How to become a professional blogger – Interview with a German living in the US

interview, blogger, daniel, expat, amazon

Meet Dan - the male expat partner

While researching for potential interview partners for my blogging series I came across live-work-travel-usa, a great resource for everyone that is thinking about immigrating to the US. Thankfully, Dan was open to share his experience with blogging and revealed a great project that went from a side-hustle to a great paying job which is also portable. I have not came across many male Expat Partners so far and would love to know more about his experience with that. If you are curious as well send me a message with your questions and we will convince Dan to give us some more insights here 😉 

 

But for now let’s start with this experience in blogging, earning money on the internet, and his top tips! 

Hi Dan, thanks for sharing your insights with us! Please introduce yourself and liveworktravelusa and share how you ended up as a German living in the US.

After spending 3 months for a voluntary internship on the West Coast with my wife in 2004, I knew I would take the opportunity to work and live in the U.S. in a heart beat, if it would ever come. One year later my wife got a job in North Carolina and we both started our adventure. In 2013, I began to blog about the expat life in America to share my own experience and help others along their journey.

What was your motivation to start your amazing blog www.liveworktravel.usa in the first place and what effect did it have on your life in the US as an Expat?

I was working as a graphic designer for a while and some point started to listen to all sorts of podcasts during work.  One of them was Pat Flynn’s “Smart Passive Income” and I was really fascinated by the amounts of money that Pat is making with affiliate commissions and that he created a full-time business for himself with it. So I wanted to give it a shot and tried to find something I was passionate enough to write about, which ended up being about my life as an expat.

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Many Expats start with a personal blog to share their story with family and friends but are thinking about turning blogging into a business after some time. In your experience, what are the necessary steps to increase traffic and start to monetize the blog?

The money is in the niche. Blog readers are usually visiting your site to learn something or to be entertained. They are not necessarily visiting your blog in order to buy something. I think starting a personal blog for your family and then hoping to suddenly turn it into a business and making lots of money with it, is the wrong approach. Readers get really turned off by seeing a lot of ads on your blog and they realize quickly, if you just want to sell them something through affiliate links and ads. To make money with blogging, find a niche that you are knowledgable about and could easily write 50-100 articles on the topic. Organic google search traffic builds up very slowly, so does your ranking on the google search result pages.  Make sure to target not only a few main keywords that applies to your niche, but also long tail keywords related to it. Once you started your site, get active on other blogs that are somewhat related to your niche and post sincere and useful comments, no spam.  That will get you a few new visitors when they see that you also have a site.  Never mention your site though in the comment. That’s just spammy. And most important, provide useful original content!

Speaking of monetization: What is your personal experience of blogging as a profession for income? Can blogging be more than a hobby for Expat Partners and if so, what would be your recommendations for newbies?

interview, blogger, daniel, expat, amazon
I was never successful earning enough money from blogging, so that I could live from it. Far from it! I learned that my niche just wasn’t a good fit for selling things or maybe I didn’t try hard enough. I even started two other niche sites that were all about making money with very little success.  At some point I had to make a decision between blogging and my, back then, newest passion “selling on Amazon”. The numbers just painted a very clear picture, so I dedicated all of my spare time to Amazon and stopped blogging.  I couldn’t handle a fulltime job, two time intensive side projects plus being available for my wife and kids.
My recommendation for newbies is to find something you’re passionate about and to give it a real shot. Based on feedback and traffic you’ll find out pretty soon if you may have a winner or not. Also, if you’re serious about something, don’t shy away to spend some money on a course, because you’ll learn everything you need to get started in a short amount of time. Of course everything is out there in the internet for free, but do you have time to find the right information and piece it all together yourself?

On your website, you are talking about your experience with FBA. I first had to google what FBA is all about 😊 From my understanding FBA could be a great business idea for Expats. Would you mind explaining the concept of FBA to the readers and elaborate on how it works as a business concept?

FBA is a service from Amazon, that let’s you sell products on the Amazon marketplace while they are taking care of storing and shipping everything.  All you have to do is find products to sell, pack everything in a box and send it to the Amazon warehouse. It’s not like ebay, where you would have to ship every single order yourself.  That was a big reason for me to try it out.  Everybody can sign up to sell on Amazon, so yes, it would be a great idea for expats to contribute to the household income. It’s a lot of fun, too.  And if you’re committed enough and willing to put in some real work, you can even create a full time income with it like I did. I quit my job in 2016 to go full time Amazon.

“Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) is an e-commerce service in which third-party vendors store their products in Amazon’s fulfillment centers and the e-commerce giant picks, sorts, packs, ships, tracks and handles returns and refunds for these products.”

 

TechTarget

Are there any resources, articles, podcasts, interviews etc that have helped you in your personal Expat journey and that you want to share?

Great websites about how to create and monetize a niche site is www.nichepursuits.com. Check out www.smartpassiveincome.com for how to build and monetize a blog and to get lots of great ideas of what else is out there to make money with.  Both sites provide lots of articles and podcast episodes to keep you busy for a while.
For Amazon, there are tons of courses, websites and Facebook groups out there to help you get started. Again, it is wise to spend a few dollars to educate yourself and not to make too many rookie mistakes in the beginning. I waited way too long before joining a paid Facebook group, because I was just too skeptical of this really working, so I wanted to learn everything myself with free resources instead.

Thank you Dan, for all your insights! FBA was definitely a topic you introduced me to and I am hoping to learn more about it soon. If you want to share your experience with FBA, blogging, or any other portable career while living abroad send me a message to info@sharethelove.blog and let us know. Would love to feature you in a guest post. 

 

If you want to know more about Dan and his work check out these links and follow him on social media!

Thanks for sharing the love and stopping by

Kate from Share the Love, expat, expat wife, expat life

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