Expenses: web hosting: $13
$50.00 – email finding tool
Learning the same lessons – over again
Before I write these income report updates, I read the preceding month’s.
It helps me reflect on what I’ve learned in the past month.
It also helps me gauge whether I’ve applied what I’ve learned.
As I read June’s income report, I realized I made progress in some areas.
In other areas, I repeated the same mistakes.
First, I’ll discuss the progress I’ve made.
Redefining this Blog
Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and Pat Flynn are two bloggers I admire greatly.
They’ve rocketed to unbelievable financial success building businesses they love.
They’ve also built the type of business I’d like to build.
Namely, passive income businesses.
How did they achieve this success?
- They chose a niche: Michelle’s and Pat’s businesses are in similar side-hustle/passive income/personal finance/entrepreneurship niches.
- They chose a growth engine: Michelle chose Pinterest, Pat chose SEO.
- They consistently produced excellent content for that growth engine: they both publish blog posts and Pat publishes all sorts of content including podcasts, Facebook live videos, etc. as he has diversified his growth engines.
- In the words of Gary Vaynerchuck, they focused on documentation, not creation.
What does Vaynerchuck mean when he says, “document don’t create”?
Here’s a video of his explanation of the concept.
This is what Gary means by “document, don’t create.”
Documenting your journey versus creating an image of yourself is the difference between saying “You should…” versus “my intuition says…”. Get it? It changes everything. I believe that the people who are willing to discuss their journeys instead of trying to front themselves as the “next big thing” are going to win.
So how do Pat and Michelle emulate this concept?
When they started their brands, they were simply documenting their side-hustles.
They didn’t set out to start a personal finance or entrepreneurship blog.
They blogged about how they were making money and people quickly gravitated to their content.
Why was this so successful?
I think part of their success was due to their authenticity.
As Vaynerchuck indicates in the video and this article, we can over complicate the content creation process by feeling like we need to be “the expert” and produce perfect content.
This results in two major issues.
- Very little content: If you think you’re content needs to be “expert-level” before you publish, you will end up publishing very little content because it’s too hard to produce “expert-level” content repeatedly.
- Inauthentic content: You will probably produce content you think an expert would create instead of content you want to create.
These issues are in part why I’ve struggled to create content on this blog.
Because I have felt the pressure to create what I think people want to read instead of documenting my money-making adventures.
So I’m going to try to be more like Pat and Michelle and use this blog as a place to document my money-making adventures instead of feeling the pressure to create a blog similar to what theirs’ are today.
The Start of a New Venture
I’ve mentioned before that my friend Matt and I tried to start a t-shirt business in 2016.
We made great t-shirt designs and had a decent website but we didn’t yet understand marketing or growth engines.
We haphazardly grew our t-shirt brand’s Instagram following to 100 and thought that sales would magically start rolling in.
We couldn’t have been more wrong.
We made one sale (and that’s one more than I thought we’d make)!
So this past month, I decided to restart the t-shirt brand, this time using everything I had learned about internet entrepreneurship in the past year.
What did I do differently?
Here’s the list
- In 2016, we were paying $30 a month for Shopify hosting. This year, I created a website for free using my current bluehost plan that allows for unlimited websites.
- In 2016, we didn’t have any original photography. This year, our site has entirely original photos.
- In 2016, we focused entirely on product quality and considered marketing an afterthought. This year, I have decided on Instagram as the growth engine and am focusing solely on it.
- Last year, we had no marketing plan for our growth engine. This year I came up with an Instagram marketing plan with Matt’s help.
Wear Primal and our Instagram Strategy
Thanks to direction from Matt and some awesome Instagram growth hacking articles like this one, I created 90 Instagram posts in advance before I published a thing to our profile.
I asked Matt how many he thought would be best to post a day.
He said 3.
And I knew I wanted to have one month’s content scheduled and ready to go so that I wouldn’t feel like I was constantly fighting against the clock to publish content.
I made sure every image was high-quality and in perfect dimensions for the platform.
I also decided that our profile should have 3 types of images that we cycle between so that our profile has a uniform aesthetic.
Hint: coming up with 3 types of photos looks great because, as of now, Instagram’s grid shows photos in rows of 3.
I then found 30 hashtags to apply to each post that were relevant to the brand: tags like #ancestralhealth, #primal, and #paleo.
And then I scheduled them all with onlypult.com – the only service I know of that actually posts to Instagram for you.
Why schedule content?
This frees you up to to focus on other things and enables you to not be obsessively checking social media.
Posting great content is the first rule of growing any following.
But that’s not the only thing you can do to grow.
Another successful growth method is mass following/unfollowing.
You can accomplish this best with a bot like Ninjagram.
I have set Ninjagram to run on 24/7 on my web server following anyone I choose.
I could set it to follow everyone tagging their photos with a particular hashtag, or the followers of an influencer, or who a user is following.
Ninjagram is an incredible platform and one I recommend to anyone interested in speeding up growth.
According to some back of the napkin math, I may be able to grow Wear Primal’s Instagram following by about 2000 followers a month and hopefully more when we begin to have a more substantial following (10,000+ followers).
Each passing month seems like a whirlwind in my entrepreneurial education. I’m happy I’m trying to document it all on this blog.
Do you have a blog where you document your entrepreneurial adventures?
If so, comment below so I can check it out!