This week I’m launching my new interview series were I plan to interview side hustlers just like you who’ve launched their own side business and are earning an income from it.
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If you would like to be considered for one of these interviews just let me know by clicking here.
This months interview is a good one. In this interview I talk to Joseph Hogue. He’s whose done a variety of side hustles and he even manages six blogs all of which he is earning an income from.
He does every thing from freelancing, affiliate marketing, sponsored post, and even wrote several eBooks. So if you want to learn more about how to manage multiple blogs and build a thriving income for yourself keep reading.
#1 Who are you and what inspired you to get into blogging?
I’ve worked in finance and investments my whole life, from commercial real estate to equity analysis and as an economist for the State of Iowa.
It was about ten years ago that I realized the only way to get ahead is to be an owner rather than a worker.
I had seen other entrepreneurs do very well with internet businesses and liked the fact that you could develop an internet property on very little money, compared to the tens of thousands or more that it might take to launch a traditional business or buy real estate.
I knew it could take years to really start seeing good cash flow from websites so I decided to start freelancing as I developed my sites.
#2 How many sites do you have and why?
I launched my first two sites in 2014 after years of freelancing as an investment analyst. My first two were in personal finance and crowdfunding.
The saying goes, the most profitable niches on the internet are health, wealth and romance…hence the personal finance site which played into my experience.
I had watched the crowdfunding space develop and saw potential there as well, both for fundraising and investing.
I ended up breaking the personal finance site into three this year; including a blog about investing basics, the original PF site and one on ways to make money online.
Posting all three topics to one blog was diluting the content. This isn’t good on two levels.
- First, you want Google to see your site as an authority in one specific niche so it will bump you in the rankings.
- Second, when people find your site through searching for a specific topic, you want them to be able to find other content on the same subject easily.
I’ve also got two other sites, one about peer to peer loans and one on dating & relationships. I’m by no means a dating expert but I was offered a great price on a three-year old domain with lots of content and back-links.
I’ve been able to quintuple traffic in less than six months and make about half of what I paid for it every month.
Owning six sites allows me to talk about everything that interests me but still keep each site very specific around a topic.
Different topics make money in different ways, some blogs are better on self-publishing while others do really well with affiliate sales.
#3 What are a few of the advantages and disadvantages of running multiple blogs?
The disadvantage is clearly the extra time commitment.
There are some things that you can combine to run more efficiently, like email, but it is still a lot of work to run multiple blogs. I work 40 – 50 hours a week with probably 30 hours of it on the blogs.
That’s not time spent sitting at my desk surfing the web but time actually spent every week writing and researching posts.
There are some things you can combine or that benefit from running multiple blogs. I can buy a premium plugin and install it on all the sites.
All my email is forwarded to one account. I can also use the multiple sites and audiences in negotiating with sponsors and advertisers.
Eventually I may sell one or two of the blogs to focus on the remaining sites. The problem is that you really don’t make much when you sell a website, unless you can find a huge corporate buyer like AOL.
Generally, you can expect around 20-times monthly profit when you sell a blog.
That may sound like a lot if you are making a few grand a month but it takes years to build a blog up to that point.
Momentum through search traffic tends to be very durable so affiliate income and some other sources can continue for months or longer with very little effort.
Unless you get an offer you can’t refuse, most of the time it’s worth more to just put the site on auto-pilot and continue drawing income from it rather than sell it.
#4 What are the top income streams in your business?
I still make more freelancing but the blogging income is growing quickly.
I make roughly $1,500 a month on seven books I’ve published, mostly from re-purposed content on the blogs.
I make another $1,000 from affiliates across a range of products including loans, investing websites, and web hosting.
I have started to promote sponsored posts more heavily and do around $500 per month. Display ads and other sources bring in a few hundred in addition to the above sources.
#5 What inspired you to write books and how has that helped you grow your business?
Self-publishing can bring in thousands a month very quickly and is a natural fit for bloggers.
You’ve already got the content from your blog and you will quickly become an expert after months and years of writing.
It takes very little to re-purpose and format your blog content into a book to launch on Amazon. Put together a successful launch and books are one of the most passive forms of income you will find.
Beyond about $50 a month spent on Amazon Market advertising, I do nothing to promote my books and they have provided consistent income each month.
I developed a resource guide for self-publishing that walks through everything from developing the idea to the details that will help you rank on Amazon.
#6 I understand you do a lot with sponsored post as well, what are sponsored post how do they work?
Sponsored posts, also called native advertising, are a blog post around a specific product or problem which is solved by the product.
An advertiser pays you a fee and may even write the post themselves in exchange for publishing it on your site. They usually get at least one link back to their website and get to talk about their product.
The idea is that it is much less a ‘hard-sell’ compared to traditional commercials or display advertising.
Readers are less likely to see the post as a commercial rather than just learning about something they need.
Of course, there are caveats to sponsored posts. You need to be able to recommend the product or you risk alienating your readers.
You also don’t want to load your site down with more than a few sponsored posts per month.
Most bloggers start at around $100 to $150 for sponsored posts but I’ve seen the amount go much higher on blogs with more than 50,000 visitors per month.
#7 What are you doing to increase your income? Ex. Add new income streams, advertising…
I’m sticking with what works and publishing more books. I will have another book out this year and a few more in 2017. If you plan on publishing, be strategic about it.
Plan out the chapter ideas for a book and then make each one a blog post for the next six to ten weeks. You will end up writing super-long, detailed posts that will bring lots of search traffic for that topic.
Once you’ve published your book, go back through each post and add a call-to-action and link to the book. It’s organic marketing that will lead to enough sales to rank your book.
Of course, I’m also working on growing the blogs through quality content.
Instead of posting twice a week to each site, I’m posting once a week and then I post a super-long, detailed article to each blog once a month.
Google loves these long, detailed blog posts of 3,000+ words and it’s the best way to increase search traffic. I monetize that traffic through affiliate posts and plan on putting together some smaller products like printables.
#8 What is one specific piece of advice you would give to someone just getting started with blogging?
Do it now! Get a website up and start posting to it. You won’t get much traffic but Google will slowly notice the site and start sending visitors.
It takes months to get any real traffic and make money. The best way to start is when you are still working a 9-to-5, post to your blog once a week but don’t worry too much about it.
By the time six-months or a year rolls by, you will start seeing decent traffic and can start making enough money to put full-time blogging on the horizon.
Too many people get disappointed and give up because they jump into it and wonder why traffic isn’t in the tens of thousands right away.
Also, work on multiple streams of income. You aren’t going to get rich on any one source but multiple streams add up. Have a plan for self-publishing, affiliates and sponsored posts at a minimum.