By Yaro Starak
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People often ask me if blogging is too ‘old’ to make money from if you are just starting out today, and has it been replaced by social media or podcasting, or youtube …etc.
My response to that question is to point out that the medium of blogging (and thus writing) is still incredibly effective, and it hasn’t been replaced by any of these new platforms. In fact all the new platforms ADD to the equation, giving you so many incredible options to build your audience.
However what does get old, or perhaps a better way to put it – much more competitive – are the subjects, the topics and industries you can blog about.
This is why it’s a smart idea to do what Harry Campbell did, start blogging and podcasting and youtubing about an emerging market – in his case, the ride sharing industry driven by the rise of Uber and Lyft.
Harry reveals in this interview how he first started blogging about what you might consider a very well established industry online – the personal finance space.
He enjoyed some success with his personal finance blog YourPFPro.com, making as much as $2,000 to $3,000 a month during the peak, but something bothered Harry.
He felt no matter how hard he worked he could never break through and become an A-Lister in his niche, he was just one of hundreds — possibly thousands — of personal finance bloggers doing okay.
Then one day Harry had a brainwave. He noticed while researching the ride sharing world there were no really big blogs, no superstars covering this industry.
He decided to dive in, starting a new blog about a new industry, using his experience driving for Uber part time as the basis for his content.
Harry led with the common blogging philosophy of transparency, breaking down everything he was doing to maximize his profits from driving for ride sharing services, and offering advice to new and established drivers.
Tapping into the experience he already had from his personal finance blog, Harry was able to rapidly grow his new blog and today enjoys a leadership position in the industry and earns a full time income. He’s constantly quoted in the mainstream press, delivers over 400,000 pageviews a month from his blog, has a podcast, and a youtube channel.
Make sure you stay tuned until the end of this interview as Harry breaks down the various income streams he currently uses (and there are over ten!).
I was pleased to hear Harry sells his own course, and also surprised to learn about a lot of other income streams I have never heard of, many of which are specific to his niche (a car mechanic affiliate program – how cool!).
If you’re considering starting a new blog to make a full time living, listen to this interview today. It will make you think about other emerging markets you could go after and cement yourself as a leader in.
Yaro Starak: Hello. This is Yaro Starak, and welcome to The Entrepreneurs-Journey Podcast. Today’s guest is Harry Campbell.
Hello. Thank you for downloading this episode of the E-J Podcast. Harry Campbell is going to share his ridesharing blogging journey in a moment, but I’d like to invite you now to subscribe to the E-J Podcast Newsletter by going to InterviewsClub.com and entering your email address into the form you will find on that blog post. You’ll then be subscribed to my updates list where I send you my latest podcast like this one with Harry as soon as I release them. You also get a series of my very best podcasts that I’ve surfaced from my archives so you’ll always have fresh entrepreneur and blogger interviews to listen to. That’s InterviewsClub.com. Now, here is the full interview with Harry.
Hello. This is Yaro Starak and welcome to an Entrepreneurs-Journey interview. Today’s guest has a bit of a different business, not in the sense of a different business model. We’re still talking about someone who blogs and sells information, products and makes money online, but the topic isn’t one that I’ve heard discussed before. The topic is actually ridesharing. The website in question is TheRideShareGuy.com run by Harry Campbell.
Harry is currently making over 80,000 a year from this business, and he sent me through his various income streams on how he does this, and there’s a lot of different ones, some that I’ve never heard of before, so I’m really interested in diving in to see how this relatively new niche has developed in the last few years and how Harry has turned it into an online business.
Harry, thanks for coming on the show today.
Harry Campbell: Awesome. Thanks for having me, Yaro.
Yaro Starak: Right. This is a little different. Normally the niches are fairly well-established. I’m thinking of ridesharing as something obviously that’s only been around for a short number of years now. You must have jumped on the bandwagon pretty early days to even start an online business about this. I’m thinking the blog itself isn’t that many years old. Is that right?
Harry Campbell: That is correct. My blog is actually about a year and a half old. The industry itself, most people may or may not be aware, but it’s basically companies like Uber and companies like Lyft and a lot of these delivery and logistic companies that are starting to hire and basically allow people to do things on demand, whether they want a car ride on demand or food on demand or whatever it is. My site covers all that.
Yaro Starak: I’d love to hear how it all got started. As is customary with the Entrepreneurs-Journey Podcast, I’d love to know if you were an entrepreneur before this. Going back in time, did you go to high school and university, or what was your career path, early days?
Harry Campbell: Yes. I had probably a little bit different career path than most entrepreneurs, especially growing up. I never had in the back of my mind that I wanted to be an entrepreneur when I grew up. I just kind of did entrepreneurial things here and there. Even through college I worked jobs here and there that somewhat entrepreneurial but more just taking advantage of the certain opportunities. When I was little, I have a typical little entrepreneur kid’s story. I can share a funny one really quickly.
Yaro Starak: Yeah, go ahead.
Harry Campbell: When I was in high school I remember that I used to, in English class in second period, probably in tenth or eleventh grade, my mom used to make these really killer lunches. They would have a full sandwich, chips, snacks, fruit, a nice bottled drink and all of that. Basically there was girl next to me who was kind of jealous, and she used to always want my chips. They’d just be a little bag of Ziplocked chips. She would start offering me fifty cents, seventy-five cents. Then one day she offered me a dollar. I said, “All right.” I gave her them for a dollar. I had my mom start packing me an extra bag of chips of every day.
From then on I was making five bucks a week off of basically zero work. Obviously, it’s not a lot of money, but that kind of style I guess you would say of entrepreneurial type things really interested me, where something where I could literally do nothing and make five dollars a week. Obviously, that’s not a lot of money, but the return on my time, that’s what I was looking at. I was saying, “Hey, I literally did zero work and I just made five dollars.” That’s what I really like to see.
Yaro Starak: How did you justify with your mother for the extra pack of chips? Did you tell her you were capitalizing on her effort?
Harry Campbell: You know what? That wasn’t the first time that I capitalized on her efforts. Let’s just put it that way.
Yaro Starak: Fair enough. You had a workforce right away from day one, huh?
Harry Campbell: Yep. I think before that I had used her … She worked at a big movie studio and she was one of the first people back in the nineties to have a cable line. When I was in I think junior high or even elementary school my friend and I were pretty computer savvy, and we set up a server on our computer. It was called Hotline back in these days where people were basically pirating movies, and we set it up on my mom’s computer and made a bunch of cash that way.
Yaro Starak: I’m not sure you should admit this on the podcast.
Harry Campbell: I think it was so long ago, though. I don’t think it can be traced back to me. I think I should be good.
Yaro Starak:We haven’t mentioned your home address yet.
Harry Campbell: All right. Good to go then.
Yaro Starak: Awesome. Okay. Obviously, some entrepreneurial drive of a sort in there, certainly a desire to make some money off low-effort activities.
Harry Campbell: Yeah.
Yaro Starak: What did you actually study in university? What was your degree?
Harry Campbell: I actually went to school at UC San Diego so here in the US, in California. I studied aerospace engineering. Basically the exact opposite of writing and blogging.
Yaro Starak: Okay. What was the plan?
Harry Campbell: I’ve always been interested in math and science. Like I said, I had an interest in computers. When I went to college, I literally just picked my major as aerospace engineering because it seemed interesting, and so I started on that path. I knew that I had an interest in computers, took my first programming class. That’s when I realized that I hated programming and never wanted to look at that again, so I continued on that engineering path. It was definitely tough. It was a lot of work, especially compared to what my friends were doing at the time.
I had friends graduating in three years from school and four years. For me it took five years, had to do summer school. I did well in school. I got good grades, but I knew that engineering, it was something I was interested in. I kind of towards the end started realizing that it was something that was going to pay well. Also that I’d most likely be able to get in a job in too, which at the time, in 2009, was pretty important, because that was a low point in the US economy, and not a ton of people were getting jobs straight out of college.
Yaro Starak: Did you get a job straight out of college?
Harry Campbell: Yeah. Fortunately, I actually even landed a job in San Diego, so I was able to stay in San Diego with my girlfriend, who’s now my wife, and live in San Diego. I worked for three or four years at a company called Goodrich Aerostructures, and I was a Structural Engineer before moving up to Orange County. Then I worked for Boeing for a couple years in another engineering position before finally leaving my job full-time to focus on the blog full-time.
Yaro Starak: Tell us how this crossover begins. You’re in a job. Did you see this ridesharing industry pop up and even start doing a bit of driving …?
Harry Campbell: Let me rewind that a little bit, because I know you like to get the full histories.
Yaro Starak: Sure. Yes.
Harry Campbell: I actually, back when I was living in San Diego, so in about 2010, 2011, I had a big interest in personal finance. I was reading blogs, going on forums, like the Bogleheads, which is a big personal finance and investing forum.
Basically, it was the first time in my life where I was making real money. It wasn’t an insane amount of money, but it was more money than I needed, and I wanted to make sure that I was investing it properly. Like probably a lot of other entrepreneurs in your audience, I realized pretty quickly that this wasn’t something I want to do for the rest of my life. I didn’t want to be sitting in a cubicle for the rest of my life. I know that that’s kind of a cliché story, but for me it wasn’t that I hated my job. I definitely didn’t hate my job. I actually liked it. I just knew that it wasn’t something I could see myself doing forever.
I really just took an interest in personal finance and thinking about, “Hey, how can I invest in things like real estate? How can I invest in stocks or bonds or whatever I need to do to set my financial future in order?” Really, what attracted me the most was blogs. I wasn’t reading any of the big sites. I was reading a lot of just blogs. After about six months, twelve months of reading those, I said, “Hey, this is pretty interesting, but I don’t really see anything out there that’s really specific to my situation.” There are a couple blogs for young professionals, but no one is really talking about all the different issues.
As a young professional, you have a million different things that are going on in your life, and so I started my own blog. I still own it to this day. It’s called Your PF Pro, Your Personal Finance Pro, and I kind of geared it towards young professionals. It wasn’t necessarily super successful, but it definitely … I still remember the first time I made my first dollar on that site, and that was really what opened up my eyes into the world, that, hey, I started this thing as a passion project, as just something I was interested in.
When I started that blog, I had no idea that you could even make money, and I didn’t really have the intention to make money. I just really wanted to put my thoughts down on digital paper. I was a really bad writer at the time. I still remember the first article I wrote. It was something about your credit score, and it was really bad, but over time I got a lot better. That was the first project that really opened up my eyes to the world of online marketing and blogging and all of that good stuff.
Yaro Starak: When was this; 2011 did you say?
Harry Campbell: Yeah, that was about 2011.
Yaro Starak: What sort of technical background did you enter this field with? Did you know how to set up a blog, or did you have to figure all this out by yourself?
Harry Campbell: Honestly, I set it all up in one day. I think that’s the biggest thing, especially with your first blog. It most likely isn’t going to be a home run, but there’s just so much that you need to learn and so much that you can basically learn from doing it.
I remember it was a Saturday in San Diego. It was raining, which it never rains in San Diego, and I was just thinking to myself, “What am I going to do with my day?” I went to a coffee shop and set up my blog in one day from beginning to end. I mean, by the end, it probably wasn’t perfect, but it was a finished product. I still remember, that’s when I first started discovering a lot of online resources, the how-to-start-a-blog type guys like Pat Flynn, who I know you’ve had on your show way back in the past.
That’s really how I got started, really with no … I had a technical background with computers and things like that, but I knew nothing about blogging. I think a lot of people don’t realize how easy it is to start a blog. That’s kind of the nice thing, though. A lot of these blogging softwares are built for people who don’t know how to do it basically.
Yaro Starak: You just chose a domain name and registered some hosting and installed WordPress; as simple as that?
Harry Campbell: Yep. I think I had a few names written down, and then I just played around with it and went for it. I think that’s another thing. It’s just going ahead and doing it. Obviously, you can research and spend time looking at how to do it and researching and coming up with ideas, but at the end of the day, the hardest part is going to be to go out and do it, and I think taking that first step or that first leap is where a lot of people get tripped up.
Yaro Starak: Okay. You said your plan was to just throw some digital content out there. You had things you were thinking about in your own life as a young professional in finance and investing. If you were aware certainly of guys like Pat Flynn and so on, you must have knew there was potential to make money, so there probably was a little bit of an agenda there. At least you thought it was an option.
Harry Campbell: Yeah. Actually, at that time I was only using those resources more for the how to get started. I literally was very green. I didn’t know what WordPress was. I didn’t know how to install this stuff. I was just figuring it out. Obviously, just to get started and to post an article isn’t too difficult, but all of the encompassing promotion and marketing yourself.
It wasn’t probably until about a year or two later where I really started seeing the potential. It took me about six or nine months before I got my first paid gig from that. That’s when I started thinking to myself, “Hey, there could be some real opportunity here,” because I know that my site at the time was only getting a few hundred people a day, and I extrapolated those numbers, and I could only imagine what a site that was getting hundreds of thousands of people a month, what they would be making.
For me, I’ve always been … Obviously I was an engineer. I’ve always been analytical in seeing what other people are doing and extrapolating what I’m doing from that. The writing was on the wall, if I could get to that point, that I would be doing pretty well.
Yaro Starak: What was that first payday?
Harry Campbell: That first payday on Your PF Pro, I still remember it. It was a sponsored post. It was before I even knew what a sponsored post really was. When I started this site, a lot of personal finance bloggers were taking advantage of sponsored posts, which for many in your audience, they may or may not know, but it’s basically when a company comes to you and wants to post an article on your site with a link back to their site so they can get SEO benefit and a related link.
Obviously, sites like from Forbes or from Huffington Post are a lot more valuable, but these companies still pay anywhere from twenty-five, fifty bucks to one hundred, two hundred dollars sometimes. I remember it was seventy-five dollars. All she wanted me to do was copy and paste this article onto my site, obviously with a link back to their site. I didn’t really understand why. It almost seemed like a joke to me. I said, “Really? You just want me to copy and paste this article and I make seventy-five dollars?” Again, it was that return on my time thing, where I said, “Hey, I’m doing two minutes of work now and I’m making seventy-five dollars.”
That was the first time I realized the value of … first of all, the value of SEO and linking and all that stuff, but just more the power of I guess you would almost say the internet and blogging, that someone like me, who literally started this project solely because it was something I was interested in, I was now making my first seventy-five dollars off of it. I saw a ton of potential.
Yaro Starak: Before we dive into the progression of this, I was curious, the first six to nine months you said, to the point where you then had this payday, seventy-five dollars. I don’t know. Did they approach you?
Harry Campbell: They approached me, yeah.
Yaro Starak: You must have been on their radar somehow. What did you do in that first six to nine months to grow your audience, and what was your content strategy?
Harry Campbell: Yeah. Really, I didn’t really know what I was doing, but I did do a lot of everything. I was producing three articles a week. I was doing Monday, Wednesday, Friday. Once I started making money, I ended up hiring a writer to take over Wednesday. Then I still produced Monday, Friday. My content strategy was really to just write about whatever the heck I wanted, whatever was interesting to me, and that would … I learned a lot from that content strategy, that maybe it’s not the best strategy and that you really need to focus on a niche, which we’ll obviously go into later.
As far as content, I was really just writing about whatever interested me. For the writing, it was extremely easy for me to pop out a couple, two to three articles a week on top of my day job. It was almost no work at all. I could do it in forty-five minutes to an hour.
Other than that, as far as marketing and promoting my stuff, really what I did was I just interacted with a lot of other bloggers. I was commenting on a ton of other personal finance sites. Obviously when you comment you can leave a link to your website in the comment, not in the actual comment field but where it goes, Name, Website, Email. I would leave that there, and I was getting traffic back from there, and I was reaching out to other bloggers, doing things like guest posts.
Then a lot of personal finance bloggers at the time were also doing roundups. I was setting up all these relationships with other bloggers and basically, hey, they would link to my site in a Friday roundup of all the top personal finance news, and I would link to them.
Then I was also setting up a Twitter agreement, so we would set up automatic … I was using a couple programs that did it automatically, but some people were doing it manually, or basically every time I released a new post, they would tweet it to their audience and I would tweet their new post to my audience. I was doing a lot of manual grassroots type work to really get the word out about my site.
Yaro Starak: It obviously worked.
Harry Campbell: For Your PF Pro, it kind of worked.
Yaro Starak: Kind of worked, okay.
Harry Campbell: I ended up, at its peak I was getting about a thousand people a day, which may seem like a decent number, but I think in the scope of personal finance blogs, it was pretty small. At its peak I was probably making around two or three thousand dollars a month off that site, mainly off sponsored posts. Some affiliate stuff, but I was putting in a lot of work.
What I really saw, though, was that I wasn’t able to stand out. There was hundreds or thousands of other personal finance bloggers. Obviously, I’m biased, but I thought my content was really good, but there just wasn’t a way for me to stand out. We were all talking about the same stuff, and when there’s hundreds of people, obviously that’s a lot of noise and it’s really difficult to stand out.
Yaro Starak: Just before we move away from the personal finance, I’d just love to know also how you went from your first seventy-five dollar payday to two to three thousand a month, because that’s a full-time income for a lot of people. They’d be pretty happy with that. Even if you are doing it 100% with guest posts, you might have this guest post blog going, but how did it happen?
Harry Campbell: Definitely. That’s a good point. The thing with the sponsored posts, it was very cyclical. I think for about a year there were a lot of people making a lot of money off of it. Basically how it happened was I had a standard contact page on my site, but really what it was, was I started network … leverage my network of other bloggers, and we would all share advertising contacts at the beginning of every month.
I would send them everyone who I was using, and maybe it only started off, I only had two or three people that were contacting me, because obviously I didn’t know where to find these people. There are so many people out there that need links and that were doing SEO, and as you know, it’s a huge, probably billion-dollar industry, so there’s a lot of people that need links, and there are a lot of really high valuable products in the personal finance space. I think that that’s why there are so many people looking for these sponsored posts and looking for these links.
Really it was a combination of people contacting me, me building up a database of advertisers. I would go in every three months and email all of them in one mass email and say, “Hey, here are my rates. I know we’ve advertised in the past or I know we’ve talked about advertising in the past,” and then also networking with other bloggers.
Obviously, if they’ve worked with someone in the past month and they send me that lead, that’s a much hotter lead than someone who I reach out to three months later who emailed me once. I know that they had closed the deal. I know for how much, and so I had a lot more information to go on. That’s really how I built it up and took advantage of it. I struck while the opportunity was hot.
It started to die down. I still do sponsored posts and still have some affiliate-type stuff going on over on that site, but it’s not near what it was, I guess at it’s peak. Also because I don’t spend, I spend almost no time on that site going forward now. I spend maybe twenty to thirty minutes a month going forward on that site.
Yaro Starak: Right. It sounds like network contacts was a huge part of the success of that first blog, but for some reason, you decided not to keep going. What happened there?
Harry Campbell: It seemed that it wasn’t scalable. A lot of the work that I was doing was manual content, manual commenting and stuff like that. That was a problem. It was really just tough to scale up a lot of the work. I was also finding that it was just hard to stand out, that I didn’t have … I was doing well with that blog, but I was really at the same place as a lot of other bloggers, and there were a lot of people making good money at the time, but I knew that the top bloggers were making a lot more money. That was where I wanted to be.
Yaro Starak: You didn’t see a path forward to become a top blogger in that space?
Harry Campbell: I didn’t see a path going forward just because … There may have been the possibility, but I didn’t have that really killer idea. I didn’t have that niche that could stand out. I think that obviously there’s also a huge first mover advantage with a lot of these niches. A lot of the most successful personal finance blogs are five to six years old or seven to eight years old. Mine was two or three years late, I guess you would say. I think that if I would have started it when there was less competition, I would have had a much greater chance for success, for real, real big success, I guess you would say.
Yaro Starak: Right. Go ahead.
Harry Campbell: I still consider that blog successful. It’s still bringing in a thousand dollars a month. It’s brought in at least a thousand dollars a month for three or four years now. I would definitely say that that’s successful. At this point I have a writer who manages everything for me, and I spend twenty to thirty minutes a month on it, so it’s very low effort and still able to make some money.
Yaro Starak: Fantastic. I’m guessing based on the way you’re talking about this, you said, “You know what? I want to be the leader in this space. Where’s a new market I can be a first mover in?” Is that what happened?
Harry Campbell: That’s exactly what happened. That was about halfway into my ownership of Your PF Pro. That’s really when I started just doing my research and started following guys like Pat Flynn. He was really one of the main guys that I followed just because more because of time constraints than anything. Also just looking and learning about what other people were doing, what niches had been successful in the personal finance space.
I had a friend who ran a blog for doctors, so it was a personal finance blog for doctors called The White Coat Investor. That was one of the examples to me that really stood out. Like I said, there’s that first mover advantage, but he came in super late to the game, but he found this niche that turned out to be huge. Personal finance products like insurance and loans for doctors, you can imagine that those are some very high affiliate product, very high payouts for affiliates and things like that.
It wasn’t that I needed a new niche. I just needed something where I saw opportunity that I could really go out and there weren’t a million other people doing it. That’s what I was looking for.
I knew a lot of guys at the time were doing niche sites. I still remember I was reading stuff about people who had started sites on things like camping knives and maybe mattresses and stuff like that. For me, though, I also realized that it needed to be something I was passionate about, because if I just went out and started a niche site about camping knives or blowup mattresses, that probably wouldn’t be able to hold my interest for very long. That was the other thing I started realizing that was really important to me. It had to be something I was passionate about. I was super passionate about personal finance, still am to this day, but I just needed something where there was also the opportunity.
Yaro Starak: Okay. How did you pick ridesharing as that niche?
Harry Campbell: Well, I definitely got lucky, because I think that’s another thing that people often underestimate, that it definitely helps to be prepared, and it helps to be good at what you’re doing, but it also pays to be lucky at times too.
I was working full-time up in Orange County, just south of LA, for Boeing as an Engineer. I was a big passenger of Uber and Lyft. I was taking them all the time and using them. I loved the service. Every driver that I got in the car with, though, they were always trying to convince me to be a driver. I didn’t really understand why, but they made it seem like such a great gig. Later I would figure out that it was because they got a very nice referral fee if they referred me, and that’s why every driver was trying to convince me to become a driver.
That’s really how I got started. I was a passenger. One day I just said, hey, all these drivers are telling me how awesome it is, and it was really funny that it goes back to the story, but it was one driver in particular who said that since Lyft, who is a competitor to Uber, had just launched in Orange County, they were actually paying drivers thirty-five dollars an hour whether they got rides or not, so it was a guaranteed thirty-five dollars an hour, no other requirements. He said he was just sitting on his couch most of the time, and then if he got a ride he would get up and go and then go back home. Immediately I thought to myself, “Hey, thirty-five bucks an hour to watch Netflix. That sounds like a pretty good deal.”
Yaro Starak: It’s your Mom all over again.
Harry Campbell: Yeah, exactly. Obviously, these are limited time opportunities; right? That’s not a viable business model forever, but I said, “Hey, strike while the iron is hot.” I signed up. By the time I got signed up and got going that promotion was gone, but I still went out there and I still started making some money.
When Lyft and Uber first started in my city, obviously they were paying a lot more. There weren’t nearly as many drivers, so I was making pretty solid income as a driver, at least twenty to thirty dollars an hour. Sometimes if it was really busy or on holidays, thirty to forty dollars an hour. At thirty to forty dollars an hour, that was more than I was making at my day job. I was definitely looking at it as a very nice side source of income on top of my day job since I could do it around my schedule on weekends or at nights or whenever I wanted really.
I think within the first week or two of driving, though, I started having all these questions, because it seems pretty easy. The idea of ridesharing and Uber and Lyft seems pretty easy for a driver. You pick someone up at Point A and then drop them off at Point B, but unfortunately there’s all this other stuff that goes into it that a lot of people don’t realize.
I was a member of a bunch of Facebook groups basically for drivers, and I started seeing … I hopped on there. Everyone was asking the same questions, “Hey, how do you get signed up?” “What do you do if you have five people that want to get in the car?” “What do you do if they try to bring alcohol in the car?” All of these policy type questions. Everyone who wanted to learn about taxes and insurance.
Basically I saw all these people asking the same questions over and over, and I immediately went to Google and I Googled “Rideshare Blog,” or “Uber blog” or something like that, and I couldn’t find a single one. I was thinking to myself at that time, I think Uber was maybe worth five or ten billion dollars, and I was trying to do some calculations in my head, all right, there’s probably four or five thousand drivers in this LA Facebook group that I was in, so I could extrapolate from there, there’s maybe 100,000 drivers at the time, five, ten billion dollar industry, not a single blog that I could find.
There may have been one or two small sites, but nothing with consistent content like you would normally see in a more established niche. A light bulb went off in my head, and that next day I went out and started The Rideshare Guy, and things took off from there.
Yaro Starak: Given the experience you had with your personal finance blog, you must have had more of a strategy and a structure you were planning to execute with this second blog. Can you maybe explain what was your plan with this?
Harry Campbell: Definitely, yeah. That was I think that maybe a lot of people who come to my site and read my story, they may not realize that, because obviously I don’t talk a lot about all of my Your PF Pro background and how I got into blogging. I mainly just keep it to the topics that people care about, the ridesharing and Uber and Lyft and all of that stuff.
Yeah, exactly. I didn’t just start The Rideshare Guy and put up articles and hope that people would come. I still had a lot of struggles and I still learned a lot with The Rideshare Guy, but I had a very specific strategy in mind, and I knew that, hey, this was definitely something at the time I was very passionate about. It was something the industry … It was a really exciting time. People were making a lot of money. Uber itself was valued at a lot of money. They were paying out huge referral bonuses.
I was a Lyft driver at first. I signed up for Uber and they gave me a five hundred dollar signup bonus for doing one ride. That was it. No requirements after that. I didn’t have to … I did keep driving with them. I didn’t have to, though. That just shows you that the status of things, how things were and how things honestly still are, that the income for drivers has gone down a bit, but these companies are still spending money to recruit drivers. Just the industry itself is very dynamic.
I think as far as my actual strategy when I first started this site, I went in, and the first thing I did was I came up with my own plan, what I was going to do, how many articles a week I was going to release, and I decided on, I was going to continue with that Monday, Wednesday, Friday of releasing articles. I knew that I probably wouldn’t be able to maintain that forever, but I figured that I’d be able to hire a writer or … I just wanted to see how things were going to go. Obviously, especially at the beginning, I wanted to get content up.
I think that’s also a big mistake that a lot of people oftentimes make is they go out and they try to release too many articles per week to start. A lot of people, when you’re doing three articles a week is very manageable, but once you get into that tenth, fifteenth, twentieth week, you’re now starting to write a lot of content, and people can run out of ideas.
For me I wanted to pick something that I knew that I would be able to … I went and I created a list of maybe fifty to one hundred ideas for article topics. They came off the top of my head like it was nothing. I knew that I had plenty to talk about, and really what I did from there was I started leveraging a lot of my existing contacts. I went out to all of my personal finance contacts, and since there was kind of a relation between working … I used that angle of, “Hey, I’m working a side hustle,” and that’s how I pitched all … Obviously, a lot of these people were my friends, so they all had to say yes to me guest-posting on their site.
Of course, that’s a little bit of how I got more of a grassroots word out. That was part of my strategy. Obviously, I knew that there would be big SEO benefit, especially when I was just getting started and I had no links. I went out and guest-posted on ten or twenty of my friends’ personal finance sites. A few of them are still ranking very highly and I’m still getting traffic from them every single day. I really talked about my story about how I was either making money with Uber and Lyft on the side and really leverage my existing network of contacts, so that was one angle of it.
Then beyond that I took a really grassroots approach to marketing. I knew that, hey, I knew that if I went out and wrote this stuff, no one would come read it. If people don’t know that it’s there, obviously they can’t find it, and that’s one of the big mistakes, another big mistake people make. They put that content out there, expect people to read it, and as you probably are aware, marketing is most of the game; right? That’s half the battle after you create that content is getting it out there.
I really just discovered along the way the marketing side of things, because I had a bunch of ideas in my head, but some of them worked out well and some of them didn’t work out so well as far as getting my content out there, especially when I was first getting started.
Yaro Starak: Can you maybe give us a few more of the different marketing things that did work in terms of getting the early days going?
Harry Campbell: Yeah, definitely. Sorry. I just needed a break for water.
Yaro Starak: I’m also curious, one thing you haven’t touched on here. It sounds like you’re very clear on content and marketing, but what was your strategy with monetization for The Rideshare Guy? Did you have clear path to that or a plan?
Harry Campbell: You know what? I really had no clear path for monetization. I think for me it was just more that I knew that there would be opportunity down the road, and I wasn’t sure exactly where it would come from, but I knew that there was opportunity. When I started my site actually, there were driver referrals. People were basically making money off of referring new drivers, and people are still making a lot of money off that today. When we talk about some of my current monetization strategies, I can definitely go into more detail, but at that time I was really actually expecting …
Uber and Lyft were paying out some pretty big bonuses in the two to three hundred, four to five hundred range, depending on the city and the situation. At the time when I started my blog, I actually wasn’t counting on that, though. I was thinking those driver referral bonuses were going to go away, so if my site did take off in three to six months, I figured that those driver referrals were going to be gone. That was really the only potential monetization opportunity I saw at the beginning. I didn’t think about advertisers. I just knew that if I built it they will come; right? I guess that was my monetization strategy.
Yaro Starak: Then I can see why your focus was so heavily on content and marketing, because you were thinking numbers, need lots of people, then I’ll work out money afterwards. It’s almost like a startup strategy, get as many users as you can.
Harry Campbell: Yep.
Yaro Starak: What worked in terms of the marketing, because I can imagine, all right, you registered the domain, you got the blog up there. You’re writing three articles a week. You go and do all these guest posts on your personal finance connections, which, yes, great for a little bit of exposure. I can see the relation as a way to make money, so that connects the personal finance, but it’s still not … It’s a little slice that’s slightly one step to the left of this subject.
I could actually imagine you would have got a lot of potential opportunities just because it was and still is a hot topic, and with not many other people writing about it, you would have potentially had anyone, Mashable, TechCrunch. Any time an article comes up about Uber and they want a respected expert’s opinion, you might start being able to benefit from that. Certainly I can tell you do that today. Even in the early days, was that an option?
Harry Campbell: Well, I’ll be honest. I didn’t really realize the power of the media until later on. I wish that I could say that I started leveraging the media right at the start, but I really didn’t. You’re right. At the time it was such a hot industry and still is today, that there’s so many articles being written about it. I wish that I would have, because I probably would have seen success a lot sooner, but I still was able to …
You’re right. With the personal finance guest post, that really wasn’t my target audience, but I knew that that would be a really … To me that seemed like a really easy low-hanging fruit; right? At the time I had no links.. I had no SEO benefit. I don’t really know a ton about SEO. I just know that you need a lot of links from related sites that are in your niche or that have good SEO rankings themselves. That was really my angle with that. I said, “Hey, this is an easy low-hanging fruit. I’ll go guest-post, get the word out, get some content going, get all these links back to my site,” but simultaneously, at the same time, that definitely wasn’t the only thing I was doing. I was doing a ton of different stuff.
I had a really easy resource since there were so many Facebook groups. At the time there were a bunch of Lyft driver Facebook groups, Uber driver Facebook groups. There were national ones. There were local ones, and so I took a grassroots approach, and I started going into these Facebook groups, posting links to my articles whenever it was appropriate. That’s when I discover that, hey, I started running into problems, because a lot of the administrators of these groups and forums that I was going into, they don’t like anyone posting links to their sites, to their personal site; right?
Yaro Starak: Spamming.
Harry Campbell: Yeah, basically that’s what I was doing. I was spamming all of these forums. For me, I was thinking in my head, “Hey, I’m not spamming. I’m providing really good information and really good content,” and I was providing really good information, good content. I was doing really detailed breakdown of my earnings, talking about things like taxes, insurance, all these really important issues that no one else was talking about, but it was just the way that I was approaching it, people didn’t like.
What I started doing was taking even more of a grassroots approach. I would go through, I would answer people’s questions in these Facebook groups, and then I would send them a personal message and say, “Hey, if you’re interested, I have wrote an article that goes into more detail about this,” or, “I have a site that covers topics like this.” I started doing stuff that was similar in approach, similar in that grassroots approach but less spammy. Then I started doing the same thing on forums. I started going on Reddit, and I really just took that grassroots approach, and I was making slow but growing progress through a lot of those types of tactics.
Yaro Starak: Wow. One person at a time, one message at a time.
Harry Campbell: You know what? Yeah. For me it was a lot of work, yeah. It was definitely a lot of work, but at the same time getting your content out there is tough. I think that I started to discover some other ways. I mean, there are always little loopholes and little tricks that I found.
I remember at one point there was a Lyft blog, and so I was commenting on all of those articles, and it would allow me to link back to my site, and so I was getting a lot of referral traffic from that. I was also doing the occasional maybe some more stuff that you would call gray hat stuff, because for me, I really had nothing to lose. I was creating maybe a Reddit account, doing a bunch of posts, maybe doing five to ten posts, and then linking an article to my site.
For me, there was some stuff that, hey, I really at that point … For me, I had nothing to lose and I was looking at this as a real business opportunity, and I was either going to make it or not make it, so I was really going all out and doing everything I could to try and get people to my site.
I was making slow progress. I was at two or three hundred page views a day and then maybe slowly going up from there. It was really once I started I think that one of the big keys to my success was when I started reaching out to the media and developing relationships with these media members. That’s when I think I started to really get that snowball and had some more success and more traffic.
Yaro Starak: How long did it take to get to a point where you called it successful, I guess? Was it six months, twelve months, eighteen months?
Harry Campbell: You know what? Once I started establishing some media relationships and started getting quoted in some media, in some pretty respectable online publications, Forbes, Wired, Huffington Post, New York Times, that’s when I started … That’s when to me I thought I was pretty successful. That was about at the four- to six-month mark, which is pretty quick.
Luckily, I think I had a big advantage because, like you said, I started establishing myself as this go-to industry expert. As I later discovered, as I became a media member, but a lot of these media reporters and personalities, they need sources, and I was really the perfect source, because I was a driver and I also had this platform where I was somewhat established and I at least looked credible on the outside. I was, but I at least looked credible and I could talk about all these issues.
They need quotes, because a lot of people don’t realize, but reporters can’t just make things up. Even if they know that, let’s say they know that drivers are really angry about a certain situation, they need a quote from a driver that says that. That’s where I tried to be there for all these media members, and I really developed a ton of relationships with media members that way.
Yaro Starak: How did you open those relationships? Just send a tweet or an email?
Harry Campbell: Yeah. This is where all of my online, I’d say once I hit the three- to six-month mark, this was where all my online marketing training started to come in handy. Everything that I’d been researching, that guys like you talk about, that guys like Pat Flynn talk about, this is where I really started to leverage all of that online marketing, because I knew that it had worked for other guys.
I started doing things. I hired a writer to do Friday roundups, and I say “hired.” I actually had one of my friends, who was just really passionate about the industry, do it for free. That was really nice, but he basically started doing these Friday roundups where at the time all of these news stories were really hot. There were a ton of news going on about Uber, about Lyft, about all the issues surrounding it, and so we would feature maybe five to seven articles every week, and then I would have my virtual assistant go in there and I would have them follow all of the people that we were rounding up.
Let’s say we did five, we featured five articles on our site, I would have my VA go in and follow all five of those reporters. Reporters love Twitter. Every single reporter is on Twitter, and they all are very active on Twitter too, and I discovered that quickly, so I would have her follow all of those reporters, and then she would schedule tweets over the next day or two that would say, “Hey, @YaroStarak@Entrepreuners-Journey, we just featured your article in our latest roundup,” and then we would link to our roundup.
That was really for two purposes. That was obviously maybe they might re-tweet it, but it was more just to establish that relationship so that they see, “Hey, who’s this Rideshare Guy, Harry Campbell? He’s featuring my article. Cool. Thanks. We’ll favorite it.” They’re probably not thinking, “Maybe in the future we’ll reach out to him,” but now I’m implanted in their head. I started doing that pretty early on, and we started seeing benefits from that pretty quickly.
After a month or two of that, I went and had my VA go through, find all of those reporters. We kept a list of every single reporter we featured over two to three months, and then I reached out to them over email. I use a pretty cool program. It’s like a plugin for Gmail called Mail Merge, and it allows you to personalize emails with a wildcard carrot type character. You would say, “Hey, hi,” and then you would type in first name and then save that as draft. Then when you go through, it seems like you’re getting a personalized email, and so I sent that out to all the hundred reporters or so that I had at the time. I basically just said, “Hey.” I didn’t ask for anything. I didn’t say, “Hey, if you want to quote me or if you want to link to me, do that.”
These reporters, I think a lot of people don’t realize just how many pitches these reporters get and most of them that they ignore. Most of these pitches are frankly very bad. That’s why I really wanted to stand out, so I established myself a little bit with them on Twitter, maybe favorite a few of their tweets, re-tweeted them, featured them in my articles, in my roundups. Then a month or two later I sent them an email just reaching out and saying, “Hey, I’m The Rideshare Guy. I’m an Uber driver myself. I run a blog and podcast for Uber drivers. I know there’s a ton of information going on. A lot of it can be confusing. If you ever need any help, feel free to reach out to me.”
That was really how I started establishing relationships with a lot of these reporters. I knew that if I went and asked them for something, “Hey, do you want to quote me? Hey, do you want to link back to my site,” then I start to fall in line with all the other people who are contacting them. That’s really how I tried to stand out with a lot of these media members, and it really started to pay off very, very quickly, as soon as I sent that email actually.
Yaro Starak: Okay. I can see how some really solid networking, connecting, PR, but really just some very clever ways of getting attention, getting on the radar of the right people.
Harry Campbell: Yeah.
Yaro Starak: That’s really important. I can see that would have turned into eventually some great chance to get exposure on much higher traffic sites. You went from that ground roots, sending one message through Reddit or Facebook personal message or a tweet, so you’re getting the ground roots, gets you up to two or three hundred paid views. That gives you, “I’m legitimate now to a degree.” Then go to the more mainstream press. You get more growth. At what stage did your attention turn to making money from all this work you’re putting in?
Harry Campbell: Well, I would say that about that time where I started really reaching out to the media and started establishing relationships, because there were a lot of reporters at the time who were specifically covering the rideshare industry. That’s kind of unique to … Well, I wouldn’t say it’s unique to every niche, but it’s unique to this one, because there was one reporter at Forbes who only wrote about Uber and Lyft. I tried to develop a really good relationship with her. There’s one reporter at BuzzFeed who did the same thing. I was establishing relationships. I was really working hard to establish relationships with those people, those six to ten reporters. Once I did that, I’d say my first real, when I started to make money was about that time and it was off of driver referrals.
The thing that I think really made my content stand out and the thing that I think people really valued was that, hey, I was writing from firsthand experience. I was talking about what it’s like to be a driver, how I’m out there maximizing my income. You’ve probably learned by now that I’m always trying to figure out ways to make the most amount of money in the least amount of time. With my engineering background I was doing detailed spreadsheets, analysis on my earnings.
A lot of it was probably complicated and more information than most people wanted to know, but I think that it really showed that, hey, not only do I care about this, but I’m also very detailed in providing above the top or above what anyone else is doing as far as content. No one else was going out and doing this type, taking notes while they’re driving and then writing about it and doing things like that. That’s what I was doing.
I think that type of content was really valuable to a lot of people. At the time you were starting to see a lot of these sites where you see in affiliate marketing pop up, and they talk about how amazing this product is or how amazing driving is. Go sign up. Use my code; right? That typical spammy affiliate marketing. I wasn’t doing any of that, though. I was saying exactly, hey, what I really wanted to do was just tell it like it is. There are some good parts about driving, but there’s also a lot of bad parts that a lot of people that aren’t drivers may not realize.
When Uber was lowering rates, drivers were now making a lot less money, and I was talking about those things. I wasn’t just saying, “Oh, this is all roses;” right? I was talking about the things that were good and bad, and so people were finding my articles and maybe they would find an article about Uber and go sign up for Lyft, because that was one of the strategies I talked about early on was driving for Lyft and Uber. I was a big proponent of say, “Hey, if you’re a Lyft driver, you need to sign up with Uber and vice versa.” I was starting to get some signups off of that.
That was really my first path to monetization, and I started getting these little bonuses, anywhere from fifty to two or three hundred dollars for signing up new drivers and then them going out and doing twenty or thirty rides.
Yaro Starak: Affiliate income is first. That’s I guess a unique style of affiliating, very targeted, I guess. Not unique in how it works. There are so many programs like that, but … You write these articles. People decide, “I want to become a driver” or maybe they already are a driver but they haven’t driven for one or the other companies. I’m guessing, though, that’s not enough money to retire.
Harry Campbell: No. The thing that I knew about that, I’ve always treated the driver referral income as icing on the cake, because that’s not … Relying on someone else for your main source of income … This is stuff that I talked about on the blog as far as if you’re driving for Uber you don’t want to just rely on it. Look at these other services.
There are a lot of parallels, which I think is really cool. There are a lot of parallels to the things that I talk about for Uber drivers and what I’m doing in my own business and what entrepreneurs and online marketers do themselves, because really a lot of people don’t realize that Uber drivers are their own business. They file a Schedule C in the US. They get paid 1099, and so they are their own business basically, and they’re running their own business. A lot of them don’t treat it like they’re running their own business, but that’s where my site started to help.
You’re right, though. As far as the actual income, the driver referrals, I knew that it was like icing on the cake. It could go away at any time. Once I really started building up my following, my driver referral income was increasing and it was pretty significant income at the time. It was definitely in the few-thousand-dollars a month range. That’s when I started saying, “Hey, I’m going to definitely, I’m going to take advantage of these driver referrals as long as I can,” but at the same time I’m starting to build some traffic and I see that there are some definite potential opportunities in the way of, even things like Google Ads, and setting up affiliate relationships.
Obviously I had listened to a lot of online marketing guys. The first thing they say is go build a product or build a digital product, build a course. I really started looking at those types of monetization opportunities. At the time I was even doing, I guess I like to say that I started small, with small stuff. I was doing coaching, one-on-one coaching, with drivers for fifty dollars for a half hour.
Lyft had a cool feature where you could do … I was a mentor with Lyft. What that basically meant was that I would get paid thirty-five dollars for doing a little twenty-minute test drive with new drivers. I was having drivers in the area who were interested in me being their mentor, The Rideshare Guy could be their mentor; right? It wouldn’t cost them anything, and they would come drive to me, and I would spend twenty minutes, make the quick thirty-five dollars. Now I was their mentor.
I was doing a lot of those types of smaller things at first and really just seeing where the monetization opportunities were, because, like I said earlier, I knew that there was going to be a ton of opportunity. I just wasn’t sure exactly where it was going to come from.
Yaro Starak: Break it down today. I’ve got the list in front of me. You’ve got Google Ads. I’m assuming that’s Google AdSense.
Harry Campbell: Yeah.
Yaro Starak: That’s two to three thousand a month. You said you’ve got around 420,000 page views, so that’s a lot of traffic.
Harry Campbell: Yeah. It’s funny. To show you the strength or the growth of my site, I think that I sent you that a week or two ago, and the last time I checked over my last thirty-day period, I think I’m not up around 450 page views for the month. I’ve definitely had some pretty nice and consistent growth over the past year.
Yaro Starak: Okay. AdSense pretty straightforward. You slap the coat on your site and suddenly you’re making two or three grand a month. Is that what happened?
Harry Campbell: Yeah. Honestly, I didn’t even have AdSense up there to start. I’d say that for bloggers who are out there, what I really think that it’s like, once you get into the hundred-thousand-page-views-a-month range, that’s when you can really consider start making a full-time income. It might not be a ton of money, but that’s when you can really start looking at things, like Google AdSense, for real monetization opportunities, affiliate products, direct relationships and also just taking advantage of whatever opportunities there are in your niche.
As we’re going to talk about, there’s some unique I guess you would say monetization opportunities that I found that might not be available in every niche, but I do think that there are these types of unique monetization opportunities in every niche. They’re just different for every niche.
Yaro Starak: Okay. We’re getting down to the last set of five to ten minutes, Harry. I’d love to just quickly break down what these are.
Harry Campbell: Yeah, sure.
Yaro Starak: Do you want to just roll through the list you’ve given me and how much each makes?
Harry Campbell: Yeah, definitely. I kind of have a sort of range here, because obviously some of them are a bit cyclical. Just with the industry in general, the monetization strategy I guess that you would say that I have right now is always changing and always evolving. In a year I suspect it will look very different.
These are all the avenues I’m exploring. I guess after Google Ads, I’m also doing more traditional affiliate type stuff with companies that I’ve found that are really … The nice thing is there are a lot of companies that are really related to drivers. One of my bigger partners is a company called YourMechanic. For example, they do on-demand oil changes, basically on-demand car work. They’ll come to your home or business and do an oil change, change your brakes. Their prices are very comparable or even less than a traditional shop since they don’t have a shop themselves. It’s kind of like that Uber model applied to the car repair industry. Obviously, for my audience, that’s the perfect product to promote. They’re one of my affiliate partners.
There are a lot of other companies that, one that I work with specifically that’s been around for a while is called SherpaShare, and they’re basically an app that helps drivers maximize their income, track their expenses, track their earnings. They integrate directly with your Uber account, Lyft, Postmates, all of these services. They’re really one of the bigger I guess you would say companies supporting drivers, but I know that going forward I think that’s going to be a huge affiliate opportunity for me, just these companies that are supporting drivers.
All of these companies that are looking to help maximize drivers’ income and … I won’t go through them, but there’s hundreds. Basically I’ll tell you that there’s hundreds of companies in development right now. I know because they all pitch me. They might not be quite mature yet, where they have an affiliate program, but in the next year or two there will be a lot of potential affiliate programs. We’ve actually seen this with the Airbnb industry. There’s a bunch of things like Guesty and all these companies that basically will go and help Airbnb owners manage their listing, so there are a lot of affiliate opportunities with that Airbnb side that I think will be coming to the rideshare industry in the next year or two.
Then I also have more traditional affiliate stuff like Amazon Associates, and obviously Amazon is nice because you can link to any product without any real conflicts of interest and then credit card stuff. If drivers want to go out and sign up for business credit cards, and those are all in the few-hundred-dollars-a-month range, but they add up. They don’t really require a whole lot of promotion. I just stick a few links here and there whenever it comes up.
Beyond affiliate marketing, I’d say one area where I’m really, just in the past few months I’m really starting to focus is direct advertising. What I mean by “direct advertising” is basically establishing relationships that are not always … It could be an affiliate relationship, but generally it’s more of a direct media buy, where they want to do … Basically a lot of these companies might do paid marketing on things like Google AdSense. If they come to my site and buy a banner ad, obviously that’s their target audience.
For example, right now I’m working with a company called Stride Health. They’re a company that basically provides health insurance. They’ll help you find a health insurance plan here in the US. For a lot of freelance workers and a lot of Uber drivers who don’t have health insurance or need to buy it through the California Exchange or whatever state they’re in, Exchange, this company actually gets … They’re free to use, and so they’re one of the companies that are advertising with me. With them I try to give them stuff like … I try to do a lot of the direct advertising in areas where I can’t do Google Ads.
For example, I can obviously do Google Ads all over my site, but with them I might put an ad at the top of my newsletter. I have a cool little banner space at the top of my email newsletter that goes out Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, whenever we release an article. At this point that has 10,000 subscribers and a 40% open rate, so that’s four thousand times four. That’s 16,000 people that are going to see their ad as soon as they open that email, boom, right there. “Sign up for Stride Health.” That’s 16,000 super-targeted people right there. I can’t put a Google Ad right there in that email, so that’s an example of how I’m using that direct advertising. Beyond that, I’ve been working with a couple companies that we’re finalizing deals, but it’s going to be more native content.
I’m not necessarily trying to hide the fact that these companies are advertising with me, but whenever I find a product that really aligns with drivers’ best interests, instead of just writing a review of this product and saying, “Hey, here’s a car leasing program. You guys should go and sign up for it. Here’s how it works,” I really go in and find all of the pain points that drivers are having, all the issues they’re having, and I write content built around that. That’s called native advertising. Then I work out a deal with them and post the article and post a link to sign up for it down at the bottom. Obviously, at the bottom I said, “Hey, if you want to use our link to sign up, here it is.”
Basically, what the goal of that native advertising is I want people to read the article and not even realize that that was an advertisement but provide value to them and provide them a ton of information about the product or the content I’m talking about but also provide value to that advertiser. That’s what I’m doing with direct advertising. I have a few more. Do you want me to keep going?
Yaro Starak: Keep going.
Harry Campbell: The other thing that I really started focusing on about six months ago, took a little bit of a break, but I’m really starting to re-up again now that I’m motivated. Frankly it was a lot of work to launch, was my video course. Now, up until about the beginning of the year everything that I’d been doing to make money was … The nice thing about what I was doing, a lot of it was not requiring my users to pay any money. They were either signing up to be a driver or signing up for free products or maybe signing up for an oil change that they needed anyways; right? It wasn’t really costing them anything. I was a little bit apprehensive about launching this video course, where, hey, now I’m going to be charging people, and I charged a lot, because it was a lot of work.
We ended up, I went with a partner, a guy that I found on YouTube. He was doing YouTube videos basically for rideshare drivers. I didn’t have a YouTube channel at the time, so I started one, and we started working together. We created a course called MaximumRidesharingProfits.com, and it was basically a standard course with five modules, a gold course with five modules. Each video in the module was twenty to thirty minutes, and so that’s about ten videos, maybe about fifteen to twenty-five minutes at each video. Very well organized.
He had a big background in online marketing, so he took care of all the backend stuff. I did most of the promotion and marketing on my end. We launched that, and that course has been selling pretty consistently two thousand dollars, two to three thousand dollars a month over the past six months. We took a break from it for a few months, but now I’m really started to re-up it and create an affiliate program and do all of that good stuff for the video course.
Yaro Starak: How much do you charge for that course?
Harry Campbell: That course is ninety-seven dollars for the entire course. We didn’t plan on updating it, but what I quickly realized was that people want more advanced stuff, they want updates, so we just added three new videos. We’ll probably add a few videos.
We’re building out that course to be its own separate property. We created a blog and we’re basically pushing all of my … I release YouTube videos every Tuesday, Thursday, but the YouTube videos don’t get sent out really. It’s only people that find them on my channel, so we started sending out those YouTube videos as the video and then a transcript over on MaximumRidesharingProfits.com. We’re sending that out as blog posts basically and just leveraging all of my existing content. That’s what I’ve done with the course.
I’ll just talk about just quickly, I guess the other, the big one is, I’m still doing lead gen for a lot of these companies. I’m signing up drivers for Uber, Lyft, Sidecar, Postmates, DoorDash. Generally, once these companies start to go in ten to fifteen cities or more nationwide, that’s when I’ll take over or that’s when I’ll start promoting. That’s more on your traditional affiliate marketing.
The big thing that we’ve seen, these bonuses are still out there for rideshare. A lot of the delivery companies, like Postmates and DoorDash, which basically deliver food from restaurants to your home on demand, they’re starting to need a lot of drivers. I think that there’s going to be some pretty big lead gen opportunities, probably indefinitely, just because there’s very high turnover in these industries, and these companies need a lot of workers.
I’ll just talk about two more. I’ve been discovering these smaller opportunities. For example, I started consulting for a few companies here and there. I might do one or two consulting sessions a month for an hour or two, and I charge a very high premium, because I have a very, very specific knowledge base I guess you would say. There’s probably no one who really knows more about the driver and rideshare experience from that point of view. Maybe not in the world but probably if someone’s looking for that type of information, they need to come to me, and I charge a premium for it. The consulting is something that I know that I could probably explore in the future and potential speaking gigs once they start having the first rideshare conference, once that comes around.
The last thing I’ll talk about is something that, one of these opportunities that I discovered that I think these opportunities exist in every niche, but it takes a little work to find them. One of the issues a lot of drivers were having was with their auto insurance. Since this is such a new and transformative industry, a lot of the auto insurance policies haven’t caught up. It wasn’t quite a personal policy that you needed, but you also didn’t need commercial insurance, and so they started coming up with these hybrid policies about six months ago.
A lot of drivers may not realize it, but there’s some insurance gaps as drivers if they just use their personal auto insurance to drive for Uber and Lyft. Now, frankly, 80 to 90% of drivers are doing that, but a lot of the ones who do their research and figure out that, “Hey, I need a policy that’s going to cover me for these instances.” We went out and we basically found a bunch of agents who either our readers recommended or someone recommended to us or they reached out to us. We vetted them, and we created basically an auto insurance marketplace by state on our site, and we write maybe one article a month on the insurance topic, on the topics surrounding auto insurance. We drive traffic back to that page. It does really well in SEO. I try to link to it wherever I can whenever it’s appropriate.
We actually ended up, I think now we’re up to about twelve or fifteen independent insurance agents that are all paying anywhere from a hundred to a few hundred dollars a month to be listed on there, because we have such high traffic at this point and it’s such a product that drivers need, that a lot of these agents are able to basically get leads from us. It seems to be going well for them, because they’re all renewing, so maybe that means that I should be charging more.
Yaro Starak: Whew. That’s a huge breakdown, Harry. We’ve pretty much run out of time, but I do want to ask you one thing because I’m kind of curious.
Harry Campbell: Sure.
Yaro Starak: This has turned into a massive bunch of things. There’s so much content. You’re talking YouTube channel, digital course. There’s fifteen different income streams here. I’m assuming you’ve quit your job a long time ago.
Harry Campbell: Oh, yeah. I probably should have mentioned that. I did quit my job about six months ago.
Yaro Starak: This can answer this question. What does a day in the life of Harry Campbell look like today?
Harry Campbell: Well, I guess it depends on the day, because on Monday, Tuesdays I schedule out my day a little bit more, take phone calls, do meetings, things like that. I’d say a typical day I usually spend probably the first hour or two of the day doing emails, taking phone calls, doing general organizational stuff.
One of the things for me that’s been huge is I still respond to every single email that I get. One of the quick things that I saw early on was just, there’s really lacking communication from a lot of these on-demand companies. When you email Uber, for example, you don’t always get a very good response. You may not even get a response. I wanted to be the opposite. When people to email me, I wanted them to really get a good response and I wanted them to always hear from me. That’s one of the things that I spend a lot of time on. Frankly, I track all my time with a cool program, and I spend a lot of time on email, 30 to 40% of my time, just replying to emails, communication.
Then beyond that, though, I work with my team. I have a team of three writers, three virtual assistants, a web designer and then a couple guys that handle advertising and partnerships for me. I work with them. I spend an hour, hour and a half every day, coordinating stuff with them. Then maybe every day or maybe every other day I’m … Maybe every day I’m working on some type of content, whether it’s prepping for a podcast, prepping for YouTube videos, prepping for an article or actually going out and writing the article, recording the podcast or recording the YouTube.
Then I like to cook so I usually cook dinner, watch an hour of TV with my wife, check email maybe one more time at the end of the night and then go to bed and wake up and do it all again the next day. It’s awesome. It’s a lot of fun. I really enjoy it.
Yaro Starak: Okay, fantastic. You wouldn’t do it if you didn’t enjoy it. You’ve built a really amazing content business. It’s quite incredible what you’ve done actually. There’s a lot of moving parts there. It sounds like you’re controlling a lot of things. Websites, let’s just go through them again. If people want to check out what you’re doing, the main one is TheRideshareGuy.com.
Harry Campbell: Yep.
Yaro Starak: Now, you mentioned your course, which is …?
Harry Campbell: MaximumRidesharingProfits.com. Don’t try to type it in. Just use a link. It will be a lot easier to find.
Yaro Starak: Basically, go to TheRideshareGuy.com and everything you can find from there. I’m assuming you can find your YouTube channel under the same name. Yeah, all right. Huge.
Harry Campbell: I actually have the podcast too that I do … The one thing that I really enjoyed about the podcast is, because I love entrepreneur podcasts just like yours and others who interview entrepreneurs. That’s one of the parallels that I found with my podcast is I really like to … I don’t just talk about rideshare topics on my podcast. I even did one podcast on how I’m making money with my blogs so if people want to know more about that. It’s really a lot of these marketing and tactics, the parallel entrepreneurship and rideshare. Those are the topics I love exploring on my podcast.
Yaro Starak: You didn’t even mention a podcast, so throw the podcast into the mix as well with all the other content you’re doing is incredible.
Harry Campbell: Did I not mention that?
Yaro Starak: Well, now you have. I’m sure there’s at least one or two takeaways for any person doing anything online in your story, because you’ve covered so many different types of things you’ve done from the early days to the present day. Thank you for laying it all out there.
Harry Campbell: Awesome. Yeah, it was really fun. I’m glad. For me I was in your audience’s shoes just a year ago and I was listening to all these podcasts and learning from people who had done it. For me it’s really exciting to have seen some success. Also, more importantly, just share it. My site is all about helping drivers. Selfishly, it feels good to do something that you love but that also helps people. If my story can help people, I think that that’s a good thing for everyone involved.
Yaro Starak: Since we’re already over an hour, I’m just going to ask you this question. We’ll make it even longer here. I love to end this for, like you just said, the person listening to the show who is not where you’re at. They’re where you used to be. Now, I’m thinking as they listen to you, they’re going, “Oh, my gosh, there’s so many things I have to do, so much content, researching, advertising. There’s a lot of work.”
Harry Campbell: Yeah.
Yaro Starak: Where would you suggest they start, especially if they’re feeling overwhelmed now?
Harry Campbell: Honestly, I think it all starts with content. For me, writing good content, if you don’t have the good content, people aren’t going to find you. I would start with content. Find something you’re passionate about and that you think maybe there’s a little opportunity. I think that’s where a lot of people get tripped up.
If you start an online business or even especially a blog with the intention of making money and you want to get rich or if you want to make a full-time income, the odds are stacked against you. I do think that if you start something that you’re passionate about and after a year, after two years, you’ve done it and maybe you want to move on to something else, you don’t ever want to feel like you’ve gone into a project and at the end of it when it’s all said and done, you can be disappointed but you don’t want to feel like you wasted your time. That’s why I think it’s really important that if you pick something that you’re passionate about …
Let’s say with this rideshare project, at the end of one year, if I didn’t see that success, at least, hey, I worked on it for a year. I’m going to move on, find something new, but find something else that I’m passionate about. That’s why I think where that passion really comes into play and can make a huge difference.
Yaro Starak: Okay. All about passion. All right.
Harry Campbell: Yeah.
Yaro Starak: Harry, thank you for joining me today and sharing your story. Thank you, everyone else, for listening in. This has been The entrepreneur’s Journey Podcast.
If you do want to get the show notes, the transcript or download any of the MP3s, if you haven’t got already for this interview with Harry, just head to Entrepreneur-Journey and then click the podcast tab or just Google my name, Yaro, Y-A-R-O, and you’ll find all the downloads there. Thanks, everyone, for listening and I’ll talk to you on a podcast very soon.
I hope you enjoyed that interview with Harry Campbell. I really appreciated him going into so much depth of his background story, what led up to what he’s currently doing, and of course really breaking down the details of his current ridesharing blogging business.
A reminder again to go to InterviewsClub.com and enter your email address on that page to sign up for updates whenever I release a brand new E-J Podcast. Also, I’d really appreciate it if you could spend five minutes now by going to iTunes and leaving a review and a five-star rating for the E-J Podcast. If you love this show and you want to certainly see me continue to produce this show, I really appreciate the thank-you by leaving a review in iTunes.
That’s it for this episode. My name is Yaro Starak, and I’ll talk to you again on the next episode of The E-J Podcast.
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+.