11 Things I Learned From Starting A Blog From Scratch (And Making Over $1,000/mo In Extra Income Blogging Online)

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Usually once people become successful at something, it’s easily to distill the learning along the way. While I’d hardly consider myself or this blog a success just yet, it’s headed in the right direction. I’d like to document revelations and state of mind along the way outside of my income reports, so here are 11 things I learned from making over $1000/mo in extra income blogging from the last 7 months.

Gettin’ honey, stackin’ money.

Why didn’t I call this post “can you make a living blogging”? Well, quite frankly, things are just getting warmed up, but the best thing about blogging is unlimited potential. If you break free of the molds the gurus would have you believe are in place, and shed the latest and greatest limitations of the next best “system” (….”make $5k/mo in your underwear following these 3 simple steps anyone can do”!!!) AND CARVE OUT YOUR MARK ON THE INTERWEBS, well you might just be on to something. And I’m not just talking about unlimited potential for just me… I see how everyone around me could do the same thing, in their own unique way, and in some cases even better than I.

And by the way, this is about as real as it gets in the blogging industry. Be ready for some truth in it’s raw form, because you won’t find any sugar coated reality in this post like you do on other blogs.

Enter, the 11 things I’ve learned about blogging from earning over $2k/mo… (ooops did I say $2k? Guess I spilled the beans already 😉 )


#1) There’s 2 Ways To Start A Successful Blog

There are two ways to start a blog:

  • Links
  • Or content marketing

You either have to create a large blog, large content, or something unique to differentiate yourself and cause unnatural organic growth, or you need to have a tight blog, well marketed to propel that growth yourself. Most people don’t have money, so you better start writing your ass off right now. That’s what I did, and it worked and will continue to work. Although, as time goes on and I generate more capital to re-invest, I may branch out and try some other strategies if I can just get to the point where I need some tax write offs. For the average beginners blogger, the best thing to do is start writing. Without decent writing, you have no blog… I don’t care who you are.

The most guaranteed process (is anything really guranteed in life??) I know of for how to start your own successful blog? Simple really:

Write 6k words per day for 3 months and see what sticks.

That’s it. Some will say that’s too much to write about when I don’t even know WHAT I would write about. Well, I’ve been shouting from the rooftops in my blog income reports the best three content ides that anyone can use to have unlimited topics blogging about what they already know, buy, or have encountered in life. Model that…


#2) Mindset, Motto’s, Goals & Vision

How To Make An Extra $1k/mo Blogging Online From Home

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Motto’s I now live by, learned through trial and error, otherwise I won’t succeed.

“How you start your day, is how you’ll finish your day.” – me

If you wake up late and have week resolve, you’ll keep putting your #1 task of the day off until it’s time to go to bed. Then without sufficient energy to complete it, you’ll reason with yourself that you’ll just “do it tomorrow.” How many fucking more days are you going to waste like this!?!?!  (I did this for months and months and months, putting off success, instead of getting ruthless with myself and everything around me.)

My new motto: wake up early, finish it early, reward yourself early.

Some days I wake up at 4am. I don’t use an alarm at all unless I have to catch a flight or be at an appointment. Saturdays and Sundays I like to wake up at 5:30 AM. Sundays I may not work, but the ideas are always flowing, so I must take notes anyway no matter what I’m doing.

Be constantly thinking of your master vision for your blog.

Your blog is your own ecosystem that you can create, in any way you choose. Let your muse emerge by giving the ecosystem enough attention and brain power. Pro tip: might seem a little woo-woo, but do it anyway for any length of time and I promise you, your life will change… Ask your unconscious a question that’s pertinent to the direction you wish to go with your venture right before sleeping each night. I don’t care what this means for you: whether you ask God, holy cows, the universe, whatever… Just do it. You may not get any insights right away, but continue to do it anyway. Be patient, and things will reveal themselves. The more focused and clear you become, the more ideas you’ll get.

I believe everyone has greatness inside them. We all have something to give.

Set clear goals, whether financial, arbitrary, or esoteric. When I set a clear short term goal, I finally started to realize what was standing int he way of me achieving it. Now I’ve met that goal, I see what I need to do to reach my long term goal. Had I gotten ultra clear on that from the get go, my timeline would’ve been considerably shorter. I’d recommend you do that in reverse, and from the very beginning push yourself toward that short term goal and try to meditate on achieving that. (all I mean by meditate, is generate the feeling you will have as if you’d already achieved that goal…)

P.S. – a little something to help with this I learned from Elliott Hulse: “I’m so happy and grateful now that I earn $2400/mo from my blog.”


#3) Learn What It Means To Write Informational Content And Commercial Content

Product oriented information inherently has purchasing attached to it somewhere down the line, so if you intend to make a living from your blog, it doesn’t matter how much you want to write about the latest episode of The Walking Dead… It ain’t gonna fill your pockets pal.

YOU must sacrifice some of what you “want to blog about” or “are passionate about” in order to learn the ropes, develop a web presence, and generate traffic for topics of buyer intent, so you can keep affording that roof and have something to eat. Once you gain some momentum, sure, branch out and incorporate some passion projects.

I believe that by forcing yourself to create blog content in this manner, will create discipline within you and give you the ability to create multiple types of content through repetition and frequency.

I found that when I first wanted to start a blog, everything needed to be perfect. What skyrocketed my earnings, was when I said, “fuck it” and adopted these quotes and hung them over my desk:

my-office-setup

“You’ve got to get frequent, before you can get good.” – Heath Powell

Keyword research is good, understanding the mindset of the user is better. Ask yourself these questions when trying to create blog posts of value:

  • What are the problems they’re having right now?
  • What solutions would work mediocre, better, and best for their problem?
  • Do you have life experience with those situations or products that you can advise them on to save them time, money, or hassle?

If so, interject some of your personality and experiences into commercial oriented content in the form of guides, reviews, whatever you’d like. If not, move on to something where you can truly deliver value to your reader in the aforementioned ways.


#4) There Are No Must Have Tools That You “Have To Have” In Order To Start A Successful Blog

This is going to be hypocritical because there are a couple of tools I can’t live without, and CHOSE to use from day 1. (SEMrush & Tubebuddy) But don’t kid yourself, you can make more money than me without them…

Everyone and their mother will tell you you have to buy long tail pro, keyword this and keyword that, and blah blah blah. The only tool you really need is your own brain. I talk about this until I’m blue in the face, but there are two ways anyone can create good blog content to both profit and learn from in the beginning: product reviews and troubling life experiences.

We are all consumers on some level whether we like it or not… Even these fuckers who live in tiny houses (which I like btw) and RV’s striving for a minimalist lifestyle. Take advantage of that, and earn extra money on what you already buy!

Anyone who’s been on earth for more than 20 years, has undoubtedly experienced some discomfort, hardships, or struggles of some kind. It could be anything from not being to afford a well running car and having to learn to fix it yourself, to a life threatening medical condition, to something as simple as renovating a house.

As the saying goes: “one mans ceiling is another man’s floor.”

Well there’s 8 billion people on the planet right now. You think some of them are where you’ve been? Can you help educate them, save them time or money, save them agony, or give them something relatable so they feel like a human with whatever situation they find themselves in? Perfect, model that and go create it in your own unique way! And dammit you start right now, because time is on your side when you leverage it properly!


#5) Your Environment Matters. Your Habits Matter Even More. Your Determination And Resolve Matter The Most.

bunker-workstation-loft

I write to you from the boonies in Maine, in a tiny cabin in a loft in the woods. My workstation sucks, I can’t type for shit on this god awful keyboard. I miss my monitors, this chair is uncomfortable as fuck, and it’s been gloomy outside for over a week.

But you know what? I’ve removed all outside influences in hopes of becoming more productive. No TV. In bed at 9, up at 5ish.

But you know what’s happened?

I haven’t been more productive, but I have exposed all of my weaknesses. There isn’t anything else standing in the way of my keyboard and 6k words per day except, me.

What are your habits? Do they drag you down or prop you up? Do you feel good when you wake up in the morning from a hard days work the day before and you’re ready to replicate it? Or do you dread trying to begin taking a chunk out of your insurmountable vision you want to create?

I’d recommend from what I’ve learned and experienced, that just for a short time, you…

Get yourself into an environment where you can work this out with yourself. Get sick and tired of being you. Get so fed up with yourself that you must change or you can’t live with yourself. One day, just snap and say, “fuck this, I’m better than this. Today marks the today that the course of my life changes forever.”

You make that choice, and then you get ruthless with yourself, your decision, and the hardest of them all (for me) other people. Make yourself, your dream, your vision, your priority. You must.

If you have any chance of succeeding, you better move and move fast. There are people like me out there, as well as thousands of others, willing to do whatever it takes to make this work. Join us or get run over by us. I would prefer the former, and want you to excel and inspire both myself and others by outperforming! But, complaining, excuses, and whatever else you can come up with will not be tolerated. There’s a reason Dan Pena answers a lot of questions with this simple statement:

“Show me your friends, and I’ll show you your future.” – Dan Pena

You aren’t gonna build something for yourself talking with your friends everyday about the news pal! You need to remove that poison from your brain, and create space for something new to come in. You might think I’m crazy, and while that might be a little true, so is this notion:

You’re capable of generating creativity that you’re not yet aware of. I believe everyone is capable of this in their own unique way, but you must create space to allow the time and energy for it to happen.

You grossly underestimate how much you’re in a daily cycle of addiction. You check email, make calls, check facebook, read the news during your morning ritual of coffee, tea or breakfast… And that’s JUST THE BEGINNING!

What you don’t know, is how all of those little things provide a spike here and a spike there. A darting of sorts in the direction of your thoughts and intention, and if you can just for a second, pause and realize you’re capable of so much more you just have to tap into it, I think you’d be surprised at what you can truly create, produce, and accomplish.  (<~ Holy run on sentence. lol)


 #6) Stop Asking People For Advice That Can’t, Couldn’t, Or Wouldn’t Do What You Want To Do.

Holy fuck, this is the single biggest thing I wasted energy and time on when it came to starting this blog. Or was it just another form of procrastination?

Enter, the circle jerk of not starting anything…

  • What do you think about this idea?
  • Do you think this vision will work?
  • I think I can pull this off, how would you do it?

These questions are only good if you’re asking someone who can ACTUALLY pull off what you want to do.

If they can’t, A) see themselves doing it, B) have the skill sets and wherewithal to pull it off themselves, or C) suspend their disbelief for a moment, and give you honest feedback regardless of their own beliefs (very rare), you are wasting your time, and perpetuating not working, testing, and trying it for yourself. (how do I know this? I learned it the hard way.)

You are continuing the cycle of analysis paralysis. You’re afraid things will not work out. You question your confidence and your own determination, on whether or not you can make this work. What you’re looking for is to validate your idea, but you’re looking in all the wrong places.

How do I know all of this? Because that was me. Still is in some instances, but hey I’m aware of it now. I desperately seeked for friends and family to validate my idea. I wanted to KNOW it would work and that I would be successful at this before I started.

Well folks, all I did was prolong the time period before I ACTUALLY REALLY started working on it, from when I was just TALKING about and “planning.”

What you may not know is, I could’ve been in this same position a year ago, had I not wasted time doing all this stuff. But past is past, and I’m enjoying the journey and loving every minute of this growth. So take these mistakes and expedite your own process or journey of whatever it is you’re trying to build in life. And if you’re not working toward something, you better get your mind right.

Now my only question when others see my work is, “hey how can I make this better”? Awesome, and then I take that with a grain of salt and compare them to the 9,472 other people that have already visited that page, taken a call to action, and affected my bottom line. I use my own judgement and experience to make the best choice I can, and in some cases their opinions and ideas are better than my own (what I would prefer, because that means I’m leveraging other peoples expertise and brain power instead of just my own. PLUS, I’m learning and getting better all the time… All I have to do is swallow my fucking pride, let go of the ego for a moment, and be open minded to something anew)

Sounds a little arrogant? Maybe, but I’d urge you to consider a similar mindset sooner, not because it’s right or wrong, but because people can be dream killers. The idea validation we all seek before embarking on a new project, often times gets altered, prolonged, or downright nixed before we even begin via outside influences and opinions. You must become extremely vigilant about letting things influence you. You don’t realize the small amounts of negativity from unsuspecting sources in our daily lives, and how that affects what you truly believe is possible… even the small things like the energy of those around you.

Think this is getting too deep?

I’d argue it’s just scratching the surface if you truly want to create your own lifestyle blog, and live life on your own terms never working for “the man” again.


#7) Don’t Waste Time On The Design Of Your Blog

Stop wasting time on your design. The content is your product, and that’s what you’re selling. I can re-skin a blog in 30 minutes, but I can’t recreate months of hard work creating content. Do what matters most, and what will make the biggest impact on your site’s future the quickest. And I can assure you, it won’t be your stellar graphics.

I wasted months and months, spent countless hours designing a unique blog layout and look and feel for this brand. I did that about 3 or 4 times over the course of about 7 months. What a waste of time, because at the end of that time period, all I had was talked about ideas, a half finished custom design, and no revenue. Hell, I didn’t even have my hosting account public yet… My site could have at the very least, been marinating the whole time!

You can do things better, faster, and much more efficient than I however. Just get going and know that things will evolve on their own, and what you set out to do today, will probably be drastically different in a year from now. So don’t fret the bullshit, and focus on the big picture.


#8) Everything Has To Be Perfect And Finished In Order For Your To Make Money

I have pages that are unfinished ans half assed to this very day! While it’s not smart and I don’t recommend following in my footsteps in that regard, you can absolutely make some serious side cash by “doing everything wrong”.

The gurus will tell you, never write about all kinds of topics on your blog, don’t pollute your topical theme, pick one thing and be an expert in it and blah blah… While this is good advice, it doesn’t mean you can’t make a living blogging by doing everything wrong.

The key is in interjecting your personality into it so it gives people something to relate to that’s unique… based on real life experiences, focusing on commercial intent in the beginning, and leveraging what you already know and have at your disposal, so you don’t have to spend more than a coffee to get started.


#9) Find The Best Way To Handle Discouragement And Develop Patience

There are times when I’ve gotten discouraged as fuck trying to start this blog. I didn’t want to give up, but I definitely questioned whether or not this would work out.

“Can I really make a living blogging,” I thought?

I think I can, I think I have the chops, but dammit it’s taking a while.

It is in these critical moments when you need to hunker down and get back to work. Of course if you’re having zero success at all, perhaps it’s time to hire a coach or get some veteran eyeballs on your project to make sure you’re not going to be treading water forever with your “what happened in my life today” blog.

To be frank, this has taken me a LOT LONGER than I thought it would to make a couple grand a month. I really expected to be able to hit these numbers in a couple month time period. But the reality is, even being experienced, I was blinded in the beginning with all these little things that don’t mean jack shit. Had I hit the ground running with some well researched topics with high commercial intent, woven eloquently in with my own lifestyle content, I may have been able to shave some time off.

But there’s also a marination period that every new site must go through, unless you know how to manipulate that (I didn’t on this site), but that’s simply not feasible for most new bloggers. It’s hard enough just learning the right type of content to write, consistently producing it, and beginning to scale… all the while maintaining your ecosystem’s vision.

You should know up front, there are times where things get tough and discouraging, but this is what separates the men from the boys. This is where you EARN THE RIGHT to say “fuck my commute” in two years, with no degree, no student loans, and no corporate ecosystem telling you where to shove it everytime you don’t get that raise you deserve.  (why the fuck am I writing about jobs when I’ve hardly held any real jobs i my entire life?? Oh that’s right, because not everything is about me, it’s about my readers! — case. in. point. from. above.)

Anything worth doing, isn’t always without hardship. If it was, everyone would be doing it, and such a thing as barrier to entry wouldn’t exist. And if that were the case, opportunity wouldn’t be before you.


#10) Minimalism, Singular Focus, And Procrastination

Man did I struggle with so many things that I think are boiled down to just another form of procrastination. You must have a daily publishing goal. You must get ruthless with yourself. You must make this your number one priority, and as soon as you do, you’ll likely encounter all kinds of resistance. People will seemingly test you, circumstances and environmental stressors will distract you, and it’s up to you to see it through.

Do you want this? Do you want to create something worthwhile? Do you want to be a blogger, self employed, share something with the world, help people, make a difference in the world? It doesn’t matter if that means starting a blog, service business, whatever… You’re going to have to get clear, get ruthless, and get frequent.

Procrastination will be your biggest challenge in my experience, you just don’t realize what is and isn’t truly classified as procrastination.Often times, what you think are obstacles or road blocks, are simply another form of procrastination preventing you from moving forward to the next tier of your journey. I’d urge you to push through, so you can motivate me with your success the next time I encounter my own road blocks. Together, we can feed off of each other with similar like minded directions.

“But I don’t have the experience,” you say?

All outside skillets are easily learn-able with the right sources, but you must overcome yourself, which in my experience, is the most challenging part. You’ve heard it a million times, but YOU are the only thing standing in your way of success. Deep down you probably know you can create time to build the life you want, if it’s truly important to you. Don’t believe me?

Let me ask you a few questions to see how we could create an hour in your day… If you wanted to that is:

  • How many times have you checked facebook on your phone in the last two days? (pro tip: delete the app)
  • How many minutes (or hours) have you spent watching the news, reading magazine apps on your ipad, watching youtube videos, or consuming media of any kind the last two days?
  • How much time have you spent checking email, taking or making calls to clients and people you SAY are “important”, yet are likely some of your lowest value activities?
  • How many browser tabs do you have open for things you either want to check out, need to do, etc…?

Want to know how to create time each day to build your own blog, start that side business you’ve been wanting to start, or work on that project that’s going to propel your life forward next?

Phone goes in airplane mode.

Outlook or email client shuts down.

All browser tabs get closed and not bookmarked… If it was that important, you would’ve done it yesterday. You’re commingling tasks and ruining brain power to create. (if the IRS why would you allow the same thing to happen in

Write in word with no spell checking.

Now you have time to write 6k words per day. Keep doing that, and you will see some results. Follow the process of focusing on topics of commercial intent or product oriented early on, and you’ll have faster monetary success. Not interested in starting a blog? Replace “write 6k words per day” with whatever your mission critical activity is for moving that business idea forward.


#11) We Are Living In A Real Life Gold Rush

There has never been a better time that anyone with a fucking internet connection, can create a $50k/yr job for themselves with no degree, no student loans, and no prior experience.

Really it’s absolutely staggering.

If you become obsessed, your learning will skyrocket. YouTube has every tutorial on the planet you will need along the way, for free. You don’t have to waste time in a classroom. You can be building your side hustle and earning extra money preparing yourself to quit that awful 9 to 5 while you watch Survivor and eat popcorn.

Insane opportunity if you really stop and think about it!

You can start charting your financial, impactual, and lifestyle destiny to live the life you’ve always wanted on your own terms. It doesn’t matter if you’re married, have kids, don’t have a dime to your name, whatever! Sure, some of those circumstances will make it harder on you than others, but so what your opportunity is still there! Anyone with the drive to make this work, can make this work. I’m certain of it. Learn how to setup your blog today for the price of a coffee, and alter the course of your life forever like I have.


 

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Join the conversation on Matt’s case studies at CleverLeverage.com as he discovers and tests new ways to earn more income, learn alternative investment strategies to net >10%, maintain good health, and turn passions into online businesses.

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