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Interview: Matthew Allen from Dumb Passive Income

Dumb Passive Income - Matthew Allen

 Some time ago I promised all of my wonderful readers at OHP that I would begin to showcase other online entrepreneurs that you should know.  It took me a little while to get this going, but I'm happy to report that today I am publishing my first interview from a friend of mine named Matthew over at DumbPassiveIncome.com.

Instead of me blabbing on and on about what it took to get here, just realize that moving forward I am going to try to incorporate more of these types of posts in the future so you can become better acquainted with other people who's content I follow (and enjoy!).  

With that being said, let's get right into it.

Who is Matthew Allen?

I'm a full-time trucker, a part-time blogger and an imaginary entrepreneur. I also make the claim that I am the only known trucker who is blogging about creating passive income online. Head on over to my blog and check out the About page if you want the long version of who I am.

I'm eager to get these questions from Ron answered! So here I go…

1. What are the names of all the websites that you own?

I don't typically reveal ALL of my sites publicly, for security reasons. I've seen other bloggers get burned by revealing their sites publicly and I don't want it to happen to me. But I can tell you a little bit about each of the sites I am currently running and working on. This list won't include my PBN domains or any failed sites I had in the past that I let expire (there are plenty of those!).

  • RamblingFever.com – this is the VERY first domain I ever purchased. I ended up starting a personal finance blog on a sub-domain for it (money.ramblingfever.com). That was my beginner blog where I did a ton of learning and made a million mistakes. I quit writing on that blog in May 2012 and started my current blog…
  • DumbPassiveIncome.com – this has been my main blog and my brand since May 2012.
  • Niche Sites
    • Pest control site (undisclosed) – this was my VERY first niche site that I ever attempted to build. If you dig deep into the archives of my blog, you might be able to find a link to it. It's seasonal in nature and made several hundred dollars this past summer with me doing almost no work at all on it.
    • Scholarship site (undisclosed) – started as a 4-page mini niche site targeting just a few keywords. Has now grown to an authoritative site in a very specific type of scholarship niche – with 89 published posts. Growing an email list for that audience, currently at 3,500 and growing every day. Monetized by Adsense and some affiliate products.
    • Personal care product site (undisclosed) – an Amazon site targeting lots of long tail keywords with lots of informational content. Selling several lower-priced products almost every single day via Amazon.
    • RealMiterSawReviews.com – I did reveal this site to my audience on my blog, so I don't mind revealing it here too. I did a lot of work on this site up front, but never got it ranking well. It's just been sitting and aging while I continue working on other sites.
    • Healthcare product review site (undisclosed) – another Amazon site created over one year ago. I'm continuing to work on and improve this site and try to get it ranking higher in the search engines.
    • Healthcare information and product review site (undisclosed) – My latest niche site and the site I am focusing the most on right now. I believe that this site has the most potential of all my niche sites. First post published in early June 2015. As of late August 2015 I have 35 posts published already and plans to publish more than 200 keyword specific posts at about 3 per week. Main monetization focus is Amazon with potential to add Adsense later.
  • Client Sites – built these sites for some personal friends who have local businesses

Note: I do not actively seek out local clients to build sites for. There is plenty of money to be made there. I just don't have the extra time.

2. How do you balance your time as a full-time truck driver and part-time internet entrepreneur?

If only it were as simple as balancing between just those two things – ha!

The easy answer to that would be that I work on my internet stuff early in the morning, before starting my day job as a truck driver. And that is exactly what I do every single day.

But the real challenge is balancing my family life among those two things. I have to be consciously careful to keep my priorities in check – and my family is my #1 priority. So I get up at 5am every morning and work until they wake up. Sometimes I'll work at night for an extra hour after the kids are all in bed. I almost never work while they are awake.

As far as the truck driver part. I'm not one of those over-the-road truckers who sleeps in his truck and is away from home for several weeks at a time. I work Monday thru Friday, starting at 9am everyday and working only 40 to 45 hours at my day job. I love being a trucker. I work for one of the best companies on the planet. I never have to think about anything day job related when I'm not there – so it's easy to concentrate on my internet stuff during my free time at home.

3. With all the things that you've tried over the years with online business, what has been the most effective in making you money?

I've made money lots of different ways online over the years. It's hard to say what has been the most effective. Two things come to mind right away. I previously sold a service via my blog – a keyword research service. Almost every time I got a keyword research package ready and up for sale, it would sell that same day. People loved my service and I provided great value. So I guess that was pretty effective.

The problem was – it wasn't passive at all. I was trading time for money.

The other thing that came to mind right away is affiliate marketing. I love promoting products and services on my blog. And the thing is, I only promote things that I actually use and things that help me get results and create online income. The best thing about this is that it creates passive income. I'm still earning from posts that I wrote years ago! I've effectively created a nice stream of passive income by promoting other products as an affiliate on my passive income blog! Pretty cool, huh?

4. If you could give a person one single piece of advice about starting an online business, what would it be?

Try to stay focused on just one thing. Not being able to do just that has been my biggest struggle and probably the main reason that I haven't hit the internet jackpot yet. I've always jumped from one thing to the next – and get excited about new projects or opportunities that arise – then go back to old projects – then on to something else. I've never been able to stay focused for very long on just one thing. As a result – I have a whole bunch of mediocre sites than earn a decent amount – but nowhere near their potential. I need to force myself to focus on just one site at a time for a period of several straight months (or even years). I'm absolutely positive that I could and would get better results if I would just stay focused.

5. What do you think are the most common mistakes people have in starting their own internet business?

Probably the most common mistake is not making mistakes. If you're not making mistakes, then you're doing it wrong. If you're not making mistakes, that means you're not doing anything. If you're not doing anything, you're not learning anything. Most of my best learning has come in the form of me making mistakes and then having to figure out how to fix them.

Another common mistake I see quite a bit is people looking for shortcuts or looking for “the easy way out.” Making money on the internet is not a get rich quick scheme. If you're going to do it right and you want your internet income to last – you're going to have to put in a TON of work. It's not easy. But luckily, for some of us, it's a lot of fun!

6. Who are three people that have inspired you the most?

Lots and lots of people have inspired me in my life over the years. I'm guessing you want to know about my internet or business related inspirations, so I'll give you three of those:

  • Pat Flynn (bet you never would have guessed that) – needs no explanation – his Smart Passive Income podcast has been my biggest source of inspiration
  • Spencer Haws – probably the biggest name in the world of niche sites with his Niche Pursuits blog – but the success he has created with his software business (Long Tail Pro) is really what has inspired and impressed me the most
  • John Lee Dumas – although I have no desire to create a podcast the way that he built Entrepreneur on Fire – it's hard not to be impressed and inspired by how fast he built his audience, his business and his insanely ridiculous monthly income.

In case you didn't notice – my inspirations are 3 of the top earning internet marketers who are blogging or talking about exactly what they are doing and how they are doing it. I try to model my blog as kind of a scaled down version of these – with hopes, dreams and plans of one day making it big time!

7. What are 3 of your favorite books/podcasts/blogs that you can't live without?

Again, I'm guessing you want to know about internet or business related stuff here. As a Christian, the Bible is the first book that comes to mind. Without it, I wouldn't have my free ticket to everlasting life. So quite literally, I “can't live without” it. But other than that, I'll tell you about 3 other books that have had a huge impact on me (I already mentioned blogs and podcasts above):

  • Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki – I read this book probably 10 years ago and it was the first book that had a major impact on shifting my mindset towards being an entrepreneur.
  • The Traveler's Gift by Andy Andrews – Written in the form of a fictional story, but based around real life historical figures – this is a fantastic book that explains perspective and personal responsibility and how every individual makes choices throughout their lives that determine their own outcomes.
  • The Millionaire Fastlane by MJ DeMarco – MJ challenges other popular authors and public personalities in the personal finance space and basically calls them out for getting rich themselves in the fast lane while teaching others how to get rich in the slow lane. Ever since reading this book, my mindset has shifted even more and now I am more focused than ever on figuring out how to create my own fast lane millions so that I can enjoy my wealth while I am still somewhat young.

Note: I did not include The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss. I did read it and I have to admit, I wasn't very impressed or inspired by it. I know it's a very popular book for many wanna-be internet entrepreneurs like myself. It just didn't click with me for some reason. The tone of the entire book seemed cocky or something. I didn't like it.

8. Do you personally feel like social media is helping your business substantially?  If so, what are your preferred social networks and why?

I use social media and I enjoy it. But, NO. I do not think it is helping substantially.

It's nice to be able to connect with readers and other bloggers via social media once in awhile. But I doubt it's making a huge impact on the earnings for any of my sites.

I mainly use Twitter and Google+ for internet related stuff. I've tried to keep my Facebook account separate for just friends and family that I actually know in real life – but I've been using it lately to join some private Facebook Groups for internet related stuff.

9. Do you utilize outsourcing to make your business(es) run?  If so, what has your experience been and what would you advise people to do before they outsource for the first time?

Yes. I have a regular writer and VA, both of whom have been working for me for well over a year now. Over 2 years for my writer! I wouldn't be anywhere near as far as I am today with my niche site earnings without their help.

My writer does a fantastic job at researching and writing high quality articles on any topic I give her and to any specifications that I provide. I've trained my VA to do several tasks that were far too time consuming for me. Things like checking and fixing broken links on all of my sites, editing, formatting and posting content (plus adding images, links and all other on page SEO stuff) on my niche sites, photo editing, and some basic research assignments. My overall experience with outsourcing has been awesome. I feel very fortunate to have found such great and loyal people to work on my team and help me build my internet business.

My advice – talk to somebody else who has already outsourced before you start doing it yourself. In my case, I was in a private mastermind and everybody else in there had experience with outsourcing and during one of our weekly meetings (when I was in the hotseat), I had them explain the entire process to me. I asked every question I could think of and I got answers before jumping in.

10. Any additional words of wisdom for the OHP community?

Stay up to date. For whatever type of business you are trying to create or run – or whatever you are doing online – stay up to date. Read blogs or other publications. Listen to podcasts. Connect with like-minded people. Keep track of the latest trends and strategies. Try new things that are working for others and dump old strategies that aren't producing results.

Always be learning. Always keep educating yourself in one way or another. And I don't mean by paying for a college education. I mean by researching things and looking up things that are relevant to you, your interests and whatever you are trying to do to create a business or an income.

Have integrity. This one is simple. Just follow the golden rule. Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.

 

So, what did you think about Matthew's advice?  He's available to answer questions in the comments, feel free to ask away!


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  • What a fascinating insight Matthew. I’m am just at the stage of getting my authority site up and running, and just starting blogging. You have opened up my mind to a lot of possibilities re more websites but one thing I do take away from you is stay focused and concentrate on one until it is up and running and earning to its full potential. The other great piece of advice is outsourcing. I’m not great at delegating. I always feel ‘I need to do it myself’; partly because I need to know and learn how to do it all, and yes because control is important to me. But time only stretches so far.
    So my question to you: where did your find your VA and writer?
    Also – I would love to know more about how you developed your Scholarship niche site. I am in a niche area in art.. I am a Pastel medium specialist/tutor/lecturer/historian, and I have a good following. I am about to look at affiliates and learn about keywords. Apart from bringing in manufacturers of pastel etc. are there any other areas an educational site should look at? Finally are any of your sites membership sites? I ask because I am filming courses – many of them – at the moment.

    Thanks to Prof Ron – great interview.

    • Hi Heather! I actually found both my writer and my VA on (formerly) Odesk, which is now called UpWork.com. And I’m the same way as you. I need to do everything myself to make sure it is done right. But after you do certain tasks over and over again – it just makes sense to write out detailed instructions (and/or video screencast instructions) and put them in a Standard Operationg Procedure (SOP) document and hand those tasks off to somebody else. Some stuff I still won’t outsource – but so glad to have the help from these 2 loyal ‘team members’

      My scholarship site was strictly developed initially to target just a few keywords and to monetize with Adsense. After seeing some success and growth, I had articles written for it for lots and lots more keywords. Then I created a giveaway (a huge list of scholarships) and started building an email list. My biggest failure with the site to date is my inability to monetize that email list. I’ve tried several affiliate offers – but it’s very hard to convince people who are looking for free money to actually buy something.

      I do not have any membership sites. Sounds like that might make sense for what you are working on! The thing is, with membership sites, you need to always keep producing new and fresh content to keep your members happy and engaged. My goal is to create more passive income streams – so a membership site wouldn’t make sense for my sites.

      Thanks for the questions and comments! Glad you liked the interview.

    • Thanks Josh. It’s tough at first to give up some of those tasks that should be outsourced. You don’t want mistakes to be made. And my VA’s and writers have always made minor mistakes. The thing is – mistakes can always be fixed and they turn into learning moments both for me and for the people I am hiring. Just take the first step and start creating SOP’s for certain tasks – then start to find help. Maybe start with just one task and build from there.

    • Josh,

      Just wanted to chime in here and urge you to start doing this as its one of the biggest mistakes most people make.

      VA’s will happily work for $5-$6 per hour and they are AWESOME if you train them to be. Your time is worth more than that.

      I plan on trying to create some more content around this topic soon, stay tuned.

  • Hi Ron,

    Thank you for sharing this interview with us and introducing Matthew to the community.

    My question to Matthew is:

    I am a wellness coach that loves to work with people one on one. That is really my passion. I am planning to build a website regarding my services but would also like ideas on how to monetize the site as well in order to generate some passive income since that is always a nice bonus. Any recommendations on how to best do that for this field? Or should I focus on doing what I love and stick to that?

    I appreciate any helpful insights.

    Aida

    • Hi Aida. Full disclosure here – I just Googled, What is a wellness coach? Lol. From my understanding of what you do, it seems like there could be a million ways to monetize a site like that. Since wellness coaching could include treatments for quite a vast variety of situations/problems that people have.

      You could write articles targeting lots and lots of different keywords. You could promote affiliate products. Ex. – to help people with weight loss, promote an online weight loss program or ebook. Or even weight loss supplements sold on Amazon. In fact, Amazon could be used for a lot. Anytime you can recommend any product for anything – it is probably sold on Amazon.

      If I were you – I would focus on what you love first. Build the site for that. Then keep adding articles over time and begin to learn how to monetize through content marketing.

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