How I found a place in the sun...
...and now work from home earning money on the internet
My name is Helen and I live on a beautiful island in the Mediterranean called Cyprus. I write online, design and build websites and cycle for a living. My websites, internet writing and mountain biking pay my bills.
Wouldn't everyone like a place in the sun and a lifestyle free from a 9-5 office routine? I lost my well-paid job 5 years ago through redundancy - it was real kick in the teeth.
But I moved abroad to start a different life and I solved my financial worries. You could too.
Redundancy - a blessing in disguise
I always had a yearning to run a fitness business but the safety of a full-time job always seemed preferable to the risk of starting out on your own. I was also on my own so had no-one else to support me if things didn't work out.
But when I met my husband-to-be 12 years ago, our passion for the outdoors fuelled our dream of setting up a mountain bike and hiking business someplace in Europe.
We even planned how we were going to do it but the plans remained a dream...until the day my world fell apart after 20 long years working in retail.
I had actually seen it coming as times were tough in retail back then but it was still a cruel blow.
The redundancy money was fine to tide me over for 6 months but the pressure was there to find another job. But you know I just didn't have the heart after working such long hours for my last company. I instinctively felt that this was meant to be somehow and that my life was going to take a new direction.
So my husband Al and I sat down and did some maths. We had recently paid off our tiny mortgage thanks to the bonuses I used to get from my well-paid job. If we moved somewhere new where everything was cheaper, maybe our dream could become a reality?
In the end, being made redundant was...
...the best thing that could have happened!
Deciding to start a cycling and walking business was as much driven by passion rather than solid reason but sometimes you just need a firm jolt to start a new chapter in life.
Cyprus was well known to us and we knew it was the perfect haven for mountain biking plus there were not many competitors offering tours and quality bike hire on the island.
We put together our business plan and worked flat out for 3 months finding routes, doing paperwork and setting up a website (my husband did that side of things then) then we waited for the business to arrive.
Customers came of course but we found we were spending a fortune on marketing the new business, trialling different types of marketing to find out what worked best.
We absolutely loved the cycling and we didn't need much to live on but making money out of doing what you love wasn't giving us quite enough income.
We needed to find a secondary source of income, one that was flexible enough to fit in with our cycling and walking business.
So I made a new goal...
Sounds impossible? No it's not because I've done it. So could you.
Make Money from the Internet
I make money through this website and as a freelance writer for several online publications.
This website is my second. How I started my first one, Cyprus Travel Secrets, is...well...a stroke of luck really. I was surfing the internet just looking for ideas on how to make money online working from home, when I somehow stumbled upon a company called SBI.
I really did not have the first clue about html coding and building websites and I hated PC's when I worked in retail (!) but I was intrigued by the passionate stories of people who had all built successful websites just by writing about what they love.
I took a closer look and, after several weeks soul searching, decided to have a go at building my own website, mainly as they offered a 90 day free trial.
I felt I could build a Cyprus travel website that would help drive customers to our biking/hiking business by telling them how fabulous the island is and, after all
To be totally honest, building a website was VERY HARD at first. There was so much information I felt like I was going into brain melt-down! But I stuck with it, read all the help in the SBI forums (you can find an answer to any question as there are hundreds of friendly SBI'ers willing to help), followed the step by step action guide and before I knew it, I had gotten the hang of it...totally.
I was so proud of myself when my first page went live and even more pleased when, within two months, my first cents rolled in.
From there on, it's been a rollercoaster internet ride!
I started Cheap Wedding Secrets 3 years ago after the success of the first. It seemed a logical second site as I planned my own budget wedding to hubby Al in just 3 months and it cost just $6000/£4500 so why not share tips on how to cut costs with other brides-to-be?
In 2008, I also started freelance writing to add to my web writing portfolio - I now write for a number of different online magazines to give valuable additional income.
AND, 18 months ago I started my third website with SBI called Comfortable Contact Lens Secrets. which is doing nicely thank you now that I have so much experience being a so-called "webmaster."
Is Writing Online giving us a Good Second Income?
Absolutely! You can find out more about how I'm doing here at my Cyprus site.
Well there are various ways such as revenue from advertising (some are those Goooogle ads in various places around the site, others are wedding suppliers who advertise on the site. NB: I vet ALL of them first as I won't advertise anyone that doesn't offer a great value service) or by recommending products from quality companies like cheap wedding dresses or where to get great value wholesale wedding favors.
That part is really fun as I get to research the latest wedding trends to find out what's on offer, then I pass on what I've discovered to my readers.
I also work with a local wedding planner here in Cyprus and earn commission on any referrals I pass onto her and have other income streams so that I don't rely on just one area like advertising, especially as ad spends fluctuate depending on the economy and wedding trends in general.
I'm living my dream right now doing several jobs I really love and I believe that anyone can do the same if they have the right attitude and set their minds to it.
And the best bit is that once the sites are up and running, they just keep earning money, without having to do any extra work at all! In fact using SBI's interactive Content 2.0 facility (which is included in the monthly hosting fee) other people add new content for me so I have time to put up my feet and relax in the Cyprus sun.
Here's my favorite saying that keeps me going...
Don't just dream. Try SBI. If I can do it, believe me anyone can.