In 1998, at 18 years old and living in Brisbane, Australia, I enrolled in a business degree at the local university.
Although I struggled to get through university courses, my graduate studies gave me a benefit that changed my life — access to the internet.
I created my first website about a card game I played in school called Magic: The Gathering, a fantasy game played competitively in tournaments, like poker, but with goblins, elves, and dragons.
I wrote articles for my website, started selling cards, and slowly grew a community.
Eventually I made as much as $1,000 a month from the combined advertising revenue and profits from selling cards. It was hard work, but I learned a lot.
While I enjoyed running my card game site, I knew my future wasn’t there.
I watched the first dot com boom in the tech industry come and go. It made me hungry for something bigger.
The next business I started was a proofreading service. Instead of doing the work myself, I hired contract proofreaders to deliver the service, while I handled marketing.
In 2004, the business broke the $100,000 a year level in revenue. I hired an administrative assistant to work with the contract proofreaders, which left me with not much else to do.
I was 25 and had realized my goal — freedom. I didn’t need a job and I was in charge of how I lived.
There was one problem: I was miserable. Something was missing.
While looking for new ways to grow my proofreading business, a friend recommended blogging. I didn’t understand what made a blog different from a website, so I started one from my proofreading website in November of that year.
My blog only lasted three months because I struggled to write about proofreading. However, I discovered I enjoyed writing about my business, so I started a hobby blog called Entrepreneurs-Journey.com — a place I could share stories from my life as an entrepreneur.
Within six months I had 500 readers a day. By the end of the first year I had 3,000 daily readers, and I was making $1,000 a month from advertising and selling affiliate products.
Best of all, I loved sharing stories on a blog. It gave me the ingredient I was missing — creative expression. I had finally found the right business for me.
In my second year of blogging I made two very important decisions that would eventually lead me to become a blogging millionaire.
1. I started an email newsletter to go with my blog.
2. I decided to sell my own teaching products.
Using my blog and my email list I launched a course called BlogMastermind.com in 2007 to teach people how to start a blog that makes money. Just under 400 people enrolled for $27 per month and I found myself earning $15,000 a month in revenue. As part of the launch, I gave away a free report called the Blog Profits Blueprint, which has been downloaded over 100,000 times.
Later, I increased the price to $49 a month, then $97 a month or a $497 one-time fee, after turning it into a six-month course rather than an ongoing membership.
Initially I spent about $10,000 on things like copy writing and technical contractors to set everything up for the launch. The expenses dropped significantly after the launch because I only had help from a casual customer service and technical person. After paying for the contractors and technical things like hosting, domain names, and email autoresponders, I kept about 80% as profit.
I knew my future was in blogging, so I sold my other projects, including the proofreading business. I used the profits to purchase my first house and a car, plus give some money to my parents. It was an amazing time in my life.
During the next two years I created two more courses, wrote ebooks on subjects like mindset, productivity, and blog traffic, and started a coaching program, offering group coaching community for $99 a month, or $149 a quarter, or $499 a year as well as private coaching at $500 an hour.
My business is 100% virtual, with no full time employees, and only a few contractors who work for me remotely.
Now, I spend my time sitting in cafes around the world with my laptop, running my blog and coaching my members.
In 2009, the year I turned 30, I broke through the million dollar mark in total sales from my blog, approximately five years after starting it. Today I still earn a consistent $20,000 to $30,000 a month thanks to the automated business I have built from my blog, which only takes a couple of hours a day to maintain. It tops out at over $50,000 a month when I launch a new program or do a special promotion.
I’ve blogged from places like Fiji, Hawaii, Hong Kong, Tokyo, San Francisco, New York, San Diego, LA, Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, London, Paris, Rome, Venice, Amsterdam, Athens, Dubai, Singapore, Sydney, Melbourne, and Tasmania.
What I am most proud of however, are my successful blogging students.
I’ve trained people who have started blogs in subjects such as curing acne, book publishing, ADHD, skiing, speed reading, home loans, audio recording studios, bmx bikes, and tennis, who today make from $20,000 to even $50,000 a month. Two people I coached today have million dollar blogs.
I’m convinced anyone who has value to contribute to a hungry audience can make a living using a blog and email list to sell digital products and services. It’s a powerful business model that works. I’m living proof.