In this episode, I talk to Eric Rosenberg from Personal Profitability, where we talk not only about his financial background and his journey from working in the corporate financial industry to running his own financial management company.
On top of being a financial consultant, he is also a public speaker, podcaster and a professional writer.
Here are just a few things we talk about:
- how working in the corporate financial industry has helped paved the way to running his own business
- his process of gathering ideas when creating content
- the benefits of automating and outsourcing tasks to save you time and speed up your tasks managements
- how you should use your unique experiences to stand out from the crowd
- how education has fueled his passion and drive his business success
- Personal website – https://www.ericrosenberg.com/
- Personal Profitability website – https://personalprofitability.com/
- Google Keep – https://www.google.com/keep/
- Asana – https://asana.com/
- WAMP – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WampServer
- MAMP – https://www.mamp.info/en/
Ahmed: And here we go. This is Ignite Rock podcast and this is your host Ahmed Khalifa and I am so excited that you guys are here today listening to this show. Welcome everyone. I’m so glad that you’re here and I thank you for spending your time with me today. I think it’s going to be a good one today. I’m sure you’ll love it, because this is going to be episode 19 with Eric Rosenberg.
A man of many talents, he has worked in the financial industry for a long time as a financial analyst, corporate accountant, bank manager, but he has now become a public speaker. He’s a full-time professional writer and also a financial consultant as well. We have talked so much about the world of finance, content, online business, entrepreneurship. There’s so many useful things to learn about, and of course we talk about WordPress as well. So make sure you tune in to the show.
The show lists are on Episode 19, well not episode 19, but it is actually igniterock.com/episode19. That is where this show note is.
Let’s sit back, relax and enjoy the interview with Eric Rosenberg.Click Here to Show Transcript
Here we go everyone, I have a really cool guest online right now. I’ve got Eric calling all the way from California. What a time difference, but you know what we made it work. I’m really happy that Eric managed to join us today. I’ll briefly talk to you about what Eric does in intro but I’m going to let Eric explain everything that he does. Thank you for coming on Eric.
Eric: Thanks for having me.
Ahmed: It’s really good of you to come on and I really appreciate your time. Let’s just start off with a little bit about yourself. Who are you? Where are you from? I know it’s California and how did you get to where you are today?
Eric: Full name is Eric Rosenberg. I grew up actually not in California, I grew up in Denver, Colorado. I wasn’t born there but that was home most of my life. I spent over 25 years in Colorado and in my time there I earned both an undergraduate finance degree at the University of Colorado and then an MBA in finance at the University of Denver. My initial career path had nothing to do with the Internet or WordPress. I was working in finance. Actually my first job out of college was at a bank.
I wasn’t there all that long. I learned a tonne but it wasn’t the right fit for me and I ended up moving to corporate finance and accounting at some big telecom companies. But at the same time, right after I had left working in the bank, I started this new personal finance blog called Personal Profitability. It became personal profitability, that’s what it’s called today but when I started it in the beginning it was narrowbridgeadventures.blogspot.com. If you go there, it will forward you to the Personal Profitability today.
It’s been some years since that. I started the blog in 2008. So, just about 10 years ago I started finance blogging and when I started that blog, I actually had a couple other small blogs on Blogger before that, but along the way I started to realise that blogger might be restricting my growth. It’s holding me back. I don’t really own the content if it’s on Blogger. I mean, yes I own the copyright, I legally own the content but the blog is not something that I control and own.
It’s something that someone else controls and owns, essentially, which in the case of blogger is Google. That’s when I moved to my own domain, got my own dot com and migrated everything from blogger to WordPress. That was how I got started with blogging and WordPress but along the way I was doing these blogs as a side hustle, essentially. I was making a few bucks here and there. I remember the first time I got a sponsored post on what became personal profitability.
It was actually a UK based company and they paid me $10 and I was so excited. I was like $10, oh my God, I can go buy two beers. That was like the best day ever because I earned money online and this is in addition to my regular job. I was making a good income as a financial analyst in the beginning, ended up as a senior financial analyst with my last job before I quit and went out on my own. But this $10, it hooked me. I was in. It started to grow over time.
I started to work with more and bigger and more diverse clients. I started going to conferences. The biggest conference for me has been in Con. It’s a financial blogging and media conference and over time that has grown to … It grew into two main businesses. That’s what let me leave my job last year in April. About 75% of my income at that time was coming from freelance writing, which all came out of networking and conference relationships that I didn’t realise was really because of my blog.
When I started that I didn’t know I was writing my new resume for a career change but that is what I was doing when I was writing all those posts. The other 25% of my income when I left my job was actually coming from WordPress. It was WordPress design and development. I was working on WordPress themes, helping people deal with WordPress hick ups and headaches. To me it became very easy and intuitive because I’ve been working with it for a decade but for people who are newer, WordPress and servers and computers things like that can look like a foreign language.
You might as well be reading Greek or something. I helped these people. I started doing it for free. I was helping friends out who were trying to build blogs like me and then someone said I should start charging for this, so I did and that grew to not a huge income, but it was definitely a big portion of my income that helped me leave my job. I left that job, as I said, last year in April and in the months since I have grown to over 10 thousand a month on average. I think it’s seven of the last eight months.
I’ve done over 10 thousand online in US dollars, I guess and depending on what day it is in British pounds that could be 5000, 7000 pounds a year or a month. That’s what I’m doing now. I’ve moved along that journey to Portland, Oregon for a couple of years, been down here to Southern California. I’ve been here a little over a year. I live here with a beautiful wife and daughter and work online and that’s my life. It feels like a dream.
I feel like I have to pinch myself< like really I get to do this? This is my job? I’m sitting at home right now in my office and this is my job.
Ahmed: I mean, where do I start?
Eric: Quite a journey, I know.
Ahmed: You’ve had a job. You’ve worked in a corporate financial world and then you kind of diversified yourself doing a number of different things. It’s like it’s so exciting and I agree with you, first time you earn money online is such a buzz. [crosstalk 00:06:59] you go from $10 to go by over 10 thousand dollars a month and that was over a decade of work that you have put in to do that as well.
Eric: I like to joke that it took me about eight or nine years and I was an overnight success.
Ahmed: The whole point of doing online or anything online, or business or whatever, it’s never over an overnight success. People only see the success from upfront but they don’t really see what goes on in the background. They never see that at all.
Eric: In the world that I work in I know people like Remit CT and Pat Flynn, and Baron Rouse, we’ve crossed paths a few times over the years and these were the guys who were really inspiring me when I was getting started. I started just like everyone else, reading blogs and just figuring things out as I went. When I started 10 years ago, blogging was a pretty new thing. I mean even today when my mom is out with her friends and they ask about the kids and she says that I’m a professional blogger, people stop her and say what do you mean a professional blogger?
How do you make money and a living as a blogger? What are you talking about? It’s still something that for, especially baby boomer generation and they don’t totally get how this whole Internet thing, as my mom calls it, works for business and people like me. But it’s real. The Internet reaches almost everyone on earth. There’s people in poor areas in Africa and Asia who don’t have Internet access but for the most part in the developed world every single person, even as young as five or six years old, have access to the internet.
We’re talking about billions of people. Even just on Facebook alone, there’s a something like a billion people. With the Internet your reach is huge and it only takes one business or one person out of billions to have faith in you to start your online business. That’s how mine started. It was a side hustle, who would have known 10 years ago that I’d be making this much money online. I certainly didn’t and I was excited just to be able to pay for my bar tabs, but now I’m paying for my life.
Ahmed: I mean good for you. You’ve worked for it, you tried. You went out there, you got yourself out there and as you said you put all the effort, eight, nine years of doing that and then you just hope to see the success. Well done.
Eric: Thank you.
Ahmed: I agree with you in terms of you see all these people like Pat Flynn, Darren Rowse; these are the kind of people that I look up to as well in terms of whether in the podcast or whether they’re blogging or the online world, whatever it is. They’re also people I look up to as well and you can’t help but not aspire to them.
Eric: One of the coolest things about having gotten to meet some of these folks is they’re just normal real people like us. Darren is a shy Australian guy who was a church pastor and started a blog and became the pro-blogger of the world. Pat Flynn got fired from his job, laid off from his job. You can’t get fired. He was let go from his job in an architecture firm, something he had aspired to his whole life. That was his degree before he started making over one hundred thousand dollars a month on the internet.
Nobody started on day one as Neil Patel or one of these big names we all know. They all started just like you and me.
Ahmed: I agree with that and that’s why I should not be afraid. Anybody who’s been there, done that, or ahead of you, at the end of the day you should never ever compare you’re beginning to someone else’s middle or end. You’ve got to try. You’ve got to give it a shot and see what will happen. What’s interesting, as well, is that you’ve been working in a job and you used that experience in the financial industry to your advantage right now. You’re a profession writer and your writing has been featured in a number of places like Huffington Post and Investopedia.
Then your podcast as well, talking about the same topic. You’re pretty much content machine yourself. You kind of really put you thought content out there, really, isn’t it?
Eric: It’s actually … I mean, it’s 9 AM as we’re recording this, California time and I’ve already written two articles today. I’ve got to get up and hustle. I have a less than two … I have a one and a half year old daughter. She’s up at like 5:30, 5:45 every morning, so we’re all up at like 5:30, 5:45 every morning. For me I find the most productive hours of the day are the very first hours. By the end of the day I’m bored and burned out on work and I don’t want to stare at a computer screen.
I’d rather stare at my daughter’s beautiful face. I get up, I get at it and I try to make all my money early in the morning and actually set a goal to make $500 every week day. That’s regardless of if it’s a holiday or not. We’re recording this shortly after the 4th of July in the US, which for most people is a holiday. There’s no mail, people are out of work, bank holiday. For me, I took a half day. I did some work.
We actually had some family over to celebrate and then the next day I had to hustle and get caught back up because I didn’t make my whole $500 goal on the 4th of July. I had only made 250, so that means I had $250 to make up by the end of that week.
Ahmed: Again, I have to thank you again for taking your holiday time just to do this was well. It’s amazing that you’ve already written two articles. That’s quite impressive. This brings me to my question now, because I’m always curious to know abour people who are creating content online whether it’s writing, or podcasting, audio, video, whatever it is, you know sometime some people have a system. They have a routine. They have their way of doing that.
What’s your system? Do you have like a certain way of starting to get your ideas and then liking it and producing it and editing it. Could you show us how you create your own content?
Eric: Sure, so for idea generation a lot of that happens just spontaneously as I’m out and about. I could be at the store or shopping for something, and then go like this is a perfect article idea. Without my phone, I actually use Google Keep as my “Idea Pad” when I’m out and about. They have it for Android, iPhone and I use it on the computer. I write down all these article ideas as I’m out and about and then when I get home I jump on the computer, open up that same note in Google Keep and copy the ideas to Asana.
Asana is my main task manager that I use for my to-do list. I actually have a few different projects in there. For Narrow Bridge media, that’s my company that I registered that owns my blog and all my writing. Narrow Bridge media has its own project in there with different things broken out for … I have a virtual assistant who helps a bit with some of the process, but that’s kind of the core of where everything comes together, is through a sauna.
For writing, I have kind of a weird brain that I can just sit down and write. I usually do an intro and outline my mean subjects, subheadings throughout and then I just sit down to write it all out. Much of the time my wife is actually my proofreader, which is nice to have that. If she doesn’t then I have to proofread it because it’s very important especially if you’re a freelancer to always send in the very best quality of work you have, because you it’s a big deal for a company to fire an employee but for a freelancer they don’t have to fire anybody.
They could just not bring you back on for another article. Every single time you send something in, it has to be the very best and that’s something I strive for. That’s what I do mostly for writing for other sites and sometimes those topics are given to me. I don’t come up with all of them. It’s a mix of assignments and pitches. For my podcast they have a different flow. It also runs through a sauna, but works a little differently because it’s audio and not written content and it’s for me and my audience rather than a client.
For the podcast, I come up with ideas of who I want to talk to, who I want to interview, get all those set up through, I use Callant Lee to book interviews. I have a paid account but there’s a free account that you can use for that if you’re setting up your own podcast. For editing, up until recently I would upload the episode in a sauna, have an assistant in the Philippines do that editing, get everything in the right format and upload it to my website and share it with another assistant in Pakistan, who would listen to the whole episode and she would essentially create the show notes.
She’d transcribe out things that needed or list other different sites and things we mentioned throughout the interview. Then my main assistant, who’s US based native English speaker, to kind of put the finishing touches on and get it out there for the world. But recently I realised that editing audio is a lot easier than I thought. I actually have been a night club DJ as one of my side hustles, [inaudible 00:16:32]you can check out some of my own actions.
My first podcast was a music podcast. I haven’t updated it in a while but [email protected] I don’t make any money there. I already knew something about audio, so I thought well I’m just going to try a garage band. It came free on my Mac computer, might as well give it a try and see what happens and I actually figured out that it wasn’t so hard to edit the interviews. More of the work that I did recently is around templating the interview, so each time I want to do an edit I just copy it, drop in the interview section, everything else is the same and I just have to edit part of it.
The intro music, the ending music that was more or less going to be the same. It’s quite a bit easier than I thought because of templates. Those are kind of the main two things I’m working on today, the writing on the podcast.
Ahmed: It’s like a funny old machine over there. Every single thing in the system kind of thing. To be honest, even for me it’s hard to kind of think of a way to automate things, sort of things and stuff like that and the odd thing that anyone can do just to save them sometime or find someone else who can do it quicker than you. For example, in the podcast I do my own editing and so on and so fourth, but sometimes it’s better to outsource and someone can do it for you-
Eric: Places like Fiverr and Upwork are, if you have a very small budget and want to get started with help, Fiverr is called that because gigs start at five bucks. You might be able to find an editor for $5 to start and that’s why I mentioned specifically I have assistance in the Philippines and Pakistan. It’s much less expensive for me to pay them than it is to pay someone in the United States or the England and Western Europe, where the cost of living are much higher.
I feel a little bad that I pay so much less to some people just because of their location but then I look at the cost of living and $400 in Sabu, a suburb of Manila, the capital of Philippines, the cost of $400 is a normal middle class income every month. When I think about that I’m like, they can afford a nice life on $400 a month. So when if I’m only paying them $10 to edit a podcast episode, that $10 goes a lot further for them than it does for me.
That’s how I justify it and I know everyone has their own opinions on things but when I couldn’t afford someone for $400 a month, but I could afford $10 that was a perfect fit.
Ahmed: I think there is always something for everyone regardless of your budget. Yeah, you’ve got Fiverr, you’ve got Upwork, you’ve got Freelancer.com and all of these places. You’ve got a lot of places that you can look for anyone who can help you with any outsourcing work you can do with your content, whether it’s images or, copywriting and so on and so forth. But sometimes you have to think about what you put in, what you get out of it. You have to think about what’s expected.
Maybe sometimes for your copywriting, you need to have someone in your native language instead of having someone abroad just because it cost cheaper. I can totally understand what you mean about certain things that you outsource to certain people and the other goes to another people. I totally get it. It’s something that everyone would be aware of as well. In terms of you’re focusing a lot on posting on finance, but it’s such a competitive industry. It doesn’t matter where you are. It’s a rally competitive industry. How do you stand out from the crowd?
Eric: For me personally, it’s my work experience and my education. Now, there’s a lot of people who want to write about all sorts of things but they’re not necessarily the most qualified people for those topics. The way I like to describe it when I’m talking to people particularly when I’m at a conference, we’re talking in the hallway like why do you get $300 an article and this person will work for 25 an article? One it’s that education. I’ve invested six years in finance education and almost 10 years in corporate finance and accounting.
I have all that experience. I was the one who approved mortgage loans, so who’s better to write about mortgage loans than someone who’s done it. That’s part of it, but the other part is, let’s say you want to hire a journalist. That’s who I’m often competing with for jobs, journalists. Journalists have an English degree or maybe a journalism degree. That’s their background and they can write really well in perfect AP format, with all the rules but it might come out as kind of hollow content or white content.
They write really well but if you write really well and it’s just fluff and crap, what the use. It’s not worth much, whereas when I write … Well I would like to think my writing is as just as good, even though it might be a little bit not quite as good as a professionally trained journalist. I have all that depth of knowledge on the content. I might put a percent sign where I’m supposed to spell out the word percent because that’s what the AP says in an article, but I can calculate and create scenarios that real people can look at and say this is like my finances or this is just a little different but I can relate and understand.
I create these stories based on experiences I really had and questions people had asked me along the years about things like student loans, and mortgages, and credit scores and whatever else, people. Anything that has a dollar sign on it essentially, I say, can work on because of that experience. For me, it’s personal finance, is what I’m passionate about and experienced about but there are so many things you can get hired to write about or create videos about or some kind of online content.
Let’s say you are really into software and you think the cloud and software as a service and Amazon AWS and Google Cloud, all these things are like the biz needs, you’re into it. There are people who want to hire people to write about that stuff. I’ve written about it some but it’s less my area of expertise than finance so I might not make as much writing about that, where someone who worked for 10 years in Silicon Valley could come out and demand three, four, five, $600 a post, saying look I did this.
I’ve worked with cloud architecture. Think about your unique experiences and what you’ve done in your life because odds are there is at least one thing you know more about than anyone else in the world, and if you really rack your brain hard enough there’s something you’re passionate about that a lot of other people are passionate about too. If you can find the community that demands that content that’s where your opportunity is.
Ahmed: I agree with you that there are some people I think about, they work in an industry where it’s kind of very common. Everyone knows how to do it, for example a food blogger. There are probably millions of food blogs out there but-
Eric: Everyone has to cook.
Ahmed: The thing, I mean, no one has to [inaudible 00:24:00] but also not everyone is going to be like you. You can have something very unique, that nobody can do. You can have an experience that nobody else had that you can kind of show the world, kind of thing.
Eric: But sometimes within that you can even come up with more of a niche that helps you stand out. Like let’s say you have a religious need to eat in a certain way. Like let’s say you’re a kosher person or a person in your dietary habits, there’s tonnes of generic food blogs out there where you can read about all sorts of things. But let’s say you want to target the Jewish and Muslim cooks of the Internet, you can start no pork cooking blog or something.
That might separate you from the millions of cooking blogs. Or let’s say you are into one of these crazy new diets that people are into, paleo, gluten free, caveman eating, whatever you want to call it, there’s all these niches where people are writing books and creating articles and video tutorials about these specific diets. There’s not a billion people following those diets, might be thousands of people but those are thousands of people that you can reach who are really interested in what you’re interested in.
Don’t always limit yourself as, oh well everyone else is already doing this because you might be doing it a very different way.
Ahmed: I agree very, good point. Obviously, you know think since we are on the topic about online content, blogging, all of these things, obviously, you definitely have to talk about WordPress. You briefly touched upon it that you have done a lot of work in the WordPress arena and themes and these kind of things, but what’s your first experience with WordPress, was like? How did you come across it? Why did you choose WordPress in the first place as well?
Eric: As I mention in the first place, I hadn’t chose WordPress, I chose blogger, but looking back I know that that wasn’t the right decision at that moment but with the information I had at the time, that seemed like the right choice, because it was so easy. I could type a few buttons and all of a sudden I had a blog. I didn’t have to instal anything or deal with much technical stuff. It just worked, but over time I ended up … I joined a community of other personal finance bloggers called the [AKEZY 00:26:17].
It’s less active but still around and for a while that was a very active forum for, I would say 100 to 200 different personal finance bloggers. Some even within that had niches around the investing, or credit, or debt, or something like that, but we would all be in this forum and talk and share ideas and trade contacts and help each other network. In that community I was seeing the most successful bloggers were all on WordPress.
There was some success to be found on other platforms like Blogger or Tumblr, or Type pad or whatever else people want to use to blog, but overall the biggest success was really coming from WordPress and I was seeing enough compelling benefits. I could control my ads better. I can customise and tweak my own HTML and over time it were blogger that had some of those features but it’s still not nearly as extensive as what you can do with WordPress.
WordPress is open source. It’s a programme that you instal on a computer that lets you run your blog. If you want to simplify it back to how it works at the core, it’s just a web app, but this web app is so customizable but it’s also easy to use right out of the box. When I installed WordPress the first time, it was a little confusing. I didn’t really know what I was doing. I had a Dell computer back then and installed a Wimp. It’s a local development platform and installed WordPress on that on my computer, which now I use MAP, the Mac version for development but I didn’t need to do that back then but I had no idea I didn’t need to do that.
It was also perplexing and new. What I ended up doing was I saw what others were doing that worked and I went to host gator and signed up for an account. It was less than $5 a month for hosting and I bought my domain a GoDaddy. It was like $7 a year or something. There used to be coupons, so it was probably $1 the first year and linked it all up and exported my content from blogger and imported to WordPress and I was off and running.
Ahmed: And here you are today.
Eric: The rest is history.
Ahmed: The fact that you liked it is that it’s simple, it’s easy to use, it’s customizable. To get started is really easy. That’s kind of what really drew you in, and then obviously, ever since stuff flow in, in terms of customizable. You can add new features, you can add new functions in it by yourself. It’s nice to have that control over your own website, which we’re all happy to have at the end of the day.
Eric: Absolutely, and that’s why WordPress has grown to, I think last I heard it’s running about 25% of all websites in the world, which considering how many websites there are in the world, that’s a really big number of websites that run on WordPress and there’s a reason for that. It’s not a coincidence that it has grown to be the biggest platform. It’s grown just like Wal-Mart has grown to be the biggest retail store and Amazon has grown to be the biggest online retailer, and Google. The greatest search engine.
Why? Because they’re the best at what they do. I believe WordPress for most websites, not all. There are different use cases where you want something different but especially if it’s a content and writing focused site, or a podcast, or a video blog, WordPress is, I still believe, hands down the best option.
Ahmed: I think that the latest figure, you’re right about 25%. I think right now, they’re approaching 27, 28%. It’s increasing, the market share, in terms of the number one EMS out there. WordPress is still continuing to rise, which is amazing.
Eric: 1% change in some things isn’t a big number but a 1% change in the total number of websites, that’s a big deal. That’s lot of sites.
Ahmed: I agree. 1% of that, I mean there you go.
Eric: It must be millions of sites changing to be a percent. It has to be. There’s billions of websites.
Ahmed: A billion, 1% added to that.
Eric: Sure, we wanted to spend the time we could calculate exactly.
Ahmed: [crosstalk 00:30:40]
Eric: The listeners probably have something more interesting they want to hear.
Ahmed: I’m not sure everybody wants to hear of that as well, it’s just too boring. The other thing as well, I’m sure you’ve heard plenty of times is that when people start off with WordPress, it can be a bit confusing overall. They just don’t know how to get going with it. What advice would you give for those who are having trouble with using WordPress or even starting using WordPress? What advice would you have for those people?
Eric: Google is your friend. Most everything I’ve learned about WordPress over the years has been from searching and reading guides and just getting my hands dirty. My skill level dramatically increased a couple of years ago, which was before I left my job. I took a course on you to me on HTML five in CSS three. I was already familiar with HTML and CSS, so this was more of a refresher and depths of knowledge course for me.
It wasn’t just like a beginner from scratch course and that really helped my skills. There are beginner courses as well, many for free and the you to me course, think I paid, there was a deal like 10 or $20 for I think 10 different courses. I didn’t even do all the courses but there’s one HTML, CSS course I did, was worth way more than $20 or whatever I paid for it. But other times, let’s say you want to make one small tweak and you get stuck, there are so many forums in community that if you figure out the terms of what you’re trying to do, it’s important to get the language right.
But if you can search right in Google you’ll find someone who’s had the same problem and then someone who has helped someone fix that problem. Whatever you’re running into or trying to do there, odds are there’s a resource that someone has run into this and fixed it before and they shared it publicly.
Ahmed: It’s amazing how much resources are out there. It’s available for free. Not only the open source, and people can do almost whatever they want with their own WordPress site, but to find out that there are so many guides out there, so many articles and blog posts out there that can help you move forward, it’s incredible. It just tells you everything about the community and how people share their tips and advice on how to fix problems, stuff like that.
You’re right, you just have to look and search online to find the solution to what you’re looking for and you’ll find it. Someone will have been through it before most likely, anyway. Definitely right, I agree, yeah. I agree with that. Pretty cool. Tell me about … Another thing, what is your biggest strengths?
Eric: My biggest strength, I’ll have to say I’m really good looking. No, I’m kidding. [crosstalk 00:33:36]. I think my biggest strength has been my education and work ethic. I know that’s two biggest strengths. I cheated. I can never follow directions. I guess that’s why I’m better self-employed than working for someone else. But really I think for me it’s education. I’ve had been lucky to have a great family who has supported me and encouraged me in learning.
My grandpa was a college professor. He taught marketing, so it’s kind of funny that online content stuff is essentially a marketing thing. Essentially I’ve fallen into marketing that my grandpa used to teach. I think he’d be proud of me if he were still with us today, but that education and being able to draw on the knowledge and experience has been, is so transformative in my ability to impress people online. When you want to make money it’s about impressing people.
You’re either building trust or showing how awesome you are and getting them to follow along. On the Internet you have about two seconds to do that in most cases. When someone lands on your website, if it doesn’t load in those two seconds they’re probably going to leave. WordPress makes sure your site’s really fast and that means good hosting but once that page loads it does matter what it looks like and it does matter what content is on there.
For me taking my biggest advantages I have over other people and putting that front and centre, like a resume. Essentially, your website should be bragging about how awesome you are and why people should hire you. Doing that and highlighting those strengths I have I think is even more important than just having the strengths, because if you have a secret superpower no one’s going to hire you. Clark Kent was just a guy who worked at the daily news.
No one knew any different. He had a day job but superman, when the real superpowers came out, was out changing the world, everybody knew superman. Find your superman and turn that on and let people know about it.
Ahmed: That’s pretty cool. I like that and I like you as well. It’s really cool.
Eric: I just thought of it right now.
Ahmed: It’s amazing the way your brain works, you know, wow. It’s pretty cool and I think that it’s pretty cool that your education background is kind of the foundation for what you’re doing right now. Again, you were just talking about it earlier, you didn’t know what you were going to do 10, 20 years ago and eventually your education has proved relevant and gotten you to where you are today. It’s really cool that you definitely use that as your biggest strength and it’s unique.
Not everyone can have that same experience and education overview, very cool. If you were twisted around, what is your biggest weakness and how do you overcome it?
Eric: My biggest weakness, this one I think I can limit it down to one thing, it’s being too good looking. No, I’m kidding. My biggest weakness-
Ahmed: How did I know you were going to say that as well?
Eric: It was something. My real biggest weakness I think is I have what I call shiny objects syndrome. It’s probably a fancy way to say I have business creation ADD. So what happens is I’ll get this business idea which I like … I have this thing where when you hear about entrepreneurs and serial entrepreneurs who just see business ideas everywhere, I have that, for better or worse. Yesterday I was walking my daughter up to the park and I said to my wife do you know what would be a great business idea?
See all these houses that have the same defect. Our neighbourhood has like 10 different floor plans of houses. There’s one floor plan where they don’t have front windows on the upstairs. We looked at a couple houses like that, didn’t buy them because of that. I was like I wonder if we figured out how to create those front windows. There’s like 500 houses here we could market that to. What a cool business idea. I was already off and running in my head on starting this new construction business.
I don’t know anything about construction. My brother-in-law is in construction, so I know a little bit. Apart from that I can’t change windows or roofs but in my head I’m like, oh this is a great business idea. It can add like 10 thousand dollars in value to each of these houses and my pocket at the same time. Obviously this one I’m probably not going to dive into but when the idea’s for an online business, I have a problem where starting WordPress sites is so easy.
I actually have a video at personalprofitability.com of me creating a website from an idea to a live WordPress blog in four minutes and 58 seconds and that is with me explaining what I’m doing along the way. You can start a blog in less than five minutes. Watch me do it on the website. My biggest weakness is that I get an idea to start a website and I do it rather than focusing on the websites I already have and building them to more success. I think that has probably hurt me over the years.
I’ve worked on a handful of different projects that are no longer around. I had a site called beard is sexy. It was a group blog with a couple of other friends that became renamed Portland off the waggon when we were all living in Portland. In the beginning there were two Portland people and one Denver person and then I moved to Portland, so it became Portland off the waggon, as they jokingly say on the waggon is for alcoholics who are no longer drinking.
It was probably alcoholics if that’s offensive to you but I didn’t come up with the idea. Someone else did and they let me use it, Denver off the waggon. That site is no longer around. It was a fun idea and I enjoyed it. I got some free beers out of it, got to meet some cool people, go on some breweries tours, but at the end of the day I realised I wasn’t going to make a living writing about craft beer and arguing about what city is the best beer city in the United States. It was fun, it was a hobby but I couldn’t let hobbies get too much in the way of businesses.
But on the flip side of that you have to look and say when I started my finance blog it was a hobby and now it’s my primary income. You walk to … For me the hard part of figuring out which projects I should invest my time in and stay focused on those rather than starting a whole bunch of projects of which I don’t spend enough time on any and they all fail.
Ahmed: I’m just trying to picture in my mind that when you’re saying when you’re walking out with your wife and you mentioned that construction idea. I’m thinking your wife must be thinking, oh not again. We talked about this before.
Eric: I get that like four times a day probably. When you work at home and your wife’s at home all day also, you cross paths more than someone who works in a regular office job. It’s a funny life. I think she … I don’t know if she realised. But she probably realised it. She knew I was a bargain when we met. She knew what she was getting into.
Ahmed: I’m sure she appreciates your efforts, she appreciate the idea but I’m sure at the back of her mind she’s thinking come on now, let us focus on one thing at a time. Let’s not get on the food, or whatever. One step at a time, but I think you made a good point there, that sometimes you can get distracted about so many different things and if you work at the online entrepreneur and you get different ideas, you get access to different things. You can’t help but think of I could do that as well, but at the end of the day you risk spreading yourself.
If you have two, three, four, five different things, nothing is getting a 100% of your attention at the end of the day.
Eric: [inaudible 00:41:24] pulling off one like that is really hard.
Ahmed: Hopefully, as a lesson to you also, but it’s good. You’re aware of her. That’s a good thing as well also. If we’re going to get all sentimental about it, what are you most proud about in your business?
Eric: I’m most proud about the ability to leave my job last year. That was just such a huge milestone and it was something I toyed with the idea for a lot of years before I did it. As I said I started this blog a long time ago and I started going to Fincon and I’ve been to every single one. I think there has been six so far. When I went to the first one in Chicago I remember seeing, I didn’t meet him, at that conference JD Ross, who was the founder of a site called Get Rich Slowly.
He has a new site called Money Boss. JD is a blogger who at that point was still running Get Rich Slowly making probably six figures a month and he didn’t publish his numbers like some of us do. I publish income reports every month. You can see to the dollar exactly how much I make going back to 2012 on personalprofitability.com. Now I see these bloggers like JD or Pat Flynn, who at the time was just starting out, and I would look them and be like, wow look how much money these guys are making.
This is crazy. How could I ever do anything like what they’re doing and leave my job. I just never thought it was something I could do and even if I could have done it I wasn’t sure if I wanted to, because I was a senior financial analyst. I wasn’t low paid. I wasn’t working flipping burgers. Not that that’s a bad job. Every job is a good job. I’m not above working in anything but I was making quite a bit more money than I would have as a burger flipper when I worked at Target in high school.
I was making good money. Walking away from such a high paycheck, that’s a big risk and it’s scary when you know … Essentially, with a cubicle job you can do the minimum to not get fired as the guy did in office space and probably keep your job for a really long time just cruising by. Online there is no cruising. If I take it easy for a day because I’m not feeling well that means I have to do double the next day to get caught back up. There are no days where you have button chair time.
You just have to be there on call waiting in case something happens. When you’re running your own business online it’s you 100%. I don’t have a boss to check in on me and make sure I’m getting done what I need to do or making sure it’s the right quality. But when I hit that point last year I had a six month old daughter at home and I was tired of going and sitting in that cubicle. There was a day that I woke up and left for work before my daughter was awake and got home after she was asleep for the night.
I didn’t get to see her the entire day because of my work schedule and that was really the turning point in my mind where I said it is worth potentially making a little less money for me to be able to be at home and see my family more as long as I can make a living and be comfortable. But then when I quit my job my income doubled. It went from making like three to 5000 a month online to 10 thousand a month online and I was blown away by my success. My wife … I was nervous a little bit that this wasn’t going to happen.
There were a few months between leaving the job and making the big money where I was like wow I just moved. I have a six month old daughter, I’m going to quit my job and move somewhere more expensive to live. I was a little nervous living down here with Southern California real estate prices and a baby in a wife who was a stay at home mom, but I made it all work and I grew my income to a point that I was making more than my day job plus my side hustles combined before I left the job.
Now was the moment I knew I made the right call and I was doing the right thing and I am so proud to keep that up and will hopefully just keep growing in the future.
Ahmed: Congratulations. You definitely worked for it and when you know it’s time, it’s time. As you said before, you’re not above working in a job and I agree with you. I’ve been working for over eight years or so before. I started doing what I’m doing right now and if it wasn’t for my career, I wouldn’t be able to do what I have got right now. There’s nothing wrong with working full time and employed in a job, nothing wrong with that.
Eric: There’s a lot of big benefits. I figured at this point my big backup plan is if something doesn’t work out well, I can just open up the Uber app and start driving people around. I can still gig it up and make some money but ideally I won’t have to resort to that. It felt really good when I left my job knowing that was an option. There are ways to hustle and make money outside of a day job or a primary job and building up those multiple income streams is what brought me here.
Just because I left my job with one of those income streams doesn’t mean I should stop side hustling. It just means that one of my side hustles is now my primary job and I have new side hustles. Even though I’m making all this money online it doesn’t mean I’m stopping working on other things because if I do really well on … It just takes one thing to take off. One hockey stick growth chart of one idea and then you don’t have to work much at all.
I have a friend, her name is Michelle Gardner Schroeder, Michelle Schroeder Gardner. I always mix those up. Her site is Making Sense Of Cents. Sense like common sense of cents, like dollars and cents.com and she’s now … She had a very similar path to me. She started as a financial analyst just like me, left her job a little bit before I did to go full time online as a freelancer same thing I did. She was able to then leverage that to grow her own website traffic to the point where through affiliate she’s making over one hundred thousand a month.
There’s always something that I look up to and want to do next and if I can follow in her footsteps or patterns, how amazing would that be. Now Michelle lives in a camper RV, driving around the country with her husband and blogging where she has internet and can make a living doing that. How fun is that? Once you have … Once you’re making six figures a month you do whatever you want, right. That’s the next goal I guess.
Ahmed: It’s good to have a goal to target, yeah, go for it.
Eric: I’ve got to add another zero, keep adding zeros.
Ahmed: Definitely, I mean, Pat Flynn is one of my biggest heroes online as well. He’s such a cool guy and what he’s doing is really cool as well. Again, it’s quite hard to not look up to him if you are in a similar situation. [inaudible 00:48:28]. You’ve got to try. You’ve got to give it a shot and see how it goes as well.
Eric: Even look at Richard Branson from your side of the pond. That’s another huge business success story and he did it on a totally different path before blogging was a business that existed. He’s built Virgin into a company that does mobile phones, music production and spaceships. You never know where things can go, but Richard Branson started just like you and me, with idea number one.
Ahmed: He’s got a gym here. He had a cola for a while, an airline company. The list goes on.
Eric: He has an island. One of my big dream trips is a week on Necker Island. I think that would be … I don’t know if I knew a travel blogger. I don’t know him well but I know of a travel blogger. I met him once who saved up enough points on Virgin…It was Virgin Atlantic Airlines. He saved a million frequent flyer miles, was able to cash that in for a week on Necker Island. He did actually get to meet Sir Richard himself.
Ahmed: How fun.
Eric: Yeah, not bad for some credit card miles.
Ahmed: There’s so many think to take on board from what you’re saying. It’s really cool. We can go on for a long time about tips and advice and experience and all of these things, but there’s just so much to take on. But I guess we will wind up right now and again, we really appreciate your time, but before we go, you do all things online. So where is the best place for people to find and connect with you?
Eric: The number one place to find me personally, go to ericrosenberg.com to learn about my freelancing businesses and everything else there. Next place to go would be personalprofitability.com. That’s where I share all about personal finance, entrepreneurship, taking your side hustle from zero dollars to part-time income, to full time income and through there you can find we have a private Facebook Group, email list, all sorts of good stuff. At ericrosenberg.com and personalprofitability.com, are the best places to find me.
Ahmed: Awesome stuff, and I’ll make sure I put them in the show notes for anyone else who can find and access it from there. It is really great and really give a shout out to you. I really enjoyed it and again, thanks for your time.
Eric: Thank you so much for having me and good luck everyone.
Ahmed: That is it, thank you Eric once again for coming to the show. I really appreciate it and what do you think? I think it was such a good episode, really good to listen to Eric share his insight and again, to tell you that you can use your own unique insight, your own unique knowledge, experience, background, education to stand out from a crowd. Don’t be afraid to use it. At the end of the day, there’s a saying out there where your vibe will help the right tribe.
Make sure you use your best strength, a version of you, your eccentric self to help your own tribe. If you want the show notes to this show, if you want to find out more about the links to everything that we have mentioned on the transcript, they’re available on igniterock.com/episode19. Before we go, could I just ask one small favour and also leave a review on iTunes if you like the show. I will really appreciate it. It will make me so happy. Leave a review on iTunes and in the mean time let’s rock with WordPress.