One Year Ago on LifeReboot

Today marks an interesting anniversary for me. One year ago, I arrived in Michigan after a two-day, 600-mile drive from New Jersey. At the time, I still had New Jersey plates on my car, I still had health insurance, and I still had over $20,000 in savings. At the time, I was also still on payroll (thanks to some leftover vacation time). At the time, LifeReboot was still only an idea in my head.

A journal entry from that time in my life reveals what I was thinking:

Tomorrow will mark the very first time in my life where I’ll be taking a serious risk. Most of me is ecstatic. Part of me is terrified. It’s this one terrified part of me that I’m trying to kill.

Six months ago I made a promise to myself. After submitting a written proposal to my employer asking for a raise, I gave myself a personal deadline. At the end of six months, I will either:

  1. Receive a raise, or
  2. Quit my job and move out of state.

My proposal more or less argued that I had been working outside of my job description for two years, and was being grossly underpaid for the amount of work I was doing. Although my letter was acknowledged and my hard work commended, I quickly learned that my request for a raise was not going to be honored.

Well aware that my time left with this organization was limited, I began taking the steps necessary to “reboot” my life. It was time to start over.

The process of rebooting my life is practically complete. Over the last six months, I have:

  • Sold, donated, or thrown away everything I cannot take with me.
  • Established new living arrangements in Michigan with the help of my girlfriend Cassie.
  • Put in my final two weeks at the last job I ever want to have.

My apartment has been emptied, my car is packed, and all that remains left to do is drive from New Jersey to Michigan. I have no clue whether or not this will work out or not — but I’m doing it tomorrow.

Now is the time to do it. I’m young, I’m not paying a mortgage, I have no children or anything else binding me in place.

I’m gonna go live a little.

After a year, there have been some changes. My car has Michigan plates. My health insurance is nonexistent. My savings account has been tapped to cover my expenses, and only $5,000 remains. My vacation time is long gone.

I made all of these changes for two reasons: My relationship with Cassie, and my desire to create this blog.

It’s been an interesting year. I’ve published nearly 100 original articles, causing:

  • Over 300,000 people to read at least one of them.
  • Nearly 1,300 comments.
  • Over 200 other blogs to link to LifeReboot.
  • Over 2,000 people to email me.

The reactions I get from my blog cover the entire spectrum. Some people love me while others hate me. Some people email me to share their life story, while others send one-liners like “How old are you?” That reminds me how some people call me an “old soul,” while others say I’m too young and inexperienced to have anything worth writing about.

The same polarity is demonstrated by the donations I receive. I was surprised when a complete stranger gave me $220. I was just as surprised when a different stranger donated $0.01 — coupled with an explanation that it was all that my writing was worth.

The wide variation of reactions that I get from my blog constantly makes me wonder: “How many people subscribe to LifeReboot just to see whether I succeed or fail?” My original intention, after all, was that writing for LifeReboot could eventually earn enough advertising revenue to cover my living expenses — effectively replacing the need to work.

It hasn’t happened yet, and maybe it will never happen — but I’m trying.

I’ve always been one to give myself a set time limit to reach a certain goal:

  • I gave my last job 6 months after asking for a raise. After those 6 months I would either have the raise I asked for or I would quit. I ended up quitting.
  • I gave LifeReboot 6 months to earn an average of $10/day. If I couldn’t reach that goal, then I’d start looking for a 9-to-5 job. I reached that goal.
  • When I reached my $10/day goal, I set a new one: In another 6 months, I hope LifeReboot will be earning $1000/month. That time is up, and my site earnings have actually gone down.

It’s disappointing when I fail to reach a goal I set for myself — but unfortunately, that sometimes happens. I’ve been “off the job” for a year, and my plan to earn a living online is starting to look like a failed experiment.

As I already indicated, there were two reasons I chose this path: Cassie and LifeReboot. I realize that if I tell myself that I still have time, and I continue using LifeReboot as my sole source of income, then I will be risking what I have with Cassie. She and I have been splitting our expenses 50-50 ever since we started living together one year ago. Unless I find another source to supplement my income, I won’t be able to afford my share of the expenses for much longer.

On some level, I’m disappointed. As I indicated in the above journal entry, I don’t want another job. What I wanted was to try and “write to live.” I wanted to take something that I love to do even if I’m not being paid to do it and see how far I could run with it.

When I first started, I knew the statistics were against me. I had read that only 1 in 100 people can successfully earn a living online. I had read that it takes an average of 33 months (almost 3 years!) for a blog to become popular. Regardless of the risks involved, I still wanted to do it — and so I did…

…and I will continue to. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that this is the end of LifeReboot. I’m just saying that this is the end of one particular chapter of my life. I’m about to reinvent myself as a worker by day and writer by night. Although it’s not what I originally envisioned for myself, I feel that it’s an appropriate “next step” — and it’s a great day for a life reboot.

If you've found this website helpful, please click the PayPal button. You will be helping me pursue my dream career as a writer. Thanks for your support!

14 Responses to “One Year Ago on LifeReboot”

#1 Matt on 25, Feb, 2008 at 2:51 pm

Hi Shaun,

As a fellow job-hater I can sympathize with what you’re going through. I want nothing more than to be free of the 9-5 grind of working for someone else. Your blog here is anything but a failure… it’s a fantastic success in proving that there are people who do want to read your writting. Who cares if everyone likes it… there is a very sizable contingent (myself included) who assuredly does.

We all do the 9-5 thing when we have to… but in addition to making money from this blog, I’d urge you to look at other ways to make money online. Start sites that you are interested in, review products for others, consulting, write guest articles for magazines, and maybe start working on a book. Diversify so that no one acitivity makes you a living, but the whole does. You have an amazing talent in your writing and I have faith that you can make that into a career for yourself.

Thanks again for all the great insights this past year. I’ve truly appreciated it.

#2 Timmy on 25, Feb, 2008 at 5:24 pm

Hey Shaun,
As I wrote to you previously, I am trying to find my way out of the whole daily grind and find a way to make money by enjoying life and doing things that make money and make me happy. Not an easy task for people like me that love to do 100 different things, pretty much equally well. Being a broke college student myself, I can’t pay you for your work. But, as much as your writing has helped give me some perspective when I’ve needed it, I would be one of those $200 donations if I could. Your writing DOES help people so you must never give that up; especially if it makes you happy. I think that LifeReboot is one of those websites that SHOULD be a success and earn a living for you. You have a great talent that I envy and it should definitely keep being shared with the world. Thanks for all you write!

#3 Derp on 25, Feb, 2008 at 6:37 pm

Realistic, feasible ways to earn money online is to sell content instead of giving it out for free and hoping to make money from ad revenue. Keep free content, but start copywriting, contact some companies, make charts of your visitors, unique hits, demographic, start networking, create products to sell.. ebooks, audiobooks, etc. There’s a big market for this.

or to take the risk and get into affiliate marketing w/ PPC – you’re in a good spot with this. $5K + free time to read up and learn as much as you can.. but being that you had a gambling problem, maybe AM isn’t the best route. Up to you..

#4 Pat R on 25, Feb, 2008 at 7:01 pm

Shaun – thank you for this post. I can appreciate what you’re feeling as I am feeling the same but in a little different way. I encourage you to continue your writing. You’re realizing a success with the traffic and interest you’ve generated. You’re doing something right otherwise people wouldn’t come back or they wouldn’t comment. I’m likewise encouraged by you in having a plan and doing what you need to do to see it through. I don’t have the traffic you have (only a minute portion for now but my blog is only 3 mos old) but I’m encouraged by those that do stop by and leave a comment. When you receive a comment on how something you wrote helped or inspired someone it makes all the difference in the world. I’m also looking for a full-time job too as money has nearly run out only I’m at the other end in retirement years and the jobs aren’t as easy to come by. But by being present and putting the positive out there, we’ll both realize our dreams and success in helping others.

#5 Audrey on 25, Feb, 2008 at 9:53 pm

Hey Shaun. I read you all the time but I don’t think I’ve ever commented. I’m in Michigan too, although I’m looking at making a big cross-country move sometime this year as part of my own personal reinvention project.

It’s hard to acknowledge that our plans aren’t working out like we’d hoped. It’s even harder to announce it in such a public way. As always, your honesty is admirable. Life is a series of reboots, I suppose! I think this one has potential to be good for you in a lot of ways and I wish you luck.

If being a full-time writer is still your ultimate goal, this leg of your journey will be a good time to accumulate new experiences to inform your writing; the easing of financial pressure might also open up some creativity channels, if you’re not focused on blogging so much for your grocery money as for further developing your voice and expanding your audience.

Looking forward to seeing you chronicle whatever’s coming up next!

#6 A Friend on 26, Feb, 2008 at 3:49 pm


I have a lot of respect for you as a person and as a writer, but I was shocked to find out that you’ve been working on LifeReboot full time. Without a day job to get in the way, how come you only post twice a week? What do you do with your time?

Full time income from blogging takes full time effort. Every article has a chance to spread, to gain traction with social media, to grow your income. By posting so rarely, you minimize your chances for success.

True, some sites have become successful on a similar posting schedule, but this is the rare exception. Nearly all top blogs post at least 5 times a week. If you want to make money from this site you need to work harder on it, try different things, and refuse to be denied.

You should also think more about your readers. This blog feels like a personal diary at times, like it’s all about you, rather than providing value to readers. Writing about personal experiences is great, but what are readers going to gain?

Blogging is not a great way to make money. There are many ways to generate more income with less effort, so this isn’t the only solution for avoiding a job. If I were you I would at least get a part time job to avoid burning through the rest of my savings.

#7 Ahmed Abdullah on 26, Feb, 2008 at 4:29 pm

Good work buddy. We expect more success 😀

#8 ncloud on 27, Feb, 2008 at 9:03 am

I agree with Matt. Don’t give up. Try to find additional ways that you can make money online — or maybe try freelancing and taking on just enough clients to make up the income difference that you need. I’m a huge fan of DYI careers, and I’m working in that direction myself. Soul-to-soul — keep up the good work.

#9 Gary Evans on 03, Mar, 2008 at 10:57 am

Hi Shaun,

Sorry to hear that things haven’t planned out as you expected. It’s all in perfect order though, my friend, so don’t be too disappointed! Life will ALWAYS deal you exactly what you need to experience at this moment.

#10 WereBear on 03, Mar, 2008 at 8:05 pm

It’s always discouraging not to make your goal; it’s a signal to change the goal.

I know what you mean; I wrote a book, started a blog to promote the book to show publishers, and I still haven’t made a penny. But I didn’t put a lot of pressure on my writing to perform… I’m still going for my goal, and the great thing is that the feedback from my readers will make the book even better. I’ve started rewriting already.

It’s a process, after all, and they always have their ups and downs. But I don’t doubt that if I keep going, I’ll get there.

And so will you.

#11 story on 04, Mar, 2008 at 7:49 pm

Just keep growing Shaun. I’m so proud of you.

#12 HD BizBlog- The Blog: Productivity in Context » Blog Archive » Friday Speedblogging on 07, Mar, 2008 at 1:37 pm

[…] One Year Ago on LifeReboot · One Year Ago on LifeReboot February 25th, 2008 by Shaun BoydToday marks an interesting anniversary for me. One year ago, I arrived in Michigan after a two-day, 600-mile drive from New Jersey. At the time, I still had New Jersey plates on my car, I still had health insurance, and I still had over $20,000 in savings. At the time, I was also still on payroll (thanks to some leftover vacation time). At the time, LifeReboot was still only an idea in my head. […]

#13 Keara on 12, Mar, 2008 at 1:29 pm


Reading through your blog today (and procrastinating… i admit it) I have to say that I really agree with post #6. I do have a TON of respect for the accomplishments that you have made, and the courage you had to throw yourself fully into realizing your dreams. Even if LifeReboot was a spectacular failure from the start (which it wasn’t, by far!) you still would have accomplished something huge in the life of Shaun Boyd by making the effort. Don’t ever forget how huge that is.

It also made me stop and think about productivity a bit, and I do wonder why you don’t post more frequently.

Maybe try focusing on not only creating content that you are passionate about, but that will pique an interest to readers by being something they can identify with (The Working Dead comes to mind here) then go the extra step from there, and bring in your personal thoughts or experiences, instead of arranging things the other way around.

The last thing: I’m not sure how other readers feel about this, but I don’t think getting a ‘real’ job is in any way giving up. Nor do I think you should necessarily go back to something computery. So you’re good at computers. That can’t possibly be the only qualification you have, and it obviously doesn’t lead to a fulfilling or satisfying career. Just because you’re good at it and have the experience, doesn’t mean you need to keep doing it.

#14 Tamra on 23, Mar, 2008 at 12:37 pm

Just dropping a note to say I’m enjoying your blog. A fellow forum member over at mentioned you and your story so I cruised on over. Keep up your writing and blogging!

Life/Career coach

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