“Don’t be afraid to fail, it’s how you learn what works and what doesn’t.” ~Larry Deane
Day Job: I’m a software developer for a large US Bank
Side Business: Side Income Blogging
Website : http://sideincomeblogging.com
Monthly revenue: $1000.00 on average, but this number varies month to month based on the amount of services work I get. I’ve had months up to $3000 and as low as $100.00.
1. Tell us about your business.
My side business includes:
- Side Income Blogging – My main blog that teaches people how to blog and earn income blogging.
- Side Income Blogging Services – I provide blog design, blog development, consulting, coaching and maintenance services to new and experienced bloggers.
- Niche Sites – I have 10 other niche and authority sites I’ve built out on various topics. These sites are a combination of informational and product review sites.
2. What motivated you to start your business:
In 2006, my wife and I reached the breaking point with our personal finances. We were tired of living pay check to pay check and being in debt. We decided to change that.
I started reading various books and searched online as well, where I discovered blogs. I decided to start a personal finance blog to document what I was learning and help others. I had no idea you could earn income from it.
3 Months later, I was earning about $100/month, and that grew to more than $1500.00 from that blog alone after 3 years. We used that money to help get our financial situation under control.
I realized I enjoyed blogging and being an online entrepreneur, and elected to continue that work as a side business.
3. What steps did you take to get started?
I tend to be the type of person that just jumps in. I’m not much of a planner.
My first personal finance blog I just decided to start one night, without much thought. I started talking to a few other new personal finance bloggers and we worked together to learn and grow our blogs. I’m still friends with them today.
While blogging, I was often asked to help others by answering blogging questions and help new bloggers get started. I realized there was a business opportunity, and created Side Income Blogging Services as a services business.
I then sold my personal finance blog in 2009 to focus on the services work, but missed blogging and created the Side Income Blogging blog, and also expanded out into creating niche sites as well.
As you can see, there wasn’t a real linear type of process here, I just adjusted my business to meet opportunities that came up.
4. Tell us about one action you took that has helped your business grow?
The single most important action I’ve taken to help my business is to foster relationships. Even though my business is on the internet, building personal relationships and fostering those relationships is critically important.
Not only do relationships help you learn and grow, they also support you and serve as potential customers or referrals to new customers.
When I first started blogging, forums and email were the primary means of building and fostering relationships. Today, it’s via social media such as Twitter, Facebook and Google+.
5. Name three tools (e.g. evernote) – free or paid- that are vital to your business.
The three tools most vital to my business are:
- Evernote – I keep everything here.
- Freshbooks – For estimates, contacts, invoicing and expense tracking.
- Coda – The primary development tool I use to do CSS and PHP development work.
I know you said three, but I’d have to mention Photoshop too. I use it for all of my graphics work, both as part of my design work and also for blogging.
6. What has been your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?
Time is my biggest challenge, and I’m still not sure if I’ve fully overcome it.
The bottom line is that there is only so much time in the day, that has to be split between my full-time job, my family and my side business.
I’ve managed time by allocating most fixed hours for my full-time and side business.
I wake at 5am every weekday, and work on my side business from 5am – 8:30am.
I work my full-time job from 8:30am – 5 or 6pm
The remaining time goes to my family, including weekends. While I do work on weekends sometimes, I generally try to avoid it and dedicate that time to my family.
7. Share your greatest business success.
My greatest business success was growing my first blog to a top 10 personal finance blog in 3 years. When I sold the blog in 2009, I had more than 3000 subscribers, was getting more than 1500 visits per day, and the blog was earning me in excess of $1500/month.
I sold the blog for more than $25,000. Although in hindsight, I wish I would have kept it. I had a close relationship with that blog and it’s readers, and miss owning and writing on it.
8. What is your ultimate business goal?
Ultimately I would like to be able to quit my full-time job, and run my side business as my full-time business.
I enjoy helping people and making a positive difference in their lives, and hope that I can continue to do that part-time, and hopefully someday full-time as well.
9. How do you balance your job, business and family life?
I answered this above as part of the biggest challenge, but I manage my time very closely and keep mostly fixed hours.
There are always exceptions of course, and then priorities come into play. There will always be times when full-time, personal and side business conflict and you have to look at priorities to determine where to spend your time.
I am a family first person, and never sacrifice them for either my side business or full-time business for any extended period of time.
10. What advice would you give to someone just starting their side hustle?
Understand that starting and running a side business is not a short term effort. I see many people start blogs and give up after 3 months once they realize how much time and effort is required and that they aren’t making $1000.00/month.
Stay the course, and you’ll see your investment grow over time, often exponentially.
I would also add that trying new things is critical to being successful. I try new things all the time, and many of them aren’t successful. Don’t be afraid to fail, it’s how your learn what works and what doesn’t.