How I turned a $100 Bloggy Conference pass into a lucrative career

How I turned a $100 Bloggy Conference pass into a lucrative career

I am fascinated by connections, and how I got connected to the Bloggy Conference is a neat story of either God’s providence, serendipity, or maybe a little bit of both. Either way, I was able to leverage a $100 investment in BloggyCon into a new career doing search engine optimization audits, keyword research, content creation, social media management, and more through my company, Wooster Media Group LLC.

Begin at the beginning

My story starts in my living room. My wife, Wendi, and I were watching Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” on the Food Network. We were watching an episode about Grover’s Restaurant near Niagara Falls, N.Y. Wendi and I decided we would go visit the restaurant (it was only a few hours away by car), and she decided we would make a long weekend out of it. From that excursion emerged Wendi’s blog, Wendi’s Weekend Trips & Whatnot.

The Bloggy Conference connection

After Wendi began her blog, I was telling Jacki Chamberlain, a marketing specialist with the Wayne County Convention & Visitors Bureau, about it. Jacki recommended Wendi and I should attend the Bloggy Conference. She told me I would learn a lot of useful information for Wendi’s blog. So, we attended, and Jacki was right.

Prior to attending the 2016 version of the Bloggy Conference, I started learning about this thing called search engine optimization (SEO). I didn’t know much about it, but I did know this: If Wendi was going to increase traffic at her website, then we will need to be employ some SEO strategies. Understanding SEO would also benefit the work I was doing at The Daily Record, a newspaper in Wooster, Ohio, where I was a reporter.

I was excited to learn Tiffany Noth, the organizer of Bloggy Conference, had scheduled someone to teach about SEO. That person was Claudia Pennington. She talked about SEO, and she also offered an online SEO auditing course. The course teaches you how to analyze a website to determine what can be done to improve organic search rankings with search engines like Google.

From employee to business owner

After the SEO presentation, I recall that another blogger and me went immediately up front to speak to Claudia about the course. As I talked to Claudia about my journalism and writing experience, she started rattling off just how my current skill set paired so favorably with conducting SEO audits. I knew just a little about SEO at the time, and I did not fully comprehend the connections Claudia talked about.

I thought initially I would start doing SEO audits on the side and keep my reporting job. The goal was to launch in first quarter 2017. However, the newspaper where I worked was sold, and the new owner had a digital marketing agency that provided SEO services. Unfortunately, I had put all the pieces in place and had to just abandon it. But, in late 2017, I decided I was going to launch Wooster Media Group LLC.

Though I didn’t start the business when I wanted to, I still continued to learn about SEO and digital marketing. By the time I was ready to start, I finally realized what Claudia said about how my journalism background was such a wonderful complement to SEO/digital marketing.

Thank you, Tiff and Bloggy Conference

Wendi crunched the numbers, and if I earned half of my reporting salary, then we would be OK financially. After the first month, I was just a few hundred dollars short. Though short, I considered it a major win, because a business mentor told me not to expect any revenue for 60 days. At the end of month two, I was ahead of my goal for the year. By the time month five came, I had replaced my reporting salary.

I have landed six clients who are on a monthly retainer. The services they purchase each month puts me ahead of my initial financial target. I always pick up one-off jobs. Here is a list of just some of the different kind of work I have done:

  • SEO audits;
  • SEO consulation;
  • Keyword research;
  • Develop a content strategy;
  • Website development;
  • Website hosting;
  • Website maintenance;
  • Writing blog posts for companies;
  • Freelance writing;
  • Freelance editing;
  • Social media management;
  • Social media graphics;
  • Social media videos; and
  • Video projects.

As Wendi and I were getting ready to leave for the Bloggy Conference, I reflected on how this event is the brainchild of Tiffany Noth of Bloggy Moms. I started thinking about women who have played a role in the creation of Wooster Media Group LLC. After further review, I should have included, Tiff, too. Thanks Tiffany for your conference. Without it, I wouldn’t be where I am.

When I attended the first Bloggy Conference, it was to support my wife with her blog. I had no clue I would walk away from the event with the seeds of launching a new business. So, if you are on the fence about whether you should attend the conference next year, I say do it. Who knows what will happen.