m0thman - 12:08 am on Jul 30, 2012 (gmt 0)
I think we've been travelling a similar path. I began using AdSense in 2005 and quit my pretty cushy day job in the summer of 2006 when my site began making enough (just) for me to scrape by a living. I can still remember driving home after my leaving 'party', the sun streaming down and thinking this was the beginning of a new life and untold freedom.
I was a bit naive...
There were ups and downs with the first real down being at the end of 2008 when the UK economy took a serious downturn. I struggled on though living on the bare minimum and working harder than some people with 'proper jobs' I suspsect and actually things picked up for a while. I had a scare shortly after when my AdSense income was cut off due to someone posting something obscene on a forum (automated and manual reviews missed it somehow). It took two and a half months to get my AdSense re-enabled and then a further month to get my income back. Suffice to say, I had to do some unspeakable things to earn money in the meantime....
For me though, the last straw was Panda. Earnings were decimated (reduced by about 70%) and I had no choice but to find work. Sadly though I opted to do some temp work (had graft in a warehouse), always optimistic that I could somehow fix things enough to make a difference and get back on track. Nothing has had any affect however, my sites are now back to hobby status and providing some 'sweetie money'. Fortunately I saw the light and gave myself a kick up the bum recently and found myself some contract work using my skills, so basically life is looking up a bit.
I'm still confident that I'll return to some form of self-employment again one day. You don't get to taste that freedom and then return to the 9-5 chains easily. I'll be back one day with a different strategy and some better backup plans.
By the way, I think I also have made the same mistake re: mobile traffic, although I should have done something about it because I saw it coming a mile away. It's easy to put things off and rest on your laurels thinking that you know you can do it, you'll just do it some other time.
Finally, no criticism of Google in all of this. Sure I was frantic when it took ages for my ads to be re-enabled after the 'comments' thing, and then of course there was Panda. But the way I see things, I've had a chance to do this and I've made a good go of it for a while and while it lasted it was great. I even had the opportunity to visit the offices in London (great day out). A lot of people, a fair percentage of the population in fact have really dull dead-end jobs and will never get to do these things.
So where next? Who knows...