Hey there!

Harrison-Alley

My name is Harrison and welcome to my blog!

I’m a real estate analyst at an investment firm by day (and a blogger by night).

I’m also a health nut, fitness junkie, and I love stories (TV, movies, books, etc.).

I started this blog to document my journey of making a financially successful blog from scratch and help you build a financially successful blog too!

Let me break that down for you.

What do you mean by “financially successful”?

Everyone has a different definition for their personal financial success.

For me, I define financial success in the context of a blog as:

being able to provide for my basic needs and the needs of my loved ones by doing what I love to do every day.

If I had to put a hard number on it, I’d say I’d need to earn about $30,000 a year from my blog before I consider quitting my day job.

This number has to do with the fact that I have a lot of student debt, that my wife also has a day job, that we currently have no children, and that this amount would cover the basics without many frills.

For you, the amount might be vastly different.

The good news is that online businesses scale wonderfully.

So you could literally make millions of dollars a year from a blog like Michelle Schroeder-Gardner or Pat Flynn.

And there are plenty of people making a more conservative living as you can see here.

What do you mean by “blog”?

The word, “blog” is actually a shortened version of the phrase “web log” which came about in the 90s when the modern internet first came around.

So “blog” really just means publishing a log of content to the internet.

Of course, the web has changed a lot since then.

Now you can publish podcasts, video blogs or vlogs, snaps, Instagram stories, etc.

So while this blog is primarily about how to create a financially successful blog in the original sense of written blog posts, many of the principles I write about can apply to any sort of web log – vlog, podcast, or otherwise.

What do you mean by “from scratch”?

I started this blog without any social media following, any coding skills (FYI: none are required to start a successful blog), or any advantage.

I literally started this blog from scratch and believe I can grow it into a financially successful business that ultimately replaces my day job for income.

What’s more, I think you can build a financially successful blog too if you avoid my mistakes, imitate my successes, and hustle.

Does this mean that your blog isn’t already financially successful?

That’s correct.

As of the date of writing this, I have not achieved my definition of financial success for this blog (making $30,000 a year or more).

So is this one of those scam websites where the only way you make money is by pretending that you’re successful?

Nope!

In fact:

I publish exactly how much I’m making (or not making) on my income reports.

I also write about all my successes and failures so that you can imitate my successes and avoid my failures.

I definitely don’t have pro-blogging “all figured out.”

But I’m excited to share everything I learn on the journey and I hope you join me in it.

How do you make money (or plan on making money) from this blog?

For now, I plan on making money from affiliate sales.

If you’re not familiar with affiliates, they are trackable links companies give to influencers so that the company can monitor when a visitor comes to their website from the influencer’s link.

If the visitor makes a purchaser as a result of following the influencer’s link, the influencer receives a commission on the sale.

The web visitor doesn’t pay any more than they would normally.

In fact, sometimes they pay less as a result of following the affiliate’s link.

For instance:

This is my affiliate link for the web hosting service Bluehost.

If you click on that link, you get 50% off the standard web hosting price!

So you can get started hosting your blog for just $3.95 a month instead of $7.95.

And if you use my link, I get paid $65!

Bluehost is the web host I use to host this blog.

It’s a product I like and use and am happy to promote on my blog.

What’s the goal of your blog? Why do you do it?

My goal is to help others realize their dreams of monetizing their passions through a blog.

I know that many people are like me: stuck in an unfulfilling corporate job looking for a way out.

I want to help those people by showing them that anyone can create a successful blog about any passion if they put in the work.

As I’ve looked around the web for detailed instructions on how to start a successful blog, I’ve been disappointed in what I’ve found.

It seems like there are countless descriptions of how to set up a blog, but after that, you’re on your own.

This blog is meant to fill you in on everything you need to do after that.

Because anyone can set up a blog, but it takes a lot of time and effort to turn that blog into a financially successful business.

My goal for this blog came about after I graduated from college in 2014.

I was mired in school debt ($90,000 of debt to be exact).

I felt I had been shuffled through a system that didn’t really help me (college).

And I felt like the world was saying that the only option for me was to compete with equally smart peers over unfulfilling corporate jobs.

Now I know there are countless entrepreneurs making a living from their passions outside the corporate environment.

This blog is meant to be a road map for anyone who wants this lifestyle.

Whether you’re a fitness vlogger, an aspiring e-book author, an internet marketer, a chef, or something else entirely, starting a blog is a great way to get your online business started.

And want this blog to be your complete, go-to resource for learning how to start a blog from scratch.

About Matt

You may notice that I occasionally mention a guy named Matt in my posts.

Matt is one of my best friends from college and a fellow aspiring internet entrepreneur.

We’ve partnered on some projects together, but mostly we act as each other’s business accountability partners.

We offer each other advice and feedback for different business ideas.

Matt is also a frequent proof-reader for the content on this blog.

You can read more from Matt here.

More About Me

You’re still here?

I’m flattered.

Here’s a more in-depth version of my story.

The neighborhood in which I grew up is currently ranked the 22nd wealthiest in the US based on median household income.

This is where I spent my formative years, with four siblings and a single mom who never made more than $60,000 a year.

Sound like a paradox?

It was.

You see, my parents got divorced when I was born.

Before I came into the picture, our family was part of a wealthy elite.

After they split, my mom didn’t receive any child support or financial help whatsoever.

So we moved out of our mansion into a rent house in the same expensive neighborhood where the landlord heard our story and gave us a deal on rent out of the kindness of his heart.

My mom has lived there ever since.

Thanks to scholarships and anonymous donors, I was able to attend private schools from elementary to high school.

Once it came time to go to college, I did what many of my friends with wealthy parents did and attended the highest ranked school that accepted me, regardless of price.

That school was the University of Southern California.

Despite a significant two-thirds needs-based scholarship, I still had to take out $80,000 in loans, which ballooned to $90,000 by the time of my graduation.

I didn’t go into all this debt to obtain a degree with high earning potential like engineering or computer science.

I graduated with a degree in French and a minor in Business Administration.

Side Note: I didn’t actually switch majors till half way through my junior year so I completed nearly all the business major requirements. However, I couldn’t afford to double major in French and Business because USC had a rule that you had to take more general education classes to double-major (even if you did complete the major requirements for two specializations – stupid in my opinion). So even though I could have (and nearly did) complete all class requirements for both majors in 4 years, I couldn’t have completed the additional general ed classes in that time frame. And I wasn’t willing to spend more time and money at USC to complete the double-major.

You might be wondering why on earth I would go into enormous debt for a degree with low earning potential.

For starters, I was an immature kid who didn’t foresee the consequence of my actions.

I didn’t think about the ROI of my major, I just took the classes I enjoyed the most.

I didn’t realize that, in terms of earning potential, your major/specialization matters more than the university you attend.

Also, at the time I thought I might pursue an MBA.

(Some mentors I spoke with that pursued an MBA themselves recommended I do something different for my undergraduate degree since graduate schools would be looking for diversity in backgrounds.)

And for some reason, I didn’t make the connection that when my friends went to school, their parents paid for them, but when I went to school, I would be stuck with an enormous bill.

Even though this was a poor investment decision, certain aspects of my college experience paid off big time.

For instance, I met my wife and some of my best friends (like Matt) at college.

That said, my college degree’s lack of practical application and clear career path made my job pursuit an interesting one.

During my senior year, I sent out 100+ custom resumes for various positions across the business and marketing spectrum.

I actually landed an interview for a position at DropBox but didn’t make it to subsequent interview rounds.

After graduating, I moved into my mom’s rent house back home to save money.

When I heard nothing from nearly all the companies to which I applied, I decided to ditch the conventional method of sending a resume and hoping for a response.

Instead, I found a local company I wanted to work for and sent one of their founders an email explaining how I thought I could help them.

This landed me an interview and ultimately a part-time social media manager position with Foot Cardigan, a sock subscription start-up.

At about that same time, I reconnected with a neighbor of mine looking for someone to manage the social media for his non-profit.

The position at Foot Cardigan didn’t work out.

They knew I was trying to transition into full-time employment, but they couldn’t afford to pay someone a full-time salary for such a small position (understandably so).

The good news is that I had built my neighbor a new website for his non-profit and had expanded my role beyond managing social media.

Thanks to these efforts, he was willing to take a chance on me and take me on as a full-time employee.

After about a year working for this non-profit, I received a call from an old boss of mine offering me a job at the hedge fund where I interned.

You see, before I left for college, I got a list of business contacts from my good friend’s dad.

In the summer of my freshman year, I regularly called one of these contacts and bugged him twice a week until he agreed to give me an internship for the summer.

During this internship I tried to do my work well and became good friends with other people in the office. My boss was impressed with my work and most importantly, got along well with me. In fact, he too came from humble roots and felt compelled to help me any way he could.

So when the time came for them to hire someone to help with a small real-estate fund they had started, my former boss gave me a call and offered me the position.

If you’re like most people, you probably think “big money” when you think hedge fund.

The reality is my starting salary wasn’t big money. It was $35,000.

So the burden of my debt still weighs heavily on me and has been a significant motivator for me to look for other ways to make money.

As I’ve learned more about business, entrepreneurship, and making money on the web, I’ve come across some valuable lessons – lessons I want to share with anyone interested; anyone also on their journey of learning to make money on the web.

I’ve learned some of these lessons from great books like Zero to One* and the Four Hour Work Week* (two of my favorite business books).

I’ve also learned a great deal by launching a few businesses of my own, most of which have failed.

For instance, in college I tried to lead a team of engineers to make an idea I had for an iPhone application – it never even made it to the app store.

Shortly after graduation, I made a website for my then girlfriend now wife where customers could place an order with her to have her paint a photograph of their choice (the website received few visitors and never made a sale).

In early 2016, I started a t-shirt line with my friend Matt and we made 1 sale before we shut it down.

Each of these failures taught me some painful yet valuable lessons; lessons that I’d love to share with you.

Again, thanks for visiting my site, take a look around, and sign up for my email list below or on the home page!

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In the spirit of full disclosure, links marked with an asterisk are affiliate links, which means that I may receive a commission if you decide to purchase anything through the link. You will not pay more when buying a product through my link. In fact, sometimes I am able to offer a lower price (or bonuses) not available elsewhere. Your support in purchasing through these links empowers more people worldwide to blog with less worry and less hassle and enables me to continue to provide free blog content and to provide for myself and loved ones. Thank you! 🙂