The podcast is back! After taking several months off interviewing any guests, I've decided it time to get back behind the mic and see what's going on in the world.
What I'm finding is some really AWESOME stories. In fact, today is the first podcast interview back, but I currently have 4 others in the works. So, if you have been missing the Niche Pursuits Podcast at all…you are about to get your fix very soon!
I love being able to interview entrepreneurs and here what is working for them. And today is no different. I interviewed Jamie Wilson who is a stay at home mom, but also a successful entrepreneur.
In fact, throughout the interview we dig into 2 successful sites that she owns: OrganicBambooClothing.com and JellyBeanQuilts.com. Jelly Bean Quilts is currently her biggest money maker, and quite honestly, I think is a pretty cool business (yep I have kids!).
I found out about Jamie because she submitted her “Success” story to me following these guidelines here. After reading it, I decided I needed to have her on the podcast, and I'm glad I did! She shares tons or really cool tips and tricks.
As a result, I have the text that she sent in for her success story, so I'm going to share below. The podcast follows a very similar format to what you see below; but there are TONS of points we discuss in the podcast that is not included below. So, I recommend both reading and listening to get all the great information that Jamie has to share.
Jamie Wilson's Success Story
1. What is your name and current job/profession?
My name is Jamie Wilson & I am the owner of the niche site JellyBeanQuilts.com, where I turn that box of baby clothes every mom has sitting in her closet into a modern memory quilt! I have also owned a bunch of niche sites over the years, but creating baby clothes quilts is my passion.
2. How did you get started building niche websites? How long have you been building websites?
I have been messing around on the web ever since I started helping my dad with his ecommerce site selling Dish Network back in the late 90s (yes… we used Frontpage and a Yahoo store!) I went to college for PR & Marketing from 1999-2003, and after I graduated I got married & started a family. I really wanted to stay home with my son, so I started figuring out ways to make money for myself online in 2004.
3. Tell us about one (preferred) or multiple of your successful websites. What is the URL and what niche are you targeting? If you are not willing to publicly share your domain or niche, that's just fine.
I've had 2 major success stories. The first is my current bread & butter – http://www.jellybeanquilts.com. This isn't an affiliate site at all, actually (although I have had many of those) – but it most definitely is a niche! My niche is baby clothes quilts, as well as other memory quilts made out of clothing.
Back in 2008 I was developing niche sites, doing some SEO for a few local clients, and generally just trying to figure out what I wanted to truly be doing with my life. I have always been a crafty gal, and had made a quilt out of my son's baby clothes that everyone always raved about. I already had years of SEO experience from some other pre-2008 ventures, so I did a little keyword research. I found a fair amount of long tail searches for baby clothes quilts, baby memory quilts, etc every month, so I put up a website and an ad on Craigslist with a picture of my work, and had my first client contact me & drop off a bag full of baby clothes that week!
I think it only took a few weeks to rank for baby clothes quilts, because I really had no competition… most crafters at that time had no clue about SEO. By the end of 2008 I was getting boxes of clothing sent to me from all over the country, and doing 2-3 quilts every month.
2009-2011 just kept steadily increasing… I have always maintained the #1 spot in Google and that's where I get the majority of my traffic (once in a while it bounces around due to the preference Google seems to occasionally give Etsy sites,) but as the years go by I have started getting a very significant portion of my traffic & sales from Pinterest and Facebook. I now have over 1300 Facebook fans – all organic – which I think is pretty awesome for such a small niche! I have actually not even paid for a single ad in the last 5 years… it's all just been social/inbound/SEO stuff or real-life word-of-mouth.
2012-2013 have been truly phenomenal. I get boxes of baby clothes every week from clients all over the world (literally) and business is actually so good I just had to raise my prices just to slow down the pace a bit! I'm doing what I am passionate about, I get to be creative every day, and I get to stay home with my kids and be at every. single. soccer. game. so I couldn't ask for more!
4. How much money do you make from this successful website(s) each month?
About $4000/month from this business, and more at Christmas time.
5. What is the reason for this website's success?
I think it's because I am completely, 100% passionate about my customers and what I do. I try to provide amazing customer service, I always meet my promised deadlines, I work hard to honor special requests, and honestly I just try to make it super easy for people to do business with me. But passion is really #1. I have had a bunch of affiliate sites & made decent money from them over the years, but I lost interest because I just wasn't “in love” with them.
6. Please briefly share your overall strategy for finding a niche, getting traffic to your site, ranking in Google, and making money from niche sites.
I used a couple strategies for honing in on my niche. To start, I didn't just create things I liked & tried to sell them, like so many creative people do. I looked at the keyword research to make sure people were actually looking for what I wanted to make, and I tweaked my offerings according to what actually sells on places like Etsy. I also pre-sold quilts to friends and family to get confirmation people were willing to pay for them.
As far as getting traffic & rankings, I consciously chose a niche that wasn't too hard or dominated by big brands, which is a huge factor for niche sites. I actually focused a little less on SEO than on some of my purely affiliate sites, and more on customer experience, since I was trying to actually build relationships with “real” people. But I made sure all of my ducks were in a row with title tags, content optimization, images, etc.
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Pinterest drives a ton of traffic to my site too, so that's worth mentioning for sure. My images have been pinned thousands & thousands of times because I've made it super easy to pin from my site, and included keyword rich auto-descriptions for them. I also pin my own pictures every now & then, just to keep them circulating. Now that Google ranks pinterest boards, and my images are all over pinterest, it's like a double traffic whammy.
7. What link-building tips can you offer?
Just be awesome at what you do, and people will naturally want to link to you! That's the whole goal, right?! I also think people are much more likely to link to images, graphics, videos, etc than just content, so focus on that if you can. But I have honestly done very little concerted link building in my almost 10 years of making money online… maybe a bit of blog commenting here & there. If you have to use link building to make it really happen for you, you might be in a niche you're either not that passionate about, or that's too competitive. Unless you are really passionate about link building, in which case proceed…
8. How has the success from this website impacted your life?
I would say it's changed my entire life. I've been able to be a stay-at-home mom, which is an amazing blessing. I also get to do what I love, and be in total control of when I work and what I make. Sometimes I do wish it was a little more passive – sewing is a lot of actual work! – but when push comes to shove I wouldn't want to quit even if I did have a giant passive income stream because I LOVE it. And I'm working on some ideas to add some passive income to this business, so who knows how it will evolve!
9. Do you have any additional tips or advice for others that would like to replicate your success with their own websites?
I think reverse-engineering your passion is always wise. Sort of figuring out what you love, and what you could do/what your skills are, and then using keyword research to figure out how you can fit that into what people are actually looking for.
And think outside the box a little bit… don't get caught up on making it “passive” from the beginning. Just find ways to make money from your own ingenuity, and the opportunities to tweak things and build the lifestyle you want will naturally follow your hard work.
10. Do you have a blog or other place that people can following along with what you are doing?
http://www.jellybeanquilts.com is my website & http://www.facebook.com/jellybeanbabyclothesquilts is my Facebook – I know there are some people out there with kiddos, so throw me a like!! 🙂
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As always, I look forward to any comments or further discussion that you might have below. Thanks!