The Reality of Selling on the Internet

I’m aware of something: I’d probably be a lot more rich if I hadn’t stuck with This Is Trouble.

Because that’s a tough market to hit.

If I’d continued for the last year pouring all the time I have into Trouble into smaller niche sites, focused on selling, instead—I probably would have more money in my pocket.

But it also came down to me wanting an authority site that had a brand.

I’m not sure which will be more profitable, long-term. At least on Trouble though, I get to write about whatever I want and it’s essentially “work”. I have a lot more freedom.

If you’re a freelance writer in a past life, you might find it far easier to stomach writing about topics you don’t care about. My tequila site is a good example of that one.

It’s very possible I would have made more money because I would have built sites around niches that I knew would be profitable—or at least had a good chance.

I don’t kid myself though. I wouldn’t be having as much fun with it, that I’m sure of.

Trouble is who I am.

What do you think of the pros and cons of a big blog versus a smaller army of niche sites?

Weekly Wrap—February 20th

I run a lot of sites now. And no, some of them won’t ever be publicly disclosed. But, I thought it might be good to do a sort of weekly wrap-up across all my publicly-available sites.

I’ll try to post these every Monday, as it’s what I consider the start of my week. Of course today is Wednesday. The idea just came to me today. So cut me a break 🙂

Fun fact: I take Fridays as my “day off”. Well, I don’t really take any day off, but if I’m going to have a lazier day, it’s always Friday.

Why?

Web traffic is always lowest and as a result I find myself less motivated.

Anyways, here’s what was going on last week.

This Is Trouble

Eastern European Travel

Ukraine Living

In other news, King’s Code is available in paperback now, too.

Get Your Copy Here

The Season Is Here

The season is here. Time to start the motors.

Racing’s always been a part of my life. I got given some racing game when I was five years old. Something from Papyrus.

It had a #24 car on the cover and I just never lost interest in it.

It got me through some dark times. Teenage years with depression and anxiety. No girls. But, most Sundays of the year I got to look forward to unplugging from the rest of the world, even if it was just for 3 or 4 hours.

I’ve been fortunate enough to go to a half-dozen races in NASCAR, and a few Indycar races, as well. Probably the highlight was taking my dad to the Indianapolis 500 for his 50th birthday. I have aspirations of going to a Formula 1 race this year.

Being location independent means that all the European races are easily accessible. Well, all of them really. But given that I’m mostly hanging about in Europe (in random Balkan countries), no less, it makes more sense. I have my sights set on either the Baku Grand Prix, or the Italian GP.

My girl would love to see Italy so it might be a good way to get to show her Rome and take in a race at an incredible venue.

Well, the season is here now. I’ve discussed how I would enjoy starting a racing blog—but it’s simply not profitable (click here to find out why).

That’s not changing. I’m not gonna start a racing blog. But I might occasionally write some stuff up about it.

First race of the year just ended. It’s time to go. Start your engines.

PS: I’m experimenting with online business (as always), and this week I just launched this quick-start guide to dating in Ukraine.

Burnout

The other day I penned 10,000 words in my new book, plus another 4,000 across my other sites. Then I went on to Twitter and bragged about it.

You can follow my Twitter here.

So, humble pie was served to me over the next couple days.

10,000 words Monday.

0 words Tuesday.

And…1,113 so far today (Wednesday).

It’s not so much writer’s block as it is burnout. You see, I just torched myself with that 10k day on Monday. I could probably get to that point of doing it consistently, but I took too far a step (I usually average 5,000 a day across various websites and projects).

It was just too much and when it was done I didn’t even want to look at my book.

Today I set a goal of 2,000, but the 1,000 was hard. Why?

A Hard Chapter

The book has a central theme of deconstructing what happened in my own life, how it related to society’s problems as a whole, and then tying it into some actionable advice for the reader.

I haven’t picked a title yet, so don’t ask.

But, the chapter I wrote today is called “Dear Daughter”.

It took a lot out of me for one reason or another. Grappling with reality and what I want out of life. Good to get it out, but it leaves you a bit hungover. And 1,000 is actually not much for a chapter, I know I’m going to have to revisit it and add more later.

Time to go have a walk around Kotor and get some air.

Kotor

The quietest place I’ve ever been.

13k people. More people live in a district in Kiev than that.

But there’s a sense of “know”. Everyone at the grocery stores knows me by now. The girls giggle when they have to speak English to me (thankfully, they speak quite well).

This is the kind of place I imagine when people say country. It’s a place packed with tourists for two months of the year.

Then ten months it’s country.

And it’s beautiful.

Brand

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my online business pursuits for the last year, it’s that brand matters. And I’m fortunate that I picked a good name for my main website, right off the bat.

Of course, my pen name has evolved, from…

  • The “original blog” – This blog will get me in trouble
  • Troublemaker
  • Trouble
  • Kyle
  • And finally, Kyle Trouble.

Yes, Kyle is my real name.

In any case, it was about time I actually bought this domain and put something out for it.

Protecting the brand. Essential in today’s world.

What will you see on this site? Probably not much to be frank. I’ll just get it to the top of Google and might pen some old drafts or general musings here.

Welcome aboard.

Istanbul

Split between Europe and Asia, Turkey’s crowned jewel city–Istanbul–is a hypnotic blend of Asian cheesiness, Middle Eastern religion, and European culture all wrapped into one beautiful and vast city. In all my travels so far, I’ve never seen anything quite like it.

What do I mean by the above?

Asian cheesiness:

Thousands and thousands of strip malls and shops, with nearly all selling one of the these:

  • Fake watches
  • Fake handbags
  • Fake jewelry
  • Fake rugs and scarfs
  • Fake electronics
  • Oh, and kebabs–lots of kebabs

Middle Eastern religion:

Nearly every time I step out the door, I’m treated to a concert from the mosques of Istanbul with their call to prayer music. This is the kind of stuff we hear on documentaries all the time, but it’s quite another to experience in person for yourself.

European vibe:

There is something distinctly European in Istanbul. The cobbled streets. The cafe culture. The ability to walk almost anywhere. The seafront location of the city. It very much reminds me of many other places in Europe, and doesn’t make me think of blazing hot deserts like much of the Middle East is.

Again, this is all one city!

Without further ado, here are 5 reasons you should visit Istanbul.

REASONS TO VISIT ISTANBUL #1: IT’S CHEAP. FOR NOW.

At the time of writing this (June 2016), the exchange rate is USD:TL (Turkish Lira) 1:3.

For every dollar you have you’ll get about 3 Turkish Liras. It’s not as cheap as places like Poland or Ukraine, but it’s far more affordable than places like London or Amsterdam in Western Europe.

For some perspective…

  • 1-Way ride on the metro or tram: 4TL
  • Nice lunch at Turkish venue: 24TL
  • Nice dinner at a  restaurant in Istanbul: ~75TL (drinks included)
  • Pass for museums: 85TL
  • Beer at a bar: 10TL

Got questions about prices? Leave a comment below!

REASONS TO VISIT ISTANBUL #2: THE FOOD

I’ll be the first to admit: I’m not a fan of Turkish food. At all. Every other country I’ve tried Turkish food in, I’ve been less than impressed. The States. Poland. Ukraine. Budapest.

It’s all sucked.

Not the case in Istanbul. The food alone almost made number one on this list of reasons to visit Istanbul. It’s colorful, flavorful, and relatively healthy. Nothing seems to be made in an ocean of oil or fried beyond belief. It’s filling and satisfying.

REASONS TO VISIT ISTANBUL #3: TURKISH HOSPITALITY

Again, Turks have a bad rep for things in other parts of the world.

In Eastern European countries, many of them are very aggressive with women in a country that isn’t their own. My general impression is that they are not friendly or gregarious people.

Istanbul has changed that impression.

My first night out at a restaurant, I was personally waited on by the owner. When he saw I was dining alone, he asked where I was from and we had a fantastic conversation, with him even joining me for a shot at one point.

And the food–wow (again). An old Turkish later who prepared my meal personally delivered it to the table and said, in very broken English, that she hoped I would love her meal.

He could not have been more friendly, accommodating, and an overall nice guy. If everyone had his outlook on life, Turkish people wouldn’t have the reputation that they do have in other parts of the world.

And that hospitality and friendliness hasn’t stopped either. While the bar was set high, other coffee shops, tourist areas, and restaurants around Istanbul have been similarly accommodating to me as a Westerner.

REASONS TO VISIT ISTANBUL #4: WHERE EAST MEETS WEST

Simply put, it’s cool that this is the point in the world where the East meets the West. Granted, “Eastern Europe” is still very much east (and is west of Istanbul), but there is a much larger divide between European countries and Islamic countries versus say…Poland and Ukraine.

It’s just fascinating.

Like I said, the place is littered with markets. The Grand Bazaar alone has nearly FOUR THOUSAND shops in it. That doesn’t include the shops in the surrounding area.

That area probably has another ten thousand.

The people in the shops have the same friendliness and hospitality as the places I’ve described above.

Make sure you negotiate a good price, and don’t get too lost 😉

REASONS TO VISIT ISTANBUL #4: AMAZING ARCHITECTURE

Just Google it.

REASONS TO VISIT ISTANBUL #5: THE CRAZY COMBINATION OF IT ALL

Again, I’ll say this–I’ve never seen anything quite like it. Asia. Europe. Middle East. All in one. It’s absolutely fascinating.

This hybrid shows everywhere. In the delicious food. In the friendly people. In the open-air markets. In the architecture. You can tell it’s a city that is somewhat divided but has come together to make something special, with people from all over the globe blending their cultures together.

It’s a delicious mix.

REASONS TO VISIT ISTANBUL: POUR CONCLURE

I cut my trip short by a day due to a combination attacks at the airport, bad weather, and boredom. While I wasn’t fearful for my safety, I was a bit apprehensive about hanging around major tourist sites and crowds in the days after–which really limited what I could do.

It’s obviously very unfortunate about what happened at the airport. What’s even more sad is that it’s just another part of life for Turkish people. They fully accept the only thing that keeps them from dying from a terrorist in Istanbul is pure luck.

And for such a great city, that’s truly sad.

I hope to return one day.

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