In this interview, Eric Lass from ShuckaBuck talks about the importance of focus and why most people fail with their projects. Find out how he went from 0 to $10,000/mo!
Revenue of $10,000/mo
Email list size of 2,500
Founded in 2008
Hello! What’s your background, and what is your blog about?
My name is Eric and I run ShuckaBuck. The people who read it are interested in learning how to start a business (specifically a merch business) and build from it so one day they can quit the 9 to 5.
I started my blog in 2008, which at that time was all about online poker. But when the U.S. government shut that down for us, it was pretty much game over for me.
But I actually started about 60 different niche websites and all of them were affiliate-based as far as monetization goes. So I was doing search engine optimization (SEO) for all these different sites and niches from 2008 until about 2012. When Google did some algorithm updates and all my sites tanked, I pretty much gave up on doing SEO.
From about 2012 until now I’ve been working on a number of things. Specifically, I started playing around with paid advertising – Google and Facebook. I realized I could get email subscribers for less than $0.20 each using Facebook, so I dove into building an email for fiction readers.
This was about the time that the Kindle device started taking off, and I knew a lot of these ebooks were free for a limited number of days. I actually dabbled in creating ebooks before I started this site, so I knew how it all worked as an author. The sites grew to about 60,000 subscribers before I sold both of them in 2014 for $40,000.
From there I went into e-commerce, mainly selling on Amazon via their Fulfillment by Amazon program. I invested about $3,000 into inventory, but it didn’t sell as fast as I thought and basically wasted an entire year and all my savings before calling it quits.
While I was running the Kindle book recommendation websites, I ran into what is called “Print on Demand” products. You could upload an image and put it on t-shirts, hoodies, coffee mugs, etc. So I used my Facebook ad experience and started selling t-shirts and hoodies on these sites. To date, I’ve made well into the 6 figures doing this.
I also run a small ad agency where I generate leads and new clients for small businesses. I figured with my ad skills it was well worth my time to manage ad campaigns for other people.
Between all my businesses, I make 5 figures a month.
What motivated you to get started with the blog?
My motivation came from within – I was utterly bored and depressed with my day job(s) after graduating from college in 2006. I’ve always run some sort of “business” per say and always knew that I didn’t want to work for someone else.
For example, while attending college, I sold a small ebook on eBay for $10 a pop that taught people how to get things like gaming systems and gift cards for free. You use “freebie” sites and get referrals to sign up for advertiser offers (that were either free to join, or very little money). Once you had so many referrals, you’d get to pick your “prize”. And the way I got my referrals was through that ebook, that I sold for $10…it paid for beer money.
After college, I worked for 3 different companies in 4 years. I managed a retail store, I worked for a fortune 500 finance company (now out of business – the bailouts of 2008), and then worked part-time for a while for Kmart.com and Sears.com.
At all these jobs, I hated my life. So my motivation to start came from being depressed and wanting to be happy.
What is the revenue model for the blog?
The revenue from my blog by selling products and services, just like any other business.
I teach people how to use Facebook ads to generate leads and sales. I have 2 main products that I sell:
- The 20K Blueprint – A “mini video course” on how to get started selling print on demand products
- The ShuckaBuck Academy – My ongoing video training on how to start a business using print on demand and up to date marketing tactics and tips
I also offer 1-on-1 consulting for local businesses and individuals looking to grow their business using Social Media and digital advertising.
What are some strategies you have used for building up the traffic?
I use 2 strategies to get traffic to my blog: Facebook Ads and Youtube.
Like I’ve said, I’m out of the SEO game for now, but I’m sure some of the traffic I get comes from Google. But for the most part I create videos on youtube and ad on Facebook.
Facebook ads work because you can see the data almost immediately when it comes in. So I can set up an ad targeting people who are interested in marketing or online business, get them to sign up for a free offer (usually free video training) and then send them emails over time to have them get to know who I am and how I can help them.
Youtube is awesome. You can still get traffic for free there just by uploading videos that actually help people. My best video is one where I go through how I made $20,000 in 8 weeks selling t-shirts – it gets about 500 views every day, even 2 years later.
How have you grown the email list?
Similar to the last question: Facebook ads and Youtube.
My email list is only about 2,500 people as I write this, but I do have another 1,000 people subscribed to my messenger list, over 1,500 people in my Facebook group, another 2,000 like my Facebook page and over 9,000 Youtube subscribers.
The type of content I produce and share are all about marketing and running an online business focusing on Facebook Ads and print on demand.
My advice for new people starting from scratch is to just put out content. Document what you’re doing and how you do it and show your results – good or bad.
If you’re running an eCommerce business, talk about things inside your niche (think “how to train your dog” type stuff). It doesn’t have to be youtube, you can start a podcast or write long-form posts on Instagram, Facebook, and your own blog.
If you have a budget, definitely promote your best content (video or written) on Facebook. You can spend $5 a day and have good results from it.
How do you write great content that performs well?
The only content I actually write is what I post on Instagram and Facebook. Those posts are 200 to 400 words long and they do get some decent engagement, especially on Instagram.
That content is mostly inspirational and lesson based. Lessons on what I’ve learned in 10 years of doing business online.
The other content I produce is video. What I do there is document. I talk about what I do and how I do it. I get video ideas from the questions I get in the comments of the videos and I also watch other people in my space and see what they’re doing and what’s working for them to get inspiration from.
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?
The biggest challenge I’ve faced is coming up with a strategy that works and sticking to it. Yes, I’ve had “mini failures” like trying a new Facebook Ad strategy or trying a different type of post on social media or a new traffic strategy. But the biggest thing is to actually fail.'Choose something you enjoy. If you like skateboarding, start taking videos and writing content around skateboarding. If you enjoy painting, start making content around that.'Click To Tweet
Failure is a big part of the business because you not only need to know what doesn’t work, but you have to learn from those mistakes and if you stick to it long enough it will work out.
If I had to start over, I probably wouldn’t do anything particularly different. If I could go back in time and tell my 2008 self what to do, it would be FOCUS.
The biggest mistakes I’ve made in the last 10 years is focusing on too many things. If you’re working on 9 projects or 3 projects, none of them will ever amount to anything spectacular…if they work out at all.
The other big mistake I’ve made is focusing on the wrong thing. What’s the wrong thing? Thinking transactional rather than trying to create content, products, and services that will help people.'If I had to start over, I probably wouldn’t do anything particularly different. If I could go back in time and tell my 2008 self what to do, it would be FOCUS.'Click To Tweet
If your sole purpose is to make money, then you’ll never make it. If your purpose is to help people, the money will come. I wholeheartedly believe that.
Have you found anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
There are tons of tools and software out there to make life easier, of course. For instance, I use HootSuite to schedule my Instagram posts. That way, I take an hour a week and schedule them out. Same for Facebook.
I also use software programs like Photoshop, email marketing services like Aweber, messenger bot programs like Manychat.
All these tools work, if you work. There’s no “secret tool” that will generate visitors, leads, and sales for you. You will always have to put in the work to make that happen.
With that said, partnerships are a powerful thing. The clothing brand FUBU got its break by using what we call now “Influencer Marketing”. The powerful marketing in the history of the world has always been word of mouth. If someone you know, or follow online and trust, recommends something to you-you’re always going to immediately trust that.
What’s your advice for bloggers who are just starting out?
My suggestion is simple. Choose something you enjoy. If you like skateboarding, start taking videos and writing content around skateboarding. If you enjoy painting, start making content around that.
That’s the easy part. You’re making content around something you enjoy.
The hard part is getting people to watch/listen/read/follow you. And that’s where marketing comes in.
If you have a budget, use Facebook Ads to get more eyeballs on your content. I always suggest, especially right now, that everyone uses Instagram. It’s extremely easy to create a following for free by just posting cool images/videos and using hashtags.
Pinterest, Stumbleupon, and Reddit are also good platforms to post your stuff. And if it works in your niche, start a podcast. Voice and audio are going to be big in the coming years.
And don’t forget to reach out to others in your space and create some partnerships (you share their stuff, they share yours).
Where can we go to learn more?