This is the second in my series of interviews where I talk to successful online marketers, entrepreneurs and bloggers.
Some of them you'll know like Neil Patel and others you might not have heard about...YET!
Today's interview is with Marc Andre of ProfitBlitz.com.
He runs a series of blogs in a variety of niches and even sold one for 6 figures - so despite not being a household name in the IM scene YET he's a man to be listened to.
Lets find out more...
For anyone who doesn't know you, who are you and what are you all about?
I've been managing my own websites full time for over 5 years now, and about 2 years part time prior to that when I still had a full time job.
I have experience with blogging, membership sites, e-commerce (only digital products to this point), affiliate marketing, niche sites, and providing services.
Pretty much everything I've done online has been built off of blogging, whether it has been launching a membership site to an already existing blog audience or using a blog to attract visitors to a site where I offer services like web design and consulting.
A big part of my income the past few years has come from selling websites and blogs.
I've sold about 10 websites/blogs in 4 different transactions (some included more than one site), and they've ranged anywhere from $1,000 up to a six figure amount.
I wouldn't say that I flip websites because I don't start them with the intention of selling them quickly, I just sell when the timing seems right and when I am ready to move on to something else.
Earlier this year I launched ProfitBlitz, a blog where I share the things I've learned over the past several years.
This is kind of a different experience for me because my other sites have been in industries like design, photography, and travel.
How did you get started in internet marketing?
When I first started to read about affiliate programs and other ways of making money online it really grabbed my attention.
I basically got started by reading tutorials, blog posts, and a few e-books. I didn't really know anything about making money online, I just knew that I wanted to do it.
I started applying some of the things I was reading about, and sure enough, some of it worked.
A site that I started as a part-time project to provide a little bit of extra income wound up taking off and being my main source of income for about 4 or 5 years before I sold it.
Often friends and family don't really 'get' this whole internet marketing thing or take it seriously, how do yours feel about it and how did they react when you first told them you were going to give it a try?
Honestly, I try to avoid the subject of what I do for a living with pretty much everyone except my wife.
I know people don't get it, and for some reason I really don't like trying to explain it, so I try not to talk about it whenever possible.
I think my family and close friends respect what I do even if they don't really know exactly what it is that I do.
I've always approached it like a business. I get up early and work long hours.
I like the flexibility of my hours when I really need it, but I don't take advantage of it.
I think since friends and family see me treating it like a business, that is how they view it.
As far as when I first told them what I was going to be doing, my friends were kind of surprised.
Only my closest friends really knew that I did anything online part time. Some of my friends didn't know anything about what I was working on until I quit my full time job.
I think some of them thought I was crazy, but no one told me that to my face.
A few people asked me things like if I would be sleeping in now that I didn't have a job.
What was your first ever website or niche?
Wow, that's something I haven't thought about in a long time!
My very first site was an affiliate site where I attempted to sell band and movie posters.
The first time I ever heard of an affiliate program was at a site that sold posters and other art, I think it was art.com (this would have been around 2002).
I was blown away by the fact that I could make money just by referring people to their website to make a purchase.
I bought a domain and started creating the site with static HTML pages, no WordPress or CMS. I'm actually not even sure if the site ever went live or if I gave up before taking it live.
If it did go live I know I never made a sale.
But that got my attention and I started looking around over the next few years at different ways to make money online, although it wasn't until about 5 years later that I actually got serious.
If you had to give one piece of advice to a newcomer in the internet marketing world, what would it be?
Have realistic expectations and be ready to work.
Making a living in internet marketing is a very realistic possibility, and it's something that just about anyone can achieve, but for some reason most people expect it to be easy or quick, and then they give up at the first setback.
Compared to building a traditional brick and mortar business, or even working your way up the corporate ladder in a typical job, internet marketing is actually pretty easy, but most people don't look at it in those terms.
If you approach it like a business and put in a consistent effort, you can succeed.
It might not happen overnight, but if you stick with it you will see the rewards.
Over the years I've seen a lot of talented people that I thought were doing a really good job and building a solid foundation, but they gave up because things weren't happening as quickly as they would have liked.
The biggest difference that I have seen from people who are successful in internet marketing and those who are not successful is persistence and determination.
The successful people that I know have faced challenges, but they stuck with it.
What does it take to be a success in the internet marketing world in your opinion?
I'd go back to my previous point and say that persistence and a consistent effort is critical.
Also, I think it is very important that you are willing to learn. Another thing that I think is important is focus.
There are so many different things you could be doing online, and if you read many blogs you see all kinds of stories, case studies, and tutorials about how to make money in different ways.
You need to have the focus to stick to your plan and don't get distracted by all of the other things you could be doing.
If you constantly bounce from one thing to another you'll never give any project enough time and effort for it to succeed.
When choosing a niche, follow passion or money?
I think “passion” is a bit of a strong word, in my opinion.
Aside from ProfitBlitz and the topic of internet marketing, I don't think I would say I am passionate about any of the topics of the other websites that I've had over the years.
Personally, I like to find something that interests me that I want to learn more about.
If you're interested in learning more about your site's topic it makes the work a lot more fun.
I've tried working on topics that didn't interest me in the past, and that makes the work really boring and not fun, so I wouldn't recommend strictly following the money without at least having some interest in the topic.
One of the most common questions I receive from my audience is “How do I get started?”.
What would you advise them?
The best way to learn is through doing.
There are a lot of blogs that you could be reading, e-books and courses that you could purchase, and podcasts that you can listen to.
You'll learn some things from those sources, but you'll learn a lot more by actually doing.
So my recommendation is to take action and get started rather than feeling like you need to become an expert on internet marketing before starting your first website.
I like using blogging as a starting point because I think it allows you a lot of flexibility and you can learn a lot of important principles in the process of building a blog.
In terms of the flexibility, once you have built your blog's audience you can monetize it in a number of different ways.
You could use affiliate programs, create and sell your own products, add a membership area, promote your own services, sell ads, or use AdSense.
With a blog you can learn about social media marketing, SEO, writing headlines, etc.
And one of the best things about blogging, it's a great tool for building your professional network, which can be extremely valuable.
I would also recommend that building an email list is a priority for any new blogger, especially with all of the changes that Google has made to their algorithm the past few years.
Having an email list will allow you to not depend on Google, or any other source, for traffic.
For those who are interested in learning more about blogging, I have a free comprehensive guide at ProfitBlitz, the Guide to Profitable Blogging.
If you lost everything and had to start all over again with just a $100 budget, what would your plan of action be?
I think my approach would be to start a blog and put most of my effort into building an email list.
I'd probably try to get guest posts published at major blogs in the niche to help with building my email list.
Once I had the list built up to at least several thousand people I'd look to create and sell my own digital product.
Since I wouldn't be making much money at first while I was building my new blog I'd probably look to do some client work, either writing or consulting, in order to make some money in the short-term.
What are you working on at the moment, what are your plans for the future and do you have anything new in the pipeline you'd like to share with us?
Right now my time is split between several different projects.
I have one client that I do a lot of work for, mostly writing blog posts and some strategic stuff with monetization.
As far as my own sites are concerned, I have a site in the photography industry that is my biggest priority right now.
At that site I sell digital products to photographers, so a lot of my work involves creating and marketing the products.
ProfitBlitz is my most recent addition, and I'm hoping to free up more time to spend there throughout this year.
I also have a few small niche sites that don't take up a lot of my time.
Latest post: 10 Principles of Effective Networking
Essential reading: Ultimate Guide To Blog Monetization
Big thanks to Marc for taking part.
Now I'd love to hear YOUR thoughts on this interview. Enjoy it?
Did you learn something valuable and what was it?
Tell us in the comments section below...