My 17 Month Authority Site Case Study Continued : What I Learned While on Vacation

Last Update: August 23, 2019

Many of us start our businesses with lots of skeptics. Heck, we might be skeptical of what we're doing. Hahaha. It seems it would be pretty obvious other people would be skeptics, but I've seen many times differing views on a business startup that causes conflict: between friends, spouses, parents and children, or others.

In my case, when I started my marketing services business, my family wasn't verbally in disagreement, but they also weren't certain about the market for what I was offering. Then, to make matters more complicated, my son got sick almost one year into my services business, and I decided to stop all client work and start my business all over again with affiliate marketing as the primary source of income.

They had never heard of that, and I'm sure they wondered if I was losing my mind, but luckily, they never said that. Instead, they asked me, "Tiffany, are you sure you shouldn't get a job?", or "Are you sure this is going to work out like you think?", and despite my inner skeptic, I tried my best to wear pure confidence. Everyone questioned what I was doing: my husband, my son, my parents...everyone. Despite that, I tried to look strong and respond with, "This will work" and "I'll make sure this works".

Fast Forward 17+ Months

Now, nearly 18 months has passed in my journey and I've been getting messages "Congratulations! You've recieved a new WA commission" nearly every day EVEN while I spent a day at an amusement park! I made 21 new sales, 13 recurring sales, 10 domain sales, 165 referrals, and 134 referrals credits, so I was getting notifications about more money pretty consistently.

Now, all those who had questions about whether what I was doing would work see my proof of concept, and they're encouraging me to continue. My son, my husband, my parents, my sister, and others are impressed.

Stick it out if people around you don't believe in your business now. Don't take it personal. Prove your business idea works, start racking up sales and happy customers, and they'll come around.

If you haven't seen my most recent case study, you can tell, I'm still not able to forecast next month's income. The growth seems nearly crazy. This month, I doubled many of my records: in referrals, in sales, in referral credits, and I was on vacation where my productivity wasn't it's norm! I still managed to publish 9 articles, 9 videos, and engage quite a bit, but my productivity wasn't close to what I know I'm capable of.

As a sidenote, I'll be publishing this month's stats and income by the 10th, so you'll be able to see more details if you're interested in that. In the meantime, you can take a look at the previous case studies and training I've published here.

It felt really good because this month solidified my decision from 17+ months ago to focus on building an asset that made it possible for me to earn an income without a direct time-money exchange.

My Family Finally "Gets it"

Real estate and online business (or intellectual property as a whole) has many similar passive components. For each of them, there's a time where you work and a time where the work pays off passively.

My parents have always been in real estate. They've been investors since I was born. My dad bought his first house at 18 years old, and by the time I was born (when he was 25) he had turned the first property into a stream of rental income.

Now, they have several rental properties, several properties they've flipped, and they've always coached me to go into that business. I love real estate, but I don't want it to be my primary job. Instead, I'd prefer to be in a strategic position in real estate rather than day-to-day operations. I'd like to hire out many of the positions there, and focus my attention on the business that best uses my talents. I much prefer running a media company as my primary job.

I know I could probably work more on succession now with my parents and focus my energy on the real estate business, but I love affiliate marketing, and my parents have never understood it until this trip.

How I Explained Affiliate Marketing to My Parents

One morning, my mom and I were talking about the real estate business (which is fairly normal for us). My mom started doing her happy dance. Hahaha.

She was excited because one of their customers had followed her recommendation to go to one of their vendors who gives them a commission. In my mom's case, she manages several rental properties (mostly her own) and she refers tenants to hardware stores (for little DIY projects or repairs they want to do), insurance companies (for rental insurance), and when fellow property managers ask for recommendations, she refers them to vendors she uses. She never realized she was doing affiliate marketing!

When she was telling me the situation, I said to her, "Mom, that's affiliate marketing! That's what I'm doing too, but I'm just focusing a larger percentage of my income on referring others to good products and services."

At that moment, it "clicked" for her. She understood what I'd been telling her all along.

Affiliate Marketing and Many Merchants

In my mom's case, she works with many vendors, but most of the merchants track their referrals mentally or using very old school techniques. My mom will tell her referral "make sure to let them know I've sent you and they'll give you my volume discount", and the tracking is entirely trust-based.

They don't know about tracking software, tracking links, hyperlinking, link cloaking, or leveraging the internet to streamline the entire process. They also don't know the process is formally called "affiliate marketing" or how much their businesses could blow up if they knew!

Once my mom and dad "got it", then they could see the power of what I'm doing! They also started mapping out how they could take more initiative to earn a higher income from referrals. There is so much potential for affiliate marketing because:

  • Many merchants don't know a more streamlined and easier to manage process exists
  • Many people don't realize they can get paid from referring people to products and services they love
  • and, the internet is making commerce so much easier

The Priority of My Business is Clear

Added to my mom and dad understanding my business model, I was able to solidify it works and how I do it. They have major work ethic, but they could see my seriousness about my business because my work hours were similar to theirs.

They would wake up early to follow up on tenant requests, pay invoices, coordinate repairs, and so on. While they were handling the tasks of their businesses, I was shooting my videos, doing my blog posts, doing research, or outlining the courses I'll be publishing soon.

They grew confidence in my business by seeing my dedication, perseverence, and results. I have two kids: one 12 years old, one 2 years old, and I was babysitting my niece who is 7. Added to that, my parents have a huge social circle, so there's always lots of people visiting, and many people wanted to catch up with me since I've lived away from my hometown for the last 13 years.

My days were full, but because of my commitment to my business, I would muster the energy to wake up before 6 AM every day to work, to break away a few times per day to respond to referrals and PMs, and to stay up at night to tie all loose ends. My discipline grew my confidence and it made everyone around realize how serious I am about my business.

People who thought my business was a hobby or a "side thing" that I'm experimenting with realize now that my business is a very serious thing because I treat it more serious and more priority than if I was working for someone else.

Moving Forward with More Confidence than Ever

In addition to my growing confidence personally and in my family, my WA family was so instrumental. I saw the messages from you all asking me if I was okay since I've been away more than normal, and those that showed appreciation for my blogs and training.

I saw the results of people who have taken my training and reported higher commissions, higher conversion rates, more traffic, and other exciting results. Thanks so much for sharing your results with me and using your results to encourage others!

Every succes story I hear from my training inspires me to make more training, make better training, and to stay on the path. It's like confirmation that I'm blossoming where I'm planted, so thanks so much!

This trip awakened so much confidence, reassurance, motivation, and overall, it changed the trajectory of my future. I'm sure I'll be referencing the impact of this trip for years to come.

Thanks WA family for all of your support and trust me, I have my best blog posts and training coming.

New Challenges

I walked away from this trip realizing I could do better with communicating to people who have been following my life journey for years. I could do better with rekindling relationships with those who need my help. Also, I could do better with maintaining my health while pursuing my business goals. I don't need to neglect exercise simply because I want to create lots of content.

As a result, I decided to implement some new challenges and reconfigure my schedule to make these things happen. In the month of August, I'll be working towards these goals:

  • Reinvest my sales into PPC
  • Set up a PPC campaign
  • Continue learning about PPC advertising on Google and Bing
  • Exercise daily to start my morning (and send my extra weight gain into the past--Hahaha)
  • Record more lifestyle content on mobile
  • Post lifestyle content and blog content onto Instagram and Facebook
  • Create 8-12 Pinterest pins and share them
  • 8-12 blog posts
  • 8-12 Youtube videos
  • Spend 1hr/day optimizing old content
  • Spend 1/2 day Monday, Wednesday, and Friday on course creation

Let's see how I do. I like shooting high and giving it my all. I need to increase my # of prospects more (especially if I want to make it to Vegas), so I'm focused on increasing my traffic.

How are you challenging yourself in August 2019?

What new tasks are you taking on? What new habits are you implementing? What new thing are you trying to learn? What old thing are you getting better at?

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derekmarshal Premium
Well done Tiffany, I am looking forward to emulating what you are achieving, maybe this time next year.

I am still happily continuing on with my experimental foray into the MMO niche and what I call "Gulag Capitalism!" or Gulag Blogging!

(but secretly...I love it!).

That's 2x posts daily!.

Month 3, still slow traffic-wise but rather interestingly more than tripled my organic traffic and referrals. Even got some to complete profile set up.

...back to the Gulag Blog!.

(my own theory...a ton of content...when I pass year 2..an avalanche will happen as a lot of content matures!).

Looking forward to your updates :-)
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TDomena Premium
Man, your Gulag Blogging is one heck of a challenge! Great job on that. I'm sure you'll be seeing results probably before next year. Keep me posted. I'd love to hear how that goes. Make sure your fingers don't fall off. Hahaha.
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derekmarshal Premium
You can take up my Blogustus Challange is you wish or wait until Blogtober...

We shall see how things go. It is pretty challenging but I do love creating content.
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PeakLiving Premium
You are doing so awesome and I have to bookmark this because its so motivating.

I am hoping I can find that same level of success in health and wellness.

I love your list for August. Lots to do but I know the rewards will be great. Thanks for sharing.
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TDomena Premium
You can surpass this level of success. Just stay connected, keep asking questions, be resourceful, and don't stay stuck. You'll get it. I look forward to seeing your success.
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FKelso Premium
I really enjoyed reading your story. Thanks for sharing. Your success is encouragement for many.

My main challenge in 2019 is to stay up with SAC and also with my niche website. So far, so good.

I have a question for your: How many posts did you have on your site promoting WA when you started making decent money?
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TDomena Premium
I'm not exactly sure. My goal has never been to "promote WA". I'm trying to build How to Entrepreneur as a brand. Instead, my goal has been to help entrepreneurs go from idea to enterprise. I refer people to WA for my coaching and my training because it's hosted here and position Wealthy Affiliate's offers as amazing extras.

Hopefully, you can see the difference in the brand positioning there.

I still don't think I make "decent money". Decent money to me is full-time or $3000+ (with special attention to the "+"). I'm currently at 341 posts subtract 9 and that's the amount of posts I had in July. All the other details are in my case studies: income growth, # of posts, traffic growth, and learning lessons.

It's much more exciting than $0 or even $100, but I just hit my first $1000 in June and now, it's going up seemingly by $500 increments. I'm going to do my best to ensure that continues.
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FKelso Premium
Thanks for your thorough answer. That helps.
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TDomena Premium
You're welcome!
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amhil23 Premium
This is really cool to see, I'm kind of in a bad patch on my boot camp site having lost over 70% since the June update and now, 2 months down the road, it still doesn't seem like it'll recover anytime soon.

This is even more discouraging when I take into account all the work I've been putting in, having written and posted over 200 articles since Dec 2018 (I currently have 280 posts)

Nevertheless, these are the kinda hurdles that most people stop at and although I'm a little disheartened, I've come way too far to quit so I'll just have to push through and who knows, vegas 2021 might just be a possibility.

At this rate veags 2020 probably isn't too far out of your reach, you just need to average 25 sales a month from September onwards and that ticket doesn't seem all that out of reach right.

I'll be on the lookout for your next update, I'm sure it'll be another exciting month and of course more motivation for us mere mortals who are still trying to wrap that noose around the moon.
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TDomena Premium
Thanks so much for your encouragement. It sounds like you've got the inner resolve that will ensure your traffic will come back and even more. I agree that most people would give up after investing the time and effort you have and getting a disappointing result. I'm going to try my best to get the 25 sales per month. Let's see how it goes.
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Selenityjade Premium
You're doing so well! I'm happy your family finally gets it. Most people are skeptical about mine, except oddly my mother. She has known about my writing for ages and always tried to nudge me to do something like write novels or anything with it. When I mentioned started another blog, she was noncommittal because before I've done it for fun, not seriously. She doesn't realize that I'm working at it as work, not a hobby when I want to yet.

But yeah, people around us might be skeptical, but hopefully their family is still supportive!

Thanks for the update!
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TDomena Premium
Thanks so much! It's good your mom "gets it". Others will catch on overtime. You're a great writer, so I can see why your mom encouraged you that way.

My parents always understood that part, but they wanted me to make good money writing, and they weren't sure if the options I chose would do that. Now, they can see the potential. Thanks for checking on me. That made me feel really special. Best wishes for your success!
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Selenityjade Premium
Aw, you're welcome :) I've met some great people here and we should be supporting each other as you're right that not everyone's family or friends are going to get this journey at first. Plus networking never hurts. Who knows, you might be the next millionaire here! Then I could have bragging rights, or something. LOL!

I'm glad you were on vacation and not MIA! Happy to see you back though!
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TDomena Premium
Yes, I won't be leaving here anytime soon. I'll be all the way back and much more productive next week prayerfully. My daughter goes back to daycare Monday, so my productivity will be much better then. Following that, my son starts school at the end of August, so I'll really be on my grind then.
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Selenityjade Premium
Awesome!
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cld111 Premium
Wow, Tiffany! You are KILLING it! That must feel so good! You have give me new inspiration and motivation to continue forward with even more confidence and energy.

I feel like you're a little ways down the road from me, and I want to follow in your footsteps.

I have a question for you. What do you think was the one thing that started the ball rolling? It seems you have a lot of momentum now and you're getting that snowball effect. Just wondering if you can pinpoint when things started to shift.

Thanks for the update. This is awesome!

- Christina.

P.S. I think exercise is actually a HUGE factor of being successful in business. Not just because it helps keep your body feeling good, but because it opens up the mind. I always get my best ideas when I'm exercising.
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TDomena Premium
I had to think about your question quite a bit. I think my biggest struggle early on was confidence. Because I didn't have confidence, I wasn't focused. I felt that I needed to try to make many things work because "if this one doesn't work, then I have a back up".

I genuinely think Jay's coaching was a turning point for me because it made me realize my ideas and hypothesis are spot on, and I don't need to overwork for results. He helped me trim alot of fat, change limiting beliefs, and focus. From there, I was doing more of less rather than being so scattered. He also pointed out my recurring ranking issues, which helped me. He's very attentive to details and I've learned more about how to do that, but I'm still working on that. Hahaha.

Also focusing my content on my brand direction primarily rather than the typical bootcamp route was also key for me. I come up with my ideas based on my target audience and their concerns rather than by focusing on reviewing all Clickbank products or all JVZoo products, or so on. If you haven't seen my branding training, that one will explain what I mean in terms of building a brand.
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cld111 Premium
Awesome, this is perfect. Thank you! I will definitely check out your branding training.

- Christina
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TDomena Premium
I'm so glad your staying motivated despite the challenges. That's a sign you'll make it. I can't wait to meet.
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magistudios Premium
Awesome Tiffany!
Keep it going!

~ Jay
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TDomena Premium
Thanks Jay! I’m really appreciative for your help. I’ve been on an uphill climb since my first round of coaching.
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APouliot Premium
I love reading your posts, it is always very inspiring. :)

August for me is all set up, I made my plan and it is all about Phase 5 of the Affiliate Bootcamp. By mid-September this phase will be done and I'll move to the 6th one!

I think things are going well, I must not stop.
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TDomena Premium
I'm glad the posts are inspiring to you. You're doing great with growing your website and business. Keep it up! I'm sure you'll see great results soon.
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jeffschuman Premium
You are impressive Tiffany. I love your clearly defined goals.

I assume you are tapping the power of your subconscious mind and reading those a couple of times a day or even more.

One of my all time heroes, Willie Crawford wrote $2740 on a yellow sticky pad and stuck it on the side of his computer monitor where he saw it all day long.

Why $2740?

That was his daily income goal towards his big goal of earning $1 Million Dollars a year online. Soon his Soul Food cookbook sales helped him achieve that along with every other thing he did as well.

Jeff
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TDomena Premium
I've studied quite a bit about the subconscious mind, but I apply it from a biblical worldview. I understand the laws of attraction, positive thinking and the impact, self-hypnosis, and other practices that fall into the category, but I don't primarily subscribe to any of those. I do have practices that help maintain a positive attitude, motivation, and keep my clarity with my goals. You're right.

I spend much more time on physical action than on focused mental preparation, but the time I spend on stabilizing a positive attitude is well worth it. I have built strong self-talk practices and I work a lot on ridding myself of self-limiting beliefs. Most of my success with this has come from applying biblical principles.

Great points!
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jeffschuman Premium
You're awesome!
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TDomena Premium
So are you!
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Stella741 Premium
Tiffany!

You managed to convince your parents about affiliate marketing... And they have a great work ethic. Put all your heads together and expand your property portfolio with affiliate marketing.

If your Mom is doing referrals already, this could really snowball as it is on your side already.

I am very interested in doing video and am researching ways of creating them without huge expense.

I discovered flixpress.com. Very useful as I am a beginner when it comes to video making. Although I do understand lighting, sound and angle. Let's see where our journeys take us!

All the best,

Stella
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TDomena Premium
My parents are still very engulfed in real estate, but with their new understanding of what I do, who knows what will happen. They never thought of making a full income from referring people to products or services, so the business model was pretty intriguing to them.

I've never heard of flixpress, but if it's helping you, that's great! For me, I started video without many bells and whistles, and I was able to get great results and growth. Don't overthink or overstudy about it. Just go for it and improve as you go.

Best wishes with getting into video this month!
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Stella741 Premium
Thank you!
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GazBower Premium
Wow.... I can feel the energy all the way across the Atlantic... Great post and more power to you for your attitude even when people were not sure you could do it.
I love the phrase "I tried to my best to wear pure confidence".
I wish you continued success and happiness.
This post has made my day and it is only 9.30am here.
Thanks for sharing your story and I hope to hear more as an inspiration that this system works if you want it badly enough.

Best wishes
Gaz
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TDomena Premium
I'm so glad you could feel the energy. It's amazing how we can encourage one another all across the world.

You'll definitely hear much more inspiration from me about how this works if you want it badly enough because that's my experience.
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Dave07 Premium
Fantastic and inspirational post. Congratulations on your hard earned and well deserved success 😀
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TDomena Premium
Thank so much Dave. Best wishes in your business.
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StPaul Premium
Wow, thanks a lot for the valuable information and as always I am inspired. You are a great source of motivation for us.

Really happy about your progress and growth. Hats off to your commitment, hard work, and dedication.
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TDomena Premium
I'm so glad this inspired you Paul! I think your increase in content creation is really going to propel you to get great results too. Thanks for your continued support.
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StPaul Premium
GOD Bless!
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Swangirl Premium
Congratulations! That is great that you are doing so well and that your family "gets it" now.

My family is in real estate too. My grandparents and parents both did it and now my husband and I do too though we started on our own. We used his VA loan to buy a 4-plex. We live in one unit and rent out the other three. Basically, the building pays for itself. Now we also manage a 6-plex for my Mom. We hope to get another building of our own just as soon as we possibly can.

I love your explanation of how your parents got what you do when you showed them how it was similar to what they already did.

My husband and I both have regular jobs in state government now but we hope to be free of them someday between real estate and websites. We will make it work!

Thanks for sharing your journey!

Jessica
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TDomena Premium
I think it's great to live in a self-sustaining building!

It sounds like our families have a lot in common. My grandparents, parents, and my generation is in real estate as well. My husband and I have one rental property, but that's it for us for now. My husband is much more eager, but I'd prefer real estate as purely a vehicle to grow money rather than as a job.

I think you probably have the best of both worlds now with your job giving you stable income and benefits, and your business giving up extra income and a place to be creative and helpful. I'm sure you and your husband will achieve all of your goals because I can tell you're a go-getter all the way.

Thanks for your well wishes and best wishes for your continued growth.
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Swangirl Premium
Thank you! It has been pretty hard with 10 units to manage plus jobs etc. I had to take off from work yesterday to deal with the 6-plex and today to deal with the 4-plex! We do things after work and on weekends as well.

We don't have much free time since the 6-plex is in pretty bad shape and everything needs to be repaired or replaced. We keep telling ourselves it will all be worth it in the end!!

Our building is in great shape except for the damage from the 7.1 earthquake we had last year. We will be getting a Small Business Administration Disaster Loan to repair the damage soon. We may have to have the entire building (3 stories) re-leveled.

We are still fully rented though and have very good tenants (military, doctor, teacher etc.).

Congratulations. I know you are working very hard and it is paying off!
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TDomena Premium
Business takes time regardless of which one you start. Who needs free time? Hahaha.

We'll get free time one day. Hahaha. It's so nice that loans like the SBA disaster loan exists! Natural disasters like what you experienced are very difficult (or nearly impossible) to plan for.
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Swangirl Premium
Yes. It is still stressful since it is a loan not a grant. We still have to pay it back!
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TDomena Premium
I agree but it’s better than a disintegrating building.
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Tirolith Premium
You are a very smart young lady.
Your ability to learn and earn is a credit that I admire.
Being an old bugger I have trouble learning this new technology.
At 78 years of age, I still have 22 years to learn it.
Tom.
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TDomena Premium
Hahaha. You can do this Tom!
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Tirolith Premium
Sure can. Ha, ha to all who can not but sit back in a chair looking at a TV just waiting to die.
Just home from the second funeral this week.
Tom.
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TDomena Premium
I'm sorry to hear about the funerals. I agree pursuing professional development is much better than sitting around waiting on those.
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BenjisDad Premium
If only gets better from here.
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TDomena Premium
I'm doing my happy dance.....woot woot. What's the next milestone you think I should be anticipating?
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StPaul Premium
Vegas my Friend!
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FOta Premium
Wow congratulations!
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TDomena Premium
Thanks!
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Showolf Premium
"Mom! That's Affiliate Marketing!" PRICELESS!!

CONGRATULATIONS TIFFANY!!
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TDomena Premium
Thanks so much! Isn't it funny how we explain what we do so people "get it"? Hahaha. I'm glad my family understands now.
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