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Podcast 132: How Jason Wilson Went from the Corporate World to $10,000 a Month with Affiliate Websites

I'm excited to bring you another guest interview for the Niche Pursuits Podcast!

Today is a special one.  I had the chance to sit down with Jason Wilson, my full-time employee!  However, Jason's story goes way beyond just working for the Niche Pursuits team, he also happens to be a successful entrepreneur.

In fact, Jason's site's have now eclipsed $10,000 a month!  Listen in to learn exactly how he's built up his affiliate websites so quickly and how you can do the same.

Jason and I have known each other for over 10 years.  In fact, Jason and I worked together back in 2005 to 2007 for Wells Fargo Financial.  We connected there and have been in touch ever since.  Jason joined my team full-time in early 2017.

I hope you enjoy this episode!

Read the Transcript

Spencer: Hey everyone. Before we jump in to today’s episode, I’ve actually got a really big announcement. This is the first time that I’m going to be mentioning that I’ve created a training course on how to build websites that get great organic traffic from Google. If you want to learn more about that, you can go to nichepursuits.com/training. Again, that’s nichepursuits.com/training. 

The reason I bring it up is because in today’s interview, I actually am talking to Jason Wilson. He works with me as my full-time employee. He is going to be one of the coaches and Jake Cain is going to be the other coach as part of the training course that I’m doing. You’re going to have three coaches in that training course. It’s going to dive into all of the details on how you could rank your site quickly in Google and get that free organic traffic. The doors are not quite open yet, but I want to give you a head’s up. If you want to learn more about that. you can go to nichepursuits.com/training. Thanks a lot. 

Hey, everyone. Welcome back the Niche Pursuits podcast. I’m your host, Spencer Haws from the nichepursuits.com. Today, I’m doing a guest interview, although it’s a little bit different because I’m actually sitting down with Jason Wilson who has been on previous podcasts as a co-host, but I thought it was time to dive into his story. Even though he’s be on a few podcast, I don’t think we’ve actually shared his history, his journey online, and it’s an interesting one so I wanted to do that today. With that, Jason, welcome to the podcast. 

Jason: Hey, man. Thank you very much. I appreciate it. 

Spencer: Absolutely. It’s a little bit different because you’ve been a co-host, you’ve asked questions of other people and their stories, but we’ve never had you specifically on. I think this should be interesting. 

Jason: It should be, absolutely. It’s not like we don’t go always back or anything ourselves. 

Spencer: Not at all, right? 

Jason: Right. 

Spencer: Of course, I know your story so the benefit of this story is for the listeners. Just so people are aware, Jason and I do have a long history way before I started blogging online, all that sort of thing. Back in Arizona in 2005, I believe it was, something like that, we both were working in the banking industry. We worked at Wells Fargo Financial, doing a lot of phone sales, essentially, financial products over the phone. Jayson and I worked in a really small office. What was there, five or six people, usually? 

Jason: Yeah, about five or six people. 

Spencer: Probably a pretty intimate office. We got to know each other really well, worked there for a couple of years together. That really is our background and we’ve stayed in touch ever since. Really, it has been 13 years that we’ve known each other. 

I’d like you to share your background, your history. You’ve been in the financial industry for a long time. You can touch on that maybe a little bit, but really how did you get started online building websites? 

Jason: Sure. Before I jump into that, I do want to say, I specifically remember back in 2005, we would be closing the branch at night, we would be having late night debates. This was back when you are just starting to talk about building businesses online. I remember you specifically talking about websites and that you had ideas, that you were going to do something with either coins or you even thought that you found something to do with worm farms. I just want to throw that out there because I specifically remember us having those conversations well over 10 years ago. 

Spencer: Well, it’s very true. Those were a couple of my first niche sites was the worm farms and nickels is one that I built a niche website on. I do also remember showing you one of my very first websites. You may not remember it but I remember showing you, maybe was just the logo, I don’t remember. But I showed you something from one of my very first websites would have been back in 2006 or something, before I made a dime online. 

Jason: Yup. I remember and I remember thinking like, “This guy’s either going to make it big or he is absolutely crazy and he’s going to be doing exactly what we’re doing now just like me.” 

Spencer: I’m happy to say that it worked out. 

Jason: Yes, I agree. 

Spencer: Everybody knows my story. It took a while before I quit my job. I started 2006 showing Jason Wilson my early day websites but it wasn’t until 2011 when things really started to take off and I was making enough money to quit my job. 

You, on the other hand, took you a little bit of time before you started doing websites. Me showing you my worm farm stuff didn’t convince you right away. What was your journey to eventually starting something online? 

Jason: I remember, I was working in banking. I had worked through various positions. When I first started following your stuff was back in about 2013 when I started following your blog. We reconnected through Facebook and it was just one of those things where I saw you and you listed your employer as Niche Pursuits CEO owner. So I flipped over the blog and started reading your stuff. 

I was managing a team in sales at the time and I thought, “Hey, man. This would be a cool way to just learn to do something online,” and after reading your story, I was like, “Man, if Spencer can do this, I know if I put in the work, I can eventually learn to do it too.” 

Spencer: Like, “Spencer’s not that smart. If he can figure it out, like surely.” 

Jason: No, not at all. It was more along the lines of, “This is super inspiring and what a cool thing to do.” I think my initial thought, my first 30 days was, “Hey, just establish a site that might make you a little bit of extra income as something fun, like this could be a hobby.” I wasn’t thinking big at the time. I was just thinking something fun. 

Then probably about four months in after reading your stuff in-depth and hearing success of other people who followed you, I was like, “Why can’t I build a business? Why limit myself to just a couple of hundred bucks a month as something that can make a car payment or something like that?” Like, “Why not think about building a larger business and see what that does?” 

Spencer: How long did it take you to find some success? How long did it take you to start making $200-$300 a month, something like that? 

Jason: I had it written down on my whiteboard and I started following you. I formed my LLC in May of 2013. I think I started following you a couple of months before that. I wrote it down the day that I wanted to basically start my own business and start my own site. I think that year, my first site was horrible. I didn’t even know what web hosting was when I started by LLC. I still used that term a lot because I was still trying to figure out—just so your listeners and readers know—I had no clue what I was doing. I didn’t know what WordPress was, I didn’t know what anything was. I literally had to start following your blog. I really had to learn everything just from reading your blog, other blogs in the niche, and then I know I asked you a ton of questions. 

Spencer: I do remember this, yes. I think on Skype maybe? Or maybe it’s just emails. 

Jason: Yeah. It was Skype we connected and then I shot you a ton of emails. You’re probably like, “Stop bothering me. You’re emailing me too much.” 

Spencer: I should go back and find some of those early day emails. That actually would be really interesting to read. 

Jason: You should. For me, it didn’t really click that you had your hand in so many other businesses and I didn’t understand the magnitude of what LongTailPro was doing for you and how much time you had to put into that businesses. So I just thought, “Hey, Spencer can respond to my emails anytime and looking back now, I’m like, “Man, what an idiot.” 

Spencer: Not at all, man. I actually do enjoy, to an extent, helping people out. I do enjoy helping people out a lot but unfortunately, I don’t always have a lot of time so I can’t get to everybody. 

Jason: Sure. Honesty, that a lot of that was just me. I didn’t really understand the magnitude of what you did and I didn’t have time respect boundaries, which I obviously since developed, but yeah. I followed you starting in 2013. That first year, I don’t think I made a dime that first year. I take that back. I think I made my first internet dollar probably in October of that year was when I got my first AdSense click. It may have been September or October and that was when I was like, “Okay, it took me four, five months but I finally got my first AdSense click.” 

My first site I built, I should say within six months, it was getting a thousand hits a day but I couldn’t monetize it because of the niche that it was in. I couldn’t use AdSense. It was not an AdSense-approved niche. I was getting traffic. I knew what I was doing is working but I couldn’t monetize it anyway and that site ended up crashing and burning in 2014 anyway. 

It was one of those trial-and-error. I got traffic, couldn’t monetize it, ignored the site, started a new one, and in early 2014, I was making a few hundred bucks a month. I think I started off making about $200-$300 a month the first four, five months in 2014. 

Spencer: This is what the new site that you created. 

Jason: Yes, that’s correct. I created a site in the fitness niche and it was making a few hundred bucks a month. Then I got sucked into the PBN craze like everybody did. 

Spencer: Right. I didn’t help with that at all. 

Jason: No, not at all. The site took off and I was making good money. I was making four-figures a month, and then, everything crashed and burned after the PBN updates and all of that stuff. I started fresh around the time that that happened. I followed along with you with Perrin in that journey. When the PBN crash happened, I started fresh with everything. 

Spencer: Let me dig into that just a little bit. Maybe for listeners, they’re thinking, “Man, he worked really hard. He built up a site that’s making four figures a month but then it crashed and burned. He must have just then totally frustrated and not want to go on.” Maybe you can talk about what did that four figures a month mean to you. I mean, even when it crashed and burned, was that income all along the way helpful? 

Jason: The income along the way was absolutely helpful and honestly, more than anything, it was a learning experience. I looked at all of that time. I even did an internship with NoHatDigital with Hayden Miyamoto’s team and learn how to build up PBN sites and how all that worked. 

I may have done that sometime in late 2013. I’m a little fuzzy on all the dates just because it was a few years ago. But I definitely did an internship with him and I look at that as like people like, “Man, you wasted all that time learning these tactics that are no longer relevant,” or if they’re relevant, I’m sure I know a lot of people still use PBNs but I sworn off them, I don’t use them. Around the time that you quit, I quit, and it’s one of those things where, yes, you look at that as like, “Yeah, I put a lot of work in and I crashed and burned.” 

But you got to keep in mind, I still had a really good day job income at the time, so for me it was all experimental, anyway, and I just chalked it up to just, “Okay, I know how to build links. I know that I can build links the right way when I stopped doing this, and I know how to build a website.” Within a year, I knew how to build a custom WordPress website when the prior year, I had no idea how to set up hosting with Bluehost at the time. I had no idea how to do that. For me, the income was helpful, but more than anything, I just chalked it up to like my first year, even if it was awash, it was a huge learning experience and it set me up for where I’m at today. 

Spencer: Yeah, absolutely. That’s the way that I see it is. Every little mistake or pitfall that you might have, it really is a learning experience. It’s something that you can get more proficient at the craft at figuring out how to build a business and make your websites work. That’s a good attitude to have for sure. You had your second site go crash and burn with the PBN update. How long did it take you to pick up the pieces and build another site? 

Jason: Along the way, I had other sites that I’ve built that weren’t PBN-related. Those got sold. I actually sold those and experienced a little bit of success. 

Spencer: How much did the you sell the sites for? Do you remember? 

Jason: I think the first one I sold wasn’t big. It’s was $10,000. I mean, that’s a lot of money, don’t get me wrong. But it wasn’t the magnitude of what I could sell one of my sites for today, but back then, it was a lot of money. I had one site that I sold for about $10,000 and then I spent the next year building up another site in a different niche. This would have been 2014 and into 2015. I actually had one site did that, that was the first game-changer money for me when I was like, “Okay this is a big deal.” I sold the site for about $40,000. 

Spencer: That’s huge. 

Jason: It is huge. Again, looking at where I’m at now, I would go back and I would do things differently. I would have held on to that site and I would have grown it further because it had a lot of potential. But still, for me at the time, again this was not my primary source of income. My day job income covered all our living expenses and then some. For me, having that extra $40,000 was like, “Man, this is crazy. If I want to, I can literally go out, just buy a car and pay for it in cash,” or I can reinvest in the stock market. I have money that I don’t need, that I can do anything I want with. 

That was the aha moment, really, I think in 2015 when I was like, “Okay, this is life-changing stuff,” and that’s really when I dedicated myself to building what I would call today an authority site and saying, “I’m going to do this from scratch. I’m going to create a new one.” I think this is around the time when I started my authority site. It was around 2015. I said, “I’m going to build this the right way, I am going to try and grow it as much as I can, and get to a point where this income could sustain my family and potentially use it as a way out of the corporate world.” 

Spencer: Absolutely and I want to dive into that new site or the new couple of sites that you have. You were, about two years in, would you say, roughly from when you started to when you sold the site for $40,000. Can we estimate that that site was making roughly, what? $1500-ish a month? 

Jason: Yeah and Empire Flippers was the brokerage that facilitated that deal, so shout out to them because it was a quick and easy deal. They made it pretty painless on me. I would say that’s accurate. It was making about $1500 a month. Whoever bought it, though, got a sweet deal because, again, I chalk this up to me being in corporate at the time, not having the time to really review what was happening. I sold it in September and a lot of my revenues was coming from Amazon. The site, four months later, literally traffic-exploded and almost doubled, and they were reaping the benefits of that during the holiday season. If I had just held, I easily could have probably sold that site for double what I sold it for. 

Again, learning experience and I was happy to have the money at the time. 

Spencer: Yeah. Learning experience and it’s not a bad thing to sell a site for $40,000, right? 

Jason: Correct and honestly, that may have been why it sold so quickly, too. Somebody saw the potential and they did some stuff that I couldn’t have done or had the time to do at the time, and that’s why I got the premium that I did. I think I got 30x when I sold it, which was a pretty big deal at the time. 

Spencer: Yup. At the time, they were trying to sell things for 20x-25x. It was the standard even just a few years ago. Now, definitely the multiple is higher, which is good for those selling websites. 

Very interesting. I do just want to reiterate that to people listening in, a year-and-a-half, two years in, Jason’s been making pretty good money. I think that’s a fairly good target for people out there. Probably is going to take a year of learning the ropes, building your website, understanding how WordPress, how this thing works, and Google works. But once you get the ball rolling and understanding how it works, things can really multiply and go from there. 

With your knowledge that you had, you decided, “All right I’m going to build another authority-type site. A larger site with bigger potential.” Maybe take us through that. 

Jason: Yeah. Basically, at that point I decided, “All right, I want to build a site that’s quality. I’m going to start by producing well-researched and in-depth content.” I went out and started hiring writers. I took some of the money I made from what I sold my site from the $40,000, and I literally earmarked the $10,000 of it and I used that as the seed money to start my authority site. I went out and started hiring writers and I also wrote some of the content myself where I had experience in the niche. I started that and at some point in late 2015. 

It took some time to build probably not just because of the niche but I think just my time was relatively limited back then and I could have done a much better job of outsourcing. Honestly, I still could do a much better job of outsourcing today. There’s a lot of pieces like I’m not perfect. I’m still, for the most part, a one-man show. I do outsource my content. I got a process for that. But I still could refine things better and this site could have taken off a lot more but back then, I reinvested some of that money, found some writers, started producing some content. I think I gave it four, five months before I even decided to pick up an email and started building links and doing outreach for the site. 

Spencer: Filled it up with a bunch of content the first three to four months, then slowly after that started building some links. When did you start to see the site take off and gain traction there? 

Jason: I would say it started gaining traction in 2016. That was when it started producing, I don’t know, $500-$600 a month. It’s funny because I would say the site probably took about eight months to a year. Somewhere in that range when it was doing $300-$400 a month. 

Then it felt like it literally, overnight, went from $500 a month to $1200 a month. The jump from $0 to $500 is always the hardest. I found this true with my second site that I started last year. $0 to $500 jump is always the hardest. Once you get from $500, the jump to four figures is far easier than it is from $0 to $500. 

It took me about eight months to a year before I started making $500 a month, $800 a month, somewhere in there and it just jumped immediately to that four-figure threshold and it started to scale. 

In 2016, again, because I was working corporate job, I didn’t have much time, it probably bounced between $1000 and $3000 a month for most of that year. Again, you have to forgive me because my dates are always a little fuzzy but I can’t remember what year it was that we had Amazon commission cuts. I think that was the end of 2016, beginning of 2017. 

Spencer: That sounds about right. 

Jason: Okay. What happened was it was 2016. The site, towards the end of the year, it was doing about $4000 a month. I scaled, started doing about $4000, and then in the holiday season, I did $9000. It was crazy. It literally doubled because of the old commission structure. Then I got whacked with my particular category. It got cut by about 40%. My earnings dropped immediately back down to that $3000-$4000 level because of the traffic normalization after the holidays and because of the commission reduction, I was back to that $3000-$4000 level. 

Spencer: That hurts a little bit, right? 

Jason: It does. 

Spencer: You see the big numbers and then it gets cut back, and you’re like, “What happened? I had a good thing going?” At this point, rather than talk about how did you further increase the traffic, maybe talk a little bit about how did you get it to that point? I mean, $3000-$4000 a month is a great website. I know you started to do a lot more of outreach, link-building. Do you feel that is what helped to take off or was it specifically the content and the keywords, or combination of the both there? 

Jason: I think it’s the combination of the both. The keyword selection, obviously, you’ve been preaching that a long time and that obviously still holds true today. You’re not going to go out there and rank for something that all these authoritative websites are ranking for if you don’t have any links or credibility in your industry. 

I found keywords that were definitely low competition, and I think that, a couple of tips for your readers, like one of the things I did was, if my page is ranking on page one but wasn’t ranking in the top three, I started going back to my content during that time and thinking, how can I make this better? How can I improve it? I started adding more images. 

By default, my content link would increase. I’m not a fan of just say, “Hey, put out 10,000 words of garbage just to put out 10,000 words.” I would make sure if I was adding link to my content, that it would serve the purpose and I think that helps the keywords that my best content was ranking for, and it pulled me into the top three to five for specific keywords that I may not have been ranking for initially for those pillar content. 

Spencer: Let me just clarify that. I find this strategy very helpful as well, going back and updating old content. But the content you were looking at is specifically articles that were ranking, there were keywords that were ranking on the first page already or maybe bottom of the second page. Something like that, right? 

Jason: Yeah. Anything that was ranked position 15 to position eight or nine. I was going back and looking for those and saying, “How can I make these better?” I think that helped a lot and then yes, part of link building is luck. You have to do the work no matter what. You’re not going to build links if you’re not sending emails, not doing outreach, and not building relationships. You’ll never going to get links. But I did get lucky and get a few really high-quality links which definitely helped my site. Then the rest of it was just numbers. How many emails can I send and what’s my response rate? 

The links definitely help that and I always refer to it as horsepower, in my opinion. A site that’s got no links is like a Honda Civic. You can keep producing really good content and it might be really efficient. You might get start to get some traffic because if your keywords selection is really good, I think any site can rank. If the research is done well and you got really, really good content and you done your keyword research the right way, you can still rank. But obviously, when you start adding links, now you go from a Honda Civic to a Ford Mustang GT500. Now you can start going after more competitive keywords and really start increasing the amount of traffic that you get. 

Spencer: And Jason rebuilds Mustangs so he knows what he’s talking about, guys. Any specific tools that you were using to do all these outreach? We’re talking about ninja outreach and other tools or just everything manual? 

Jason: I like manual, but that’s because I think for my initial phases, I really focused on how can I do this myself and how can I build these relationships and how can I zero in on it. Don’t get me wrong. I’m working on refining and perfecting my own processes so I can scale. That’s a conversation I think for maybe your more advanced site builders like figuring out automation. Even today, when I find high-quality link prospects, I just do it all manually myself. 

Spencer: What kind of link prospects are you looking for? Or what kind of links are you getting? Are you doing a lot of guest posting, resource pages? What is it? 

Jason: Yeah, resource pages are my bread and butter. Broken link building is quality too. You can generally find links that are relevant to your content and it doesn’t have to be links that are necessarily relevant to your niche. You could be in—I don’t know, just make something up here—any niche, really. You could be in food per se. and if you want to be in food but you wanted to get links from somebody that’s in the pet niche, you could find ways to tie that in with broken links and just go back in and say, “Hey, I noticed on your dog blog that you have a broken link here. Well, I’ve got this article on Starbucks’ Puppaccinos, how they’re bad for dogs. Would you mind replacing that with this link here?” There’s super creative ways you can do broken link building. I would say broken link building is probably about 40% but resource pages probably 50%, and maybe guest post are 10%. I don’t do a ton of guest post. 

Spencer: Okay. No, that’s good. Maybe I’ll let you continue on with the story here a little bit. I don’t know if we want to jump to where it’s at today right now, but I want to get there eventually. What’s the site doing today? You talked about, what was it, early 2016 or 2017. 

Jason: Yes. Early 2017. 

Spencer: Yeah. It was making maybe $3000-$4000 a month after the Amazon commission update. You’re $3000-$4000 a month and that’s a year-and-a-half ago, let’s say, something like that, early 2017. Where is it today? 

Jason: Today, the site, by itself, is probably doing almost five figures a month on its own. It’s not quite there yet, the gross revenue before my cost are subtracted, it’s probably $8500-$9500 range depending on the month. 

Spencer: That’s huge. 

Jason: It is huge. 

Spencer: Congrats. 

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Jason: Thanks, man. I don’t know what it will be like when we get get into the holidays this year. I’m hoping for a nice uptick. Right now, it’s producing a good amount and really, I still do outreach. I got a process for that. I still do it myself. I don’t have it outsourced, which again, I know there’s probably plenty of more seasoned professionals out there that are going to say I’m dumb for not having it outsourced, and that’s true. I need to work on my processes for that and I am absolutely working through it. I’ve got templates set-up. Let’s put it this way. I got my entire process built out. I just haven’t found the right people to hand it off to yet. It’s coming and it’s coming very, very soon. I’m confident with my processes that I’ve got lined up. It’s just a matter of stacking the right people behind it. 

Spencer: That’s awesome. I’m looking at the SEMrush graph of your website. Unfortunately, readers won’t get to know what your website is but I know what it is. It’s a great website. It looks like in the last four months, at least according to SEMrush, the traffic has really increased quite a bit. Is that that case? 

Jason: It is. 

Spencer: And what has happened in the last three or four months? 

Jason: Two things. Lots more content and this is just another little tip I have started focusing a lot on Pinterest. Again, I don’t know what’s happening, honestly. I can tell you that I have scored some decent links to some key longer articles that I have published in the last few months, that’s definitely helped. 

But I’ve also noticed a bump because a few of my posts have gotten virally shared on Pinterest and that has organically just improved my organic search results. One of the pieces of content is on the bottom of page one now. This may not be showing in SEMrush or Ahrefs but it’s ranked on the bottom of page one. When I publish that piece of content with no links, it was ranked on, I don’t know, somewhere in maybe the 80s to 90s. It’s all the way back on page 9 to 10. I’ve built no links to it and it got all the way to the top of page two before it scored its first link. The only thing that I changed is I started focusing on Pinterest and it went viral. 

I do think that external traffic of any type is a Google signal and I think that the Pinterest focus has helped but I know that I’ve probably also gotten links as a result of my Pinterest focus. I just think that they’ve just been collateral links that I’ve received without actually doing outreach. Other bloggers have seen my site or seen my content and then started linking to me organically. 

Spencer: Right and also, your site is just aging more and anytime it gets more age, more authority, it does get a little bit easier to start ranking your content. 

Jason: Correct. Yup. There also has been lots of content published too. Probably 100,000 words in the last couple of months. 

Spencer: That’s huge. A lot of new content that will do it. But it is interesting to hear that Pinterest, whether it’s the traffic coming from Pinterest or just whatever other signals that Google is seeing, it seems to be going hand-in-hand with a, “Pinterest is doing well, my organic traffic from Google is doing well.” That’s a pretty good thing. How long ago did you start doing Pinterest? 

Jason: We started in June, believe it or not. I don’t even have a Pinterest account. Just so folks know, the biggest process I don’t have nailed down right now is my outreach process. As far as my content and my social, I literally outsource. I don’t even understand how Pinterest works. Somebody referred to it as a search engine for images in our Niche Pursuits Insider group and I think that’s a great way to explain it to someone. But I’m being honest, I still don’t understand how it works. I hired someone, I outsourced 100% of that. The only thing I do is create my own unique images every week. I go into Canva where my templates are stored and I spend maybe 30 minutes a week creating five new pins for either my new content or my old content. That’s all I do. 

Spencer: And then you turn it over to the Pinterest expert. They manage the account. They share, do whatever, and sprinkle their magic on that and it works. So June, just so people know that’s about three months ago. Jason’s been doing about three months on Pinterest. How much traffic, specifically from Pinterest, are you now getting? 

Jason: I would say, it ranges anywhere from 1000 to 2000 uniques a day. 

Spencer: That’s huge. How much does your site overall total, including Pinterest? How much traffic does it get a day, roughly? 

Jason: I look everything in page views just because that’s my stat and I would say that right now, the site’s getting about 225,000 page views a month. If you break that down over the course of the day, if you do the math on that, it ranges page view-wise anywhere from 5000-9000 page views a day. 

So 5000 is usually my slower days later in the week and then weekends, it’s not uncommon for me to go above 10,000. 

Spencer: Looks right around an average of 7500, something like that. 

Jason: Yes. 

Spencer: That’s huge, man. You got a good site, things are going really well, and we should probably clarify that this is still on the side. You still have a full-time job. Something happened there in what, early 2017? 

Jason: That’s correct. 

Spencer: And people should know but let’s tell people what happened. 

Jason: It’s funny. There was a major trust factor because it was right after the Amazon commission cut. I actually accepted a job. I left the corporate in February of 2017. I turned in my notice in February 2017, I started with you in April of 2017. It came hand-in-hand with the commission cut but I knew that even with the cut and where my traffic was, we would still going to be okay. Between what I make at Niche Pursuits and my sites, we’re more than fine. I made the jump, I left my corporate career back then and have been working for you ever since. I do stuff for Niche Pursuits 40 hours a week and then I do all my own stuff on the side. 

Spencer: Yup, absolutely. Jason has been my employee now for almost a year-and-a-half, I guess, full-time. It’s been great. You’ve worked on a number of different projects. You initially were brought in as a brand manager for my Amazon FBA business and the niche site tied to that, of course, and worked on that. I sold that business in December of last year. It was a great exit, nice neat, six-figure exit. 

The last few months I bought a couple of websites, done a number of different things, all sorts of projects that we’re working on, and lots more planned for the near future as well. I just think it’s cool maybe for people to hear that, yes, you’re working for me, you still have a full-time job, but you’re able to build this website on the side, up to $8500 a month. It’s a nice little site income to have. 

Jason: It is and I have a second site that I’m working on too. It’s smaller but traffic is growing on that. It gets around 100,000 page views a month right now, so traffic has been growing. That site’s only about a year, maybe 14-15 months old. That one’s doing well and I like the growth trajectory. Again, my content process is solid. I’ve got writers, I’ve got editors, I’ve got all these pieces mapped out. There’s probably another 30 pieces of content ready to go up on that site here in the next couple of weeks. I am super hopeful for the trajectory of that one as well. 

Spencer: Yeah, absolutely. Is that the only two sites that you have that you’re really focusing on? 

Jason: Yes. I’ve done the shiny new toy. There have been times in the last year where I either bought a site or acquired a site and honestly, I have a hard enough time focusing on one. This goes to all your readers. Don’t spread yourself thin. You don’t want to get too thin or spread yourself too thin over different projects. 

Every time I get the urge to buy a site or start something new, I know I am not giving my two sites that I own the most attention. Given their growth potential, I know the ROI on my time is far better spent just focused on those two when I look at the growth potential. Starting more than one site, especially if you’re just starting out is a really bad idea. If you can settle in on one niche you’re going to be so much better off. 

Spencer: Yup, I agree. If you’re doing everything yourself, even if you’re outsourcing a lot of it, just one site while you learn all the ropes, getting it to work, growing it, I 100% agree with that advice. So, in combination, both your sites, what’s the total income roughly that you’re making the last couple of months? 

Jason: The last two months, we broke five figures for the first time ever, which is great. 

Spencer: $10,000 a month. 

Jason: Yeah, in gross revenue and I think we’re set to possibly break $11,000 this month, so we’ll see how it goes. 

Spencer: I love it. That is awesome. Seriously, for people listening in, I am genuinely super excited that Jason is doing so well, his sites are taking off, and Jake, I think what we’re going to do, I think I’m going to sit down and interview Jake as well. His sites are doing extremely well. I love it. I love seeing people have success. But I do have to ask the difficult question now, Jason. If you’re making $10,000 a month, why are you working for this guy, Spencer Haws? What’s the deal? Should I expect your two-week notice anytime soon? 

Jason: No. Number one, I’m the sole provider of a family of six, myself included. I’m married, I have four kids, I have three dogs. Two of my dogs are very large and they eat a lot. They’re both 150 pounds and they sit there and they put down $100 worth of food in two weeks. 

Spencer: It’s not cheap. 

Jason: No. I have bills but the biggest thing for me is, I like having two income streams at all times, and this is just me. You can make a case for either. It may be different if I were a single guy and my bills were $2000 a month. We might be having a different conversation. As much as love Niche Pursuits and the Niche Pursuits audience, if I could afford to do it all on my own, that might look like a more attractive option. 

But right now, I feel it’s my responsibility as a provider for my family, I want to reinvest as much of my profits as I can back into growing my businesses and take as little as I can in monthly salary so that way, I can grow them into bigger properties. I have a long-term view of my sites. I don’t want to sell myself short, just take all the money and live off of it, and then have nothing. I want to take 60%-70% of that revenue that I’m making, go back out, buy more content, and grow those sites bigger, so they’re bigger authorities in the space. Eventually, maybe a year or two from now, I’ll be looking at a much bigger exit, and when I look at a much bigger exit, then you and I might have to have that conversation. 

Spencer: And that’s totally fine. I know going into this. I actually encouraged you and everybody I hire, I say, “I’d like that you’re entrepreneurial. I want you to be entrepreneurial. I don’t expect that you’re going to work for me forever. I know the day is going to come.” I hope the day comes that you guys are doing so well, we can celebrate together and you can move on to the next phase. I’m totally fine with that. 

My story, I have built up my sites. They are making roughly around $10,000 a month while I was still working my corporate job, and that’s when I decided to pull the plug. It saved up six months of earnings. My sites were making about $10,000 a month. This was back in 2011. I don’t know what the difference is that I wasn’t really in love with my banking job. I saw that I can be an entrepreneur, I was making good money, and I cannot go sit in a cubicle all day trying to get people to open a new business loan or whatever. I was ready to move on. I don’t know if there’s a little bit of that there for you. It’s just like, “You know what? You’re able to work from home where you’re at, you’re not too antsy to leave.” 

Jason: Yeah, there’s a little bit of that but there’s also the piece and this is where, like I said, I know you can make the argument any way you want. I’m sure I could do all this stuff on my own, not outsource, and just start living off my site income today if I wanted to. I’d like to think we live somewhat frugally. We could do that but let’s go back and rewind, back to February of 2017 when Amazon took the commission cut. I like having two sources of income because if all of a sudden Amazon chops my legs out from under me tomorrow, I don’t have to worry. I’ve got another source of income and it’s like, “Yeah, that would stink,” like, “I wouldn’t like losing income but at the end of the day, I can still pay all my bills because I got two sources of income.” 

That’s just my perspective and I know you can make the case for either, or there are a lot of people who would say, “Well, you could be more productive in your own business,” that’s probably true, but having two sources of income is more important to me at this point. I like the security. 

Spencer: I think that makes a lot of sense. We’ve talked a little bit about tactics, strategies, how you grew your site. Before we wrap up here, is there any final suggestions or tips, things that have worked really well in your couple of sites that you have now that you wanted to share, or just any words of motivation for people out there? 

Jason: Yeah. I would tell folks don’t give up. I’m a shining example of that. When I first published my first website, I remember sending it to Spencer and he asked me, he was like, “Why is the front page of your website, why is the SEO title Home?” and it’s because I literally created my home page, the home page was Home. It wasn’t a brand, it wasn’t the name of the site, I didn’t know anything, so don’t give up. 

If you’re passionate about it, you can learn about it. I would recommend folks that are maybe in the intermediate range, who aren’t just starting out, try to automate. The sooner you can find processes to automate. That’s my biggest weakness is automation. I’m getting really, really good at the content automation piece. I wish I had gotten it down sooner. If you can automate, then you can just scale and it could be hands-off at that point. You can have a project manager who can do most of it for you at a decent budget and it frees up your time to do the more important stuff. 

Spencer: I agree. Great tips, great advice, and super interesting story. I hope that people listening in, find it interesting. Of course, I’ve known your story all along, but I thought it was important to sit down with you and just talk about your journey. There’s a lot of interesting stories out there that we don’t often get to hear. It’s been great being able to sit down with you Jason and hear your journey to making over $10,000 a month with your website. That’s huge. 

Jason: Yeah, man. I’m excited. I’m excited for the growth and honestly, a big shout out to you. I wouldn’t have even thought it was possible if I hadn’t stumbled on to your blog. There’s the piece of that success that I definitely owed to following you. I’m super excited about the growth potential and I would just encourage anybody that’s on the fence that’s like, “Eh, can I really make money online?” just start. Just start. Just start a site, try it, if you fail, who cares? It’s learning experience. 

Spencer: Absolutely. Great advice, great tips, and thank you for the kind words. I appreciate it. Thank you everybody for listening in and if you want to keep following along with Jason and I, go over to nichepursuits.com. Thanks a lot. 

As a reminder, if you want to learn more about how you can get training from myself and Jason, as well as Jake, you can go to nichepursuits.com/training. Again, that’s nichepursuits.com/training. I will be shortly releasing a new training course that teaches you how to rank your website in Google, get that great organic traffic, and the specific tactics that we have used for a long time that worked really well. I hope to see you there. Thanks a lot. 


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By Spencer Haws
August 29, 2018 | 16 Comments

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Danny

I notice you guys said the older the domain was able to get more “horse power”. Is there any upside in getting an aged domain when starting one of these sites?

Spencer Haws

There can be, but you have to make sure you don’t buy a domain with spammy links.

Chris Milton

Great interview – I like how experimental you kept your website. The broken link hacking, Pinterest, finding traffic wherever.

Jason Wilson

Thanks Chris! Always be testing 🙂

Len

Hi Jason

If you can share..

1 Is the income from your main site all amazon or are you also using ads from services such as mediavine, adthirve, adsense, etc , or other sources, and if so, whats the percentage breakdown of income between them ?

2 Based on your income sources in 1 have you optimized or set your newer site up differently to take advantage of these, or to try new income ideas based on what you’ve seen happening in your main site ? ..And has this resulted in generating income from your newer site more quickly (leaving aside the fact that you would have been able to invest funds for outsourcing etc) ?

Thanks

Len

Jason Wilson

1. I’m 80/20. 80% Amazon, but 20% with Mediavine.

2. I’m sure I can tweak things to optimize for better revenue. It’s on the list, but I’ve been happy with performance so I’m just focused on adding new content for now.

Hope this helps!

Len

Thanks Jason

Sunny Kumar

This is a very useful podcast.
Bookmarking it for later use.

Terry

Hi Jason,

First of all, I really enjoyed the interview. It was very inspirational. I do have a couple questions about the content for your sites. You mentioned you automate all of the content now.

1) Where do you hire quality content writers and do they do their own keyword research?
2) What schedule do you have them on?
3) Do you use any plugins or software to automate the content?

Thanks again!

Jason Wilson

1) I still do the keyword research, but that’s the only part I’m hands on with. I have a Google sheet my writers access and they just pull from it. I hire from Upwork or Pro Blogger Job boards.

2) I have them on a “do it as your schedule permits” schedule. Most of them have other clients and I pay them a fixed rate. They probably average about 2 articles per week each.

3) Nope, no automation with regards to content.

Chris

Hey Spencer and Jason, very inspiring podcast, I’ve probably listened to it 4 times now. I’m just wondering are you going to cover anything on outsourcing writers. Normally in the past, I’ve tried to write all of my own content but I know this just isn’t possible for me.

With a young family, and a job there is no way I can do 10 to 20 quality articles per month. I plan to write a few of the initial articles but plan to outsource the majority if possible.

Jason talked about the processes he put in place with his writers and I’m just wondering if you’re going to cover any of this? Thanks and keep the awesome content coming.

Jason Wilson

Hey Chris – my primary resources for writers have been UpWork and Pro Blogger Job Boards. I don’t have a screening process really at this point, it’s more about just finding the right writers and then paying them reasonable rates when you’ve found someone that works well for you. I’ve found this to be the best way to retain talent and keep them happy (include bonuses or raises for writers who do an excellent job). I have focused more on automating what they do once they are on board, and same with my editors.

Atif

I bought a domain with spammy links and build a lot of articles on it then after publishing my stop to rank in google so what I do now. Please advice me Spencer.

Frank

Great podcast. I always enjoy hearing success stories. It motivates me and thank you for that Spencer. I have a question for Jason. Your outreach technique, have ever used ninjaoutreach at all.

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