How To Make A Full Time Living Online: Barbara Friedberg’s Story

For today’s article we are pleased to bring you an interview with self made internet entrepreneur and investor Barbara Friedberg.  Barbara makes a full time living online and had bootstrapped her way into a small web empire, a significant investing presence and a series of successfully published books.   For readers who are looking at starting their own business, her ability to make a fill time living online is instructive.

Hello! What’s your background, and what is your blog about?

My name is Barbara A. Friedberg, I’m a former investment portfolio manager and university finance and investing instructor. I have a BA in Economics and MBA in Finance (and an MS in Counseling). I’ve written three books; Personal Finance; An Encyclopedia of Modern Money Management, Invest and Beat the Pros and How to Get Rich. My driving motivation is to help others navigate the confusing investment waters and build wealth, responsibly.

I make a full time living online.  My income comes through affiliate sales, book sales, advertising, fintech consulting and freelance writing. My email list is large enough to garner affiliate and book sales. My online influence goes beyond the numbers. I receive consulting and media offers due to my online businesses.

I have 2 blogs/websites:

Robo-advisor Pros.com is an automated investment review and information website. This site is dedicated to helping individuals navigate the online digital investment landscape. The site reviews robo-advisors and covers automated investment landscape news. One of the site’s  most popular posts is, the 6 Top Portfolio Management Software Tools for Investors.  Robo advising is becoming an increasing important part of the finance industry and this site should have excellent long term growth.

My second site is Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance. That one is dedicated to teaching smart consumers investment and money management strategies to build long term wealth. It is based on a combination of personal and educational experience as well as well-documented finance principals.

What motivated you to make a full time living online?

My initial motivation to start Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance was to develop a platform from which to sell future investment and money books.

The websites have evolved from there.

I started Robo-Advisor Pros as a way to help investors understand their digital investment management options.

What is the revenue model for your blogs?

Both blogs have multiple streams of income.

The best advice I can give for creating revenue from a blog is three-fold:

1. Figure out what you have to offer and how it is distinct from others.
2. Decide which revenue streams to start with; affiliate, product sales, coaching/consulting and advertising.
3. Choose a narrow niche, as it is easier to monetize than a more general one.

In most cases, building revenue streams takes a while, so you need to be patient. If one strategy doesn’t work, try another.

What are some strategies you have used for building up the traffic?

I’ve used several strategies for building traffic and you don’t need a lot of traffic to generate income if you have a unique niche:

1. Networking and contributing to various facebook and online groups.
2. Keyword research with Mangools and Moz.
3. Guest posting
4. Building an email list
5. Offering a free download in exchange for a newsletter sign up.
6. Building up strong social media presence.

How have you grown the email list?

I have approximately 3,000 email subscribers. I’ve grown those lists through offering free downloadables:

I use Sumo Me and Aweber for my email marketing.

I send out monthly email newsletters. I probably should send out more frequent email blasts.

I have set up several automated email letters. I probably should set up more of these as well.

How do you write great content that performs well?

It is difficult to get content to show up on google search, and that is the best way to bring readers to your site.

Choose a niche topic.

Not, “How to Budget”.

Instead, “Which is Better – Budgeting with YouNeedaBudget or Mint”

I keep a list of topics I want to write about. I read voraciously in my niche and am inspired by what I read.

I keep lists of keywords and write around those topics.

There’s no secret to getting content to perform, find out what works for you.

What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced and obstacles you’ve overcome while making a full time living online? If you had to start over, what would you do differently?

My traffic waxes and wanes. I’ve gotten hit with Google penalties.

If I had it to do over, I would have researched a specific niche and focused on that instead of choosing the broad “personal finance” arena.

I’ve remedied that initial focus by niching into the investing arena. But a narrower focus is typically better than broad.

Have you found anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

Networking with others helped me to learn a lot. Also, understanding how to differentiate myself from the herd.

For example, I’m an educated finance professional with extensive work experience. That helps my credibility and also gives me the opportunity to gain consulting and freelance writing contracts.

Educate yourself. Learn about keyword research. I like MOZ and SearchEngineLand.
Understand your strength. Maybe you’re great on camera. If so, do more video.
Network with others in your niche. Help out other and they will reciprocate.

Don’t wait until your work is perfect. Blogging and running an online business is time intensive. Good enough is a reasonable standard.

Don’t be afraid to outsource some of your tasks. I like fiverr, shareist, dlvr.it, mangools to help me run my websites. I also hire freelance writers. That way, I can extend my reach.

What’s your advice for bloggers who are just starting out?

Make sure this is what you want to do. There are easier and more effective ways to make money than running an online website.

Talk with other online entrepreneurs and define your goals and how you expect to get there.

Finally, be persistent and flexible.

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