When you become an entrepreneur, you get tons of questions. At least I did.
Many of the questions I received centered around people doubting the practicality of my decision and how I’d make any money.
Sometimes it’s my neighbor at a local church festival congratulating me on my books and then asking genuinely, “Are you making any money with that?” Other times it’s an uncle ignoring the positive possibility I shared about my business, and instead asking me if I’ll be able to afford health insurance at age 26 (I’m 23 by the way).
The questions about my income, and truthfully the real question of do you know what you’re doing, come often.
So while everything wasn’t smooth and nothing in the future is guaranteed, this month I reaped the rewards of my labor more than ever before.
In December 2016, I made over $10,000 doing work that I love.
Use This Story As Inspiration
Before we get to the income timeline, I recognize that $10,000 in a month is nothing for a big time entrepreneur.
Many top performers make more than that in an hour. And their goal is $1 million a month or more. So compared to the whales out there, I’m still a minnow.
That’s why I’m not saying, “I made it. Look at me!” I’m saying this is what’s possible when you take a risk and do what you’re passionate about.
My sole purpose behind this post is to inspire you.
I want to inspire the kid who just started their own blog, YouTube channel, or podcast. The dropout who started their clothing business. And the young professional who daydreams about their goals while stuck in a cubicle.
Part of me didn’t want to post this. But then I figured it would be a disservice to the people with a successful mindset. I certainly would have appreciated reading a post like this as a new entrepreneur.
If you do what successful people do, you will look at this post as a sign of confidence that you too can chase your dreams and get paid for it.
You’ll look at the hard work and respect it. You’ll notice that I’m no different from you, and you’ll be encouraged and inspired to get yours.
If you have an unsuccessful (scarcity) mindset, then you’re going to hate reading this. I’m not sorry. Just know it’s never too late to join the winning side who are doing what they love and making a living. And what has hating on someone ever gotten you? Nothing.
Plus, if I get less questions about, “Are you making any money?,” because of this post, then I’ll take that.
Lastly, I’d be lying if I didn’t say I want to inspire myself to keep pushing and never stop. Because when I undoubtedly reach a difficult business season in the future, I can come back to this post as inspiration.
I will remember the struggle to go from only making $500 in March 2016 to more than $10,000 nine months later.
And I’ll know that I climbed that mountain, so why can’t I climb the mountain for a six or seven figure month down the road? I believe I can and I will.
Alright, below is the timeline of my entrepreneurial journey from beginning to now. As you’ll see, I slowly but surely built my income brick by brick.
Timeline To A Five Figure Month
Traffic Growth, Zero Monetization: Entrepreneurial Months 1 To 8
Date: January 2015 to August 2015
Total Income Streams: 2
1. Sales job
In my senior year of college, I had the idea to start TakeYourSuccess.com. So for the first eight months after that, half as a student and half as an outside sales rep, I just focused on growing my website traffic and email subscribers.
This meant about three blog posts a week, an email out to the newsletter each week, social media marketing, and doing some interviews.
If I had it over again, I would have monetized earlier. Because I had the false perception that you can only monetize if you have a big email list, which isn’t true. A big email list helps, but if you have committed fans, then you can sell with only a few hundred subscribers.
And besides my outside sales paycheck starting in June during this time, a couple hundred dollars from stock dividends marked my only other income.
My only business expense was website hosting, which is like $60 for 12 months.
Became A Bestselling Author: Entrepreneurial Months 9 To 14
Date: September 2015 to February 2016
Total Income Streams: 3
1. Book sales
2. Affiliate earnings
After growing a decent audience, I received tons of emails from subscribers looking for resume and job search strategies. So I decided to write a book on exactly that.
In late September 2015, The Golden Resume became an Amazon bestseller. I felt extremely proud at that moment of my life (thanks to all of you who bought it, reviewed it, and spread the word). And these book sales immediately sent a sizable passive income to my bank account each month.
Also during this time, I realized that starting a blog forever changed my life.
Since I saw so much value in having a blog, I published a page on my site recommending other visitors to start their own blog. I set up an affiliate link with BlueHost, which pays me an affiliate commission when people sign up through it.
I did have more business expenses during September. The book editor, book cover designer, and formatter all combined to cost around $500. After that, business expenses remained at zero, pretty much.
And I still had my outside sales job income during this stretch. However, after seeing progress and knowing for a 100% fact that I had the guts to do it, I resigned from my sales job to be a full-time entrepreneur in February 2016
Adding Income Streams: Entrepreneurial Months 15 To 23
Date: March 2016 to November 2016
Total Income Streams: 6
1. Book sales
2. Affiliate earnings
3. Media work
4. Blog and social media advertising
Another factor that gave me the courage to resign is I knew that my second book Freedom Mindset would come out in March and be another moneymaker. This book also became an Amazon bestseller, and this time in the super competitive personal finance category (thank you readers!).
Although the books did great and brought in solid passive income, starting out in March I took a big pay cut to go from outside sales rep to entrepreneur. (I personally believe this big pay cut and a need for security is the reason many top performers at corporate jobs don’t leave to work for themselves and make more money down the road. It’s definitely difficult in the beginning to make way less than you’re worth.)
To get back to my monthly income from my sales job and beyond, I knew I needed to add more income streams. So I looked at what other skills or experiences I had, and social media marketing is what I came up with. I figured I grew my social media presence to a noticeable size, so I could repeat that recipe for others.
While talking to a small business owner and friend, I offered to do his Instagram and Twitter marketing. He accepted. That snowballed to working with another small business and startup on their social media.
Right around this time, I also discovered that many small business owners didn’t know how to build a website. So I added that service to my monthly income. And building websites for people then offering my social media service is a natural transition that people will pay for.
As the traffic on TakeYourSuccess.com grew to 10,000 to 15,000 views a month, and my social media accounts grew in the tens of thousands of followers, I started receiving advertising deals. When some sponsorships did happen, these made a big push in building my monthly income.
And although it’s technically a byproduct of The Golden Resume, a few college and medical school students paid me for resume coaching. That goes to show all the income streams available after writing a book.
Next, my book How To College came out at the end of August, 2016. This book also become an Amazon bestseller and sold well. I did some different marketing strategies with this one—including selling paperback books for $10 a piece, face to face at the NACAC National College Fair in Cincinnati. And here’s a funny story. When I tried to sell books at a high school college fair, they kicked me out for disturbing the event process—what a joke!
Lastly, my stock dividends kept pouring in this year and growing as I increased my contributions. Compounding interest is one of the most beautiful processes on the planet. Of any of these income streams below, investing in an S&P 500 index fund is by far the easiest and it’s guaranteed to pay dividends quarterly. (Learn more by ordering Freedom Mindset).
Five Figure December: Entrepreneurial Month 24
Date: December 2016
Total Income Streams: 6
1. Book sales
2. Affiliate earnings
3. Media work
4. Blog and social media advertising
Now it’s time for the $10,000 month recap.
I didn’t add any new income streams this month. I just doubled down on the current ones to put in more work, and receive more income.
Basically my book royalties, affiliate earnings, advertising, coaching, and dividends all stayed strong and steady in December.
What made the difference is I put in serious hustle in the media work income stream. By media work, this usually covers anything from social media marketing, website building, SEO service, and content writing for clients.
This month, the content writing paid off, literally. Because I worked with a software company to write the content for the apps they needed for a big client. This work didn’t just pay well, the material also educated me and I learned new skills. So I’m grateful for that contract and looking to do more work with the software company in the future.
And I met another entrepreneur who hired me for some extra content writing and SEO service. That also padded the monthly income for a five figure December.
Want to know the icing on the cake? I’m still living at my parent’s place and my business expenses are at $50 in December—which means I’m pocketing close to 100% of that money. (All you young adults who don’t hate your parents and still can, I encourage you to seriously consider living at home to build your nest egg for financial freedom. Or live at home and use that extra money, that would have gone to rent, on travel. I’ll move out soon, but right now I’m 23 and work almost all the time so there’s no need.)
There you have a unique look into my young entrepreneurial journey. You may be wondering, what’s next?
In January 2017, I’m going to announce and launch the online course I’ve been working on for four months. I have a good feeling it’s going to be epic!
Join Me On This Journey
I knew I could take the entrepreneurial jump and succeed all along.
I just had to prove it to myself. And now that I have, I want to you to know you can make a living doing what you love.
Work doesn’t have to be a drag. You don’t have to live for the weekend. You actually can—and should—find satisfaction, purpose, and value from your work.
Work is inherently a good thing. Humans were designed to use our brains and bodies to work. I want to spread this message like wildfire.
To the budding entrepreneurs and everyone else, I encourage you to invest in yourself. Choose the you economy. Don’t rely on a single job, economy, or government, to tell you what you’re worth and what you can do.
I encourage you to become self aware of what you’re passionate about doing. Search for and experiment with work that you would do without the money. When you put enough hard work and time into it, which will be easy when you enjoy it, the money will come.
Now it’s back to work for me. I can’t publish a post in the future named “My First $100K Income Month” and “My First $1 Million Income Month” if I don’t hustle.
Take your success!
How Rob Hanes Created A Million-Views-Per-Year Esports Website
Rob Hanes is all in on sports, specifically esports.
He’s the founder of TheGameHaus.com—a website that covers the biggest news in esports and sports, and they’re quite good at what they do because their new on the block website brings in millions of views per year.
Fortunately, last week Rob and I talked and I got him to do an interview for you guys (I’m always trying to look out for my readers). There’s a bunch of quality content in here if you’re thinking about creating a website or entrepreneurial project, finding your passion, or working with a group of friends. And if esports is your thing, Rob has opinionated takes on the present and future of this rapidly growing industry.
How did you get started with this?
I started TheGameHaus.com almost on accident. My friend and I had wanted to keep talking sports as we had done on our Miami radio show. We then decided we wanted to keep writing. A couple of people we worked with at The Miami Student decided they wanted to join us and then it kind of just kept going from there.
Knowing The Game Haus is only a few years old, how does it feel to be bringing in millions of page views a year?
I remember when getting a 100 views was amazing. I would sit and have Google Analytics on one screen while working on other things for hours. Now we are depressed when we get a few thousand in a day. It is that hunger that keeps us from being complacent. To answer your question more directly, it is an amazing feeling but, after a few minutes of enjoying it we push forward thinking of new ways to continue growing.
For our readers who are unaware, what is esports by definition?
Esports are electronic sports. Essentially professional competition in high skill video games. This means you must have incredible skills through reactions, practice time, and a deep understanding of the game to be successful. Unlike most video games these ones have a higher skill cap in order to be amazing at them.
In your eyes, what’s the potential of esports going forward? Could it ever rival the popularity of sports like the NFL or NBA?
I believe esports have the potential to rival smaller traditional sports very quickly and some may have already passed viewership numbers for a few of them. For the giants like NFL, MLB, NFL, NHL, and EPL it is going to take a long time to get near those numbers. Those sports have hundreds of years of success and fanbases behind them.
Esports will get there if they can make it through the first five years of franchising. Their fans will grow with more and more children playing video games. Also esports are tapping into that market of people who never liked or played traditional sports which is way bigger than people may know.
Why do you think sports behemoths like ESPN and ABC have been slower to cover esports?
I think they are bringing a wait and see approach. Longevity has always been the biggest issue in competitive video games. Most games (competitively) only last a couple of years because they get outdated or just boring. With games like League of Legends, Overwatch, and CS:GO things are constantly being updated and changing.
With new franchising in League and Overwatch I believe that more people are realizing their ability to adapt and change to solve the longevity issue. These same people are now investing huge amounts of money because they believe in it. This makes me believe that ESPN will start investing more time and effort into esports very soon.
What do you make of NBA teams hopping on board the esports train?
Right now it seems as though the NBA is all-in on esports. The last two years are evident of that. Multiple teams have bought into or own esports organizations. There are also a number of NBA players, managers, coaches, and owners who are involved in the NBA still or were involved that have invested into esports (ie. Rick Fox who owns and started Echo Fox).
Hell they have even started the NBA 2K League which I expect to be a big success with direct partnership with Adam Silver, the NBA, and the 17 NBA teams that are in its first season.
If everything goes right going forward, what are your ambitions for The Game Haus?
I expect us to be in the conversation for being a top sports and esports combo site in the next few years. We want to show that are one stop shop for information and opinions on both. With our viewerbase and fanbase growing we hope to challenge the top companies and continue to push our way into this conversation as we get more funding.
Where’s the best place TYS readers can go to learn more about your esports and sports content?
Thanks Rob, go kill it this year!
Prediction: These Will Be The 5 Biggest Winners Of 2018
A new year means a new group of people are going to capitalize in 2018 by taking their life to a whole different level of success and happiness
Do you know who is going to come out on top in this new year? If you did, it’d be smart to join these groups so you can also have an amazing year.
Here’s where it pays off to read this blog: I’m going to tell you who is going to win before it ever happens. Then it’s up to you to join these groups so you can win big in 2018.
I’m not calling it a guarantee but I’m very confident in each one of these picks. Let’s start with number 1.
The 5 Biggest Winners Of 2018
1. Business owners and entrepreneurs
Honestly, I think business owners are always going to be a big winner of just about every year given all the benefits of running your own operation.
We get to build a business, make progress, challenge ourselves, compete in the toughest arena of global business, take off whenever we want, travel if we desire, receive tax advantages, etc. Read this if you want to learn more specific reasons to become an entrepreneur.
There’s just so much good when you own your own business, and all the bad doesn’t stack up.
Call me biased for this one making the list, but I wasn’t a business owner before and still felt this way so I became one.
What’s stopping you from owning your own thing, even if it’s smaller and you’re a solopreneur or freelancer? That still carries many of the same benefits so go do it already if you want to crush it this year.
2. Video creators
Blogs and podcasts are cool in all, but the vlog is where it’s at!
As I’ve said countless times, the best way to get to know someone is through seeing them, hearing their voice, and listening to what they say, aka what video does.
Other mediums like voice, images, or text just can’t deliver what video can for content creators and their audiences.
Not to mention all the statistics are lining up pretty for video creators. Take a look at these stats from this blog post on BrianRobben.com:
- About 92 percent of mobile video watchers will go on to share videos with other people
- Social video generates 1200% more shares than text and images combined
- 95% of a message is retained when watched compared to 10% when read
- People spend 88% more time on a website with video according to Mist Media
- Video traffic will account for 80% of all Internet traffic in 2019
It’s safe to say that video is the way of the present and the future. Those that keep publishing it are going to dominate in the attention department, and when you win on attention you win on sales and making money.
3. People who go live on social media’s like YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram
Video is one thing, but it’s a bonus to go live as you’ll get pushed higher in news feeds like Facebook and Instagram.
When you go live, your followers and friends will get notifications and it’s a nice way to break into new audiences who otherwise wouldn’t have watched your videos.
Here I am saying it’s going to be big but I haven’t done it yet. I plan to do this in 2018 and it’ll be a mistake if I don’t! This also means it will be a mistake for your brand if you don’t.
P.S. The way to win with the ever-changing social platforms is to do what they want to promote the most—live video is up there, if not their number one favorite type of content.
4. Cryptocurrency and stock market investors
Cryptocurrencies had a hell of a year last year as some, like Bitcoin, gained over 1,000% percent from the start to the end of 2017. It looks like they’re not done yet.
A managing director of a cryptocurrency trading firm—Octagon Strategy—Dave Chapman estimates that Bitcoin will go beyond $100,000 before 2018 ends. I also made the same prediction in this video.
Also, many analysts think cryptocurrencies are just in the 1st inning out of 9, so that’s a lot of game to be played and profits to be made if things continue to go up.
I’ll include the stock market in this because the stock market has reached all time highs and look promising in the future.
In the long haul, I believe investors are always going to win given the historical returns of major cryptocurrency coins and the stock market.
5. People who believe in themselves
You absolutely need to have faith in yourself that you can accomplish your new year’s resolutions if you’re actually going to get it done.
With no confidence, you’ll fail first and never have the courage to get back up and try again.
For a winning example, look at Kevin Hart. One of the world’s highest-paid comedians has a huge portrait on a wall in his house. His reasoning is that he needs to be his biggest fan because if he’s not then who else will be?
That’s the motto you need to have to go out there and do big things. It all starts with positive self-talk that you’re the man or woman, you’re enough, and you can get it done.
Positive thinkers will work harder and create more positive outcomes for themselves. Believe that!
2018’s Biggest Winners Wrap Up
If I had to bet, then I’m going with entrepreneurs, video creators, going live on social media, cryptocurrency investors, and people who believe in themselves will make the most out of 2018 and take the cake.
And if you’re not currently in any of those groups, there’s no better time to get started than today.
At the very least, you need to work on believing in yourself because like I said how can you accomplish a single new year’s resolution without that?
Go dominate 2018 will ya!?
Want to follow my entrepreneurial journey? Like my Facebook page and you’ll never miss a thing.
I Launched A New Website!
You guys have been with me from the beginning so I had to make a post sharing the big news with you first. I’m excited to announce the launch of BrianRobben.com!
This new site is going to be for my personal brand and the content will strictly focus on entrepreneurship and business.
That means the hot topics will be marketing, sales, social media, technology, investing, and then the classic traits of winning in business like being bold, working hard, and patiently playing for the long game.
Creating this new site was a no-brainer because I honestly have a blast sharing my unique business perspective, motivating other entrepreneurs, and documenting myself.
You’re also going to find more personal content revolving around the ups and downs of my entrepreneurial journey. Also, I see myself adding content that dives into the specifics of Illumen Media and how we’re trying to grow our company into a giant.
There’s definitely going to be crossover content between Take Your Success and my new website, except Take Your Success is less Brian-focused and its mission is 100% to provide personal development tips and motivation for you.
And just like TYS, BrianRobben.com will publish video and written blog post content.
Simply put, if you’re looking for specific news on me and to follow my journey then head over to BrianRobben.com.
If you love the content on Take Your Success then keep coming back because by no means am I going to stop publishing content here. This site will forever be my first-born entrepreneurial baby.
Or you can be a champ by checking out the new content on both websites every week so you won’t miss a thing.
Don’t forget to click around the new site at BrianRobben.com!