Lynn M Dot Net

Any idiot can do what I do to make $ online. It's not rocket surgery, it's cake. Also, I like pie.

I was so horribly sick with an awful case of the flu for three weeks after Christmas, I didn’t really get around to writing a “New Year 2014” post, so approximately one month later, I guess it’s better late than never. This one’s a little bit more on the personal side.

Many folks around the TE community already know I got a big surprise at Christmas and got engaged. Some of you have gotten to know Brian from hanging out at the Sports Nerds show on Spreecast, or from TimTech’s 102-hour Spreecast during the Black Friday event in November, when he hung out with me on camera off and on.

The engagement itself wasn’t really all that unexpected, as we’ve been pretty much planning to get married eventually for almost a couple of years now, but I absolutely was not expecting a ring at Christmas, or last year at ALL. So that in itself was a nice little unexpected surprise.

For those who didn’t get to hear the story of how it happened: We had a quieter than usual Christmas this year, just the two of us and my Mom, since those we usually spend Christmas with were out of town elsewhere this year. My Mom and Brian had apparently been plotting the whole ring thing for weeks, maybe months.

There was one present I was told I couldn’t open until the very last. We finally got down to that one, so I opened it.

I unwrapped a shoebox that had been wrapped in bright shiny Christmas paper, opened it, and found… one of my mother’s dinner forks taped to the inside of the box.

While I was trying (and failing) to grasp any plausible meaning to this fork-in-shoebox gift, Brian reached behind a pillow on the sofa we’d been both sitting on all day – and where the ring box had been hidden most of the afternoon – got down on one knee, and yep, proposed. (The fork in the shoebox had, of course, been intended as a distraction while he got the ring out of its hiding place.)

(He said he thought about taping a knife in the box, instead of the fork. But he was already a little concerned I was going to be mad about him spending the money on a ring already, so he thought better of the knife idea. LOL.)

Saying that fork changed my life is really just me making a joke and isn’t really entirely all that true, since we were planning to get married anyway (and probably actually won’t until next year), and have been sharing a home and life together for almost two years now. Nothing’s really changed from the way things were two months ago, other than the fact that now I actually have a ring on my finger.

But if I look back at all the things that really have changed in the last six or seven years, right up to when Brian and I finally wound up together after literally years of him waiting and hoping (since we met in 2007, in fact) – and right up to last summer when I finally found my way back to the TE community after being away for a couple of years – wow, the changes since then are truly just stunning.

A little over three years ago, I was betrothed to someone else, and had been for quite a long time at that point. Brian and I had met in 2007 – we actually used to work together, and I was sort of his boss at one time. And we’d become the closest of friends but – despite his best efforts at the time – I was spoken for. So we remained, you know, “just friends”.

I was here in the TE community, doing my thing, and by the summer and early fall of 2010, it was starting to seem like all of my hard work and the thousands of hours I’d been putting into my online business efforts were finally starting to pay off. Things were looking awesome, online and off.

And then it all fell apart, as things sometimes do. Eventually things were such a wreck, and I’d fallen so behind – especially in my online stuff – at some point I really just didn’t think there were any pieces left to pick up.

And now, a little over three years later, life is good. Things are good. Actually really, really good, all the way around.

It was a pleasant surprise to discover, a couple of years ago when Brian and I suddenly weren’t “just friends” anymore, that there really was still yet another chapter left for such stories. Because really I thought that was pretty much it at the time, after the last train wreck of a relationship had ended and a later brief attempt at dating again for the first time in 11 years turned out to be a farce.

(It would have been even nicer if I’d smartened up earlier and given Brian a chance years ago, instead of being blind and an idiot for about 11 years when it came to my ex. But better late than never I guess, and marrying my very best friend – well, you can’t beat that.)

And it was an even more pleasant surprise to discover that (and very much to my shock and awe and surprise) I still had enough pieces left of all the hard work I put into my online business efforts a few years ago to put enough of them back together again, and to get back on the proverbial horse and keep going.

I’d made it harder on myself, of course, by being away as long as I was and not sticking it out during the tough times when things were pretty horrific, and the reorganizing last year alone was a huge headache. I learned a big lesson there, one that I never want to have to re-learn again.

One thing I know for sure is that nothing is impossible. NOTHING. I have a fork in a shoebox to prove it.

That fork in a shoebox signifies everything I did, and everything I had to go through, to get right here, right now. And everything that is good, and great, right here, right now.

And right here, right now is all that really matters. But still and all, I really could have made it a whole lot easier on myself and not taken the (pardon the pun, heh) fork in the road that I did.

In just a little over six months, I’ve already seen new folks come and go from our little world here on the Web. Sites that have gone dead or disappeared, or been taken over in folks’ absence. Domains that suddenly started pointing to a domain holding page, blogs that got started and are now gone.

Part of me wants to give all those folks – and everyone, really – their own fork.

Better yet, a fork that’s inscribed with something like, “stick it out, stay the course, NO MATTER WHAT”.

As for my fork, it’s back in the silverware drawer at my mother’s house, where it should be. I’ve got a new ring on my finger, a whole lot to look forward to, and it’s a whole new year now (despite the fact that we’re a little over a month into it now… stupid flu).

I already know what I’m going to do to make this year better than last year.

What are YOU going to do?

(P.S. One thing I did already to make 2014 better was grab myself a few badges for the “CTP is 3” birthday badge hunt, which starts next week on Monday.

There are few things better and easier that you can do that can benefit you and your online business efforts so hugely.

They’ll be available until about midnight Sunday night – or until they run out, whichever comes first – so if you’ve been thinking about it, I highly recommend being like Nike, i.e., JUST DO IT. You’re going to be amazed by the results!)



It’s the inevitable question (or, The Inevitable Question). Sometimes it’s worded differently, but it’s more or less all the same question:

“So, what do you do?”

I have yet to figure out how to tell people who aren’t involved in the TE community or in somewhat related areas of online business, when they ask, just what it is I do online without sounding like an idiot.

Or if I make an attempt to explain at least a little bit of it, their eyes start glazing over. Then as soon as they can, they change the subject to something like, “So have you seen (so-and-so whoever) lately?“, or some other something or another conversation topic that they can understand and make sense out of.

It’s really difficult if that person doesn’t really do anything or much online at all. But I’ve even seen it happen with friends who DO operate businesses online, or at least a business with a visible and active online presence.

The guy who does computer repair all over a quad-state area regionally, for instance. He probably spends as much time in his online business activities as I do with mine, but he just can’t really comprehend and grasp the concept of traffic exchanges, safelists and viral mailers, surfing, autoresponders, and all that whatnot.

As I mentioned last week, we had a death in the family. So, of course, in all the ensuing funeral home/memorial service stuff that goes on when such an event occurs, I had out-of-town relatives in town for most of the week.

I maybe see two of the cousins about once every ten years, if even that much, at least since I was a teenager. One of them is the closest of the cousins to my age, so we have a childhood history. The other is quite a bit younger, and not too long after she was born came the point where I didn’t see them very much at all.

What one of them does for a living is easily explainable to anyone who asks – he’s a college professor. The other one, I’m a little less sure of what exactly she does for the company, but let’s just say she works for a Very Large Online Behemoth That Is Not Google. But I know enough about the company (and so would pretty much anyone) to have a pretty good idea of what she does, and not have to ask a bunch of questions.

So for all practical purposes, I pretty much know what they do.

Unfortunately, they are now probably more clueless than ever about what it is I do, since when one of them posed The Inevitable Question to me last week, I wound up just making a great big mess of trying to explain anything at all, which likely left them and anyone else within earshot wondering what the heck I was doing with this online whatever thing.

And even more ridiculous, I didn’t even get to the traffic exchange industry part – not that it would have likely helped explain anything anyway. More likely that would have just confused them further.

If I had to guess, I would say they all probably came away from that conversation thinking I was doing something sort of like selling Amway or Avon online, but not really.

And then wondered what the heck “online business” is supposed to mean, like maybe it’s kind of a code word for something else that… well, you know, who even knows what crazy picture I put in their heads with my futile attempt at explanation.

Thinking about the conversation later, I realized that the question that was actually asked this time had been not so much “So, what do you do?”, but instead was more like “So, what are you up to these days?”

In retrospect, I really could have just skipped the whole work/online thing and given some other kind of completely unrelated answer, and saved us all the trouble of them getting terribly confused and me feeling like some babbling idiot.

There was also the cousin who I do see and communicate with a little more often, and who is so much younger than me that I tend to think of him more as a nephew than a cousin. Now, he has a business (or is a franchisee, I’m really not sure) that does operate a little online but I think is mostly an offline business, more or less. I don’t really understand what it is he does either , other than the fact that it all has something to do with guns and ammo (legally – I do know that much).

I think what he does and his business is probably somewhat and about as difficult for most people to comprehend as they do my stuff. Given that, I didn’t expect to, nor did I, get The Inevitable Question from him.

I am fortunate in that within my immediate family (which is pretty much just me, my mother, and my fiance these days), I really don’t have to explain much. My mom probably can’t tell you exactly what I do either, but she knows and hears enough about it all, and is and has always been very supportive of my efforts.

Pretty much the same with Brian, and he hears plenty more on a regular basis – more than he wants to sometimes, probably. Plus he does see some of what I do, how many hours I spend doing it all, and how much I am working, even if he doesn’t really totally understand what it all is and what it does. And he has gotten to know some of the fine folks in our TE community, which helps as well.

Plus they’re both pretty online savvy, computer savvy, and all such stuff, which kinda helps too. My mother is over 70 now, but she’s not one of those older folks who just came online in the last decade and does e-mail and Facebook and that’s it. We had a computer in the house since the late 1970s, and for a lot of years, whatever computer I was using at any given time was her cast-off computer after she bought a newer PC.

So yeah, I am fortunate in that I have a bit of understanding from my immediate family regarding what I do, and they’re very supportive overall (I know a lot of others don’t have that, or far from it, so I’m very grateful and appreciative of that).

They may not fully understand it, but they understand it enough. They sort of get what a traffic exchange is, they do pretty much understand affiliate marketing, and they absolutely understand the word “commissions”. That’s probably the best anyone could ask for, really.

One of my online colleagues who’s not around anymore, he sometimes used to tell confused and questioning family or friends, when they asked The Inevitable Question (or pressed for more information after having asked it), that he made his money online in adult websites, or with spam e-mails.

Online porn and the stuff in their spam mailbox, those things they could understand and comprehend. Traffic exchanges, membership sites, autoresponders, affiliate commissions, etc. – those things, they just couldn’t grasp.

Maybe there’s an easier way to answer The Inevitable Question that wouldn’t be so brain-numbing (for ME, much more so than them!) and frustrating, but I have yet to hit upon a really good one that doesn’t result in the eyes-glazing-over phenomenon yet.

Lately I’m thinking just saying “I’m in advertising”, and leaving it at that (and NOT saying “online advertising”) – and hoping like heck they don’t ask me to explain further – may be the least painful and least brain-twisting of avenues to take.

So what do YOU tell people? I bet there are some great stories out there, I’d love to hear ’em!

P.S. Pssst, speaking of online advertising (everywhere, and all over the place!):

LEGACY TEAM AD CO-OP


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