Most of my Family and Friends think I’m Retired!

By | July 28, 2018

Retired? Well..

Actually I’ve retired officially twice in my life.  Once in September of 2006 from my 33 years working for the Food and Drug Administration.  Then I retired again from my photography studio in the fall of 2009.  And for a few years I did the retired thing.  But then I got just a little bored with that life.  I was 53 when I retired from my govie job and 56 when I sold out my share of the photography studio because of severe back issues.  So I wasn’t that old and I still had a desire to contribute to society and my family’s income.

My health wasn’t good and many days I would not be able to go to a regular job (either full or part time) because of my chronic pain and problems with walking and lifting.  This handicap made a “real” job out of the question.  So I began looking for a job I could work from home.  I tried a few things with little success until August of 2014 when I signed up to learn all about online affiliate marketing.  I had found my answer to working from home and contributing to both society and my family.

My Secret Life

To most of my family and my friends, (including my husband), I am just a retired lady, working on her art and playing around on her computer and with her camera a lot. But, I do have this hidden life (Shirley’s secret life as an online entrepeneur).  Since the fall of 2014, I have become a student of “affiliate marketing”.  I’ve been training every day I can on learning to use WordPress (a website building software) to build websites that draw visitors and promote products from online merchants that offer items I enjoy recommending to my visitors.  If my visitors purchase the items I recommend, I earn a small commission (with no increase in price to them).  The items I recommend can be books I like, movies on DVD or Blu-ray, clothing, kitchen appliances and utensils, sports equipment, training courses, business solutions even, and much more – as long as I determine it has a definite value to my site visitors.  Sometimes I will research several similar items and write a review or comparison of them.

In my secret life, I am a member of a huge community (over 1 million students strong) of other men and women who are learning how to run successful online businesses also.  We are all learning together to run our online businesses.  We learn to use WordPress, its themes and plugins, thoroughly, cool things like SEO (search engine optimization), all about keywords and keyword tools like Jaaxy, meta titles and meta descriptions, google indexing, SERPS (search engine results) using email autoresponders to build email lists and how to create rich content (including neat graphics and charts and videos) to place on our websites, how to use social media to promote our sites and drive traffic to them; how to use business tools like google webmaster tools and analytics to determine what works and what doesn’t work. We are learning how to find the best affiliate marketing networks/programs and the best affiliate marketing products to offer on our websites and how to write Product Reviews and articles with  “Best of…” and “Top of…” lists.

Each morning I enter my secret home office (formerly known as the filing room), log in to my training dashboard and read the many posts from some of the over 4k members I follow and answer any questions the over 2500 members who follow me might have in their own learning journey.  I love reading the many success posts where my friends make their 1st online sale, or their first $400 day or even their first $1,000 month.  I love it that so many share how they have achieved their success.  There are many who have also reached their goal of quitting their day -jobs and only working online from home.  (This is a dream for many members who are stay-at home moms and dads, college students, handicapped, retirees like myself and even those who have lost their regular jobs).

Just this morning I was reading a post by one of the awesome owners who is leading a large group of us through an entire year’s worth of special hands-on training to assist us in reaching our own financial goals.

I learned this month is going to be a very busy one and I will learn so much:  Here’s the tasks I will be learning about and undertaking:

Month 5: Masterful Marketing


Leave your Comments within the Sustain Motivation Post

Watch the Month 5: Masterful Marketing Walk-through Video

Read The Customer Purchase Lifecycle” Tutorial

Create a Quora Account

Search at Least 5 Audience Related Searches Using

Search at Least 5 Audience Related Searches Using

Search at Least 5 Audience Related Searches Using Google

Record all of your audience findings as you research

Record all of your new keyword ideas as you research

Create a list of “positive emotion” hot button (for 3 audiences)

Create a list of “negative emotion” hot button (for 3 audiences)

Watch Video Adding Social Media Buttons to Your Website

Create one segmented “pitch” page on your website

Link existing relevant content to your new segment “pitch” page

Install Social Media Plugin

Updated Settings to Add Social Media Buttons to Your Site

Research 15 new low competition (under 100 QSR Keywords)

Write at least 10 “keyword rich” posts on your website (15 ideally)

Add your new target keywords to SiteRank to track rankings

As I go through the month, learning and completing the tasks, I will mark them off my TODO list.  And I will understand each task because of the excellent training and support I receive as a member of this training platform.  What an interesting month this will be.

My goal at the end of this one year’s special training is to reach a monthly passive income of $1-2k each month that I can use to help my missionary daughter and start to set aside funds for my 5 grandchildren and the new little one who will be here in January.  This year I’ve already earned several hundred extra dollars from creating small business websites and I’m beginning to earn affiliate commissions from a couple of my several websites (I’ve also paid my membership fees for the entire year from this).

I actually have created over 21 websites hosted free with my membership on this great training and hosting platform.  Four of them are client sites I’ve created for others and the rest are potential affiliate marketing sites for myself.  I’m working on just 3 of them right now so I will not divide my time too much.  Did I say I love this training and hosting platform?  I get so much for my membership and I pay only $25/month (read my “Affiliate Marketing Training that really is Too Good to be True” article).  You can read my detailed review of Wealthy Affiliates on my website “Earning Money in Retirement”.  On that site, I share my experiences in affiliate marketing and some of what I’m learning and the rewards and hiccups of my online business journey.

Is this Secret Life for You Too?

Maybe you are like me, retired but still feel a need to contribute and enjoy learning new things and would love to earn a little extra each month.  You do not have to know anything about affiliate marketing or building websites to join me in an endeavor like my own.  In fact, many, many, members admit to knowing absolutely nothing and then confess how a few months later they have achieved so much – much more than they would have ever imagined.

Success Stories

Everyone likes to read success stories so I’m sharing a few of them


My friend Jeremy has collected a few WA success stories you can read about here.

and my friend Grace (littlemama) has also created a list of cool success stories here

Read this cool post by my friend Dom who recently finally reached every one of his goals and left the community.  We will miss him so much because of all the wonderful advice and sharing he provided within the community for years.  His training at Wealthy Affiliate Univerity succeeded all expectations.  Read it below:

“I Never Really Expected To Build A Million Dollar Company”

Maybe you have heard this saying too:

The journey of a thousand miles begins with just  “one step”

I took that step and continue my journey one step at a time.  You can too.



I love to get comments and answer your questions.  Please leave yours below.  Also, if you have enjoyed reading this article and think others might also, please share with your friends and on your social media.  Thank you for visiting my website – Shirley

NOTE:  This post includes affiliate links, which, if clicked on and a product purchased, I get a small commission (with no increase in cost to you).

10 thoughts on “Most of my Family and Friends think I’m Retired!

  1. Helen

    I can relate to having a “secret life” online and although I am not retired yet, I too am a member of WA in secret as only a few close friends and family know what I’m doing, as I am slowly building my empire online!
    I too enjoy logging into WA every day and reading all the posts and achievements from other members.
    Good luck with your journey, I am now following you on WA now too 😉


  2. Ruthlyn Bailey

    Hi, Shirley I have certainly enjoyed reading your post, I am here at WA for about 4 months now and I am enjoying it so much, I have learned so much in the 4 months it is unbelievable Thanks for writing this post and I am wishing you all the best for the future.

    1. Shirley Dawson

      Ruthlyn, thanks so much for visiting my site and reading my post. Welcome to WA and I hope you come to love this community and training as much as I do. I’m here to help if you need any help. – Shirley

  3. Ruth Brinson

    Shirley, That was very interesting and I really enjoyed it. I felt inspired and encouraged it also gave me some thought about my age and what to expect as I get older and what I would like to do with my time. Thank you!
    – Ruth

    1. Shirley Dawson

      Hi there Ruth, thank you for visiting my website and your comment. I know after my retirements, I still felt like I wanted to do something meaningful and to help my daughter and grandkids. Wealthy Affiliate gives me the training to be able to create an online business and I’m loving it. Thanks again for your comment. – Shirley

  4. Wendi

    Hi Shirley.
    Wow! I love this story or is this an article. You write like you are telling a story. Very interesting reading. I love it.
    Thanks so much for getting this news out there to people like me. I am 53 years old, and at this age, who couldn’t use some extra income!?
    I’ve never heard of the Masterful Marketing Training. That sounds very interesting.
    I wish you all the best.

    1. Shirley Dawson

      Hi Wendi, thanks for visiting my website and reading my “secret life” post. The post is both an article and a story – my own story of how I’m working from home and learning how to be successful at affiliate marketing. I absolutely love being a Premium member at Wealthy Affiliate University. I love that the owners, Kyle and Carson (very wealthy now themselves) still can relate to the rest of us who are trying to achieve our own dreams with working an online business from home. Kyle’s “Masterful Marketing Training” he has created for the special group within WA he is teaching for 12 months is just month 5 of that special year-long training he hopes will help each of us reach our financial goals. I’m learning some great stuff, both form the regular training classes and this special training. I’m going to be so smart at the end of the 12 months (lol!). Joining WA has been one of the best decisiones I have made in my retirement. Thank you so much for your comment and you have a wonderful day. – Shirley

  5. Khalfan

    Hi Shirley,

    Your story is very inspiring. It gave me a really positive look of a market affiliate ‘s life. I will try to keep that in mind when logging in to read other people’s posts.

    Thank you!

    1. Shirley Dawson Post author

      Khalfan, thank you for reading my blog post and your comment. Affiliate marketing can certainly be a positive experience. You have a great day and thanks again for your comment. – Shirley


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