June 2017 – The grind
The road to success is full of monotonous tasks – Chungsoon
I swear I heard a quote around success being bull of monotony, but I can’t seem to find it. Anyway, that’s what this month was.
The past few months have been full of easily distinguishable wins. From the physical change of a basement, to the creation of thirty odd thousand words for an ebook to the creation of a great website design. Each month saw noticable progress which led to more energy to continue.
This month, however, was not like the others.
Although there were definitely moments when things looked like they were moving. There were also dozens of days that consisted of me writing for a few hours, tweaking the marketing, reaching out for guest posting opportunities. None of them seemed to have gone anywhere.
However, I was asked by a blogging friend what was new. We tend to talk a few times a week but we went a week or two without communication this month. And so I started telling him what I accomplished during that time period. By the time I was done, I could visually see what I accomplished – the blue in the chat box was huge. That was what inspired me to write about progress.
It’s true that the road to success of full of monotony, that the average person would have wandered off by now. But if you look back from where you started, you will see the trees you slept under, the storms you passed, the towns you crashed in.
And I guess that’s half of the point of these posts – to help me appreciate all the moments I’ve gone through. Of course, the other point is to show you that there is no such thing as an overnight success.
Anyway, let’s get on with this.
Guest Posting Opportunities
In last months’s update, I mentioned that I needed to work on getting backlinks. You see, one of the big ways google decides on which websites show up on the front page of a search is determined by how many backlinks they get. The more backlinks, the more google assumes that the websites are giving their vote of confidence.
One of the best ways to grow backlinks is by guest posting. So I started to think about who I wanted to guest post for. It’s one thing to guest post on a one off site, but to make the most of my efforts, I decided that I would guest post for non profits helping those in need. That way I could be writing material that helps these people, hopefully have them come onto my site for more information, and use those non profits as case studies of the material I can write for that industry.
That way, I can leverage each non profit to open more doors.
Of course, that’s the hypothetical, perfect world. In reality, it did not look like it was going to work. I reached out to probably 20 – 30 non profits early this month, and never heard back from the majority of them after 3 attempts. However, I started getting more positive responses the last few days. I might have 4 opportunities, so it’s time to deliver.
Real search traffic
Most of my traffic up till this month has come from me directly linking to others and via facebook. However, now that I started getting backlinks and my pieces are starting to be indexed by google, I’m starting to see some small traffic come in from search engines. Small as in averaging under 1 a day. Still something though! The promising part is that I had 3 yesterday so hopefully that 300% growth continues… haha
Finished reading a few books
I mentioned last month that I wanted to finish Pre-suasion and Unlimited Power. Well, I’ve finished Pre-suasion (have pages on pages of notes), but not the latter. I did, however, pick up a fiction book (American Gods by Neil Gaiman) and finished that. I’m going to try to read more fiction to continue to subconsciously learn how to write better stories, and to relax before bed (though I could also argue my sleep has been getting messed with).
Not as much stuttering
So I believe I have a slight stutter when I speak and when I read out loud. The reason is most likely because my brain is moving much faster than my mouth can keep up with. I think it’s gotten slightly better ever since I’ve been writing. But it’s gotten far better ever since I started Unlimited Power out loud.
I always thought that CHB would simply just be a platform in which to grow an audience for other purposes (such as introducing them to other programs to improve their lives). However, I stumbled on probably the largest “competitor” in this industry called The Penny Hoarder (TPH). They have over 18 million views each month. Compared to the largest Canadian sites which are in the low 6 figures.
The best part is that TPH is doing exactly what I’m hoping to do – educate and show people options. Though there is also a part of TPH that feels like a Buzzfeed for personal finance (not that it’s a bad thing).
What’s most impressive is that TPH has over 60 employees (69 to be exact). If we use the general rule of thumb with startups, that an employee typically equates to $500,000 in revenue (heard it from somewhere, couldn’t find a link quickly), it means that TPH is making around 35 million a year. Solely off affiliate links, sponsored pieces, and partnerships. That’s not too bad.
But more importantly, it has opened my eyes to what’s possible. That I could totally create a Canadian equivalent and to afford to hire a team based off just those revenue sources. Just writing this gets me excited for the future of CHB.
Lots of marketing lessons
Last month, I talked about how I was starting to use facebook ads. The idea was that if I could get someone to sign up for affiliate links at a profit, I could do so non stop and grow CHB’s awareness that way as well.
However, after failing to convert anyone, I kept trying different products and kept failing. That’s when I started to revisit some podcasts, blogs, videos, courses, and realized the ultimate mistake I was making – I was trying to sell an affiliate link as oppose to get their email address. Once the person decided not to take action, there was no way for me to reach out and re-engage them.
So I switched over to collecting email addresses and created autoresponder campaigns that provided the person with what the ads promised.
This happened later in the month, but since then, I’ve gotten one successful affiliate sign up! It was worth $2, and up until that point, I probably spent close to $200. However, it’s tracking the right direction, and hopefully speeds up to break even quicker.
More importantly (well, I’d like to think that), I have had a few of those people sign up for my actual newsletter, which means my user base is slowly growing as well.
Anyway, this is definitely where I’ve spent the majority of my time: creating high click through ads, creating a landing page that doesn’t scream scam, and also looks professional, and creating an email sequence that not only helps bring in revenue, but introduces them to more important thought processes that will seriously change their lives.
Less time on CHB overall
Last month I was saying how I spent probably 10 hours a day on the website, and I wanted to bring that average down. Well, it’s happened. I’m probably now at around 8 hours, which is perfectly time with me.
Instead of spending another 3-4 hours before bed on the site, I’ve started using that time to read both a fiction and a non fiction.
And I even got away for a weekend!
The surprising part? I’m starting to be okay with it. I’ve started to understand that growing a site will take time, and that the only thing I can do is to continue writing quality pieces, reaching out to potential organisations I can guest post for, and tweaking my ads. All of those take time to show results, but hopefully once they show, they keep on showing.
Go out more often
In the past, I would go out maybe once or twice (if I’m feeling adventurous) a week. However, being summer, and being the fact that there is just so much to see in Canada, I want to be out more often.
Also, if I really do want a life where I can do anything I want, there’s no reason to create my days similar to a person with a full time job.
That said, I would like to see myself treat a weekday as a weekend and go explore what Ontario has to offer. This can be as simple as hiking Hamilton trails to going back to Tobermory and camp there, to exploring small towns.
And I also need to stop expecting good weather.
Continue to grow blog
I don’t think this will ever stop being a goal. I need to continue to reach out to see where I can guest post. I need to continue to work on my advertising game and my conversion. And I need to continue to think about different communities out there that I could engage with to create highly relevant content for them.
Spend more time learning
Yes, doing is more important than learning, but I think I have passed the optimization between doing and learning. Particularly when it comes to email marketing.
Back in my AIESEC days, I took advantage of the mentors that I had. However, ever since I graduated, I never really explored having mentors again. That’s about to change as now I have a much clearer goal of what I want.
I’ve recently realised that mentorship is like a good mixture of doing and learning as the only way to create a good mentor, mentee relationship is to ask good questions, try the suggestions, and report on the results.
Spend more time thinking about my relationship goals
I revisited The One Thing earlier this month and realised that I was very clear on my life mission, my career and work goals, but had absolutely no idea what my relationship goals were.
So I am going to spend more time brainstorming and writing about this with the hopes that I can get it as clear as what I have here for life mission.