In this Monday with Michael episode, I share how starting a blog four years ago had a domino effect and led me to be a successful freelance writer.
When I started my blog in 2016, I realized quickly that I didn’t know how to build a tribe to follow it and also how to create sustainable revenue streams to keep it financially afloat. This is not a story of failure though, but one of success as I pivoted my ‘failed’ blog into becoming a successful freelance writer.
Freelance writing has had a massive role in my life. I was able to 10x my monthly income from 650 bucks to 6,500 bucks in one year while only working part time. In 2019, I was able to double my income and never go back to a nine to five. All this never would have happened if I had never started that blog.
'Leap and the Net Will Appear'
My mentor, James Wedmore, said that quote and it resonates true. Sometimes you have to have active faith in yourself. Sometimes you have to believe in yourself, even if you don’t really know what’s going to happen out there, even if it feels terrifying to your mind and you’re thinking, “Whoa, this is way out of my comfort zone”.
Blogging was my first step. It didn’t work out the way I thought it would; but it led me to become a published author, successful freelance writer, podcaster and even write and do voice over for a video that went viral on YouTube.
When you bet on yourself and really put yourself out there and say, “Hey, you know what? I can do this”. Some pretty incredible things will happen.
When You Bet On Yourself, Amazing Things Can Happen
Entrepreneurship is hard; but it also has way more rewards if you just stick with it. It’s absolutely possible to make money writing about topics you are passionate about. If you have ever dreamed about working from home, creating your own schedule, traveling more or even just fulfilling a dream to be your own boss, give freelance writing a try. Just keep going! If I can help you along the way, just reach out.
Are You Ready to Start Your Freelance Writing Career?
If you are ready to take the next step and launch your freelance writing career, I would love to help you build momentum!
I have a few spots left in my writing coaching program and want to help you reach your writing goals. Schedule a 20 minute discovery call with me, because if I can do it, you can too!
Speaker 1: 00:01 You’re listening to episode number 53 of Inspire your Success podcast. On today’s episode I’m going to talk about how starting a blog changed my life forever and why you should start an online writing business in 2020. All right, welcome back to the show. Again, this is your host Michael Leonard and as always I appreciate you being here with me today. And again, I sent some stuff out to my email list and to all of my followers on Instagram. Just wanted to send a big, big thank you to you and everyone that you’ve shared this show with as we just crossed the 50 Mark a couple of weeks ago and it’s just pretty cool to see really how much the show has grown, some of the people that we’ve had on the show, uh, you know what I’ve learned from you guys and hopefully what you’ve learned from me.
Speaker 1: 00:50 So again, just want to send a huge thank you to everyone out there that’s listened, that’s left positive reviews that shared it with family and friends. And if you haven’t done that, again, a really want to impact more people here in 2020 with blogging, with freelance writing, and really talking about how to make money online as a writer. So if you haven’t left a review, please do so because it really does help more people find this on iTunes so that way more people can engage, understand what it really takes to make money online as a writer and a whole lot more. So this episode is taking you back a little bit down memory lane because four years ago I started a blog. I had no idea the amazing impact that starting a blog has really had on my life and it’s just been a continuous like domino effect on everything.
Speaker 1: 01:40 And so I want to talk a lot more about that because I don’t feel like a lot of people really think that starting a little side hustle can really change your life. But honestly, that’s exactly what it did for me. And I’m not here to tell you that starting a blog will change your life forever and that you’re going to make millions of dollars and quit your job or anything like that. But I do want to just plant the idea that you are only one decision, one choice away from really setting your life on an entirely different direction if you want it. And that’s really the cool thing to me is that we do have so much choice, right? We have so much more ability to start an online business by the end of this podcast episode if you wanted, right? I mean, you could literally download something on Instagram or start your IG.
Speaker 1: 02:22 You could get a website and you can be ready to go. You don’t even need a website anymore even. So that’s really, really cool that there’s so much opportunity. And so I want to talk about how that has had a big part of my life and again, why you should start an online business here in 2020 so just to take you back a little bit, I’m just publishing this here at the beginning of February, but January of 2016 if you rewind the clock back, that was actually the start of my first blog ever, which was super millennial.com and I think the story will just give you a little bit of inspiration and make you kind of understand what’s possible out there because four years ago, if you’d told me, this is what I’ve been doing for two and a half years and pursuing professional golf and all these other things that I’ve done, uh, it’s, it’s something I probably just never would have thought possible by starting a blog, starting a domain.
Speaker 1: 03:10 So again, I just want to show you what’s possible, share a little bit more of my story and then hopefully give you some inspiration and show you some actionable steps to take in your own life. So again, just kind of going back, uh, was, was 20 that actually the end of 2015 even before the blog started, I was really, uh, just checked out, right? I was, I was ready to find something new. Uh, the nine to five was just not cutting it anymore. I knew I needed something else to do with my life and it was really at that time where I was super invested in personal finance, so I was always trying to help everyone with their finances. I was talking about Roth IRAs and, and investing and stock options and buying houses and equity and all this stuff. Like I just got so immersed in it because I really just wanted to get out of my nine to five, but it was actually on a president’s club trip.
Speaker 1: 03:58 Uh, I think I talked about it in a different episode where one of my directors told me when I was, you know, half drunk telling her, Hey, you know, this and this a lot about finances, kind of like spilling out all this financial jargon. She was like, Hey, you should really share this with, with people. And so that actually was kind of the seed planted for me. So Jamie, if you ever listened to this episode, thank you for planting that seed. Uh, but yeah, it actually started right after that. So it was like the first week of January in 2016 I decided to start my blog, supermillennial.com, uh, I guess the first iteration of my blog. And it was really kind of the start of it all. I mean, I had no idea what I was doing. I had zero writing background, I had zero skills as far as WordPress or making money online.
Speaker 1: 04:40 I didn’t know any of this stuff went, I just had a message and I wanted to help people. And so that was really the start of it all for me. And it was, uh, one of the craziest things that, again, just looking back at what it’s produced, but that’s how it all started for me and some of the things that have happened since then. It’s just crazy. I mean, I was just writing a, a medium post all about it. So, you know, started this thing in January of 2016 fast forward to may of 2017, May 11th, 2017 actually, it was the day that I left my six figure job that I was probably gonna make anywhere from 120 to $150,000. And again, it was a, it was a crazy, crazy bold move. I don’t recommend most people doing that because there, there’s a lot that you, the planning that I did, uh, up front and things like that.
Speaker 1: 05:26 But for me, I needed to make a bold move. I needed to burn the ships. Uh, as Tony Robbins always says he can take the Island, and that was really it for me. I’d made $200 from my blog, but I quit. I decided, Hey, I’m going to figure this online business thing out. I’m going to pursue professional golf and I’m going to chase my dreams. I’m not going to sit at a job that makes me miserable just because I get stock options and benefits. Right? I never wanted to end up with that regret that so many people end up with by not living a life true to themselves. And so I just told myself, Hey, this is my time. I’m going to do it. And I saved up a lot of money in advance. I had it all planned out, cut my expenses, you know, really had a solid plan.
Speaker 1: 06:04 So I don’t want you to think I just jumped after a bad day. This was something I actually planned for an entire year. But that was the start of it. Had I not started this blog, I probably would still be there to be honest with you. Or, or at a very similar company that maybe paid me a couple more bucks. But that was really the start of it. So, you know, I, I got rid of the job, I started doing this online blogging thing and that’s led to freelance writing, which we’ll get into here in just a minute. But as my mentor, James Wedmore always says, sometimes you just have to leap and the net will appear. So sometimes you have to have active faith in yourself. Sometimes you have to believe in yourself, even if you don’t really know what’s going to happen out there, even if it feels terrifying to your mind and you’re thinking, Whoa, this is way out of our comfort zone.
Speaker 1: 06:44 I don’t want to do this. Sometimes you just have to take the first step. And so that’s really what blogging was for me. And so I challenge you to think about your life, like what’s something you’ve thought about doing or think you could do to help people or to help yourself and maybe help people as well with your knowledge. Like what is something that you’ve thought about, but if maybe just been a delaying or I thought maybe not right now, or I have too many obligations and all these different stories that you’re telling yourself. So start there. The second thing that happened is, uh, for some, some crazy reason, you know, as I was getting ready to quit my job, I decided to publish a book. So at that time I was like really again, checked out mentally at work and I was like, you know what?
Speaker 1: 07:24 If I’m writing all these blog posts, I might as well write a book and actually all stemmed from an old bucket list that I found when I probably, gosh I was 25 or so and I wrote this down that I wanted to publish a book in my twenties and so when I quit I was 29 years old and I had been writing this book and it was probably 10 times as long as it actually was when then it got published and it ended up being the first book I ever published. And again that never would have happened had I not started the blog. And the book again, it’s called advice for my younger self, a successful habits of health and wealth where I really just, it’s a hundred page book. It’s super easy. I mean you can find it on Amazon. I’m not even promoting it cause I’m sure the writing compared to what I am now is different for me and some of my views have changed.
Speaker 1: 08:07 But at the end of the day I was trying to help people. I always wanted to help move millennials with finances. And that all stemmed from my financial background of studying and learning all this stuff and then starting the blog and starting to get a little bit of traction on there. And so I was able to publish that first book and it was really cool just to say, Hey, I’m a published author at 29. No, it didn’t go on to sell millions of copies or really change the world, but some people really did take some of the things in there and use it to better their own lives. Whether it was my family, friends, I’ve had strangers reach out and you know, I made a couple of bucks in the process as well. But it was really the experience of being able to say, Hey, I published a book.
Speaker 1: 08:44 And again, none of that would have happened had I not started that blog. And I ended up actually publishing two more books. So, uh, one book was just a, an ebook on, um, basically losing weight with a, a low carb diet plan that I was doing. And so again, I was documenting my journey after I quit. So I decided, Hey, I’ll publish a book about it. Again, didn’t, didn’t give me millions of dollars or tons of fame, but it did help some people lose some weight. And then the third book I was able to publish was a short Golf book where I really talk about some of the mental aspects and things like that that actually helped go into my freelance writing career. So it’s kind of weird how it all turned out. But again, I started as a blogger and then I published the book and then I became a freelance writer two years ago in January of 2018.
Speaker 1: 09:31 And if you’re new to the show, again, thank you for listening, for watching wherever you’re tuning in at. But when I first started, I thought I was just going to quit my job and make money blogging. But after about seven months, I had very little success. I mean, very, very little. So I was just struggling. I was working all the time. I didn’t understand how to drive traffic. I didn’t have a very good, uh, you know, really core topics for my site. It was a little bit all over the place and I just never really gained a following. I didn’t know how to actually build a tribe and create income streams from it and all that right when I quit. So I actually had to pivot and go to freelance writing and it was one of the best things I’ve ever, ever happened to me.
Speaker 1: 10:11 So at the time I was a little disappointed. I thought, Oh my gosh, my blog idea failed. You know, I was telling myself some negative stories. I was a little bit bummed, but I was like, okay, let’s try this freelance writing thing and really go all in. And had I not started that, I honestly don’t know what would have happened because it has been the 90, you know, 90% of my income since starting, uh, in January of 2018 has came from freelance writing. So it’s at a massive, massive role in my life. I was able to 10 X my monthly income from 650 bucks to 6,500 bucks in one year while only working part time. And then in 2019 I was able to double my income and never go back to a nine to five. And so that all happened though from freelance writing. And it would’ve never happened though guys, if I had never started that blog.
Speaker 1: 11:00 So it’s just kind of crazy to see all the different ways that you can make money as a writer, make money online. Uh, and again, between those few years I was trying all kinds of other things. I had a drop shipping business for a pet store. I had an eCommerce business. Uh, obviously you have the podcast, YouTube blogging, flea market, flipping, selling stuff on eBay. I tried it all, but for me, my, my zone of genius has turned out to be writing. And again, I never thought that would be the case. But now I absolutely love writing on medium and writing emails and writing for clients and things like that. But all of that started, thankfully because Hey, you know, even though the blogging thing wasn’t working, I knew I had to pivot. And so I’m glad that I switched up my approach. Uh, otherwise I was just going to keep being the definition of insanity, right?
Speaker 1: 11:44 Doing the same thing over and over again. But it was able to go out there and really changed my life with this freelance writing business. And sometimes that’s just what you have to do, right? If you never take that first step, you can’t always see what’s going to happen in the future. So that’s hopefully what I just kind of want to share with you here is that you’re starting to see like, Hey, if you just take that first step, amazing, amazing things can happen. And really the next thing that happened from that is because my freelance writing business was going so well in 2018 I was consuming podcasts like a drug addict. I mean I would just listen to podcasts cause I, you know, it was making money as a writer, but it wasn’t like life changing money. I mean, I was really starting from the ground up and I was spending a lot of money on golf and investing in myself.
Speaker 1: 12:28 So I was trying to figure out like what do I need to do to start making six figures or multiple six figures. And it was at that time when I was really listening to a lot of podcasts and it actually stemmed the birth of the show, which is the coolest thing ever to have an audience here to reach people all around the world and to mix it up. Because as much as I love writing, you know, sometimes it does get exhausting and you’re not feeling as creative. But going out and producing a podcast episode is usually a lot less work as far as like time wise, but you can impact just as many people if not more. And so again, that has been one of the coolest things. And we just hit the one year anniversary again over 50 episodes published. Uh, we’ve had unbelievable guests on the show.
Speaker 1: 13:09 I’ve got to interview six figure bloggers, authors, a millionaire on a couple of millionaire entrepreneurs. One of them were at the a hundred million dollars. Um, so it’s just been amazing all the cool things that have happened from this. But again, guys, this would not have happened had I not started the blog. And then really the last thing that, uh, well the second to last thing that I’m so excited has stemmed from this is a viral video. So again, a lot of my work is in the personal development, motivational, inspirational type of content. And I was the top writer for fearless motivation when they were producing new content and eventually they just decided to go more video and audio, but they heard this podcast and they said, Hey, you know what? We really like your voice. We’d like your message. We obviously like your writing, let’s go ahead and try you out on a voiceover.
Speaker 1: 13:55 And so I wrote a script, I voiced it over, send it to him. Couple months go by, hadn’t really heard much. I got paid for it. But you know, I was like, Hey, I’m excited to see this and I swear to you, the day it came out and I actually cried. It was such a crazy moment to, to see the amazing visuals that they were able to create mixed with a positive message that I had and to hear my voice over it, um, and it, and it quickly became viral. It has almost 2 million views now on YouTube. And if you go onto Google and type in how to program your mind or how to reprogram your mind, that is the number one result. And so it blows my mind that people around the world can listen and watch this video to understand powerful techniques like morning and evening routines, reprogramming your subconscious mind, hypnotherapy, all of this stuff that I was able to write about from personal experience because a lot of this was my own journey of experimenting and testing and figuring out what works, what doesn’t, and to have all of that go out there into the world and now people consume it.
Speaker 1: 14:57 Um, you know, I officially have some haters online, but that’s part of the process of, I mean, the overwhelming majority of people that have watched it have those 2 million views have loved it. And so I’m so grateful for that. But again, had I not taken the risk four years ago, you know, this would’ve never happened and it potentially changed someone’s life. I have no idea. I mean, a lot of the comments on there, super positive and it’s just one of those things where you just really never know when you’re creating content, whether it’s podcast, videos, blogs, medium, you never really know how much you can possibly change someone’s life. So I’m very grateful for that video. Uh, and again, I’ve got to do some other opportunities from that because of it. But again, none of that stuff would have happened had I not started the blog.
Speaker 1: 15:38 And then the final thing is, like I was just talking about with that viral video is I’ve had a tremendous amount of personal growth, uh, since I quit my job and started writing online and becoming an entrepreneur, becoming a freelancer. And, uh, that’s been one of the greatest gifts ever. And again, it’s, it’s a constant evolution. It’s a journey. Uh, if any entrepreneurs are listening or watching, you obviously know what it takes. It’s not easy in the beginning. And, uh, for me personally, I had to go through a lot of stuff and I’m still trying to get better and excuse me, I am still getting better. I am learning new new strategies, new tactics. Um, but I’ve, you know, done things like hypnotherapy and meditation and yoga Nija and all these amazing things that have really just made my life better. And I just don’t know if that would’ve ever happened had I not quit my job and actually stayed working for someone else.
Speaker 1: 16:27 So I know it seems a little bit drastic, but if you actually go out and decide, Hey, entrepreneurship is what I want to do, just know that you’re going to probably have to evolve as a person because it’s not always easy when you have, when you’re working for someone else, you can kind of get a skate by and you know, go through the motions and just turn in your stuff and do the work. But when you become your own boss, you are responsible for your entire life. And so if you’re not right, your business isn’t going to be right sometimes. And so that’s something that I’ve been able to learn because of it. And again, it hasn’t always been easy. I’m never going to sit here and tell you entrepreneurship is the easy path because it’s not. It’s the harder path. That’s why most people don’t do it.
Speaker 1: 17:04 But it also has a way more rewards if you just stick with it. So that’s kind of where I want to segue because you know, I’m not here to just say, Hey, I did this. So if you do this, all of these things can happen. That’s not what I’m saying at all. What I am saying though is that you are worth it. So if you think that, Hey, you know what? I think I can make money writing about digital marketing or personal finance or the sport I used to play or anything. If you think you can make money writing or starting a blog on there, I want to tell you that it is absolutely possible. And again, even if that Avenue doesn’t pan out exactly as you want, as you can tell from my story, anything else can happen. And that is the cool thing is that you just never know.
Speaker 1: 17:47 But what I do know is that when you bet on yourself and really put yourself out there and say, Hey, you know what? I can do this. Some pretty incredible things will happen. Some opportunities are probably going to find you. Some new people are probably going to come into your life and you know, all it takes is one new person to listen, read, watch your content to potentially change your life forever. And you know, one of the examples I talk about is a, is a client that found me from Instagram where I was just creating a lot of content that was very motivational and things like that back in December of 2018 when I only had about 900 followers. And that client now is one of my top clients. We’ve created, you know, tons and tons of products and videos and things. And I never again would have thought that, Hey, somebody is going to watch this video and it’s gonna change my business and really parts of my life.
Speaker 1: 18:38 So that’s what I just want you to understand is that it’s not going to be easy in the beginning. You know, a lot of times there’s some, there’s some learning curves and you know, you should probably find a mentor or someone that’s already doing what you want to do because there are a lot of things that you just don’t know yet when you’re, when you’re starting out. But if you just keep going, some truly, truly amazing things can happen. And again, I’m living proof of it and I’m not the only one. I talked to people all the time that would have never thought they’d be where they are today, but it all started by taking a risk, starting a YouTube channel, starting a blog, starting freelance writing, you know, something like that. So just understand that there’s a lot of ways to get started and again, inspire your success is really mostly about freelancing and writing because again, I don’t want to dive into e-commerce and all these other things that I’m not qualified to talk about, even though I have done a little bit of it and I’m happy to share my experiences.
Speaker 1: 19:31 It definitely wasn’t life changing money for me, but that’s where the freelance writing side of it came in. So if you’re ready to get started and share your message, remember, go back to a few episodes back where I talk about the difference between writing and blogging. So first start there figuring out, Hey, should I start freelance writing or should I start blogging? Because they’re very, very different. So go back there. I think it was like 47 48 somewhere in there. I believe the is writing versus blogging, how to pick in 2020 so start there. And then another option is medium. So I talk about that one. I think it was a last episode or two episodes ago as well. So go back in there and see if medium’s going to be right because you can really get started with writing in so many ways, whether it’s freelance writing, blogging or medium.
Speaker 1: 20:13 And I’m sure there’s, you know, publishing books, things like that. There’s a lot of ways, but those are kind of the big three to really start thinking about. And if you have a message and you think that, Hey, you know what, I really like this topic and I can become a writer and I want to work at home and create my own lifestyle and freedom and travel and all that, know that it’s 100% possible. So again, figuring out where you want to start with, pick one of those and then test it. You know, try it for more than a few months too because you know, sometimes these things take some time and that’s, it’s hard because we live in this Amazon world, right where we want everything, two days or less, right? I’m right there myself. But success takes time. You know, sometimes you have to fail your way to success and really learn from your mistakes to create that kind of lifestyle and that change and that online business that you want.
Speaker 1: 20:59 So just keep going. And again, if I can ever help with this stuff, please always let me know. Again, I have a few spots left in my one on one coaching program right now and again, that is a 60 day immersive coaching with me to really get held accountable and reach your freelance writing goals and again, make sure go on inspire your success. I have articles and videos on my YouTube about all this stuff as well. So again, if you want to work with me, shoot me a DM on Instagram or you can always email [email protected] and I’ll send you some more details as well. But again, things can change from just taking one step and betting on yourself. So hopefully I got that message across you. Again, I’m so fired up knowing that I get to reach people around the world that are listening to this and just a huge, huge thank you for supporting me.
Speaker 1: 21:47 And if you know anyone else that could really benefit from this and wants to start an online business, please share it with them on any social media or send them a text message with this episode. Because again, I want to help a lot more people here in 2020 so thank you again. January is already tracking January, excuse me, was the biggest month ever for the podcast and I’m hoping we can just keep that going month after month. So thank you again for listening, for watching wherever you’re coming at me at. Thank you again and as always, I hope you have an Epic day.
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