“I’m so bored. I don’t know what to do.”
That’s what I said to myself on a Friday night 8 years ago today. I snapped and started Studenomics because I was tired of reading blogs about entrepreneurship and not having something of my own. I haven’t loitered since.
I told the story of how I started this blog a few years ago. Studenomics turns 8 today. I won’t let this be about me. I want to share with you lessons that I wish someone shared with me back then. I won’t give you useless advice about how you should work hard.
In a completely random twist. I remember watching WWE Smackdown that night. This wrestler, MVP, was in a really silly segment where another wrestler was kissing girls from the crowd. I ended up attending a training session with MVP at my gym many years later and he told the story of how that segment came to be. Life’s very random sometimes. Always say yes to new adventures. I never thought that I would spend my 20s traveling the world, training in pro wrestling/BJJ, and writing about finance. I was just a punk about to turn 21 looking to start a business.
What are 8 practical business lessons that can help you that I picked up from blogging for 8 years?
Lesson #1: Invest into a solid theme/design.
You don’t walk into a restaurant that looks rundown from the outside. Aesthetics are everything in this world. We all judge a book by the cover. Get a decent theme. For the first few days of Studenomics I used a really lame theme. I eventually thought I hit it big with this theme below…
The theme was fine but everyone was using this at the time.
My advice to you is simple: start blogging and sharing your ideas with the world right away. However, as you start doing so don’t forget to invest into a decent theme with unique graphics. Spend the money to ensure that you have a good looking blog/logo for your business because people will always remember this.
Don’t be cheap and pay for quality design work.
Lesson #2: Find your message, niche, and compelling story.
That’s a shot of me all confused when I went to pick up the keys to my first condo in 2010.
What’s your message? What problem are you solving? Who’s in your target market?
You have to be VERY specific with your message, niche, and story. Whenever I write a blog post or anything, I pretend like I’m having a conversation with my ideal reader… in a bar!
I know who my audience is and I base my message on what they came to read. You don’t see me writing about the best daycare options or how to save money on retirement homes. Those who don’t like the message can find a blog that better resonates with them.
Figure out what your message is and who you’re going to target before you start.
Lesson #3: Create products.
You have to be creating. ABC. Always be closing and always be creating. That’s me in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, finishing up a blog post before heading out for the day.
I wish that I released a product sooner. It took me forever to write my book, Next Round’s On Me. It’s good to give readers something to purchase because people who follow you are going to want to support you. By the way, my book is FREE on Kindle all week!
For the first few years I never thought about creating products or charging for anything. I didn’t have a game plan. I was also a college student just looking to have fun.
Create products so that your customers can support you and you can make money.
Lesson #4: Conduct lots of experiments.
You want to know the back story behind that picture? Check out my story about my pro wrestling adventures.
It’s all supposed to be fun. One of the best parts of having a blog is that you can turn anything that happens in your life into a blog post. This applies to the good and the bad. I take advantage of this by conducting random experiments and then trying to turn them into popular articles.
When Uber came to Toronto, I knew that I had to try it. I drove for Uber for a few months and then wrote about it. This is one of my most popular and profitable articles.
Become a guinea pig for your audience and try out different things.
Lesson #5: Steal from others.
Why would you make your own mistakes if you don’t have to? Why not learn from the best?
I highly recommend seeing what works for others. You can then put your own twist on it or try to make it better. Find influencers in your field and study their best work.
You don’t have to make your own mistakes always.
Lesson #6: Help readers hit amazing goals.
Nobody cares about how your weekend went. I mean, to an extent, readers are interested in your life and personal stories. They want a reason to care though. They want to get real life-changing results from following your work. Don’t start a blog because you think it’s going to earn you enough money in your sleep to fuel your passion for getting wasted in Thailand.
Find an ideal student and help them reach their goals. Turn this into a case study.
Lesson #7: Find unique topics to cover.
If you’re going to start a blog in 2016 or beyond, you need a unique twist. You have to stand out somehow. You either need a unique topic or an interesting twist on already popular topics.
I want to highlight some of my best pieces from the last year.
- Why right now is the best time in history to be alive.
- Why it’s better to focus on making more money instead of saving.
- The Houdini System for saving money.
- 30 is NOT the new 20.
Lesson #8: You don’t have to only deliver your message through text.
Most of us don’t like to write. I get that. The good news is that you don’t have to write. You can talk into a screen or a microphone. You can deliver your message through so many different platforms. You don’t even need a traditional WordPress blog to have an online business. You can promote from Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, SnapChat, and whatever other new platform will emerge after I publish this article.
Don’t worry if you hate writing. You can do audio and video.
Bonus lesson: Keep on investing in yourself.
This shot was taken on the first night of FinCon (a financial blogger’s conference) in San Diego a few months ago. Studenomics allows me to mix business with pleasure in amazing cities!
You should always be investing your money back into your business. I try to take courses, read books, meet interesting people, and attend conferences just to become better at what I do. I’ve attended events in Portland, New Orleans, Charlotte, and multiple other locations just to become a better blogger.
If you want your blog or business to grow, you need to grow!
Good luck to you if you plan on getting into blogging or want to start your own business. You can follow these easy steps to start your own blog. Never underestimate the power of launching today and learning on the job.
“If you’re prepared and you know what it takes, it’s not a risk. You just have to figure out how to get there. There is always a way to get there.” — Mark Cuban