Niche Site Roller Coaster

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Working for yourself seems like it will be perfect. No one to answer to but yourself and you can make your own schedule.

Perfect, right? What could go wrong…

If you want to take a two hour lunch, no problem!

Want to go for a hike in the middle of the day, great!

Want to sleep in, you can do it…

But it can get weird. Dark.

It can feel something like:


Thanks, Derek Halpern of Image used with permission.


Jim mountainToday’s post is a really deep one and a lot of people will be able to relate. I want to thank Jim for sharing some deep emotions.

PLEASE comment below if you have any thoughts on this important topic.

For some background, Jim is building a new site and he got started a couple months ago.

He’s been sharing his case study as he goes. (See examples of Amazon Affiliate Sites & get 15,000 keywords there, too.)

The thing is that Jim is doing really well so far, but even then working alone takes its toll. Jim isn’t alone…

A few months ago Huffington Post published Congratulations, You’re Not Crazy, You’re an Entrepreneur! by Katyan Roach. She said this:


And, there’s even a book about it called The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster: Why Now Is the Time to #Join the Ride.

So, I’ll quit ramblin’ on and just let Jim tell you that sometimes there are…

The Bad Days

On the surface this line of work sounds like the dream.  Work where and when you want to, make decent money on a part time schedule, and on and on. You know the drill.  

But theres something you dont see on the Let Me Tell You How Great Niche Marketing Is!websites, the bad days.  

They are there, lurking right behind a good day and sometimes they hang on more tenaciously than a streak of good days.  

Just sitting there in your lap, staring you in the face.

I call it the Shit Zone.

This is the cancer of following your dreams in this line of work.  Just this morning I was in such a dark mood and a negative head space that I looked at job listings.  JOB LISTINGS!

I cannot and will not forfeit my hard work.  But bootstrapping out of an existential funk is no easy task.  

Just this morning I was in such a dark mood and a negative head space that I looked at job listings.  JOB LISTINGS!

I tried and tried for about a week to get my head right, I just couldnt seem to get any better.  In fact it was getting worse. And I, my friends, can get very dark.

I was working at home just trying to crank out work.  Write, blog comment, GP outreach, and on and on except that it was getting harder and harder to keep going.  

The motivation leaves, the feeling of accomplishment leaves, the feeling of working towards something awesome leaves, it just sucks.  


Let me say that again, you cannot give up.  

Now who knows, maybe it was the cloudy spring weather weve got here in Montana or maybe it was the day in the middle of my existential crisis where 1 person came to the site, 1.  I dont know.  

But what I do know is that you cannot give up.

Let me say that again, you cannot give up.  Theres a quote out there by I person I cant remember about something rather profound.  If you quit someone else gets your prize.

Its my fucking prize and no one else gets it!

Then the doubt creeps in… “Is this worth it?, What am I doing?”  I can be my own worst enemy.

Believe me, it would be super easy to shut the computer and quit.  Its also easy to get fat, its easy to be late, easy to be motivated to do anything other than grind.  

But the repercussions of this kind of action is far worse than keeping your mind right and grinding.

My girlfriend is working her ass off to make this work.  Shes tired, Im tired, and wed bump heads.  Then the doubt creeps in… “Is this worth it?, What am I doing?”  I can be my own worst enemy. No lie, I can be the worst thing for myself and that sucks when the only person who can get you out is you.


Having worked through a couple of these streaks now Ive come up with some things that might help if you find yourself in the SZ.

Tip 1:  Change your atmosphere

Get out of your house.  Go work in the coffee shop, hit the library up, hell find a bar with wi-fi and do something there.  Just keep working, dont give up.  Seeing a pattern here?

Tip 2:  Take a Breather

Okay, heres the exception to the Just Keep Grindingrule.  Shut the computer down.  Find a buddy and play racquetball, take the dog on a long walk, do yoga, whatever.  Take your time when you need it, just hit it hard when you get back.  Youll feel rejuvenated and your creativity will return.

Tip 3:  Communicate

I could be working a job I hate, buried in debt to my ears, with no way out.

Once I finally got out of the SZ the first thing I did was text my girlfriend and apologize and tell her why I was the way I was for the last week.  

It helps to bring clarity to the situation and at the end of the day it was just a bad day.  

Its all relative.  

I could be working a job I hate, buried in debt to my ears, with no way out.  But Im not.

It will refocus your effort and remind you why you’re doing it.

I WILL NOT GIVE UP!  Talk with someone, anyone about what youre doing, about what youre going through and why your doing it.  

It will refocus your effort and remind you why youre doing it.  

Talk about it, write about it, hell, cry about it.  

Just get it out so you can find your passion again.  

I sincerely hope you dont fall in this trap of self-doubt and deprecation.  

But should you find yourself in the SZ remember, theres always sunshine behind the clouds a bright day is one change away. See all the posts in the series – here.

Have you felt that way too? Leave a comment and tell us:

  • What got you into your funk?
  • How you got out of it.

About the Author: Doug Cunnington is the founder of Niche Site Project. He shows people how to create Affiliate Sites using project management and a proven, repeatable framework. Doug loves creating systems, using templates, and brewing beer (but usually not at the same time).

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  • Jim

    Man! That was a bad streak! Just re-reading this makes me feel better about my situation and how if you just keep going, keep finding a way to make it worth it, it will be. Just gotta keep my mind on the prize!

  • nat

    Yesssss!!! I relate to this so much and just reading it has made me feel quite a bit better. It can be hard at times…. but there is zero alternative!!! Cheers!

    • Jim

      That’s right Nat! Zero alternative!

  • Tom

    The “S Zone”. Yup, been there more than I’d like to admit. Those 3 things are deceptively simple but effective actions. They won’t immediately relieve the pain, but definitely get you moving in the right direction. Also, it helps me to look back at successful projects and see that it has always taken AT LEAST 6 months if not 12 to see positive movement. Brick by brick Jim 🙂

    • Jim

      Hey Tom-
      Yep, it’s all about just keeping the vision for the long play. Thanks for the comment!

  • Very good post – you know another, similar thing that people rarely discuss are the negatives of being a digital nomad which really goes hand in hand with this.

    Things like being in a foreign country, not knowing the language, stressing about the Internet connection constantly, never feeling settled, feeling like such an outside (we’re doing something that still, not many people do).

    You know when you used to work, when you used to be employed those many years ago, after work you used to go to the pub with your colleagues and vent about work. Bitch about that manager who just doesn’t get it, or that other department who are just complete idiots, the guy your boss hired who is just a douche or the client who is stuck up…well it’s great, you can vent and other people share your pain.

    With being a digital nomad it’s very rare for this to happen, that is unless you put yourself in a community of other nomads (which is becoming more and more popular) not for me though, I live in South Korea the least nomadic place in Asia it appears…

    Anyways, great post just wanted to share my thoughts/vent 😀

    • Jim

      I wish I had something more profound to tell you but you’ve said it very well. This all takes work not just the actual work side of things but the emotional and spiritual side as well. Keep up the good work!

  • John

    I most definitely end up in the shit zone on occasion! Here`s a fun fact: I have been trying to make an income in IM for… FIVE YEARS, and still not dime ONE!!! I did not list a website simply because I am presently really broke. Tired of people telling me to get a job – not possible, 65, white etc (No, not a racist remark, just the facts). All this does not stop me because I KNOW I will succeed. I exist on a minimal government pension and have a roof over my head thanks to a kind friend, and am saving up to be able to get going again. Anything I attempt needs be on a shoestring, simply because the exchange rate kills us here in SA; (currently 14.5 – 1), so I scour the `net for ways to make some quick cash to fund my passion.

    • Jim

      Good to hear you’re still grinding! Sometimes it’s just about doing the hard work so you can get to the bigger payoff. Good luck!

  • I totally identify with you. I’ve had so many ups and downs it gets dizzying sometimes. There’s been numerous times when I was near giving up but somehow I always pull through and I’m so glad I do. I would not be where I am today if I hadn’t – which is getting close to being able to quit my job and go full time developing WordPress themes and plugins to help other affiliate marketers.

    Do you know what helps me go on when I feel like I can’t? I remember why I’m doing this in the first place.

    I play a little imagination game with myself. I close my eyes and pretend that I’m quitting my job and becoming financially independent at last! I pretend that all of the reasons I’m doing this just became a reality. I vividly imagine this stuff like I’m acting it out in a movie. I imagine it so hard that sometimes it actually brings tears of joy to my eyes.

    My wife caught me doing this once and said”oh no, what’s wrong honey?” – my reply was “I’m just pretending I just achieved everything I am working so tirelessly towards!” as I looked up with a huge ear to ear grin. She probably thought I was nuts.

    Anyways – doing that ALWAYS gives me the willpower to carry on, and even to step it up a notch.

    Great article Doug!

    • Jim

      Right there with you Dave! I have my dreams rolling through my head on repeat to help find motivation. I just have to keep reminding myself of why this is all worth so much to me.

  • Great post here Jim,

    I think many people will relate to this and you have written about the kind of thing that a lot of people go through, (not just those working for themselves).

    I actually find that the worst times for me, are when I wake up in a good mood, happy and ready to get cracking on whatever needs to get done, I then check my rankings and earnings from the previous 24 hours only to see lots of red arrows, no significant bump in income and almost nothing to show for the effort put in.

    That is the kind of thing that knocks me back a bit.

    However I will usually do something like your 2nd tip, basically I will shut down my computer and just do something else. Unfortunately I can never get it out from the back of my head because internet marketing has become a kind of hobby, more than just something to earn money, but not checking tiny things all the time can do wonders for the mind.

    • Jim

      Great Point Harry! If you get stuck in the cycle of tying your efforts directly to the numbers it can get frustrating quick. Having the mindset that you’re putting out good work and hustling can counteract those negative thoughts.

  • Irene


    I really Identify with this hustling…. Sometimes you feel like the grind ain’t worth it… But the “what if tomorrow will be a better day? ” keeps one going…

    Thanks for this post. I appreciate


    • Jim

      Hi Irene-
      Yeah, seems like whenever you start a new venture you bound to face some uncertainties. As long as you keep at it and trust the process the sun will come out again! Good luck on your journey!


  • Yeah… All days won’t be good… but the success we get one day pushes as forward for many days…

    There are days you get hundreds of ideas while you try to sleep and there are days when you think why the fuck I am sitting in front of the computer all the time.

    But the rewards, sudden income from a site which you abandoned, A $$$$$ payment from the client and things like these makes us move forward.

    Congrats to me for sticking to IM & congrats to All of you reading this. And Blackfriday Income with all my niche sites has made me 100 X love this business again.

  • I LOVE this! I have always been an entrepreneur at heart. Thank God, due to my entrepreneurial nature, I was able, later in life(40’s) go back to school and get a degree and good JOB in Physical Therapy. Now, almost 20 yrs later, healthcare in America is really TOUGH on PTs and other healthcare providers. So, I started a Chimney Sweep business. And I am also doing other things(Real Estate, Public Speaking, etc). But I still can RELATE to and occasionally have one of “those” days. But, when we look at the BIG picture, there is NO WAY we entrepreneurs could go back and work for someone else. Ever hear the quote “An entrepreneur is someone who would rather work 12 hours(sometimes even 24) working for HIMSELF, rather than work 8 hours a day for someone ELSE!” So true! God bless all entrepreneurs!

  • Barry

    Shit, I thought this was just me!

    I’ve been going through this streak for over a year now.

    I was a successful amazon affiliate in 2012, got crushed by Google penguin, tried to bounce back but ended up having to go back to a day job, still in the day job, trying (grinding) my way to freedom again, but my motivation has gone, the struggle continues.

    • Barry, Thanks for confirming for everyone. It’s really tough working through the dips of the niche site roller coaster.

  • Wow, I sure needed to read this blog post.

    Some mornings I wake up and say, ah fuck it, I should just get a job.

    Hardly anyone ever talks about the difficulty of writing interesting stories that people give a shit about. Sometimes I write a blog post and nobody gives a fuck about the hard work and research. Depressing.

    Need to stay on my pills. Thanks for listening.

    • Emmett, Thanks for checking it out!
      It’s true about publishing anything…it’s like no one notices most of it.

  • Well, I consider myself fortunate/unfortunate.
    Fortunate because I have a small pension which pays my bills in Thailand but unfortunate since it would put me in dire poverty back in the USSA.

    Unfortunate, in that I was an insurance agent and basically a sole prop, since I am psychologically incapable of following a boss’s directions, so there is no job to go back to, and no boss would want me.

    Fortunate, because I am psychologically incapabable of following a boss’s directions, so there is no job to go back to, or even consider.

    Unfortunate, maybe because if I don’t make this work, I am screwed.

    Fortunate, because if I don’t make this work, I am screwed, which is a great incentive to move forward, if after flopping, getting distracted, etc etc.

  • Nick S

    I really like this article. It doesn’t get better than this 😉 Very few blogs talk about this kind of stuff. Thanks for the book suggestion!

  • The struggle is real. Entrepreneurship is definitely not for the faint-hearted. I’ve had to refocus my attention recently because I got waaaay off track (and it showed). Thank you for the reminder.

  • Yes. Im there right at this moment! I think the next thing is to find me a coffee shop. Thanks Bro!

    • Keep pushing through it. The roller coaster keeps going, but you’ll get better at dealing with it.

  • Ola

    Let me ask this Doug, How much KGR web content (information and review) can get me my first $1000 and for how long?. My niche products are relatively at $50

  • Nicola

    I agree with your sentiments here, working for yourself is definitely like a rollercoast. I just wish you had shared them without the use of expletives….Just my opinion.