Interview with Savvy Niche Blogger James Penn from Accelerated Niche Profits

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James Penn Accelerated Niche ProfitsI’m excited to share this post with you…. James Penn is someone I’ve followed for a long time, which he doesn’t know. For more than a year now I’ve visited his blog every week or so to see what new case study or technique he’s sharing because they’re always very helpful and fresh.

James is a successful blogger, niche marketer, product creator, and affiliate… he’s a  young guy making it happen.

I approached him about doing an interview for the Strayblogger readers, and here it is:

Q: What got you interested in starting an online business and how did you get started?

In 2005, when I was just fifteen, I decided to sell all of my unwanted items on eBay to raise some money to get me through summer.

I made about £300 ($500) which was a LOT of money for me at the time. I also got a bit addicted to online auctions. I loved waking up every morning and seeing the increase in bids on my items, and I loved constantly refreshing the last few minutes of an auction and watching the bidding rise.

Eventually I ran out of items to sell, but I wanted more so I purchased some wholesale lists for all sorts of different items, such as DVDs, clothes and electronic items.

My plan was to use my £300 to buy more items in bulk and then sell the items on eBay for more money. I researched so many different wholesalers trying to find products I could sell and make a profit, but in the end I didn’t have the guts to part with such a significant amount of money.

Then I realised that I’d accumulated the details of so many different wholesalers that I decided to create my own lists of the best for all sorts of different niches – such as DVD Wholesaler Lists, Designer Clothes Wholesaler Lists and iPod Wholesaler Lists.

I put these lists on eBay at prices from 99p to £4.99. On a bad day I’d get three or four sales and make around £10 ($16), but on a good day I’d sell 10-15 copies and make around £30 ($50) which was pretty good for a 15 year old.

I also bought some eBooks with resale rights and would sell these for low prices. After a customer purchased I automatically had the download sent to them and promoted a Clickbank product in the email. This was my first foray into affiliate marketing and I loved it.

Eventually I set up a website (after a lot of stress – I’m technically challenged!) teaching eBay selling and I wrote my first eBook called Hidden eBay Wealth which sold very successfully at $15 for a few years.

All of this gave me experience in selling, upselling, setting up websites, getting traffic, affiliate marketing, traffic generation and product creation and gave me a fantastic platform to kick on.

Q: What’s the best piece of “big picture” advice you would give to someone just starting their online business?

FOCUS is imperative.

Pick one business model, whether it be affiliate marketing, email list building, product creation or blogging, pick one and focus on making that work.

Don’t jump from idea to idea or website to website and don’t buy all the latest “instant money systems”.

Q:What would you tell people just starting out that they should focus on?

It depends on each person’s situation as to what business model they should focus on. If you’ve just lost your job, have a family to support and need to replace your income ASAP, then I’d suggest creating your own product, setting up your own affiliate program and spend every waking minute recruiting affiliates.

But if you still have a job and a few hours to spare each week, or if you have the luxury of not needing money right away, then I’d suggest blogging.

Being a blogger will likely take at least a few months, if not more, of hard work before you get noticeable gains but once you get your blog to a level where it produces income that you’re happy with, you really can live the dream internet lifestyle.

Plus, as a blogger you can incorporate all the other methods of making money online in your business. You can create your own product and sell it through the blog (something I’m in the process of doing for my health and beauty blog), you can sell affiliate products, you can build email lists, you can gnat ad revenue and much, much more.

If you blog about something you are interested in, then you’ll never get bored.

Q:What motivates you to keep going and become even more successful?

I’m a big believer that “success breeds success”. If you reach one small goal, such as making $10 in a day, then that will motivate you to go and reach your next goal.

My motivation at the moment is just to beat the previous month.

If I can grow my traffic every single month then I’ll be very, very happy. I’ve increased traffic to my blog every month since December. In December I got 6,126 visitors to my blog, traffic has risen every month since and last month (May) I got 58,551 visitors in the month.

There are also the motivations that everyone else has, such as the ability to buy nice things, to take luxury holidays and just not to worry about money. In the early days, my biggest motivation was just to prove the negative people wrong!

Q:What is your favorite software tool that you use in your business and why?

I use very few tools in my business. To run my blogs I simply use WordPress which is free, a couple of premium themes and a few plug-ins (mainly free ones).

I also have an Aweber account which I use to manage my email lists.

Most of the processes I undertake are manual. I don’t do automated directory submissions, or mass article distribution, or anything that Google might frown upon – which is why I was surprised my blog took such a punishment in the Google Panda update.

To see all the tools and plug-ins I use to set my blogs up and make money from them take a look at my Ultimate Bloggers Toolkit page.

Q:How much of your time do you dedicate to: 1) self-education and learning new skills 2) generating new traffic, leads and customers for your business and 3) generating revenue?

I don’t dedicate specific times to any of the above, but I’d estimate that about 5% of my time is dedicated to self-education (more time was spent in my early days, though), 90% to generating traffic, leads and customers and 5% on generating revenue.

Revenue generation is already in place (such as Adsense ads, Amazon and affiliate links) so revenue is generated by simply getting more traffic – that’s why so much of my time is dedicated to that.

Q:You seem to teach mostly about traffic strategies… What is the top skill that someone needs to learn in order to always be able to generate traffic?

I’d say there are two main skills…

1. Creating content that people in your market want to read

2. Finding ways to get this content in front of them

Here are some ways to get the content in front of them…

– Build your distribution channels (email list and social following) and share it with them

– Get authorities in your market to share it with their distribution channels. I’ve developed a really clever way to do this and it enabled me to generate over 17,000 visitors to one blog post in just a few weeks by convincing other people that they should share my blog post with their social following. If you want to find out what this method is then download my viral blog post case study.

– Guest post on high traffic blogs and funnel readers back to your blog

– Increase your rankings in the search engines to capture more visitors.

Q:What traffic strategies are working for you right now, and are there any that will always work?

My two biggest and best traffic sources right now are Pinterest and Facebook.

To take advantage of Pinterest you need to have high quality images on your blog and you need to encourage your readers to pin your content. You can do that by having prominent “Pin It” buttons around (or inside) your images.

Here’s a blog post I recently published revealing five tricks to get more people to pin your content (because the more pins you get, the more traffic you’ll get).

http://www.bigblogtraffic.com/pinterest-traffic-tricks/

I get traffic from Facebook two ways…

One way is my own Facebook fan page which is made up of close to 1,500 very engaged “fans”. I post 2/3 updates to these fans each day with a link to a blog post from the archive. Each update can send 50-200 visitors depending on how many people like and share.

The second way is by getting other Facebook fan page owners to share my content. People like to share good content and I’ve got a neat little trick to convince them to share my content which I reveal in my viral blog post case study report.

I also get a nice chunk of traffic from guest posting. In fact using only guest posting I got my blog to 1,000 visitors per day from Google alone. After Panda struck me, that dropped to just 200 – but I still get traffic from links in my guest posts.

QUICK TIP: Guest post on blogs with BIG Facebook followings (20k+). I noticed that the guest posts sending me the most traffic was because the blogger notified their FB fans of my guest post.

Q:If someone only has 20 minutes a day to use social media sites such as Facebook and Pinterest to get more traffic, what is the best use of their time?

First of all I’d make sure your site is set up properly.

For Facebook, make sure you have lots of calls to action asking your blog readers to like your page on Facebook  and have a Facebook like box in your sidebar of all pages. At the start of each blog post I try to put a paragraph like this…

Like Us On Facebook to get updates of new content, to take part in our fun and games and to win prizes in our competitions. 

If you can build a big FB fan page that will enable you to generate big traffic and give you incredible leverage.

For Pinterest, you need to make sure you have high quality images and display a “Pin It” button in prominent positions as close to your images as possible.

If I had just 20 minutes per day I would…

On Facebook:

  • Post 2-3 updates to my fans per day with links to blog content
  • Comment on other pages updates as my page rather than personal profile (good way to get authority fan page owners in your market to notice you and increases the chance of them sharing your content)
  • Seek out FB page owners with similar fan sizes and arrange a “content swap” (you share one of their blog posts to your fans, they share one of your blog posts to their fans while also “tagging” each other to grow each other’s fan bases.)

On Pinterest:

  • Pin images from around the web (including your own when appropriate)
  • Be active to get followers – e.g. repin images, follow people, like images and comment on them.
  • Similar to FB content swaps, once you have a significant Pinterest following, find other power users and arrange “Pin swaps” – you pin their content, they pin yours.

Q:Where can people go to learn more from you?

Visit my new blog at BigBlogTraffic.com where I reveal ALL the traffic strategies that are working for me right now.

Plus, if you’d like to learn my secret system that I used to generate 17,000 visitors to one blog post using OTHER people’s Facebook fan pages, then download Viral Blog Post Case Study…

Q:Final Words:

Thanks Nate and all the readers at StrayBlogger for having me. If you have any questions please leave a comment below and I’ll pop in and answer them 🙂

 

Limited Offer: Name: When I was just starting to figure things out, I did an interview where I walked through exactly what was working for me.

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About The Author

Nate

Nate is a blogger, fitness enthusiast, and designer.

10 Comments

  • Marc

    Reply Reply June 13, 2012

    Great info, will be putting in some hours on this.
    Would like some tips of where to get such good quality graphics & photos for your blog, please?

    • Nate

      Reply Reply June 13, 2012

      Marc- Glad you liked it. I get my photos from istockphoto, and as far as graphics I’ve done them all in Illustrator- I really like design but I’m an amateur at best.

  • Matt Carlett

    Reply Reply June 13, 2012

    Nate this is a great interview. I just went and read a bunch of posts on Jame’s blog and I am very impressed. This guy knows how to leverage social media and makes it better than Google traffic wise. Awesome stuff – Matt

    • Nate

      Reply Reply June 13, 2012

      Matt- Yeah James is a smart dude- I’ve gotten a ton of great tips and ideas from his stuff.

  • Awesome interview Nate. Like the tip he gave on focusing on one thing to bring success out of it, I so much have lot of projects on my hand but as I type now, I have decided to work on just one of the product myself and see how it goes.

    Google has been so silly these days and the best bullet proof way is to use youtube video to get traffice (that is if necessary) and also BUILT YOUR MAIL LIST.

    Sheyi

    • Nate

      Reply Reply June 13, 2012

      Glad you liked it Sheyi… Focus is key. Seeing one project through will teach you all the necessary skills to replicating the success over and over again.

  • Deborah

    Reply Reply June 13, 2012

    James Penn is an awesome kid. He’s a great example of what “having it all together” looks like. I’ve seen quite a lot of his stuff and have been very impressed. He keeps it simple and explains things very well. This was a very informative interview, Nate. Thanks for doing.

    • Nate

      Reply Reply June 13, 2012

      Deborah- You’re welcome. Thanks for reading.

  • Paul

    Reply Reply June 13, 2012

    Excellent unique interview Nate !
    I bought James ebook recently and was amazed at the quality and originality of his ideas. Refreshing to see something really worthwhile buying for a change !

    • Nate

      Reply Reply June 13, 2012

      Thanks Paul- there is a lot of good stuff in the interview. And yes, James’s stuff is great.

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