Growing up, no one would have believed me if I told them that I would graduate from Georgia Tech and go on to manage $11 million in revenue as an associate product manager for my first job. In fact, the odds were always against me being born in the USA to a working-class immigrant family.
After my father’s family business burned down, my grandfather decided to bring the family to the US from Korea. Although it was not his dream job, my father was fortunate to find a employment in the upholstery business. With each piece of furniture he mended, I knew my father did it to provide food and opportunities for our family. I am most grateful for all that has come my way and believe it is time to begin my journey of giving back to the community.
My passions lie within web marketing and web tribes which is why I want to start by sharing what I’ve learned from growing an e-commerce gig from $50,000 to $500,000 with a minimal budget. And while that may sound crazy, people have accomplished even greater feats.
In his book, Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us, Seth Godin defines a tribe as “a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea. For millions of years, human beings have been part of one tribe or another. A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate.”
Thanks to the scaling power of the web, e-commerce tribes are easy to grow. There is no magic behind it. It’s a matter of knowing the right resources and following the easy steps to become a success.
My hopes for this post is to help everyone reading launch their sales to the next level. I believe it’s always more fun defeating the odds yourself than to hear about others doing the same. It would be a privilege for me to see all of us beat those odds.
How I Chose the Top 10 Marketing Blogs
Before I reveal the top 10 blogs that I followed to learn the tips and tricks that took my first client’s web sales from $50,000 to $500,000, let me explain the criteria I used to build this list.
First and foremost, I chose bloggers who genuinely care about developing the reader. In other words, the content is very helpful and thorough.
Second, all the bloggers share expert level material with simple practicality. A lot of experts forget what it’s like to be a novice, but these blogs are written in a way that any reader could follow.
Lastly, the bloggers are experienced experts in the field.
The result of these three points brings us to my personal treasured list. I hope you, too, will use this list to help you accomplish your goals and aspirations.
These blogs helped me take a small site from rags to riches. With each one, you learn a skill set that will be unique and get the help you need while on your journey to grow your business bigger and better.
Below you’ll find my top 10 blogs, along with step by step instruction from me, to help you go from rags to riches.
Sidenote: This isn’t a read it and forget type of list. You can use these blogs and the tips and tricks I’ve laid out along the way to your entrepreneur success. I recommend bookmarking this post so you can refer back to it as you take each new step of your business journey.
The Top 10 Blogs that Took Me From Rags to Riches
1. Entrepreneuronfire.com – Inspire Yourself to Start Now
Let’s start with the basics: How to get to your first idea. You may already have one. If so, you can skip this part, but if you don’t have an idea, ask yourself three questions.
First, what do and have I enjoyed? It’s a simple question (and a total cliché), but it helps find the patterns that drive you forward. Entrepreneurship is hard and you will only fight through all the ups and downs if you’re really into it.
Next, what am I really good at? Usually you enjoy what you’re good at! That will give you clues into what you like and what you can do as an entrepreneur.
Last, who do you want to help? The community you build for your business is who you will be affecting. And if you don’t enjoy helping them, then maybe it’s not quite the right idea.
After picking your idea, envision yourself pursuing your dream and achieving the success you’ve always wanted. You now have the vision, but maybe you lack the motivation and courage.
That’s why you should turn to the first blog EntrepreneurOnFire! This is where your passions will turn into passion-fueled action. Motivate yourself by plugging into a community that introduces you to people who have already started the marathon to passiondom.
What’s passiondom? It’s a word E-commerce Chief made up to mean finding freedom, building a kingdom upon your passions. In short, here you will bring your passions to life with EntreprneuerOnFire!
When you think it’s not possible, and you think it may not be possible to quit your job and become uber successful, listen to the ones that have already done it. Then apply their formula to your life and work.
We can become the top 1% of the top 1%. I hope this site encourages you, like it did me, to jump ship and go out to start on your passiondom.
Cheers to entrepreneurs! Listen to some of the site’s most popular podcasts here.
You’re now on fire. Ready to use that fire to refine and build your golden idea? Well, then. It’s time to learn all the fundamentals you need to know to make a business.
2. SteveBlank.com – Learn the Critical Fundamentals of a Successful Business
Full of motivation, you are probably excited to go ahead and file for a business license, create a logo, and invest a lot of money.
Stop! Don’t do it. Before any of that, you need to know the fundamentals that will help you minimize risk. The next few blogs will help you do just that. It’s time to learn the fundamentals of a startup to help you save time and money.
Now that you’ve found your passiondom, you need to understand the basics of the business that will become the backbone of your idea. And if you haven’t heard of Steve Blank, it’s a darn good thing you’re reading this blog post.
Steve Blank is the man who made entrepreneurship risk free. OK, maybe not risk free, but a lot safer to take that first leap—like having a life jacket when jumping into the ocean. He is credited for starting the lean startup movement which minimizes risks for us crazy ones.
Whether you know of Steve Blank or not, I’ll leave you with one video clip that has over 100,000 views and will start your studies with him. This video is always a good one to watch because it teaches us wantrepreneurs and entrepreneurs how to build a business.
Feel ready to start your business? Perfect. Now that we have learned the concept of how to start a business, we’re going to get ready to learn how to hustle!
3. Okdork.com – Learn to Hustle From the Master Hustler
You are still probably itching to file for that business license and create logos, but don’t do it. Don’t waste your time and effort just yet. That can always be done after you prove your business model.
That’s just paperwork. It doesn’t mean that you are a business. A business has to create value for customers. And until you have a customer you are not proven.
It’s time to go out and make your first sale. Simply put, without a sale you’re an idea that provides no value. But when that first sale comes in, you just became a business! Cheers!
To be honest, I wish I had found this blog when I was 18 because it would have saved me a lot of time. I’ve been a wantrepreneur since college. My first venture was one of the first sites used to rate and review guitars, and I did not hustle.
That site was closed down after a year, because I couldn’t create enough cash flow to cover the monthly costs. From that failure, the biggest lesson I learned is it all comes down to the hustle and finding a solution that provides true value.
Noah Kagan’s method of business validation can help you quickly figure out if you have a genuine business idea or not. This is why Noah Kagan, the master hustler, is on this list.
I haven’t seen anyone teach how to hustle like he does. He could literally sell ice cubes to Eskimos. It’s amazing. If you’re limited on time, at the very least, please, please, please visit the links below.
- Marketing tool kit – Simply give your e-mail to get access to some crazy examples and tools to help set up an awesome strategic game plan to market your products and grow your business. It even includes the initial Mint marketing documents.
- How to Make Your First Dollar – Check out Noah Kagan’s class. It’s brilliant. If you’ve never started a business, this is the class to take.
Now, you have the ability to hustle. Oh, and if you got your first sale – congrats! With this skill set, you should now be making your first few sales and proving your startup is a business. You just began your official journey as an entrepreneur! Now let’s slowly begin to scale.
4. BoostBlogTraffic.com – Become a Master Blogger
You can now file for that business license, if you want, and even create a cool logo. However, even though your idea is proven, there are still more important things to be done than filing and logos.
Now that you’re sure your idea creates value for people, you need to connect with all of the people you can serve and help. But there’s one problem. It costs a lot to do good marketing, and you’ve just barely made your first few sales.
Well, there’s one solution that can meet all your marketing needs at a very economical cost—a blog. You need to have a blog. I can’t stress this one enough. If I had time to do only one thing to market my startup, it would be to build a really sexy blog.
If you don’t know where to begin, Boost Blog Traffic provides mentors, coaches and a network to help you succeed in starting your first blog. Hands down, it’s the one of the best places to learn to become a guru blogger. (Aside from Firepole Marketing, of course.)
Jon Morrow offers the best articles and resources on blogging. On top of that, he really cares about his students and his community. For Jon, it’s really about giving back to the community, and you see that in his content. Follow the steps he provides, and I guarantee you’ll bring in some major traffic to slowly begin scaling.
If you haven’t started a blog, today is the day to seize the moment. It will jump start your web marketing for the startup you’re launching.
After that it’s time to learn a bit more about search engine optimization (SEO). By the way, your blog will be a necessity to do SEO to its maximum potential.
5. QuickSprout.com – Gain Insight From Years of Marketing Genius
Hopefully, you’re doing pretty well now. You got your idea, your first sale, and you’re increasing your customers. You could stop reading here, but things start getting more and more exciting as you learn new ways to grow your business.
It’s time for some marketing tips and tricks. Quicksprout by Neil Patel provides some really neat resources from marketing concepts and SEO strategies to content marketing. It encompasses a wide bundle of information.
By grasping many of the major methods of web marketing, you can drill down to what is most important for your business. He even offers a quick and easy web marketing MBA here.
Pretty neat, huh? Seriously, by reading Neil’s blog alone, you’ll probably learn more than a university can teach you about web marketing at the price of $0. The Internet is wonderful.
Now I’m truly excited for you. You have the knowledge to bring in some serious web traffic. And if by any chance you get to the point where you can’t control the amount of sales coming in, check out the book, Into the Tornado by Geoffrey A. Moore. If you’re not yet at this point, continue building your SEO strategy by reading the next two blogs.
6. MOZ.com – Get the Basic Building Blocks of SEO
If Neil Patel’s blog was your first time reading about web marketing, I’m sure you have a lot of questions regarding SEO. Let me share with you where I went to learn the basics, SEOMOZ.
Moz.com offers a great beginners guide that breaks down the fundamentals of SEO. But just a heads up, don’t just read the beginning of the MOZ SEO basics guide. All your competitors are familiar with that degree of SEO.
Read the whole thing. It’s almost a must do if you want to stay competitive and get more traffic in today’s organic search contest.
Once you finish the guide, go ahead and check out MOZ’s tool kit. It’s pretty amazing. You have to pay for some of them, but it’s worth it.
There’s also a great forum for you to ask as many questions as you’d like. Thanks Rand Fishkin! (FYI, he’s the founder and CEO of Moz.)
Now you’re almost ready to build a great SEO strategy, but there’s one more blog to read to complete your at-home SEO training.
7. Distilled.net – Discover Unique SEO Expert Tips and Tricks
One of the first places I learned SEO was distilled.net. I decided to reach out to the distilled team via their chat box, and it just so happened to be with Will Critchlow, the founder and CEO of distilled. Ha!
What a privilege and coincidence. He was extremely cool and willing to give me his e-mail. After that, I knew that distilled was really about the people.
And you can see this through the materials they put together at their conferences. Each year the conference includes amazing information. I recommend continuing your SEO training by watching the videos.
Distilled will help you take your business to the next level of SEO. It’s subscription based, but if you want to learn some advanced techniques that will help you beat your competitors, it’s totally worth it.
You’ll still find the basics of SEO, but their library is filled with advanced content. It brings together some of the greatest SEO minds to help all of us win on the Internet through expert tips and tricks as well as plenty of tools and explanations.
I’m sure you’re ready to execute and see the sales roll in from your new SEO abilities. But, there’s one last stop before implementing your strategies. So, read on! I promise it’ll be worth it.
8. Kaushik.net – Get Rid of Data Fears
With a blog and some SEO, you’ll be bringing in the traffic, gaining new opportunities, and making it rain. Yet, this is just the beginning. How can you keep this going? That’s where metrics come in.
Now you need to measure it to make sure you’re optimizing your site and investing your time on top priorities and top opportunities. This is why the last thing you need to do well is analyze the data to improve your metrics.
In other words, don’t let any of your efforts with SEO, blogging and marketing go to waste. Empower yourself with Google Analytics to measure your success and failures and help your business grow.
Do this by bringing the classic analytics master Avinash Kaushik into play.
I remember when I first looked at Google Analytics. It looked like data puke, too much information to even begin to analyze. But after checking out Kaushik.net, it slowly began to make a lot of sense and helped target our energy on the top growth opportunities.
Make sure to go ahead and grab his premade templates for your own analytics. Learn to measure your traffic, find the opportunities for real growth, and begin to focus on it.
Congrats! You came up with your idea, got your first sale, started a blog, increased your traffic to increase your sales. Now that you’re scaling, you need people to join your team.
That means you need to learn to lead people in order to scale and maximize your business. Leadership can be very difficult at times. But no worries, the next blog introduces the guru when it comes to leadership.
9. JohnMaxwell.com – Become the Dream Leader
I believe a skill set that is not talked about enough in our web field is leadership. Eventually we all grow beyond our own capacity if we execute all the above correctly.
So let me start with a question. Do you now have too much business for you to handle? If your answer is yes, then it means you need to build the dream team so your business can continue to serve more people.
Most people will think, ah yes~ time to make money. But it’s really, ah yes~ time to build a team. However, in order to do that, you need to stop and figure out how you to scale correctly. Missing this will make having a good business a challenge.
So, how do you do that? Well, you need to get the right people on the bus in order to scale. After all, you have a vision and you need people to join you.
I want to summarize this in one word: leadership, the aforementioned, not talked about enough skill set. I love John Maxwell’s leadership material. It motivates, inspires, and transforms the way you look at your life and your peers.
This in turn helps you influence people, make a difference in people’s lives, and really scale your business.
By now after following all the steps, you’re probably on an island reading a magazine thinking, “I’ve done it all.” But have you?
What about giving back to the community? I don’t think money is the be all, end all, by any means. Rather, I believe that learning, earning, and returning is one of the best models for sustainability. And it’s actually not that hard to do.
In fact, I have a simple solution below.
10. Your Own Blog – Learn, Earn, Return
It’s funny. I thought the most important blogs were all the ones above. But I look back and now believe in something totally differently.
The most important blog is your own. It’s a place where you can learn, earn, and return all at once.
With your own blog, you can continue to learn because each post has to be filled with content that can inspire and transform the audience.
You begin to earn because people see the value in your content and want to pay you for your time.
Lastly, you can return because all that information you learned while going through this process can be given back to the community for free.
See You at the Top
If you follow these blogs and work diligently, you will learn the skills that can take anyone from rags to riches. I look forward to hearing about your own web journey.
If you know of any other blogs that can help us learn, earn, and return, we’d love to hear from you. Share your favorite blogs with us in the comments!