Many people view blogging as a solitary industry (which it can be initially), but many successful sites have large groups of people working for them. You don’t necessarily have to work for yourself to get involved in the blogging industry, there are many people who; write, promote, create products, etc. that work behind the scenes, so to speak. Today I wanted to show you that you too can get involved by looking for a blogging job. That’s why I’ve lined up a special interview with Andi Leeman!
Andi is a writer and social media specialist for ‘TimsMinions.com‘. He is a brilliant writer (having written a number of guest posts for this site), with a unique and personal style that many people love to read. He works for Tim Lowe, a very successful internet marketer from the UK.
Over to Andi…
Andi Leeman Interview
How Did You Get Started?
Originally I wanted to be a graphic designer, I never had any aspirations of being a writer, and the internet was unheard of back in 1990 when I left school, or at least it wasn’t available to everyone like it is today, so I never thought I would be doing internet marketing or social media.
I gained a place on the graphic design course at the Lincoln College of Art and Design; before I was to start in September 1990 I was asked by my uncle who was a joiner if I would do a few weeks labouring for him while he did repairs at a local factory. I was getting paid £60 a week, at the time graphic designers were two a penny and new college leavers were only finding jobs in supermarkets so when my uncle offered to train me up I decided that getting a trade would be more useful then I would go back to college.
Well I didn’t, I ended up staying in the building trade, working at times for myself, with a bricklaying friend and for several companies doing everything from shop fitting to making solid oak doors and windows for period houses.
I had always wanted to get into art somehow and I kept being drawn to T-shirts, because I loved cartoons, graphics and graffiti art, I believed T-shirts were an excellent way to make money and use my skills and love for creating. So in 2007 my girlfriend and I bought screen printing equipment, opened up a shop and an eBay shop and started to sell paintings and T-Shirts that we posted world-wide.
While printing T-Shirts I would watch TV and often had the Entrepreneur channel on, I got to learn of Andrew Reynolds which led me to learn about Tim Lowe who I currently work for. While doing the eBay stuff I began researching Andrew and Tim and all the other internet marketers and from then I was hooked.
T-shirt sales dropped as the recession loomed and I returned back to the building trade; I was studying WordPress blog building, internet marketing methods and writing articles & eBooks in the evenings. I had a couple of blogs and Facebook pages that I was playing with. They were testing grounds really, somewhere where I learnt my skills.
As I was receiving Tim’s Newsletter by email each week I received an email Tim sent out to his list offering a place in the company as a writer, anyone who fancied the job should reply. At first I couldn’t decide if I should as I was living 200 miles up north with my girlfriend and step daughter.
Eventually I decided I would, I missed the previous opportunity two years before and regretted it, this time I knew more so I thought I had to give it a shot. I manage to get chosen over a couple of hundred people to get an interview, I then managed somehow to get to the final seven for a second interview and then a few days later while shopping at Tesco’s I got a phone call offering me the job.
I still to this day do not know how I did it! 😉 So now I spend my days researching and testing out new methods and systems as well as oversee the Tim’s Minions blog and social media campaigns.
Who/What Inspires You?
After my years in the building trade and coming from a shop keeping back ground (my dad had a corner shop until I was 14) I was amazed at how people were making large amounts of money from not busting a gut but from using modern technology and the tools many of us had in our homes to make both passive and recurring incomes online.
Instead of trading time for money I could make money selling one thing several times. The fact a short information based eBook could make a lot of money and continue to do so for several years was very inspiring. Write it once, profit from it over and over again. Tom Hua the eBook godfather at that time was, to me, the cleverest man alive.
Andrew Reynolds, Tim Lowe (obviously) ?, Jon Street, Armand Morin and Bob Proctor where some of the first people to inspire me. The more I looked the more I found, I learned a lot of internet marketing methods and ideas from guys like James Watson, Daniel Wagner and Stuart Ross.
At the moment I am heavily into the blogging world, I think it is a fantastic thing to get into and I am learning new stuff every day. The bloggers and websites that I visit the most are Neil Patel’s QuickSprout, Zac Johnson’s BloggingTips, Pawel Reszka’s AffHelper, Yaro Starak’s Entrepreneurs-Journey, Pat Flynn’s SmartPassiveIncome , Glen Allsopps ViperChill and your OnlineIncomeTeacher gets plenty of visits as you know. ? That is a short list really; there are so many great blogs out there and so many great people to learn from.
Even the really bad blogs can teach us something…. Don’t build a bad blog!
What Motivates You?
I might have to show my girlfriend this answer, she won’t believe me, what really motivates me is freedom. I realised that in this world money is nothing more than a tool, a universal tool that can do a multitude of jobs. It can help people, it can free people, and it can feed people.
As a joiner I needed certain tools to hang a door; however I cannot ring a friend with them, with money you can, it will pay for the door to be hung, you can buy the tools, you can buy a phone with it and pay the bill. Money is the tool that frees people in today’s crazily expensive society so I understand to be free I need money.
I love being able to travel, I love seeing new things and doing new stuff, what I do hate is losing time and doing things I don’t like in order to exist. When you have bills and debt, you are limited; it is like having a noose around your neck. I want the freedom of being able to choose each day what I do, where I go without having to worry if I can afford it or not.
I do not want a big house or an expensive car, I just want the money and freedom to say, ‘I am going to Thailand this week’ and it not being an issue.
Another big motivator is that I like to help and inspire people, I know a lot of people do, but due to time and money constraints people cannot help each other as much as they would like. The job that I am doing allows me to help people which is great, to know that an article I wrote or a video I made has helped someone get a step closer to freeing themselves from the day job is a great feeling.
What Are The Benefits Of Writing For Someone Else?
There are several benefits for writing and blogging for someone else, firstly, and I won’t lie, the security of a wage while you write is excellent. Blogging can be a very profitable business, I have seen many bloggers sell blogs for big money or make great monthly incomes, but to get to that stage takes time and as we know, very few people have both the time and spare funds to allow them to work at it full time until they hit that level.
The building trade and selling T-Shirts on eBay relied on people buying the product or contracting me to do the work. If no one bought any T-Shirts or I wasn’t asked to hang doors I didn’t get paid. There is nothing harder than making money when you really need it. So a continuous wage is good.
Working here means I learn on the job, because I write and do social media I need to try out new things or read new articles, I try out new WordPress plugins and themes, some of them that have to be bought which is covered by the company. Being paid to learn is just a great position to be in.
I get to meet great people online, had I been doing this for myself in the evenings I wouldn’t have had the time to focus on networking whereas doing it as the day job means I can cultivate the relationships that help to build Tim’s blog up. The more people I interact with and write for in the long term is better for Tim’s blog.
Because I can spend a bit of time networking and generally helping people I am able to feel a sense of accomplishment. I know I am achieving something for Tim that he will benefit from in the years to come. That is important and something most part time bloggers may not get the time to focus on properly.
Another great benefit for writing for someone is that you create new good habits. I like writing and building WordPress blogs, these are skills that can be done anywhere in the world. But like all skills they mean nothing if they don’t get used, they need a habit behind them running them on autopilot.
Most people can write a good article, but doing it regularly is different, you need to be able to think of new things to write about, you need to be able to deliver articles on the same topic without re using the same old chunks of text over and over again.
Writing regularly for someone else trains me in the habits of planning out articles, looking for ideas and inspiration and writing thousands or words each day. To try and create new habits at home in your spare time with the distractions of children and the TV is very hard.
What’s The Most Important Part Of Your Site?
The main aim of the site is to help people as much as we can, build relationships with people, give them helpful information to help them build an online business and in many cases at least start an online business. I try and write inspiring posts as well as tutorials. It is important that they get the right mind set as well as the technical aspects of running a business online.
Some people still don’t see or understand the potential of the internet. There are so many ways to build an online business, self-published eBooks, email marketing, membership sites and free-lance writer to name a few.
I want to let people know what they can do online, some may not want a blog and prefer to write books but didn’t realise that they could sell them on Amazon. Some people need to be told about guys like Pat Flynn to realise that their blog could be more than just a hobby blog.
Sometimes an inspiring post amongst technical ones can be more powerful and teach more than any tutorial.
The Facebook page is also set up for people to ask us questions and interact with us during the day, we try our hardest to find the answers to their problems. Just today I have been chatting to a 19yr old who needs a little encouragement while he builds a blog for affiliate marketing in a sub niche. To be able to have someone who can give you a few pointers when first starting out is invaluable.
What Makes You The Most Money?
The Tim’s Minions site is a new thing; it is all about creating a door between the company and the customers. The site doesn’t yet make money compared to the other side of the business, it wasn’t expected to be a separate money making entity which we now believe it will become, it was designed to link new clients to existing products from the other side of the company. An old meets new experiment that is going fantastic.
Tim’s Minions is a new venture created to embrace blogging and social media creating a recognisable brand to work alongside the main arm of the business, bringing in new customers, it is young but has big plans ahead of it.
What’s Your Typical Work Day Like?
I work from an office with office hours but I have been known to check emails, add comments and answer questions from home as well as some other jobs. Sometimes I am expected to stay behind to help out on other duties that can come my way at any time.
I start at 9am, I have a routine to follow but it is flexible. The first thing when I get in is to open up the email accounts and check those for anything pressing, I then start to source most if not all of the days Twitter posts, this means opening up my Google reader and looking at the new alerts I have been sent. I would go and check my favourite blogs too for great articles or content.
I usually get reading and leaving comments on any articles I think are worth it. I have to read fast otherwise I would be reading all day. Some of my favourite blogs don’t post till later in the day because they are based in the US or Australia so I am back and forth checking for the newest postings to share throughout the day.
At the same time I want to get at least one Facebook post done in the morning which can get pushed back a bit due to time, I like to play with picture posts so I can soon lose some time in Paint.net creating a new image to be posted on Facebook and Twitter. Once an image is done though, it gets used in several places.
The afternoon is usually when I get to write my articles either for the site or as a guest post. This can be every other day as I have several test websites and Facebook pages that I work on too, I could be adapting images for these other sites, playing around with basic HTML code, writing short articles for them, researching ideas and trying out new themes or plugins.
Sometimes I am in constant contact with people on email or through Facebook who require some help with their blogs and questions.
Truth be told, I could do with 16 hour days to keep on top of everything and I know the other Minions would agree. I fear doing several things can dilute the effect of what I am trying to achieve, I think I need a mini me Minion.
What Do You Think Makes Your Writing Stand Out?
Interesting question, does my writing stand out? I hope so but I couldn’t really tell myself if it does. I try to give content that is useful and easy to read. I hate going to sites that have a 300-500 word post on nothing useful. I want our readers to have felt that they have learned something valuable, that they have enjoyed reading the post and had a giggle along the way.
I like to add a touch of humour in there without being too ‘matey’ otherwise it can distract from what I am trying to get across. I try to be as honest as possible in my writing and upbeat, there is nothing worse than seeing some moaning depressive ramblings on a site when you are trying to learn something new. However I have had a few rants at Facebook and Google, but I still like to think they are educational rants.
I want my writing to leave people with a feeling that Tim’s Minions is place they can come back to anytime to not only learn but also ask if there is something they need to know. I hope that comes through in the writing anyway.
If You Could Go Back In Time 5-10 Years, What Advice Would You Give Yourself?
If I could go back 10 years I would have a seriously stiff talk with myself. I have spent several years out in the wilderness, wasting time and doing nothing. I had the internet and did the old AOL chat room thing and surfing the web for music and hobby related stuff but in reality I was wasting time. I would definitely tell myself everything I have learned about internet marketing and blogging and tell myself to get on with it.
Especially blogging, the amount of evenings I had spare 10 years ago, they could have been used to master WordPress, blog building and writing posts. I just didn’t know it at that time. I never really thought about it. Websites were things other people had or did. I would have told myself to invest in buying a few sites and domains and slowly build them up with quality content.
I could have been able to leave the building trade which I didn’t enjoy a lot earlier than I did. I regret wasting time but at that time I didn’t know I was as I hadn’t clicked, I was having fun so I can’t and won’t complain too much.
What Would Be Your Best Piece Of Advice To Any Newbie Blogger Out There Reading This?
My advice would simply be ‘do it’ Give it a go, you get nowhere without doing things. There can be a lot to learn, and information overload can make people freeze, but once you get started it is amazing how easy a lot of it is. WordPress is such an easy to use system and anyone can create fantastic looking sites with it.
A blog can cost as little as £40 a year to start, where else can you get a property that can potential earn you money for that price? I have spent a lot more on a Saturday afternoon out watching the football. Done properly over time there is no reason why you cannot make that money back or more. There are Themes and Plugins that cost money but there are so many fantastic and free ones that are ideal for getting started with. A blog should be seen as a piece of online real estate.
Even if the blog is just for fun, it can still open up many doors, every time you write and add a blog post or create a YouTube video you are creating new skills or improving your skills. They can themselves become valuable. They got me this job, I left the noise, the dirt and the stress of working in workshops and building sites because of the skills I gained from ‘playing’.
Find someone who is successful, a mentor so to speak and follow them, copy what they do and keep at it. Go back to their site regularly and see what they are doing and learn from it.
The more you do, the better you become. When someone new starts to build a blog and then add social media into the mix, you become a social media manager, you develop graphic skills for making banners and headers. Within 6 months you will have so many new skills that you wouldn’t have thought possible.
I would recommend having a hire me page on the blog once the newbie has got into the habit of writing content regularly. You will soon be able to, at the very least, offer yourself out as a freelance blog builder and content writer.
As for wanting to write for other people as a job having your own blog is a must. Write a blog post at least every other day; get into the habit of writing 1000 words every time you sit down to write. Write for other peoples blogs and write email newsletters for people, get articles published on directories like Ezine Articles. You will very quickly build up an online portfolio so when the time comes to apply for a writing job you have something to show. You cannot show ideas or good intentions buried within your head.
You never know, someone may approach you and offer you a job because of your style of writing and reputation gained from having your own blog. That is what Glen Allsopp did with the BlogTyrant!
Andi Leeman is part of Tim Lowe’s R&D team and writes for Tim’s Minions. A fun based educational site covering all aspects of Internet Marketing & Social Media