Building a $50,000/Month Blog with Ryan Robinson

TODAY'S GUEST

Ryan Robinson

Ryan Robinson is a blogger, entrepreneur, coach, keynote speaker, author, and content marketing strategist. His website receives about 400,000+ readers per month and he also runs a consulting business and a podcast. He specializes in strategy, education, and consulting for business and personal brands.
WEBSITE: Ryan Robinson

RESOURCES

  • How to create and monetize a blog
  • How to rank higher in search results
  • The importance of guest posting

Key Takeaways

[5:00] Ryan’s Life

[7:51] Fun Facts About Ryan

[10:01] Ryan’s Parents

[15:26] Ryan’s Entry Into Digital Marketing

[20:25] Beginning of Ryan’s Blog

[23:13] Transition of the Blog

[26:32] A Strange Coincidence

[30:02] Breakdown of Ryan’s Income from his Blog

[38:29] Importance of Diversification

[39:54] Ryan’s Podcast

[43:20] Ryan’s Strategy for Growing His Blog

[45:50] Ryan’s Side Projects

[51:05] Posts Bringing in the Most Traffic

[52:50] Ryan’s Courses

The number of bloggers in the U.S. is expected to increase to 31.7 million in 2020. It’s thus important to understand why blogging is catching the fancy of so many people. As it turns out, blogs aren’t just important for businesses but can also be a great way to earn a living.

In fact, Ryan Robinson makes $50,000 per month from his blog with just a few freelancers. I had the chance to speak to him and he shared tips on how you can build your blog and monetize it as well.

Here are some tips that I’m sure will help you grow your blog:

1. Write High-Quality Content

One of the most important things for growing your blog, according to Ryan, is to come up with high-quality content. But that’s not all; your content must offer something unique that can help your readers as well.

Ryan also recommends writing long-form content that cover as much information as possible. According to him, this method has helped him rank higher in search results.

2. Do Guest Posting

According to Ryan, guest posts have played a crucial role in driving traffic to his website. He writes high-quality guest posts for prominent websites and that helps him not only get traffic but also some valuable backlinks. Using these methods, he’s grown his website to get over 400k visitors every month.

3. Use Affiliate Marketing

Ryan uses affiliate marketing to monetize his blog. In fact, most of his revenue comes from the affiliate marketing programs of Bluehost and other popular companies.

He recommends diversifying your affiliate marketing portfolio to ensure that there’s consistent income even when your income from one source drops.

4. Courses and Sponsored Content

Ryan also sells online courses on how to build a blog and that helps him generate a significant amount of revenue.

According to Ryan, he gets nearly 25% of his revenue from selling courses. His blog helps spread awareness about his courses and through that, he’s able to get customers for his courses as well.

Additionally, he writes some sponsored blog posts that help him monetize his blog even further. While it doesn’t account for a large portion of his income, it can come in handy when you’re looking to monetize your blog.

Final Thoughts

Building and growing a blog can take a long time and you will need to put in effort consistently to achieve success.

It took Ryan over 5 years to reach the current level and he still puts in a lot of effort to grow it.

In a nutshell, you must write high-quality content regularly for both your own blog and guest posts. You can use affiliate marketing, courses, sponsored content, and other tactics to monetize your blog as well.

Do you have any questions or tips for blog monetization to add? Please share them in the comments below.

Full Transcript

Shane: Welcome to another episode of Shane Barker’s Marketing Madness podcast. In this episode, we'll be talking about blogging and content marketing. My guest, Ryan Robinson, is a blogger, entrepreneur, coach, keynote speaker, author, and content marketing strategist. His website receives over 400k views every month and he runs a consulting business and a podcast too. Listen as he talks about how he designed and grew his blog to massive proportions. Shane: I’m really excited about having on the podcast. Podcast is simple in nature. I mean originally was we talked about content and converts was originally what it was called. And then it's we've switched it to Shane Barker's marketing madness podcast it kind of opens up kind of who we can interview and who we can talk with. And really, at the end of the day, even though I've sent you some questions, we you know, we can make a quick left or right hand turn and go backwards, or you know, only God knows at this point. So, we just really put on our seatbelts and throw on a helmet and just pray for the best. Let we make it through this thing. I know. Well, we'll see. But anyway, so I'm excited about it. So today, there's a number of things we're going to go over with you today. I mean, obviously, you know you've done some over the top stuff. I mean, we're going to talk about how to build a $50,000 side blog. So just So the audience understands and you might have just recently stopped this, but you had a full-time gig while you were building this blog. Correct? Ryan: That's right. Yeah. Just recently hopped over to working full time on my blog in July 2019. Shane: Wow, just about a month. Yeah, that's awesome. And so, I mean, how long were you making? We're going to jump into the, how you built this and how you're doing 50,000 a month? At what point did you, I mean, how long have you been building that? And I would say at the $50,000 mark, how long have you been making that kind of revenue? Ryan: Making that kind of revenue just this year, basically, January 2019. It's been about eight months or so of really doing well. Shane: So this is what's so funny to me because I can guarantee that probably 98% of the people that are listening to this podcast that are extremely intelligent, by the way, because that's the reason why they're listening to the podcast, because why would they not be intelligent and listening to it? Like why did you wait eight months and I feel like I'm kind of putting the cart before the horse but why did you wait eight months to jump ship? I mean, you were probably obviously making money up before that, did you feel like 50,000 was like, I need to make 50,000 for eight months. I mean, and the reason why I'm saying this is like, people start businesses, and they say you have to have at least six months of capital, right? So, you have to look at this and go, Okay, what do I need to do? I need to have six months of like, if nothing happened, it was terrible. It wasn't able to keep this thing going, then I could jump ship after month six and figure it out was that kind of your reasoning? Ryan: It's close. It's not far off. For me personally. I did start my blog back in 2014. This has been like a five year journey for me. And basically all of last year I had between 10 and $20,000 a month in revenue from my blog. And so, I hit this really massive growth streak basically starting in January, when things really took off and then I started planting the seeds for once I saw basically my rule is, is this repeatable? Is this dependable? Has this been lasting a decent amount of time and so after it was like, three months of around 50K in revenue per month That was when I decided like, okay, now it's time to put some things in motion. And then it took me basically, four months, five months just to fully part ways with close, the CRM, the company that I was working for full time previously. So I wanted to make something like a nice kind of mutually beneficial departure happen. Shane: Gotcha. So you were like, some people put in a two week notice, and you're like, four months, because you care, you're like, I'm listening. I'm gonna keep it slow. I'm not going to leave yet. But just to let you guys know that there might be a potential time here in the next few months that I might leave. Well, you obviously been real open about, your blog and what you've been doing there. So it wasn't like it was a secret by any means, right? I mean, this was obviously something that you were ongoing and they knew that and really is beneficial for clothes and for other companies that work with you. Because when you're out there, you've got your presence out there. And you know, you can talk about the things they're doing and the wins and the losses and all that fun stuff. So I don't think it's a bad thing at all. Ryan: No, it was one of those things where you know, also Steli the CEO of Close is a super good salesperson, so he convinced me to stick around for the next couple of months beyond what I probably would have if I was working for someone else to so yeah. Shane: So that's it. You gotta watch out for those good salespeople… putting your two weeks’ notice and the next you know you're there for four more months. You're like what just happened Ryan: But it’s great. Shane: That's awesome. That is awesome. So tell us a little bit… we're going to kind of reverse engineer this now that we've got everybody all excited. I'm going to run to go into that stuff just about you. I want to kind of lay a little foundation here about like, so where did you grow up? Where are you at currently, actually, where do you live now? Ryan: San Francisco. One of these rare sunny days here it's finally summer it's happenin Shane: It’s sunny in San Francisco. So I we talked last time my brother lives in San Francisco as well. I'm about to come out and visit. I don't know why I thought you were… I thought you were like in Denver. Why did I think you were in Denver? Were you at a certain point Ryan: I was actually, we spent the year of summer 2017 summer 2018 in Denver. Yeah. Shane: That's why Okay, see, that's the old brain still working there. But I was a little worried that I got the… I would say the medicine isn't working because I'm like, I thought he was in Denver for a little bit. But I mean, what do I know? We're back. There we go. Back to San Francisco. Okay, I'm gonna have to make an effort to come out and visit you. And I would say I'd buy you like lunch or dinner or something, but you're making 50,000 a month. So it looks like you are buying. Yeah, it sucks when people know how much you make, you know? Like, no, I think he's actually gonna treat me this time but, or I'll buy you a beer. We'll figure it out. We'll figure out somewhere in the middle. So did you grew up in San Francisco or no? Ryan: No, I'm actually from tiny little town Hanford, California. It's along the five if you get off on the Harris ranch exit drive towards nowhere for about 45 minutes you'll find it. Shane: I actually do know of that. I remember seeing that alone five when you're going down we go down to Southern California. Like if we're not flying then I like to drive down there and get work done while my wife drives and you know, this is a long story but so Hanford hustle, how big was the city? Ryan: About 50,000 people. It's growing quite a bit now. They just got an In and Out Burger. Recently so that's the big thing. There are still more cows than there are people. Shane: That’s gotta be I mean it makes sense if there's an In and Out Burger with all the cows that I mean even think it's like fresh like literally this is like from Louisa the cow from like two days ago like she's like right here. That’s awesome, we had a name for that, means she's definitely a friend. How big was your family grown up? Ryan: Small, immediate family, I'm an only child. Shane: Really? So only one, huh? Ryan: Yeah. Got a lot of close cousins though that are my age-ish, that I kind of grew up just a few houses down. So it was kind of like, pseudo siblings, I guess you could say right, but we would always do like taco Tuesdays and I have a huge kind of spread out family. So you know, Thanksgivings are like 75 people. It's a big crew. Shane: Wow, that's awesome. And that's kind of was touching. I always like to kind of understand people's dynamics with families because it's always interesting how people kind of grew up. So tell us an interesting fact, Other than you know, where you grew up is, you know, it's kind of a cow town. Give us an interesting fact. Is there anything fun that you're like, you know, nobody knows that Ryan used to be, you know, used to ride cows bareback for a living for side money on the weekends or like what…, give us something fun like you got anything that's like, I'm not supposed to tell anybody grandma went to the grave with this, but I want to go ahead and tell you and your listeners Ryan: This is an interesting one, nothing super crazy, although something that not too many people know about me, I guess is that I've been to all 50 US states. So that was one thing that my dad really instilled in me was like traveling and getting to know people in different cultures. And he took me out to as an only child, right, this is much more feasible than if you have a ton of siblings that got to go on every trip. For me, that was one benefit of like, we went to tons of different countries and visited every US state on various different road trips. So we spent a lot of time in the car growing up. Shane: So that's funny. So, we have a lot of parallels. So, most people don't know I went to school in Costa Rica like I went for a footless, many moons ago like I'm you know, like 100 at this point but many moons ago I went and did this and so my dad did the same thing like my dad originally when he was, because he was an old school California hippie, him and his buddy went there Volkswagen van. This is a true story and they had things in the Volkswagen van that I can't, well I guess I can say now they had weed, they had a lot of weed so my dad goes in his van  and went to like all the states and they did it for like six months and had a phenomenal time and I like how you… Ryan: They were funding their trip with sales all along? Shane: I guess.. I'm sure of course. My dad's gonna hear this is gonna be like, like a chain jacket about my marijuana use. This is awesome. But we can do that now. So it's all legal. So the crazy part is like it's that's been instilled in me and so the fact that you've been to all 50 states I'm a little jealous of that. I just recently, no is a lie. Last year I've been looking at vans, like I've really wanted to do the van life and I've been, pretty much every day I go on Craigslist and I look at these vans and I'm like, I should get this one. And I've got it, like all plotted out. And I'm, I'm pretty close to pulling the trigger because I'm kind of like you, I got to the blogs going good and got some good stuff going on. I'm trying to get a little bit out of client work. So, all my clients that did hear this, I was just kidding, we're going to be together forever. But all the other clients that are going to reach out to me, we might not work here. But anyways, I'm trying to figure out this model of what I want to do there, but I'm a little envious that you did 50 states man so was that like, you guys just I mean like every summer or whatever you guys…, what did your parents do like for you to be able to have that kind of flexibility? Ryan: Yeah, it was a few summers. But both of my parents both my mom and my dad were entrepreneurs. So my dad had a construction company, had been doing that for like 30 years, basically. And then you know, my mom was tutoring company. She had her own tutoring company in Hanford. So, they both are small business owners. They both had the flexibility of like having pretty good teams of people to help out and like step in and give them flexibility to take off for a couple weeks to three weeks, here and there. But yeah, it was a hell of a gift being able to travel like that, too. It's something that I want to give to my children one day too, it was very instrumental in my growth and there were tons of different reasons we took specific trips too, like in eighth grade. We were studying Civil War history. And so we went and watched the Gettysburg the re-enactment and did a bunch of through battlefields in the south It was cool. It was a lot of fun. Shane: That’s killer, so do you think I mean do you think your upbringing with your parents having their own businesses and seeing the ups and downs of that obviously right because you've been an entrepreneur, do you think that's kind of where your hustle mindset comes from? Like you kind of saw that you gotta like, grind it and it's going to be hard, it can be difficult and you're gonna be ups and downs, but do you really think your foundation is probably obviously from your parents? Ryan: Definitely where it started, because I was also helping out from a pretty young age like with the tutoring company, like I was, you know, roller blades delivering flyers when I was like, 12 and then my summer job was always pouring concrete with my dad's construction crew and so for me, I got to learn the value of hard work and also that I wanted to go to college so that I wouldn't be doing concrete work after graduation. Shane: Yeah, those life lessons. It's funny so my dad did that to me too, what we did was, he was like, Hey, we want you to, we're going to put in some sprinklers This is an original house long time ago, and we gotta dig it out. And it's like, it was like hard man, extremely I don't know if it was hard to hand like you probably dealt with out there where it's very, very dry. It was dry here in Sacramento. And I went out there and my hands are blistered and bloody and everything and my dad was like so do you want to like do sprinklers your whole life like your uncle or do you like to maybe jump into college and I was like, God, how quickly can I sign up for college? Like I'm like… Ryan: I'm pretty sure I still have some calluses from my concrete days. Shane: That's one thing. If I'm doing this and you're doing concrete, concrete is another level like that's not even…, I actually have I have a real estate company which is a whole other story that we flipped properties and so on, the concrete stuff and all that I put my hand on my hat to anybody that's in the concrete or anybody, it's in that industry, especially when you get into the hot areas and everything like that. It's just like, man, that's a different type of. Shane: Yeah, yeah, it is. It's a hard deal. So, where did you where'd you go to college? Ryan: Chapman University in Orange, California. Shane: Gotcha. I have a good friend of mine, some good friends of mine, their daughter is going to Chapman she is in her junior year. Ryan: Oh nice, it’s a good school. It's gotten I would say progressively better every year too. So I kind of have the benefit of a degree being worth more I guess as time goes on. Shane: Yeah, absolutely. Well, and I know that they're super exciting. So it's super cheap to go there. Oh, wait, that was a joke, I was like, why has nobody laughed at that. I mean, I just know that they've kind of told me like, listen, we got two more years and then we can do anything in life. Like when that point we're just like, they're taking care of everything for which I thought was really nice of them. But literally what they're going to do is that might be the day that they're done paying they're selling their house and they're actually going on a two year trip to like all over the world that's their plan and my wife and I we are actually going to go visit them in different countries. So, we're kind of prepping for that yeah 2020 is there their deal I'm assuming that's when I'll come back from my van life excursion whatever I got going on there. So we'll see how that all pans out. Ryan: With Chapman having a 50% scholarship helped a lot. Shane: Look at you now you're just bragging, that's awesome. What did you get scholarship in? Ryan: It was academic space. I think they might do sports space stuff now but at the time, it was pretty much as academics. Shane: Look at you coming with academics huh? Ryan: After my first year of high school, I started trying. I should say I think my first semester of school, I came home so they used to mail out the report cards back then right it wasn't online. I came home after report cards were mailed out. And I didn't have a door on my bedroom and my TV was ripped out. This one has 15 I want to say but yeah, I pulled a nice 1.87 GPA. Shane: And you know what 1.87 is? That's actually I think that code for cops for murder. I mean, yeah, I mean, if you really think about that, that was maybe the origination of it. And so your dad looked at that and that I got an idea. Let me just take that door off. And I'll go ahead and take out the TV, and there we go. Ryan: That's pretty serious. Shane: Yeah, you don't want concrete hands on you. I mean, I don't know if that ever happened. I'll just tell you right now that is not somebody to mess with. Ryan: Giant callous there. Shane: I can imagine it’s probably like, what was it, one of the fantastic four guys with the big… I can only imagine. Shout out to your dad. So cool and then how did you jump into marketing? What was your degree? Ryan: I study business with a focus on entrepreneurship and marketing actually, regarding my big moment was literally sitting in my first internet marketing classes, funny that they called it internet marketing, right? But sitting in that class was like literally kind of a lightbulb moment for me, something that I was going to be interested in and I can trace so many early things back to that class because we had amazing guest speakers that were killing it in digital marketing and their own business. And we registered our domain names even in that class. So that was when I first grabbed my blog domain. Shane: Really, what year was this? Ryan: This was in 2011…..2010. Shane: Gotcha. So this was still a little early. Ryan: Yeah, it was kind of like digital marketing 1.0 Shane: That's awesome. And I'd say I wish I would have had that. I mean, I graduated from college in 2003. But I'm a little older than you and that's because that's how it happens sometimes. And we didn't have a lot of digital classes. There was one entrepreneurship class that I took and it was a good class because I already had experience of being an entrepreneur before I went to college. So I was kind of, I didn't graduate for 10 years that was because I was traveling and I was kicking and screaming about becoming an adult and I had my businesses and you know things were going interesting there, some great ones and some terrible ones and as you go but I did want to talk to you a little bit as because you talked about like having your business and starting your blog at least registering your domain name. What about your company, it was like Case Escape wasn't that, was that one of your first companies that you had like give me a little intel on that one. Ryan: Yeah, Case Escape was my second business. I had one during college that was a complete disaster. The quick recap on that one is it was around this product I made called the istash. It was an iPhone look alike hide your anything device designed to carry you know, let's say joint shaped objects and lighters and who music festivals, concerts, things like that. But yeah, that was a good lesson in product development, product pricing, margins. Ended up losing I think around 7000 bucks on that business when it was all said and done. But yeah, case escape was the first real actual kind of successful business that came starting right after College. And I launched it with a friend. We were making phone cases that we were selling on Etsy. And, you know, in 2012, when Etsy was still relatively new as far as online marketplaces and yeah, just getting in early on some really cool trends. This was also when like the, the second or third generation iPhone was still pretty popular. So cases weren't as ubiquitous, you couldn't have a ton of different varieties in an apple store. And so yeah, that was kind of where that business came, we eventually grew into selling kind of like print your own cases, business in a box type of solution where we would sell our actual printers and you know, the blank cases and the inks and you could take any image you want, you know, photos of you with your dog, whatever your kids print it directly onto a phone case in about five minutes. So it's a pretty cool product line. And my friend, my business partner from that is actually still doing it today. So it's gone on, it's lived. Shane: Nice. Are you still a part of it or is it something you sold out on? Ryan: I sold my half of the business to him back in I think 2015 right around when I moved to San Francisco. Shane: Gotcha, gotcha, gotcha, gotcha. And where is your business partner at? Ryan: He's in Philadelphia. So he has, you know, it was kind of a good lesson with this business where we kind of quickly learned within, I'd say, six months of starting it that it was going to be a great income for one person or a kind of shitty income for two people. It was like, I'm going to step out. I've got a couple other projects I want to pursue and keep working on. But he's able to grow it and in some pretty cool ways, I think, largely because he had the flexibility of a good income coming in to kind of rule the business in different directions. Shane: You had an agency that I was a part of that I started with two other friends of mine and that was kind of the same deal after about six months and I was the one that started the agency I said you know what you guys I'm gonna opt out of this I don’t think enough revenue for the three of us and they're like what do you mean you started it, I got yeah I've got other projects got some other stuff going on and I want you guys to take this thing. I actually didn’t sell it I literally just gave it to them and said hey, I just want to go in a different direction because I just, we were fighting for dollars here you know and I just think that there is room for two there is not room for three and I think probably everybody was thinking that and I was like this the one that jumped ship and gave it to them and I think it's still going today so you know shout out to those guys for keeping it going. You guys can buy me dinner sometime soon or something like this. Since I jumped out now I think I want my money now, I think about it but… So tell us about your blog like you started your blog obviously got the domain one 2011 you're saying? And then like, what did it start off as was it just like a personal blog talking about this? How the other was it marketing base? What did you start off as? Ryan: From 2011 to let's say, 2013 It was nothing, it was just completely blank. And then 2013 I started at basically as a Tumblr blog. So it was like your classic, you know, like fashion and lifestyle like, you know, architecture, cars like tech gadgets things I like, where it was literally as simple as just reposting other images on Tumblr, adding my own that I took occasionally from trips and stuff, right. But I built up like, very small following maybe a couple thousand people were following my blog. But it wasn't something that I was super interested in as the months and years went on. So I'd say about a year and a half after the Tumblr blog was when I kind of transitioned it in 2014 over to what it is today, essentially the at least a simplified version of what my blog is today and, and it all really started with my first big post and it was kind of a post mortem, breaking down the story of the ice stash explaining, you know what happened wherever went wrong. I basically like, answered a ton of questions from friends who were asking me about how I had built the business why I didn't keep doing it, you know what went wrong? And so doing that deep analysis was kind of my first long form article. Shane: Nice. This is awesome. I mean, that's the thing. You know, you look at businesses and you, it's funny, I always had this conversation with people and they talked about all my business failed, and I always look at like it, but it builds you to what you are today. Right. And I think it's so foundational and things that happen. And I think that's why for me travel is important, right, as in growing businesses is that, that together makes you who you are today, right? So I think it's also important, I think you have in your blog and sharing that is important because then people can understand like what you've been through as an entrepreneur because you never know what you read or some people are always nervous about being an entrepreneur, right? Like what do I do? What are the first steps and what if I fail, what happens this and then when you read more blogs, you read more articles and stuff where people can go okay, now that makes sense. Oh, that makes sense. I mean, you can kind of hopefully get some one step closer to either potentially starting it or saying, hey, maybe I want to work for the state full time, like maybe I maybe it scares me too much, it's too much of a risk, because there is a big risk, right? I mean, obviously, you know, not every business that that we've had has been successful, but that's the businesses that weren't successful, the businesses that I got slapped the hardest. They also I couldn't have learned that at Harvard, right. You couldn't have taught me that experience any other place, the best colleges in the world, because it was something that I actually went through and I had to grind it out and figure it out. Whatever that may be. So you went from kind of like a personal like, Hey, this is you know, kind of lifestyle blog, I guess. When did you decide to transition it into like business and marketing and how to do blogging and like, when did the transition happened for you? Ryan: I kind of had a light bulb go off just after that first post went pretty viral, actually, I mean, surprisingly viral. Some of the reasons why I still don't know today, but I did post it to HackerNoon. So, you know, since I graduated from college, 2012 I have had marketing jobs consistently since then. And so I, you know, with case escape for the first six months to a year that I was doing that full time, I was also kind of putting into practice what I was learning in my day job and things I had learned in school. So I had sort of learned like, all right, if we can rank for you know how to start a phone case business with Case Escape, then we'd get a ton of people coming looking to learn how to start their own phone case business, right. So I kind of learned like a lot of these like SEO best practices from following people like Brian Dean, Neil Patel, like some of these guys have been doing it for a very, very long time. You've been doing it for a very long time too. And so finding these people that are kind of exposing what you should be doing best practices as far as marketing and SEO was, was super important to me. And I was just putting that stuff into practice on my own blog and, and all along as I'm starting to like share my own adventures and different side businesses and what I've learned building a freelance business like all these things, little sort of niche experiments I've done over the years. I've been able to kind of explain the marketing processes behind what's actually getting my content to rank well and organic or, you know, get something to go viral on Pinterest like whatever that kind of insert tactic or strategy here, me just sharing ads I'm implementing and you know, also sharing kind of the bad stuff right? Like I think that's, that's something that makes my content pretty relatable is not just sharing the highlight reel, but also saying, Hey, here's an experiment that didn't work. Avoid it. Shane:  Yeah, absolutely. Well, and the fact that you put my name with Neil and Brian, now I'm gonna buy you dinner just so you know. We've just flipped it. I don't know if you did that on purpose. But that was a nice little move. And okay, I'll buy you dinner. And I appreciate that. So there we go. And then when did you start making some money so you obviously start talking about your wins, your losses, other things you're talking about, you know, these different strategies. At what point did you start to see some money come in? And then at what point did you say, Hey, listen, I really have something here. And this is like through the different strategies you've used. And I want to talk about that a little bit further in the podcast. But why don't you tell us a little bit of what point you kind of had that moment of like, Wow, I've got something here. Ryan: Yeah, my early monetization was through freelancing, consulting, freelance writing, and kind of a combination of like, being a content marketing for hire on a contract basis. So that was always like, for the first year and a half, two years, that was always my main source of income. And I had the benefit of once I moved up to San Francisco 2014 working at creative live, which was kind of the biggest online course platform for a very long time before like master class took off recently. But they were up there kind of like, Skillshare, Udemy, and they're still around today. Shane: I got a question for you. Dude, we already talked about this last time on your podcast? Ryan: We might have actually mentioned it yeah. Shane: So the reason I'm asking you do you know Justin Barker? Ryan: Oh yeah, he lives I'm not even kidding, he lives like behind me Shane: That's my brother Ryan: What? Oh my god Shane: Justin Barker is my brother. Ryan: How did I not put that together? Shane: Well because we don't look anything alike right. This is what's funny when you said creative live and I'm like, did we talk about that on this podcast, because my brother obviously my brother was at creative live. Ryan:  We didn't make that connection. Oh my god. Yes, baby. I just saw him walking his…  oh my god. Shane: So this is hilarious. I just saw my brother this weekend. Unfortunately, my grandfather passed this weekend I just saw him and Bridget and everybody got that is such a small world. That's why I was saying my brother lives in San Francisco. I’ll come visit you and you're like literally his neighbor. Ryan: Well, the next time you come here, it'll be pretty easy to see me. Shane: That is too… Ryan: That is funny I don't know how I didn't connect that, that's how… Shane: Well you know, I mean, just Barker, but we look nothing alike, right? I mean, it's like doesn't even it's like, night and day. Shout out to Justin Barker shout out to my brother, man you know, it's crazy. So I'm going to go into this quick little story, then we're going to jump back on to really what we're gonna be talking about today. So you know, Rand Fishkin? Ryan: Yeah. Shane: So I just interviewed Rand actually earlier today. So I have a funny story about Rand was, this was probably, this was Dreamforce. I don't know how many years ago, seven years ago, 10 years, I'm terrible time. I was with my wife, and Rand and all of his whole group came in and from Dreamforce, I saw them and I told my wife, I was like, I'm going to go buy their dinner and we're just going to leave we're not even going to tell them, she was like what? She was like why would you do that? I said, I have no idea why I'm going to do that but I'm just going to, so we went in I bought their dinner and we left we like scooted out, I was like don't tell him who's who bought it. Like they didn't know me, because I don't think I was blogging at that time. Like I was a nobody in the sense that I just wasn't doing anything other than you know, some marketing stuff. And I was impressed with him, Moz and all the other fun stuff. So we bought the dinner and we left. Well, I tell my wife, I'm going to interview Rand and I’m gonna bring up the dinner thing. And she's like, I don't remember the dinner thing. And I'm like, What? And then so I'm thinking in my head, I'm like, did I like have a dream or something? Are you sure? So I talked to Rand and I was like, hey, did like in San Francisco. Do you remember somebody buying your dinner? He was like Yeah, we were like at a place called Mel's diner. He was Dude, you bought our dinner. So this is crazy. And he goes, then we bought the next person's dinner. Like we went to somebody else and didn't tell him who it was. And we bought their dinner. And paid for it Ryan: That was awesome Shane: Yes, I just started with chain. Yeah, it's like these weird I've had two podcasts where it's like these connections where it's like just super cool stuff, right? I mean, it's like the whole premise of this. And you know, my brother and your neighbors, so you gotta be kidding me right now. Ryan: We live on the same block. He's just on the other side of the block. Shane: He's right by the church. And so where you have next to the church Ryan: I can look at the church out of my window. Shane: You gotta be kidding me. What are the odds this is ridiculous. Okay, so we get now I definitely owe you dinner...whatever else with this whole thing. So yeah, so now you at least know that Justin’s dad was a…  anyways, which is still my dad. All kinds of new facts. Okay, let's talk about this I want to get back to your $50,000 a month because obviously it's a nice juicy number. What do me a favor and break it down to and I know you have this in your website I was trying to look for it, you actually break down where you're making your money, right? So where is like, because you obviously have you have it of course you have your consulting business you have I think you do some affiliate stuff. Talk to us, give us a little breakdown of like, where's the cash coming in? Ryan: Yeah, so up until this year, I was really like, 90% freelance income, 10% affiliates, and courses and stuff on the average month let's say for 2017 and 2018. And 2018 was the year that I was determined to change those ratios around I'm like, all right. I want to step aside from doing the trading my time for dollars stuff right? Like you know, you alluded to your shift you are trying to make yourself right as it grows tiring after doing it for long enough, and I wasn't systematizing properly I didn't want to run like a full-on agency. So it was breaking my own back and I'm like, all right, I gotta do this shift and so I started producing way more content in 2018 than I ever had before dropping out super long form stuff like my guide on how to start a blog is 25,000 words long, I think. So really trying to like 10 X, what other stuff out there is doing and it wasn't until the very end of 2018 early 2019 that that really started to pay off, I started to like tackle some top spots for very high volume keyword phrases like how to start a blog, business ideas, how to start freelancing, there's kind of a handful of them that drive the majority of my traffic today. And so that was really the big shift where now I take on the occasional freelance project for the right person, the right company, like it's very kind of whenever it feels perfect. Shane: Pick and choose my friend pick and choose. Nothing wrong with that, that's awesome. Ryan: That's great. And now you know the majority really is I'd price say, today 75% affiliates you know 20% courses and then the other 5% is you know the occasional freelance project or something Shane: Man living the dream my friend that's beautiful man anytime you can flip that on its head and I mean, once it kind of work is Ryan: Got a lot more to do but yeah Shane: But the thing is, it's only going to

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in influencer marketing, content marketing, and SEO. He is the Co-Founder of Attrock, a digital marketing agency. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.

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