On my birthday three years ago, I was at my favorite downtown bar for a few beers with close friends. Little did I know I would be enjoying one of the greatest beers of all time and would never get to try it again.
In October, I attended the third annual Financial Blogger Conference. At FinCon, I hosted the second annual Ignite FinCon speaking event, and took to the stage for my own five minutes of glory. Enjoy!
A while back, I started a new web project with a friend, Jeff from Sustainable Life Blog, to create a niche website that makes money. I just found out that we have officially made money!
I wanted to have a profitable niche site by the end of 2012, which was a life list goal, and I am pleased to report that we have easily passed the hurdle point.
The site, all about elk hunting, is a collaboration of Jeff’s knowledge and my research on the topic. Jeff is a passionate elk hunter, and I am passionate about making money. I was happy to put in time and research to help build a useful and reputable site about elk hunting, though I have never been hunting myself.
Jeff focused primarily on hunting rifles and recipes. I focused on articles on elk hunting in specific states, mostly in the Mountain West of the United States. I learned all sorts of things about elk hunting laws and regulations. I had no idea what you need to do for a hunting permit, now I know what to do in five different states.
I would not go as far as to say I am an expert in elk hunting, but I am an expert in building websites. I put in a lot of time on images, headers, and placing Google AdSense strategically around the site. I am thrilled to say that it worked like a charm.
We are not rich just yet. We have not even made enough to justify all of the time we put into it. But we have hit the first milestone, profit.
I can confidently and happily mark this one off of the life list. The project is not over by a long shot, though. We need to keep adding quality content and working on increasing the site’s ranking in the search engines. We have a lot of opportunity to make a lot more money.
I recently had the opportunity to plan and speak at Ignite FinCon, the Ignite event at the Financial Blogger Conference. As we were in Denver and I could talk about whatever I wanted, I took my five minutes in the spotlight to tell everyone “Why Denver is Way Better Than the City You Live In.” Enjoy the video below.
I recently had the pleasure of speaking at Ignite Denver, and my video is now live. If you want to find out how to start a blog that doesn’t suck, make sure to check out my talk.
Last night, ten miles from my home, a disturbed young man walked into a movie theater and started shooting into a crowd. As of now, 12 people are dead and 38 are wounded. While it was not in my neighborhood, it is one I know well. I have seen movies at the Century 16 Theater in the past and it is across the street from my Dad’s office.
Like in 1999, when two kids walked into their high school and started shooting students and teachers in the lunch room and library, murdering 13 innocent people, the first thing we asked is why.
Why did someone find it necessary to murder 13 people at Columbine High School in 1999, and why did someone find it necessary to murder 12 people last night? Why did someone think it was their right to take an innocent life? Why did someone think it is their last resort? Why did someone think it was the right thing to do? Why the pointless killings?
As angry as I am at the individuals responsible, this country’s asinine gun control laws certainly make it easier for someone to kill.
I could walk into a store and buy an M-16 automatic assault rifle. For only $729, I can walk into Cabela’s and buy an AR-15. The popular M4 variation fires .233 caliber bullets faster than one every second.
You don’t need an automatic murder rifle to hunt deer. You don’t need to fire more than one bullet every second to hunt deer. You don’t need an AR-15 assault rifle to hunt deer. You don’t need an M-4, M-16, AK-47, Tech 9, or any other automatic weapon to hunt deer. Those weapons were designed for one thing, to kill as many people as possible as quickly as possible.
The Second Amendment
The next person that brings up the Second Amendment when discussing this deserves to be punched in the face. The Second Amendment was written long before these murderous weapons were designed that can kill so many people so quickly.
The intent of the amendment was to allow citizens to protect themselves from a tyrannical government. That was a relevant fear at the time, as the Bill of Rights was signed on the heels of the Revolutionary War, a war uprising against a tyrannical ruling king on the other side of the world.
Today, however, things have changed. As much as many of you may hate Barack Obama, he is not going to oppress you and enslave you. As much as I hated George W. Bush as president, I was not concerned for my safety and well-being, nor that of any fellow law abiding American citizens.
Time for Change
Need I remind you that at the time the Second Amendment was written, slavery was legal. Women could not vote. Unless you were a white, property owning male, you were a second class citizen.
As repulsive as those cultural norms were at that time, our antiquated gun laws are today.
I do not propose banning all firearms. While I do not believe in it, I do not wish to prevent people from going hunting. I see no reason a mentally healthy, law abiding Americans shouldn’t be able to buy a single action rifle for hunting and “self-defense” purposes, though it is statistically more likely for that weapon to cause an injury at home than successfully defend you against an intruder.
The only reason automatic weapons exist is to kill as many people as possible as quickly as possible. Those should be illegal. Handguns that can be easily concealed in a pocket or waistband are not necessary either, outside of law enforcement.
We need to move on from our old, violent ways toward a future that can be safer and better for all of us.
I know there are detractors that say a bad guy can get a gun anyway. Maybe that’s true, but we don’t have to make it easy on them.
If you are as sickened by these events as I am, please join me in taking action. Don’t just complain on the internet, contact your senators and house representatives in Washington or your state legislators and implore them to take action against dangerous gun ownership.
We should pause and think about the victims and their families, and do everything we can to support them. But don’t let them die in vain. Let’s use this moment as one for action to make America better tomorrow.
Image by Marcin Wichary / flickr
I am always excited to knock something off the life list. Last week, I was able to cross something off that, not long ago, seemed years away. In January, I moved my student loan payoff from the five-year bucket into the 2012 bucket. Last week, I made my last payment. Ever.
On Friday I published a long essay outlining how I paid off my student loans in 2 years and 6 days. I thought that was pretty cool.
I am not going to re-invent the wheel, so rather than re-write the post here, I figured I would just share the link to the original. Be sure to head over and check it out.
Image by jollyUK on Flickr
I shared my 2011 recap with you just before new year’s, and it was exciting to see how I did on my 2011 goals and look back at everything I accomplished. I took a few minutes to update my life list for 2012.
Here is what I am going to do by the end of the year:
The one place I failed in 2011 was climbing 3 new Fourteeners. I do not plan to make up the lost time by climbing six in 2011, but I want to make sure I hit three to keep making progress on my lifetime goal of climbing every Fourteener in Colorado.
One cool update, my sister met Aron Ralston recently and he said he wants to climb a 14er with us. It would be great to make life list progress with a local celebrity.
Pay off student loans (moved in from five year list)
I recently made a few big payments on my student loan, and the end is now in sight. I decided to upgrade this from a five year goal to a 2012 goal. I have $6,658 to go, and I think I can make the needed lifestyle adaptions to get this paid and done with.
Create a niche website that makes money
I have a bunch of blogger friends that have been competing to rank their new niche topic websites on Google to start a passive cash flow online. While I don’t feel the need to compete, I want to learn how to use Market Samurai to build a niche site to make a few bucks.
Spend a weekend in Las Vegas
This one is just for fun. I have not been to Las Vegas since I was 15. In the last 12 years, I managed to turn 21. Not going to Vegas to take advantage of what Sin City has to offer is not something I am proud of. This year, I want to make it happen for a weekend.
Visit a friend somewhere outside of Colorado
When I say a friend, I really mean my friends in Washington, DC or Austin, Texas. Both have invited me to visit. I have tried to make it work, but never pulled the trigger and bought a plane ticket. This year, I want to make it out to visit.
Image by dherrera_96
This has been quite a year in the life of Eric Rosenberg. I have ventured through exciting trips, new projects, non-profit volunteering, entrepreneurial adventures, and keep ramping up for more as the year comes to a close.
While this blog ebbs and flows, I have had a successful blogging year overall. Narrow Bridge Finance has become a real income source for me and I will be incorporating my blogging projects into an LLC in January.
- 100,000th page view on Narrow Bridge Finance
- Roughly tripled traffic on Narrow Bridge over 2010
- Published 1,800th post at The Israel Situation
- Welcomed 150,000th unique visitor to The Israel Situation
- Welcomed nearly 3,500 readers on my personal blog
Denver Flash Mob
I took this group from a partnership to my own LLC for reasons you can find on this site. It was a challenge moving on as a solo project, but partners and friends made it an amazing year.
- Had 250 dancers for Born This Way dance flash mob
- Welcomed new sponsors to keep the company alive
- Built a following of over 3,000 fans
DJ Yofi Project
I marked learning how to DJ off of my life list, and I made incredible steps forward. I recently released my 13th episode of the Yoficast (free download at DJYofi.com). I also had live events at X Bar, Bar Standard, and Heebonism 2011 at City Hall. I helped hundreds of people dance the night away and have no plans to stop in 2012.
I finished out my term as Treasurer of B’nai B’rith Denver, the oldest Jewish organization in Colorado, and was elected for a second year. I must not have done too bad of a job. I also served on the growing young professional committee where we planned a cemetery cleanup, camping trip, “slosh-dallah,” and have a full list for next year.
I was a new addition to the board of E-3 Events (I claimed the title “E4”), where I work with amazing people to plan fun, Jewish, social events in Denver. Our highlight was this week’s Heebonism where hundreds of Jewish young people danced and socialized on Christmas Eve.
In addition to the DJ goal, I took my trip to London (with Paris and Amsterdam as a bonus) and had laser eye surgery. My only missed goal in 2011 was to climb 3 new 14ers. I will have to put that one on hold until the summer. (I have plans to tackle a new one with Aaron Ralston and my sister over the summer!)
This was a year of Omaha, New York, Chicago, Kansas City, London, Paris, Amsterdam, and Costa Rica. My favorite thing to do is see new parts of the world and experience new things in new places. It was a huge success.
I have spent time with family and friends. Become closer with great people, purchased a condo, moved in with a new roommate, danced till dawn, and made it out feeling more alive than ever before.
I will count down to 2012 with my parents in San Jose, Costa Rica. From there I will travel through the rain forest and spend a few days relaxing on the beach. It is a fitting start to a new year with new adventures ahead.
It has been amazing
Through Narrow Bridge I have built a small business that supplements my income.
I recently spent a weekend in Chicago because of Narrow Bridge.
I have poured out my heart and soul to my readers.
I have given advice to people who needed it.
Blogging at Narrow Bridge has been a life changing experience and I am thrilled to have written my 600th post this week.
It all came crashing to a halt
But on Friday, October 14th, 2011, it all changed. Google ran a massive update codenamed Panda and my traffic came crashing to a halt. About 60% of my daily traffic is gone.
Traffic is everything on the web. While it has recovered a bit in the last week, it is still far below where I was a week ago today. When your traffic goes away, so does income. So does a feeling of success. So does some of your inspiration to keep going.
I have a few options for what to do next, and I hope you all share your thoughts in the comments for this post. At the end of the day, I was blogging because I love the topic and the readers and the community (and the money and the delusional celebrity status).
- Keep on trucking. Just keep writing and hope my traffic comes back and keeps growing over time.
- Start a new site. I bought a new finance related domain that is ripe for content.
- Give it up. I am not really going to do this. No way.
- Other ideas?
Right now, I am thinking about a combination of keeping Narrow Bridge alive but posting less often while starting a new site that gets the bulk of my attention and affection. I just don’t know.
What I do know is that my favorite company in the world, Google, a company that I have cheered for, beta tested for, visited, received a free laptop from, used for income, suggested to friends, bought a phone from, got a web browser from, and use to keep track of my life, has turned its back on me.
Yes, it was not like I was singled out of the crowd. Thousands of sites were hit just like mine. But I am angry and upset and a little depressed when I visit my blog. It is like the balloon of inspiration was deflated.
I could use your thoughts and words of encouragement. Proceed to comments.
(PS – My five year old Israel blog did not have the same traffic loss from Panda as Narrow Bridge. It also makes about $10 per month compared to hundreds at Narrow Bridge.)
Image by Håkan Dahlström.