Amongst The Ashes An Idea Has Spawned

The last 6 months has been a rollercoaster of emotions. My business is crumbling due to ongoing Google algorithm changes, putting me in a constant state of stress and anxiety. But on the other hand I am now a father of a beautiful son and I have just got back from my younger brother’s wedding.

Life is great. Business… not so much.

I have many opinions about the state of Google right now, and my content business Retro Dodo has been caught in the cross fire, with a reduction of traffic and revenue of about 80%.

While writing this, my business is technically losing money and it is very likely I will have to make redundancies if there’s no signs of recovery in the next few weeks, which honestly, breaks my heart because the team I have built are incredible and do not deserve this outcome, if anything they all deserve pay-rises as they have worked so hard to attempt a recovery for our website in the last 6+ months.

There’s no denying that life is hard right now. Learning how to become a father, look after a newborn baby, support my partner through maternity, keep my teams spirits up and attempting to look after myself, all while my business is crumbling in my hands is anxiety inducing to say the least.

It has been one of the hardest years of my career, but one of the best years of my life… and it’s only March.

Over the last few weeks, I have given myself time to think about what I really want to do for a living. The hustle and bustle of building content businesses excites me, studying SEO and building a brand around my passions is something I am incredibly grateful for, but this business that I am building does not give me an overwhelming sense of meaning.

You could say that my brands help our audience experience nostalgia, and assists them with their video game entertainment needs… but one thing it lacks is fulfilment for me personally.

While taking time to think during the chaos that Google has thrown upon independent publishers, I really had to dig deep and find what truly makes me happy, and the book Ikagai which I have read multiple times certainly helped with brainstorming ideas and filtering my wants to the surface.

What do I want?

  • Help the planet.
  • Support my family.
  • To constantly be learning.
  • To travel more with my family.
  • Obtain meaning from my work.
  • Build a business that my family can be apart of.
  • Work when I want, where I want.
  • To have enough free time to explore new hobbies & interests.

How Do I Obtain This?

The future of independent publishing does not look good, Google is forever punishing creatives who follow their guidelines, while pursuing untrustworthy partnerships with Reddit and paying media companies to use AI to generate content.

This, alongside the increase of search terms being answered in Google results without the need to visit websites means there’s a bumpy road ahead for small content websites, and I can see it getting even harder for businesses like mine to succeed.

I won’t ever leave the SEO space because I do thoroughly enjoy building media brands about my passions, it’s fun to get the opportunity to create content about retro games and trading cards, but it’s not sustainable, it’s not fulfilling and it’s certainly not making a lot of money right now.

So, I need to adapt. I need to build something new alongside my media company that doesn’t overlap and gives me a unique challenge away from SEO, and ad focused revenue streams.

I want to build a lifestyle business that’s fun, meaningful and helps the planet.

My New Idea

I can’t share the exact name or URL as of yet, as I still need to secure both of them, alongside building out a focused mission statement.

But what I do know is that this is going to be an incredibly big mission spanned across 10 – 25 years, one that excites me and scares me at the same time.

This business will force me to learn new things, and it will be my first time creating a physical product.

I have made a book before called A Handheld History, but it was a partnership and the production side was very much out of my hands.

But, my new business idea will focus on one specific product that gives back to the planet with every purchase.

Content creation and marketing will play a huge part in growing this business. I want to document everything, from the first idea, to the first phone call, to the first sample, to meetings with business partners to documenting my failures.

A business that does not rely on Google, nor does it rely on ad-revenue or affiliate income or sponsorships. It’s something completely different compared to what I have done in the past.

But that said, I am incredibly excited about this project, so much so that I have struggled to sleep since thinking of it a couple of weeks ago.

I will share the business name and idea in the coming weeks. Firstly, I need to secure a domain, social handles and a trademark.

Amongst the ashes, and the anxiety a idea has spawned that gives me hope and if executed correctly it could give me an overwhelming sense of meaning, all while helping the planet and supporting my family.

But it will be the hardest mountain I will ever have to climb.