Today, in our interview sessions, we have Zac Johnson. He has been an online entrepreneur for the past 18 years and blogger since 2007.
Zac is making millions through affiliate marketing and other online business opportunities but still takes the time to teach how you can do it as well.
I have to admit that I’m a pretty big fan of Zac Johnson and his work, being a regular reader of his blogs.
Zac is a pretty busy guy but he took some time to answer our questions and I invite you all to read the interview. He shares some great piece of advice from his money making journey that we all can benefit.
1. Do you mind telling the readers a little bit about you and what you do?
In short, I’m an entrepreneur. I always had a passion and interest for business, so the internet started gaining traction around at the perfect time (while I was in high school).
I started making money online in the mid-90s and have been doing so ever since. This was mainly through the use of affiliate marketing and continued to scale over time.
In 2007, I launched my blog at ZacJohnson.com to share my story, expertise, case studies and tutorials in an effort to help others learn how to do the same. I actually just celebrated the ten year anniversary of the site, which I also did a nice write up that will go into my story and business history a bit more.
2. What motivated you to become an entrepreneur?
I was always interested in business and finding new ways to make money. Even as a kid in elementary school, I would sell comics, cards and sodas during the school day and make some decent money from it.
When I started playing around with the internet, I knew there had to be a way to make some money from it… so that interest and passion really went into full swing when I started to figure it all out. For more on this, you can see some of my first checks back in the 90s.
3. You were really determined to make a living online, but besides determination was there anything else? Also what challenges that you faced that really, kinda, slowed you down or anything like that?
I was never thrilled with the idea of having to work for someone else (and fortunately never had to). However, the biggest driving factor being my success online and in business, is that I actually enjoy what I am doing.
If I was working for someone else and doing the same thing, the passion probably wouldn’t be there. Everything I’ve also done over the years has been all self-taught, so it’s a lot more fun, challenging and rewarding of a process as well.
As with all businesses and anything worth doing, it’s going to be tough in the beginning… but that’s what makes those who are successful different.
This is definitely not easy, which is something many people don’t understand, unless they’ve actually gone through the process and experienced it for themselves.
Few things are more annoying that hearing “I wish I could do what you do…” or “You are so lucky to have your own business“… as they are just backhanded remarks for people who aren’t willing to put in the time and effort to changes their lives or financial situation.
Not to rant… but it’s something many entrepreneurs can relate with. They will put in the time, work and effort to make a difference where others won’t.
4. You say on your blog that ”networking is everything”. What advice will you give you to online marketers to connect? Attend to conferences, contact influences through email or social media accounts..? How should they start?
I started making money online around 1996, but it wasn’t until 2000 that I attended by first conference. My father and I flew across the country to attend Commission Junction University in CA. I live in NJ, so I also got to take a week off of school 😀
Long story short, this was really the first time I got to network and be around other people in the industry. It was a game changer and lead to many new connections and opportunities.
From that single event, I made connections that helped me meet the right people to secure speaking opportunities at other events as well, such as Affiliate Summit.
Today it’s much easier to get started, network and attend events. If you are in NY or CA, there are probably 10+ events going on daily. Throw in social media and Facebook Groups and you really have no excuse to not be making new connections daily.
5. How many hours do you work daily? What are the daily tasks for your business?
Every day varies, but I am definitely still working all the time. I have the luxury to not have any set hours, but I also do have a lot of emails, works, content writing and outreach that I do on a daily basis. It’s fair to say I’m working 8-10 hours per day… but also by choice and on my own terms.
6. You hired staff or you prefer to outsource the work?
This has always been a topic of discussion for myself — whether to scale out, hire employees and grow a huge mega company… or simply stay a one-man company and have total control.
Time and time again I’ve always went with being a one-man company. I don’t really care about building a massive company and selling it for millions… I’d rather have my time, flexibility and run things the way I want.
With that being said, I do have VAs, content partners and freelancers that I work with as well… just not on salary or within the company. This is usually the easiest and most effective solution.
7. Besides affiliate marketing would you mind sharing other of your income streams or businesses with our readers?
In earlier years it was mainly through affiliate marketing and my network of content sites. Now it’s more scaled out across a few areas. When I launched my blog in 2007, I went from being an ‘affiliate marketer’ to more of a ‘brand’, so this definitely helped with scaling the business.
Revenue now consists of anything from affiliate marketing, lead generation, consulting, product creation, working with direct advertisers and any new opportunities that might come up along the way.
8. I read on your blog, several posts regarding cyber security. How do you advise online money makers to secure their digital assets?
For the most part, it’s just about being conscious of your data, business and personal information. Go with reliable companies when setting up your domain names, web hosting, cloud storage, payment process and affiliate networks.
There are a lot of shady companies out there, and really no reason to try and save a few dollars by not going with a solid company that has a good reputation.
Simple things like using domain and WHOIS privacy protection are also smart. If you are running a business (blog/affiliate) from your home, also invest in a POBox and think about registering as a LLC or INC to protect your personal assets away from the business.
9 .What was your biggest mistake and what have you learned from it?
Probably to always stay focused on what’s making the most money, ROI and has the most potential. It’s easy to get distracted when working online or even with your own business. Side projects and stories of success from others in different areas can make you leap from project to project and lose traction in areas that you are already doing well.
This is commonly referred to as “shiny object syndrome“. It’s something most entrepreneurs struggle with, but once you realize the damage it can do, you will start to focus on what matters most.
10. If you could send now a message, an advice to you when just started this journey, what will it be?
Figure out whatever it is you are best at (or what to provide as a service), then niche down as much as possible and become an authority within your space. It sounds easy enough, but it’s not. However, there is a proven model to win this time and time again. I break down most of this in my make money blogging guide.
You have to look at it like this — there are over a billion active sites on the internet today and all of them are creating content. Why should anyone care about your site, what you have to say or what you have to offer? You need to make it better than the competition, relate with your audience and put in the time, work and effort where others won’t.
11. Who have you looked to as inspiration throughout your career? Any books you recommend?
Honestly, I’m not big on reading books. Some people will read through a million books and say how much they impacted their lives and business… I’m not one of them. Gary V hates reading too, and he’s doing pretty well 🙂
However, if you still want a short book that relates to all business owners or anyone going through something in life, check out “Who Moved My Cheese?” by Spencer Johnson. It’s all about adapting to the changing environments around you and not just waiting for a solution to fall in your lap.
12. Do you have any plans (personal or business) that you can share with us?
For now I’m going to continue to scale out my sites, while focusing on growing my brand and reaching new audiences. This will mainly consist of closing out side-projects or other distractions and trying to focus on just a handful of projects.
Plenty of exciting stuff on the way, so always be sure to follow me on social media and through my blogs.
Zac Johnson on doing podcasts:
Thank you Zac for answering the questions and for your recommendations. I invite you all to check Zac’s blog and podcast. I’m a regular reader and got many tips that helped me improve my businesses.
Get in touch with Zac Johnson
Rise of the entrepreneur podcast on iTunes
Blogging Tips: Confessions of a Six Figure Blogger by Zac Johnson
If you have any questions for Zac, feel free to add them in comments. I’ll ask him to check them and answer.