Happy Shark Week, everyone. How is everyone’s week going? Mine has been terrible, but I’m trying to power through it.
The town zoning officer knocked on our door on Monday. He explained, “Can’t be running a dog boarding business here. It’s a residential area.” So much for my Rover boarding side hustle, right?
Rhode Island state law allows for dog boarding in small quantities in residential areas. Rover.com petitioned to have them amend that law. However, the town guy says that the town laws take precedence. That makes sense, but the town laws don’t cover it, in my opinion. Unfortunately, my opinion doesn’t matter too much.
There is another option forward. I can hire a zoning lawyer and apply for a special use permit. It seems that worked in a nearby town. I reached out to him and hope to hear back soon.
This is at least the third time that my businesses has been disrupted by outside forces. Let’s recap:
When I started blogging, it wasn’t too hard to make money. Sure, to make the first dollar was difficult, but once you got on the advertisers’ radar, they’d just offer a good amount of money for adding a link on your website. Google didn’t like this because they use links to measure how popular a website is. So they punished many website owners by taking them out of the core search engine.
Google is the gateway for an independent publisher’s traffic. Almost everyone uses it to search for information. Google made everyone choose: traffic or money. You could no longer have both, and it became a lot harder to make money blogging.
- Blogging (Part 2)
For whatever reason, Google decided one of my articles about MLM scams was great. It put it at the top of the search results, and I got a lot of traffic. They kept doing this with other MLM articles.
It was a difficult time working with those MLM articles because the comments from the MLM sellers were relentless. They made the same flawed arguments day after day.
Nonetheless, the articles brought in traffic. It’s what is called “low-quality” traffic. People weren’t coming to buy a good or service I could provide. They’d get the information and leave – probably never to come back.
Eventually, the MLM companies got together at their annual meeting and decided to unleash a bunch of lawsuits at me. I won all of them (except for one that I settled because the judges said that it would take years to resolve it).
It costs a lot of money. Few people know you must pay tens of thousands of dollars for your freedom of speech if some rich entity challenges it.
As a result, I haven’t been writing much about MLMs for quite a while. Unfortunately, Google still considers Lazy Man and Money to be about MLM content, so it doesn’t surface the other 2500 money articles I’ve written.
- Dog Boarding
I covered this above. No neighbors complained of noise or nuisance. It was simply that they were annoyed that a business was being run in a residential area.
Dozens of other Rover sitters can presumably host dogs in town. As the zoning officer said, “This isn’t something we going looking for.”
I had written in previous monthly updates that my dog boarding business could go away overnight. They were able to give me a little time to work on it because I had booked customers in advance, and it would be disruptive for them to have to re-plan their vacations, weddings, etc.
Dog boarding was the largest part of my income. It wasn’t always that way. It’s a new thing post-pandemic as people got vaccines and started traveling. While I had the option available before that, it was always a smaller part of my income.
Fortunately, I still have a couple of other sources of income. I also have investments which is nice. My wife received a big promotion, but the extra money won’t near cover what I was able to do with dog boarding. All of this helps, though. And if I can’t change the town’s mind, I’ll have more time to come up with something else new. Maybe it will give me more time to blog here.