The story behind our SBI review begins in early 2005. We'd moved to a rural town where my husband believed he'd found his dream engineering job. We were hoping to put down roots into old age.
Sadly, my hubby was poorly treated by his new co-workers, so he opted to take a break from his career. The climate was also harsher than expected so we decided to leave the area.
We figured it would be best to move into an RV once we sold our house to explore alternatives at our leisure.
However, we'd need some way to supplement our savings and the Internet seemed like the most portable way. We had about a year to figure something out.
We initially tried trading the stock market - after eight months and some wild experiences, we counted ourselves lucky to break even! The silver lining was that we learned useful information about the real estate market that helped us not get caught when the bubble burst...
Next I stumbled across an SBI! review. I was very skeptical at first, but the reviewer pointed to real websites that people were operating, which I checked out. I sensed this was a legitimate company. I looked at several reviews and more SBI! websites, which confirmed my gut feeling.
I felt a big plus was that they had a template for building pages. (By the way, the original SiteSell brand was called Site Build It! or SBI! for short; it was only recently re-branded as Solo Build It!).
Another incentive was that the SBI! reviews stressed that I would be creating a business rather than just a pretty-looking website. This model included a plan for attracting FREE traffic. I knew that spending money on advertising could become very costly. They also mentioned a variety of other tools - no other company offered that kind of service at the time.
Having boot-strapped a few part-time home-based businesses, the $299 subscription for a year seemed very reasonable. Since they had a money-back guarantee as well, in January 2006 I felt confident in making the purchase. My hubby, was rather doubtful but didn't try to stop me.
I didn't really know what the theme of my website would be. The suggestion was to find something I was passionate about and wanted to share with others. I spent a month researching and brainstorming with SBI's tools as well as reading Forum posts.
I had always been a crafter and had made some things for our dogs over the years.
I also was excited to share pictures of them with the world.
The tools showed me enough people would visit the website without my having to spend any money on advertising - ergo, free traffic.
I created my first home page at the end of February and slowly built more. As a how-to site, I not only needed to create items for my instructions, but also had to learn how to use a digital camera and post photos at a time when this was not a common process.
Traffic slowly started building over the next eight months. As soon as the stats showed that Make & Build Dog Stuff was getting around 100 unique visitors a day, I put some Adsense ads on the site. The website started to generate income in early 2007. My baby was starting to grow!
Part of the SBI reviews that helped me make up my mind was that they told me this was NOT a get-rich-quick deal, but that if I worked at it diligently and had patience, the rewards would come. It still amazes me how true that was and continues to be...
Note that, except for the first year and occasional stints, I only work part-time on the site. Things such as finishing a degree in 2 1/2 years, and spending a lot of time as a performing musician, hiking, and gardening have kept me from fulfilling the site's true potential...
Fortunately, this is an evergreen website vs. a blog: I do not need to keep writing new stuff every day or week as the information on how to make something is often just as valid as when first created. This means that these days, I mostly let it be for months at a time.
Traffic has remained steady, with seasonal variations, from an average of 750 to 1250 unique visitors A DAY for the past 8 years! Income follows accordingly - annual ROI during that time has been much greater than money invested in an index fund or CD.
So to continue our story... We were able to sell our house (albeit it at a bit of a loss but better than being stuck with it as the market was headed down) and moved into our first trailer in November 2006, getting rid of just about everything we owned.
WiFi was scarce in those days. After we obtained a portable Internet system, it was then much easier to keep adding pages. However, I still had to figure out how to make an item, while taking photos, before I could turn it into a page - definitely time consuming.
Fortunately, we had learned about workamping opportunities so were able to make money as campground hosts/cleaners as well as deliver Christmas trees, which took some of the pressure off me to make money from the site right away.
Once my hubby saw that I was getting an increasing number of visitors and making money, (and how inept I was at certain projects) he decided to help me out. He engineered the plans for several of our products, such as the dog ramps, wheelchairs, and treadmill, which continue to provide income to this day.
The bottom line is, if we can do this, with NO prior web experience, you can too! There will always be a need for well presented information with your own unique spin on it.
P.S. Hubby did one more year of engineering before he retired. He started his own website but wanted to do all the technical stuff himself and not use SBI! - he thought he could do it cheaper than $299 a year. Unfortunately, things did not pan out that way and he learned a tough lesson.
The question is, would we still recommend SBI! or Solo Build It! after all these years?
The answer is a resounding YES!
If you're interested in learning more about this worthwhile company, please see the links below:
I've just learned that there is a company called Wealthy Affiliates posting fake reviews trying to discredit SBI! or Solo Build It! reviews. Save yourself some heartache (and money and time) and do your homework - look for actual results, not just persuasive but bogus arguments.
A recent study shows without a doubt that SBI!ers are 33 times more likely to succeed with their online businesses than folks who join W.A. That's quite a difference in the odds wouldn't you say?