I remember back to the days, over 10 years ago, when I first started taking travel photos and writing posts on my blog Nomadic Samuel. At the time I had no idea how I’d potentially turn my humble little travel blog into a business but I had a will to figure it out.
These days my latest passion is investing and I’m equally as excited to one day turn this new humble blog into a business as well. The difference, this time around, is that I have more of a clear road-map on how I plan do it.
Oddly enough, although my entrepreneurial skills, SEO skills and business ideas are sharper than when I first started blogging, I had the competitive advantage back then of being part of the 2nd wave of the OG travel blogging community.
Blogging, in all of its genres, was just starting to take-off back then. It was much easier to attract an audience, rank articles in Google search and network within your given community.
You could be a generalist back then. A blog about around the world travel made sense in the early 2010s. Try doing that now and you’ll likely drown in a sea of competition. These days you have to go deep; become a specialist; have something unique to say.
In terms of travel blogging, back in the wild-west good ole days, it was such a small world that if you mentioned names like Matt, Gary or Dave everyone knew exactly who you were talking about. Fast forward to today and maybe there are 100 Matt’s or 1000 Gary’s or 10,000 Dave’s writing a blog about travel, investing, health, lifestyle or beauty.
It’s a crowded space. I’m late to the game. I’m also not an expert in this field. I only started really getting into investing in recent years. I’ve got around 2000 hours of self-study under my belt. To be considered an expert you’re looking at closer to 10,000 hours.
I also don’t have industry connections. The odds are stacked against me:
I’m pushing a boulder up a mountain wearing flip-flops after a torrential downpour.
Irregardless, here is how I plan to turn this humble little investing blog from a hobby into a business ASAP. My ASAP target = 3 years.
How I Will Turn My Investing Blog From A Hobby Into A Business (10 Different Ways)
1) Get Comfortable Hearing ‘No’ Again
I remember one of the wisest pieces of advice I received from a fellow travel blogger at a conference during my second or third year:
“Just survive another year. Keep doing what you’re doing. Continue to grow your platforms and network. Keep your nose clean. By sticking around until next year you’ll be one of the bloggers/vloggers who didn’t throw in the towel. It’s a war of attrition out there. People drop out all of the time. You’ll notice every year you’re around in this industry you’ll get better opportunities. You’ll be spending less time pitching and hearing ‘no’ while spending more time politely rejecting offers by saying ‘no’ yourself.”
I’m obviously paraphrasing here. LOL. I don’t think I could ever remember a quote this long given my goldfish memory. But this was the advice in a nutshell and I remember it to this day.
Audrey and I are fortunate enough to now be pitched more paid campaigns, sponsorship opportunities and tourism board projects that we can actually commit to given our ten plus years in the travel industry.
We hustled like crazy in the early days. We still work really hard but we can take days off now without feeling like our business is walking on a tightrope.
We also survived the pandemic. We’re so lucky. Many other travel friends in the industry didn’t make it through the stop and go lockdown protocols.
It wasn’t always like this. We used to send out pitches to do ‘unpaid work’ often hearing crickets.
Humble pie was served in BIG SLABS back in those days.
Now that I’m starting an investing blog I need to remember all of these lessons from the past.
I’m a nobody in this space. A newbie. I’m starting from scratch and I’ll be hearing a whole lot of no this, no that, no thanks, no bugger off and no answer at all to the things I try to initiate.
2) Gain A Presence On Twitter
In the travel space we kind of all collectively punted on twitter about 6-7 years ago. Our readers and followers on YouTube preferred interacting with us in the comments section under our blog posts and videos.
When I talked to other content creators in our industry they relayed the same information. They made it on Instagram, YouTube or a Website. Twitter was often neglected or deleted for many of us.
What I’ve noticed in the investing and finance world is that Twitter is the town hall, townsquare, plaza, cathedral and courthouse. It really is the place to be and without putting in effort on Twitter you’re failing to attract a potential audience.
I’m going to have to reluctantly up my game here. I’ve honestly always used social media as a blasting platform to launch cannon balls of freshly published content merely hoping to get it rapidly indexed.
I could write a guide on how not to use social media. The lessons would just be one chapter. Scratch that. One sentence: Just do the opposite of me.
I realize I have to change that and my attitude towards social media. I need figure out a way to post engaging tweets, interact with my audience and also network; specifically by adding value oriented comments in threads discussing interesting topics related to all things investing.
3) Monetize The Blog
The passion I feel writing these blog posts, merely as a hobby right now, is palpable and ever so real. I’ll continue to do this for the first 30-50 posts without any expectations at all of earning a penny.
However, at some point I need to come up with a step-by-step plan on how I’m going to make money from this website. I’m already flowing with ideas.
I plan to write a plethora of posts related to model portfolios. I’m going to also do ETF and mutual funds reviews along with broker reviews and investing strategies.. There are numerous ways I can earn money with affiliates through broker recommendations, M1 pies, books and other products I think are useful for investors.
Moreover, MediaVine has an exclusive display-ad program for bloggers (in both travel and finance) who reach a certain traffic threshold. Once, I reach that barline I plan to apply immediately.
Specific long-term goals include the launching of three model portfolios in the form of ETFs that I’m currently developing. We’ll have the Picture Perfect Portfolio, Nomadic Samuel Portfolio and So Trendy as investor solutions in the near future.
I’m currently at the 2000 hour threshold of investor knowledge but when I hit 10,000 in the next 3-4 years, I plan to write a book. On what subject? I’m not entirely sure. It likely will be on portfolio construction, contrarianism and how to become a better overall investor.
What else? Well, I’d also love to do some consulting in the industry as a hired hand. I have a unique skillset where I can be airdropped down to aid those who are launching products with branding and other creative ideas to get things rip-roaring out of the gate.
I also have advanced SEO knowledge (both website specific and YouTube) to build sites with strong domain authority.
I’d even love to manage money in the future for extremely patient zen-like investors who align with my way of philosophy and strategy of performance meets risk management.
What I’d most love to do most of all is advise ETF providers to revamp current existing products while also developing exciting new ones.
As an outsider I’ll say this. The industry is plagued by convention, conservatism and groupthink. It needs fresh new ideas. I think I can help provide some.
I’m sure I’ll think of new ideas for projects in the future but this is what I’ve got circulating inside my head as of now.
4) Develop ETFs And Other Products
I already touched upon developing ETFs on the previous point above. Thus, I’ll keep this brief.
Honestly, my favourite part about investing is not the returns, the bull markets or crushing benchmarks. I do love all of that. Don’t get my wrong.
But what I love the most is the strategy.
I remember watching a movie recently about this girl who played chess in her mind before falling asleep.
On nights where I don’t have other things to worry about (or a trip to plan or a broken website to save) I often ponder portfolio ideas and asset allocation.
It’s so weird. I know. But that’s me. That’s what I’m doing quite often.
Hahaha…I don’t recommend it at all but we’re all a bit weird in some way, right? Right?
Nope. Just me.
5) Leverage My Existing Skill-Set
So I already know how to run a blog, build links (both externally and internally), set up affiliate programs, take photos and shoot video. My skill-set is taylor-made for hitting the ground running with this investing blog.
What I really need to focus on is being consistent with getting posts up on this blog.
I need to keep those fingers hen-pecking and press the publish button as often as possible. This is how this site will grow.
One blog post after another.
Consider this my friends: every single website you love today started from scratch.
There was that first press publish moment.
The success didn’t come from that first post but the journey of a thousand miles does begin with the first step.
6) Create A Brand That Extends Beyond The Blog (Video)
Eventually I plan to launch a YouTube channel under the same brand name: Picture Perfect Portfolios. I’ve actually already created it.
It’s just totally naked. Not a single video yet.
I’m not sure when I’ll create my first video to be honest given I’m on the road right now.
I think I’ll wait until some of the posts I write here really take off. However, it may also be the other way around. I may find gaining traffic a bit slow here; in which case, I can create videos to hopefully bring more buzz over here.
The videos I plan to create will not be scripted.
I’ve noticed many investing channels where the host with glazed over eyes is reading word for word off of a script; something along the lines of an awkward book report from middle school.
There is nothing wrong with that if that is what you like. But I’d like to keep things way more casual.
If I can’t explain it in my own words or on a whiteboard with a few graphs/number overlays, I need to learn the subject matter better myself.
7) Build Links And Blog Awareness Via My Network
I’m really lucky to have a network of travel blogging friends and acquaintances that extends into the 100s.
Ten years of doing this and many conferences later, I’m lucky to call quite a few people who are doing cool things in this world, real life friends.
I plan to get in touch offering guest posts and offer other ways to do mutually beneficial things for our respective blogs. I won’t get into it more than that.
My goal is to turn this investing blog into a domain authority 30 to 40 within three years time. I’ll have my work cut-out for me but I can pull it off.
8) Use The Thick Skin I’ve Developed As A Youtuber To Persevere
Want an instant way to develop thicker skin? Start a YouTube channel!
I remember the first time Audrey and I started to get intentionally nasty comments on our channel we kind of took it a bit personally. Oh boy, how things change over time.
As your channel grows from the 10s to the 100s to the 1000s to 10,000s to the 100,000s subscribers the hate increases exponentially. You develop thick skin quick or you quit.
I know nastiness has caused some great creators to throw in the towel. It’s a shame but it is true.
I’ll use the thick skin I’ve developed to endure any sort of criticism – both constructive or just plain old nasty – that is thrown my way on this blog or on Twitter.
You haven’t really made it anyways until you get skewered on more than one occasion.
I’m more than ready for opposing views. In fact, I more than welcome them.
9) Create Pillar, Skyscraper And Evergreen Content
This is really what it is all about. If you’re not able to create great content at the end of the day you can write 100s or 1000s of posts without ever gaining traction.
I’ve seen some poor souls, who are remarkable travelers, but just can’t translate that passion for travel into writing, photos or videos in a way that is interesting or engaging for a broad audience.
Who knows if that’ll be me in this space. I’m hoping not.
I already have some big-idea blog posts I’m working on write now that are part of a mammoth series.
I’m going to have to do something unique, disruptive and interesting things in this space if I’m going to succeed.
10) Write 100 Blog Posts In The First Year
This is blog post number 7. I’ve got 93 more to write before the end of the year!
Today is April 16th, so I need to write 10-15 posts a month to reach my target.
Keep in mind I’ve got a full-time job in travel and I’ll be working on a secret project soon!
It’ll be interesting to see if I can pull this off but I’m determined to hit that 100 threshold before the end of the year.
I anticipate burning the midnight candle quite often but that’s often the case for a new project. It’s that all-in excitement in the beginning of a project to gain some momentum.
Whew! That’s over 2000 words. 2208 to be precise. Wait, now 2214.
Anyhow, now it’s over to you. Are you working on anything that excites you these days?
Any advice you’d like to give for those embarking upon a new project?
Did anything in this article resonate with you in a specific way?
Let me know in the comments below.