Despite me not telling family and friends about it, recently a few friends in my social circle discovered my blog.
Hell broke loose. No, not really. But the reaction wasn’t exactly welcoming with a red carpet rolled out for me either. On the contrary, it was quite what I (and maybe you) would expect it to be.
I have written about not telling family and friends about your side gigs before. You can read it in a previous post here.
Back to my friends, the most common question I had to address is “why would someone go to your website when there are tons of others that offer the same thing?”
I am not sure there a “tons of others” that offer the same exact thing. We are all unique individuals and speak from our own knowledge and experiences. I don’t blame my friends, they don’t know everything I do and all that I am involved with. They simply can’t. There is too much and it spans across a variety of disciplines. Most people cannot fathom that thought.
“So, what do you do for a living?” has got to be one of the hardest questions I am repeatedly asked at social gatherings and interactions. Now how do I answer that? What I do is just not one thing.
So I told them that my response would take up an hour and bore them to death. Instead, I told them to tune into my blog the following week and I will have a well thought out response crafted for them. Doubt anyone of them will visit, but I am hoping that YOU may find something interesting instead.
1) I started young, am still young and would be ecstatic to be the inspiration behind others who replicate what I have done and achieve the same kind of success if they are willing to put the time and effort it takes to get here.
A bulk of my readership is under the age of 35. I am sure that to them, direct and practical advice from someone in their age range is likely more effective (theory of relate-ivity or relate-ability).
There may be tons of others dishing out similar information; but I have been there, done that and therefore I am hoping that readers can better relate.
2) I speak from experience. I am not a big fan of flaunting check images on my blog, but I cannot disagree with the power (and necessity at times) of social proof. I therefore decided to include a handful of earning samples in the proof section of this blog. There is also plenty of “proof” in the free report I offer for signing up to my newsletter.
Many that post check / payment images utilize fake, Photoshop generated images. I have no problem sharing with you the check number so you can verify its validity. You can even see my name on them! Anyway, my goal is to share information, not to brag about the most recent paycheck I received from ClickBank. Although it may not be a bad idea to start a brand new section where I post copies of monthly checks received from everywhere. But many vendors pay me via PayPal and ACH so that too can be an issue.
3) I am not purely an Internet marketer – yet 🙂 No I don’t strictly design sales pages and e-products and then heavily market them using manipulative tricks to generate sales. I don’t post screenshots showing I made a million dollars one day. I don’t push useless stuff either.
None of my websites have less than 45 web pages of useful content. Each one of my websites is built with sound search engine optimization principles I have learned over the years, coupled with tried and tested internet marketing strategies that work.
4) I am not a programmer! Some readers are often intimidated by an author’s technical savvy. The use of technical terms and jargon can get anyone lost in the Internet jungle. That’s not me. I never took a computer course in school, and self taught myself very basic HTML just to get by. I speak plain English.
Heck even my English is not as complex. It can’t be. It is my fourth language. I don’t have complicated words in my dictionary. I think I speak and write in a clear, basic, easy to follow manner? You can correct me if I am wrong?
5) If you are going to make money online, or from a side business, or a full time business, or whatever else, then you better have enough financial savvy not to throw that money away.
My website is not only about making money, but you will also learn how to manage it and grow it over time. At the very least preserve it and not throw it away. I am a CPA, a Finance Charter-holder, a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and hold a few other certifications enough to build the great wall of China after my last name.
This was my profession in my past life and I do know what I am talking about – I think so at least. Most people have the same basic issues, whether rich or poor, and personal finance is one of them.
Disclaimer: You should not take any of my advice as legal or financial advice. I am not charging for any of the information I provide on this blog. I highly recommend you consult a professional who is actively practicing in the areas you are interested in exploring further. I’d be glad to recommend you a good one.
6) I am an entrepreneur first, and then a survey taker, website creator, advice giver or anything else after. I have done relatively well in the stock market, real estate investing, small business and Internet entrepreneurship. I have worked on many endeavors simultaneously and know how to manage time effectively.
What I speak or write about comes from a well rounded experience. I can promise you that you will never hear anything closed minded or too “narrow-focused” from me. Keeping the big picture in mind is critical in anything I do. I am not penny wise and pound foolish. Nor do I think all cows are purple.
7) I screen 99% of what I recommend. Whether I talk about a product, service, method, process or experience, I screen everything very carefully before I speak and write about it. You won’t find the overnight millionaire idea on my blog. You won’t find one thousand different money making opportunities either. I do not like garbage and I don’t recommend it either.
This post was not meant to brag and glorify me as the “Messiah”, or the next air conditioner, and I hope the discussion points in this post demonstrates the diversity and experience that backs-up the content on this blog. That IS the main purpose of this post.
I’d love to hear from you. Why does your audience read what you write? Why should they listen to YOU? What does any reader look for in a writer / blogger to read what they write?
When I first started this blog in July 2010, I wrote about the ideal reader of this blog. Because I had no visitor traffic back then, the post got buried in the archives and based on my recent analytics review, I did not see much activity related to the post.
That said, I have learned from the RSS subscriber data that the readership of my blog spans from individuals interested in basic personal finance, intermediate to advanced investing, real estate, internet marketing, blogging, niche websites, making money from home, working online, and a few other categories.
This tells me that there is a bit for a broad interest group on my blog. The overarching theme across all interest groups is the desire to earn more money. That is indeed part of this blog’s goal, the other being creating more freedom and flexibility to live life on your own terms.
The two can be related, although they don’t have to be. For example, you can leverage financial abundance to create the lifestyle you want, specifically by establishing multiple streams of income that are passive and residual in nature.
On the other hand, you can quit a six figure paying profession and work from home for a third of the salary but have all kinds of freedom and flexibility (i.e. lifestyle design).
I was reminded to clarify who my target reader is by a comment left on my blog by Jason on November 11, 2010. His comment was as follows:
This post seems to contradict your philosophy about making passive income. Some of these activities are far from passive. They involve a lot of time and work and are not passive by any means. I work a full time job and my understanding is that you come from the same background and are trying to help those like me who are in the same situation you were in. But let me ask you, would you have been able to do some of these top 10 businesses when you were working and traveling?
I responded as follows:
Jason – welcome and thank you for your observation. While I am a very big advocate of passive income, the 10 side gigs according to Ask Men certainly don’t all revolve around the passive model. However, there is much more to picking a side gig than just choosing one that is passive in nature. It comes down to personal preference and what one derives enjoyment from.
You are right – I do come from the same background and that is why I am able to relate well – at least I’d like to think so.
I would have been able to do some of these, and some not given my unpredictable and crazy traveling schedule back when I was a consultant. That said, there is something for everyone, and anything worthwhile is worth mentioning on this blog. You never know who is reading and can benefit from the message.
The reader I had in mind when starting this blog is someone in exactly my situation. Because I often have ME in mind as the target reader, I can speak to the pain points and relate to others who are in my situation, have been there before or want to get there in the future.
This blog is intended for well educated, hard working and successful professionals who want more out of life. As I have often said, “more” could mean more financial independence and freedom to expedite retirement or, enjoy a higher quality one.
More could also mean the desire to achieve financial freedom to enable one to re-engineer their lifestyle, so they can enjoy life more (instead of slaving in the cubicle for years) and spend time doing the things they enjoy doing.
There are multiple other scenarios that apply. The ideal reader . . .
The last one is worth reiterating. At some point in a successful individual’s career, money stops becoming a factor, or at least as big of a factor as it was when starting out. Read my discussion on why this is true here.
Because the ideal reader of this blog has a successful career, he or she has discretionary cash that they are willing to invest to purchase the right tools that will help them achieve their objectives while maintaining their full time careers and keeping the stable cash flow coming in.
When you don’t have money to spend, the only option is to spend a lot of time and energy doing everything manually and by yourself. I am not saying you can’t do it the long and hard way. In fact I started out that way. What I am saying is that when you are a successful professional, one thing you don’t have much off is free time.
With just a small investment, you can save yourself the learning curve and all the effort and frustration that come with it. You can ensure that you can jump right into the thick of things. You WANT to invest that discretionary cash in resources that will enable you to create the free time, freedom, flexibility and financial abundance you are looking for.
That said, none of what I cover is a “get rich overnight” scheme. Succeeding at the various ventures discussed on this blog take a lot of preparation, careful execution, patience and persistence over time. This blog is not for the desperate, nor it is for those seeking to strike gold overnight.
So what if you only fit part of the requirement list? That’s completely fine. Like I said, I blog about topics that interest all kinds of readers. While this blog will most benefit my target audience, there is still a ton of valuable information that applies to other readers.
I encourage you to subscribe to my RSS feed to stay abreast of recent developments and discussions. I can guarantee you that sooner or later, you will see information that is not only very relevant to you as well, but also practical, actionable and one that will help you tremendously if applied.
In conclusion, I am glad that Jason posted his comment on my blog. It allows me to clarify the ideal reader of my blog for my readers once more, as well as reinforces my own sentiment about who should the reader of this blog be by typing my thoughts out aloud.
Do you fit the bill? If not, what topics would you like see discussed that can help you?
There are two types of Bloggers when it comes to blog post length and blogging frequency; Those that release multiple short posts a day, and those that release a lengthy post every few days. I certainly fall with the latter.
Without going into the advantages and disadvantages with each approach, here is my attempt to explain why I write rather long blog posts and don’t post as frequently as a new blogger should, or is advised to do so.
I am absolutely passionate about what I do, and because of that passion along with such a diverse experience, I am able to write about the topics I write on in detail. Moreover, I don’t run out of tangents to bounce off to.
Because everything is so intertwined and somewhat related, there is always something to talk about. Heck I even wrote about the similarities between a Farmer, you and I, and what we can learn from farming.
Because of all the hard work I have put into my personal development (which includes higher education, top notch professional experience and several side gigging experiments), I really do consider myself a subject matter authority on topics I write about.
When you truly believe in your capabilities and have the experience to substantiate your confidence, you can easily get carried away talking or writing about a particular topic you feel passionate about, resulting in long blog posts.
My interests are vast enough for me to blog for the rest of my life, or until blogs exist and people care about them. Again, a big part of this is because all my interests are somehow intertwined. Consider these topics for a minute: entrepreneurship, small business, personal development, spirituality, personal finance, investing, real estate, blogging, websites, charity, service.
Do you see any linkage? One can make an argument everything you do in life is intertwined; and I won’t disagree with that either.
A perfect practical example of what I mean is the following. I have blogged quite a bit about making money through niche content websites and blogs. Now as an “internet marketer”, or a “website owner” or “blogger”, I should have no business blogging about business incorporation, asset protection and personal taxes right?
One would think. As would I. But because of what I know and have experienced, I know that generating money online is a “business”, and that business incorporation should be considered to segregate personal assets from business assets, and that this segregation protects you from unnecessary and excessive financial loss.
I also know that running a business comes with a set of tax advantages, particular for someone who is running a side business in addition to their full time profession.
So although I may have started writing with one sole intention, my experiences compel me to write about the relevant and high impact tangents necessary to provide as comprehensive of a picture and deliver the most value to my readers as possible, therefore once again turning into long blog posts.
Most internet entrepreneurs preach that you should focus on a narrow niche and stick to one topic. Sure there is place and time for that, but I often ask the question why does it have to be that way? It doesn’t.
I have been blessed enough with a well rounded background and balanced experience that I can write about varying topics on my blog. I like the flexibility and the freedom. Depending on my mood and emotional estate, I may write about flying cows tomorrow. Why not?
While I strongly believe that focusing on a niche and knowing your audience very well works well for some initiatives such as niche content websites, I also believe in diversity and the shot gun approach when appropriate, such as on a blogging platform.
Let’s remind ourselves that a Blog is an abbreviation for a Web Log, essentially a personal journal. That said, this blog has taken several twists and turns and still hasn’t found a straight path. I am not sure it will?
What can a 300 word blog post tell you? Sure a joke or two, or the recent robbery in a town in a place you have no clue about, but it is not until you get into the 1,000 word range when you start scratching the surface.
There are excellent writers out there who manage to communicate the world to you in just 300 words or even less, but I think you understand the point I am trying to make? I personally don’t like it when I am left hanging with more questions than I started with after I consume material such as reading a blog.
That said, we need to put a full hard stop to a blog post at some point. I do understand that if I didn’t, my blog would simply be one long, never ending post (assuming I could ever do that). I am continuously learning to better balance the need to communicate the “entire story” while keeping the blog posts manageable both from my writing and your reading standpoint.
As a bean counter in my previous life, I hope the love for details makes some sense to you?
I have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). No, that is NOT a joke. My mind is ultra spontaneous and cannot focus on just one task. It is always working, thinking and wandering into both familiar and unfamiliar territories. It is very curious, often for my own harm.
I often start something with one intention in mind, and up in a completely different corner of the planet when I am done. What ends up happening is that one subject leads to another, and then sub-topics within topics somehow form themselves. It all builds up and scatters the article or post all over the place.
The good thing is that because the topics are somewhat related, there is a way to make it all come together in the end. Most topics end up being interdependent, much like the global environment that we live in today.
The only reason my blog posts likely make sense and are somewhat coherent is because when done writing I go back and spend a lot of time ensuring the post flows well, makes sense and has relevant headings.
This is why it is a joy for me to be able to write a blog post straight in one sitting, skimming back over it and seeing no errors. This doesn’t happen very often, but when it does it makes me proud. I am learning, I am getting better.
The ultimate question I suppose is should you blog for quality or quantity? The obvious choice is a hybrid both. I don’t necessarily advocate writing long blog posts all the time. Because some can deliver quality in fewer words compared to others, I don’t think there is an ideal length for any particular post. It’s all relative.
From a business perspective, I understand that profiting from a blog takes time just like building any successful business. I am confident in the quality of my blog and the value it delivers to its readers.
From a technical perspective, there are bloggers out there who strive for a minimum number of posts daily to keep their hit count up, often at the expense of quality and brevity.
I am not a big fan of this approach. I’d rather build subject matter authority through more comprehensive posts, without creating artificial deadlines or minimum amount of daily posts to submit.
Also consider that Google certainly takes its sweet time getting comfortable with you, your content and credibility before it starts to rank you well and send organic traffic your way. So if Mother Google is not in a rush, why should I be?
Do you normally produce long blog posts or shorter ones? Why?