Before you jump right into spamming the internet with articles that no-one will read, Youtube videos that no-one watches, or spending money on services you don’t even understand, you NEED to have your “ducks in a row”, as they say.
Don’t worry! I got you covered.
Let’s just take this one step at a time, and you’ll be off on your own building the life of your dreams before you know it.
If you get confused or frustrated at any point, just stop, take a deep breath, and relax!
Life is REALLY simple, BUT it has a way of overwhelming us temporarily.
It’ll be okay, I will take this slow and walk you through EVERYTHING, one step at a time.
I know a lot of people will tell you “Hey, just start a blog and you’ll figure it out!”, which isn’t exactly false… HOWEVER, you don’t want to waste a ton of time “figuring it out” while your financial situation is a total mess, like I did. Trust me… it’s not fun.
You don’t have to go get a degree in finance to understand the basics…
You just need to know enough to be able to afford the things you need to get started, and to avoid getting financially ruined by the ups and downs of this business.
It’s all pretty basic stuff, yet most of us weren’t taught it.
So let’s go over some of the things you NEED to know, such as:
Income Producing Assets vs Expenses
Most people think they know what these two words mean, but they don’t usually understand the implications.
When you have an income producing asset (i.e. stocks, businesses, rental properties, or even your time), they bring money in, which allows you to buy more assets and get more income…
When you have expenses and liabilities (i.e. credit card debt, subscriptions, car payments, mortgage payments), your money gets spent and you can’t afford as many income producing assets.
You may be asking “What does this have to do with content marketing?”
Let me give you an example… Something that I’ve personally come across in my journey to become a content marketer, and one that you WILL too.
Pretend you’ve been researching and creating content for a few months.
You’re getting a few likes and shares, and possibly even starting to get a little organic traffic from Google to your blog that you’ve been working day and night on, BUT it’s slow and you’re frustrated.
So you go to Google, start researching ways to increase your traffic, and ultimately end up reading an article that tells you about a fancy tool that can help you get traffic faster and easier.
Or you see an ad like the one below… believe me, they’re all over the place once you start looking…
Sounds great right?
Sure… there are tools that CAN help.
After your free trial is done, there’s a hefty $99 per month expense that you’ve just added.
No problem, right? $99 per month is a small amount to pay, especially considering professional content marketers are making thousands, or even tens of thousands of dollars per month…
That’s NOT how it works.
Getting enough traffic to justify that expense takes time and effort, so you easily could have just been talked into picking up an expense, or sometimes even a LIABILITY, under some false assumptions that it’ll easily pay for itself.
Here’s a video by Robert Kiyosaki about the difference between assets and liabilities that explains this in a wonderful way:
Liabilities will ruin you, BUT there’s good news!
The power of assets
Assets are the exact opposite.
An asset doesn’t feel like it’s going to make a difference when you buy it, which is probably why most people just purchase liabilities instead, BUT over time they will make a HUGE difference.
Assets allow you to offset the costs of some of the more useful liabilities, OR if you have no liabilities, they just increase your income…
Here’s another example for you.
Let’s say you’re at the point where your blog is making a little bit of money from ads, let’s say $125 a month… it’s not enough to make you rich so you need to increase that, but you need some help.
So you do the exact same thing we talked about in the previous example.
You start searching around and come across an ad for the SEMRush SEO tool, which costs $99 per month.
It’s a huge chunk of your blog’s income, but you need to take your blogging to the next level, and your blog is already making enough to cover it.
What’s the difference between these two examples?
Instead of adding a $99 per month expense that you can’t afford, and pressuring your business, your ASSETS are paying for it, which will help you create MORE ASSETS.
So you’ve basically turned that expense into another asset…
It doesn’t matter so much that SEO takes time to kick in because everything was done in a safe and responsible way, because you created assets and then utilized them to scale your business.
Now that you have access to a SEO tool, you could even offer gigs on Fiverr, or one of the other freelancing websites where you charge people to use it!
Or, you could just use it for your own site…
Either way, you now have access to tools that can help you, and you’re in a much better spot than you would have been if you were to have made a purchase with no safety net in place.
In this example you would even have an extra $25 per month, which easily pays for your website, and you’ll have a few dollars left over to buy more assets!
THAT’S the difference between income producing assets and expenses, and you NEED to understand this stuff if you want to run a successful business, or even if you’re an employee.
It’s very important to keep this difference in mind when you make decisions, especially major purchases, because those are the ones that will REALLY cripple you financially, although even the small expenses, like a $99 SEO tool, add up.
Avoiding Unnecessary Costs
The marketing industry is full of people trying to convince you that you need all kinds of things to grow your business.
While there ARE some purchases you should seriously consider, which I’ll cover in detail in the next lesson, you NEED to understand what these marketers are up to.
They will pressure you into free trials, free training, and “get rich quick” schemes, and attempt to drain all of your money by way of a thousand cuts.
Meaning they’ll offer you a cheap (or free) service and leave out the important information, then try to upsell you 100 different things that seem affordable, so they can earn their commission.
A PERFECT example of this is how Wix, a common website builder service, lures people in with the idea of a “free professional website”, only to later find out that if you want your “free” website to have the features you need, you’re going to have to pay monthly for each and every one.
To an amateur content marketer, a free website seems like a great deal, and $14 per month to get a custom domain, and a few other benefits, doesn’t seem too expensive, right?
Well, IT IS too expensive, especially when you realize that you need all the other “benefits” from the other plans.
They will gradually upsell you into bankruptcy, if you let them.
For a comparison, the web hosting I use, named Siteground (google “Siteground reviews”, it’s great), costs less than that, for the first year anyway (then it’s about the same), AND gives you ALL the benefits you need.
That 1 year is more than enough time to get your blog off the ground, and pretty much every legitimate blogger on the internet will tell you that you want to have your own hosting instead of using a service like Wix, Squarespace, or whatever the other site builder services are.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with marketers and tech companies trying to make a profit, but being aware of what’s going on and avoiding unnecessary costs will help you in the long run.
Building a Safety Net
As we discussed previously, assets can create some safety for you and your business by generating income that can be used to either grow, OR protect you from the damaging effects of liabilities.
I didn’t have the luxury of starting my career as a content marketer with a safety net, although I wish I could have.
Some people choose to use the term “safety raft”, but regardless of what you call it, it’s nice to have!
Most people think of a safety net as if they just need a lump sum of money just in case something happens in their life, but if you remember the concept about how assets can offset liabilities, that applies to your safety net as well.
IF you’re one of the lucky ones who can purchase enough assets to passively pay for basic living expenses and the ~$200 a year it costs to run a blog, then you’ll be in a MUCH better position than I was.
It can be a challenge, and you’ll have to sacrifice, but it can make a huge difference
One of the most popular ways to create a safety raft, is through investing in dividend stocks, and letting the dividends support your lifestyle, or even just pay for your site.
It doesn’t take TOO much effort to get up to $200 a year (the cost of Siteground hosting after the 1-year promotional price expires, and the cost of registering a domain for a year)
The stock market is it’s own beast, and I’m not even going to attempt to tell you how to invest, BUT if you can manage it, It’s definitely a great idea to have stocks paying you to work on your content.
The biggest key, is to lower your expenses as much as possible, because that will make you require less passive income to be able to survive while working on content marketing full-time.
If you can’t get enough passive income coming in to fully cover your expenses, that’s okay too, I have to do Postmates deliveries on the side to make up for the lack of a safety net, OR you can just use the income from your regular job and try to work on your content marketing on the side…
Just keep in mind that after working all day at a job, it’s going to be HARD to find the energy to put into any serious projects.
Time management isn’t EXACTLY personal finance, BUT as they say “Time is money”, so I’m including this here.
When you ask someone to do something hard, unpleasant, or just something they randomly don’t want to do, they’ll usually have the same excuse… “I don’t have the time.”
If you want to fail in life, the best way to do that is to make excuses and believe them.
If you “don’t have the time”, then you NEED to make time.
You’re probably thinking “Yea right! How do I magically make time, there’s only 24 hours in a day?”
Well, there’s a couple parts to it.
So let’s talk about each of these parts and see if we can free up some time for you.
Performing a time audit
Even if you DO have the time to spare, a time audit can be one of the most beneficial things you can do with your life.
It sounds kind of silly, to be honest…
When I first heard someone talk about time audits, I thought “how is using time to track my time going to be worth it? Isn’t that the opposite of what I want to do?”
I hate admitting when I’m wrong, but I was so ridiculously wrong…
Within 4 hours of auditing my time, I had already identified some problem areas, and by the next day I had SIGNIFICANTLY improved my productivity.
Almost instant results isn’t something you see a lot of in life… and MAYBE I was just REALLY wasteful with my time and didn’t know it, BUT give a time audit a try for a week and see what you think.
Here’s a great video about how to do it, they are REALLY easy:
In the video, Chris Do explains time management, how to do a time audit, and discusses sacrificing things that don’t help you meet your goals.
Creating a schedule
For years, I’ve actively REFUSED to make a schedule.
I have ADHD and following a schedule has always been EXTREMELY frustrating, so I just didn’t want to do it.
Becoming an entrepreneur quickly taught me that I needed SOME kind of structure to my day and my life.
This video by Jordan Peterson PERFECTLY explains why having a schedule can help you live a better life, and frankly, I couldn’t explain it any better.
Yay, You Made It!
We’re done with the super boring part of this course, and even though you still don’t have a PhD in personal finance, you’ve just learned the most important parts that are relevant to content marketing.
The next lesson in this free content marketing training course will cover:
Below is the link to the next lesson, thank you, have a wonderful day!
Lesson 2 - Content Marketing 101: Guide For Your Niche, Branding, And Website
This lesson goes over some necessary information about choosing a niche, branding, and getting your website set up so you can get started with content creation.