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Have an exciting new post for you today that will give you a 'behind the scenes' look at how we are running this blog. Don't go anywhere because we're sharing some awesome tips and insights with you.
If you're returning, thank you for stopping by again, it's great to have you! If you are new, FreeUp is a blog that helps millennials get out of debt so they can travel more. You'll find inspiration to manage your money better so you can do more of what you love.
This is my first public progress report since blogging full time for one month. Publishing reports like this lets you see behind the scenes and also allows us to reflect on our progress. It will give you an idea of what it takes to build a blog and online business if you've ever wanted to do that.
Wanna start your blog? CLICK HERE but don't go yet! Open the tab and come back to it after you read this post. You may not wanna be a blogger after you read what we are about to cover 🙂
We launched FreeUp - YourMoneyYourFreedom.com one month ago. It's been a dream to go all-in on something we were passionate about. Personal finance is something we love and we knew a lot about. Everyone is always asking us for advice and about our debt payoff story. If you know our story, you know we crushed our debt by living in a camper and now I run this blog full-time.
A note on building a new blog or business. The sole reason I am able to do this full-time is because we got our financial life in order.
Launching and building a business can be incredibly stressful! Being in bad shape financially and trying to build a business would just be stupid. Take care of your finances first, then build your business. Just my advice.
Join our free course about getting your money together, enter your info below:
So, what were our goals when we launched the blog?
Since launching the blog, we've seen consistent growth and nearly met all of our goals except our email subscriber goal.
As a blogger, you have to create opportunities to drive traffic to your content, product or service. This is much harder than you think.
The day's of putting out content & expecting people to find it on their own are gone. You have to hustle. You have to market what you're doing.
We published 16 articles on our blog and have done 4 guest post on other blogs, including being featured in a Forbes article.
We had 8 posts on the blog when we launched and continue to add more. If you'd like to pitch us on a guest post, we'd love to hear from you. Contact us here.
Our strategy with content is simple, we just try to write valuable articles.
We want people to come back and read later. Having content that is quality and helpful has been a key that has contributed to our readers returning.
Choosing an email collection and service company was important when we started. We knew we wanted to focus on creating a relationship with our reader and the best way to do that is to interact via email.
We tried MailChimp but to be honest, it sucked. It was not intuitive and it didn't really have the features we wanted or needed.
We use ConvertKit to collect emails and send our emails to our subscribers. ConvertKit is a great tool that has made it possible for us to grow our list to over 200 people so far.
Of those 202 subscribers, 183 are "confirmed" or have double-opted in. This is blog speak for, they clicked a second time to confirm they wanted to be on your list. This makes sure you're getting people that actually want to be on your list, which is what you want to aim for. So, we consider our true number 183.
If you want to sign up for Convert kit you can use this link. It's the best in our opinion. That is coming from hours and hours of research in black holes in the internet. Save yourself the time. Get it if you want to take your list seriously.
Running a blog or any business requires you to market yourself, your product or your service. This has been fun and challenging for us to figure out.
We drive traffic to our site from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and our email list. A lot of bloggers talk about Pinterest being a major contributor to their traffic. Our goal has been to grow our audience across the board on each platform and find the platform that works best for us.
Doing this requires tremendous time and energy to create posts and to find out what works on each platform. Luckily, we've seen growth on all of our platforms.
A surefire way to get burned out is to try and learn every platform at one time. Using a platform personally is different than using it for business, so while your experience does count, don't think that it will be easy just because you are a user already.
Small Takeaway: find 3 networks that you like and invest the time and energy into understanding the platform, create a strategy, and implement it. Rinse. Learn. Repeat.
The goal is to find out how you can use each to its own unique strengths. So far, we are still experimenting, so we will update you on learnings as we go.
Facebook: 188-page likes
Twitter: 2,636 followers
Pinterest: 3,294 impressions & 167 monthly engaged
Instagram: 553 followers
We're consistently seeing growth on all of these platforms. Don't be too caught up in the amount of followers you have. In some way social media can be a vanity metric. Meaning, not all followers are created equal. We like increasing followers but we're focused on other things as well.
The goal of our blog is to create a platform that we can make money from. It doesn't take away from the value that we strive to provide to readers for free. In fact, it makes it that much more important. Make no doubt about it, content takes time and energy. For example, this post has taken me nearly 3 1/2 hours to write and it takes you, the reader, 7 minutes to read!
Affiliate sales are products that we recommend to others and end up getting a commission for. It takes work to find products and services that your readers want. A key here is to not "sell-out". Don't offer dog food to your cat lover audience. Always keep your reader in mind and what's best for them. Your reader is your customer. Treat them well.
Google Adwords are Google ads that are placed on your site. Ideally, you want your traffic to stay on your site but the way I see it is that early on in the life of the blog, you may as well get paid for your traffic. Obviously, this isn't much but hopefully continues to increase.
The side hustle income came up after I launched the blog and was a result of the blog, so I'm including it. We were approached to and asked if we could design a flier for a small business in OKC. We did a great job on it and then they asked us to manage their social media for them for $300/mo. We're only spending a few hours a week on it so it's worth it.
We'll be using this customer as a 'case study' to launch into marketing for other small businesses as we explore the territory locally a little bit more.
This is a great benefit of starting your own business and website. You gain exposure and SHOWCASE your skills by running your own site. This allows people to actually SEE that that you know what you're doing.
If you want to earn money with a blog ask yourself these questions:
Are people making money from blogs in that niche? How much?
How are they doing it? Can I add value to that niche?
If the answer to all of those things is YES, then you should start your blog and begin building your own blog or business.
Read our blog post on how to start a blog from scratch: CLICK HERE
4,500 monthly views
300 email subscribers
Post 1 time a day on Facebook
Post 3 times a week on Instagram + stories each week
Join 1 Facebook & Pinterest group
Foster engagement on social platforms in the form of comments & shares
Make first $ with Amazon affiliate
Get first sponsored blog post
Post 2x per week on blog (one of my own posts & one guest post) (reach out if you'r interested in guest posting!)
Made some new friends and collaborated with personal finance blogging industry leaders. They are all awesome, so check 'em out!
J.Money at Rockstar Finance Blog & Directory
Amanda and Julia at A&J Money Matters
Bobby over at Millennial Money Man
Matt at Distilled Dollar
Jocelyn at The Scholarship System
Deacon at Well Kept Wallet
MAJOR TAKEAWAY: This goes for starting a blog or anything else you do that matters to you. There will always be haters or people who don't want you to succeed, JUST BECAUSE. Use them for fuel. Forget about 'em!
"Not everyone will cheer you on (including friends & family). It doesn't matter. Take your wins, your losses, & just hustle." -zackarylee
"Don't waste your breath telling people what you're passionate about. Show them with your actions." -@zackarylee
"Chasing your dreams IS worth it. God, the universe, people (whatever you believe) makes space for you when you take action." -@zackarylee
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Zack is one of the co-founders of FreeUp and is in charge of setting the strategy for the blog and managing the day-to-day operations. When he isn't plotting new ways to create awesome blog content, he likes to geek out about global affairs, ride motorcycles and can probably be found hiking somewhere during his days off.