WAHM-IT Course

Case Study #5
If At First You Don’t Succeed... Try Again!
Living in Tennessee, USA, with her husband and three children, Joan Linwood has
journeyed through several business ventures on her road to her real passion, a site
about the best California beaches.
Tell us about your website, Joan.
I’ve owned www.best-california-beach.com since June 2004.
What kind of education and work experience did you have before building your
I have a BS in plant science (ornamental horticulture) from UC Davis.
I worked for 7 years as a draftsman/designer for a landscape architect in southern
California. I quit when my first child was born.
What was your motivation for starting an online business?
About 5 years ago I realized that living on one income wasn’t going to cut it, not in the
long term. So I started to look around for a business I could run from home.
I started network marketing, which was a really not a good thing for an introvert like
myself to do. I failed spectacularly and ran up some debt. By that time, I was interested
in working on the Internet, and had dabbled in it with my network marketing business.
An online business is perfect for someone like myself, especially since I’d rather write
than talk. So when I discovered SBI!, I decided to take that route. I hadn’t even thought
of creating my own website before then, because the prospect seemed too daunting.
Again, however, I chose poorly and focused my web site on a very competitive niche for
which I had little knowledge – home-based business. I continued with that for much
longer than I should have, before abandoning it and choosing a better niche.
How did you come up with your idea for a website?
After I realized that home business was not a good theme for me, I started brainstorming
other topics. One evening, as I was ogling my coffee-table book on California beach
houses and dreaming of getting back to the coast, it came to me. Why not build a site
about the California coast? I’d set a goal to get back there a long time ago, so why not
make that my theme?