blogging for three years

Reflecting on Three Years Running The Mastermind Within Blog

Entrepreneurship, Side Hustle


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I’ve been blogging for three years and in this post, I reflect on three years of running this 15,000+ page view a month blog.

Today is the third anniversary of when I started this blog, The Mastermind Within.

When I started this blog, I knew I was ready to grind and was ready to put in multiple years to build and grow a successful website.

I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, but wanted to help others reach their goals, experiment, learn and create something amazing.

Over the last three years, I’ve learned a ton about the internet, marketing, writing, and running a website.

Now, looking back, I can say that I’ve achieved my goal of creating something worthwhile, but still have a lot to improve upon.

In this post, I’m going to reflect on this time by:

  • Sharing some general thoughts on each year of running this blog
  • Share some numbers (traffic and profit)
  • Talk about what I would do the same or different going back, and what I’m going to do in the future.

Thanks for visiting this post and now, let’s get into the reflection!

The Mastermind Within Personal Finance

The Start of The Mastermind Within

Three years ago today, I started The Mastermind Within.

I was at a good friends house and we wanted to get into business and start something creative. We wanted to create something special and help others. While he doesn’t work with me anymore, it was still fun to start and work with him for the first few months.

Anyway, going back to that day, why did we decide to call this blog The Mastermind Within?

Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich and other classics, said, “No mind is complete by itself. It needs contact and association with other minds to grow and expand.”

Putting multiple minds together, you can create a mastermind group and create something which is more powerful than the sum of those individual minds.

While it is true that many business owners and entrepreneurs use “mastermind” groups to connect with like-minded individuals, share tips and tricks, and grow together, I believe true life mastery comes from WITHIN.

Every person has a potential which can be tapped, unlocked and used to obtain results beyond our wildest dreams.

Each one of us has the ability to put in time and effort to become the master of our own lives and pursue happiness – however happiness is defined.

While a support group helps, there’s a thriving soul and spirit which is more powerful and potent inside of us than anyone else can influence or control.

Through working on yourself each and every day, and looking to become just a little better than yesterday, consistent daily efforts will result in massive success – and this has nothing to do with anyone else.

It only has to do with yourself and what’s inside of you: someone unique, amazing, and strong.

That’s why this blog is called The Mastermind Within.

Reflecting on The First Year of Blogging

After starting this blog, it was time to get down to business.

Since 2012, I’ve been reading the blog, Financial Samurai. When talking about blogging, Financial Sam says that if you write three days a week for three years, you will have a successful blog which makes money.

For me, I took this to heart and wanted to pump out as much content as possible in the first year.

At this point, I didn’t know much about running a business, marketing, or web design, but was ready to learn.

In the first year, I wanted to establish a habit of writing, experiment with building an email list, and learn web design.

While there are other ways to make money blogging than just ads or affiliate marketing campaigns, at it’s core, blogging is a content business.

If you want a successful blog, you need to WRITE and CREATE content which is interesting and easily consumable for your readers.

That first year, I wrote a ton – publishing between 150 and 200 posts that year. By September, I was burnt out, but after a vacation and going to my first FinCon, I was ready to rip in year two.

If I was to go back, I’d be more intentional about my actions and my writing in that first year.

As I mentioned, I wrote a lot, but the majority of those posts were not that great…

Now, let’s move on to the second year.

Reflecting on Year Two of The Mastermind Within

After my vacation and visit to FinCon in 2017 and the first year of this blog, I decided to kick things into a higher gear.

For the second year of this blog, I decided I would write three times a week, every week.

For the entire year, I did just this – posting 156 times in 2018.

In addition to this, I started a podcast and published 34 interviews.

Really, this year I wanted to try and see what would stick, and it was awesome, but very busy.

In 2018 though I did see the fruits of my labor as traffic increased each month.

At the same time, I realized that this path was unsustainable.

Also, with nearly 500 pieces of content on the website at this point, I needed to be more tactical and strategic with my efforts, time and money.

With 500 pieces of content, I should’ve been getting more traffic than I was receiving, and needed to make some changes.

Also, while the main goal of my blog is to help others with achieving their goals and creating a life they want and deserve, I’m not going to work for free and not look to make some money from this website.

This last year, year three, I decided to make some changes and be more strategic.

Being More Strategic in My Blogging Side Hustle

As I’ve mentioned a few times in this post, one of my goals with this blog was to make money and grow this website into an asset.

Financial freedom is my goal, and I want to create multiple income streams so I can do things with my time without restriction.

With this, in year three, I wanted to become more strategic and treat this blog like a business.

Also, since I’ve been able to grow my salary at work, and wanted to start exercising and living life away from my laptop more this year, I decided it was time to put money to work and hire some contractors for this blog.

Starting off this last year, I decided I was going to stop writing three times a week, and instead look to publish one new article a week, and go back and edit, delete and update past articles.

During the first few months of 2019, I deleted over 200 articles, and updated another 100+ articles to look to better optimize my website for user experience and search engine traffic.

I also hired some writers, an SEO Content Auditor, and Pinterest Assistant to help with content and marketing.

With these efforts, I have seen growth, but still need to continue to focus and continue to make good investments and choices to further grow this blog.

This brings us to today, where I’m ready to take on what the future brings and to continue to provide value to The Mastermind Within readers and community.

Now, before talking about what the future holds, I’m going to talk about the numbers behind this blog – both from a finances standpoint and from a traffic standpoint.

Blogging Traffic Statistics and Finances from Three Years of Blogging

Let’s talk numbers – something I absolutely love talking about 🙂

Below is my monthly traffic for the first three years taken from my Google Analytics.

During the first year of this blog, traffic was slow but I did receive ~40,000 page views in the first year.

This was mainly from guest posts, commenting on other people’s blogs, and some search engine traffic.

The second year, I received ~130,000 page views, and the majority of this traffic came from an improved search engine presence and doing more guest posts.

In December 2018, I hit 15,000 page views in a month for the first time, and since then, I’ve been getting between 15,000 and 19,000 page views a month.

Now, below is my search engine traffic – the main driver of my blog traffic.

As you can see, my traffic is almost all the result of search engine traffic and right now, I’m trying to grow my Pinterest presence (but it’s been tough).

The SEO content audit I performed in early 2019 has paid off, but there is still a lot of room to grow.

However, right now, I spend less than 10 hours a week on this blog and I still hit 15,000 page views a month.

While 15,000 page views a month without pushing too hard is an awesome accomplishment, I still think I can grow this blog to higher heights.

Profit and Loss from Three Years of Blogging

Below is the revenues and expenses by year from the first three years of this blog.

Before you get freaked out by these numbers, I want to make this point: having a website is VERY CHEAP.

For less than $100 a year, you can have a website which is functional and has everything you need to do whatever you want to do.

For me, why I have so much expense is because I’ve hired writers, contractors, and assistants. These hires were to see if I could speed up my progress.

Like I said, you can have a fully functional website for less than $100.

Again, for me, I want to make this website into a money making asset. With this goal, I’m not afraid to spend money to try and make money.

Right now, I’m making money in a few different ways:

  • Ads with Ezoic
    • In October, I signed up with Ezoic and have been making around $5 a day passively.
    • You can sign up with Ezoic with this link, and I will receive some compensation.
  • Sponsored Posts
    • Sponsored content is not for everyone, but for this website, it seems it has been okay.
  • Affiliate Marketing 
    • Around my website, I have links to Amazon products as well as other affiliate programs which bring in a few dollars a month.

Add all of this up, and in 2019, I made ~$8,000 from this website.

While I’m not profitable yet, this shows the potential of online businesses and blogs.

Plans for the Future for The Mastermind Within

Through the first three years of blogging on The Mastermind Within, I made a lot of mistakes, but also have grown a ton from my experience.

During my first three years of blogging, I’ve learned about and applied my knowledge to do the following:

  • providing value through my writing
  • web design
  • social media marketing
  • lead magnets and email marketing
  • search engine optimization
  • community building and meeting other bloggers

I wouldn’t have learned any of these blogging skills, or had some amazing experiences with other awesome people if I didn’t start.

Also, what’s amazing about these relationships and skills is they will not go away over time.

Many of the people who I call my best friends are people who I’ve met through blogging.

Another example is one of my side hustles to earn more money. Now, I design websites for small business owners who don’t know how to get started online.

Over the past 12 months, I’ve earned nearly $4,000 from this side hustle. This makes up for the loss I’ve taken on the blog.

Really though, it’s honestly crazy to think about all of the effort, work and fun I’ve had over the last three years.

I say this a lot, but it’s really true: humans overestimate what they can do in a day, but underestimate what they can do in a year.

Over the past three years, I’ve grinded and looked to create something great – and I’ve done it.

I’m very pleased with where I am now, but don’t want to stop here.

One thing is certain: if I were to go back to December 27th, 2016, I 100% would start this blog.

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.

Honestly, though, I wish I had started sooner.

While I can’t go back in time, what I can do is act intentionally and work on making the future the best it can be.

Going forward, I’m going to look to continue to be strategic with my time and efforts.

In year four, I’m going to look to:

  • stay consistent in my writing
  • continue to write about a diverse set of topics centered around self improvement to provide more value to my readers
  • and look to make tweaks overtime to grow traffic and improve user experience

I hope you’ve enjoyed this article and if you have any questions, feel free to reach out!

Thanks for reading!


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