Who is Skeffling?

Yes that is a chicken!

I am Claire Smith and have used the username Skeffling or Skeffling Lavender Farm online for over 5 years now, mainly on poultry forums.  I live in a beautiful part of Ontario, Canada but my mum’s family hails from Skeffling, East Yorkshire, England, and we emigrated from there in 1989 after high school.  It’s the only Skeffling in the world and where I learned to love homesteading and smallholding and my Granny and Grandad’s acreage and learned to love chickens and lavender at my Aunty Mary’s!

I am a dentist, a hobby farmer, I have studied environmental science and botany, and had a successful part time Antique Linen store on Ebay for almost a decade.  I have managed a card and gifts store, and counted weed seeds for a botany professor all day long as summer jobs in university!  In 1995, as a research assistant for a digital sonomicrometer medical equipment company for a year, I learned how to search the internet when Gopher just linked the universities, and Altavista was a great search engine.

I do most things because they are fun and I love doing them.  I am a procrastinator who avoids stuff I don’t enjoy.  I did love dentistry for a while.  I still love helping patients and giving them a great experience, but the office politics, the monotony and how draining it is to give all day, means I no longer want pay my bills that way.

I graduated dental school in 2000 with a mountain of debt and I took on and taught myself a part time job, my Ebay business to give me some spending money while all my dental pay went to student loans.  It took about 5 years to feel properly trapped and as the Ebay started to take off, with $30, 000 in part time sales, I planned to work at just that, with the odd 2 week stint as a locum up in the First nations reserves of northern Ontario.

I started to be asked to fill in at offices closer to home, and in summer 2005 I started working as  a regular locum travelling all over Ontario about half the time.  I was a fill-in, not stuck in one office, and that gave me more freedom, (I loved the feeling of finishing early at an office and driving home with my cheque,  free while everyone else was still at work) and allowed us to renovate and flip a couple of houses, then buy our 100 acre farm in 2007.

During the last 5 years on the farm, we have learned a ton about rare chickens, cows, lavender and we set up our 4th vegetable garden in as many homes!  After both of us working full time plus on the farm while working off the farm as well, and just earning a part time farm wage for one person between us, we decided to downsize and just grow enough food for us, keep it fun,  and not worry about selling surplus.

So we learned to not waste any of the produce, making our own sausages, bacon, jams, jellies, soap, cheese, quiches, dried garlic/onions, smoked spices and herbs.  I have written about that and I ship fertile hatching eggs all over Canada each spring for people to incubate and hatch chicks and occasionally sell lavender!

I got bored of the dentistry and wishing to spend more time at home, in Feb 2011, I started reading online about how to earn income.  I had figured I would go back to the internet eventually as I loved the Ebay.  The thrill of finding things to buy, then the buzz as they sold for way higher than I paid, freeing up funds to buy more.  It was totally addictive and I thrived on it.  But Ebay’s fees got higher and higher and the fine linen market got poorer and poorer and  I got busy with the hobby farm, and it went by the wayside.  So now I am back, and it is even more fun than I remember as I don’t have to mail anything to get paid!

Online Experience (or why listen to me?)

My top claim to fame is I sold (or people bought) about $58, 000  worth of Amazon products on Web 2.0 sites like Squidoo, Seekyt, Infobarrel, Wizzley last month, netting me about $2000.  One day in May, there was actually over $4,800 in sales!   I’d say that was my 4th real month of “getting it”.  With the months I have spent on the friendly Infobarrel forum learning and the cameraderie and positive supportive atmosphere, I want to to share how I do it, and help others that were struggling, like I was before Christmas.

I had been writing on Hubpages from April til July and Squidoo a little last summer and wrote 22 hubs and 7 lenses on homesteading, gardening, and chickens etc.  After no likes or traffic, I moved an article to Infobarrel and I started to learn about SEO and writing and earning online there.  I started writing on Infobarrel in August 2011 and earning just a couple of dollars a month to start. I started to do earnings reports in October though I had nothing much to report.  I knew I could do this, it was just a matter of learning, doing, evaluating and evolving what I did so that it worked, and time.  I went back to Squidoo as I had outsourced some product reviews and felt wierd posting them with my homesteading articles.  Christmas came, encouraging me with Amazon sales and the rest was history!

I am learning as I go and am still pretty new so may not have long term insights that others may have.  I also have 4 Zazzle stores (chickens, cows, lace and antique postcards), and now a few very new microniche blogs  now I have figured out cPanel and WordPress in the last few weeks.

I am not a real goal setter, but am quite disorganized and easily distracted, a pathological procrastinator, but I love what I am doing online.   I don’t usually set goals for things  (I reneg at the 11th hour) but am more visceral and less disciplined and do things when I feel like it.  Luckily, I feel like it all the time now!

I love learning and researching, and that got me started, what motivates me now is the money coming in every day and the wonderful game this is.  There are strategies, and constant evaluation of results and fine tuning, then just when it gets predictable google chucks spanner in the works.  Luckily those spanners have been sending my rankings up and up many of the jumps coincide with the updates this spring.  Maybe it’s because I don’t really link at all, just internally within the web 2.0 sites.  My science background gives me the know how and spark to experiment a little and look for patterns in things.

As of today I have 445 articles online, almost half on Squidoo.  I need to diversify and am so glad I have that worry, that means there are actual earnings to lose.  The new niche sites are a start but I have been babied for the first year with Web 2.0 sites taking the brunt of the organization stress for me while I learn the basics.  I have read posts on the Warrior Forum asking about Squidoo and a common reply is “Why write on Squidoo, why not write on your own site instead?”  My answer right now is because you can earn good money doing that, and I am fine with the “for as long as it lasts” part too.  Each article can earn you something and the more experience you get, the more you can earn over time.  My Squidoo earnings will pay my bills, to buy me some time to learn more diverse ways to make money online.

I will write about what I know and what I learn as I go.  I don’t want to deal with shipping and customers, I want the affiliate route, and the contact of fellow writers, marketers and hobby farmers online.  I expect to learn a lot more yet, but you can benefit from my experience if you want to.

Was it Henry Ford that said “whether you believe you can or believe you can’t do something, you are probably right”?  As far as succeeding online, it is not if, but when on the internet, if you don’t give up.  I was certain I would earn online, I didn’t know when or how much, but I knew with certainty that it could be done.  I look forward to you doing it too.  Thanks for reading.