Disclosure: My posts contain referral & affiliate links labeled with "(aff.)" to products and courses that reflect supporting side hustles. I serve as a "lead" and potentially make a commission when readers make informed decisions to purchase or sign up for a service using these special links. I am legally disclosing that I am an Amazon affiliate and a proud affiliate to products I make references to on Side of Hustle. With integrity and credibility on the line, it benefits no one to direct to crappy products. I am more than happy to field questions about products I endorse and how to best serve you.
As a new blogger, I naturally look to other bloggers and websites to figure out how they run successful businesses. There is a LOT of free content overwhelming people like me.
- 1 Back story
- 2 So why not a free website?
- 3 What I want to go through:
- 4 Buying Another Bundle
I quit retail last year with a plan. When that plan fell through, I was devastated. I dedicated all this time to prepare for programming boot camp. I knew deep down I'm wasn't good at coming up with new problem-solving angles and then patching that with software!
Blogging personally remained consistent in this struggle. I wrote about the typical teenage girl “meets world” and “coming of age” stuff that resonated with classmates, friends, and strangers. I wrote plenty about struggles and my desire to travel from (East) Bay Area, California. I logically picked the furthest UC from home. I was going get through school, go to medical school and work for a living. Filling in the gaps was the hard part and where I failed.
This is all documented somewhere on Xanga, Facebook Notes and WordPress.com My favorite memories came from me writing. It was like following a relatable trainwreck. I felt heard even if there wasn't always direct feedback.
I set out to learn about blogging professionally last year finally. I can continue writing with a narrative and eventually contribute positively to the world. I certainly wasn't going do that in retail.
So why not a free website?
I love & hate WordPress and but given WordPress' stable backend, I dropped down money for a WordPress.org. Org allows further customization, additional features and the ability to monetize. The basic tags and categories in WordPress are eons ahead of all the free blogs, like Xanga and Facebook Notes. It's much harder now to make noise without being part of those communities. You also had to be “my friend” to gain access to my drivel. *laughs*
So now that you've heard “my story” and my beginning, I want to share my first attempt at affiliate marketing with the Genius Blogger's Toolkit [Flash Sale]. I purchased this 2016 toolkit last October eager to go through it.
There are loads of information geared towards new bloggers and experienced bloggers alike. Quite a bit of overlap, of course, but lots of one-stop-shop material compiled in over 60 resources (e-books, courses, videos, and trials). No, you are not expected to go through ALL 60 something sources. I might EVENTUALLY for future content on this site, but to start off, it's A LOT.
Notice 2016 underlined is a subtlety I am hinting there is going be a 2017 version with new content and not a rehash of 2016 version. However, I HIGHLY recommend that you pick the 2016 version, so you can start setting up your blog and slowly introduce blog traffic to your site gradually. Advertising goes into overdrive in Q3/Q4, and you're going want to be ready! Spring-forth, fall-back. Don't wait when you got the time now to begin your life transformation. 😉
More than a few of these products pays for the entire bundle, some are highlighted below as well. I like to get my money's worth at the start! That doesn't mean the smaller, more affordable content aren't any better. Usually, the expensive ones are media content and the more affordable means they're straight up e-book.
I'll highlight the ones I've gone through so far and used what I've learned to set up this blog.
This was my second product (version 2) redeemed in the original bundle. In February 2017, Abby released version 3, the version included in the Flash Sale. I compared the two versions recently and noticed about 60% more videos with v3. What sets her apart are the videos to set up Siteground, which helped with this site. Included as well are Bluehost videos for those more inclined.
Building a Framework walks you through Abby's beginnings, and it was SO helpful to see how to set up the technical details visually. The product is the e-book, but hey, there are videos to walk you through and hand-hold to complement each chapter and module. I liked it so much that I paid for v3. Abby doesn't lifetime upgrade who sign up for her course via Ultimate Bundles. It's sucky in that regard, but the video resources and lifetime access to future versions solidified that decision easy. Others may compare as more affordable than Elite Blog Academy ($798 as of 2017).
One thing I love about Amy is she's also introverted, insightful and wears it proudly. I look forward to her weekly Saturday morning UseLetters (she is so kickass that he had the word trademarked!). I'm not typically excited for Fridays, but I love Saturdays! She started around the time I was in high school (time flies) and maintained it all these years; I was excited to see that blogging can be a career.
Her Knowtbook (silent K, so it's “note”) gave the impression that it is one expensive Word Document to the untrained eye but hosted under WorkFlowy. It collapses and expands based on the level you are on. You can switch modules, go up and down a step, hide and expand details. She claims that the Knowtbook stays up-to-date real-time. She can update her Knowtbook even as you are reading.
I'm thoroughly impressed because e-books don't get updated unless the Kindle author pushes updates. With Amy's Knowtbook, it's completely refreshing to know there will always be one resource here to stay.
In the original bundle sale, KA also manages the Ultimate Bundle GBT Mastermind Facebook group. Her e-book walks you thoroughly how what to expect from identity, monetizing, working with brands and setting up a mailing list.
This one pays for the bundle. No seriously. It felt like she spoke to me and told me three reasons why I fail in this area. I'm still working on narrowing down the most important tasks and accepting a fear of missing out.
Ruth also has a starter inexpensive e-book that sets up an intro to her Elite Blog Academy 3.0 course (sign up here for her waitlist) with open enrollment once a year. The program is quite an investment, so I happily paid $8 to start reading her “How to Blog for Profit Without Selling Your Soul” that can be purchased directly on her website.
This productivity guide is a separate product, though I wish she would integrate the PGB videos and workbooks within her Elite Blog Academy as productivity is a blogger's struggle.
PBG complements anyone looking for productivity advice. God knows I need this! PGB is an insightful read before tackling Elite Blog Academy. I've cut a lot of outside distractions while setting up this website.
She also introduces the idea of batching your posts: write multiple posts one day when the creative juices are there (as opposed to one a day). Then have one day where you are proofreading and inserting appropriate sources, affiliate links and images. This is particularly helpful writing series or related content.
What I want to go through:
Asana is supposed to be a team task management software on steroids. The fact that most of the features are free is incredible. I haven't tried it myself yet, but it has to be more efficient than not filling out my Google Calendar.
6. The Ultimate Freelancer Tax Guide by Caitlin Pyles ($9.99)
Ben Franklin would say that death and taxes are the only certainties in life. So any way to make this slightly a bit more pleasant is welcome.
This product pays for the bundle. I'm using Divi, a premium theme, to build everything from the ground up. HTML and CSS are something I should know backward and forwards by now, but it is also helpful to know what's working knowledge in this industry.
Buying Another Bundle
I am already overwhelmed with the wealth of lifetime access to material from at least 50 different sets of opinions from full-time bloggers. It makes sense for me to buy another bundle because the bonuses on my original bundle had expired. I'll eventually want to try ConvertKit (2 months trial at $58) and Board Booster (3000 pins at $30). I'm thrilled that just two of the bonuses here will make up the cost of the entire bundle! I'll be much more ready to claim them over the next couple of months when this site picks up some momentum.
Still, why when I already paid for it?
ConvertKit will be more user-friendly for subscribers. CK considers one person signing up for multiple freebies (opt-ins) as one person, whereas, MailChimp will see each signup as a unique subscriber!
Once I get over my fear of Pinterest and pictures, it'll help me automate some of the processes on Pinterest. I don't stay on for long on Pinterest because it's a complete time suck!
I didn't get a chance to cover, but certainly on my to-do-list. I purposely put down a couple of products, so I can methodically go through that list of 60+ list. As a beginner, I'm more focused on learning more about the foundations of Professional Blogging, Tech Help, and Time Management. Social Media, Product Creation, Photography & Images, Blog Growth, Content Creation, and Monetizing are further down the line for me, but I'll recommend a couple from each category that sounds like standouts.
- Pinaffiliate Masterclass by Adeline Ganley ($97)
- Growing with Groups by Val Geisler ($97)
- Pinterest Traffic Secrets by Bob Lotich ($149).
This category looks like it pays for the bundle itself.
I'm interested because I want to capitalize on Pinterest as I'm more a casual acquaintance of the site. Facebook groups are getting to be the new thing. I'm somewhat reluctant to start my own because the challenge of keeping up with the groups I'm already a member.
- Delight- The Digital Biz Owner's Guide to Creating a Pro Client + Customer Service Plan by Erika Madden ($11)
- E-Course Creation 101 by Chantel Klassen ($97).
I see my blog now as a business portfolio, and I'd love the ability to critique the course Chantel Klassen has here with a couple of others, like Melyssa Griffin's Blog to Biz (not in this bundle). At this time, I'm not interested in product creation, but who knows if that'll change down the road. 🙂
Photography & Images
- Lazy Girl's Guide to Lightroom: Easy Photo Editing for Bloggers by Beth Bryan ($97)
- Photoshop your Biz: Learn Photoshop & Design on Your Own Schedule by Holly McCaig ($79)
- 17 Strategies I Used to Go from 17K to 350K+ Pageviews in 9 Months by Lena Gott ($25)
- List Building Jumpstart by Laura Smith ($147)
- Networking Tips to Take Your Business to the Next Level by Natalie Cutler-Welsh ($19)
- Content Cookbook by Prerna Malik ($199)
- Done-For-You Blog Content Creation Kit by Tanya Peterson ($47)
Right now I know a lot is going on in just side hustles and I can keep writing post after post about them, but another aspect I want to look into after creating them is going to the benefits and the disadvantages of being your own business. My senses were tingly because I was always looking for ways to frugal hack and expanding that budget.
- Monetizing: Affiliate Marketing For Bloggers: The Fundamentals by Tasha Agruso ($75)
- How to Move from Blog to Business by Caz and Craig Makepeace ($67)
While making money is a huge perk and a step forth towards a better quality of life, my goal of this blog is to inspire others in a similar situation that they are not down and out. It's not the end of the world if they are either fired from a job or let go from a job.
Who or what are Ultimate Bundles?
Ultimate Bundles is my first affiliate I'm proud to write about on this website. Ryan and Stephanie (the husband wife duo behind UB) are selective of the authors they choose for each curated bundle. Each bundle is available for about a week. On occasion, they will re-offer bundles for a couple of days, like this one! They are hugely supportive of the writing community (mainly bloggers), so it's very inspiring to be excited to be an affiliate to their side hustle turned modest business!
The authors that participate see a bigger picture in acquiring readers from the exposure from these bundles.
For The Genius Blogger Toolkit bundle, they also include six video lessons and a user manual so you can brainstorm your blog in progress.
Additionally, the last four pages list each product in alphabetic order sorted by blogger level (beginner or advance) and the categories. This is an excellent resource to refer to, but I will comment, I wish the print was larger, landscape view and include the access codes for courses and products that require outside signup to claim.
Once again, here's the info:
And here is the order form!
And oh! If you're interested in being a future affiliate for Ultimate Bundle, I earn a small commission by sending over referrals (5%).
Talk soon! 🙂