Since starting this site I have been watching other similar type sites and trying to pick up on the good things which are being done and improve on some other things. One of the sites I try to watch is NewScubaMarketing.com. It’s a site where the owner (Nick Bostic) seems to tell it like it is. Lays it out that search engine marketing is no easy task. Admits that there are google penalties which are put on sites (which can turn a happy customer into a pretty upset customer), he also is very honest about his achievements and failures. I am of firm belief that putting your goals to paper (or keyboard in this case), is a great exercise that both holds you accountable, serves as a reminder, and keeps you focused. Following in the footsteps of one of the posts on NewScubaMarketing.com, I am going to lay out my goals for 2014.
2013 in Review
2013 started out great for myself in a number of ways. On January 2nd I traveled to Costa Rica with my family for a 2 month trip where I did my divemaster internship with Rocket Frog Divers. I met all kinds of fantastic people there, did some great diving, saw some amazing things around the country and in the ocean and convinced the owner to redo his website which he confirmed was of absolute no use to him in its current form. We worked out a commission based deal, as they wanted to see the effectiveness of my work before committing money to the website. So I got my divemasters certification and got my first scuba related client in the process. Our family returned home in March to the realities of Canadian winter and I quickly decided this was not where I wanted to be long term.
With a large group arriving in May, the owner of Rocket Frog Divers, graciously offered me my first gig as a divemaster. He offered to pay my ticket down to Costa Rica (worth significantly more than what a divemaster would make in a month) and I stayed with an amazing family that we had met when we were down earlier that year. I had a great experience working with Rocket Frog for the 2.5 weeks and vowed that this was the life for me. I just had to figure out how. Living on a divemasters wage would be fine for me alone, but as the provider for a family of 5, it simply wouldn’t cut it. Wheels started spinning.
I returned home and soon after was able to get a new government job working in a young person correctional facility. It is a great job, with great people (staff not young people), and it pays quite well and offers my family the income we need. I worked crazy hours for the summer and fall only to hit winter and realize that there was still a problem with this job. It is still in Canada. The ocean is cold, the air is cold and things are too busy. So I started developing a getaway plan. I quickly decided I want to create a site that is what Rocket Frog Divers is (commission based bookings) on a global scale. I started a new site (Scuba Dive Destinations) which does basically that. It is a bit of a lengthy process to get a huge site such as this ranked for multiple keywords which it will need for it to be profitable, so I began starting some other sites. I have started another site (Scuba Diving Costa Rica) which is beginning to rank for some keywords and allows me to work with both Rocket Frog Divers and the Undersea Hunter Group who offer liveaboard diving to Cocos Island. This allows me to spread my wings a little bit in Costa Rica and take advantage of a bigger ticket item that is the Cocos Island.
Late in the year I bought up a few other domain names and have thrown up just a bit of text on the homepage and gotten them a few links to start the aging process. Some of these like Scuba Diving Palau and Scuba Diving Tahiti are already ranking in the top 3 or 4 pages for some competitive keywords. Once I find a dive shop to partner with in these areas, it won’t be too big of a job to move up to the first page. Those are two of my projects which are definitely going to be started in the new year.
The other thing which I have recently started (I bought the domain in 2013 but have really just started this up in January of this year) is this site. I hope to use this site as a way to showcase some of the work I am doing and hopefully gain some more shops to partner with in the future. I have basically chosen this as the niche in the web design and marketing industry that I am going to stay focused on just because this is where my interest and my passion is. A huge part of any website is the content. To write effective content you have to be interested in what you are writing about. Hence me choosing scuba diving. So with that I will lay out my goals for 2014.
Goals For 2014
1) Continue to Develop ScubaDiveDestinations.com
When you are focused on getting other people’s pages ranked for the keywords they are after, growing their facebook groups, etc. It is easy to forget about your own projects. This is a project which I believe has a future and could be lucrative for myself if I spend a decent amount of time on it. I want to continue to build links, add content, and grow this site so that hopefully by the end of the year it is turning a monthly profit.
2) Find Atleast 5 New Scuba Shops to Partner With
For this, I am speaking of running their online marketing. In 2013 I found Rocket Frog Divers and also worked out a deal with the UnderSea Hunter Group (much more limited in comparison to Rocket Frog) but which could also be very lucrative when I rank for Cocos Island related keywords to my ScubaDiving.co.cr site. I want to find dive shops in other interesting places to work with in various roles. Whether it is a full on deal like I have done with Rocket Frog or simply reselling their diving packages such as I am doing with UnderSea Hunter Group, 5 new shops would be great.
3) Continue Learning Spanish
Years ago, in University, I took a course in Spanish which gave me a decent foundation in the language. After visiting a handful of spanish speaking countries (Cuba, Dominican, Mexico, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua), I have found that my foundation doesn’t get me as far as I would like to be. In these countries I can get my point across and do simple things like order food at a restaurant and ask for directions, to carry on a conversation with locals in spanish is not happening. In the fall I bought Rosetta Stone Spanish edition and have just dabbled in it so far. In 2014 I would like to finish this course and see where that puts me.
4) Quit One Job
Home in Canada I have been working two jobs in order to support my family. My new job at the youth correction center and a similar style job in group homes. I would like to be able to be making enough money from online work to give up the group home job and only work the normal 40 hours a week outside of my home. This would give me more time to spend with my wife and kids and also more time to work on these projects I am starting up.
5) Freedive to 150 Feet
I know it doesn’t seem like a lot to the die hard free divers out there, but I have never gone more than 100 feet on a single breath. After doing some studying on night shifts at the jail I would like to be able to get some practice and hopefully be able to gain 50 feet on my free diving capabilities.
6) Travel Back To Costa Rica
My family and I had an amazing time in this beautiful country. While we were able to spend just over two months visiting the country in 2013, there is still plenty to see. My little guys loved the warm weather, the beaches, the pools, etc. I was able to get both my 5 year old (4 at the time) and 4 year old (3 at the time) to go surfing and catch a wave. It was an awesome experience that they still regularly talk about. I want more experiences like this and Costa Rica is now a place where we have friends and we are familiar with so it would be great to get back.
7) Create A Plan and Timeline To Move South
Whether it is to Costa Rica, or another tropical destination I would like to have a plan in place by the time 2015 rolls around to get out of the cold. While I am not sure it is realistic financially to think I will be able to move by the end of this year, I would like to be on the right path with an end in sight to move to a warm destination.