Interviewing Mike From Hobo with a Laptop

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Mike’s a seasoned internet marketer and has recently started writing about his digital nomad lifestyle, behind the scenes. With Mike now helping others jump into the “roaming economy”, I couldn’t resist taking advantage of the juicy goodness that is Mike’s knowledge and experience. Opening Question/not really a question: You have done several interviews before which talk about your story, how you became a writer, blogger and digital nomad, married your virtual assistant, etc. I really like your story, but I’d love to dig into the mindset that made it all happen. Could you summarise to readers, in as many words as you want, how you came to be where you are, doing what you’re doing? Once we have the how and when, we can take a look at the why, hopefully clarifying the who.

Thanks for asking me to join you here, Toby. Before I get into my own mindset that led me here, I’d like to point out all the active potentials I see in your own.

We’ve been talking for about a year and a half, maybe two, and in that time I’ve seen you take risks, travel, start not one blog but two, explore different sources of revenue, take back your health, and pursue your commercial aviation license.

You’re actively building a pretty amazing life, one that your blog will probably struggle to keep up with.

Behind the scenes, only you and a select few truly understand your struggles. You make everything look easy.

Almost dying does that, eh?

That’s sort of where I’d like to start with how my own story shaped up. Being a digital nomad is really all about how many spinning plates one can juggle. It’s a lifestyle, not a job description.

If anyone wanted to learn about our story, there’s interviews all over the interwebs. I thought I’d put on a kettle and go long form for my good friend I’ve never met in person.

The mindset that started all of this is hard to put into words.

“When I was your age” I felt like I was outgrowing a cage I was in. I knew what was possible, I was starting to become more aware of what I was capable of and what my strengths were. I was initially patient with a sure knowledge something amazing was going to happen for me.

On the other hand, I was unable to have a clear idea of when I’d reach my peak potential and what that would look like. With one shitty paycheck or another, the runway kept getting longer.

Financial commitments, the high cost of living, relationships that felt impermanent, the ‘what-have-you-done-for-me-lately’ kind of employment, a little student debt, starting over in one city after another, and a string of suicides in my personal life over a decade were starting to eat a big whole in my chest.

The bread crumbs were many, but far apart. When I’d estimate how many years it might be until I could stop feeling a fire under my ass, all projections said I’d be almost forty.

My mindset was one of calculated panic and I figured I’d bang my head against as many walls as I could until I got it right. I followed my interests. I took risks. I traded my health for a few advances in my career. I wrote everything down. I tried to avoid making the same mistakes more than a few times.

Where I think things took a turn early on was that after 18, my foundation was removed from under my feet. I was always scrambling financially, so I had to be really creative to make ends meet in my twenties. I’ve always worked for myself, although I’d take a day job from time to time.

And now I’m almost forty.

I feel like I’ve accomplished something with my life, but I’m just getting started. That initial hump is behind me, and it feels satisfying.

The key is to not get too cerebral about it. Life distills you. If you keep poking at your future, it’ll never turn out how you want it to. Like a sore on the inside of your cheek that won’t heal because you keep tonguing it.

Q1. Many people claim that it’s important to be driven and determined in business and other projects. I would personally describe you, bearing in mind that we’ve never spent time together physically (yet), as insanely determined, probable insomniac, I will bend this project to my will until it is complete, bulldozer kinda guy. I’ve never come across someone who can provide such a tangible feel of hustle over the internet without even being there in person. Am I on the right track to understanding you, or am I just romanticising about the idea of a passionate entrepreneur?

Yes, and no. Far too generous a description! I’m a fucking mess. And the goals probably bend me more than I bend them.

I’ve got too many open projects around my proverbial house, and they’re all late. I have this bad habit of getting excited about something and slipping it to readers –only to come out with it a year later, after I did all these other random things or client projects which take priority.

And that’s cool. Hobo with a Laptop is a hot mess, and it’s supposed to be. It’s a side hustle, an experiment where I let the loose threads show, and in some ways, a it’s a public service.

We’re a lot more organised when it feels like work, but Hobo doesn’t feel like work because we allow ourselves to block out what people might think (we get trolled now and again) and focus on what they need. It keeps it pure.

Our passion with it is to normalise nomadism, van life, tiny house living, and telecommuting. Lately, we’ve been focusing on Americans because of the shit beating they’re getting in the media and how their own crooked bankers threw them under a bus back in ‘09.

Fuck, my heart goes out to Americans. It can’t feel very good psychologically to wake up every day in the mess they’re in. Their politicians have run amok and the world is triggered –taking a rib out of everyday citizens any chance they get for things their politicians have done without asking. How do you change the heart of a super power on a tangent? We’re all in the process of finding out. But hot damn, consider the rising suicide rate before you go off on an American (or anyone for that matter).

We want to provide a little relief and show Americans that there’s nothing wrong with living with less, being “homeless”, and they have been perceptive to that message. It’s not all Grapes of Wrath.

No more Keeping Up with the Kardashians, no more Stepford Wives.

More Hemingway and Kerouac with a side of Ferris Bueller.

I’ve never met a deplorable American.

Maybe a couple race baiters or a militant feminist, but they’re doing pretty good in spite of what’s happening. It could be so much worse. There’s gratitude in that.

Behind the scenes we’ve helped coach dozens of Americans; wannabe nomad parents, college dropouts and graduates, aspiring writers, successful writers, a couple TV celebrities, and a bunch of people losing their minds behind a cubicle wall. It’s been rewarding.

As for the bulldozer thing –my approach to Hobo with a Laptop is bipolar; I ignore it for 4-6 months a year, and then do a full year’s worth of work on Hobo the other 6 – 8 months that’s left over.

In other words, I really only work (feed) 4 – 6 months a year for clients and then I hibernate (fast) to work on my side hustle.

We’ve banked enough runway to spend the rest of the year on Hobo in Palawan, so expect big things. Next year Oshin retires from client work altogether and we consider making a baby. Anything you’ve seen to date is just “foundational content” –we’re only getting started.

Q2. Many thought leaders talk about finding your passion or following your passion in business, while some other claim this is total BS and that you instead need to bring your passion with you, focusing on the best opportunities and making them enjoyable after the fact. What side of the fence do you sit on with this? I ask because you strike me as very passionate about what you do, but coming from corporate world, did you decide that you needed to make a digital nomad attempt work because you wanted the lifestyle, regardless of how to get there, or was it a succession of following the things you like? Or do you see value in both?

I am a passionate moron –I’m like Chris Farley’s “Jo Jo the idiot circus boy with a pretty new pet”. The passion came first, and it was sloppy.

It’s still sloppy.

I never wanted to be that digital nomad guy. I stressed over using my real name on any of this. I drank. I debated. I put it on hold for a couple years to focus on more commercial ideas that would keep up appearances with the suits I knew back home. And I still do, but now I do the commercial work low-key, often as a ghost writer, and put my name on Hobo.

I wrote a book in 2015, and “came out” as a nomad on Linked In in 2017. The book was initially a best seller on Amazon, and all sorts of people came out of the woodwork to ask questions with genuine sincerity and drive to adopt a nomadic lifestyle.

For me passion is creating that light bulb moment in the eyes of others. Being the missing piece. It feels good.

Hobo with a Laptop
Mike’s favourite book as a kid

I’d always had passion to a fault. In kindergarten, I’d get in trouble –’ants in my pants’ turned into ‘are you high?”. In high school I had a teacher ask if I was on cocaine. When I was in sales, it was just assumed. Nope, on all counts. I was just a shitty kid with too much cortisol floating around in my veins for reasons I’ll keep to myself. I kept moving.

So yeah, Jo Jo.

Just find some light bulbs and give them to people. That’s my best advice on passion and work.

Q3. Despite our age differences, it seems as though we have had many parallels in life and in business endeavours. You’ve written about “sowing the seeds of your destruction”, which outlined how your health was ruined, leading to near death experiences in Chiang Mai. I have written about similar stories of destroying my physical and microbiotal health after having a racing accident, which subsequently impacted my overall health in a very negative and extended way. I have learnt many things from that experience which went on for over a year, and while I don’t think I will truly understand the learning and health repercussions for another 5 years at least, one of the main things I took away from this was how mainstream views and methods were not effective, but worse still exacerbated and compounded the problem incredibly. The 5 years since my experience has been an incredible half decade for health sciences. The scientific community, though not yet as much of the medical community are starting to understand the impact and importance of things that were considered fringe, hippy-ish and even dangerous. Keto, probiotics, microbiome and everything in between are slowly creeping their way into the outer edges of mainstream views, validating some of the methods that we both took, and still take to save not only our health, but probably our lives. So as the younger guy to the “less younger guy”, what were the meta lessons that you learned from going through an extended ordeal like this, having to come up with solutions on your own and testing different approaches. Has this changed the way you approach your various businesses and undertakings? TL;DR How do you know when to realise that you don’t have all the answers and to listen to the experts, and how do you know when to ignore advice for a better way? For the readers who have read my story, I’m not so arrogant as to not realise that I likely would have died without medical intervention, but once I was not in immediate danger of perishing from Septicemia, the treatment I was receiving led to many serious health issues.

I can’t comment on this fully, I’ve written over 1,000 words to this answer and deleted it twice. My thoughts are not yet fully formed, I’m still reeling from how I was handled.

But I can say this –I’ve got this motto I keep saying to my wife about health; down is up. If they say look left, look right. Professional health journals are often, not always, full of shit.

When I got sick and my boat was taking on water, nobody told me to fast. Nobody said “hey, do this, remove this, or change this”. No, they said buy this pill. Notes were written on the back of advertisements for them. And the pills didn’t work. They lost their way when they removed that line from the Hippocratic Oath.

So, in business –don’t sell pills that make things worse or create a lifelong reliance on you. Let your customers graduate and the free word of mouth marketing will follow.

Don’t be a Pharma Bro, give the foundation of the cure away for free and then sell what people need for the next phase that comes after the cure.

We tell people how to do things all the time, but they still pay us to either do those things (time), or for the add-ons (passive).

Give away the ‘seeds’. Sell the fully grown ‘plants’, and pivot often to stay ahead of the competitors you may actually be creating by giving away the seeds in the first place.

Who gives a fuck? No one can do it like you, it’s you people want to work with. If shit gets unruly, buy your competitor like Nomadic Matt did when he bought the main competitor to his blogging course.

There’s billions of people on this rock, you can rinse and repeat and still make a mint if you let your customers graduate and not force them to be reliant on you forever.

Forced reliance is like a shitty mother that keeps her kid sick so he doesn’t leave the house. “Vendor lock-in” is for rubes.

But hey, I grew up before the “software as a service” generation –I think that way of thinking is in fashion, and in most cases the software is shit or just basic. An MVP that never gets finished but they got the taste of blood so they’ll keep taking your money.

There’s a total devolution going on in industries that think that way, in my less than humble opinion. I know there’s exceptions, but that’s not the point.

Q4. This might seem a little cliched. What traditional “weakness” do you have that has turned out to be one of your best advantages? For example, several people claim that their diagnosed OCD has led to them obsessing over a project until it was perfect, resulting in a very successful launch or release. I’m not looking for a diagnosed disorder, just something that you may have turned around to your advantage. I personally struggle with the ability to stick to one project and see it to completion. The benefit of this is that I have an unusually high amount of skills and interests which leads to a lot of good ideas. This brings me to my next question as well.

”What’s your glitch, and what’s your super power?

My glitch is the metaphorical hole in my chest, my perceived shortened lifespan, and the stress I’ve had in my past.

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My super power is the ability to function with clarity when everything seems like it’s falling apart.

It’s the ability to forgive myself and others for not being able to do the same. It’s empathy in my personal life but especially in business.

Empathy helps you make money, too.

Q5. You seem to be working on many projects, so perhaps you can help me in deciphering some of the mess that I create for myself. Which do you value higher: ideas or execution? This is legitimately something that keeps me awake at night for two reasons. The first is that I will sometimes spend the entire night writing down and clarifying new ideas. The second is that I lament about how many times I’ve changed direction (not a “pivot” however) and have a virtual junk pile of unfinished projects. What I’m trying to say is this: some people make incredible successes from running a cafe, which is traditionally one of the worst business models around, while others were failing at the very low risk strategy of drop shipping, even 10 years ago while it wasn’t competitive. What are your thoughts on this, and do you think some people (myself included) spend too much time thinking about this when they should be getting on with other things?

Ideas are like assholes, everyone has one. And those that are paranoid about sharing theirs are silly. It always boils down to execution. Don’t keep ideas a secret, but how you execute is the secret sauce.

It is my experience that sharing ideas have only perfected, qualified, or disqualified them when I shared them with people who know a thing or two about execution. If all your friends have a lot of ideas and little follow-through, find new friends that have successfully executed on an idea or two.

When you get a good idea, quarantine it. Focus only on it. Keep a paper notebook for the rest of them but find that good idea and ride it into the sunset. Develop a one track mind.

The big problem I see today is that everyone has ideas and they get VC, run an ICO, and then people eat their hats later. People are beginning to lose faith in people with lots of ideas. The market will correct itself, and CVs will look hilarious one day. I’d sooner put Walmart on my CV than starting an ICO for some bullshit something or other.

Ideas seem to be rewarded more than careful, thoughtful execution these days. Everyone wants to be boy wonder, but people grow up and become irrelevant no matter how much Peter Pan Koolaid they drink. Lightning must strike every few years, you can’t avoid that requirement if you want to remain relevant.

It’s kicking us in the teeth as a global society. Look at Snap, it’s a joke. Shit execution. Compare Snap to today’s Tesla which is well-executed and I rest my case. Or that prefab bridge that fell down on a highway in Florida and killed people.

Anyone can dress up an idea or serve a quota. But execution speaks for itself in this “fake it ‘till you make it” bullshit echochamber we’re in. Kids eat it up. Or in the least, the media would have us believe they do.

You can’t put on a lab coat and call yourself a doctor, and if your execution is terrible, you’ll get found out. You could hurt people.

I can’t talk though, I don’t recall ever building anything myself that’s in your pocket. No one knew who I was until Hobo. And it’s a beacon of failure more than anything. More on that later I’m sure.

Q6. Books. Do you read them? Some people claim that reading “a book a day” or “60 books a year” etc. is the key to learning and maintaining their edge. Others (Albert Einstein included) state that once you have a base level of information, you should get on with the task at hand and stop wasting time. Claiming in essence that it’s a form of procrastination. I find this to be along the lines of the above question, thinking that it comes down to ideas vs. execution. Would you agree? I’m sure that both schools of thought are probably right to some degree, depending on the person, though what are your thoughts?

I love to read, but I love discussion more. I don’t read enough –it’s all how-to articles for me lately. Oh, and Jordan Peterson’s new book. It’s sanity redeeming.

Reading is so important –the longer the book, the better. What it does for your worldview and your attention (and intention) span will only enrich you.

Oh, look! A Squirrel!

Q7. In line with the two questions above, it is said that complete and perfect information (not to be confused with the branches of micro economic theory) is impossible. What this essentially conveys is that by having complete information, it causes indecisiveness and a struggle with how to act. “Perfect information” gives the decision maker just enough data to be able to act swiftly and generally in the best way possible. Without placing too much importance on the definition above, how do you decide when you have enough information to go on? To phrase differently, how do you avoid “paralysis by analysis” while still not flying by the seat of your pants and rushing into a decision without enough information? Do you even think that this is something you achieve well?

TL;DR –I fly by the seat of my pants all the time and I pick the wrong horses in races often. I pivot a lot. Sometimes I think I should just slow the fuck down and be more thoughtful, and I’m working on it.

Learning to learn was emphasised in my generation, born in 1981, high school graduating class of 2000. They did a lot of educational experiments during that time –good ones, mostly. Not like today. We didn’t all get trophies and safety wasn’t worth punishing kids by removing physical activities like Lacrosse in gym class to achieve it.

Learning to connect the dots, spot media manipulation (sales speak and propaganda tucked away in the news) were actual high school curriculum they offered me in my home town in Canada. I was lucky to be part of those kind of ‘pilot classes’ that were later discontinued. I got a wood plaque for one of them –my only award that ever mattered. Thanks, Mr. Martyn Olenick. You changed my life and I’ll never forget that, nor hesitate to pay it forward when given a chance.

I visualize everything. I write on my apartment walls with markers every day. I look psychopathic and I’ve lost the occasional apartment deposit, but it helps me stay on task, stay organised and it charts my mistakes.

I usually get enough information to execute because I’m good at qualifying it and its source. I connect dots and know how to bridge my own experience with what I’m reading quickly. I don’t just accept everything I read and I’m real skeptical when emotional words are used. Fuck your feelings, what are you trying to get me to think or do?

I learn by doing, and I’m patient with myself. I don’t like other people’s checklists I prefer to make my own, but I admit I should take more online courses, invest in myself, and I will before the end of the year.

I approach things holistically. I avoid projects that are compartmentalised like the Manhattan Project if I don’t understand the end result well enough.

I try to simplify everything into a few sentences. I hate long winded self indulgent statements. And after all the words on this page, I’m also a stark hypocrite. That’s also why I delayed this interview almost 9 months –the line of questioning was so deep, you’re on hell of a thinker and writer, Toby.

I’ll be chewing on this one long after I’m done writing it. Wondering how I presented myself, if I was truly any help to your readers at all. What I can learn from it.

Wrapping this answer up; every day I give myself homework for when I sleep. I think about an idea and take it apart before I fall asleep. When I wake up, the world makes more sense to me than it did the day before.

That time a Filipino barber fucked my beard up

Q8. What is the one question, you wish you would get asked in interviews, or by those who ask you a lot of questions about how and why you do what you do? Nada. Q9. You seem to put a lot of effort into the theme, aesthetics and functionality of your blog. How important are these aspects of your site to you, and where did you pick up/learn the importance to detail that you have? A lot of people will take these sorts of things to 90% completion and then get a bit slack where as you take it to a full 100%. When renovating a kitchen or a bathroom, the structural and main physical changes which are roughly about 80% of the physical work, wind up being around 20% of the overall work, time and effort. When done right, the remaining 20% which is the finishing work takes around 80% of the work time and effort. These are the houses that you can walk into and feel as though it was a complete new build or a professional job. Renovators who don’t place as much importance on the finishing aspects often create a job that looks nice when you enter the room, but you can tell that it’s a renovation. This is how I feel about Hobo With a Laptop. It feels like a craftsman spent the time required on the finishing touches. How and why do you do this? Does this behaviour and attention to detail extend to any other areas of your work?

I got my start in true location independence in my early twenties in Montreal making websites for $300 USD a pop, before WordPress was mainstream and before I knew how to charge properly.

It was hard to get regular employment there that didn’t suck, so I went solo.

They have a “Commission Francaise” in Quebec that makes speaking French first mandatory, and businesses can be fined real big money if they hire guys like me who don’t like being politically forced to speak one language or another.

You get language baiters there, man. Did you know Montreal has Canada-grown terrorism? Google “pasta gate” or the FLQ bombings. You don’t often hear about that shit in international news (although it’s nothing to worry about). I wanted none of the language police nonsense so I worked for myself.

Although now that I said that, I also have to say that most of my closest friends are French, from Montreal, they’re frustrated that Canada milks their natural resources for a penny to the dollar, sad that their culture is being replaced by Anglo Canadians, and I get it. Their view is that they’re treated as secondary citizens. So I’m not throwing any stones. I just don’t like having my freedom of speech pissed on as much as they don’t like their culture being replaced. It’s a unique situation.

I moonlighted as a manager at a cafe in a wealthy part of town back then, and my cafe customers became my customers. To date I’ve built hundreds of commercial websites.

In my late teens, I also fell in love with Photoshop, and by my late twenties I learned about the importance of user experience (UX) when I worked on some big iron in the ecommerce space. Million dollar projects that I sold, helped plan, and consulted on an ongoing basis. Adhering to user experience standards has a direct correlation with profit margins. A small tweak can mean hundreds of thousands of dollars lost or gained.

WordPress has its limits (it’s ugly by UX standards today), and I’m not a professional UX designer, but I try to keep it in mind when I can find the time to spend a full weekend on tweaks. I’m sure UX people could easily cut up any one of my projects. But it’s still something I think about.

And finally, Copyrise had its influence on my design, too. We were doing influencer marketing campaigns with travel bloggers in 2016 –most of my nomad neighbors on Nimman in 2014-2015 were travel bloggers that are incredibly successful today.

So, after seeing how much money they made, how much fun it was, the perks, and how little some of them knew about marketing yet still owned and dominated their space –I reverse-engineered the fuck out of all of them and tried my hand at rebooting Hobo with a Laptop in April 2017. There’s room for everyone.

Lucky for us, it’s income eclipsed Copyrise within a few months and last week we got our first invitation from a luxury resort chain. Turns out people like working with digital Hobos more than professional-looking marketers.

Today it’s really just an internet marketing or work from home or crypto blog that looks like a travel blog –a “digital nomad” blog when you roll it all into one. Google doesn’t know what the fuck we are. A lot of readers get confused. Bad UX.

We’ll get more into travel down the line, but right now we’re not done with teaching others how to make money online and/or become digital nomads. Travel posts are the gravy we’re working towards. Maybe we’ll get a drone. Maybe we’ll sell the website, or sell out. Maybe I’ll become a monk on a hilltop someplace. Who the fuck knows.

Wrapping it up, the blood coursing through my veins is Dutch but it smells like Canadian Maple Syrup. I’m a first-generation son of a Dutch immigrant. Design is sort of something we enjoy from birth. I think about the finger as much as where it’s pointing in just about everything I do.

Guest Questions

Mike and I have a few mutual blogger and digital nomad friends, so I put the word out to see if there were any questions they might have for Mike. GQ1. This question comes from Steve (Shcteve) White who runs Hustle How To and is the man who got me started as a freelance writer. Steve is the guy who introduced me to Mike. And Mike helped Steve get his start. Steve asks: I felt myself losing motivation to blog, especially when doing paid work. When you experienced years long absences from your blog, what were the key factors to get you back on track? How do you hope to prevent that from happening in the future? Bonus question, what did you do in the interim?

That’s some full circle shit right there, Steve and Toby. Love this guest question.

Short answer: Money.

Do you want to do client work forever? What if you get cancer tomorrow?

I enjoy my client work these days, but I hated it when I first started Hobo with a Laptop and I hated it again when I rebooted it. I charged too low, and I burned out often.

Initially, that played a role but it wasn’t the meat and potatoes. Most of us are used to hating our jobs and accept it.

It also wasn’t just influencer marketing with travel bloggers under the Copyrise label that made me want to bring it back to life, or that I was fortunate enough to know some of today’s greatest travel bloggers –it was logging into an old affiliate account I’d all but forgotten about and there was a stack of cash in it.

I took a month off with that affiliate income and redesigned Hobo into what I always thought it should be. Then we made that digital nomad jobs site database. Traffic surged. Reddit loved it. We got new clients and raised our rates.

Then we temporarily shuttered Copyrise and moved some of the content from it to Hobo with a Laptop. I put most of the body of my work I’d accumulated over the years under Hobo –that’s why it looked like I had such a hustle.

Then there’s Digital Nomad Escape Plan –I took chapters from that and put them online. I made the book free and turned it into a lead magnet.

And finally, I love running experiments in internet marketing. It’s fun. Hobo is my sandbox for that. Which is also why I suck at things other bloggers do properly –haven’t published a newsletter since our last sponsored giveaway in Autumn 2017. Shame on me. But it’s just not part of the plan yet. It will be soon, but we don’t really have anything to sell as of now (June 2018). We’re just a year in. Right now it’s just a bunch of blog posts and a lead magnet.

But I’ve got a solution to the problem for you, Steve. It’s all in your expectations. If you lower the bar for yourself, it will feel fun again. Gamify it. Make milestones for yourself.

Here’s the first part of the lifecycle of a successful blog;

Year one is all about growth. That’s it. As in no monies for you if you’re starting from scratch. Nada. It could be shorter, but give it a year anyway.

Never publish anything you don’t love. That shitty feeling you get when you half ass something lingers. I’ve got a few of those and I am going to circle back to them soon. Don’t do anything on your blog that makes you feel shitty.

By the end of year one, go back and look at your analytics. What was popular? That’s your rudder.

Take a directional queue from your analytics and write more posts about what your readers spent their time reading.

Then go back and overhaul your keywords, and ensure that even though your main aim is to help others (a key component of success is not saying “I” too much, not being too self indulgent, and delivering value to people eager to learn or buy something) –make sure you’ve still got commercial intent; a commercial call to action for every post. People like buying things if those things will get them further ahead or solve a problem.

It’s not the clearest explanation (I’ve done better explanations for Quora) but you get the idea.

And once you make that first hundred bucks passively, you get all tingly.

Once you start to make a hundred bucks every month consistently, you’re addicted.

Once you’re hooked, you start tweaking your content and writing content you know people will love because Google told you they would.

Then you see what small changes had bigger rewards.

You make more money. Your quality of life improves. The addiction ravages you.

And so it goes.

Nothing remarkable happens in terms of organic search traffic for the first nine months, so this is the hardest time for any blogger, and often the point where they give up is right before Google says hello and gives ‘em a big sloppy kiss on the cheek.

Another thing worth mentioning is that Jetpack slows your site down, big time. Speed your site up. Get WP SuperCache, drop Jetpack, and pay $10 for ShortPixel once (or subscribe) to shrink your images. Those three changes got us between 60 to 100 new users every day within a week.

Write reviews now and again.

Don’t waste your time with affiliate programs in that first year growth phase, either. They’ll just think you suck and you’ll get the boot and have to start over again with sign ups *after* you’re getting decent traffic. So write a few reviews and don’t bother with affiliate links until you got at least 4,000 – 6,000 visitors per month.

Just produce content like a mofo. Make a run for it. Get addicted. Tweak keywords once a month. Go back and make all your links “nofollow” Rinse, repeat.

We’ve all had a decent CD collection at one point in our lives. We’d love looking at them on the shelf. The clever art, the words they contained. Our music collections were holy.

Make your blog that and you’ll never feel lacking in the motivation department again. For more substantial blogging tips, visit Hobo with a Laptop.

You can find Mike over at Hobo with a Laptop.

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