time where I can reflect on what’s happened and where I want to go. I’m so lucky that I have this opportunity to take a bit of time to work out my future direction.
I’m actually happy. I’m incredibly grateful that I have this opportunity to recharge and re-pivot and I appreciate that not many people are as lucky as I am.
But, what do you think? Is any of this resonating with you? Do you have any suggestions for me? I would love to hear what you think in the comments.
David Airey says
That you have time to focus on what that next step is, whatever happens, is testament to the work you’ve put in over the years. Respect, Rob.
Like you, recent years have seen me post a lot less online. My three blogs are now two, and the remaining ones are updated less frequently. I cut down on the social media updates, and became more selective about client work. I’m fortunate that book royalties gave me some breathing space, because I’ve spent what I imagine is a lot more time with my kids (aged 7 and 3) than most working parents get to. That means the world.
What makes you happiest? What gives you the most satisfaction? Not in the past, or where you think the future might lie, but now. Today. Keep doing that until the next step falls into place.
Rob Cubbon says
Hello David, so great to hear from you again! I really appreciate the comment.
That I have time to focus on what my next step is is testament to work, yes, and a fair amount of good luck too!
Great to see you’ve been enjoying some quality time with your family.
Thanks for the questions and the pointers of how I might reclaim my “work mojo”. What makes you happiest? Playing guitar and helping poor people during these exceptionally hard times. Unfortunately, it’ll be hard for me to make a career out of either of these things. But I’ll keep trying.
Glad to see you back posting again Rob.
It sounds like you are in a good place, despite not knowing exactly what to do next.
I feel the same in some regards but have my freelance work to keep me busy. But I do spend a lot of time thinking about what I’m going to do to really move the needle, whether that’s getting a proper job, making my work more of a business rather than just me doing it all, or something else…
I’m 41 now and really want to hit 50 with something going on other than my freelance work. I find it very hard to find the motivation when I’m not sure what to do and I definitely lost the “hustle” energy a long time ago!
I look forward to hearing what you plan to do next.
Rob Cubbon says
Thank you so much, Joe. That describes me quite well: “in a good place, despite not knowing exactly what to do next!”
I feel for your situation, in a good place regarding the freelance work but not having the energy after having done the freelance work to concentrate on anything. It’s a Catch-22 that I experienced. In fact, it wasn’t until my late-thirties before I did anything about it. And you’ve been trying for many years.
Keep going! And I will be posting more about what I’m doing to get out of a rut.
Take as much time out as you need Rob. I’ve been a long subscriber and fan. You’ve helped me a lot along my own journey.
I’ll be keeping tabs.
Rob Cubbon says
Thank you, John.
Cerise Washington says
Hello Rob. I have no idea how I stumbled upon you, but thinking back I think it was your book I saw on Amazon and bought it after reading the positive reviews.
I am just starting out with a few clients of my own, and also work part-time in the Legal sector in central London, I am keen to grow my business and increase my online presence.
I look forward to reading your ‘Running a web design business from home.
Rob Cubbon says
Hello there, Cerise, thank you for your comment and I’m delighted that you’ve landed here as a result of reading one of my books on Amazon. You look like you’re making a great start to growing your business and increasing your online presence. And I wish you the best doing both!
I understand everything you are saying. I’ve got a few good years on you, and I’ve been a hustler all my life since age 14. I love working and creating, but now I also treasure and value my free time – I want unscheduled time. We go through maturation phases until the day we die – and this 50+ onward gives us a new phase. Best wishes to you!
Rob Cubbon says
Hello Sue, thank you for your comment. Yes, we keep on going through these phases. “We go through maturation phases until the day we die – and this 50+ onward gives us a new phase.” So true!
Hi Rob, firstly I have always found you very inspiring, so thanks for everything you’ve shared. As someone a similar age who’s had my own issues (we are all different) I ‘re-found’ my mojo by learning some new skills. The mental change from doing to learning, recalibrated my brain to make me curious again, in the moment, and far more fresh for what changes may be coming next. Anyways, all the best!
Rob Cubbon says
Hello Iain, thank you so much for your comment and your kind words. I think you’ve got a really great point about learning new skills. I do feel like doing something completely different from what I was doing. I don’t want to spend so much time sitting in front of a computer. Thanks for that!
Robyn Skinner says
This resonated with me for many reasons. I’m at the early hustle stages and I’m just getting my side hustles off the ground (about 15-20 hours a week) while also maintaining a very full-time job (50 hours a week).
One of the reasons your video was so helpful was that it allowed me to see myself in some of the situations you mentioned. I am a creative person by nature and there are so many different things I want to try, so I do. I’m right brained and left brained, but I don’t ever really become a master or expert of any one trade and I think I need to. I feel like I need to hustle to quickly identify two to three ideas that I can maintain and niche down to in order to make my life, health, work, and income sustainable.
Another thing that resonated with me is that I don’t want to burnout and I burnout quickly working 70ish hours a week. I would like to get to the overseer/manager stage of my businesses by age 40 (I’m almost 36 now) or mid-40’s so I can enjoy my life more fully and find balance. Perhaps I’d like to hustle less at that point too.
I think you should enjoy this season you are in. It’s definitely okay to be where you are. I hope one day I can take a good, long moment and really, truly have a reflective period of time to sort and refine what I’m doing. I try to do that in short bursts now, but I’m not sure I have much to work with just yet. I’m looking forward to updates on what decisions you make and what you choose to do, even if it’s really chill and not hustley at all.
Rob Cubbon says
It’s great to get your perspective, Robyn. I’m amazed by your work schedule. I certainly juggled full time work and part time side hustles but my full time work was never 50 hours a week. You’re doing great. But you’re probably right to assume you won’t be able to do that forever.
I’ve had a great comment recently: “Chaos and change and uncertainty are normal”. So, we do need to bear that in mind. Everything changes. My problem is I was totally unprepared for the change! I’m sure you will be! 🙂
Hi Rob, was recently actually thinking about where and what you were up to. So it was good to hear your update.
Appreciate your total honesty and transparency.
I have no doubt great days are ahead for you and all that you will do.
Rob Cubbon says
Blessings to you too, Geoff. I appreciate your comment.
Rohi Shetty says
Thanks for this wonderful and honest post. I’m sure you’ll figure it out soon.
I am 55 and going through multiple crises – father has cancer, mom also not well, the family restaurant business in doldrums since March 2021 s because of multiple lockdowns, and so on. But I am totally okay with the situation.
I would like to recommend talks by an American monk called Bhante Vimalaramsi. His website is dhammasukha.org and he also has a YouTube channel. (All his PDF books are free on his site.) My favorite is his 2019 Easter Retreat Day 1 talk. (youtu.be/63G6axb9DJ8 – I’ve taken out the hyperlinks.) I have been meditating for more than 30 years but his approach is refreshingly different.
All the best for your onward journey.
Rob Cubbon says
Hello Rohi, thank you so much for your comment. At our age we have to deal with the frailty and loss of our parents. I’ve certainly experienced this as you have.
I’ve been meditating for 20 years off and on, it’s not going well at the moment but I’m practicing everyday. It’s really good to consider different methods of meditation. I could probably do with a refresher course! I’ve subscribed to Bhante Vimalaramsi’s YouTube channel and I’ve listened to half of that talk. I will try to remember to meditate with a slight smile on my lips again.
I hope your family business improves along with the lockdown situation where you are. But I can see you realise that it’s how you handle the situation rather than the situation that’s important.
What did you take away from the death of your father?
What do you believe will happen when you die? Are you ready
for that moment?
Your attitudes and beliefs will shape your answers.
People who have meditated in any tradition for 10,000 hours will have different
answers than people who focus on money and ego concerns. I hear that their
answers to questions like that are based on direct experience, not
something they read in a book.
Google “Doing Time, Doing Vipassana”. It deals with one tradition, but the principals of
meditation are similar in any of the spiritual paths if you look. Just look at
what happens to the people in that video… and it is just the tip of the spiritual iceberg.
If that’s not your cup of tea, then go help as many people as you can and you’ll die
a happy man. Google up “Better World Books CEO youtube” … He has given millions by making millions.
You have a skill set. Go use it to do good. If emotions get in the way, do your best to
process them. I am sorry if you are in emotional pain. The mind is everything!
I am a stage 4 melanoma person. I am still a lucky man, but this next phase will be interesting.
I wish you the best on your journey.
Rob Cubbon says
Hello RCB, thank you so much for your comment. I completely agree that my attitudes and beliefs shape my reality. I have believed that for a long time and I have been meditating for a long time as well.
I’m really not in emotional pain at all. I’m extremely lucky. I have my health. I can support myself financially. I have great people around me. I need very little. I’m just confused, uncertain about what to do next, and struck by the realisation that I don’t know myself very well.
I have watched that documentary about Vipassana meditation being taught in prisons. And, yes, as Mahatma Gandhi said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” I totally agree with that and I am acting accordingly. There is a lot of need here because of the pandemic.
I didn’t take much from the death of my father. I realise that I may not have had closure on it and therefore I’m planning a ritual of appreciation. For my mother as well.
I’ve never been frightened of death. I’m frightened of pain and unhappiness. I’m lucky my life has been largely painless and happy recently.
You are obviously facing up to your health challenges very well and turning them into a positive.
From one lucky man to another, I wish you the best on your journey.
Hi Rob! I am very pleased to see that you have not completely withdrawn! Your videos are great and I am just about to revisit the one on website design that I purchased from you a while back! In fact I recommended you to a young man recently.
I think that you are making a very wise choice to take time out to rethink, especially if it has all been getting a bit too much! Homing in on what gives you the most satisfaction is the right thing to do, I feel sure that you will be far less stretched and life will be more tranquil for you. Everyone is feeling a bit disjointed at the moment with the crazy things that are going on in the world!
If you find that it isn’t enough later on, you could always look at adding something back or maybe something new, so nothing is ever final. Go for it is my advice! By the way, you might surprise yourself and live to be 120! So you might not have reached the half way mark yet!! Blessings to you, stay safe! Warmest wishes, Jane (Gatward)
Rob Cubbon says
Hello Jane, thank you for your comment and thank you for recommending me to someone!
Yes, I agree, a lot of people are feeling a bit disjointed and the world seems crazy (especially when you watch news and social media a lot as I’m afraid I do).
Yes, I want to keep some of my old business still alive (the email list, website and YouTube channel), not do so much sitting down at a computer and add something else to the mix!
Hey Rob nice post and well written I can relate to bring the face of your friend and continually managing many plates. The pandemic has changed the usual routines if traveling to Asia and chilling you and the gang. I’m stuck in the real world of Vancouver so I’m just trying to be adaptable and reinvent myself. Getting to investing and cryptocurrency and my upcoming trip to Mexico is pushing me out of my comfort zone. Stay safe
Rob Cubbon says
Hey Greg, we miss you! And thinking about you loads. I wish you the best in Mexico and really hope to see you soon.
Michelle Campbell-Scott says
This was a really brave and inspirational post, Rob. Thank you.
It resonated with me a great deal. I’ve been through burnout from doing it all – loving it while doing it but unable to get back to it with the productivity and gusto I had before.
It doesn’t seem to be any coincidence that this happens to people a lot in their 50s. Throw in political problems, world financial uncertainty, low interest rates, and now the pandemic, and you have a perfect storm.
I discovered you way back while looking for WordPress advice and was thrilled when you joined Udemy. Love your courses. I’m on there too – that’s a changed place now. It used to be easy to earn 4 figures a month with just a few courses, but it has fizzled down. As have many other platforms.
It sounds like you have a handle on this because you have realized what it is. Burnout is very real. I was told I had been able to do so much before because I was living on stress hormones – they’re great energizers but they eventually wear you out and cause all kinds of problems. Then it’s hard to muster the energy to remember your own name. It doesn’t sound like you’re there, so that’s good. But you could go there if you try to force yourself to do everything again.
It’s forcing you to take a step back and reevaluate – which is never a bad thing. It’s a cocoon time – ready to emerge and fly as something new and different and wonderful!
Sleep, sleep, and more sleep would be my suggestion. I focused on that and eventually got to the stage where I could start to think properly again. (Not for long, but I’m getting there!) The RISE app is good for working out how much sleep debt you have, if any.
Your brand appears to me to be well coordinated. You are known as a tech guy and your books and courses reflect that. You wrote this post as if you feel you have had a sort of scatterbrained approach but it doesn’t seem that way to your followers. It has been you trying things out, seeing how they go – very Pat Flynn! – and teaching others along the way. Something that is much appreciated!
Something I realized during my burnout, staring at the wall months, was that I had been forgetting/ignoring that I have a kinesthetic brain. I need to physically move in order to learn, understand, & enjoy things. Yet I had been doing everything on computers and devices. A problem (now fixed) with my eyes, together with Evernote’s self-destruction (which had held my whole life and project management system) forced me off screens for a while. Going back to pen & paper, whiteboards, files & folders left me feeling like a toddler in a sandpit – very happy! I’m now building from the ground up again, doing it old-school and loving it.
Your past success and experiences are obvious indicators that you will move on to greater things when you’re ready. You will come back stronger and more inspirational than ever.
Rob Cubbon says
Wow, Michelle, what an awesome comment. Thank you so much.
This really resonated with me: “I had been forgetting/ignoring that I have a kinesthetic brain. I need to physically move in order to learn, understand, & enjoy things.”
That’s so true! I’m so much the same! Someone asked me what I enjoy doing and I said playing guitar! I’m standing up moving around and working with my hands. It’s so much more rewarding than being on a computer. I don’t want to be on a computer for as many hours per day as I used to be.
It’s so funny. I used to love it! If you’d asked me 5 years ago what would I be doing 10 years ago, I would have said the same thing. But the thing is, we change! The universe is change! Nothing ever stays the same. So I shouldn’t be so surprised that I feel like a change now.
The reason that I’m so lucky is that I’ve realised this before the symptoms got too bad. I’m lucky I didn’t have too many financial considerations. So my sleep hasn’t been too bad. I have had bad reactions but, so far, luckily, my health isn’t seriously affected. But I should watch out for it.
As you say, there may be a problem if I “try to force [my]self to do everything again”. Thanks for those pointers, Michelle, you’re awesome.
Yes, Udemy (and everything else) isn’t as easy as it once was. But I’m sure if we look after ourselves we will come back stronger and more inspirational than ever!
Hi Rob and thank you so much for this wonderful, sincere and heartfelt video. Yes I have noticed your absence from my inbox. This is exactly the opposite to most others where I crave to see them much less! You have only ever provided content that is worthwhile, well thought out and actually useful. I have bought stuff from you in the past, downloaded (and used) free stuff, and thoroughly enjoyed your presentations which are like hearing from an old friend. It has never crossed my mind to unsubscribe and I want to thank you for all the hard work you’ve done in creating this content to share with us.
I too understand what it’s like to realise that I have more life behind me than ahead of me. It is a sobering thought and makes one realise that it is time to stop doing what one “should” do and start looking for one’s actual purpose. I don’t think this has to be anything grand either – we spend so much time looking at what other people are doing and trying to copy them that it’s easy to forget our own uniqueness. You have recognised yours and taken the time to contemplate your next move deliberately and strategically. Well done you!! I can’t wait to see what you end up doing.
Best wishes from Sydney
Rob Cubbon says
Thank you Gayle, this was a very sweet comment. Thank you so much for your kind words. You’re absolutely right that we don’t have to have some “grand” plan. Just do something that works for us and for the people we’re serving.
“we spend so much time looking at what other people are doing and trying to copy them that it’s easy to forget our own uniqueness” – I’ve made a note of that. Thank you.
Sergio Felix says
Yes, my fave blogger is back!
Hey Rob, long time no see brother.
I think life just happened… based on what you’re sharing here, of course.
I was in the same boat as you are but with a family to look after and with the ‘small’ different I didn’t have a steady income coming in, I had to get a full time corporate job (it’s been 2 months since that happened).
I have very limited time off work and have to be very careful to decide how to spend that time (between side hustle and quality time with my family) but I can tell you this though…
James Wedmore (a guy who initially became famous as a YouTuber) recently said, if you want to have a million things to do, go create 15 products.
If you really want to go knock it out of the park, create ONE offer and that’s it, that’s all you need (but done right, obviously).
So just sharing that in case it brings a bit more clarity on your current situation.
You know I’ve been following you for years so I’m sure you’ll find your sweet point very soon man (I did identify 100% with the things you shared, related to teaching WordPress, social media, business websites, etc)
On this day and age, all of that has changed, I don’t even know where to start myself and I used to be highly knowledgeable in all about websites, seo, analytics, etc.
But you’ve got this man, that, I know for sure!!
Best regards brother and all the best finding your new venture, which I know it’ll be amazing!
Rob Cubbon says
Hey Sergio, sooo good to hear from you after such a long time! Yup, life happened! A very accurate description!
Well done for doing the necessary thing and getting a corporate job. There’s no shame in having to work hard for your family. We all do what we’ve got to do.
I’m lucky that I don’t have the financial overheads that other people have.
All the best to you, brother, in your journey and I hope your new corporate job inspires you to find an amazing future for you and your family.
What impresses me about this post is the honesty and the communication
A lot of people communicate but is it honest?
I doubt it. There is less and less of it around these days
This is a great post and example for all us middle agers
Rob Cubbon says
Thank you, Stef, I appreciate you comment.
No worries Rob!
Thank you so much for your post. I totally understand where you are coming from having been through similar times myself.
I just wanted to let you know that you were an absolute inspiration for me. Having watched your videos regarding PoD via Amazon a few years back I have been able to create a small passive income which has now allowed me to reduce my ‘day job’ as a secondary school teacher to just 2 days a week – starting this coming September.
You – and your courses – have changed my life (and by extension – that of my family) for the better. For that, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
I don’t use social media at all, I don’t have a lot of confidence and the thought of negative comments or trolling of any sort floors me. This is the very first time that I have commented in any public forum.
I wish you all the best in whatever your future brings.
Rob Cubbon says
Oh Jacqueline, this is such a lovely comment! I was really apprehensive posting about this and I’ve received so many amazing replies.
Two things you said that I thought were amazing: Firstly, you say that I’ve have positively affected your life and, by extension, that of your family by helping you with Amazon and POD. I’m sure other people helped you as well and you did the work. But, that’s a very kind thing to say.
Secondly, I was particularly humbled to hear: “I don’t use social media at all, I don’t have a lot of confidence and the thought of negative comments or trolling of any sort floors me. This is the very first time that I have commented in any public forum.” I understand about a lack of confidence. And I’m particularly honored that you should post here in this blog but nowhere else.
Thank you, thank you.
Jade Lee says
Hi Rob! So glad to see you’re still around. You are among my favorites when it comes to publishing on KDP. I’ve been a freelancer for some years now and I too want it all. The ego is one hell of a drug lol.
I really do appreciate your transparency here. You have no idea how much you’re helping folks who are experiencing the same thing.
I just saw in previous comments that you wrote a book on running a web design business from home, I’m gonna have to check that out. Your free training was pretty good. I was able to use your questionnaire just the other day for my first web design project.
Thanks for all you’ve done and will continue to do. Looking forward to your next blog post. Take care!
Rob Cubbon says
Thank you, Jade, I guess we all want it all. Funnily enough, I have a suspicion that, even if we get it all it still isn’t enough, or we realise it’s not what we wanted in the first place.
So glad you were able to use the questionnaire.
I will be writing more blog posts soon.
Firstly, thank you for sharing this and for helping myself and others with web design and selling on Amazon. I, and many others you’ve helped I’m sure, are very appreciative to you for all the time and effort you’ve spent on us.
Being of service to people like this is a noble path. I believe being of service to people however small is our best true path, especially when what we choose to share with the world comes from our own lived experience.
Someone sent me this blog post by Tiny Buddha a while ago – it may be of use for you?
Keep on keeping on,
Rob Cubbon says
Thank you, Kyle, I completely agree, being of service to other people is a great start.
It’s a great little post on TinyBuddha that you shared. Try to live your life by design rather than by default. How many times have we done something just because it was expected of us? More times than we care to admit, I’d bet!
Thank you for your kinds words and for your comment, Kyle.
my hubby has followed your business advice for about a year, first of all thank for sharing your work.
We both grew up with what in greek is called epignosis (accurate knowledge) of why we are here and what the purpose of all Creation is, which includes us humans on earth.
This knowledge is easy to find! Every loving father give his children instruction.
It is in the loving letter we have all been given by the Creator.
When we disregard one aspect of how we were created we do at some point in our life feel flat, empty and wondering many WHY questions.
The answers to the questions we all ask ourselves are because we have been created with a purpose, when we make sure that not only our emotional, physical and mental health is looked after but also our spiritual health in the right way in which it was meant to be looked after (there is also spiritual “sugar” versus “wholesome spiritual food”), it is then that we find true contentment and a very clear focus in our life.
Please take the time to look daily after your spiritual health.
More info for free you can find on jw.org and in the search button please put in any question you have and research for yourself and for wholesome spiritual health.
We wish you all the blessings that were there for you, prepared for you in Love, even before we were all born. We all have such a nice future ahead of us, all the reasons the Creator has explained and how he will fix it all for us! Best regards, Snez&Eug
Rob Cubbon says
Thank you for your comment, Snez.
You are very brave by talking about your uncertainties. But you are also doing a great service to others who may be experiencing the same or similar situation. I can count myself as one of those.
I have never had an online presence or done business online, although that has been one of my dreams for years. Unlike you, I found it really hard to let go of a (somewhat) secure paycheck in exchange of my own online business, and that has had me stuck to roles I either hate or where I am not appreciated in a 9 to 5 setting (make that more like a 6 am to 8 pm when you count commuting time and all). Therefore, I am inspired, and highly admire, successful people who are in business by themselves.
I remember I first encountered your blog when I was studying WordPress. Again, it never took off, but I kept following you and reading your emails. And, although I still want to start something of my own such as an online business, I am now 52, and with all the current state of affairs in the world, I feel it is harder to look at the future and even to think about starting, so I feel your pain.
But start I must, although with a bit less energy unlike a few years ago. I am not sick or anything like that, and this may be something more mental than anything else, as I still feel very energetic, but I have to dig deep to discover what really is going on.
I don’t feel sick in any way, but I think it is important to eliminate any possible hidden mental issues, as they can take on many masks. So, I wanted to tell you that I hope you find your “assemblage point” soon, so to speak, so you can get back to fully enjoying every aspect of your being and life.
And I am also working on that as well.
Rob Cubbon says
Hello Doug, thank you for your comment. There were so many reasons why I found it relatively easy to secure an online presence. I got lucky. I picked up a ball and ran with it in the early days.
I appreciate that at the age of 52 (a whole one year younger than me) that it’s a little bit daunting to try to start an online business or anything like that. But I’ve realised that I need to reinvent myself now as a result of what I’m talking about here. So, start we must, as you rightly say.
Yes, I have mental blocks that are holding me back. I think maybe my problem is that I, arrogantly, thought I’d overcome them in the past so ignored them when they returned. We never stop learning.
As I’ve said to others, Douglas, I’m putting more content out about what I’m gonna do to get myself together and hopefully that’ll help.
Lise Cartwright says
Hey Rob! This resonates so much! I’m 43 and feel the way you do, lol! I actually feel it’s a by-product of the pandemic… it forced us to really stop and consider what’s important. And when you have an online business as we do, we get to decide what that looks like.
Bravo to you for continuing to do what works best for you.
My husband and I are hustling for a few more years to build up our wealth through investments and then our plan is to head to Portugal or Spain and spend our days there. We both have online businesses but are both focused on setting up more passive income streams so that by the time we are 45/46 we don’t have to be working in our businesses if we don’t want to.
It’s all about choices.
Rob Cubbon says
Hello Lise, thank you for your comment. Well, you sure have things sorted out. Your website looks great. Best of luck. Yes, online business has worked out for me really well. I have this opportunity to pivot now to do something different and I’m lucky I have time to figure out which way that will take me.
Scott Allan says
Hey Rob! Great to find this post. I was wondering what happened to you and then I found this on your site today…and oh yes, your story sounds like my story last year. What started out as. a passion project turned into a business, then it turned into a circus, and that led to throwing multiple plates into the air and trying to catch them all. While I was working on six projects and telling everyone how productive I was, none of them got finished and meanwhile, my friends were focused on that One Thing and crushing it. There is something to be said for trying to aspire to greater heights, but to climb a big mountain, you have to be that kind of person who can make the climb. My biggest failure from 2020—trying to everything else instead of who I should have been! My book biz failed, my health went next, and by end of year…well, it’s like starting over. And I realized that was okay. Thanks for sharing this Rob, it’s a great story of how to lean into who we are, and that no matter the big ambitions we all have, the One Thing is all we need…the question that led to this failure has always been, “But is the One Thing enough?”
Rob Cubbon says
Hello Scott, oh, so nice to hear from you. I always was so grateful to you for so many things, not least because of the excellent reviews you used to leave for my books.
I’m sorry you seem to hit road blocks last year (as I did, although mine were self-inflicted).
It’s great that you realised that starting over was OK. Everything is change.
I realise now that I wanted to see if I was able to be an online entrepreneur and make money. And then when I achieved it, I wanted something else! Typical human!
Great that we’re both exploring new opportunities at the same time!
Lisa Irby says
I just happened to see your tweet come across my phone, clicked and BOOM, I’m actually mentioned here in the article! LOL Thanks for the shout out!
I was wondering what happened to you. I noticed you had not been posting as much and now I see why!
First of all, this is so relatable. One of the reasons I pivoted away from websites, hosting, etc. is I was burned out and wanted to do something new.
It felt weird leaving a big brand like that, but I was getting burned out on that topic. And with SEO changing, I felt I wasn’t helping as many people. That fueled my burnout and I lost motivation to keep going with that site.
Not to mention everything was turning into social media marketing. Ugh. Like you, I’ve never been a huge fan of social media other than YouTube. Thankfully, I was able to still be successful with minimal use.
When I pivoted to POD, I knew it wasn’t going to be as big as the website stuff, but I didn’t care. Thankfully I had diversified, saved, invested so I was just focused more on what I wanted to do.
It was a tough decision, but I’m glad I made it.
Almost every entrepreneur goes through what you’re going through and I’ve certainly had periods of uncertainty and burnout along the way.
Thankfully, you’ve done well for yourself and you can take some time off to figure out what’s next. That’s the beauty of it! Enjoy the fruits of your labor and take care!
Rob Cubbon says
Hello Lisa, you were always my number one blogger! I have so much respect for you! From afar, it seems like everything you turn your hand to turns to gold. I appreciate you may not see it like that. But, anyway, you will appreciate that you’ve empowered so many people with your excellent content. You are next level!
I had a problem with SEO changing as well. I remember telling people not to buy links and do SEO by creating great content and forging win-win relationships with other creators – white hat stuff. It turns out now that that’s probably not enough to get you noticed and all the SEOers just buy links now!
Thank you so much for your encouragement, Lisa. All the best to you as well. Enjoy the fruits of your labor and take care!
Good to hear from you, and appreciate the honesty of your video. I’ve admired your approach for many years – particularly you being ‘down to earth’ – and I mean that in a very positive sense, in that you are not the typical stereotypical ‘seller’ so common online these days. Instead, you come across as a real human being! Which I find rather rare online these days.
Anyway, if you’d like some guidance – me, I’d like to find strategies to move away from conventional 9 to 5 work, to self-employment and passive income. I know this has been your core message for quite a while, but to re-present it based on everything you’ve learnt and applied until today … would be fabulous.
Not just in terms of products and services developed, but also re the psychological shifts required, strategies, etc – changing the ‘mindset.’
Rob Cubbon says
Hello Charles, thank you for your comment.
I’m really not sure about creating a course or program around ‘mindset’ – although you’re not the first person to suggest this …
It’s not that I couldn’t do it. It would be too easy. I have a problem with courses that are too general and focussed on ‘mindset’ or strategies because I’ve always felt I’ve been more helpful when I’m talking about practical things like web design, publishing, SEO, etc. Do you know what I mean?
I’ll give it some thought though.
I’m thinking of “asking my audience” what I should do. As that’s how I get my best ideas.
Thank you so much for your kind words.
Great to see you back and thanks for being so honest and open about what you feel and what you’ve been going through.
I actually think many of us go through moments of insecurity, boredom or lacking the inspiration to move forward with our ideas and plans, but you, as it shows from the comments, have helped a great many people including myself.
I’ve now reached 60, but don’t feel it and people say I don’t look it, but I’m somewhat at a crossroads right now.
My journey to hustling, freelancing, etc started long before I met you and I hope you’ll allow me to share it.
In my early teens I developed a hobby I loved, I was still at school and this took up lots of my attention. I was making products for fishing, which started as a hobby and grew so much I was selling what I made to local fishing shops, mail order companies, etc. This was in the early days of the internet. I had to buy supplies and you couldn’t even order them online it was all through a catalogue via snail mail 🙂 Anyway this hobby grew to a part time business and I approached a fishing entrepreneur who had made a video on what I did. I was 19 at the time. To cut a long story short I made one of the first ever VHS, yes remember them, on the subject. The video was produced, but due to the sudden bereavement of the business owner it never made money and the tapes sat and collected dust.
Following on from and aged 23 I wrote a book which sold a few thousand copies but then went out of print. It was never reprinted and I gave up the hobby after a few years, even though I’d been writing for fishing magazines at the time and doing work for part works, both writing and photography. I was making some money, but still wanted more. I gave it all up to concentrate on work and getting a ‘sexier’ job.
Like you I ended up in the creative industry as a journalist, well I retrained actually, but I always had a love of design and felt the need to pursue this. So I went on to work for a number of publishers, a large travel company and eventually a show and event publisher. I got itchy feet, or was it boredom or being fed up with ‘the management’ but I decided to freelance again, I’d tried this a few times in my career. That was right at the end of 2018 in to 2019 and sadly the work dried up. I had to take up various roles and then we all know what happened the pandemic hit.
During that time I started I was going to self publish on KDP as I’d listened to your brilliant advice and read your blogs. I completed my book and was ready to upload but was incredibly frustrated I couldn’t get it to upload and kept getting errors. In the end I ditched the idea and have been working ever since in retail part time with the hope I can get another creative role as I know I don’t want to work another five years doing this, but like you I seem to have ‘lost’ my hustle and like you say mojo.
I still want a passive income and I’ve thought about publishing my first book again and selling through my own site. I’ve actually worked as a journalist and in PR in the past so I understand about self promotion. I have this nagging ‘demon’ at the back of my head that tells me it won’t work, or I wonder if it’s insecurity or the fear of failure?
I’m sorry you are going through this feeling where you are unsure but I can understand it as I’ve suffered family loss and difficult times in other areas of my life, but it just goes to show we are all human and we can endure these moments and come out the other side.
Best of luck to you Rob in whatever you decide to do… as for me I am still on my journey and I don’t know where it will end. I hope to rediscover my zip and not be put off by negativity and negative people.
Rob Cubbon says
Wow, thank you so much for your story, Kevin. Super interesting.
As I’m telling everyone, I’ve just posted an article about what I’m doing to rediscover my passion for business (and life) https://robcubbon.com/rediscovering-passion-business/
You seem to be very similar to me. You have several interests. You are bad at “taking orders” from other people. And you have therefore gone in and out of freelance work.
I really love your fishing business as it comes from the heart, or from your love of your hobby.
It sounds like you really should re-publish that book. If you have it as a word document then it’s super easy to do.
Please email me on rob at robcubbon dot com I’m sure I can help you upload it to Amazon.
You are the guy who helped me to onboard the Amazon KDP train back in 2018 (I bought your LCP course). It took me 6 month to reach a full time income from this business. There were some ups and downs since then, but it still is my biggest income stream.
I’m forever indebted to you for that initial course. Thank you very much! You are a great teacher.
Rob Cubbon says
Yarek, you’ll never guess what? Amazon KDP is now my biggest online passive income earner! It’s overtaken the courses (which used to be $7000+/month lol).
Thank you so much for your kind words. I hope you continue to follow me.
Barb Wolfe says
Glad to hear from you again. You’re a smart guy and I have every confidence that you’ll figure things out. I’m grateful for everything you’ve done in the past. You taught me WordPress among other things.
I’m a fan!
Rob Cubbon says
Hello Barb, thank you for your comment and thank you so much for thanking me. I got so many similar messages of gratitude which reminded me of the best part of having a business … helping people. I’m guessing when I’m on my deathbed I won’t think too much about the money I’ve made but I think the fact that I helped people will mean more. All the best to you, Barb.
Invisible Girl says
Well I just found you today, this evening really, so I can’t comment on your business(es). But, what you wrote resonates with me. My plans for what I wanted to be doing at this age, 53, was blown out the water when I became sick 2013 and wasn’t able to work full time to early retirement so I can be doing my photography & writing business now. And now I am trying to give that a go, but the world has changed, costs have gone up, savings have gone down and what I wanted to do I don’t really want to do anymore. Yes I still want to write and do photography but I don’t want to work like an eager beaver 20 something year old out to build an empire. You are fortunate that you found a country & community to live in and have passive income that supports you. Me, well that’s another story. Thanks for sharing yours.
Rob Cubbon says
Hello Invisible Girl, thank you for your comment and I’m so sorry it’s taken me ages to get back to you. Yes, we have very similar feelings about the way we want to live. Yes, I don’t want to hustle like an eager beaver 20-something anymore. (If I ever did?!) And, yes, I want to do something creative and real. (Like playing guitar, which is similar to photography.)
“Fortunate” is the right word to describe me and the situation I find myself in.
John Ravi says
Thanks for sharing your journey, you don’t even know how much your honesty and raw display can help people. I am glad you took a break to figure everything out and knowing that this break is making you happy and helping you recharge is so great. I hope you find a direction, and when you get back you are ready to hustle. But, until then, take your time and indulge in all the things that make you happy. Self-love is important too.
Rob Cubbon says
Yes, John, well, I’ve been playing a lot of guitar! And, as I say, I will be updating you on my journey. Absolutely, self love and self care are important. I’m trying not to have too much of a go at myself. Thank you for your awesome comments.
Ef Hustling says
I just bought your course bundle on super-sale at Mighty Deals and while I am concentration-challenged at the moment, I watched an entire course in the set I bought today.
Very easy to listen to, made me change course of which income avenue I am taking first, and because you don’t speak fast I was able to put the vids on x1.25 speed to finish them quicker. (Or 2x speed for the parts I already know about Illustrator/Photoshop, or elements of POD that I already know from wasting 20,000 hours researching over the last 5 years.)
Sounds like you’ve done pretty much everything in the online semi-passive income space. Why don’t you do mentoring/coaching or something now? There’s lots of options, from 30-60 minute mentoring Zoom calls, to live group seminars. Seen a few people doing this in various other areas. There’s even pick-up artist coaches – talk about hustle! You would actually be providing value.
Rob Cubbon says
Hello, thank you for your very helpful comment. Yes, I advise everyone to watch my videos (on YouTube, my site, Udemy, Might Deals, wherever) to listen to me speeded up. I find 1.5x speed the best option.
Secondly, yes, I think I should do coaching in some form or other. And you’re not the first person to suggest I do this.