How I Started A $1.5K/Month Blog About Career Advice

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

My name is Nissar Ahamed, and I am the Founder and CEO of CareerMetis.com.

CareerMetis.com is an online publication geared towards job seekers and freelancers.

Our primary audience is between 18-35yrs old (young professionals. They are either looking for a new job or gig, or they already have a job and want to take it to the next level.

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We help job seekers and freelancers with information (advice, tips, insights). We do this via blog posts, infographics, podcasts, videos, etc.

Since our launch in Jun 2015, we have published close to 3000+ pieces of content (articles, podcasts) in many topics ranging from job search, interview tips, freelancing tips, negotiation, rapid skill acquisition, hiring, remote work, etc.

Most of the content has been created by our network of guest contributors.

To date, we have had over 1300 unique contributors submit their content on our site; and we average around 40-50 new articles a month on our publication.

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Our current monthly revenue averages around $1000, and all of it is by me working on this part-time mainly as a side hustle.

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

I started my 20s like most new graduates — unemployed and eager to start earning a living. I had just moved to Toronto, Canada, and I wanted to get a decent start to my carer.

But, as you can imagine, I went through all the challenges of the job search. I sent numerous applications and got only a handful of interviews and then struggled to convert those interviews into a successful job offer.

After a year of struggle and odd jobs, I did manage to break through and land a successful corporate job at age 22 in the electronic payments industry. It was my first breakthrough and laid the foundation for a successful Corporate Sales Career.

Since then, I have had to do most things that all young professionals had to do — negotiate a higher salary, get promoted, or get a new job.

I did all of them successfully. I also went through challenges such as lay-offs. All of this happened in my early to mid-20s.

Each step of the way, I had to learn via books, videos, and career coaches to maximize my success. I remember that once I paid a career coach $2000 to help me negotiate a higher salary. That investment paid off, and I got a sizable pay increase of 15% when the rest of my team struggled to get a 3-4% raise.

Consistency has been my best friend. For more than 4 years, I have worked on this side-hustle. It has taken a lot of time and effort to learn blogging, SEO, link building, email marketing, content marketing, etc. The more time & energy I have put in, the more I reap the benefits.

Later, I also hired a career coach to create a compelling resume when I decided to leave that job, and that also paid off.

I was able to successfully navigate a sales career in many companies and industries. I reached a point where I was no longer afraid of losing a job or getting downsized because I knew that I could get a new position in a few weeks (45 days to be precise).

Job search and job change became both an art and science, and I had cracked it.

I then started sharing these ideas freely with my friends and family. Anyone who was going through an application or interview stage, I would share my ideas/strategies with them openly, not expecting anything in return. I just wanted to help.

At that point, a couple of my friends suggested that I start a blog and share all these ideas. They suggested that these ideas are evergreen, and many others would benefit from my ideas.

I brushed it off initially. I thought to myself, who would want to read my advice.

It took me 18 months of hesitation, self-doubt, self-persuasion, and the entrepreneurial bug for me to take action.

I finally registered the domain “CareerMetis.com.

I was looking for a word that meant “knowledge or skills,” and the best I found was “ Metis,” a Greek goddess who embodied wisdom.

So I registered the domain in Oct 2013. However, it wasn’t until June 2015 that I started blogging.

From June 2015 to Feb 2016, I wrote the first 100 articles and have not looked back since.

Describe the process of launching the business.

To be candid, I had no clue about blogging or content creation. I didn't even know the depth of the industry and did not realize that "content marketing" was actually a thing.

In 2015, I was working in software sales at that point and had a decent career. I started blogging part-time, so I could learn the process.

My costs were little — annual domain registration, monthly hosting fee, and a Gmail account. All of this cost less than $20 a month.

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My original goal was to write 10 articles in 90 days. I thought that I could easily hit that target.

At that point, I had just read and listened to Grant Cardone's The 10X Rule. It puts a fire under my butt to raise my targets, so I upped my goal to write 100 articles in 6 months. It was one of the best decisions I made early in my blogging career.

Every weekend I would head to the local Starbucks and write.

how-i-started-a-1-5k-month-blog-about-career-advice

I wrote It about things I knew something about — job search, interview preparation, productivity, motivation, book reviews, etc.

I had no clue how to write, I just wrote. Now, I am embarrassed by reading some of my earliest articles. I can't imagine I wrote it. It wasn't very good.

Over the course of 6 months, I wrote over 100 articles.

I didn't care about results or traffic or social media attention or even making money. I had set a goal, and I wanted to write. The writing process was fun.

Then around that 6-month mark - something happened.

Someone reached out to me saying that she liked the articles on my site, and wanted to contribute. Honestly, I didn't know that was actually a thing - where people wrote on other's sites. I accepted her request. It was a win-win situation for both of us.

Soon a few weeks later, another person reached out wanting to contribute. I accepted his offer too.

That's when it hit me. I thought to myself, "Why am I writing all the articles? Should I leverage other people to get more content out"?

It was another right decision on my part, and I switched gears and started focusing on building the contributor network.

I started reading blogs, books and started learning what other bloggers have done. Some of the really successful bloggers pivoted to a publisher model Huffington Post, TechCrunch, Addicted2Success, etc.

I decided to become the HuffPost for "career advice."

So, I invested my time and effort into outreach — reaching out to as many influencers, career coaches, etc. I encouraged and persuaded them to become guest authors on CareerMetis.com.

Some of them agreed. Soon I went form 2 contributors to 25 contributors. This was Feb 2016. And by the end of 2016, I had over 100 contributors.

I decided to take a break from writing and became the Editor. The blog was evolving into something bigger than I had imagined.

In May 2016, something else happened. I received an email from an advertiser wanting to place a sponsored post on CareerMetis.com. That was my first few dollars I had earnt online, and I was hooked. I wanted more.

So, I decided to make that my primary monetization strategy — sponsored posts or advertising revenue.

Today we have worked with over 80 different Advertising Agencies and Sponsors. Here's the best part.. all of them reached out to me, and I have not spent a dime on paid advertising. Organic traffic or inbound continues to be our primary marketing channel.

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

The primary channel has been SEO (search engine traffic). Since we publish about 40 to 50 unique pieces of content per month, we have started to rank for a variety of keywords.

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Another really effective channel is cold emailing.

I have used cold emails and email marketing to get most of my original guest authors. I also sent email campaigns to the guest authors in my funnel requesting them for their submissions.

I also email people who have previously published guest posts on our site. Most of them are really surprised that a Publisher has reached back to them for additional content.

Some of the contributors have become regular contributors who have published multiple regularly (monthly or weekly) on CareerMetis.com.

Email Campaigns have also have helped get repeat business from sponsors or advertisers.

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

I am still operating the business part-time.

I no longer work in the corporate world. Mid-2019, I realized that I have the skills, experience, acumen to succeed - so I quit my job in May 2019. It was both an exciting and scary decision.

I realized that I have written and edited so many articles, but have not really monetized the skill-set. So in 2019, I also decided to monetize my blogging and content marketing skills.

So, I currently support myself as a Freelance Content Writer. The income from freelancing helps cover my bills, and it helps me grow my side-hustle.

Fall in Love With the Process. Focus more on learning the skills and honing the craft versus just making money.

If it was not for my side-hustle and the grind over the years, I would not have been able to start freelancing. So, in effect, my side hustle (CareerMetis.com) has helped me earn more income than just merely from the actual business itself.

The monthly income from CareerMetis.com increases every year. Also, each month I spend relatively less time than before. As the traffic increases, so did the ad revenue (Adsense and Ezoic) and sponsored posts.

Primary Business Goals: - My short-term goal is to get to a point where I can work on CareerMetis.com full-time. I hope to make this goal a reality by the end of 2020. - We are currently averaging around 30000 visitors a month. By the end of 2020, the goal is to reach 1000000 monthly visitors and $10,000 monthly revenue.

Additional Business Goals:

  • More Content

    • I also want to add more depth and breadth to the type of resources we can provide our audience.
    • In addition to content (blog posts, podcasts), I want to add more free tools, guides, videos, ebooks, interview series, etc.
  • Job Board

    • Launch a universal job board.
    • The goal is to provide job seekers with a single job search portal that will curate job listings from multiple websites.
    • We just launched the beta version in Dec 2019.
    • The current has job listings from over 60+ countries and over 75+ different job categories.

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  • Career Coaching Marketplace
    • In Q1 2019, my goal is also to launch a career coaching marketplace.
    • The goal is to help job seekers find the relevant coaches that they can connect with and hire.
    • The career coaches will offer related services — with resume writing, LinkedIn profile writing, job interview coaching, salary negotiation, etc.

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

I believe it’s essential to start a business in a niche that you either have some experience in or have a keen interest in.

I lucked out by finding a niche (career advice) that is evergreen. Also, at the same time, I am very passionate about the industry. I don’t see myself getting bored in the next 5 years. There is no shortage of ideas or things that I can do in this area.

Consistency has been my best friend. For more than 4 years, I have worked on this side-hustle. It has taken a lot of time and effort to learn blogging, SEO, link building, email marketing, content marketing, etc. The more time & energy I have put in, the more I reap the benefits.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

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

I am constantly learning and upskilling. Continuous-never ending improvement is and always has been my motto.

Some of these resources I have read or used once while others I go back to them every year or periodically.

My business strategy & tactics that have been shaped by the information I have received from the books and podcasts listed below.

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

Fall in Love With the Process.

Focus more on learning the skills and honing the craft versus just making money. In my case, all the years of blogging and content marketing have now helped me make additional income as a freelance writer. You never know where you will get your breakthrough.

So, if you be more patient and continue to work on the business, eventually, you will reap the rewards of your labor.

Practice Consistent Consistent persistence.

We all know that persistence is about never giving up. However, add another element to persistence, which is consistency. Mixing them both creates a powerful tool, which I call “consistent persistence.”

Do something every day for as long as it takes to make your business a reality.

Become a Heuristic Learner.

Everything I have learned I have learned by doing. From creating a blog to writing articles to producing a publication, to launching a podcast, etc. All of this was learned by trial-and-error.

Many times I have made stupid mistakes which have cost me tons of time and energy to learn (or unlearn). However, all that trial-and-error solidifies the learning.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

I will be hiring part-time or contract writers to outsource some of the writing.

I will also need to hire SEO experts or freelancers to help with content and site optimization.

In Q2 2020, I will also hire a virtual assistant to take care of some admin stuff, so I can focus more on PR, marketing, strategy, etc.

Where can we go to learn more?

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!

-  
Nissar Ahamed,   Founder of CareerMetis.com

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