Julie X started Millennial Boss as a way to track her $89,000 of dept. After succesfully paying the whole debt off, she helps others to do the same.

Revenue of $2,000/mo

Email list size of 1,200

Founded in 2008

 

Hello! What’s your background, and what is your blog about?

Hi! I’m J. Last year I paid off $89,000 of debt and started my journey to financial independence. I hope to retire in my early 30s and have already saved $200,000 towards my goal at 28 years old.

I co-host Fire Drill Podcast with my friend Gwen who also plans to achieve financial independence, although through real estate investing. Together we interview some pretty amazing guests who have achieved financial independence or are on the way to achieving financial independence.

My favorite episode so far was the episode where we interviewed Jay from Fi Fighter. Jay retired at age 31 and now travels the world. He shares his strategies for investing, real estate and building wealth in episode 4.

I blog at Millennial Boss, where I share ways Millennials can hack their careers, finances, and travel. Millennial Boss receives around 40,000 page views per month and earns about $2,000 per month.

I’m so excited how the community is growing and hope to bring in more ad revenue and sponsorship revenue this year.

What motivated you to get started with the blog?

I’ve actually been a blogger for five years, although this is the first blog I have grown into a business. My first blog was a student travel blog and it actually helped me land an internship at the Olympic Training Center leading up to the London Olympic Games and a job with a student travel startup.

This impetus for my current blog, Millennial Boss, was that I was a new manager in my twenties and wanted to share my challenges and lessons about managing a team. The blog has since evolved in that I journaled my student loan debt payoff, my travel hacking successes, and now my journey to financial independence.

The blog is a side business for me and my primary income comes from my full-time job. I don’t have plans to blog full-time right now, so it’s very important that I come up with systems to help grow my blog and podcast when I don’t have the time to work on them. Making money on the blog has allowed me to hire three people to help with the podcast operations. I have considered hiring someone for the blog but I’m still experimenting with strategy and don’t have a clear roadmap for that person yet.

What is the revenue model for the blog?

I make money in the following ways:

  • Display advertising through Mediavine
  • Affiliate marketing from various products I promote (products that are mostly free to readers)
  • Sponsored posts
  • Sponsored podcast ad spots

I started making money on my blog (more than $100 per month) this January when I got serious about affiliate marketing. I drive most of my traffic from Pinterest and then experiment with the landing pages to improve affiliate sales.

I’m currently making $2,000 per month and growing. I recommend checking out my income reports where I break down how much money I’m making from the various sources and also give the results of my optimization experiments.

The best advice I would have for new entrepreneurs is to keep testing, testing, testing. If you’re driving traffic to a landing page and no one is signing up for your products, research how other bloggers are making money with those products and keep experimenting with your copy. Something as simple as bolding your links or even changing the color of your links (this worked for me) might make the difference between making money from a page or not.

What are some strategies you have used for building up the traffic?

My traffic is primarily from Pinterest and Google.

I’ll explain the Pinterest strategy that I recommend here.

First, get a Pinterest account and use it for personal use to understand what a user looks for on Pinterest and see what pins stand out to you.

Then learn how to use online photoshop tools to create Pinterest pins. It takes months to get good at creating Pinterest pins. Also, experiment with the copy on those Pinterest pins. You want something short, bold, and attention-grabbing. There has to be a reason that the user wants to click your pin.

I see other bloggers make the mistake of making the pin too personal such as “my experience at the zoo” and no one cares about their day at the zoo. They want to know how to plan their trip to the zoo. “10 must-see sights at the X zoo” or “the 5 hidden spots at the X zoo no one knows about” would drive more traffic.

Third, pay for your photos by getting a stock photo subscription. I used the free photos everyone used for so long and we all had the same photos on Pinterest. Pinterest is a visual search engine and it categorizes images based on what is in the image. If we all use the same photos for our blogs in different niches, it can incorrectly categorize your pin.

Last, join group boards by tag-teaming with another blogger. Once they get into a group, they invite you to the boards and vice versa.

You can also join Facebook share groups and Pinterest tribes to get shares from other bloggers when you’re building up your Pinterest profile.

How have you grown your email list? 

I have 1,200 readers and I didn’t send emails until recently. Many bloggers feel that email is a good way to drive affiliate sales, but I haven’t seen that yet. I mostly enjoy sending emails to my email list for Fire Drill podcast because the community feels more personal. I have 250 people on that list and get higher engagement than Millennial Boss.

How you write great content that performs well?

Solve a problem for a reader and go into painstaking detail and write a 2,000+ word post. Then, take the time to share the crap out of the article. Eventually, Google will pick it up and it will start bringing you organic traffic for years. Make sure that you break up the post into sections with h2 headers that are common queries people type into Google about that subject. Name images with the same queries.

I have three pieces of content that are hits on Google because of the H2 header approach (which I learned from Neil Patel’s blog).

Now, please note that this approach is how I get posts that drive traffic. Once I get the traffic, I sometimes shorten the post to drive affiliate sales. I’ve had to condense a few long meaty posts because people clicking from Pinterest just didn’t have the attention span to read a super long post. In this case, I made sure that the subheader H2 tags throughout the post tell the gist of the post, since most people just flip through on their phones until they see something that interests them.

I also bold the affiliate links and use specific copy so that I prompt users to click.

What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced and obstacles you’ve overcome with your blog? If you had to start over, what would you do differently?

I would recommend bloggers with day jobs stay anonymous and not use pictures of themselves. I went viral on Reddit and had coworkers find out about my personal finance and career blog which you can imagine was no well-received, particularly since I talked about salary negotiation strategies, etc.

Have you found anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

You need to spend time doing things that you know you should be doing, but don’t. These are the things that will grow your blog.

'Solve a problem for a reader and go into painstaking detail and write a 2,000+ word post. Then, take the time to share the crap out of the article.'Click To Tweet

For example, I put off creating Pinterest pins for years but I knew it was important. I liked the writing aspect and loved pumping out new content but didn’t put the time into promoting it through Pinterest and social channels. I’ve since flipped my strategy where I do what I know will grow the site but don’t particularly feel pumped about first.

What’s your advice for bloggers who are just starting out?

Don’t be too should-sy. You can tell when a new blogger is starting out because they have a lot of “you should” statements. Readers will follow your recommendation when you have credibility and you inspire them, not because you say they should do something.

Where can we go to learn more?

Check out my podcast, read my blog or connect with me via Twitter.