Yaro Starak is a professional blogger and serial Internet entrepreneur. As the founder of Entrepreneurs-Journey.com, he teaches others how to build a sustainable online business through blogging, selling digital products, and more.
Yaro began blogging in 2004 in an effort to get traffic to his essay editing business. At the time, he didn’t know anything about blogging—and he isn’t even an editor himself. These two factors made those early days challenging.
He remembers those early days of blogging being like school: he had to write blog posts about things he didn’t really care about. Yaro soon realized he preferred to write about entrepreneurship and so he began to pivot the original blog. He wrote more about how the business was going and less about the subject of editing itself.
Soon he realized that this wasn’t the best way to use his editing business blog. That’s when Yaro decided to start www.entrepreneurs-journey.com as a place to tell stories and explore blogging. He never intended for it to be his primary business; Entrepreneur’s Journey was supposed to be a hobby and a way for him to discuss what he was doing with his business.
Even back in 2004, Yaro had years of experience selling different things online. Before his essay editing business, he had an online store selling collectible cards. So he had a wealth of stories to draw from when blogging at Entrepreneur’s Journey.
In 2007, after a few years of blogging and talking about entrepreneurship, Yaro produced a membership site that was really a course on blogging. He was one of the first people to actually use a blog to sell his own product.
Today, his business focuses on helping people learn the art of blogging and build an email list to sell digital products.
How to Turn Your Hobby Blog into a Business
Yaro has a lot of experience with blogging, both for business and for fun. The best thing you can do, of course, is to make sure that you love your topic, even if you’re blogging for business—that passion shows through.
If you started a blog for fun and now want to make money from it, there’s a few things you can do to make the switch.
Phase 1: Get Clear on Your Topic and Your Strategy
Be very clear on what your topic is. What strategy are you going to use to cover that topic?
What problem are you helping to solve for your audience? And how are you helping them solve it?
Phase 2: Gather Your Audience and Give Them Value
In order to succeed online, you have to build an audience. You have to get visitors to your content and you have to give them reasons to keep coming back.
- Use case studies related to your topic to gain traffic and credibility. Success stories are some of the most shared stories on the internet. Show people how someone else was successful at solving a problem they are having—a lot of people will be interested in that, as it shows them that success is possible.
- Use real-life stories and objective verifiable data. This will set your blog apart in the marketplace in terms of quality.
If you’re going to start a blog and be the main content creator, you have to figure out where you’re going to pull value from. Where will you get your ideas? How will you develop stories?
If you don’t have a success story of your own to tell, you can report the success stories of others.
You can also do research and gather statistics and data to help your audience.
Phase 3: Get Your Audience into a Funnel
Once you’ve gathered an audience, the next step is to build an email list to help you connect with that audience outside of the blog itself.
Every new subscriber should be taken through a sequence of emails that leads them to an opportunity to buy something from you.
Remember: You want to sell solutions to problems your readers are having.
Simple Questions You Need to Answer to Have a Successful Blogging Business
- Who is my target audience?
- What problems do they need help solving?
- What emotions do they have surrounding those problems?
- Can you solve their problems with your stories and case studies?
- What products could you promote and sell to help them solve their problems?
A Simple Product Funnel System
Once you’re clear on who your target audience is and what their problems are, you can set up a simple funnel system that will allow them to give you money for the value you provide.
Here are the steps to set up your funnel:
- Decide on your target audience and the problem you are going to help them solve.
- Decide how you are going to help them solve their problem. Are you going to use personal stories? Case studies? Well-researched articles?
- Once you’ve identified a target audience and a problem you can help them solve, think about your first 10 blog posts. These blog posts will go into your first autoresponder sequence.
- The end of that autoresponder sequence will lead to a product you are promoting or selling yourself, so that you make money when they buy it.
Evergreen Funnels and Passive Income
When you’re starting to build your business, you may have to do everything yourself. Creating content and products as well as email sequences and sales messages takes a lot of time and energy. As your business develops, you should create evergreen content to populate an email sequence that sells an evergreen information resource you’ve written.
This is your true end goal: to create an automatic money machine that provides value to your audience and makes money for you, whether you’re actively working or not.
Using Your Own Experience as a Case Study on Your Blog
You can use your own experiences as case studies on your blog.
Yaro had an online essay editing business when he started his Entrepreneur’s Journey blog. One of his earliest case studies was about how he changed the way he did pricing for his essay editing business.
When he started his essay editing business, the process went like this:
- A customer requests that their essay be edited.
- Yaro takes the request to an editor.
- The editor gives Yaro a quote.
- Yaro takes the quote and adds a profit margin for himself, then emails the client a proposal.
- The client accepts the proposal and emails Yaro the document they need edited.
- Yaro emails the document to the editor.
- The editor edits the document and sends it back to Yaro.
- Yaro emails the client the edited document.
This was a very cumbersome process, so Yaro implemented a standardized pricing structure based on the length of the document and how quickly the editing needed to be done.
He blogged about this experience on entrepreneurs-journey.com, using it to show readers how they could simplify their businesses.
Case studies are basically success stories. The best case studies start with someone who has the same problem as your target audience; they talk about how that person dealt with the problem.
Case studies are good at converting your target audience into customers because they show how somebody facing the same problem they have solved that problem. It’s easy to pivot from a case study to selling the solution presented in the case study.
The Power of Intentional Blogging
The secret to being successful as a blogger in today’s world is intentional blogging.
Intentional blogging happens when you ask yourself, “What do I want my target audience to do after reading this blog post?”
Do I want them to:
- Buy a product?
- Join my email list?
- Comment on my blog post?
- Share my blog post?
- Do something else?
By starting with your end in mind, you can craft a blog post that communicates your point better and serves your audience better.
It’s important to differentiate between traffic and traffic that leads to customers.
— Yaro Starak
How to Launch a Product Using Your Blog
- Decide on the topic of your product. What problem are you helping your customer solve? Yaro is able to figure this out because he works with his audience all the time. He coaches them and talks regularly to them via email and his free communities.
- Set a launch date for your product. This creates a deadline for customers.
- Create 3 to 5 blog posts that deal exclusively with the topic of your info product.
- Send those blog posts to your email list and post them on your blog.
Usually Yaro sends the first blog post to his entire email list. In that first email, he allows his audience to express interest through clicking a special link. He creates a list segment based on whether they click the link or not.
For the people who express interest, Yaro make sure that they receive all of the blog posts and all of the promotional emails related to that product. If they’re not interested, they don’t get the additional content.
- Creating the product depends on its size. If it’s a small product like an ebook, Yaro creates it before he starts his product launch sequence. If it’s a larger product like a complicated course, he creates it after he starts the launch.
In the case of a larger course, Yaro will only finish the first module of the course before beginning the autoresponder sales sequence. He’ll do the rest once the work of setting up the sales sequence has finished.
- Keep in mind that every product you create can be an evergreen product. So you want to create blog posts and follow-up sequences that can sell your products on autopilot as new prospects discover them.
When you’re launching your first product, joint venture partners can help, because they take some of the work out of creating new material and let you gain exposure to new audiences.
Later, you may have different needs. Yaro got out of the habit of doing joint venture partnerships because he didn’t want his email list to become overwhelmed with pitches for other people’s products.
What Makes for a Good Blog Post in 2017
There are two metrics that matter when it comes to blog posts in 2017:
- How long is the blog post?
- How is your audience engaging with your blog post?
Engagement is key. That is why longer blog posts usually end up performing better. Remember, your blog posts are there to convert readers into customers.
The longer your blog post is, the more time you have to engage your audience.
The Way You Deliver Your Message Doesn’t Matter
When deciding on what type of blog posts you should create, deliver them in whatever way is most comfortable for you. As long as you provide an opportunity for your audience to engage with your content, it doesn’t matter how you deliver that content.
- Post on YouTube
- Podcast your content
The One Thing You Have To Understand about Building a Platform
Platforms are forever.
You build a platform one time and it continues to deliver value forever. You work hard once and you get paid over and over again into the future.
It doesn’t matter how long it takes you to build your platform. The internet isn’t going anywhere. However long it takes you it is time well spent.
Links and Resources Mentioned in This Interview
https://www.entrepreneurs-journey.com/ — Yaro’s blog.
Platform Launch Plan — Watch Yaro’s webinar on how to build a platform.
Tom Corson-Knowles is the founder of TCK Publishing, and the bestselling author of 27 books including Secrets of the Six-Figure author. He is also the host of the Publishing Profits Podcast show where we interview successful authors and publishing industry experts to share their tips for creating a successful writing career.