1 Yr at WA: What Nearly 600,000 Words and 250+ Posts Taught Me
I recieved my dedication badge for being at WA for one full year. One year ago when I joined, we were experiencing a health crises in my family, and I was making alot of professional sacrifices for the sake of my family. I had to cut back from clients and pull back on opportunities I enjoyed, and I began thinking, "How can I use my marketing interest in the best way that works for my family?"
I had blogged before, but I hadn't made much money from it because I hadn't done much monetization. I was making a full-time income online, but thru marketing services. I was homeschooling my son, I just had a baby, and I was juggling my marketing services business. When my family member got sick, it broke the camel's back.
I couldn't juggle everything. I had to scale back, and it cost money. I started to do research about affiliate marketing because I saw it as a more flexible option than what I was doing. Somehow, thru my research, I found Wealthy Affiliate.
Joining Wealthy Affiliate has been a gamechanger for me. It's been such a blessing to be around people who have similar interests and are pursuing similar goals. It hurt to get slapped with "realistic expectations", but if Wealthy Affiliate and the members had not been honest about the work required to make money online, I would have given up by now.
I've always had a good work ethic and willingness to "put in the work", but this journey has been one of the hardest I've pursued professionally. Every other money making opportunity Ive tried, I've been able to make money from quicker.
This blogging & SEO path has been quite slow (in my opinion), but it may be because I was juggling so much. As a part of my evolution into this business model and the transition of my family, I stopped homeschooling. My son went to middle school (his first year in school since 1st grade). My daughter goes to daycare.
Starting in December, my husband agreed that I could quit offering marketing services, and focus solely on building my digital publishing business. As a result, my income projections are much different. With my marketing services business, I could make steap projections with confidence. With blogging, Im not sure how much I'll make and when YET.
Even with that, I wake up daily at 5AM, send my son off to school, get my daughter ready for daycare, get my husband breakfast, take my baby to daycare around 8, then work on my business from 8:30 until 5:30PM. I've been so focused on making the business work that I'm hammering out 2-4 articles daily. Last week, I wrote 14 articles between Monday and Friday!
I'm more than serious about making this business work! So, for my progress...
Content Writing Progress
I've written 585,637 words in SiteContent since January 25, 2018. I've written many emails and lots more content in Wordpress, so I'm sure if I was to accurately count, I wrote close to 1 million words this year!
I created several websites (when you count mine and clients' sites), however, I decided after the first 4 months to focus on one site. Even if you're able to produce lots of content in a short time, it still doesn't help to spread yourself too thin. I was writing here, on my healthy living site, on my personal finance site, on my personal brand site, on my Christian lifestyle site, I created a directory site, and an Entrepreneurship site for my own business. They are all good ideas and they all look probable, but I won't work on any other site besides my entrepreneurship site until that one is making more than a full-time income by itself--that's my commitment.
As a result of being so divided, I have 250 articles on my entrepreneurship site, 140 posts on my christian lifestyle site, 5 posts on the healthy living site, 10 posts on the personal finance site, and just scattered effort! Many of the super affiliates have 400 posts or more, and I may have been able to be in their circle had I not divided my focus so much.
For 2019, I will focus my attention on one site.
Ive worked with clients with much bigger budgets than mine, and they get their results much faster than I have. SEO IS SLOW! PPC is much faster, but if you don't have money to risk, you shouldn't do it. PPC has a learning curve that costs money regardless of if you've done it before or not. You have to split test and improve, and a new ad will cost you when you're getting it started.
I've tested whether producing lots of content can make SEO fast or not, and the answer is "no". SEO is getting more competitive. Affiliates and merchants are learning more, and the internet isn't as passive as it once was. Social media is more competitive. If you want fast results, you have to treat an online business like an offline business and not be a cheapskate on your marketing plan.
I'm speaking to myself and others who miss good marketing opportunities by being cheap when I say that.
My husband is also an entrepreneur. We own a construction company. For his marketing plan, we spend lots. We buy promo products, go to paid events, join paid networking groups, hand out flyers (you have to buy), wear branded gear, and more.
A digital publishing business is no different. It doesn't work by being cheap or trying to do it entirely free.
You have to combine SEO with something else, otherwise when Google makes updates, you'll have a big shock. Look at my traffic on my entrepreneurship site...
You're probably wondering, "Why was your traffic so high when you first started the site and lower now?". That's backwards, right?
I started this site 1 February (in addition to others). When I went thru the training here, I did the SEO and paid advertising methods. You can see I was getting great results with paid advertising.
Unfortunately, at the same time, I was racking up hospital bills, so I decided to scale back from paid advertising, focus on SEO, and see how this health issue would pan out. I want to invest much more into my marketing plan this year. I'm trying my best to reinvest money from my own sales into my business, and not take from my personal income or my husband's business too much. We'll see what ideas I come up with to get more money for my business this year.
I'm grateful, I was able to cross paths with tens of thousands of people thru my website this year! When we sit behind our computers, sometimes, it's difficult to remember that. We have a great opportunity to make great impact as a result of the internet and this training.
My Money Progress
I'm not going to give exact numbers because I'm very ashamed of my money progress. I thought I would be full time thru affiliate sales by now! I've made $400 here and $100 there. In total, I may have made $1000 in affiliate sales so far. I know my niche is competitive, but DANG! When I was doing PPC, I was having referrals more consistently. I've also diversified my advertisers more now, so I know once my traffic is built, I'll get more sales.
I make much quicker and better money from offering marketing services, and I enjoy doing them. Since I still have young kids and I want the flexibility for them, running two service-based businesses isn't the way I want to go. When I was running my marketing services business and my husband was running a construction company, it seemed like our schedules were so full! And, when one of the kids gets sick or something, someone has to push back their client deadlines and so on. Two service based businesses with young kids wasn't a good fit with my family values, but the startup income from making that decision STINKS.
I'm hoping that by focusing on the digital publishing business and by putting my best effort to produce the most helpful articles for people who want to start, run, or grow a business, my business will grow. I keep focusing my attention on how I can minimize the struggle of someone who wants to grow a business from idea to enterprise, and hopefully, that will pay off. Starting a business is risky: on or offline, and I definitely feel the ebbs and flows. I'll also be scaling my marketing plan and engaging more with readers and with my target audience to build the relationships like brand-building requires.
The Summary of Learning Lessons I Plan to Apply This Year
Here's a summary of some of the learning lessons I took away from my business life since starting here at WA one year ago:
1. Write more reviews than how-to's or tutorials -- I was doing 20/80 or something like that where I was writing majority tutorials. I noticed that most SEO reliant blogs start out with a high concentration on reviews (like maybe 80/20, 90/10, or even 95/5)
2. Build one traffic channel at a time -- I was building SEO and Pinterest, but I learned the audiences need different things in order to thrive in them, and both take time. I was getting results, but I learned that I'd get quicker results if I focus
3. Be grateful for those who support you even if they're a little skeptical -- The people I'm around have skepticism about what I'm doing. I can tell, but they try not to say it. I appreciate their restraint about not vocalizing their skepticism. Haha.
I know it sounds crazy to expect to make money blogging and I know it's rare for anyone to choose that career path. It's a fairly new career path. I used to want more external support, but I've learned not to expect that. Instead, I have to have an inner resolve and stubbornness about pursuing my life purpose, and if I feel this can be an avenue to it, I have to be diehard about it. My inner resolve has made non-supporters reconsider and think maybe they're the crazy ones. Haha. Even with my closest loved ones, I had to have a stern conviction and their support followed.
4. Focus on solving the target audiences' most desperate problems -- For example, if you're good at carpentry and you focus on how to fix everything, you might get some sales, but if you focus on repairing water leaks or something that's an emergency problem, you're likely to have even more conversions if you offer good content.
5. Prioritize, prioritize, and prioritize! -- Since my digital publishing business is important to me, I had to move other things that are also important to me. I valued homeschooling and time with my kids, however, I realized, I couldn't do everything. If I wanted to make an impact inside of my home and outside of my home, I needed to get help, and childcare has been a Godsend! A lady at my church said to me "You can't get an 'A' in everything. Decide what you want to get 'A's in, and be okay with getting lower grades in everything else."
As a result, in 2019, I've decided I want "A's" in:
- Being a wife
- Being a mom
- Being a daughter
- Being a digital publisher
- Being a friend
- Being a mentor
- and, being an asset in my community
I had to eliminate some of the extra convictions that took away from my ability to ace them all.
What About You?
What have you learned about prioritization? What do you want "A's" in in 2019? Have you had to make some hard sacrifices for your business to work? How has WA impacted you personally and professionally? Am I on the right path, or do you think I could do something different to get results faster? Leave your comments, questions, and concerns below.