One of my favorite things about the blogging niche is that so many people get started with their own blog to document their process for starting their own business and maybe even leaving their job. This is something that Eric has done with his blog over at My 4 Hour Workweek. The site is loaded up with great content for anyone who is looking to start their own blog or business online, but also goes into detail on Eric’s earnings, his niche sites and many of the other resources and experiences he had in the world of online marketing. Yet another awesome addition in the meet the bloggers interview series.
1.) Please tell us about yourself and how you got into blogging?
Very briefly about me: I’m a 28 year old CPA who lives in Chicago, and I have a little over 4 years of experience working at an accounting firm. I like what I do, but I’ve always felt that there was more I could be doing outside of work.
For me, blogging was initially inspired by the book “The 4-Hour Workweek”. I knew I wanted to create some kind of income outside of my “9 to 5” job, and I wanted a blog to document my journey.
So, in 2009, My 4-Hour Workweek was born. Although the blog has grown in popularity over the past few years (now hovering around 25,000-30,000 visits per month, with over 8,000 subscribers between RSS and my Aweber e-mail list), I’m still a regular guy with a regular job. I mention this not as a point of pride, but more as a partial explanation for why I haven’t achieved the great success that many other bloggers have (who you have interviewed in this series). As much as I hate to admit it, my job as a CPA still comes first.
In a way, one of my goals is to show people that you can have a very time consuming “day job” and still make some significant money online.
2.) What is the focus of your blog and why did you choose that niche?
The focus of my blog is really about my journey to create sources of online income (preferably passive income). You could call it an “internet marketing” blog, but it’s really much more than that – and I definitely don’t consider myself an internet marketing “expert” or “guru”.
I like to think that one day, if/when I “make it big”, someone else or I will be able to look back at all my posts and clearly see what led me to success, and more importantly, where I failed along the way. I chose this niche because it allows me to discuss everything that I’m doing online to make money, all in one place.
3.) How are you currently monetizing your blog traffic?
Because I don’t sell ad space or use PPC ads like AdSense, my blog traffic is almost exclusively monetized using affiliate links. My top income source is usually Commission Junction, where I earn affiliate income through hosting services, peer-to-peer lending, and other services/products offered through CJ (that are relevant to my readers). Because my blog was not intended to be a source of my income online (it’s merely supposed to document my journey), I don’t aggressively try to monetize it. However, it still happens to be the most lucrative part of my online business.
One of my recent successes was with this page that I was able to rank on page 1 of Google for the highly competitive phrase “make money online” for the past 6+ months. The ranking fluctuates quite a bit, as you would imagine – at one point, I was ranked #2 on page 1, and currently, I’ve fallen to the second page (depending on where you look). The crazy part is, I had no intention of ranking for that phrase, but nevertheless it turned out to be a great source of my blog’s income.
4.) What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started blogging?
The importance of working hard and sticking with it despite slow growth initially. It’s so easy to give up when you’re first starting out and not seeing results. I know my first year of blogging was nearly wasted because I didn’t think anyone would ever read my writing. If I would’ve put a little bit more effort in early on, and started many projects sooner, I probably would be a lot further ahead today.
5.) What are three blogs that you visit almost daily?
6.) Can you give us three recommended tools/services that you use with your blogging?
Because I know most bloggers use WordPress, here are 3 plugins that I find helpful:
1. WordPress SEO by Joost – This is probably the only SEO plugin most blogger’s need, as it makes just about everything SEO-related easier for you.
2. Tweet Old Post – A great way to give some love to your older blog posts automatically – I use this on a few of my blogs, and it works quite well.
3. Sharebar – An attractive way to add sharing buttons (Tweet, “Like”, etc.) to your blog posts.
7.) What advice would you have for someone who is just starting with their first blog?
1. Keep pushing forward. As I mentioned above, it’s so easy to give up when you’re starting out. Success (except in very rare occasions) doesn’t happen quickly. And even those who appear to succeed quickly probably had many earlier failures that you just aren’t aware of.
2. Work hard and be consistent. This probably applies to many areas of life, but it’s especially true with blogging. Fight the urge to be lazy – if you planned to blog three times a week, hold yourself to that schedule. And as a side note, don’t sacrifice quality just to publish a blog post. Once you’ve start putting out quality content with a level of consistency, you will find that your audience will return with consistency.
8.) What’s the best advice or tip you’ve discovered about blogging since getting started?
Build relationships – even though most of your online relationships are virtual, they can have a very real impact on your blog’s success. You can build relationships by starting small and doing something as simple as leaving a comment on another blog in your niche.
Get to know people, and don’t immediately jump on the opportunity to ask for something. Strong relationships are built on a two way street, and the best thing you can do is offer value without expecting anything in return. Don’t worry, good things will come.
9.) If you only had $100 to start a new blog, how would you use it?
I would probably buy hosting, a domain, and good keyword research software (such as Market Samurai or Long Tail Pro). You won’t know how to use it right away, but there is plenty of free information out there to show you how to use it.
I wouldn’t spend a dime on any eBooks or training courses (with a few exceptions) – again, there is a wealth of free information on the internet, and if you’re willing to invest your time, you can do most things without spending any money.
10.) How can readers of the blog get in touch with you?
Thanks again Eric for taking the time to share your advice and story with the Blogging Tips community. If you would like to learn about other bloggers and how they are finding success online, be sure to read through our blogger interview series.
Blog Traffic Loves Generous Service
Blog traffic absolutely loves generous service. Do you want to succeed? Help oodles of people for free through blogging and guest posting. Toss in helping bloggers by noting bloggers on your blog, by commenting genuinely on blogs and by mentioning bloggers on social media. Traffic flows your way. Because blog traffic loves generous service. The more help you offer through your eBook, course and blog, the more traffic you drive. Simple equation. Give, to get. Keep giving freely and blog traffic finds you. Hug this super simple, powerful law of life. Service prospers you. Blog traffic flows to generous bloggers.
What gives? Why do many bloggers struggle to drive blog traffic? In essence, most human beings vibe mainly from an energy of fear and loss. You and I learn to do stuff with fear being our main driver. So, blogging becomes another outlet through which to do stuff from a dominant energy of fear. Like, publish one post for the week and do no more. Because you fear not getting enough return on investment. Plus you fear wasting time. Plus you fear working hard. Plus you fear looking like a fool if people come across all of the awesome content you create and, due to your increased exposure, you become the object of intense criticism. Ouch; that would hurt, eh? Being burdened by these fears, you play small, be stingy and just publish one post every 1-2 weeks. If YOU are stingy with the Universe, the Universe BE’S stingy with you. Give. Receive. Don’t give. Don’t receive. So, withholding generous service ensures blog traffic gets withheld from you. What a simple strategy to put into action, right? But of course, what an uncomfortable strategy to put into action, too, because facing and feeling fear, never feels all that comfortable. Nobody loves this process. Me included. But ya gotta take that route to be a successful blogger.
Help as many people as possible daily through a few clear strategies. Keep publishing content to your blog. Keep guest posting. Gain immense exposure and gain skills and yep, gain credibility……and of course, gain blog traffic. All occurs because you gave freely of your time and talents. Give freely. Gain blog traffic. But giving freely FORCES you outside of your comfort zone. For example, I publish 9 or more guest posts and blog posts daily, between both. No joke, this taxes me sometimes. I face fears about doing billionaire work and not see billions in my bank account yet. All that crap. Yep, I proceed. I blog into deep fears, feel fears, and clearing these fears helps me drive more blog traffic, leading to increased blogging success. All about that free giving, folks. Give freely, and you shall position yourself to receive more easily.
Be with scary emotions. I feel you. I have been there, guys. Nudging through to feel these energies is the way to clear these energies. Keep giving, and the getting becomes easier and easier in blog traffic terms. Imagine guest posting on 30 blogs over the next 3 months. Visualize how this increased exposure boosts your blog traffic. People see you all over, click your bio link and you get more blog traffic. Your generous service through guest posting put everything into motion.
Why Ask Blogging Questions Already Asked Thousands of Times?
Ya know what?
I feel awesome teaching bloggers with my friend Sue-Ann. We are currently helping course students via the creative, innovative, never duplicated: How to Bling Your Blog and Feed That Hog course.
Live, interactive and engaging, students already noted how we cover new, different topics compared to virtually all other blogging courses. Sure we cover the basics. But we do so quite differently than your average blogging course. Sue-Ann and I both became successful by doing things differently than most other bloggers. We think. We deliberate. We virtually never do things mindlessly. Alas, many of my fellow bloggers – most newbies – move in the opposite direction. One quick Quora visit reflects this mass sheeple mentality crippling most newbie blogger careers. Again, a few moments ago, I spied at least 4 bloggers asking the same, old, “how do you succeed at blogging” type question again, said questions being asked for the millionth time.
I have compassion for new bloggers. I also understand how every new blogger feels entitled to ask virtually any question. But just because you can ask any question, does that mean you should ask any or every blogging question popping up in your mind? Nope. You should note Why? Asking the successful blogging question wastes your time and my time because tens of thousands of bloggers have answered this question accurately tens of thousands of times across thousands of online platforms. We covered it already. I even created an entire course to devote to answering the question. Why litter Quora and the web in general with the same blogging question for the 10,000th time? At best, it is a time waster. At worst, borderline spam.
I love ya’s but you need to begin thinking like a successful blogger well before experiencing success. How would a successful blogger go about figuring out how to succeed at blogging? Pay someone to access the answer in 5 or 10 seconds. Hire someone to coach them. Buy a course or eBook in a minute. Why waste 24 or 36 hours waiting for an answer from some blogger when you get the answer 30 minutes after buying and reading one of my 100 plus eBooks? Failures wait for answers to questions asked thousands of times. Winners buy the answer immediately. This is the difference between struggling bloggers and future pros. Strugglers put no thought into the process. Why in the Hades would you ever believe 10,000 bloggers prior to you have NOT asked the successful blogging question? Of course they did! Think logically for 5 seconds. Of course hundreds of top bloggers answered the successful blogging question. And yes, of course you access that question through Google and Amazon in seconds, querying and investing money in instant answers from pros.
No brainer territory, guys. Buy the solution in seconds. Stop being like poverty conscious bloggers who put zero thought and little logic into why they ask a question obviously asked and answered accurately, thousands of times. Blogging gets easier if you think mindfully. Blogging gets harder if you mindlessly give zero thought to the craft. Invest money in getting proven answers to basic blogging questions. Accelerate your online success. Save your time. Save my time.
When Is It Too Late to Start Blogging?
Ego sometimes clings to limiting ideas. One such idea is the notion that starting a blog at some specific age proves to be futile because of it being too late. I recall hearing Gary Vaynerchuk professing how people in their early 20’s ask him if it is too late to begin a business. Do you see why ego deludes you? Fear manifests as all types of crippling beliefs holding you back. Someone clinging to fear, being 21 years old, asks if being 21 is too old for starting a business. Why? Some 21 year olds observe 14 year olds who create million dollar ventures. Or some 21 year olds see fellow 21 year olds who already became millionaires, when the limited-thinking 21 year old simply has never been an entrepreneur. Guess what? It is never late to begin blogging. It is never too late to begin blogging. I recall a 73 year old new to blogging who bought 4 of my eBooks after I wrote a guest post on Build Your Own Blog. He began blogging at 73 years old. Imagine that? Yet 21 year olds some 50 years his minor fear being 21 is too old for beginning a successful venture.
Fear makes you think silly things. Be beyond fear. Feel fear. Release fear. Move in a direction of possibilities. Move toward opportunities. Now is the time to begin blogging whether you are 21 or 101. Now is the time to begin. Seize the moment. Do you plan to be around for a bit? Blog. Begin blogging. It is never too late to start blogging because you and I sit in the perfect place at the perfect time for our individual journeys. I began blogging in my mid 30’s. 35 years old, to be exact. Being a 35 year old beginner blogger never crossed my mind as being too old because I did not cling to the fear fueling that too old, aged, limiting belief. I saw actual 12 year olds blogging during my newbie blogging days. Who cares that a kid 20 years my junior began blogging? I had 20 more years LIFE experience than he. Possessing 20 more years life experience puts you at a tremendous advantage when it comes to learning the in’s and out’s of blogging the right way. Heck; the 73 year old new blogger may have zero blogging experience but 73 years of life experience. What seems more important at that point in your life? Does knowing how to format a blog post at 73 count more than the fearlessness, serenity and peace you acquired from facing 73 years worth of fears? Dude begins blogging with the mindset of a Blogging Yoda, for all he faced and for all the experience he has. Does THAT sound like it’s too late for blogging?
The only thing I would say is to begin blogging now because blogging experience is your best ally. Do not wait on the sidelines. Even though you can begin blogging at any age, why wait until you turn 45 when you can begin blogging now, at age 40? Why hesitate? Experience benefits you tremendously. Whether you start blogging at 13 or 73, experience earned and learned from, accelerates your blogging success. But you need to see the journey through and you need to begin blogging now. Go ahead. Blog. It’s not too late!
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