OLD POST ALERT! This is an older post and although you might find some useful tips, any technical or publishing information is likely to be out of date. Please click on Start Here on the menu bar above to find links to my most useful articles, videos and podcast. Thanks and happy writing! – Joanna Penn
This is a very exciting day for me! My blogging journey feels like it has come full circle, so I hope this story will encourage you whatever stage you're at.
Here's my interview on Entrepreneur's Journey with Yaro Starak. You can listen to the story and my tips for blogging and writing on YouTube here, or below. I've also summarized under the video why this is so important to me.
Way back in 2007/2008, I wrote and self-published my first non-fiction book, How to Enjoy Your Job Or Find A New One (rewritten and republished in 2012 as Career Change).
This was before the Kindle and before print-on-demand was available to authors, so I printed a load of copies (big mistake, don't do that!)
But people were not flocking to my door to buy the books!
I learned the hard way that authors also need to learn how to sell and market their work.
So I started learning about marketing – the old school way.
But I only sold about 100 copies – massive disappointment ensued as you can imagine! –and the rest of the books went in the landfill because in 2008/2009, the international Kindle emerged and I discovered digital publishing and print-on-demand.
I also decided that online marketing was the only option, since the traditional channels just didn't work for self-published authors.
At the time, I was living in Australia, a country of 20 million people, and I wanted to target the US market, which was about 10x the size and more mature in terms of online sales.
So I researched and discovered blogging … podcasting … and Twitter. The three pillars of my online marketing strategy. I started reading loads of books and articles and listened to everything I could find in order to master online marketing and internet business.
Then I discovered Yaro Starak at Entrepreneurs-Journey.com
I listened to all his audio interviews and I saw him speak at the first Problogger Live event in Melbourne. (I was starstruck and managed to squeak hello at him in a hallway!)
But I did exactly what he recommended in his course and I modeled my own site on his:
- The Author 2.0 Blueprint is built on his Blog Profits Blueprint template – although clearly different niches and different info – and this is still my email list signup offer, although I have rewritten it 10 times in the last 6 years!
- I wrote ‘pillar content' articles, evergreen content that would stand the test of time and stopped doing link and news posts which would lose value quickly. Google organic search is one of my highest traffic sources because of this long term approach
- I started a podcast, modelling Yaro's interview technique as I discovered the power of audio for building a brand
I also learned how being authentic and generous and promoting others was so important. Plus I saw how an introvert who wasn't overtly salesy could still have a very good business online. Sounds familiar, right!
Modelling is one of the most important things to do when learning something new.
It's not copying.
It's not plagiarism.
It's following in the slipstream of someone who has gone before you and those of us who share online WANT you to do this. Why else would we share everything 🙂
So, pick someone who is making a living in the way that you want to and find out how they do it. Pay for their courses, which is basically paying for access to their brain.
Yaro has his Blog Profits Mastermind.
I have the Creative Freedom Course.
And you can find many other examples of people teaching about how they run their businesses online.
Find someone you resonate with and model their success.
But back to the story!
Fast forward to 2011 and I was able to quit my consulting job and become a full-time author entrepreneur because of the income I was making based on this site – most of which was directly attributable to what I learned from Yaro.
Then in 2010/2011 I started writing fiction and started to diverge from blogging as a primary mode of income. I started to define myself more as an author than a blogger.
But TheCreativePenn.com is still a business built on a blog and still accounts for 50% of my six-figure income and is a very important part of my business.
I still blog, I still podcast and I credit blogging with freeing my voice enough to even write fiction. It taught me to relax and trust that people out there were just like me. I didn't need to pretend anymore.
I also LOVE you guys and the community we have here on the site and also on the podcast.
I recently talked about the metaphor of Plato's Chariot and needing both this site and my fiction to feel like a ‘whole' person. So I'm not going anywhere!
Dec 2015 marks my 7th year of this site, so being able to appear on Yaro's show as a success story means so much. It's a validation of the journey and the hours put in over the years. It feels like it marks the beginning of a new phase.
So if you're just starting out, if you're writing your first book, or starting your first blog, and you don't know what you're doing … don't worry!
We all start that way, and we all progress over time. I hope my own journey so far encourages you!
Once again, you can watch or listen to the interview here on Entrepreneurs-Journey.com and a big Thank You to Yaro for being my mentor.
If you have any questions or comments, please do leave them below and join the conversation!