How I Quit 1:1 PT and Created a Monthly 50k+ Online Income, Part 2 – Finally Getting Traction!
In Part 1 of this series I took you through the first year or two of my online journey – in which I basically blogged my butt off and achieved very little in return except for a massive audience of 109 subscribers.
I’d reached a point where I was truly starting to wonder if I had what it took, but just when perhaps I may have given up I was fortunate enough to win a competition to have a free consult with one of the internet’s most respected writers and editors (amongst other notes of acclaim!), Mr Jon Morrow.
This half hour call literally changed the direction of my online business and I’d go so far as to say changed my life, setting me on a road to creating an online monthly income at times exceeding what I once dreamed of ‘hopefully’ making in a year from my writing!
Without the meeting with Jon, perhaps I would have continued to battle through and eventually still reached the success I enjoy today – I’d certainly like to think so. But at the same time, I was growing really freaking tired of putting in 20, 30, often 40 hours a week and getting nothing more than ‘great feedback’ from my personal training clients and the occasional stranger in return.
I wanted more than just great feedback! I wanted it all. And I wanted it now.
And whilst I knew it was possible to create a ‘cafe lifestyle’ as a successful online entrepreneur, I just had no idea how to make it happen for ME. I felt sure there was something critical I was missing, and it turned out there was although what it was was not, in retrospect, at all related to the direct advice Jon gave me …
I’ll cut to the chase – by implementing Jon’s advice I was able to increase my blog traffic by a massive 743% in a matter of weeks. It was the start of something BIG. Mostly, however, and as it turned out most critically when it came to giving me the energy and determination to it was the reaffirmation of the belief that I could do this; I could MAKE it online and that I had a message worth hearing.
Okay, okay, I know you’re wanting to know just what it was Jon told me! I have to warn you – it’s nothing you haven’t heard before. It’s just that I took both it, and his predicted outcome of doing it, absolutely to heart and fully believed in my ability to achieve results.
The consult with Jon took place on February 11th, 2010 – I know that because I still have my file of notes from that day saved on my computer under ‘Jon Morrow Advice’. I also have saved a copy of a guest post I wrote (I can’t remember who for!) about 6 months afterwards. I thought I’d share it with you here as in it I both outline Jon’s advice and also recall more exactly than I would now the impact it had on my business growth. Here’s the post:
In the past 6 months I’ve created an additional 25,000 in income from blogging, and I’m well on the way to exceeding that figure over the next 6 months. Starting a blog has been one of the most lucrative endeavors I’ve ever embarked upon.
If you’re thinking I seem a little smug about my success, well – you’d be perfectly right :). But before you write me off as one of the lucky ones to whom overnight success just ‘happens’, let me take you back …
If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past 3 years it’s that blogging success depends on staying power. When I started my first ‘real’ blog in August 2008, I made one very deliberate commitment to myself. I promised myself I would never, never, never quit. After all, my dream was to be a writer and to make an income from doing so, and blogging seemed a smart path to take. Perhaps, I thought, I might even grow my then fitness business along the way.
The first few months saw me wading through various blogging mentoring courses which, while full of great advice, frankly just overwhelmed and even depressed me. Keeping up with the weekly tasks would have equated to 40+ hours, and I was already working full time for myself as a personal trainer. On top of that, I liked to keep busy with a little exercise, plenty of socialising, and – of course – the requisiste ‘me-time’. Occasionally I even liked to get a good night’s sleep!
If burning myself out doing tasks I didn’t really want to do was what it was going to take, then I wasn’t really interested. I decided to do things my way, posting consistently 2-3 times per week but otherwise throwing ‘the rules’ out the window.
Looking back, it wasn’t my best choice …
After blogging this way for 10 months, I had an impressive 109 readers. I knew that the definition of madness was to keep doing the same thing repeatedly and expect a different outcome, but I really just didn’t know where to start. It was all so overwhelming (and still can be!) – perhaps I should just admit defeat and move on.
everyone deserves a break now and then
I’d been thinking that way for a while when I came across a Copyblogger post called ‘Screwed up your Blog? Here’s what to do.’ It was written by Jon Morrow, a blogger and Associate Editor of Copyblogger. The final paragraph had me nearly jumping off my chair:
“Over the next few weeks, I’m going to do around 20-30 telephone consultations. I’ll get on the phone with you for 30 minutes, and you can tell me what’s troubling you about blogging. I’ll then give you advice specific to your exact situation.”
I know you can imagine how over the moon I was when I received an email from Jon saying I’d been chosen. I felt like I’d won the lottery, and literally counted the days until my consult! Looking back, I am convinced that this was the turning point for me. That 30-minute consult is the reason that today, when I release a full-day event at between $200 and $500 a ticket I sell out in weeks. It’s the reason I’ve been able to sell 161 copies of my US$37 e-book, and fill a 12-week telecoaching program in days. Indirectly it’s even how I’ve ended up writing for national publications like The Australian Women’s Weekly! And it’s allowed me to forge some pretty amazing connections with other bloggers and writers. I still have Jon’s advice saved on my computer. In a nutshell, this is what he told me:
- writing guest posts is the best way to build a relationship with another blogger and broaden your audience
- comments can work as well; best to include a personal life experience
- I should come up with a list of 10 blogs relevant to mine, and seek to link my subject matter to theirs when guest posting
- stop writing 3 posts a week for my own blog, and instead write 2 plus 1 guest post
Jon also taught me how to properly pitch a guest post, and gave my confidence a boost by telling me my writing was good enough to pitch to blogs with 30,000+ subscribers!
back to the grind
So it was back to the grind for me, but with a real vengeance! I could do this. I would do this! And the best part was I could do it by employing my existing skills, not by figuring out every in and out of online marketing or blog design!
As you can see, the key piece of advice Jon gave me was to broaden my reach by guest posting weekly and leaving regular comments. I certainly implemented Jon’s advice to the letter, and when I tallied the outcomes in the above article half a year later I was convinced that my traffic growth and resulting financial success was due entirely to these two weekly or daily actions.
It wasn’t until years later that I realised it was the less strategy-based side of my conversation and follow-on email and Skype communication with Jon that was the real key to my success. In fact, the true gift that he gave me was something I now consider to be one of the top 2 overall reasons I’ve reached the heights I have after now 7 years online …
In the meantime, I did attribute my somewhat rapid growth to my relentless pitching of my work. Through 2010 I wrote many guest posts, some of them for major blogs like Dumb Little Man and Pick the Brain, some for smaller and lesser known sites.. I pitched everyone, and sometimes I wasn’t answered, but most of the time the response was encouraging.
A key lesson from this period was how important it is to persist even when you’re not getting the results you want. Sometimes I’d find myself knocked back weeks in a row – it would have been easy to give up but I kept my eyes firmly focused on just continuing to put one foot in front of the other. I had my confidence back and was newly convinced that if I simply refused to give up I would succeed.
Really, and I’m sure I don’t have to tell you – what Jon had taught me wasn’t rocket science. I just hadn’t heard this stuff specific to me. I hadn’t been told ‘you can do this; you’ve got what it takes’, and I think that’s what made the difference for me.
I felt empowered and it gave me the energy I needed to keep going. Jon’s advice – and the results I got when I truly took it to heart – gave me the motivation I needed to spend 2010 building a blog with close to 2000 subscribers and getting my name out there as someone to reckon with.
I remember proudly the day one of the ‘net’s biggest regular bloggers at the time Ali Hale commented to me that “you’re everywhere at the moment”. “Yes I am!” I thought. “And this is just the beginning”
But despite how rapidly I was able to grow my readership after following Jon’s advice I still didn’t really make any ‘real’ money in 2010.
That being said, I did okay. I was a baby in the world of online and – unlike most start-ups today – I had no online community, mastermind, regular coach or forum to go. I wasn’t even on Facebook yet! I was figuring things out alone and most of the ideas I had I dreamed up myself. Looking back I am in some ways grateful for the chance to truly pave my own way – these days it seems we are inundated all day every day with all the things we could or should be doing online to get ahead, and it can be exhausting to say the least.
But at the time it did feel as though I was doing it tough in some regards. I was rapt to have my name out there, my subscribers building daily and to have had some modest financial success, but I still felt that I’d only just tapped my potential. I was committed to being seriously successful as an entrepreneur and I wasn’t going to stop until I got there!
By this time it was 2011 and I was still working pretty much full-time as a busy personal trainer, and had several apprentices working for me as well.
While this was a great boost financially it was also a relentless demand of my attention, and not really what I wanted to be doing with my time. What I wanted to be doing, was hiding away by myself and making money from my writing! And I have to say my primary ‘want’ hasn’t really changed since then at all 🙂
At times it seemed that maybe I just wasn’t going to have that breakthrough that I was longing for. Was it ever going to be MY time in a seriously BIG way?
I won’t say I was really ready to give up or even that I was properly disheartened; I think it was more of a case of having become ‘used’ to spending a lot of my spare time planning and working on my blog, and because I didn’t have personal connection with anyone who was truly making it or doing anything except blogging and working on an ebook, it never entered my head that things could be a LOT easier than this and that I could actually make not just a living but create serious abundance and financial freedom through my blog.
One day I was checking my emails and I saw the name ‘Sarah Wilson’ in my inbox. Sarah Wilson was – and is – a journalist and now blogging ‘celebrity’ in Australia, and she was someone I’d long admired for her writing career. I would even say she was kind of an idol to me. At first I thought the name was just a coincidence, so you can imagine how excited I was when I opened it to see that it was, in fact, from ‘the’ Sarah Wilson! She’d come across my writing on one of the US blogs I’d been frequently guest posting on, and she got in touch pretty much just to say ‘hi’ and (OMG!!) “you’re a great writer, do you currently write for any magazines?”
I was blown away and honestly I felt like a little kid at Christmas. My idol was coming to ME telling me I was good and saying I should be writing for magazines! What were the odds of that?!
Over the next few months we bounced emails back and forth – at the time Sarah was just starting to build her blog and we even spoke about that. In the meantime, Sarah recommended me to ACP; one of Australia’s largest publishing houses and I ended up with a paid gig with the Australian Womens Weekly which lasted 2 years. Not exactly my core market, but still – how cool! And so exciting to be being paid for my articles.
I’d also by this time won a few competitions over at the Dumb Little Man blog, where they gave monetary rewards for the guest posts which got the most hits each month.
I was starting to feel like maybe I could really make it as a writer, but I was still thinking small; along the lines of being paid $100 or $200 here or there for an article.Not for a moment had I even begun to fathom just how far my little blog would one day take me.
I was just thrilled to be seeing results in terms of my subscriber list, and to know I was starting to ‘make it’ as a writer.
By this time I’d given birth to our first child – in late 2009 – and life had become even crazier. My ‘Secrets of Lasting Weight Loss Revealed’ book continued to sell a few copies, but my overall income was looooowww as I was not seeing clients after giving birth, and even when I started to do so it was only a session or two here or there. I still had 2 apprentices working for me as trainers and was grateful for the money I made from that but really tired of having to be there for people when I had a brand new bub to look after.
My First Online ‘E’ Program
I decided it was time to take things to another level, and so in July of 2010 I launched my first online program – Body Incredible Health Telecoaching. Yes, a very glamorous name!
You can see that I’d never come across the notion of writing a sales page or truly marketing to a defined niche 🙂 But again, I didn’t know what I didn’t know and I was thrilled with the results.
I made around 6 or 7 grand from this 12-week program and I honestly just thought it was too good to be true that I could generate over $500 an hour for a group phone coaching call coupled with putting together a weekly worksheet.
In the middle of the program we took off for a 6-week and amazing trip around the US and Canada, during which we also eloped in ‘The Valley of Fire’ just outside Las Vegas.
It was amazing – we’d long planned the Vegas thing and basically we spent the money we would have on a wedding on traveling instead. I still remember being in Canada at Enzo’s relatives home and doing my telecoaching call back to my students in Aus – it was my first experience of ‘making money no matter where you are in the world’ and it was a big thrill as well as an insight into just what was possible in this online world.
Back to Full-Time Personal Training … and About to Turn a Corner in a BIG Way!
We returned from our overseas trip in late October of 2010, and I pretty much threw myself back into full-time personal training.
After all, that was how I *knew* how to make money fast, so I figured it was what I had to be done. It didn’t take more than a few weeks though, before the relaxation of our long getaway wore off and I realised with a moment of finality that 13 or so years of personal training was really enough. I didn’t want to be doing this anymore. When I was with my clients I had a great time, but the truth is that when I wasn’t with them – and was writing – was when I was truly living. I’d feel myself float away into another world with my writing and when other trainers came to let me know my next client was there, or when in a cafe early in the morning before my first 7am client I noticed the time, I’d feel resentful and grumpy at being interrupted.
It was time to get more serious. It was time to start pushing myself to take risks and – like a mother bird pushing her baby out of the nest – to push myself over that ledge and away from all that I knew and all that felt safe and comfortable and most of all doable.
And whilst I had no clue at the time, I was about to turn a corner in a big way. In fact, I was about to do something pretty damn crazy that would look at the time like pure madness but ultimately be pivotol in my online income going from a few hundred p/month to a few thousand p/month over the next 12 months, and then a few tens of thousands p/month over the following year!
Now I did promise that the first below point would be part of this post (part 2), but it seems I had a lot more gaps to fill in than I thought!
Here’s what to look forward to in Part 3 of this series, which I hope to publish next week –
- How I came up with the idea for my first truly successful online business ‘Woman Incredible’, how I launched that business so as to achieve close to 1000 subscribers on my first day, and how I created over $30,000 of online income in the year to come.
- The true gift that Jon Morrow gave me and how THAT was really what set me on the path to success rather than simply guest posting and commenting. (You may have already guessed what this was)
- My crazy spur of the moment decision that looked like absolute madness at the time and ultimately allowed me to increase my income tenfold in the 12 months to follow
In the meantime, please feel free to comment below with your questions and feedback! And if you enjoyed this article I’d love it if you’d hit the share button just below as well. Sharing rocks!
Life is Now. Press Play.
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Enough. Enough already, with the waiting, with the hoping, with the one day. With telling yourself you’re going to DO it and then you just don’t … follow .. through. Not really. Not fully.
Enough KIDDING YOURSELF that by continuing what you’re currently doing (fuck all; let’s be honest!) you’re going to somehow magically one day get there.
Enough telling yourself everything will CHANGE when nothing’s changing.
You HAVE a message that matters, you WERE born for a reason, and everything you dream of CAN be yours. But if you want it? You’re going to have to go out there and make it happen, and it’s going to start by changing how you THINK and therefore ACT. It’s going to come down to cultivating a mindset of success that makes you truly UNSTOPPABLE, allows you to FULLY embrace your personal power, and gets you past your bullshit excuses, doubts and sabotages and into massive fucking ACTION, from a place of alignment and absolute TRUTH.
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