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By Yaro Starak
Joel Brown from Perth, Western Australia, started a blog Addicted2Success.com to share quotes and articles about his interest in personal development and success.
Joel worked hard, starting primarily with Twitter as a marketing tool, then branching into other social media platforms. His traffic grew, he produced more content and built on his success.
After nine months he added Adsense advertising to his blog and although it wasn’t overnight riches, within two years he was making as much from his blog as he did from his full time job. Hence he quit his job.
Around this time he started receiving offers from brokers working on behalf of people and companies interested in buying his blog. He said no to a $250,000 offer, and then $600,000 and even a couple of million dollar deals.
As you will hear Joel describe during the podcast, he’s more excited about seeing where Addicted2Success.com will take him than selling out now.
Currently he’s making over $100,000 a year thanks primarily to advertising, reaching over one million people per month and delivering over 2.5 million pageviews.
As always for EJ podcast interviews I asked my guest to explain his early days, what he did before he started his blog and what led him to the blogging path.
I was particularly curious to learn how Joel has reached such incredible amounts of people going after a market that is already very competitive.
It’s pretty clear that social media was the kickstart for his blog (in particular Twitter), which then helped his blog gain top rankings in Google, bringing in consistent traffic.
You can listen in to the entire story right now by downloading the podcast.
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Hello, this is Yaro and you’re listening to the Entrepreneurs Journey podcast. Today’s guest is Joel Brown.
YARO: Hello, this is Yaro Starak and welcome to an Entrepreneurs Journey interview. Today on the line, I have the pleasure of a fellow Australian coming from Perth. His name is Joel Brown. He was recently introduced to me. Joel runs the Addicted2Success personal development blog which has only been going for about three years and is already earning over $100,000 a year and he has been offered as much as $1,000,000 to sell the blog.
So, I thought, Joel, for so many reasons being Australian, having a quick successful blog, we had to get him on to the podcast and hear this background story.
Joel, thank you for joining me.
JOEL: Yaro, thanks a million for having me here, man. I really, really appreciate it.
YARO: Awesome, so much to find out, Joel but as I always do with this podcast, I like to learn a little bit about what you did before you started the blog.
You don’t sound like an old man, for starters. How old are you?
JOEL: That’s good. That’s a good start. Well, I’m 27.
JOEL: So, still young buck.
YARO: So, we’re not going to have a 50-year career to talk about here but, did you go to University or anything like that?
JOEL: You know what, funny story, man. I actually dropped out of highschool back in the day. I had a strong passion for music, and basically, I got into music industry and I managed song writers and producers and we ended up getting signed to a sub-label on Atlantic Records in America. So, I moved out to America and lived out in Miami for a little while and yes, I did the whole music industry thing and long story short, I lost my passion for music after a couple of years, and I think there’s this big misconception that you’re only supposed to have one passion in your life, and it’s not true, you know. It’s okay to find that maybe it’s not your calling in that certain area and that there may be something else that’s out there and there’s other opportunities.
So, yes. I had to really dig deep into myself and to really pull out like what did I really want for myself in my life and what was going to better me in my direction and ended up being yes, personal growth and kind of led me down the tracks of starting my own website which is obviously, Addicted2Succecss.com.
YARO: Okay, were you in a band like a guitarist, singerÖ what was your thing?
JOEL: No. Actually, I used to manage songwriters and producers. My job essentially was to shop beats like background music that my producers would make and also get songwriters in the studio to record to these beats and then, I would sell the track as a whole package to record labels, because a lot of these recording artists, a lot of people think that they write their own stuff but, most of the time, like 90% of the time, they don’t write any of their own records. It’s all written for them by people that just like live, breathe, eat writing.
YARO: So, you were like a 16-year-old kid and you got into that?
JOEL: Yes, I would have been 20 years old.
YARO: Okay so, but you dropped out of high school to start that interest. That’s when you got started with the music.
JOEL: Yes, I dropped out of high school. I had no interest in going to University and I was already doing pretty well. I had run a radio show actually at the age of 16.
JOEL: I was on primetime radio on a Thursday night when everybody was driving back from late-night shopping. So, I had a pretty good spot there.
Basically, I used to interview a lot of like big recording artists. I used that and platform off that to be able to shop this music through major label recording artists.
The way I do things is I like to think I’m very resourceful so, if I’m using something, I’ll try and leverage off that and move to the next level and keep platforming. I think that’s pretty important.
YARO: Yes, the success ladder. So, you’re on the radio and you’re obviously well and truly inside the music industry in Perth, at least and maybe all over Australia, right? And then, what happened next in terms of going to the States? Was that a choice you made or did an opportunity open up over there? How did that happen?
JOEL: Yes, well, my producers that I was managing at the time, they were producing beats here back in Perth and I was shopping their beats around. So, I was sending it out to a lot of managers and record producers to see if they were interested in making my producers’ music a part of the projects that they are working on.
And, there’s actually a producer at that time, his name is Jim Jonsin. He’s a Grammy award winning producer He produces more open records. He produced like Sweet Dreams for Beyonce, Kiss You Through the Phone for Soulja Boy, Lollipop for Li’l Wayne. He’s produced a lot of records. He’s produced probably about 20 big hits that are in the billboard charts and he’s really interested in music that we were all putting out and he decided that he wanted to sign us to a publishing deal. His studio was out in Miami so, it was more so like if we really wanted to go 100% all in with it, we were best to leave Australia and move out there and be in the middle of everything and get to actually meet the artists face to face that come into the studio.
YARO: Mm-hmm. Okay, so that must have been amazing for starters already.
JOEL: Definitely. It was an awesome experience for sure.
YARO: So, you’re like 20 years old. You’re living in Miami. It sounds like you just immersed yourself in it. And then, did you get a little burnt out or you just want to move on to something else?
JOEL: Yes, so with me, I mean, everybody’s experience is different in the music industry. My experience was, first couple of years was all like, “Wow, this is amazing. This is crazy. You get to meet all these awesome artists and you get to go these events and you’re around like great time and success with people at the time. But, there’s a point where you start to kind of measure your own self as well and you’re looking at it going like, “Okay, when am I ready to break and when am I going to get out there and when are my producers going to be able to do this and that?”
And, a lot of it was like kind of waiting on everybody else to make decisions for us and we were like, you know, you have your let downs and that’s cool. That’s just how it is and that’s like the price you pay when you’re in an entertainment industry.
But, it was a lot of it was like I wasn’t grabbing life by the reins. For me, I was kind on waiting for everybody else and I was playing a lot in the background and for me, I couldn’t really see myself being like this bachelor, 30, 40, 50 years old kind of living for everybody else. I always had this kind of hunger in me to want to like run my own business, to be able to kind of live life from my own terms as well. So, I took all the experience and all the lessons and everything that I learned in the music industry at such a young age and I moved it into my own business dealings and my own ventures that I created for myself.
So, yes. It was an awesome experience and I’ve learnt so much from it and it certainly made me better as an entrepreneur nowadays. So, I’m happy for that.
YARO: So, basically, you sort of made the decision to leave everything in Miami and fly back to Australia. Is that right?
JOEL: Yes, that’s right and I hadn’t talk to my producers and at first, it was a bit of a shock and they were like, “Are you sure?” Quite a lot of my friends back in Australia thought I was crazy after making that decision. But, I was only like 95% happy, 99% happy like I wasn’t 100% happy with where I was at and yes, I always kind of reflected my own life and just thought, I’m not 100% there. There’s something that’s missing. And, I was reading a lot of Tony Robbins books at that time. I listened to a lot of audio and Robert Kiyosaki, T. Harv EkerÖ things like that.
So, for me, I was like always around that and they seemed to like how there are so many opportunities out there and there’s better ways to live your life and that as well sold for me. Yes, it was something where I felt that I could really live my life on my own terms if I went and did it all by myself instead of waiting on everyone else.
YARO: Yes, a lot of people have that sort of desire and certainly if you’re working for other people and you don’t control what you’re doing.
As an entrepreneur, I know that’s very challenging. Did you, I can imagine you quitting and then, deciding to come back to Australia but, did you have an idea of what you would do next because it sounds like music was your life up until that point. You’re young enough to play around with what you’re doing. It’s not too much of a big deal. I doubt you’re not going to have kids and a mortgage and all these things to worry about so, you can choose careers and testings and experience things but, were you thinking I’m going to do something specific when you go out back to Australia?
JOEL: Yes, look this is really interesting, this part. As this conversation goes, you’re going to realize I have one pretty colorful life right, so basically what happened was I went back to Australia. I’ve been considered to be pretty talented at sales, right. So, there was a company that I used to work for before I got into music industry, just kind of like part time and they heard that I was back in Perth and they asked me to come work for them. I was doing sales, just like telecommunication sales selling like fiber optic internet connections to medium and corporate businesses.
So, I did that for a little while. I was doing that. I had the opportunity to meet Jordan Belfort, The Wolf of Wall Street and the company I was working for, a sales company, they actually organized a workshop, a couple of months into me being there, and I actually had a chance to meet Jordan Belfort face to face.
I got to talking with him. I congratulated him on in his success, those are two so far and how he’s turned his life around and he got to talk to me and he was asking me, “Do you have goals?”
I said, “Well no. I don’t really have any kind of solid goals.” And he said, “Great, that’s fine.” And I said, “What do you mean?” Someone successful like him, I thought that he would have big goals himself.
He said, “Look, goals are good for small-term achievements but, you really want to have a vision. You want to have a big vision for success. And, if you’re already thinking big, you need to think bigger.”
And, he went through the steps of like writing down what you really want to achieve by working out your Why, and working out day by day, week by week, month by month, year by year, how you’re going to get to that big vision that’s there that you created for yourself.
And, it was cool because like I, you know, in school, in high school, I was always taught like, “write down your goals and this and that.” But, if you’re not hitting your goals then, they become less and less effective.
So, creating a vision and having something that you wake up everyday for like a big strong Why or What you want to achieve, it made more sense to me to think that way, just think a lot bigger, you know. So, I got to talk to him and say, you know like I’m interested in self-development and this and that and we kind of dug a bit deeper and deeper and deeper and then, I found that I was good online like I understood computers and I was pretty clear on like working things out.
So, I decided to start a website. Initially, it was just for me to be able to, like if I found any good self-development information that I would just put it up on there, kind of like a bookmark, it’s a book market and then, it got to a point where I would do it like every couple of days, I put something up and then, I put a share bar on there and I had people at my work that saw it. And, they were like, “Wow, this is awesome content.” And then, they would share it with their friends and it started to grow and grow.
And then, I got stuck into this idea like thinking that like, “Oh, I can get really rich off this,” and I looked out John Chow and Pete Cashmore that had done really well with Mashable.com and I really look to these guys. My motivation was I was kind of in it for the wrong reason like I was really focused on the money to begin with. I’m honest about that with everyone that I really just like, my motivation was the money.
I think there’s a thing like money seems to be like the elephant in the room. It seems to be this thing that people kind of tiptoe around, they kind of say like, “Oh, I’m doing it because I want to help people and I’m just doing it because of my passion,” and I think it’s okay to say that you’re doing it for the money but, not for your whole life. You don’t want to be fixed on it for your whole life. It’s okay to kind of get you ahead but then, when things get bigger, you start to realize that it’s not just about you or just about the money that actually affects other people in the world as well and especially online.
So yes, that’s really how Addicted2Success came about.
YARO: So, it was basically a bunch of bookmarks to start with and then, you followed a couple of bloggers and thought you could start a blog extending on the bookmarks that you were already collecting. And, I’m assuming when you say “bookmarks” these are just inspirational articles or even just quotes from people?
JOEL: Yes, it would be like a collection of quotes. It would be putting out like a YouTube video and just writing like a quick little intro on the video. It would be like articles that I’d seen elsewhere and I’ve kind of put my little twist to it. And, that’s when I was kind of ignorant, didn’t really understand about SEO and things like that and that like it’s better to create your own original articles. And that came when I started to really look at my website as a business and I started to really take it seriously.
YARO: I’d be curious to hear about this next step because going into blogging, especially about personal development which is a fairly well-serviced market already and I know for example like Upworthy gets a crazy amount of traffic and then they mostly just share like what you’re talking about ñ videos and things likeÖ mostly videos really. And, it’s a crowded space.
So, to be able to actually stand out from the crowd and get traffic at that level too like a very top level subject, the personal development, it’s difficult. So, I’m kind of curious to hear how you were able to differentiate yourself and get this audience going. So, could you take us through the, I guess, the building of the blog phase?
JOEL: Yes, definitely. Definitely. So, when I first started Addicted2Success, a lot of it was driven by talking more about wealth. A lot of it was about millionaires and people that had made millions of dollars or billions of dollars because that’s where my head was at the time. And, you could even see like my first letter policy, it is like that and it kind of starts to go into this gradual process of where it starts to become more about sharing more knowledge about personal growth and also starts to go into like life and life advise and like solving more problems that people have more than just kind of showing off the glitz and the glamour of becoming successful.
And, I used to get this quite a bit where people would say, “Addicted to success, that’s not a good thing to be addicted to success.” And, the way I see, it’s subjective, right? Everybody’s definition of success is different. What your definition of success might be different tomorrow. Like for me, to live your life as comfortable as you can with the least amount of pain and as much pleasure as you can and to be able to share that with others. Whereas, somebody else might be like to have a million dollars or to live in a mansion or to travel the world.
So, it’s become this thing where I’ve started to look a lot more into my community and a lot more into what my brand really stands for and then, develop it off that. And, I think that’s important to really look at that and be self-aware of what you’re offering people and even looking at your emails, or you get through asking people for feedback because sometimes, people see you or your company or your brand differently to how you see what you’re putting out yourself and it’s good to bounce off that sometimes and see how you can evolve and adapt with your community.
YARO: Do you mind if we go a little bit technical because I know a lot of listeners like knowing the how-to, I guess. So, did you install WordPress? You came up with this domain name Addicted2Success, like you said, you were writing posts on money to begin with and you sort of moved closer to personal development and success subjects. Were you blogging once a day? Where were you getting the content from? How long were your articles? All these sorts of getting started subjects people love hearing about.
JOEL: Yes, well originally, because I was just kind of getting into it and I didn’t have much content, there seem to be just so much out there that I could share so, at one point, I was doing two or three articles a day which is pretty crazy because nowadays, I don’t even do two or three articles a day.
Somewhere kind of in between, I started to focus more on quality content and also, like if it took me a couple of days to put an article together, that’s okay. It doesn’t mean I have to pump one out every single day. It’s better to create an article where it has a good picture that goes with it and that has a lot of good content and it references to a lot of useful information and maybe even if it has an infographic or a video that relates to it, like I really work on that now. I really make sure that it’s a really juicy article. I beef the article up. WordPress is like an industry standard, from my understanding it is like when I was looking for a platform to put a blog out on, everyone was saying WordPress.
So, I jumped on WordPress and originally, I actually tried to register the domain name AddictedTOSuccess.com and it was already taken. I was a little bit caught about it and I was looking some other domain names, and then, I just thought, you know, why not just Addicted2success.com. I actually thought it was a little bit corny but, a lot of other domain names that I wanted were already registered. As you know, it’s really hard to register domain names now because everybody just buys them and tries to resell them.
I set up Addicted2Success.com and away I went, and it would have been probably about a year in. I actually found the details of the guy that owned AddictedTOSuccess.com and I contacted him and he was charging like thousands and thousands of dollars to sell AddictedTOSuccess.com.
Long story short, two years in, I ended up contacting him again and paying him I think it was around about three and a half to four thousand dollars for AddictedTOSuccess.com because I got sick and tired of telling people, “Go to my website Addicted2Success,” and they come back to me and go like, “Oh, it doesn’t work.” They were putting that in and it was just like a blank page.
I saw that as an investment to pay for that and own it and then, just redirect it to Addicted2Success.com.
YARO: Okay, it sounds like you were the only writer to begin with, as well. Is that right?
JOEL: Yes, I was the only writer for probably a good solid year and then, it started to attract like a lot of attention online, especially through the social media channels and people wanted to start to become part of the community and part of the brand so, yes.
YARO: Before you jump in to that sort of rapid growth phase, the first years often the hardest because you don’t know whether it’s working, whether you’ll ever make money, did you get results straight away? Was there an audience coming straight away?
JOEL: There wasn’t audience coming like straight away, like a good day for me in the beginning was like 3000 people that day. I thought that was insane and I could have never imagined getting 3 million a month or anything like that like I do now. 2000 people a day was like really cool and that really like motivated me and put that drive in me to want to just keep building the site, keep creating which was cool. I kind of appreciate the old days now. And, I went to think back about it and then, you get to a certain point where you can get so fixed on the numbers that you forget that like even to reach like 10,000 people was crazy, even 20,000 people is a crazy amount of people.
YARO: Well, that’s exactly right. I was going to say, most bloggers were never even going to reach the 2000 a day level. What was the difference for you do you think? Fellows at like just social media really ticked you off like sharing a lot of stuff on Facebook and Twitter because you started from scratch right, you had no existing following on any social platform or any blog platform, right?
JOEL: That’s right, yes. I think the biggest thing was I positioned myself really well on Twitter and I think a lot of people try and they spread themselves through thin because they try and get on every single channel. And look, it’s good to be on every channel. If somebody asks me like what social media should I be on, I’d tell them all of them like every single one because there’s eyeballs in different areas depending on like different kind of audiences and crowds and different social media platforms but, it’s better to focus on one to begin with and really ace that. Make sure it’s a really finely run channel and use that and then., move to the next one and then, the next one, and then, the next one until you’ve got like a number of social media platforms that are all set up properly. They’ve got good profile picture, they’ve got good date, they’ve got a good following and they kind of start to work on their own.
With Twitter, I kind of got in a little bit early so, I was listening to a lot of Gary Vaynerchuck’s advice back in the day and Gary was really on like the whole Twitter thing. And, I know that he’s a cutting edge topic guy. He’s always on the curve. He knows kind of like what’s coming up next. He’s a smart dude, right?
I listened to his advice. I jumped on Twitter and I think celebrities and that started to get on Twitter around that time and I was putting out a lot of inspirational material and I was getting people like DD and The Rock, Dwayne Johnson and a bunch of other people like were seeing my posts and sharing it to their followers.
JOEL: They would follow me because there weren’t a lot of people at that time that had inspirational Twitter accounts so, they would see it or someone would re-tweet it or maybe like if I created, this happened a couple of times with The Rock where I would create like a picture quote of The Rock, a picture of him and put in something that he said, like maybe one of his tweets that did really well, and then, he would see that and he would re-tweet that out and he’d shout out like Addicted2Success.com and I notice like a little bit of a traffic spike here and there when he did that.
YARO: Very clever. You basically targeted a specific Twitter user using their photo and more likely, they’re going to re-tweet. I know I would re-tweet someone who would put a picture of me with one of my quotes so, that’s a great tactic.
JOEL: Well, this is the thing. It wasn’t intentional at the beginning, right? I just created a piece of quote and put it up on an article that was about Dwayne Johnson and it caught his eye or somebody re-shared and it caught his eye and he obviously checked out the website.
Because some of these celebrities actually do check, they own their own accounts. Some, they’re like they have their own PR whoever like running, their assistant running their social media channels. But, some of them, if you can do that, like why not, right? Use it, be resourceful with your social media channels and reach out to these people and get them to share your content because that’s really going to help. That’s reaching millions of people.
YARO: Now, I’m curious. I get a lot of people who come to me and they’ll say like something like what you just talked about as a new event that triggers a spike of traffic but then, it disappears. It sort of you know, you might get a few hundred, even a thousand visitors from one tweet from The Rock but then, they’re gone. They only come and check out that one article and leave.
How did you sort of turn these little moments into a sustained growth?
JOEL: Yes, you know, that’s a really good question. What I tell a lot of people is, don’t go for like the one-night stands. I used to really be fixed on the big traffic and trying to get those big spikes and they’re okay. They’re cool. You might get a handful of people from there and increase your following slightly but, the people that you really want to attract is you want to be going into your target audience, so it’s more effective for you to try and let’s say, like guest blog on websites that are not so much in competition with you but, are aligned with very similar life values, very similar information.
So, you’re pulling in like-minded people into a community because a lot of it is about community like most of, let’s say, like a good 50% or 60% of the traffic is like return visitors. They are people that come back to my site very often, and they are the people that you want. You want them back in your community. They are the people that are going to buy from you if you put a product out. They are the people that are going to share your articles when you put it out and they like it, your articles like that. They are the people that you really want in your community on your website. You don’t want some kind of like teeny bopper that thinks like one little pitchy thinks “cool” but, they’re never going to come back again.
You want them, yes. But, they are not the ones that are going to really get your information out there or really grab it, embrace it, or make a change in their life or share it with their communities. So, yes, don’t go for the one-night stands. Really focus on building a community.
YARO: All right. Can you take us then forward? It sounds like you combined Twitter with some consistent quality information, quotes, and articles, and then, you expanded to other social platforms and it was working. Obviously, you’re watching your traffic increase. People are sharing your content. You’re building these communities, they’re coming back. You must be starting to think about how am I going to make money from this at that stage? Did you start monetizing in that first year?
JOEL: Yes, after probably just before a year, so it might have been about ten months in, I was speaking to someone that had worked at Google and he was saying to me, “You know, you should look at jumping on Adsense. You could be at least paying for your web hosting.”
The reason why I didn’t like, I knew that at some point, I wanted to monetize from it. That was really my goal for the first year, was to build it right up, and I was told by a lot of people not to make your website look like a billboard. So, I didn’t like to put ads all over your site because people are going to click on those ads and they are going to leave your site. And then, probably some might not even come back.
So, I was really fixed on building up the contents, starting to get some traffic going and then, I would put some ads on my site. So, yes, ten months in, I jumped on Google Adsense and it’s funny because I didn’t expect to get a lot. I heard that you can’t make a lot unless you got a lot of traffic but, I was making let’s say around about $200 a month, $300 a month and that definitely paid for my hosting, it paid for my gas money, my petrol money to be able to get around and helped me out with a little bit of rent like as the months went on.
So, for me, I was grateful for that and then, I think really, the biggest day was really when I turned around and told my boss at this job that I was working at that, I can’t be here anymore because it’s costing me too much to work here.
That would have been probably around about just over two years in.
YARO: So, how much were you earning at two years then? Was that obviously enough to pay your bills?
JOEL: Yes, it was a bit more. I was probably running about $65,000 a year.
YARO: And, that’s when you quitÖ two years.
JOEL: That’s when I quit my job when I was making like $55,000 a yea at that job and I was making $65,000 online so, I wanted to really grow Addicted2Success. I wanted to pull a lot more time into it so, that’s when I made the decision and when I did, it boosted even more because I was putting a lot more time into it and the earnings went up even more and I was able to focus on product creation and things like that, as well.
YARO: Speaking of which, what are your honey-making money today? It’s not just Adsense. You just said productsÖ What else?
JOEL: Yes, so obviously, Adsense. I wrote an eBook. It’s funny, actually. I was travelling around the world. I was actually in India for six weeks. I was staying at this beach house in Ö in India and this coconut tree fell on our power line and wiped out the Internet for like a week because the phone lines run along the power lines, they’re like external because it’s all backwards in that country over there, and yes, it crushed the whole internet out, and I asked the company, I called them up and everything, and they’re like, “Yes, it will come next week. Next week, we will come down to fix.”
So, I’m like waiting the whole entire week for the Internet to be on. As you can imagine, I would have been ripping my hair out because I was used to putting a post out like everyday and I couldn’t do anything.
That gave me time to actually sit there each and every day and just start writing a book. What I did was I started to write an eBook. It’s called, The Formula: The Secret Ingredients of Online Success. The book is basically, it’s not so much like this secret ingredients but most are like MY secret ingredient.
So, it’s like what I did to be able to get to where I am today and yes, it’s more so the basic end where, if you’re just starting out, you want to know like how to set up your WordPress like what are the right plugins to use, what you should be doing with your social media, like some little tips and tricks here, like a few little hacks. Things are kind of that I made mistakes on in the past. I’m teaching people now to avoid those things and to go on right so, it’s giving people the shortcuts to be able to grow their site quickly.
So, yes and that does really well. I get quite a few sales like everyday so, that’s $19.95 for an eBook, it trickles through. Some days, I might sell like three or four books. Some days it’s like eight. You never know it kind of comes in and out. And, yes, it puts extra money in the pocket, that’s for
YARO: Yes, it’s nice to be a published author, too, isn’t it?
JOEL: Yes, that’s right. Yes.
YARO: Okay, so books, Adsense, anything else?
JOEL: Here and there I charge for like consultation and obviously, like keynotes, as well when I get asked to go and speak at certain events so, if I really broke it all down, it all adds up. And, this is the thing like some people kind of look at certain things and go, I don’t know if it’s really worth it to do like an affiliate deal where like maybe you’re referring people to a service or software where they can get $5 commission every month.
Imagine if you sign a thousand people up to that and you’re getting $5000 every month is coming through that. All those little things add up. Originally, I used to just like try and just go for the big, big things, and if you do, you’re going to be waiting around for many years for those big opportunities so that, in the meantime, like if you’re really trying to build your business out and you want money to invest back into it, into your website and to grow, I think it’s a good idea to invest in little things and put a few little things out there. Your audience, as long as you’re bringing value to your audience, they’re going to want to purchase in on things you have like your affiliate stuff and they’ll buy your products if they know that you’re putting good quality content out there and that you know, if they’re loyal to you, as well so, it can all add up, that’s for sure.
YARO: You mentioned that you have other people write for you as well now. I noticed looking at your site, there’s still a lot of Joel on it but, you also have other authors. How did that happen? Are they just volunteer writers who are wanting to share the same ideas?
JOEL: Yes, there’s a lot of guest contributors now. So, originally I was writing probably around about 80% of the content and I’ve really fall on back quite a lot and I’m involved a lot more in the editing side of the articles so, I’ll put my head together with like another guest contributor. They might send in an idea and then, we’ll kind of bounce off each other and try and come up with a good article together and I don’t mind giving somebody that shine. It’s crazy because actually, I’ve spoken to quite a few of my guest contributors where they might have contributed a few articles in the past and one of them actually I was speaking to, he’s a motivational coach and he’s a sport psychologist and he’s done a few like really good motivational articles on my website.
I was speaking to him a few weeks back and he said to me that because of those articles, he’s actually been asked to feature him in keynote speeches at events and he’s decided to like write a book and he’s been offered for consultations and things like that, as well.
He’s so happy and so grateful for it and it was really cool to hear that. I started to reach out to quite a few other guest contributors and found out that a lot of them had boost their product sales or they had like thousands and thousands of more visitors to their website because they had done articles on my site and quite a few people have been able to get some other gigs as well and joint ventures with other companies because of it.
So, yes it’s just great to know that you’re able to help people like that and that they also have a platform where there and get some awesome exposure and I’m happy to share that with people.
YARO: Yes, it is great once you have that platform because like you said, you can help your writers and they’re willing to do it because they get exposure which is nice.
Now, looking at your site, Joel, one of the things I personally think from my background with blogging that’s helping, like how it has helped you reach the point where you have is your headline writing for your blog posts because especially given your subject matter, I really think social media and that viral distribution of content is what drives a lot of traffic and really, in the last year, this has exploded with all these kind of Upworthy-style sites. And, I think Facebook has changed its algorithm so that, you see more of that type of content, too.
The headline is what drives it like the actual catchy phrase like you got right now, Ten Reasons Why Most People are Major Failures. I think I see that sort of headline on Facebook all the time at the moment. Are you writing the headlines yourself or how does that work? How did you get good at it if you are?
JOEL: Yes. What I do is I have a kind of process. Naturally, I’ve been known to be like creative, quite creative with things. I love art, I love visual things. I really get into like choosing the right pitches that match up. I like quality and things like that.
I’m a little bit of a perfectionist sometimes like I’m a little bit picky. So, what I do is, this might sound a little bit intense but, it’s worked. It’s worked for me and I teach a lot of other people to do this is where you sit down and come up with ten, fifteen, or twenty different titles for that article and like I just write down whatever comes to mind, branch off it, brainstorm a little bit, and you know what? It might take you maybe like fifteen minutes to write them out but, that 15 minutes can make a massive difference to the reach of that article simply because like you said, an article makes a difference. An article and a quality pitch can take an article very, very far especially in the Social Media world.
So, for me, I’ll sit down and I’ll write like ten or fifteen versions of the title and then, I’ll pick the top two and what I do sometimes, if I feel like it’s necessary, I’ll split test on Twitter.
So, I’ll put one article up and see how many re-tweets it gets and then, maybe like an hour later, I’ll put up the article again but, I’ll put it in a different version of the title to see if that does any better. And, sometimes, the first title that you write might not be the winner. It could be like the tenth or the twelfth one. And, sometimes, the one that you think is really good out of the top two that you’ve chosen, can just bomb like you put it out and get five re-tweets in like peak time. Or then, you put the other one up just like an hour later and it can get like thirty re-tweets.
That’s how I kind of gauge like what is a good title. Sometimes, you kind of just know if you haven’t got any other really good title names and you know one really, really stands out and then, you just kind of go with that. You learn all the time like what works and what doesn’t. But, as far as like what can go far, you can’t 100% know what’s going to be viral. You can maybe get 80% there but, you’re not going to know for sure if that’s going to be a viral article. You just got to keep producing good content.
YARO: Now, you had this million dollar offers. Can you explain how they came about and I’m assuming this has been in the last recent years because you’re in your third year now and you’ve reached this point where you’ve got over 150,000 Facebook followers, likers, you’re making 100 grand a year so, I could see why you’re getting a lot more attention now. So, did these guys sort of send you an email, “Hey, we’d like to talk about buying you?” Is that kind of what happened?
JOEL: Yes, so the way it worked is the first time I was ever approached it would have been probably two years in so, on my second year and I was approached by a company. They’re like a web broker company and somebody had contacted them and wanted them to contact me and negotiate because you get that sometimes where someone wants to buy the website but, they don’t want to negotiate with you because they don’t know like how to evaluate it or the questions to ask. They’ll go through a web broker company and I had this web broker company came to me and we broke down the earnings and basically like what goes into the day to day work on my website and what the reach is like and how long it’s been around, and they looked at the Alexa rankings. They look at all sorts of things.
And then, what they did was they came back to me with an offer of $250,000 and maybe, if I was like a week into building my website, I would have said, “Okay.” But, for me, $250,000 like, for the impact that my website actually has, and like the same with you man, if somebody came to you and offered you that amount, you know deep in you, you’re like, “No, man. I know my website is worth a lot more than that.”
So, I declined the offer. It’s funny because it’s kind of like a client. So, it was 250 and then, I had this random company contact me and at first, I was really skeptical about them and then, I thought, “Who are these guys?” They’ll offer me around about $600,000 for my site and I was just kind of like toying with the idea of like, “Okay, let’s see if they can go any higher.” Just out of interest, I just wanted to see if they could value it any higher, just I wasn’t interested in selling but, I just wanted to see. I was probably a bit of a prick like that [laughs].
They got back to me and they’re like, “No, $600,000 is our only offer.” I had looked into it and they were a legitimate company or they are a legitimate company but, $600,000 isn’t something I’m interested in and then, I think maybe the word got out. I think I got in an interview like somebody asked me and I told them about $600,000 that was offered and then, somebody heard about it then, they got out and somebody came in and offered me a million. Kind of closer to the end of the year, I had another company that came in that obviously didn’t know about the offers that I had and offered me $250,000 again. Different company different offer with $250,000 and obviously, I declined that. Then, I got offered a million by another company as well. Someone that came in to actually like sell his websites and had a lot of these like in contact with a lot of VCs (venture capitalists) that are interested in buying software and websites and they offered me a million and obviously I declined that.
YARO: What’s your plan then? Obviously, they’re not hitting the number and you obviously have different ideas. What would you like to see happen to Addicted2Success?
JOEL: I have a pretty big vision for Addicted2Success. For the future, especially, I’m looking at getting into the event space. I have a lot of contacts and a lot of entrepreneurs that I’m in touch with and a lot of life coaches and people like that so, I want to really look at putting out Addicted2Success events in the future — Sydney, Melbourne, LA, New York, London, around the world, and really bring some events together.
I’ve got the platform to reach millions of people so, promoting it isn’t really a big deal. We can definitely do that and it’s something that we’re looking at doing probably going to be around the start of 2015. So, that’s something that I’m looking forward to and yes, maybe even possibly looking into the space of offering services and signing coaches and maybe publishing as well. So, we’ll see but, that’s just like something that we’re toying with the idea we’re toying with at the moment.
So, we’ll see. I mean, there’s a lot of ventures that are coming up. I’m working on something at the moment as well with Mindvalley and Vishen Lakhiani so, that’s something that’s pretty big.
YARO: Yes, they’re a great company too. I like what they are doing in Mindvalley.
All right, Joel. Let’s look at wrapping it up. I think we’ve kind of got an overview of what you’ve done with Addicted2Success. I kind of like to just leave this interview with some advice for the listeners who they look at a site like yours and they might have started a blog themselves and they feel like they’re putting a lot of good content and putting in the kind of work that you did during your early days but, they’re just not getting any traction. They’re not getting followers on Twitter or Facebook, and they’re not getting a lot of viral distribution of their content. They’re having trouble getting to 300 visitors a day, let alone that 2000, 10,000 and then, millions of people a month.
What do you say to them? I know a lot of people I interview will say, just keep doing it and something will happen but, that’s often not a good enough answer and sometimes, it’s a bad answer because maybe, they’re never going to get where they’re going with what they currently have. It’s the wrong industry or the wrong subject or something.
What’s your advice to that person who is frustrated especially when they see something like what you’ve done. They go, “Well, I was doing that but, why didn’t mine take off?” What do you say to that?
JOEL: Yes, look. A lot of this is marketing so, I mean, you can create good content and the focus yes, you have to focus on quality content but, you also have to get it out there. You need to be in the social media channels and it needs to be really revolving around out there on the net and there’s ways to get it out there. You could really link up with other bloggers and guest blog on other posts. You can even, like I did with Dwayne Johnson where I created like a picture quote with him and re-tweeted that. Like if you write an article about a celebrity and then, get it out to them and see if they can like promote it in their social media channels. Really be resourceful.
Because like Yaro said, you can really say like just keep going but, if you just keep doing the same thing, you’re doing to get the same results, right? So, you need to really be resourceful and you really need to start thinking outside the box and going like what high authority website can I write an article for or which like celebrity or somebody with big reach or somebody that has a lot of influence, how can I get something to them so that they can put it out to their people because that’s really what’s going to start to move the eyeballs to your website, to your blog. So, I think that’s really been the biggest key thing for me in Addicted2Success is to really be more resourceful with what you’re doing and use everything that you have as leverage to get you to the next level where you need to go.
YARO: Is there any more, just at the top off your head, traffic techniques you found that’s worked in this marketing outreach process, like your top two or something like that?
Obviously, Twitter has been great and targeting celebrities. It’s been great. Is there any other thing that stands out in your memory?
JOEL: Really, really quality content, man really because I know that when I started to really focus on writing quality content, other people started to share my content on their site and they would link back.
So, maybe that’s the thing, right? Jumping on Google and google searching a title of one of your articles and just seeing if somebody else has put that out and then, contacting them if they haven’t put a link back to that article and asking them to link back to your website, or link back to the article so, you can boost your SEO because I got to a point where my SEO organic traffic started to overtake my social media traffic. And now, most of my traffic is from Google search engines because I have put out a focus on putting a lot of quality content and a lot of people have been linking back to my articles, and I get on to them now, and they’re like sometimes, if I see an article online that I know is mine that I originally wrote and I see they are not linking back to me, just like sending out a friendly email like, “Hey, thanks so much for sharing the article that was on my site. As you’d understand, it’s a respectful thing to link back and I really appreciate it if you could do that for me and you’re more than welcome to share a couple of other articles in the future as long as you can link back.” There’s no problem with asking that and it’s really going to help you in the long run.
YARO: All right Joel, where besides Addicted2Success.com, is there any other places you want to let us know about?
JOEL: Yes, actually, you can head over to TribeLearn.com. It’s basically a new platform where we’re bringing a community of bloggers together that really want to start creating a next level blog, or taking their blog to the next level. So, definitely head over to TribeLearn.com and check it out. That’s a joint venture, that’s a joint forces basically with Mindvalley.
YARO: Awesome. TribeLearn and Addicted2 Success for everything to do with Joel Brown. I look forward to seeing where you go with Addicted2Success. It sounds like you’re reaching a lot of people and you can reach a lot more and you’re not entirely sure where it will eventually reach in terms of events or more publishing and so forth. I’m curious to see where it all goes. But, good to see another Australian doing well, man. So, congrats on your results so far and good luck!
JOEL: Thank you, Yaro! And, yes, let’s get you up on Addicted2Success as well.
YARO: Yes, would love to, man.
JOEL: Helping each other out, man.
YARO: Appreciate it. All right, well thanks for answering my questions and good luck in the future. Thanks everyone for listening in. This has been the Entrepreneurs’ Journey podcast. My name is Yaro and thanks for listening. Catch you soon, bye!
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About Yaro Starak
Yaro Starak is the author of the Blog Profits Blueprint, a report you can download instantly to learn how to make $10,000 a month, from only blogging 2 hours per day. You can find Yaro on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.
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