Interview with a Top Online EarnerBy R.O.B On August 31, 2009 Under Interviews
Recently I conducted a brief interview with Mr. Randy Brown, owner of GrownUpGeek.com – he has earned around $300,000 in profit since 2006 and continues to see a steady level of online success. In the interview he tells us a little about how he was able to become successful and even offers some advice to those who are just starting out or looking for guidance.
1. Hello and thank you for the interview! Would you like to introduce yourself?
My name is Randy Brown and I own Grownupgeek.com. I have a blog where I post about my success and failures at http://success.grownupgeek.com/ and I also own a few smaller, less successful sites. In the time since I started GrownUpGeek in 2006 I have generated approximately $300,000 profit between my websites and eBook sales. I try to help new webmasters however I can, and can be contacted via my blog’s contact page.
2. What initially inspired you to begin doing work online? What kept you motivated to keep up with the work?
I started GrownUpGeek back in 2006 as a place to help new/beginner Windows & technology users. Because I didn’t want the website to cost me anything, I monetized it with Adsense with the initial goal of covering my up-front domain costs and monthly hosting fees. The goal was to earn just over $150 in the first year. My main motivation has been maintaining and growing the community at GrownUpGeek.com, maintaining earnings and helping other webmasters.
3. How long was it before you saw a significant profit? Did you make much of an initial monetary investment?
My up-font investment was around $100 for my domain name and first year of hosting, along with countless hours of my time, blood, sweat and tears (a lot of tears). It took less than four months to break the $1000/month mark, which at the time was mostly from Adsense Firefox referrals and affiliate sales. I did so well with the Firefox referrals that Adsense published the site as one of the Adsense Success Stories. More recently premium membership sales were very profitable, but I have dropped membership sales altogether and am now moving toward an all-advertiser supported ‘free content’ plan.
4. What would you say were your most successful online business projects? Did you develop any creative methods to promote them?
By far, GrownUpGeek has been my biggest success in terms of earnings, traffic and popularity. My eBook which was for sale back in 2006-2007 for $10 was also very popular and sold nearly 1,000 copies. (I’ve made a few updates to the ebook since then, and have made an HTML version available in my blog for free: My Free eBook) My promotional methods were pretty standard: many links, Digg, Stumbleupon, etc, but I think the most creative and successful promotional method was my human billboard which generated a lot of ‘buzz’ and even got us mentioned at Gizmodo.com (resulting in a LOT of traffic). Another popular promotion was when I played on the ego of some of the top bloggers at the time and posted the “Top Blogger Smakdown“, which resulted in a lot of traffic and backlinks to the blog.
5. Did you find that networking with other people in online business was helpful?
Yes! Networking with other webmasters and bloggers is a great way to learn new things, get links, etc. Being active at webmaster forums and other webmaster’s blogs are great ways to get to know other webmasters/bloggers, make a few online-friends and learn a thing or two.
6. What advice would you give to someone interested in producing a significant online income?
My biggest piece of advice would be ‘don’t quit your day job!’ Being successful in the online world is usually a long, hard road, and many webmasters never see any level of success at all. The online world is also very volatile and maintaining long-term success can be very challenging. Concentrate on what you know/love and dedicate yourself to realistic, long-term goals. Trying to get-rich quick or easily is almost a sure-fire way to fail. It’s going to take a lot of work to be successful and if anyone tries to sell you on the idea that there is a quicker, easier way, chances are you are in for a big disappointment.
7. Finally, what do you have planned for the future (from a business perspective)?
Most of my previous future plans have either failed or dropped to the bottom of my priority list, so now I try not to make any big-new plans. Instead, I try to stay focused on maintaining & growing my current site/community and dealing with new challenges or ideas one-day at a time.