Why I Am Cutting Costs And Changing Business Models

Published by 89 Comments

The last few months have been interesting. I’m currently going through a transition phase. While I experience this process I think about my business goals, what kind of money I want to make, how I want to make it and what roles I specifically want to do. This takes time.

It’s an exciting process, one that very much appeals to my entrepreneurial side as I get to start new projects and think about what kind of business I want to be in charge of for the next few years. The downside of this process is the direction change has an impact on my income in the present.

Many of my current projects are winding down, and because I’m not launching new projects just yet, I rely on ongoing cash-flow from my more consistent income streams like blog advertising and affiliate income. This means I’m not making quite as much money and I’m also spending money to invest in new projects.

I’ve seen the signs of these changes coming for a while now so I’ve been preparing for it. Previously I spent money easily and didn’t worry if I was “wasting” money here and there because my focus was on generating revenue. Since my new projects won’t generate revenue for a while, I’ve reduced costs, an activity many business owners neglect, which is a real opportunity to increase profit.

A Changing Environment

There are many changes occurring right now that are impacting my business. Here are some of them –

  1. The US dollar has dropped in value significantly. I’m in Australia and pay for my life in Australian dollars. In the past I’ve earned as much as 50% extra when converting USD to AUD. If I made $1,000 USD, that would go into my bank account as around $1,500 AUD. Today as I type this that ratio has changed dramatically. Now for every $1 US I deposit I receive about $0.90 Australian – I lose 10% on the currency exchange.
  2. The amount of blogs and information products out there in the make money online and internet marketing niche has exploded. A lot of people are doing good work, and that means people have more choice with whom they choose to spend their educational dollars with, or even just whom they pay attention to. If you’re not constantly over-delivering, then you are losing your audience to other, better content producers.
  3. What works in my market has changed. For example, when I wrote the Blog Profits Blueprint, Blog Carnivals were a traffic tactic that still had some merit. Today people want to know about Twitter and Facebook. Fundamentals never change, but some tools and techniques grow old and new ones emerge, and people want to know what is the latest and greatest.
  4. You personally need to remain current in your knowledge. With all these changes going on to technology and marketing techniques and media formats, you need to at least stay aware of what is going on. If you truly want to remain at the top of your field, awareness alone is not enough. You have to study and implement these new options so you can speak with authority that only comes from actually doing something. You need to be your own case study.

These are just some of the changes. Not all of them affect every industry, but from my point of view based on the business model I have followed for the last few years, they are all very relevant.

Responding To Change

I’ve had to make some changes to respond to the current market conditions so I can ensure I have enough ongoing cash-flow to keep things running smoothly while I am in an investment and development phase. I’m also considering how my current projects will evolve to deal with these changes.

Here are some examples of the kind of changes I’ve been making to my business -

The Currency Issue

The weakening US dollar combined with a transition period in my business direction has seen my income fall compared to previous years. I’ve already begun to make some changes, switching some of my income streams, such as advertising prices on this blog, to Australian dollars. I am also changing the price to AUD for my products, but I have to be careful with that because the majority of my customers are from the US. If the currency exchange results in a significant increase in cost for Americans, sales will drop.

This problem is difficult to judge because I don’t know where the dollar is going. If the USD collapses completely then focusing on the Australian market may be my best option (selling to Australians in AUD is sustainable while I live here, although a significant reduction in market size because Australia has a much smaller population). If the USD stays around where it currently is, or doesn’t get much worse or improves, then charging in AUD or USD won’t have much of an impact. For now I’m adjusting on the fly based on what the exchange rate is.

Cutting Costs

I’ve cut the cost of some of the ongoing expenses I have in my business, for example -

  • When I built my training programs I initially used Cachefly CDN to host my media, including videos, audios and PDFs, which provide a server specifically set up for delivering large files. When Amazon S3 came out (another service specifically for delivering large files based on Amazon’s cloud hosting technology) I switched over to that service. Amazon charges by how much bandwidth you use. Cachefly charges a flat monthly fee for a set amount of bandwidth, regardless of whether you use it.

    My hosting bill was significant because I had purchased so many Cachefly accounts. I continued to pay the fee for a long time because I couldn’t be bothered moving all the files to Amazon and updating the links. Finally at the start of this year I made the switch, I moved the files and my assistant updated the links. It took a couple of hours all up, and reduced my hosting bill by over $2,000 a year.

  • Like most internet marketers I’ve registered a lot of domain names for ideas. Most of the domains I will never use, and even though they cost about $10 a year to maintain, if you have enough domains doing nothing, the bill can add up. I’ve saved almost $500 this year simply by not renewing the domains I’m not going to use.
  • AWeber, my email autoresponder, is vital to the success of my business, however it’s long time overdue for me to “clean” my list. Cleaning simply means taking some steps to cull people from your list who are no longer reading your emails. I’ve got over 80,000 people on my lists collected over five years now, but I know a proportion of these email addresses are dead. Aweber charges by how many people subscribe and my bill has been over $500 a month for a while (even after culling deleted subscribers regularly).

    In the near future I’ll send notices to everyone on my email list letting people know that if they want to continue receiving my messages they have to confirm their intention. I’ll do this a few times to make sure everyone gets a chance to keep their account active, but if they don’t respond to any of the notifications they will be removed from my list.

    I expect I might lose as many as 50% of my subscribers doing this, but the end result will be a list of more responsive people and I won’t be spending money to keep dead email addresses on my list. This will save $2,000 to $3,000 a year.

Just making these changes has “found” about $5,000 I now get to keep instead of spend on things I don’t need. There are many other things I am cutting out too that I no longer need or never needed in the first place. Cutting costs is worth taking the time to do, so think about it for your own business.

Renovating My Products

I’ve got some great training materials in my courses. Most of it is relevant and valuable, although some sections need to be updated or removed, and a few new topics need to be added. I also need to restructure what content goes in what courses and consider where I want to expand out into new training resources.

In short, my entire sales final needs renovating, which is something I’d like to complete this year. I also have the 2-Hour Work Day report (finished) and program to release, and consider how it will fit into my business as well. There are branding decisions to make, as well as pricing decisions, which are critical when it comes to structuring a solid front and back end sequence of products.

What Floats My Boat

If you are anything like me, despite knowing there are some great opportunities in front of you doing what already works, sometimes you want a change. In my case although I love running an information publishing business I’m more excited about two things I am working on right now.

They are -

  • A software service for bloggers that will be released in the second half of this year.
  • Switching to the magazine model for this blog.

These two things are my main focus and heavily interlinked. These are the projects that excite me the most.

I’ve always wanted to get into software and I’ve had an idea for a long time that has finally started to come together with the right people helping me make it happen. I like this project because it’s not about me, my personal brand, and has significant potential for leverage if it works. I see this as a true Internet start-up that could go big, and I’m certainly looking forward to seeing how you respond once I release it. It delivers a service I want as a blogger, and I expect lots of other bloggers will want to use it too.

This blog for a long time has been a front end for my information publishing business, but that is changing. I’ve always loved the idea of having my own magazine, and running a blog that is focused on being a true “media” site, is pretty much the same thing.

There are so many great blogs out there today that are larger than the biggest newspapers and magazines in the print world based on how many people read them. They run a model that isn’t about selling ebooks or courses, instead they deliver a stream of content that people check in every day to consume. The model is about audience size and advertising revenue, and owning a “content channel”. The focus isn’t on one individual personality.

You may have noticed that both these focuses are similar in one aspect – they remove me from the equation. While I will be heavily involved with the development of these projects, and I will continue to write to this blog, the goal is to make everything less dependent on any one person. This means they are businesses that deliver value because of the system in place and/or a group of people are responsible for success, with no one individual responsible for any critical component. If someone leaves, the value doesn’t, so the business continues.

This is a deliberate choice because I want to create businesses that are sellable and income streams that don’t rely on me. I’ve done a pretty good job of this already in the information publishing world despite basing it on my own brand, but this can only take you so far. I want to move beyond me.

You can already see evidence of these changes with all the great columnists coming on board here at Entrepreneurs-Journey. Obviously for this to work we have to continue to deliver value and that is my primary goal. I realize some people come to this blog specifically for my work, which will still be here (this article is yet another example of me continuing to write about my own entrepreneurs-journey), but now you will get more.

What Do You Want?

I have no idea if any of these changes will pay off, but it’s exciting to be doing it. It’s a new phase for me and I enjoy the challenge and the potential.

I value your feedback throughout this process and I’d especially love to know what you would like to see more of on Entrepreneurs-Journey. You come here for a reason and face challenges of your own. The more awareness I have of what you are striving for, what problems you need to solve and what goals you have, the better job we can do providing solutions here at this blog.

I’d love to hear your feedback as comment replies.

As always, thanks for reading,

Yaro Starak
Entrepreneur

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 .

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89 Comments

  • This is why I LOVE the internet! ALWAYS something new to challenge you. You can never rest on your laurels and we all know if Yaro has to rethink his model – so do the rest of us!

    • Note I don’t HAVE to change my model, this is more a personal choice.

      I could keep creating and teaching courses and keep this blog focused on me and do very well. That’s an option and a nice fall back, but I want to do other things and help people in new ways.

      Choosing a model is a very important decision though, you really need to know why you are doing it.

    • I’d have to agree Graham. I love the internet for this very reason as well. I never have to stay in the same niche, and if something drastic changes like what’s happening with the Make Money Online niche as well as what’s happening with the US dollar, there is always a backup plan (targeting niches in other countries, or even moving to those other countries and finding out what THEY want.) Internet marking has taught me a lot about international relations and how to cater to the needs/wants/desires of all kinds of different people, and how to thrive on change. Yaro is right- he doesn’t HAVE to change his model, but it’s definitely the better business decision for the long run. It’s not good to get too comfortable with any one method in business- whether it’s IM or not. The world economy…well just the WORLD in general is always in a constant state of flux, and businesses should be able to adapt to that. The ones who don’t adapt get left behind. Sadly, Yaro, the currency issues are something that I’ve been thinking about for a few years now- as I am actually a current RESIDENT of the US. The debt issue has been a problem for years and years, and honestly, I don’t think it will get better. When I think about our current state here in North America, I often liken it to the fall of Rome. No one can be a super power forever…if I were you I’d start targeting customers in China or India.

  • Jon

    The US dollar has hit me as well, use to be 60% when I first started business and now I’m in the same boat many years later regarding the Canadian dollar (you the AUD). I’m seriously considering raising my prices as a result – switching to AUD will affect your US customer base – no way around it… best to stick with US but charge more.

    Business opportunities… once you find something that makes money, others will copy… just make something that is harder to copy next time around but I’m sure you had a few good years before others caught-up.

    Jon
    Founder of WoodMarvels.com

    • The copying isn’t such a problem as you can foster your own following even if you teach something similar to others, as long as you are always doing experiments to learn from.

      The currency thing is a unique challenge though. I hope the US gets itself back to where it was, for all of our sakes.

      • Jon

        Hi Yaro, sadly, this is being done on purpose by the US gov in order to allow it to borrow MORE money. I don’t see this changing for a few years more… the more they get themselves in debt, the more they need to print to pay their debts thus the less their money is worth as there are less assets covering the value of the US dollar. Another option I was considering was the Euro but they’re having their own issues at the moment as well (hence their drop in value).

        I guess a third option would be to offer two different prices, one in AU and the other in US – that would drive people to buy AUD (outside of USA) and customers within the US, USD. Let the people vote with their purchases which currency they wish to purchase your products/services in.

        Jon
        Founder of WoodMarvels.com

        • Hi Jon:

          I’ve thought about that quite often (web currency switching over to EUR). Everythign’s based in USD, but if everybody switched to EUR (or, if there was a greater movement towards that), then I would imagine that the online consumer base would simply become more accustomed to EUR instead of USD.

          Overall though, I do agree with what you’re saying about USD… It’s not going up anytime soon (at least, not to those levels we want it to), which is why the EUR looks all the more attractive now.

      • Hi Yaro!!

        I completely understand what you’re saying about the significant drop with the USD versus other currencies. I’m in Canada as well (like the gentleman above) but my story is the same as yours. I’ve got many projects running online and I used to get a 50% exchange bonus on every USD I deposited. Now, it’s a 60% loss… Although it was a bonus income stream to begin with, I came to enjoy and even depend upon it!

        There is one way that you can “hedge” against this loss, as many people do with commodities (sugar, corn, coffee, etc)… You can trade the forex market to make up the loss. This does require a whole new set of skills to learn, and it is risky as well, but if you were to make it happen, the forex market could hedge against those losses (or, at least some of them).

        Essentially, you would use the market to make up the loss of that 50% – 60% (or, at least as much as you could successfully recoup). Something’s always better than nothing, right?

        Just a thought :-)

  • Yaro,

    I’ve enjoyed watching your blog change over the years and I’m glad to see that you are “keeping up with the times”. It’s very easy for technology to get outdated and for systems that worked today become obsolete tomorrow. I saw that first have with my last software company, ModernBill, but it is especially true in the IM space; when everyone is pushing the “flavor of the day” and “the next best thing”. It’s quite comical at times.

    One of the things I plan to focus on this summer is taking a good look at my daily work load and start outsourcing those tasks to VA’s and developers around the world. This is a great way to maximize your $ and will certainly free up some more creative time.

    One note of caution though…remote VA’s and remote developers are very easy to fall into the “out of site, out of mind” trap. So I’m working on a new software product to solve that problem as well, HiveDesk. I’ll tell you more about it when we do our relaunch later this summer.

    Thanks again for producing great content.

    ~ Michael
    ~ http://www.HiveDesk.com

  • You are very precise with you incomes and expenses. I personally oblige myself to think back from time to time and see what i can do to minimize my expenses and maximize my income. Organization is the key to success. Thanks for sharing such a valuable info

  • …what you would like to see more of on Entrepreneurs-Journey.

    More articles from You.

    Your team are fine but I think the site has lots its appeal in the last 6-9 months. More of the old Yaro would be great.

    Ivan

    • Paul L.

      This is actually a great, thought-provoking post.

      But I have to agree with Ivan. I have not found most of the posts from other authors to be especially useful or interesting, so I rarely even read them anymore.

      I can understand why Yaro would want to make his web business not so dependent on him personally, but if Yaro further reduces his participation in this website I will probably unsubscribe in my RSS reader.

      I wish Yaro the best of luck, but I think the move to a “magazine” style website is a mistake. As mentioned in the post, there are an increasing number of internet marketing resources available. If this website becomes just another place publishing articles about how to make money online then it will become just another site among many out there.

      Like it or not, the connection the readers have with a particular expert (Yaro in this case) is very important. All of us know there are tons of articles about internet business available, but we read Yaro because we have found what he has to say on the subject useful and relevant to us.

      • I realize some people just want the content from me and that’s why they started reading E-J in the first place.

        I also realize that seeing all these new authors make it appear like there is less from me.

        I also realize people are forming connections with columnists like Neroli and Dr Mani, who are providing real value beyond what I do, adding to this site overall.

        I’ll keep watching the stats, seeing how many people stop reading and how many new subscribers join, what the growth rate is etc, and of course listen to what you say. I also watch closely to see how much interaction other authors receive, what kind of feedback I get about them too.

        What I have to be careful about is not listening to any one source of feedback. I appreciate what you guys said and if my traffic drops significantly I will have to consider that a fairly large chunk of the audience agree with you. I also need to consider that over 50% of my audience are new every day because they come from search engines. They don’t have the history with me like you guys do, so they just come to the site and see it as it is (I’m making some design changes to cater to this group too).

        Of course I don’t want to burn my loyal readership who come back every day either.

        I hope we can meet the needs of both groups, the people who only want me and the people who enjoy the stories and lessons from the other entrepreneurs. It’s an experiment and time will tell how it goes.

        Thanks for the feedback guys!

        • Hey Yaro

          I agree with Paul, content from other people who write good is just not that good. It may be useful, but its not as great as your posts.

          I would recommend you to limit the participation of other columnist for you to start posting more frequently, perhaps 3 tips per week Yaro posts and 3 times columnist posts.

          Just a suggestion!

          cheers

        • Yaro, thanks for the gracious comments about my contribution. The chance to ‘add value’ was what attracted me to your offer to write a regular column :-)

          I also admire the way you’re proactively seeking to adapt to changes and risking possibly alienating a section of your existing audience by shifting gears. In fact, the steps you’ve taken are nearly exactly the same ones I took last year to cut costs and adapt my business to the changing trends. Deleting 6,000 double opt-in email addresses from my Aweber database wasn’t exactly an easy decision to make – but some things just need doing!

          Your post in fact inspired my next contributed article, it’s about managing change. It’s a vital message for entrepreneurs, and I’m sure many reading your blog will learn something valuable from this one.

          All success
          Dr.Mani

    • Yep sorry Yaro, I’m with Ian.

  • If I can add one more thing to the list about cutting cost. While that is the right thing to do, I would agree that the majority of attention should be in making more money. It’s difficult to focus on both at the same time. In other words, spend 20% of your time cutting cost, and 80% of your time increasing income.

    Stay organized, as what David said, is very important. Organized in your thoughts and in your actions.

    As a side note, Neroli has some great articles that are very informative….keep her!

    Tony

    • Thanks for your comments about Neroli Tony, it’s good to know there are people who do like the other columnists (and the new columnists need to know this too!).

      As for your comments about cutting costs – agreed! It would be near impossible for me to spend much time cutting costs simply because I don’t have that many!

    • He-he:) Very kind of you to be giving me such a big thumbs up Tony, thanks for the comments & I’m glad you get useful things from my writing. I know it’s not everyone’s style, and it was Yaro who taught me the importance of writing authentically above all else. cheers, neroli

      • Oh, hey, I also want to add, the I do read a lot of the other columnist’s work, and there is some great stuff being shared. And I agree with you, the new writers do need to know this. Of course it won’t be like listening to you, Yaro, and it’s a pretty big shift in business models and perception for you to manage, I hope it works out well either way, cheers, neroli

        • Neroli, I too do read quite a few other columns, and enjoy the diversity in content being offered. I’ve been following Yaro for nearly 7 years now – and having fresh insights from a range of writers with different levels of experience and expertise is fascinating. Another facet of this ‘guest blogging’ side of things is that it brings a whole new audience to Yaro’s blog itself. I blog, tweet and FB ‘like’ my contributions here, which brings a few visitors from my network into contact with you and other authors… which overall grows the E-J community. I’m sure other guest writers do too.

  • Hey Yaro,
    Thanks for shedding light on what’s happening with you. Couple thoughts for you:
    I tend to agree with Jon about maybe just raising your USD pricing…but I guess the only way to know for sure is to do some testing. Maybe split test 2 offers, simply changing the pricing, etc.

    Sometimes, we all just need a change. I was banging out content hard and heavy, but never realized the same success with blogging as you did monetarily. This time around…my blog is simply a communication tool. It’s not “my income provider” if that makes sense. I was driving traffic, but didn’t really have a product or service to offer to people. This time around, I come with the product/service and am simply using that as a communication tool to better connect with people.

    Change is good. It will help you experience relief from what pains you with everything.
    PS. it’s scary thinking about lopping off 50% of your email list, but I think you’re right in that the ones who really want to hear from you will resignup. Wouldn’t worry too much there.

    Take care,
    Brandon Yeager

    • You and Jon have a good point – price rising on USD is an option to compensate for currency changes. It’s really something that I just have to play by ear.

      Given that I am going through so many changes with my products anyway, changing pricing structure and product structure is going to happen no matter what. The currency exchange just adds a random element to it.

      And yea, – I’m still a little undecided about the email list thing too. I know it’s a great way to organize my list and reduce costs, but I also know that I will cut some real people from the list who may have ended up responding sometime in the future.

      It also means my stats counters will change too, which from a social proof point of view matters.

      I’m going to start by doing this process with some of my smaller older lists and then go from there and see what happens.

      • Yaro,
        That’s a great idea about testing on some smaller lists first. And…you’re right…the social proof is a big thing. But, if somebody tells me they have 80,000 people on their email list, or 40,000…I’d still consider them as doing some really good things. Especially considering that 95% of marketers probably have less than 500 on their list.

        And good for you for putting yourself out there and sharing with the world.

        Brandon Yeager

  • Re: AWeber – you can see when the last time a subscriber has opened an email (if you’ve been using HTML emails), so you could delete subscribers easily who haven’t opened an email for a certain period of time?

    Re: This site, sometimes I think I want to see more from you personally, not less. Once a week or so, that might be the schedule you’re on now, but it seems less with the other authors.

    Overall, interesting stuff, it’s vital to change with the times, my first plugin will be out in the next few weeks!

    • I thought about doing that with AWeber Joel – in fact I did do it at one point to one list, but it cut a stupid amount of people – over 60%.

      The problem with that is I don’t 100% trust the HTML stats, and it’s not the same as asking people to actually show they still want your content. I’m also doing this to restructure my follow-up sequence so I can update it as well, so it’s like a huge email clean-up for me.

      As for your other point, I suspect many people like you want to hear from me more than once a week – even daily. I like that I have the option to just sit down and blog if I want to and I could do that and make a good living. That’s a great fallback option if everything else crashes, and something I did during the first few years at this blog.

      However I’m not looking to be a full time blogger. I want to write in other areas besides business and play with bigger ideas. It’s a personal choice thing more than anything. I never stick to one thing forever.

      • I should take a look at my list and see, though I often just do text emails and you’re right, HTML stats can be unreliable.

        I think adding authors is a great thing, and your brand certainly encompasses it well. Weekly blogging is all I manage at the moment, lots of projects on the go as I know you have.

  • Personally I only continue to read this blog because of the articles you write, Yaro. I’m not interested in Entrepreneurs-Journey.com turning into ProBlogger or Inc.com. Of course this is just my opinion!

    • Thanks for the feedback Will – though I hope you did give some of the other columnists at least a try. They have some unique insights into areas I do not.

  • Yes Yaro life is just a big experiment. We try something and if it doesn’t work, tweak it or get rid of it.

    Maybe it comes down to two writers, Neroli and Dr Mani, and you fill in the rest. I guess we will see. Ether way I think the folks want more of you, and maybe less of the other guy’s. I personally like the two writers mentioned above. I know they add invaluable content to this site.

    You can take a poll, this way you will know in advance what’s up instead of watching your traffic drop off. besides, this will show your readers you are concerned or at the very least, you’re staying in touch.

    I believe life gives us signals, if we ignore them, they just get louder.

    Tony

    • So True Tony, and for me the best survey mechanism is my traffic stats (only a small percentage of people ever respond to polls). Leevi’s recent article is doing well, as have previous content from Sunil, Ken and of course my man Mitch.

      Different writers appeal to different markets. This experiment is about providing more value overall for everyone involved, including the new writers, the audience and me.

      But of course I will keep watching out for all the signals, things like the comments to this post give me food for thought.

    • Thanks, Tony. Glad you like my contributions. I myself like quite a few of the others’ posts, it’s all good. Loved this quote of yours: “life gives us signals, if we ignore them, they just get louder.” :-)

  • Joy

    Hi Yaro,

    Thanks for sharing what has been going on with your business.

    I personally did come to this site originally because of you, but I have really enjoyed learning from your guest bloggers as well. Thanks for explaining why I have seen less of you, I had wondered. So long as you are still around and writing for us, I am happy.

    Cheers

    Joy

  • I started following this site back in 2007 I believe, and will admit that I don’t read as much because I come to read Yaro. This is NOT a slam against the others. If I enjoy a particular author and he stops writing, it’s just not the same if they give someone else the characters and story lines. I gave it a fair shake though. Interestingly this is probably why I tend to ignore guest posts on all blogs..

  • Hi Yaro,

    Just to let you know, your Aweber fee won’t get reduced if you delete subscribers. I have checked with Aweber earlier and for fee calculation purposes, they count “total number of subscribers”. This total includes “current subscribers + unsubscribed folks + subscribers you have deleted”

    You may also want to check with Aweber.

    Thanks and Regards
    Ankur

    • Hi Ankur, when I say delete I mean delete from my aweber account, so they no longer have any record at all.

      I’m currently charged for about 80,000+ leads. Once I do this process it will drop from 60-50K subscribers as a guestimate, so knocking a good 30-40% off my fee.

      • Hi Yaro,

        I understand. I inquired the same from Aweber tech support earlier and according to them they count the TOTAL subscribers as I mentioned above. (Even if you have deleted them from Aweber account, they do keep track of the total subscribers at any given point of time and fee is based on that figure)

        Thanks and Regards
        Ankur

        • I’ve done this process before on my unsubscribes Ankur. You email support and ask them to delete the unsubscribes so they are removed from the system.

          A few hundred people unsubscribe from my lists every month so every six months or so I’ve done this to help reduce the fee, although marginally.

          • Thanks Yaro. I’ll check again.
            It will save me some money too if that is the case.

  • I completely understand your desire to change your blog model from a “you” based blog to a magazine format and remove yourself from the equation. Michael Gerber would be proud and it’s obviously a must if you ever hope to sell, not to mention have a life for other ventures. Truly best of luck with the transition.

    I’m personally (as I’m sure are many others) sad to see the blog taking this change. You are very talented at what you do and really put a great product out there (awesome, relevant content…and love your podcasts). I know I know you’ll still be posting content but the winds of change are upon us. Best of luck with all your ventures.

  • It was nice hearing your thought process, the pit, falls and gains in blogging and how you want to get into other internet business territories.For me personally I have always come into this space and learnt so much from you, your newsletter has been a great tool and dear Yaro I wish you the best in your endeavorers.Your columnists have been great, providing invaluable insights as well……cheeeerio!

  • Hey Yaro

    Great article. What I appreciate about this article is your complete open honesty about where you are at and some of the challenges that you are facing.

    That is exactly why you attract 1000′s of loyal followers, it goes to show that authenticity goes a long way. We are so used to hearing how easy it is to make money online and I personally appreciate to know that even the people at the top of the game such as yourself are having to evolve (although that is slightly exhausitng to think about that you rarely get a place that you can stop,breath and just let things roll!).

    I think your challenge about it all being about ‘you’ is a good lesson to others as well when thinking of using the blogging model if they think it is a great way of having an ultimate lifestyle business. As you have found and highlighted, it is difficult to step away. Good food to thought.

    I am particularly excited to hear about your lifestyle design project – 2 hour day as it fits with part of what I seek to offer my clients – introducing them to the best authentic lifestyle experts out there and their strategies. Do you have a rough timescale for the release of your report?

    Good luck Yaro, I am quite sure you will succeed in your new ventures.

    Jennie

  • Hi Yaro,

    Awesome post. A magazine structure would be better for the future. I was looking at my business model the other day and I’m moving more towards games rather than animations.

    Animations are great for getting the characters attention and fame, which I can leverage to launch a game from. To have a subscriber base of 5,000+ helps for the initial rush when we do get it onto the iphone.

    When it’s realeased, it maybe an idea to have an interview with you. ;]

    All the best,

    David Edwards

  • Yaro,

    This post is why I’ve chosen to read EJ. It’s your behind the scenes, candid look at the “entrepreneur’s journey.” That said, I have given a few of the columnists a chance, and I dig it.

    A couple thoughts-

    1. It’s doubtful the dollar is coming back. It’s going to continue to crash from what I have learned. No fiat currency has ever lasted longer than 41 years. The USA switched to a fiat currency 41 years ago. The dollar’s time is up. Unfortunately, instead of just letting this run it’s course, the US gov. is actually printing more and more money and that will cause a hyper inflation. The time is coming. You’re doing the responsible thing by preparing correctly.

    2. You were one of the first “pro bloggers.” Now it’s common place. That time has come and gone (my opinion). Moving to a Magazine Model can be very powerful if you get the right staff of writers. I have no doubt you’ll find the right combo.

    3. I would agree with the move from creating product based training courses to software. Things are changing so fast in the product based training space that it must be hard to keep up especially if you’re not fully in the game keeping up on the latest and greatest. You have to be in the trenches.

    Thanks Yaro,

    Eric Walker

    • Respectfully, I totally disagree with Eric, blogging is evolving very quickly and there is room for someone to continue to be a leader in helping the Millions of bloggers evolve with the market…why go through the trouble of building a following, establishing a brand, build years of expertise and then drop it…you can only do that a few times in your life and you will be bankrupt.

      Jeff

  • I personally think you should work to elevate your brand and work harder to put together systematic training programs that others can run for you.

    I have seen some top bloggers become the hard-working front end publicity channel to a back-end, systematic business – where they engage the market and then employ others to put together rapid programs that come from opportunities highlighted by the engagement with their marketplace.

    Underlying whatever move forward you make -do you have a 30-second USP that guides you – know exactly what clear value you will offer to your market in exchange for sales and profit?

    I’m not sure the newsletter or media route is the way to go – other than to create powerful relationships that can be turned into back-end buyers.

    Jeff

    • Hey Jeff, that’s a really interesting insight, regarding how important a blogger is to being the front man/woman for their audience and then outsourcing the behind the scenes stuff more…I guess it will be decided by how vital the creator of the blog is to the front of house jobs…and it is clear Yaro’s audience do really value him and his presence. But I’m glad I get to be here in a writing capacity, and I intend to help Yaro grow in this direction he’s chosen as long as he and his audience follow that track:)
      cheers, neroli.

    • Jeff you are spot on for someone who wants to build an information publishing business selling training products. This may yet be the path for me, as I have more to teach.

      If I was to respond honestly though, rather than spend the next few years creating info products and setting up systems to sell them, I would prefer to be running a software business and a large scale blog (and investing in other new entreprises).

      The USP for the blog is changing. The USP for my software service is clear and will be revealed once we have a working service in a couple of months.

  • Yaro,
    Some tough choices that you had to make but I am sure that your entrepreneurial spirit is driving you in the right direction.

    I am adding guest-posting on my blog but am concerned if this really is a turn-off for readers. I still plan on doing the majority of the posting but I wanted to free up some time to create new products and services.

    I am curious to see what the new magazine site will be like.

    • Hey justin:) I think it can be a tricky juggle judging by the responses to this post, it seems there are some strong preferences in both directions. I’ve seen the magazine style thing work extremely well on some other blogs, and I picked up a brilliant book and got connected with the author, Michael Ellsberg, after he wrote a guest post on Tim Ferris’s blog. I guess you will find out through your audience response anyway, good luck! :)n

    • Justin, I think as long as the guest posts match the flavor of your blog and provide value for your readers it will be fine.

    • Hey Justin,

      From the beginning I never set out to have “guest posters”. I’ve looked for columnists who want to start and continue to build a column on this site, taking us through their entrepreneurs journey. This isn’t always easy to do though as it required ongoing commitment to share over a period of time (I require one article a week for a year commitment, the rest of the job is annoying the writers to stick to it!).

      Good luck with your own attempts to bring in new content to your blog.

    • Justin, you said: “I am adding guest-posting on my blog but am concerned if this really is a turn-off for readers.”

      A lot of this has to do with the nature of your blog – whether it’s branded around the blogger, or on the niche/theme/subject.

      In the latter case, you can get outside experts to contribute with no dilution of the blog’s impact. But in ‘person centric blogs’ (like Yaro’s is, to an extent – E-J grew on the back of his name and image), shifting over to another model with others contributing content, can affect segments of the audience differently. The comments on this post alone is a fairly diverse example of this, with some in favor, others against, and many willing to ‘wait and watch’.

      The easiest way to know for sure is try what Yaro has here – run a test, watch the numbers, make a call on whether to continue or give it up as a bad idea.

  • Max

    The US dollar is really going down. I live in canada so I’m actually get less money than I normally do because the conversion gives me less money. Hopefully there is some change in this.

  • It’s impressive how the internet and world changes so quickly…

    We should be always prepared and be adapted for these fast changes

  • Yaro,

    This is such great information! Thanks so much for sharing!!!

    Karen

  • Hiya Yaro. Very insightful and totally appreciated as I embark on my own “Entrepreneurs Journey” with my travel web sites.

    Had not know that’s how Aweber counts subscribers for billing purposes, sneaky. Still a good service.

    The changing dollar is annoying as I travel quite a bit and with the dollar being so weak to the EUR and the GBP, I get killed, so I totally get where you are coming from.

    I look forward to your magazine journey as I’m looking in that direction as well. Not to mention that blogging software.

    Hopefully, our paths will cross and I’ll get to meet you at some point.

  • Small tweaks BIG changes I like how you made all things efficient without losing it’s effectiveness. You’re an Inspiration to the industry.

  • Hi Yaro,

    IM is multi-level marketing with a mouse.

    Whether you are flogging Mary Kay cosmetics or IM software, you have to keep people entering the bottom of the food chain.

    And these people are getting more tired and weary and poor by the day.

    Yaro, good on you for changing your model. Best of luck.

    And here’s hoping the IM spruikers on the internets will move back into selling swamp land and penis extenders, and give us all a break from their 9000% Profit IN ONE SECOND spam.

    Ack.

    Bill

  • Thanks Neroli.

  • Hey this is just what I needed to read right now. Im also gearing up for such a business model transition and it can be tricky to take into account all the factors involved, especially a non-recurring income.

    Ive bookmarked the site and will be back for more in the future….

    Chris

  • Good stuff. I’ve gone through this process twice now. Once as I quit my day job and went freelance as a programmer and once again more recently as I set my sites on internet marketing.

    Right now it takes very little for me to keep my bills paid. I can do just enough programming work to pay the bills and load up the bank accounts and then spend the rest of my time trying to train my programmer’s brain to think more like a marketer.

    Not an easy task by any means.

  • Hey Yaro – I think you just scored an ‘Own Goal’ with your list cleaning excercise :-(

    I wondered why I hadn’t heard from you recently. I think you’ll find that a lot of people ‘save time’ by not opening your E-mails as they are usually just a notification of a new blog post. That’s great, it’s what we signed up for (I think!)

    Soooo …. Like me, a lot of people will simply click your blog link in their ‘Favourites’ and go straight to your latest entry without opening the E-mail as the first line is usually visible in most E-mail readers… Job done!

    While your stats show ‘No Opens’ I’ll bet your blog visit count hardly dropped.
    So you have deleted a lot of people who ‘were’ looking out for those E-mails and in turn visiting your blog = potential revenue for You!

    Just a thought Yaro.

    Good luck, Pete :-)

    • Hey Pete,

      No own goals yet as I haven’t done any cleaning. When the cleaning begins, if you are on certain lists I own over the course of a month or two I will send plenty of notices to people to let them know about the changes. However I will test this on a small list first to see how it goes.

      The notification of new blog post emails that contain the actual blog post in them is a separate list to the newsletter + blog profits blueprint list. The blueprint list I send notices about products I recommend and links to new posts/podcasts I have published, but only the best ones, not every one.

  • Dan

    Hello Yaro,

    Very interesting and candid blog post – it is this type of honesty and openness that makes this website stand out.

    Does all this mean that this website no longer makes $20,000 per month?

    Dan

    • Hey Dan,

      Thanks for the props!

      My business – on average – continues to make $20,000 a month this year, though it’s definitely an average because some months I’ve made $30,000 in one week by shutting down one of my programs, plus a $10,000 hit from promoting an affiliate launch.

      The consistent blog income from advertising + affiliate sales that are recurring (things like aweber) is about $10,000, the rest of the income depends what I do regarding promoting product launches or selling my own products.

      I can say that I haven’t had a month making $50-$100,000 which has happened when I have launched my own programs, so that’s where I’m losing out the most through these changes. I expect I will launch the 2-hour work day later this year though.

  • Hi Yaro,

    What I love about your post is the fact that you share exactly what you’re going through so one can relate so easily! It’s great to see all the efforts you’re putting in to the new business model. I am sure that all these small cost that you are cutting down would add up to quiet alot of saving, It’s these small cost that end up being huge money. My best wishes are with you. I am sure you will do great! Thanks for sharing.

    Riya Sam
    Training for Entrepreneurs.com

    • Riya, the reduction in costs is definitely helpful. Besides the monetary saving, psychologically knowing I am not wasting as much money on latency in my business is a mental relief.

  • I fully understand the decision to transition from a personal blog to a magazine. Truly, a conventional magazine also has different authors some of who are solely responsible for a couple of readers each. Other readers come for the brand, or for the topic.

    I guess the traditional readers of this blog don’t like the change, precisely for the reason why you had it change. They connect to you. Although I lamented too in the beginning, there is no point stressing the matter. The numbers will teach you, like you said above. Behind the upside of the numbers, there are sure readers who connect to the new squad and they must be wondering what the fuzz is about, if they read your articles at all. For them, it is all bonus: they get a variety of editors, one of which is that fabulous Yaro.

    So, let’s quit the moaning, keep reading your articles if that is what we connect to and give the others a break. Above all, let’s transition along and think about our own opportunities for transition.

  • Hey Yaro,

    Thanks for writing an awesome post and I can totally relate.

    I’m in the same boat as you and I’ve switched over from charging US to AUD instead. Since I’m using FusionHQ from Gideon’s recommendation it was a very easy thing to do and I noticed people are still purchasing, which is a good thing. I recently also received a lump sum in USD from a coaching program I’m doing with another blogger who you know very well too and I’ve had to let those funds sit in Paypal until the dollar goes back down.

    In my opinion I think that the dollar will hover for a while around this point and eventually the US market will pick up again.

    Also I’d like to ask if you are also considering reducing your labour costs and outsourcing overseas for your R&D projects or and you still sourcing local labour to develop your products?

    This would be a substantial cost reduction as you may already know – though I know you have doubts on “labour exploitation” – as mentioned in a post previously, if I am not mistaken?

    • Hey Tyrone,

      I checked out your new blog design, it looks strangely familiar for some reason ;-)

      I’m still considering and looking into outsourcing certain things overseas, but for now my main focus is my software service, which I am working on with two friends who are both in Brisbane and very good at what they do.

      The project is so hands on I would never be able to do it with outsourcing as we work face to face every week on updates.

      The thing I have with outsourcing overseas right now is I don’t have the focus on specific projects that require it. That being said, I am looking into it for some behind the scenes SEO, ala James Schramko, so that may be the best place to use this option next.

  • Hello Yaro,

    Your blog and especially the – Blog Profits Blueprint – that you gave as a free report has been (and still is) a source of inspiration that got me Blogging myself. For what the changes is concerned…, Although on the one hand I do think that part of your blogs success depends on your ‘Personal Branding’

    On the other hand when you carefully pick Guest Posts that are in alignment with the things you stand for – in a way – it still will be YOU.

    Talking about – YOU -, currently I am still reading an interesting book titled: ‘Do You!’ Yesterday I actually read some more pages while laying on the beach…, It’s a Book written by Music Mogul/Business Man Russell Simmons and in that book is an nice example how he was (also) inspired to focus his attention to giving, and – to something bigger than himself (Live 8) – Making him wonder if paying less attention to other parts of his business might possibly hurt him, to his surprise eventually parts of those businesses actually increased considerably by it! I do think that Russells book is all about doing what floats your boat
    about – Do You -.

    All the Best
    HP

    P.S. I already (partly) wrote a book review
    about this book on my homebusiness book-ideas blog

  • Internet Marketing is truly a changing environment. Entrepreneurs needs to adapt to change because if not, you’ll definitely lose. The US Dollar. Internet Marketing niche is very common. If you have that common niche, you’ll get likely to have many competitors. Be creative and look for a niche that is rarely use in the business. You are right about it is not enough to have the knowledge. You should learn how to adapt to new strategy.

  • Yaro, unfortunately currency exchange rate risk is real and something we all have to deal with. I know many bloggers who are outside of the USA that are making a living are being affected right now by the weakening US Dollar. I know the present now is hurting but if you think about the previous past years think about how much you have actually gained over the long term compared to the present.

    I would definitely advise against changing your currency to the AUD for payments, you are just making another hurdle for your user base that is not needed, and you will likely lose some money due to transaction fees, etc. Increasing the US Dollar price would be sufficient in my opinion.

    There are other alternatives that you can do in the financial market if you wanted to take a risk. It also depends on how liquid the money will be to you. But I am pretty sure that you can hedge your position against a foreign currency. Lets say that the current exchange rate is One US Dollar equals One Australian Dollar. And lets say that you are happy about that exchange rate, there is a way for you to lock that exchange rate so that no matter what happens in the market, whether it goes down, or up, your overall position will stay the same. It is a good way to protect yourself if you believe the market is just going to continue to go down, offcourse the bad thing about it is, if the market goes in the opposite direction of your position, lets say that the exchange rate improves to 1 dollar gets to 1.2 Australian Dollars, then you would not benefit from that, and you would be stuck with your 1 to 1 ratio. So… its tricky but thats how the market goes.

    I hope you find this helpful.

    -Jean

  • Great info Yaro ! You have touched some of the most critical areas that most of the internet marketers and bloggers overlook. An incredible post that will help many bloggers and internet entrepreneurs to plan and prune their businesses.Thanks.

  • What is the difference between a magazine style theme and what you already have?

  • Very interesting hearing about actual numbers. Yes, the changing times and currencies deeply affect many of us. We always have to be on top of things and come up with new and creative ways to make our business profitable.

  • [...] Adapting To Change By Yaro Starak- I can relate to this one. I have been working like crazy to completely update my badly outdated [...]

  • You have to be careful not to get into too much a retreat mode. It is important to cut costs I need to look at some of these issues as well, but maybe more important is to discover more profitable business models. No sense in stepping over a dollar to get a penny. Great post. I have linked to it on my blog. Thanks. Matt.

  • A lot of entrepreneurs have had a lot of success with software as a service – SEOMoz, SalesForce, Aweber just to name a few so an idea of developing software as a platform/service to solve needs in Internet marketing/Blogging community should be a good idea. I think you would have a lot of success working in that direction.

  • It feels so good to read what you are doing to make changes. I’m miles behind you, but reading about the new directions you want to take (magazine model) is like a glimpse into my own future. Content is king. (Didn’t you say that loong ago?) Thank you for reminding me that being a source of trusted information is the way to growth.

    My blogging desire: I wanna be like Oprah as I blog, when I say “here’s a great book…” people buy it.

    Have fun today!

  • There’s a great saying “Change before you HAVE to”. Makes so much sense, is very hard to do. I have run magazines for a decade now and have to say I prefer them. Takes away the zero sum game aspect of ‘you either make a sale or you don’t’. Audience is valuable to someone, so you find that someone to pay you for the views. (And you can still sell products as well!)

  • We all have to respond to the challenge of change. But your blog benefits from your personal voice in your articles. I think that’s what draws people to your site and to your online courses. Best wishes with the magazine format.

  • I must agree with most that I prefer reading your content Yaro and you were the one who motivated me to create my blog online and because of your courses I learned a lot and started to develop myself.
    Anyway it does not matter what you decide as that is your blog but at least let this blog deliver us precious and qualitative content that will help us develop and not be just interesting to read.
    Good luck!

  • I love reading this article, it’s very true. I believe in the saying “nothing is permanent but change”
    For us to be successful, we must adapt to changes and work hard to achieve our goals. Great post Yaro…

  • It’s really wise to cut costs nowadays since our economy is in crisis. If you’re an internet marketer, it would be wise to outsource your business offshore to maximize the dollar amount. You can look for workers at odesk.com or elance.com.

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