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This is an interview with Aisha Preece of Out And Beyond.
Hey, Aisha. Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?
Hey Bruno, thanks for having me!
I am a full-time blogger that runs the personal finance/ side hustle website, outandbeyond.com.
I also have a portfolio of other blogs I own, but in addition, run workshops and coaching sessions teaching people how to save and make more money online.
I have a deep passion for simplifying SEO and helping people get more organic Google traffic , because SEO changed my life for the better and helped me turn my online business into a passive income generating machine 🙂
What was life like before being your own boss?
I didn’t grow up with much money, and I wanted to create a better life for me and my family.
I worked all throughout university to pay for my fees and bills because my parents couldn’t afford it. I then hustled hard to get into the corporate world and rise as fast as I could, despite not having the connections or network my peers from university had.
Nevertheless, I ended up working in corporate banking for over 8 years and then decided to try working an online job.
Quitting my corporate job was one of the scariest life decisions I have ever made! What if it didn’t work out? What if I became poor again? But I realized, if we want a different life, we must do different things.
I didn’t want to spend the next 20 years in my office cubicle, counting the hours till 5pm. I didn’t want to wonder if my life would be different IF I had more courage.
I figured I would give it a try and if I failed, then I could always go back to the corporate rat race!
Having said that, although I had more flexibility when I worked in online jobs, I still had a client to answer to… so essentially, I still had a boss. I still needed to follow instructions and I wasn’t truly free.
Which is why blogging is so appealing to me.
You are free to work WHEN, WHERE and HOW you want. It’s liberating!
Plus you can build up passive income streams and work way less, but earn more. This has always been my goal = to work less but earn more so I can spend my time doing things I love, with people I love.
How did you know if the digital nomad lifestyle was right for you?
I didn’t, I just tried it and loved it.
The way I see it, if you don’t like it , you can always work from home in the same location everyday. But I like having the choice.
But I knew I loved it as soon as I tried it because I love traveling.
But I also don’t want to be livin’ la vida broka and have a bus stop for a house with a garbage bin as my ensuite… so this means I need to work and earn money.
So being a digital nomad combines my love for travel and the need to pay my bills, perfectly!
You trained as a lawyer and then transitioned into a banking career. How has your professional skillset helped you build a successful online business?
You know, I used to think I wasted all those years studying Law and working in Finance,because you don’t need a formal education to be a successful blogger!
However, I have since changed my mind, because now it helps me relate to my readers and I am better able to support and help them.
- How Dale Started a Successful Online Business While in College
- How Gemma Of Seaside Sundays Turned Her Blog into a Real Business
- How Angela Makes Over $5K/Month as a Full-Time Blogger
My readers are people stuck in their 9-5 jobs wanting to earn money online and be free ! (just like I was)
Also, it helps to have a structured approach with your writing, to make it as easy as possible for readers to understand your points. My legal training has helped with this.
Messy and unnecessary information in a blog will irritate readers. Provide value in a concise simple way and respect the fact that they are busy and their time is precious.
What were the first steps you took to get your online business off the ground?
Well the first steps I took were all wrong so I failed. I had no idea what I was doing!
For the first 1.5 years of my blog, I tried using FB groups and Pinterest to generate traffic. This was time consuming and frustrating, because the algorithms kept changing and I would get a traffic spike one day and then nothing for days. It was extremely disheartening.
Eventually, the turning point was when I learned about SEO and implemented it on every blog post.
I went from 7,000 pageviews a month to over 100,000 pageviews, just 7 months later.
The increased traffic meant I qualified for Mediavine and my blog earned me a full-time income from ads and affiliates, more or less passively.
It was life changing!
It meant I could stop working for other clients and focus entirely on my online business, as I had a consistent income coming in every month !
How long did it take you to make your first $1,000 working online?
Hmm as a freelancer… I would say 3 months. Here are all the steps I took to become a freelance writer, in case you are interested!
As a blogger, it took me 2 years because I made all my mistakes in the 1.5 years, then wisened up, learned SEO and it’s grown from strength to strength since.
Many newbie bloggers really struggle with driving traffic to their blogs especially in the early stages. What strategies did you implement to grow your blog traffic to thousands of visitors per day? What are some of the steps one needs to take to start getting organic traffic from Google?
Ok, to get Google traffic you need to learn about SEO and then write about things that people are looking for, that the big competition aren’t writing about.
The mistake people make is, they write about their personal musings on topics no one is really interested in, so no one reads their stuff .
Here are the steps I follow :
Step 1- Get an affordable SEO course (shameless plug in but it’s the most affordable one on the market !)
Step 2- Find lots of topics you enjoy, that people are searching for , but not many websites are writing about . A keyword tool like Keysearch is perfect for this. (also extremely affordable) There are free keyword tools but in my experience they aren’t as accurate.
Step 3- Write an in depth useful blog post that really helps your reader.
Step 4- Put the main keyword you found in all the right places. Here is a checklist of all the places you can put your keyword in your article.
Step 5- Repeat until you start getting Google traffic!
How does Outandbeyond generate revenue?
Ads, affiliates, and digital products- all passive income streams. I choose not to chase sponsorship revenue, as its active income.
I earn about an additional $4000- $5000 a month from workshops and coaching but I don’t count that as blog income, because it’s active income generated by myself, not my blog.
Writing these amounts out feels surreal, it’s more than I ever DREAMED of making and I am so grateful. I still feel giddy with excitement when I see the money come in.
Just a few years ago I looked at other bloggers and wondered how it must feel to earn more than $10k a month. And here I am , lots of hard work and prayers later, earning the same.
And if I can do it, you can too, because I was in your exact position just a few years ago!
I hope I never get immune to the feeling of excitement and gratitude. I think it’s important to stay humble.
According to Bloomberg, 8 out of 10 entrepreneurs who start businesses fail within the first 18 months. A whopping 80% crash and burn.And this is no exception to Blogging as a business. What are some of the reasons many bloggers fail to see success with their blogs and what can they do for better results?
1- They don’t learn about SEO early on, learn it!
2- They give up too soon, give yourself at least 2 years to see significant results.
3- They spend too much money on tools and software you don’t need. In some months, my blog generates USD15K a month in revenue, but the only true costs you need to spend are, hosting ($100 a year ) and a good keyword tool ($13 a month). The rest are nice to have.
4- They want the results but they haven’t done the work. Did you know it takes about 100 quality blog posts for Google to start taking your blog as a serious business?
It’s a bit like building a new house, you wouldn’t place 10 bricks and then question why you can’t get any rental income from your property. You BUILD your house!
Same thing with blogging. BUILD your blog with LOTS of quality content, as it is an online content business.
5– They are too hard on themselves. Blogging and entrepreneurship is a MARATHON. Only those who pace themselves and keep doing the consistent hard work and take breaks will get to the end. Be kind to yourself and give yourself grace. You need YOU to get you to the finish line- don’t beat yourself up.
What’s next for you and your business?
I want to increase the revenue of Outandbeyond but work less while continuing to support my audience. I am aiming to get to a 4-day work week, so I can cycle through the country and spend more time with my family .
I will increase the income of outandbeyond.com via having more quality affiliates, and focusing more on digital products and email marketing.
I also want to generate more income from my other blogs, sell each for six figures and then buy a house debt free for me and then for my family.
I will do this via continuing to publish SEO optimised content with quality affiliate links. More traffic = more income.
If you want free SEO/ Blogging tips, and you don’t mind seeing me dance with my cat, follow my Instagram stories. Drop me a message, I always reply 🙂