What did you know that you, like, what was the original plan when you went into being your own boss? Then
The original plan was just to take what we were, what I was teaching at the pool store to customers. And I knew very little about, you know, I knew how to design a website. That’s that’s as far as I really, I knew how to do it. Cause I was working on website design while I was working at, in the pool industry as well. And so I knew that I wanted to kind of somewhere like do something in that realm, but I didn’t know how it was going to make money. The only two things I really knew where I could sell advertising know if I get enough traffic and I could recommend products via affiliate marketing before, you know, I didn’t, I didn’t use Amazon in the beginning, but I knew like that’s how I made money at the pool store was I would, somebody would come in with a problem.
I would help them solve their problem. And then I would, you know, go, Hey, buy this chemical, this is going to help you or buy this. And I would literally just be recommending products that we sold in our store. But I didn’t want to get into e-commerce that wasn’t, that wasn’t appealing to me. I, because I knew there was a lot of like work in the shipping and packaging and all that stuff. And I just didn’t want to be a part of that and then there’s drop shipping, but that gets more complicated when you start to add chemicals into the mix and it’s not as, you know, easy to do. So for me, it was like kind of, I knew it was going to be in the pool space and I knew I was going to help customers just take care of their pools and hot tubs money-wise it was like, you know, ad sense was big at the time. So it was like, okay, add census where I can start and affiliate marketing really.
And how long do you take to actually see some, some results that made you go like, whoa?
No. Yeah. I mean it probably longer than it should have taken me. I think I was a little bit wishy-washy on the whole, you know, I think that was a time in my life where I wasn’t very productive, you know, I was cause I was working a normal job and I would then I would come home and work on the computer a little bit, you know, mostly working on like I was working on a website for my band and that was like taking up all of my time. And so this is like a third thing that I was working on and I wasn’t, I was a little lazier in my youth than I am today. So, you know, I, I would say it probably took about a year or two to see like a hundred bucks a month from AdSense and go like, and I just, but I, I knew it was like, I may not have worked on it intently, but I kept telling myself that this is, this was going to be my career path. Like I knew, I knew I was going in that direction. I just, it just took me a long time to sort of fully dedicate myself to it.
So what would, what was your second jump where you you’re doing $100 a month and what did he do to really scale it up?
Well, I try to do a bunch of different things. Like I had that website and it did. Okay. You know, it’s just like, it was like extra money, but nothing that would be livable on or, or any of that, the first time I saw a livable wage from it was actually when I had already been laid off from my job. So this was, you know, probably seven or eight years into maybe, maybe I’ll say years into actually working on it and having in birthing it. From, I saw, I technically launched it in 2004. I bought the domain in 2004. I really launched it, you know, had a, actually had a website in 2006 and then I got laid off in 2011. And it wasn’t until that year where I started seeing a $40,000 a year income, which was, you know, I’m like, okay, that’s what I was making at the store.
So I could, you know, move over to that. But yeah, that, that, that was the jump, but it took, if anything, I would say it was, I don’t, I don’t re you know, it’s hard to say what really pushed it, but I was, I did sort of rededicate myself to I had this sort of change in my, in my process, which was, I was just trying to, you know, in the beginning I was just trying to write articles to rank, you know, and try to make money on affiliate marketing. And I, and the articles were garbage and were terrible articles. And there was a point where I was like, and I think it was, I, you know, I found Corbett BARR a fizzle, and he was kind of saying like, you know, instead of trying to write for the robots, you should just write helpful stuff.
Like just write really good stuff. And I was like, okay, well, I wasn’t really a writer, but I was like, all right, I can get on board with this idea of I’m going to really try to make an article that is not just like appeasing the Google bots, but also like trying to, to really like help somebody. And I know that sounds insane to say like seven years into it, but that’s when you, I think I was led down a path of like, here’s how to win the internet. You just have to put words on the page. And it doesn’t like, I didn’t really think about the end consumer. I was really just thinking about my bottom line, which wasn’t growing. And until I switched to that sort of like, oh, I’m actually going to make helpful videos and helpful infographics and helpful articles that are, you know, in depth as much as they need to be while still being a very terrible writer, but, you know, but it w but when I saw, I started to see traffic grow and then obviously income just sort of grows from that because with affiliate market, as long as you have affiliate links on the page, and as long as you have ad sense on the page, like things are just going to move up, you know, they’re just going to increase as traffic increases.
So it sounds like if you had to give yourself like this one lesson back, if you could like go back in time and talk with Matt, that is still a working guy,
I built a time machine to do exactly that.
What, what would you tell a little story?
So there is an article on money lab where I pretend to build a time machine and go back because yeah, I’ve thought a lot about this. It would be that like, it would be giving that advice that I got from Corbett much earlier. So back in, I would take that advice that I maybe in 2011, 2012, and go back into 2006 and be like, look, the way that you win this. I don’t worry about the money right now because it’s, that’s what I was worried about in the beginning was like, I have to make money as fast as humanly possible. And so I’m basically selling my soul to the devil to make money, which is why, which is like spinning articles and creating this crappy pieces of content. And I would have told myself like, this is how these guys are doing it, and you’re gonna, like, you’re gonna follow these guys, but these guys are going to be wrong in the next, you know, four years.
You know, the way that you win the internet is Google’s going to become a person that can look at your articles and go, is this good or not? Yes or no, as a human being. And not just as a robot, like counting how many keywords are on a page. And so I would have told myself, like invest in, you know, basically building what I consider to be the textbook for pool care. You know, you know, think about everything from a a perspective of, you know, this is you’re, you’re, you’re, you’re, you’re writing the manual for these people and they need that. And if I, and you know, when I started and started and starting doing videos much earlier to would have been huge for me, but that’s what I would go back and kind of say, like, don’t focus, focus on traffic, but in the sense of like, you know, somebody should read this and then want to send it to their friend who also owns a pool who is having a similar issue go, this is the article.
Yeah. I remember, I used to think about if only I would know about backlinks earlier, right. And then if only I would have started with podcasting earlier,
You know what though? That I didn’t, that was the, one of the, this is why I kind of run on the train of like backlinks are because I cert because that’s the first train I was on, that was who I was learning from, was people who are just like, it doesn’t the content doesn’t matter. What matters is how many backlinks you can get to that content. You will win if that’s what you do, if that’s where your focus is. So I used to have spreadsheets of in my day job or my, my, my, my side job, I guess, in this case is not writing the article. It was like, you know, just crapping out some article. And then it was like, no, now you have to crap out 30, 50, 100 more articles to submit to all these other websites to get backlinks to this one post that’s already.
So I did all of that and then got complete and then lost all my traffic because I was practicing this, this, this method of, of traffic building. And that’s why I’m like, I switched from not so much caring about the back links to the site, but actually making the original article so good that Google kind of naturally rewards you. And then anybody who else, anybody who’s writing articles about the same subject they’re going to Google. You you’ve come number one. And then they start to backlink to you kind of, you know, automatically and naturally. So for me, it’s just like, why w yeah, that, that was where I started spending my time. That said it takes much longer to get, you know, to get that traffic. But once you do, you’re there, like, you’re, you’re, it’s the longevity of, of not having to play this backlink game is, is for the it’s for the better.
So your second business that you went into a micro niche was all about coffee. Tell us how fast did you take, did it take you on the second one to reach like mature maturity level? Because these days you make, you’re very transparent about your businesses. You share it all on money lab, and you, you, you make hundreds of thousands of dollars with your online businesses.
Yes. That that website took two years and that whole experiment was to, okay. I, you know, it took me 14 years to, to take some university where it needed to go. Now that I’ve learned all these lessons, you know, and, and really just messing up for 17 or 14 years. Can I take all of the things that I know works on a website? And can I apply that to something new in a, in a very difficult niche? Like coffee’s not an easy one to, to rank for could I do it? And yes, the, the, I was able to do it in two years and the way that I did it, and this is unfair to anyone who’s like starting a website, I hired a writer and wrote an article every single week for two years. So by the end of two years, we had 104 articles on the website and there was no keyword research done, everything was done.
And this was, this was a mistake that I, I, again, if I were to go back and do it again, I would, I would’ve done it differently, but we, I was a coffee drinker and really interested in the subject. And so I just sat there and wrote a hundred questions that I had about coffee, and basically had the writer just write an article and publish it every Monday for two years. And we ended up getting up to about a hundred thousand visitors a month with no backlink building no marketing whatsoever, no social media just publishing articles and, you know, doing, you know, and having the site be really fast and all those things and then we ended up making, you know, in the first year or two because I ended up selling the site for, and I’ll, I’ll explain that too.
But like, I, you know, it had, it had had Amazon not, you know, cut our commission rate. It probably would’ve been making like upwards of like $80,000 a year. You know what I mean? So by its second year, which is unbelievable. And, and I know that the person who bought was able to scale that ridiculously by just writing more articles and getting up to like, you know, millions of visitors a month. So yeah, it’s it. Yeah. It’s possible to do in a short period of time, but you have to be dedicated to like doing the, the right.
And you did sell it at some point and which you explained actually quite in depth in your blog. So what we’ll do is we’ll put a show in the show notes, we’ll put the link to where they can listen to that and learn more about that. But I want to ask you, like, in those two years of literally just doing high quality content in the coffee niche, did you already use like what you teach in your SEO for bloggers course which is the method of like creating a one stop shop for a topic? Did you already know that?
Yeah, that was all, yeah. I had already known that. What, I didn’t know, well, I didn’t know this, but I didn’t practice this during those two years keyword research. So when you mix the, you know, the power of like writing good content, so it’s like, I did things in kind of reverse. It’s like I was, I started my career really early with keyword, like aggressive keyword research and going after long tail, you know, like just really, you know, an unsexy unfun part of like writing content of doing any online business or at least a media business. And so I did, I started with that and then I got away. And then once I switched over to like, all right, well, forget about keyword research. Let’s just work on the content itself, which is what Corbett BARR had taught me. And I was kind of like, well, then we don’t really need to do the keyword research part.
We just, we can just focus on making high-quality one-stop shop type of content. And I don’t mean that in like a lengthy way. I just mean like trying to cover the topic as in-depth, as you possibly can in the shortest amount of words. And from there, I went back and started to relearn keyword research after that experiment, you know, after those two years and went, man, if I had mixed those two strategies together, you know, aggressive keyword research plus, you know, that really high quality content it’s, it would have been game I would have gotten, you know, to a much bigger position and a much, much more traffic, much more income in those same two years, but way, way more had I just had, I just like, you know, done some keyword research and prioritized my content schedule based on that. So yeah, I that’s, yeah, that’s basically
It. If you had to like choose a niche right now to start another business, to write about what would be your, your way of like making the decision.
I would probably start from a product perspective. I’ve, I’ve certainly shifted my, you know, like when I first started swimming diversity, my monetization strategy was selling ads on, on, you know, basically and affiliate marketing, those two methods, those two methods of monetization, the unfortunate part of that is that it requires a, a lot of traffic, like insane I’m out of traffic to actually make good money from that. Which is which is, you know, it requires a lot of content creation in a lot of like that’s a lot of discipline in, if I were to start something from scratch again, I would start with a digital product of some kind, like I would S I would create a course or a software product, or so I would have have the monetization product down first. I would not be doing affiliate marketing. I would not be selling advertising at all.
I would start with that because with that, you can, you now have many different methods to selling that product, right? You can, you don’t have to start a content business if you don’t want to, if you had some seed money, you can invest in Facebook ads or paid advertising and just drive traffic directly to it and just sell the thing as is, I know companies that don’t have blogs, that’s what they do. They just sell via that. And that just gives you the option. Not saying I would do it that way, but that’s a certainly an option and then work in reverse. So knowing what my product is and go, okay, like now I’m now I need to write content to rank on Google, but I want to make sure that I’m attracting the right people on Google that are going to find my article, read it and go, this guy knows what he’s talking about.
Oh, he’s got a course, a software that helps me with the same thing. Great. So that way, at least the traffic that I’m building, I know is going to convert into sales, because if I was just doing affiliate marketing, I’m playing this game now where, you know, I have to, I’m recommending the same product over and over and over again, which is great, but I’m only making, you know, 10% maybe, you know, on, on the sale when I could be the creator of that product and make, you know, 90% or even close to a hundred percent depending on what the product is. So it’s, that’s certainly like where I think highway things differently, like currently with I have a site that I got into called brew cabin, cause I’m a home brewer. I went about it the other way, which is like, I started with content first and got some traffic and now I’ve just built a course and started selling that.
And it’s like, okay, well now I have to connect the dots. And so now I kind of have to like go, oh, you know, I have this product and now I have to like kind of work backwards and not every single one of my articles is going to like, do a great job at selling that product, you know, because some of those articles are affiliate articles or, you know, not really based around the topic of the course. So that’s what I, that’s how I would do it. Because again, you know, that monetization strategy, you’re in much more of where your dollar comes from because you know, I’ve been burned by Amazon twice. And I do not, I don’t feel like having to rely on Amazon for my income. I just, I just really makes me sick that they can at any given point go, Hey, we’re just going to give you less money for doing the exact same thing. That’s like, okay, that’s basically the same as working for a boss and no, thank you. So I still do it, but it’s, I consider it like extra money as opposed to you know, the, the main source of income,
Even Missy. This has been great. And there’s so much to talk about with you because you, you just go into these micro niches and you build businesses and you serve those people. So it’s wonderful. Give us three reasons why we should all go right now to money lab.co and learn more about those experiments that you do though.
Honesty, transparency, and entertainment.
And I would I would say I’m into all of these because you can go to manila.com right now and get all of that and much, much more. You can actually learn the different ways that like totally all the, all the tactics, all the strategies, all the, the techniques, the tools that Matt uses in his different businesses, online in how he’s making money, what not just how he makes money, but also how he like, basically loses money. When, when making a mistake, you’re always a very transparent. So guys, head over to money, lab.co and check [inaudible] out. You will be glad that you did. Thank you so much, Matt. It’s been a pleasure to have you here in the podcast and I’ll talk to you soon, man. Appreciate it. Thank you.