Listen to this podcast Ep. 161: The 9-to-5 Escape Plan And Building Profitable Businesses Online With Jake Lang
Interviews, strategy and advice for building your online business with your host Trudy Rankin.
And that's just right up my alley because I really love that part of what I do as well. And he's now helping other people start their own online business through coaching books and memberships. He's got a whole raft of things that he uses to help people. And I can just see it, just on his bookshelf behind him.
He's got a book up there, but he's actually published two books, and we'll talk about those later during the interview. And I wanted to just explain how I came across Jake. I've talked about this before. I think it's really important to remember that, as entrepreneurs, the journey can be pretty lonely, so being part of a community of people who are all trying to do the same thing. It might not be about the same area, but it's all about trying to successfully set up a business that either lets you make the money that you want to make or lets you have the lifestyle that you want to have. And so I've talked about this before. I'm part of SPI Pro, which is Pat Flynn's Smart Passive Income Pro membership group and membership community.
And one of the things that I'm really interested in is content monetization. So I gave a bit of a shout-out a while ago. In the group and just said, Hey, is anybody out there into this side of things and would be willing to talk about it? And Jake put up his hand. And so when he sent me through all of the stuff that he's worked on and his, the fact that he's working on his 10th business and everything that he does, it's really interesting.
He's told me that he's started a business that includes selling online courses in the insurance industry. A dog blog about Pomsky's. Educational websites, and there's another one there. It's about PMI and ACP certification, which is right up my alley because I'm a certified PMI project manager.
So that's really interesting for me. And Jake, thank you so much for saying you'd be on the podcast.
Jake Lang: Thanks for having me. I know we have a lot in common, so I'm excited to chat.
Jake's Journey: From Niche Ideas to Successful Online Ventures
Trudy Rankin: So, before we really jump into the questions about the businesses that you've set up and what that's been like, can you just talk a little bit about who you are, your background, and how you've gotten to where you are today?
Jake Lang: Sure, I'm Jake, the founder of Entrepreneur Ride Along.com. As you mentioned, I wrote two books, Step One, and also Use Your Job To Quit Your Job. Both books are about finding and validating business ideas to join us in this online business world. As you mentioned, I started 10 niche sites, some really bad, some that totally flopped, some good, and some that I'm still hanging on to.
And one that I sold, the dog blog that you mentioned, I've since sold. But I started these businesses on the side while I was working in the insurance industry. It took me about six or seven years of doing this on the side until I quit my job and took it on full-time back in 2021 or late 2020, I think.
So, now this is what I do full-time, and I help other people start niche sites just like I'm doing by sharing what's working for me.
Trudy Rankin: This is a topic that's of great interest to me, and I've mentioned it a bit on the podcast before because I've got a few experimental baby embryonic niche sites.
But do you want to explain that to our listeners, who might not know exactly what that means?
Jake Lang: So, I would say my definition of a niche site is simply that any topic can be a business. And in my view, I like to start a business about something so small and specific where there's a group of people that are really interested in the subject, but not a lot of people creating content about it talking about it, or.
Really not a lot of information about there on that topic. So it's really easy to come in and be that expert resource on that topic. And then you can create courses, books and be the go-to expert. For example, the Pomsky dog breed was one of them when I started that little dog blog.
I had never seen a Pomsky dog in my life, but I had seen a bunch of people looking for resources about how to train this really energetic type of dog. So I said, I know how to train dogs. It's half Husky. I know how to train them. I'm going to start posting some content out there. And I became a world-renowned expert on Pomsky dogs and how to train them without ever seeing one in my life and so that's what a niche site is. I've seen them since I started the website. I went out and met them and actually worked on training them, but when I started it, I hadn't seen them. So that's what a niche site is basically: a small subject like that where there's not a lot of information on it, and you can be the expert on that topic.
Trudy Rankin: I'm responding a little bit for a couple of reasons. One is that I said niche. You said niche. And you can tell that, the American versus sort of British kind of Australia, New Zealand, whatever, lots of us say niche. So, that's always a lot of fun. But the second thing was that I'm so glad that you went out and learned about and met the dogs and things like that, because I always find it interesting.
One of the things that slowed me down at the beginning was that I'd look at a topic and go, I don't know anything about that. And then later on, I discovered that there are lots of websites where the people who own the website don't know anything about the topic either, but they get people who do know about the topic to write about it.
But that's a slightly different thing if you're getting writers to write about it, as opposed to you yourself being the expert in a particular topic. So how long do you think it took you to go from having no knowledge about Pomsky's as a dog breed all the way through to being Yeah, I know a lot about these ones, and I can help people.
Jake Lang: I'd say it was relatively quick in the grand scheme of things. I'd say within a year, I wasn't reaching out to experts anymore because I've owned dogs my entire life. I've trained dogs my entire life, so I had a lot of information about just the baseline. Here's everything you need to know about raising a healthy, happy dog.
In the beginning, it was, Okay, what are the specifics about this type of dog breed? And I went out to the people who were already training these dogs, I interviewed them, had them on a podcast, and had them write guest blogs for me. And like you said, I was aggregating the information because there was nothing out there.
And the reason I actually started the blog is because I'm a dog lover, and I saw that. This specific type of breed was commonly involved in scams and puppy mills, where are people unethically breed dogs and sell them to pet stores. And then charging like $2,000 for this dog and people buying this little pet toy breed.
And I was like, This isn't cool. I don't like this. And nobody out there knows what they're doing about SEO around this dog breed. So I can come in and know what I'm doing with SEO and blogging, and I can start creating real. Content from real people who have owned this dog. And here's some real information, and here's how to avoid getting scammed.
Don't Western Union wire transfer $2,000 to somebody that you've never seen in a fake photo on the internet. Here's how to identify scams: Hey, if you do have this dog, here's how to raise it ethically. And that's how it started. And then, because of that, I started getting a lot of traction and a lot of questions.
And then I started having to go out. Real professional trainers and people who have owned this dog. And then it grew from there. So it started as just a little side project to practise SEO and turned into a business that I ended up selling.
Trudy Rankin: I think that's really interesting.
So I'm curious about that part of the journey where you were using it as a mechanism for practising SEO? Why were you wanting to practise SEO? Did you already have other websites at that point?
Jake Lang: This was the fourth website I had created the first two. We're total flops. I had no idea what I was doing and made a bunch of mistakes, but I learned a lot.
The third one is my niche site in the insurance industry, where I sell online courses to help employees of the insurance industry pass this certification. I had to earn this certification when I worked as a product analyst in the industry, and I hated the study material. And so I wrote my own study material and then started selling it.
And I said, Wow, this is actually working. Look at how I stumbled into it. Did it by accident, did it successfully? I. Stumbled into SEO by accident because, again, it was a niche topic that nobody was writing about. So I just started writing about these exams, and because I was using the name of the exam in my blog, that was the keyword that people were searching for, but nobody was writing about it.
All of a sudden I started getting a tonne of traffic from Google, and I said, How am I doing this and why am I doing this? And then I learned a lot through that website. A couple years later, maybe a year or two after successfully starting that and monetizing it, I started the Pomsky blog because I was basically saying I wanted to figure out how to actually do this the right way from scratch, starting with all the right methodology from the beginning, and see if it worked and it did.
Which is fascinating because that was number four, and now you're all the way up to working on number 10. What's the process for going through and deciding what type of site you're going to visit create, and what will the topic be?
And that's what the book Step One is actually all about: the exact process and methodology that I go through.
And in my view, so basically in the book, I believe there are 35 or 40, what I call brain dump questions, which are just brainstorming questions to come up with over 150 different topics that you might be an expert at or might be interested in becoming an expert at. And to me, that's really all I look at: what do I touch in my daily life?
Because every single thing around you-every single Job you've ever had, every single thing you've ever touched, every thing you've ever learned, every hobby you've ever had- could be the topic of your business. So for me, I just start with this brainstorming exercise and then narrow it down from there based on what I am interested in.
Can I see myself writing a hundred blog posts on this topic? And if not, then I'm not going to touch that. Because I will be I will not be interested in that business. And I take it from there and then do a little bit more narrowing to figure it out. If I'm interested in it, is it actually viable?
And are there the way that I do that is a good baseline check always is I told you I'm, I love seo. That's my primary method of traffic generation. I simply use keyword research through SEO tools. I use SEMrush. To look up how many people are simply searching for what I call the root topic.
The root niche so for Pomsky, I would just type in Pomsky. Okay. How many people out there are even looking for information about this dog? Oh, 200,000 people. Okay. That's way more than I need. But I can tell that there are people out there, and I can see that there are tonnes of topics being asked that are being searched on Google.
There are not a lot of people talking about that subject. So those become my blog posts, and that's how I get traffic. One of the sites that I just started about pellet stoves. Do you guys have pellet stoves in Australia?
Trudy Rankin: I have no idea. I have to confess, because in the city you use, you either have gas stoves or electric heating, or you have wood stoves or wood-burning stoves, and. App Pellet Stoves. I haven't seen them advertised, but that's not to say we don't have them. I don't know.
Jake Lang: So, I live in Maine. It gets cold here. So, everybody in Maine has a pellet stove.
They're similar to a wood stove except it's just these little pellets, just compressed wood shavings and pellets, and that's what you burned to heat your home. But anyway, when I moved to Maine, I had no idea what a pellet stove was. I had one in my house, and I said, How the heck do I use this thing?
I started googling how to use it; there was not a lot of information. So I said, Oh, maybe this is a niche topic that I can learn about. I looked it up through keyword research, but nobody was really talking about it. So I said, Okay, I'm going to start a niche site on this because I need to learn this anyway, and I can just write about it and teach other people what I learn.
So that's the process that I use for finding these niche topics.
Trudy Rankin: It sounds like you write all of your content yourself; is that the case? Or maybe, if you have guest posts, do you write the majority of them yourself?
Jake Lang: I wrote it all. I brought on guest writers, but it's mostly to help somebody out and give some exposure, kind of like this guest podcast, somebody else's perspective on a topic and share it with my audience.
Jake's Experience with Website Sales
Trudy Rankin: That makes a lot of sense. I want to come back to something that you were talking about earlier. You're talking about when you sold your Pomsky site and your website. Can you just talk a little bit about the process and how that came about? And what made you decide to sell it as opposed to keeping it, holding it, and continuing to get revenue from it?
Jake Lang: Sure, I'd say the big reason for selling is, let me tell you, at this point I had scaled it up. It was generating about $2,000 per month in recurring revenue through a small membership and affiliate products, mostly from the membership. And I wrote a little dog training book as well.
So, that was the monetization. And I used empireflippers.com. I'd actually heard about it, I think on the SPI podcast, and that's how I found them. And they were awesome. They handle everything for you. They give you the valuation. They're the middleman that connects you with the buyer.
I highly recommend them. And I got a valuation of $95,000, and I ended up selling the site for the full valuation. And it really just came down to the price point that I could sell it for. Did I think it was worth it? Because that would cover basically three or four years of revenue from that website.
Could I make that back by starting another niche site if I had more time? And the answer is yes. And where is my time best invested? Because that website was primarily at that time. I would say mostly hands-off and passive. For me, I have a team of assistants that help with a lot of things. I write the blogs, but then they do all the WordPress and posting, and they publish the podcast episodes and the video.
So, I was pretty content and then passed off the rest. They're my assistants, and they're even answering emails and posting on social media. So all of it was hands-off. But it was still taking up an a, an. Enough of my time, even just five hours a week or 10 hours a week, that I know that if I invested in my insurance website or the entrepreneur ride-along, which could be 10 extra coaching clients at the entrepreneur ride-along, that is far more profitable.
And I enjoy it a lot more because I don't own the Pomsky dog. So I found myself, I own Great Danes and a Pit Bull mix. So, not even close to a little Husky-Pomeranian mix. So it also just felt like this isn't really like what I do; I love dogs, but I'd rather focus on other things and pass this website off to somebody else.
I can take it where it needs to go. Because I was not investing the time that I needed to grow it. And I was just getting too many people asking too many questions. I was basically just overflowing with work that I couldn't handle. And if I had invested the time, I could have grown a lot more.
So, it's time to pass it off to somebody else to take it to the next level, so I could focus on the projects that were making me more money and giving me more enjoyment.
Choosing the Right Platform
Trudy Rankin: It makes a lot of sense. So basically, you heard about Empire Flippers. You decided you were going to take this website and sell it, and they helped you do it.
I've heard about them as well. I've also flipped another one. I'm just a little curious because, at this stage, I thought, and this could be me just not knowing, that Empire Flippers took some of the more expensive sites and saw mid-to-high-range sites.
And obviously, they flip the cells up in the range as well, but they also have the lower-range ones as well. So, did you do any research before you picked them or just go with it?
Jake Lang: That change happened after I sold this business. This was sold in 2020; I believe it was right before I quit my day job.
But then, soon after that, I forgot what their metrics are now. I don't know if I asked, is it a six-figure business? Or something like that. But they are focusing on a high-value, high-income businesses only. Now that I looked at Flippa, I chose Empire Flippers. I looked at Flippa, Motion Invest, and a couple other ones that I don't even remember the name of, but those were the three that I really narrowed it down to Flippa. I chose not to go with them because it was the most work for me in terms of basically having to do all the work, all the negotiations, and my own valuation. And it's also more like eBay, where people can bid on it and you can set a max price, so if they hit the max price, I think they buy it.
And that was okay, but then it will. Come to my hands to pass it all off and do all the work, basically. Motion to invest. I wanted to work with them. But they said my site was too complex for them, meaning they only wanted to focus on affiliate sites-really easy sites that are easy to just pass off to somebody else and move on-because I had a membership and a book podcast.
All this other stuff they were email marketing. My whole automation is built into ConvertKit. They were like, yes, we just want websites that are blog posts where you click and earn a commission to come back to us with an affiliate site, basically. Empire Flippers sold me. I was eligible to use them at the time before they switched it up.
But they are basically totally hands-off for me where they publish and push my website. They do take a 15% commision, so I had to pay for it, but they find the buyer, they interview the buyer, they conduct all the transactions and hold the money whole transaction is processed.
And then I give them all my passwords. Basically, they change all the passwords to the new buyers, whatever he wants to change them to, and they just do it without me ever meeting the other person. I did meet with this buyer because he asked, and I wanted to, because I, I wanted to make sure I was passing it off to a good person that I trusted.
So, that was nice. We had the opportunity to meet, but if you don't want to, you can just pass it off to this person. Never hear from them again. And you take the money, they take the site, and you go your separate ways, and you don't have to do any work. So, Empire Flippers was a really easy way to facilitate the sale of a website.
Mastering Content Creation
Trudy Rankin: That sounds like a pretty good service. And it would be worth paying for, especially if you're already short on time. I want to come back with two questions, but I'll start with this one first. In terms of the types of content websites that you create and that you monetize, what would you say are the most important things that you need to be able to do something like that successfully?
Jake Lang: For a content website, one of the most important skill sets is just jumping in and doing research. So I say first, do the research to figure out if it is viable. Is it going to work? I mentioned I had two web sites that totally flopped when I first got into this whole online business world.
That's because I did no research, didn't talk to my target market at all, and just said, Oh, I have an idea. I'm going to be rich. I'm going to put this online. And where are the customers? Come give me your money. I had no knowledge of the subject, no expertise, and didn't really care about the topic at all.
So, I always really just saw dollar signs and dove into it. And that's why those failed. So, I'd say research is the biggest skill set that you need in terms of, at least in my world, using SEO. And it's the same as podcasting. YouTube videos are doing that research.
What is the right business to start? What type of content do you want to consume? And then, what is your pain point that I can solve with my products or services? So, then I'd say that research has been key for me to successfully keep doing this over and over again rather than wasting my time for months at a time trying to build a new website.
Throwing things at the wall, hoping something sticks. That the research helps you make sure that it's going to succeed before you dive in. And then it is really just diving in, and doing it, and dedicating the time. Like I said, if it's on your brainstorming sheet as one of your ideas and you really can't see yourself writing a hundred blog posts, a book, or recording a bunch of podcast episodes about the topic, then avoid it because you won't do it and then the business won't succeed.
Outsourcing and Business Expansion
Trudy Rankin: That's wise advice. Do you think that your business model would work as well if you were paying somebody to write your content for you?
Jake Lang: I think the research would still need to be done because, in the end, you need to know what pain point is your target market is facing, you could probably pay somebody to do that research too.
But I like the research part. What information do they need? What product and service can you create to solve that pain point? I don't plan on ever hiring somebody to write for me, just because I like writing, I like working on my businesses, and I like being the one with the knowledge that runs the business.
So, I'm also the one who can write the content because I have the knowledge to be the expert behind the scenes. But yes, I could hypothetically see if you did the research; if you said, here's a list keywords, go write about this, and here's what I want to talk about in each one, then you could pass it off.
Still, take a bit of time to review if it's meeting the criteria of what you see as acceptable to put out in front of the world. Because in the end, you're the one on the hook. It's your business. So, it has to be accurate and presentable. But absolutely, you could use the same business model and outsource the whole thing.
Trudy Rankin: Yes, obviously you have to pay for it, but yes, it does work. So, I want to come back to one of the questions that I know listeners will be asking, and that is, in terms of the monetization side of things, you've already mentioned courses and affiliate links, I'm assuming as well, but exactly how do you go ahead and monetize your sites?
Do you have a prefered mix, or do you base it on the topic?
Jake Lang: To me, it depends on the topic. And the topic really depends. And I should say even further than that: the topic and simply how can I solve the pain point of that target market? For example, on my insurance website, it's simply, I want to take this exam and pass this exam, so give me the content that I need.
Okay, here's a course or a book; just read it. Take the practise exams and go ahead and pass it. With Pomsky, the Pomsky website. It was, I want a community of other people training this dog. I need help and resources. So, I was like, Okay, that's a membership with some content, and here are some courses in the membership so you can communicate with other people, real trainers.
I'm in there to answer your questions too. And here's some courses about training as well and a book on top of that. So, I'd say it really depends on what that pain point is that you're facing and you can. Find the the right vehicle to solve that pain point.
Choosing the Right Affiliate Partners
Trudy Rankin: When it comes to affiliate-type monetization techniques, do you have a prefered crowd like Amazon, or do you tend to go out there and talk directly to the organisations that provide the products and services that you've got Affiliate links for?
Jake Lang: It definitely depends on the niche. I would say I use Amazon for all my websites because it's easy, especially if you're recommending a book that you wrote or something like that. I think everybody should have Amazon affiliates. But for something more specfic, like the entrepreneur ride-along, I'm an affiliate of Thrive Themes, the WordPress theme, and an affiliate of ConvertKit. And that's because I've used those platforms and tested them. I know I like 'em and I can, and I also put a bunch of tutorial training videos out there for my coaching clients. So, naturally, it makes sense for me to be an affiliate of those specific businesses.
So, I would say that for general, broad things, I guess Amazon works great, but Otherwise, I limit it to maybe just a couple of resources and tools that I use. Like another one for this Pomsky website, again, there was one. There are businesses out there that have online training videos, and they're a little more advanced than what I had.
There were more broad training videos for aggressive, energetic dogs, and they offered a recurring commision for anybody that joined their membership, which I would get. $20 recurrent commision every single month if somebody from my email list signed up for their training programme. So, we had a great relationship, and I would refer them leads, and I didn't have to do the work of creating more and more training videos.
They were world-renowned expert dog trainers, and I just referred to them and took the commision. So, that was like, find somebody that I really trust, consume their content, make sure it's good, and I don't mind recommending it, and build that affiliate relationship from there.
Trudy Rankin: That's one of the things that's always interesting. I don't know about you, but I get offers from people. Would you like to be an affiliate? You mean an affiliate for my product, service, or whatever. And I'm going; I've never heard of you.
I have no idea whether you're a trustworthy person. And I'm interested in affiliate relationships. I'm not saying don't send me invitations, but it's like, There's gotta be a way of building a relationship with someone first so that you have a way of establishing authority, building trust, and people can, with confidence, promote your products.
How do you find that? Do you get people approaching you to be an affiliate for their product or service?
Jake Lang: All the time same as you, and I've never taken anybody up on the offer. Like you said, I've never gotten an offer that came to me and basically said, Hey, test this out for free.
I'll give you a beta trial or something like that, which I feel like would be a logical first step because I want to use the tool, test it ,and see if it works before I recommend it. Most people just email me and say, Hey, want to make a bunch of money by pitching my product? And it's I, like you said, I don't know you, and I don't know if your product is good, so No, thank you.
Trudy Rankin: And even if their product was good, were they going to pay you?
Jake Lang: True never got that far.
Trudy Rankin: Exactly. Actually, that's kind of interesting because I have had people give me access to their products, and for those people who have given me access to their products so that I can get in there and play with them, I will absolutely be an affiliate for them if I think that their product is really good and it's going to be a useful thing for people who are interested in that particular thing.
So, if anybody's out there with a product and a service or a service and they're wanting to establish affiliate relationships, just take it from us being on the other side of the coin. Go out there, establish a relationship with someone first. Make sure you give them access so they can see whether the product is any good and, basically, just build that trust.
That trust factor I think That's really important. I wanna come back to something that's ticking away in the back of my brain here, and that is for somebody who's interested in maybe experimenting with content websites as a way of establishing either a side hustle or just a bit of revenue on the side or adding another revenue stream to their business. What's it like?
Can you just describe a day in the life of for yourself, as somebody who runs a portfolio of income- generating websites.
Jake Lang: I'll give you two answers: Because life right now is much different than it used to be. In my life now, I may only work two or three hours a day because everything I've built is passive income-based.
Everything goes from SEO organic traffic to an email list. My funnel that sells my products and services and I have a one-year-old, another on the way, and five dogs. And so I've got priorities elsewhere, which means it's nice that I can sit back on the passive income funnel.
My time now is spent creating new things, new niche sites, and just making sure everything's running properly. But I'll tell you, when I first started out, it was very much on the side. For me, it was making sure to focus on one. I'd say that one, like the one right next step, is not getting distracted by all the bells, whistles, and shiny objects out there.
Because it's really easy to start a Facebook page and a Twitter page, now there are the new threads, or whatever's out there, on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok. And it's like Oh, I'm going to do all this SEO and YouTube and podcasting, and then you get nothing done.
Utilised train commutes and lunch breaks to build first online business
So, for me, it was good to have a day job. I would say a day in my life was when I took the train to and from work, so I had about an hour to work and an hour back from work where I was just sitting on the train. And so that was my time, and that's really why I chose blogging. In the beginning ,I liked writing.
I never thought I was a blogger, but then I was sitting on the train for two hours a day, so I would write blogs to and from work, and that's how I really got into SEO and logging. And then I would have my hour-long lunch break at work where I would take my laptop out, go to a cafe, sit down, and work on whatever I could on the computer, and that's where I would post the blogs on WordPress or start publishing an online course.
I didn't really have that much time to focus on business at the time when I still had eight hours of the day job. Then, by the time I'm back home, maybe I'll do a little work at home. I would say a day in the life for me was simply, I. Focusing on my insurance business, which was the first successful one, allowed me to eventually quit my day job by simply blogging and writing courses every day.
The reasons behind his preference for text-based online courses and the unique value they bring to his niche
I knew those were the two most high-value items because the blogs brought the traffic in. I'd already built out an automated email funnel so people would download my free practise exam and get onto the email funnel, and that email funnel was basically, here's a bunch of free value. All the blogs that I'm writing.
Oh, and do you want to buy my course? By the way, here's a course that I created, and then it became keep writing courses for the next exam, because there were eight exams to earn the certification. And I knew once I completed all of them, I could bundle them and sell them for a big chunk of cash instead of buying one individual course at a time.
And I knew people would trust me more if I had all the courses so that they didn't start studying, get halfway through, and then, oh, Jake has no more courses for me. What am I going to do? So, my whole life in the beginning was just sitting down, and my courses are basically textbooks online. They're all text-based.
So, for me, every spare minute I had in between work on the way to work and when I wasn't working was spent writing. And now it could be for anyone else out there. It could be a podcast, video, whatever else you can do. There are plenty of other means of creating content if you don't like writing.
But for me, that's what I was doing in Word documents all day long, typing away.
Trudy Rankin: That's kind of interesting because a lot of courses these days are video-based. Rather than text-based. So, do you find that puts some people off, or do some people prefer the text-based approach as opposed to a talking head-type approach with video?
Jake Lang: I find that it's actually prefered in this niche. At the time, it was simply because I had no time to record video. So, I'm going to say that I was writing a textbook, and then it became an online course. And then I found out through market research that people actually prefered the text because there's so much complex content that it would take me five, 10 minutes to sit on video and talk through one of the subjects where I could write it more succinctly in a couple of bullet points with a little graph example.
They can go on their way. A lot of it is actuarial concepts, financial concepts, and some legal concepts that are really just me on screen here. Reciting it and then trying to write it down is almost better if you have it in your notes and can copy and paste it.
I give away a little, like a cheat sheet study guide. So as you're reading my course, you just take your own shorthand notes on the side, and then you study your cheat sheet. And people prefer that because they can just kind of copy and paste right from my course onto their cheat sheet and then study the cheat sheet.
But I agree. One of my competitors does video courses, and whenever somebody says, Hey, do you have videos? I say, Nope. Go to this guy. He's the video course guy in this niche. I'm the textbook guy. And that's fine with me. I have my market, and he has his, and we both do well in the niche.
Trudy Rankin: And do you change exchange affiliate links?
Jake Lang: No, we haven't. You know what I'm I pass him off business. We should, but he's a little more. I would say old school. He doesn't necessarily know all the online business tactics, but I should probably introduce him to them.
Trudy Rankin: You might be doing them a favour.
Jake Lang: His are recorded with almost a professional video camera. It's not like this; it's not even an online course platform; it's a DVD. So, you get a video course, but you got a DVD and copied it onto your computer, and downloaded it and all that.
Trudy Rankin: And if the course is still working and functioning, you know that it is still there; why not?
Jake Lang: Yes it's working. People love it.
Lessons from the Entrepreneurial Journey
Trudy Rankin: So, that sort of takes me onto my next question as we start to wrap things up a little bit. I mentioned in the introduction that you mentioned that you're doing the certifications you've got another website around one of PMI certifications.
Do you want to just talk a little bit about that? Is it the same as what you did for your insurance niche, or how did you get into that particular topic? That one is even more niche than the insurance one. It's not as popular a certification as you probably know. That one is simply, when I switched companies in the insurance industry, the new company I went to was all about agile, and they, Basically said, everybody that's here has to learn Agile.
Jake's adventure into yet another niche market, Agile certification
How do you want to learn it? You can take all these certification courses or do whatever you want. Pulp went off and said, okay, I've already created this website with my insurance courses. I can just literally copy it with a new subject. And that's what I did: I found this certification through the PMI, my company approved it, and I said, Okay, why don't you start studying for the PMIACP?
And I said, Okay, I'm going to start. And I was always honest with my employers. I didn't say, Hey, I'm going to write a course, but I would say, Hey, I'm going to do some tutoring on the side while I'm studying this and help other people. I was like, Yeah, that's fine. Put some resources out there, publish your study journey, and that's fine.
So, I told them that they were cool with it ,and I just copied my exact funnel. Literally, the same exact email funnel just changed the name of the exam and the pain point. And now I have the same funnel, same thing set up to sell a practise exam course for the P M I A C P.
That is, was really nice when you get to the place where you can, it's not cookie cutter, but it's taking the same template and reusing and repurposing stuff that you've already done. That makes a lot of sense. And it's one of the things that that I often think about when I'm thinking about ideas for content sites and that, it's basically, is it something that you could repeat?
Exploring New Ventures
And scale. And scale by repeating by topic or by location or whatever. That's interesting. One really quick question. Have you ever thought about buying an existing content site and then, scaling it and based on what you know, I have I've made bids on Flippa before for content sites and just never got it.
I always got outbid every time, but absolutely, it's going to be a future project and it's going to be a case study on the entrepreneur ride along. Just haven't got one yet, but eventually I, you and I are in the same boat. I just I ha I put in, I've put in some bids just recently on Flippa and.
And the one that I was really interested in didn't sell cuz I didn't hit the reserve. And then somebody the person who came back to me and said, Hey, are you interested at this price? I didn't have a chance to respond cuz I was so busy. And this morning I get an email from Flippa saying it's sold.
Oh no. Did you lose?
Yeah. Yeah. It really is. It's a little depressing too cuz you get so excited about this new site and you see the vision for it. You put in the bid and it's ah. Didn't get it. Okay. I've gotta get excited about a new one. Yeah, exactly. Go and do all the research and stuff.
Yeah, so it's really interesting. We could talk about this stuff for hours, but we've come to the end of our a lot of time. If you were so thinking back to the time that you spent on the train. Doing your blog posts and you'd worked your way through those first two that didn't work and stuff, and you finally landed on one and an idea that did work.
If somebody was in the same sort of situation as you where they're going, I really want to be successful at this whole content creation, monetization side of things, but they're going, wow, that you could, you. There's so much opportunity, but there's also so much chances that you'll just fail.
What kind of advice would you give to somebody in that who's at that stage where they wanna do it, but they're really worried that it's gonna be a waste of their time and effort?
Yeah. First I would say no matter what, it's not a waste of time and effort. I mentioned those two flops that I had, I absolutely would not be here today if I didn't start those two websites.
Cause that taught me WordPress and it taught me blogging back then, I heard about seo but didn't know how to do it. If I hadn't started those two websites, I wouldn't have learned that that one of the first steps, once you have an idea, is. Talking to your target market and figure out what do you guys even need in this target market?
What can I help you with? Should I even start a business here? No I'd still be struggling if I hadn't started those two websites. So that's one piece of advice is if you got the idea No matter what, you're going to take a learning lesson away from it, even if it's that learning lesson cost you a bit of time.
It's still a great learning lesson. But I would say there, there is so much opportunity out there there is still plenty of opportunity to create these content niche sites. I kinda go back to that research conversation that we had earlier, that it is looking out there and doing some brainstorming, seeing what's out there in your world and that you're, you have some expertise in and finding what could that subject be?
And really just picking one. And I always tell my coaching clients if you pick one, you gotta focus on it for at least a year. You gotta promise me you're gonna spend a year on it and dive in and go all in on this one idea. I don't start 10 different websites at once. I know you want to. I want to still.
Just pick one and stick with it for at least a year. And if it's awful after a year, then okay, move on. Drop it, go to a different subject. But if you do their research first and you talk to your target market and you find that there is this opportunity using, so I go back to the keyword research tools.
If you find that as there's a bunch of keyword opportunities out there with people asking questions and going to Google and searching for all this information about this topic. That can be your business cuz you know that there's a. Big community out there asking questions about this topic so that, there's a wealth of content opportunities that you can create to get the traffic to your website to then start monetizing.
So it's a little bit of research and, if you dive in, you're still gonna learn. And no matter what, it's a learning lesson.
Yeah. So it's that back to that concept of everybody starts at zero or everybody starts at suck, you gotta be bad before you can be any good at. You've gotta spend the time learning. Jake, that's been really interesting chatting with you. And if people were interested in learning more about you or wanted to connect with you, or they're interested in your community and your courses that you offer, where
Trudy Rankin: Fantastic. Thank you so much for being on the podcast. Thank you.