Starter Story

How I Started A $10K/Month Blog About Banking & Investment Products

$10,000
revenue/mo
1
Founders
7
Employees
product
Cash Overflow
from Chandigarh
started May 2015
$10,000
revenue/mo
1
Founders
7
Employees
62K
alexa rank
51
followers
246
followers
9.23K
subs

Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

I am Pardeep Goyal, founder of CashOverflow.com (Awarded as the best personal finance blog in 2017) where I help people in managing their financial life so that they can become financially independent and live a self-sustainable life.

I have grown my online business to approx $10,000 per month by setting up multiple sources of income yet my biggest source of earning is from affiliate marketing.

I have earned Rs. 45,00,000 (approx $65,000) from the affiliates of credit cards in India in 2018, that huge considering the Indian market is not mature as US and UK in terms of buying financial products online.

how-i-started-a-10k-month-blog-about-banking-investment-products

Then we invested more money and time in improving the design so that our readers can pick the best credit card in India by comparing cards in different categories. We are evolving from just being a financial blog to the comparison engine for banking products. We are also affiliated with many products for the global audience but our primary focus is Indian consumers.

I also sell online courses and help startups to setup zero budget content marketing.

What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

I worked in an IT company from 2006 to 2013 and lived in the US for 2 years. I was getting paid well but unhappy with the work culture. I returned back to India, left my job and started a small software company by investing all my savings.

My startup failed with a loss of over $20,000 and I lost the motivation to join back the job. I started taking up freelance writing work to pay my monthly bills and started a blog to practice whatever I was learning about digital marketing in 2015.

I never thought that CashOverflow would ever make any money. I was just sharing my personal finance hacks on my blog, those worked for me to manage my finances in my bad time.

I learned from the failure of my startup that we should launch products after understanding the pains and gains of the target audience.

I do not have any professional financial education but I love reading books on investing & taxation. Some of my articles became popular, sending tons of traffic from social media and Google. One such article was how to make money online in India, which still has more than 500 comments.

Despite the popularity, I was not making any money until 18 months of starting the blog. I did not use Ads on my blog because that spoils the user experience. I was focused on helping my readers without worrying about monetization. Then I came to know about affiliate marketing networks where I could create trackable links for banking products.

Within a few month’s efforts, I was able to generate $2000 per month. My blog became popular and won the best blogging award from Indiblogger in 2017.

Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.

I was making money from affiliate marketing but there were 2 challenges. The banking product offers were not consistently available throughout the year. We were making $500 per month from a single product promotion and then zero next month when the bank did not have a sufficient budget to promote the product.

I think this problem is only with India based banks who are not aware of issues of affiliate marketers and losing a big opportunity by depending on mediator networks and agencies.

I started expanding the business by promoting global products related to blogging and online marketing. The pain points of growing online business are the same across the world. International readers of blog loved the content related to making money online. Products companies based in the US are more supportive and I was able to optimize the earnings. I compared hosting companies for starting a blog and that became another segment to earn the affiliate commission.

My readers were expecting detailed information on growing online business, similar to what I created through CashOverflow. They wanted to learn internet marketing so I created online courses to teach blogging, content writing, SEO and affiliate marketing. My audience started asking me questions about blogging through email and social media. So I created online courses.

We are living in a world where a blog can be started under $50 and paid courses can be launched on platforms like Teachable within a few minutes.

Describe the process of launching the business.

My business evolved from a hobby blog to a product comparison engine in 4 years. It was a lean process where things worked slow and matured over time.

The blog traffic hit 2,000,000 monthly in mid-2017 and stayed fluctuating around that mark.

how-i-started-a-10k-month-blog-about-banking-investment-products

I was able to monetize the traffic but I knew that I can get repeat customers by converting my blog traffic into the email list.

I have created an email list of 20,000 subscribers with more than 1000 paid customers who bought e-books and courses.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

Genuine and unbiased advice that adds value to readers. I receive hundreds of emails every week for sponsored posts but I say NO to 99% because their product or service is not up to the mark. I would like to review the product free of cost if they add value to my reader’s life. Losing money in the short run is better than losing credibility. That’s why you would find more product comparisons on my website than promotions of any single brand.

The second thing is publishing high quality in-depth researched content so that my readers can find all the answers on the same page without shuffling between different websites. Honestly, I can not personally use all the products in banking & insurance. I wrote my personal experience when I bought insurance or my credit card got approved. Otherwise, I collect the information online, read through the user reviews online and take clues from the experience of the community members.

how-i-started-a-10k-month-blog-about-banking-investment-products

I have created different community groups to engage with a different set of audience. The list of communities is available on the Community page of CashOverflow. Some readers want to read the blog articles, some want to watch videos in the local language and some want to get involved in discussions.

There are 3 things that you need to get success in blogging

  1. Niche Selection within a big enough market
  2. Great Content
  3. Good network (with bloggers and journalists)

I have published less than 50 articles within the first 2 years on my blog because I was spending a hell lot of time in content research and self-learning. At the same time, I have published more than 50 articles on media websites and blogs as guest posts.

One of my posts became viral on YourStory with 10,000 social shares (that is like India’s TechCrunch) sending me tons of free traffic in 2017.

how-i-started-a-10k-month-blog-about-banking-investment-products

SEO & Affiliate Marketing works when you have great content in front of millions of people.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

My business is running on automation and most of the work is done by my team. I work for around 2 hours every day on my business and give the rest of my time to my family and hobbies.

Most of the entrepreneurial dreams die before germinating. You don’t need a lot of money to start an online business but a burning desire to become successful.

My childhood love was to do hands dirty in gardening. Last year I bought 1 Acre agriculture land to experiment with permaculture and making the farm self-sustainable.

In the future, my focus will be on the same 2 things - working on the farm and reducing my business time further from 2 hours a day to 4 hours a week.

I am sharing my blogging knowledge free of cost on my second hobby blog TheNicheBlogger.com where I write about selecting a profitable niche and growing a money-making business with the least effort.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

I learned from the failure of my startup that we should launch products after understanding the pains and gains of the target audience. The blog hosted on WordPress is a low-cost product to solve the issues of the target audience. Once validated, we can invest in the design and development of the website (in our case it’s product selection engines)

The second thing I learned in the past 2 years that creating standard processes would reduce the time of founders significantly. I have a process for content planning, content writing, and SEO - that my team is able to do with my minimal involvement.

The only thing that is difficult to outsource is social media management. Social media tools can help to automate post publishing and the team can help in answering comments. But I am not able to make a process to generate post ideas because social media updates are a reflection of the founder’s mind. I wish I could learn to automate social media in 2020.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

Since my primary source of income is my blog, my tools are oriented around blogging.

  • Convertkit: I have a decent reader base of more than 20K. Convertkit helps me manage to send the right email to the right person without any hassle. It gives multiple options to create funnels, automation rules that work pretty well when you have a large reader base.
  • Asana: I use asana to work management & team collaboration. Its user-friendly & interactive design helps me manage multiple projects with ease.
  • RoboForm: To store passwords and share tool access with the team without disclosing the passwords.
  • Todoist: Fixing the priority of tasks gives me clarity on what to do in first place on a regular basis.
  • Google Calendar: I rely on Google Calendar to get clarity on my monthly goals. I can schedule events for recurring tasks like weekly team meetings, meeting with clients.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

Books

Blogs

I recommend two blogs to follow: Backlinko for SEO and Copyhackers for writing better at copywriting skills.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

Just start.

Most of the entrepreneurial dreams die before germinating. You don’t need a lot of money to start an online business but a burning desire to become successful.

After starting, work persistently on your Blog, YouTube, Instagram, SaaS, E-com or whatever you like to learn. If you focus on learning, the earning would happen soon or later.

Where can we go to learn more?

-  
Pardeep Goyal,   Founder of Cash Overflow

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We interview successful business owners and share the stories behind their business. By sharing these stories, we want to help others get started.

Interested in sharing your own story? Find out how!

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Pat Walls,   Founder of Starter Story

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