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Interview With Blogging Expert Yaro Starak

Written by George Manty  · May 8, 2007

Last week I had the privilege of interviewing Yaro Starak of Entrepreneur’s Journey, Blog Traffic King, and Small Business Marketing and Branding. Yaro is a very successful online businessman and well-respected in the blogging community.

Q. Based on the fact that Entrepreneur’s Journey archives go back to 2004, I would guess that you are probably one of the first bloggers to chart your journey of making money online. What is the most significant change you have noticed in blogging since you started?

A: The amount of new blogs talking about similar things to what I blog about. The whole making money online, blogging advice and Internet marketing topic areas are quite crowded and it is very difficult for new entrants to get a strong foothold unless they have a unique set of skills, experiences and background from which to draw on to create content.

If I didn’t have the experience I have from running Internet businesses since 1998 I doubt I could build a popular blog in this niche. It’s smarter to go for other areas where there isn’t as much competition unless of course you truly are great at making money online already and are prepared to share your secrets.

Q. What prompted you to start your first online business?

A: A strong desire for freedom. I’ve never had a full time job and I’ve always known that a business was the best way to make a living if I wanted to be master of my own life.

The Internet just happened to come along at the right time when I was entering university so I sort of grew up with online business as an opportunity.

Q . You now have quite a few online businesses. Out of those, do you have a favorite? Which is the most lucrative?

A: Things are constantly changing. In terms of raw profits my editing and proofreading business, BetterEdit.com is definitely the best. It makes the most money and since someone else manages the day-to-day activities I do only a couple of hours a week work on it.

However, I much prefer blogging and recording audio as a passion and while I certainly work a lot harder at it, it pays almost as well as BetterEdit does at the moment. Since I’m moving more into blog training this is the area I suspect to draw the most income from in the near future and the area I will spend the majority of my time on as well.

I also have a few forum sites which are basically passive income earners. They keep running without me and bring in money from AdSense and other advertising and affiliate programs. I make the least money from these (about $1000 a month) but they require nearly zero ongoing work since I have people in place who look after them.

Q. On your blog in March you mentioned that you made $6549.52 from blogging. What monetization methods have you found to be the most profitable for blogging?

A: My experience is probably a bit unusual in that affiliate programs work the best for my blogs. That’s partly because I focus on affiliate marketing and partly because of the industries I blog about. Affiliate product commissions are a lot higher than advertising payouts, so one product sale might make me $150, which for a lot of bloggers might be their entire month’s AdSense income.

I also focus on selling advertising directly from my blogs, selling banners and text links, which works really well. I like to put sponsors on a subscription so I do not have to spend too much time chasing up payments.

My goal with blog income is to focus on less labor intensive methods, hence I prefer recurring subscriptions and affiliate marketing.

Programs like AdSense and paid reviews require you work harder and putting out more content if you want to earn more. In my case I can focus on working less but keeping article quality high at the same time to provide value to my readers.

Q. On Entrepreneur’s Journey, you offer a lot of great advice to people who are just starting out. In your post titled “Small Business Realities“, you wrote:

The important skill to learn is that the business owner should work on the business, not in it, but that’s easier said than done and especially early on when funds are tight it’s very like you will be working in the business.

Could you elaborate on what you mean by that?

A: Looking at the growth of my business BetterEdit is a great example. When I started the business I built the website, hired the editors, coordinated editing jobs, provided customer service and marketed the business with posters on university campuses. Over the years I slowly moved away from each of these tasks and outsourced as my cashflow grew enough to do so.

First I hired someone to put up posters for me, then I brought on a web marketing firm to improve the website. More recently I hired an admin person who handles the daily job processing and customer service roles. Now I essentially just confirm payments are made and once a year hire new editors. If this was my only business I could spend the rest of my time working “on” it, formulating new strategies and testing new marketing methods knowing that other people where keeping the business running without me – the “in” the business part.

Of course I choose to spend most of my time in the blogging world now and not growing BetterEdit, but you can see it was because I moved away from being the center cog that kept the business going and allowed me to focus on blogging instead. You must aim to create systems that handle the critical roles if you ever want to have freedom.

Q. You recently started a blog mentoring program for beginners. What is the biggest mistake you see people make when they first start blogging?

A: Focusing too much on making money and reading other blogs. New bloggers need to focus on content production and marketing, not reading other blogs and feeling bad about how little money they are currently making.

99% of bloggers make peanuts for the first six months on a new blog – it was the same for me – and if you can create a mindset of giving great content especially during the early days you will be rewarded in the long run. It takes a little belief and definitely some hard work, but if you pick a topic you love, the blogging journey will be 100% enjoyable, even during the early days when you make no money.

Once you get to around 500 visitors a day, pat yourself on the back for a job well done, keep pumping out the great content to build more traffic AND then start testing some methods to monetize your blog. You can try and make money earlier than this, but seriously if you make $5 from your current 100 visitors that you are working four hours a day to generate are you going to be motivated or discouraged?

If you make $50 after doing just one affiliate promotion to your 500 visitors built up from a few months of steady blogging and not thinking about the money, don’t you think you will feel more motivated and excited about the future potential? It’s all about strategy and mindset with the right tactics at the right time.

Q. In addition to your mentoring program, you also offer a free blog traffic newsletter. If you could only use ONE method of getting traffic to your blog, what would it be and why?

A: Other people’s blogs. In the Internet business world entrepreneurs usually say if they had one tool to market with they would always say joint ventures. It’s through partnerships and relationships with people who already have access to an audience that you can successfully build your own audience.

Q. You have a great section on your website where you give a rundown of what a typical day in your life looks like. You mention “when you are mentally spent it’s a great time to work on free online marketing techniques that don’t require you to be firing on all cylinders”. Can you give us some specific free techniques that you use?

A: Okay, to be honest nowadays when I am mentally spent I go and leave the computer altogether, however what I was referring to in that article was when you can no longer construct clever things – like full sized articles, or website code, or graphic design or all the other somewhat creative or intellectual activities you might have to do. At these times you can head out and do marketing activities that only require you to use minimal brain power – leave comments on other blogs, submit your site to directories, take part in forum discussions, etc – all activities that take only a few coherent sentences or routine steps to get results from.

Q. In that same post, you mention that your upcoming goals include training someone else to take over more of your administrative duties. What tasks lend themselves to outsourcing? Are there any jobs that should never be outsourced?

A: When I wrote that article I had not hired the admin person for BetterEdit yet, so that was in particular what I was referring to. I have since hired a stay-at-home mum who manages the email customer service and job processing duties.

Other areas I am currently outsourcing are web development and server management, graphic design and very soon help desk management for my blogging business.

You can outsource nearly everything, but what you need to do is outsource what you are not good at and focus on what you are good at. If your income is not sufficient to outsource everything, then focus on the task that is your immediate constraint as the first outsourced
activity.

In my case I am best at content creation and relationship building. I still do a lot more than just those activities, but my goal is to get the point where all I do is write and record audio and training videos. Everything else will be handled by more talented people than myself and
I will essentially be a project manager.

Q. One last question before we go—and this is, of course, is the most important one. Since you’re a big tennis fan, who is the best tennis player of all time?

A: Ha! Tough to answer. I have this horrible feeling that Federer may not win the French. If he doesn’t then he’ll always have the same problem that Pete did with people saying he was not a complete enough player to be considered the best.

Without owning each slam you can’t be considered the best even if your total number of slams is highest, in my opinion. As soon as Fed has at least one French and equals or surpasses Pete’s total slam count then I’ll hand him the crown of best ever with no reservations.


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Comments

6 Responses to “Interview With Blogging Expert Yaro Starak”

  1. Daniel on May 9th, 2007 9:30 am

    Great post! yea Yaro is an inspiration to us all manty.

  2. George Manty on May 9th, 2007 11:21 am

    I agree, it was a big pleasure to have him agree to the interview.

    The interview confirmed some of the things I have been thinking about lately.

    The following has nothing to do with making money online…

    As for the answer to the last question, my opinion is that Pete is probably the best tennis player ever. On the other hand, I always enjoyed watching John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, and Andre Agassi a little more than watching Pete.

    We shall see if Federer can take the title from Pete.

  3. Jimi on May 9th, 2007 12:20 pm

    Another great post, George. Been a bit busy lately and haven’t had time to look at your blog. Always great info and interesting reads here.

  4. George Manty on May 9th, 2007 9:59 pm

    Thanks Jimi,

    I was planning on touching base with you soon…

    Glad you enjoyed the interview.

  5. Principle Of Marketing on June 9th, 2007 9:04 pm

    Nice post and nice interview but I think that if your unique, willing, and won’t give up you can break into these crowded niche markets like blogging about how to make money online, you’ve just got to be real about it and don’t promote the get rich quick schemes or MLMs.

  6. George Manty on June 9th, 2007 9:29 pm

    I think that is sort of true, but in the Internet Marketing world, there are more and more amazing blogs. I amazed at the great new content being created in this market, and it’s only going to be harder to compete.

    It’s MUCH easier to go into an uncrowded niche and succeed.





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