Welcome to our new series featuring inspiring entrepreneurs who have gone beyond the 9-5 to create something of their own! This series will share the personal journeys of entrepreneurs who have achieved success through hard work and resilience.
Our first feature is none other than Adam Enfroy, the blogging guru who, at just 35 years of age, has created an online empire that brings in $400,000 in monthly income in just a few years!
We are excited to share Adam’s story and hope his journey will motivate and inspire others to pursue their dreams.
#1 Why did you start your blog?
I started my blog in January 2019 in Austin, Texas, while working full-time in the tech industry. My blog was a means to an end – a way to escape my soul-crushing 9-5 and get out of the rat race once and for all. Back then, I worked 50 hours a week while working another 40 on my blog.
I always loved the idea of making passive income, even going all the way back to reading the 4-Hour Workweek in 2007 and listening to all of the popular “passive income” podcasts. But it took me over 12 years to actually figure out how to make it work.
In 2018, I worked as an Affiliate Manager for a company called BigCommerce, managing 4,000 affiliates in our affiliate program. I saw the money they were making and was shocked. Luckily, I also worked closely with our SEO team and knew I had the knowledge to rank content and monetize that content with affiliate marketing.
So after years of not totally understanding how to make money online, I finally peeled back the curtain and understood how all of this worked.
Within seven months, my blog income surpassed my salary, and I quit my job for good.
#2 How long have you been blogging? What are the primary sources of income for your blog?
I have been blogging for four years now. It started small with just me writing every blog post myself for the first 3-6 months. Once I started making a little money, I slowly scaled and hired a few people. My primary sources of income are affiliate revenue, ads, sponsorships, and course sales. Affiliate revenue makes up the bulk of this and is very consistent every month due to the recurring nature of the affiliate programs I’m in (over 300 in total).
Today, I have a full-time CEO and 12 employees, I run both my blog and a YouTube channel where I teach people how to start content-driven businesses, and I have over 1,600 students in my private blog coaching program, Blog Growth Engine.
My business currently makes $400,000/month and has grown steadily over the last four years, seeing the following revenue numbers:
- 2019: $200,000
- 2020: $800,000
- 2021: $1,500,000
- 2022: $4,500,000
#3 What do you blog about?
My blog teaches people how to start and run successful online businesses. That includes articles about how to start blogs, YouTube channels, e-commerce stores, and other content-driven businesses. I also review hundreds of different software categories on my blog.
#4 What makes your content different than others?
I’m not a “guru” who promises overnight success and gives generic, broad marketing advice like most of what you see on YouTube and social media. I teach people the exact step-by-step tactics to grow a content-driven business from zero. This is really important to me because I followed a lot of marketing “gurus” over the years, and while their advice was good, it didn’t tell me what to do on a day-to-day basis.
I tried and failed many times and made a lot of mistakes when starting my blog. That’s why I think it’s best to focus on the quickest path – point A to point B – to make money online. This includes the latest content and AI writing strategies, link-building tactics, affiliate marketing monetization, and much more.
#5 Have you tried any other side hustles?
The better question is, which side hustles haven’t I tried? When I was younger, I tried dropshipping, starting an agency, MLMs, and many other terrible ideas.
What I learned was that side hustles are really easy to start but very difficult to actually make profitable. For example, I tried starting a dropshipping store back in 2015. I found a wholesale supplier, synced my inventory to an e-commerce site, and started an LLC. However, when it came to actually getting traffic and making sales, it was extremely challenging. I not only had to build a real brand and get traffic, but I also had to deal with customer service, order management, taxes, and a lot more.
Any online side hustle requires an ongoing and consistent audience, either from Google, YouTube, or social media.
Most people who teach side hustles don’t know how to build an organic audience and tell people to throw ad money at the wall and see if it sticks. The truth is, the best side hustle allows you to make mistakes, pivot when things aren’t working, and shouldn’t consume all of your time.
After going through all of these, I now understand why blogging is still the best side hustle for beginners:
- It is the foundation of building a personal brand and is infinitely pivotable. You can infinitely test different topics until you find a niche that works for you.
- Blogging starts with affiliate marketing, which is the best form of monetization when you don’t have an audience yet (you can sell other people’s products and make commissions).
- Google is only getting bigger, and it’s where people actually buy things (and where the most money is made).
- It brings multiple revenue streams into your life – affiliate, ads, sponsorships, and course sales.
- Blogging is the most passive form of passive income and doesn’t require your face or voice, like YouTube or podcasts.
#6 Is your goal financial independence? If so, where are you on the journey?
Yes, I’m fortunate that my business brings in a substantial income so I can aggressively save cash and invest in the stock market and real estate. I try to live on 10% of my income and save or invest 90% of my take-home pay.
What I learned about financial independence is the numbers are all relative.
In 2015 when I was making $42,000 a year, I was happy to have a few grand in my bank account at the end of the month to pay all my bills. Today, I aim to keep building my businesses and have fun doing it. I can’t see myself ever fully retiring, but financial independence is more about peace of mind and knowing that if sh*t hits the fan, I’ll be okay.
#7 What is one popular piece of advice that you don’t agree with?
“Create great content, and you’ll get links naturally.” This is 100% not the case. Link building is based on real relationships, and bloggers need to take an active part in it.
#8 What else are you passionate about besides blogging and YouTube?
One thing I am obsessed with is the art of film and television. I started a production company with a friend from New York a few months ago. We’re currently developing multiple projects and have a small but dedicated team. One of my favorite shows is Breaking Bad, and if you haven’t been watching The Last of Us, you’re missing out.
I also love spending time with my wife and my two dogs and eating out at restaurants on the beach near our home in Florida.
#9 Tell us three interesting things about yourself that many people don’t know.
I’m a pretty average guy, to be honest, and my life did not start as a success. It took me six years to graduate college, and I worked at a pizza place until I was 26.
I’m an adrenaline junkie, and the first time I did a solo skydive, my parachute malfunctioned, I barely untangled it in time, and I landed over two miles off course.
I traveled the world in 2019 and lived in 10 countries over the course of six months.
#10 What’s one piece of advice you want to leave people with?
Making money online is very nuanced, and you’re gonna need to make a lot of mistakes before you make it. I always recommend starting with a personal brand vs. a niche site because you can pivot, adapt, and fail until you ultimately find success.
Another unfortunate truth is that the online world runs on binary thinking – everything is black and white, 0 and 1, yes and no – when success comes from understanding the nuance.
For example, people have been saying, “SEO is dead,” for a decade. Or “ChatGPT is going to kill Google.” You can either accept these at face value, or dive into the nuance, deeply understand these algorithms, and build a truly successful online business.
Featured Image Credit: Adam Enfroy.
This article originally appeared on Ash & Pri.