Last year, we started building Gone Raw as a labor of love, in our spare time. It was fun. But seeing it grow and take on a life of its own has been even more fun. And even though we didn’t expect to get anything out of the project, we were quite surprised at what Gone Raw has given back to us.

  1. Web design business. A number of folks have expressed interest in our services after seeing Gone Raw. You can’t buy this kind of good publicity.
  2. Google ad revenue. While we’re certainly keeping our day jobs, the money from the ads on the site has been a nice little extra, and more than covers the cost of hosting. After a few tweaks and our feeling brazen enough to put a few ads on the home page last week, the ad revenue doubled.
  3. Money from licensing. Another business wanted to build a site with similar features, but in a completely different field. After a bit of contract negotiation, we licensed them a copy of Gone Raw to customize and use for their own needs. They love it, and it was a great deal for both of us. (See if you can find that site.)
  4. Recipes! We started it to encourage raw foodists to share recipes, and added a lot of our own creations at first – most of the first 100 or so. However, we just passed the 500 recipe mark and we’re still going strong! This is great, because there’s no other resource out there like Gone Raw, and without it, we could never see those recipes.

I guess what I’m getting at is that we built the site because we felt the raw food community needed this sort of thing, to “scratch an itch” as they say. Because we were passionate, and not concerned about making any profit from it, we were able to better concentrate on the essentials, building exactly what we thought folks would want (ourselves included). And it’s almost as if these very characteristics made it successful, and ultimately brought good karma back to us.

The lesson? Simple: Go out and build something you love.