For today’s interview, I’m happy to feature Chris Guthrie from Entrepreneur Boost.
Chris originally gained a lot of his “internet popularity” when he showed people how much money you can make as an Amazon affiliate, but he has since moved on to other ventures.
I’ve followed Chris’s journey online for several years now, and I can say with certainty: this guy knows what he’s doing.
He’s had a lot of success in a variety of areas online, and I’m excited to dive into detail on some of them today.
Let’s jump right to the interview…
(As always, questions from The Daily Interview are in bold.)
You have a great blog over at EntrepreneurBoost.com, which includes a podcast with some really interesting guests, but tell us a little bit more about your business. I know you like to buy and sell websites, you’ve got Kindle books published, and you’re always developing a new product (or improving an existing one). What are you spending most of your time on these days?
I’m working on a new business (or rather bringing it out of limited beta) right now with a new business partner. We set up a separate LLC, worked with the lawyer to formalize the operating docs, etc. so that’s what I’m spending a lot of my time behind the scenes that most people don’t really see. Other than that, I do a variety of things to generate revenue including:
Buying websites – Then I improve the website (increase traffic + improve monetization) and hold onto theme
Occasionally selling websites – I do this when the price is right or I have an opportunity to exit and work on something bigger (like this recent sale of a site for $42,000)
Kindle books – Working primarily on niches outside of marketing space so that I don’t have to write the books)
Software products – I run so many different websites that I’m routinely finding things that annoy me or opportunities to improve ways to make more money from something or increase traffic. So I hire developers to solve these problems and in a way become the first paying customer (since I basically build stuff that I want to use).
I also make money from various miscellaneous stuff as well (this encompasses stuff I’m testing out i.e. building Facebook pages, marketing to those people).
Frankly I probably do too much and should focus in on fewer things which I’m trying to do but I love finding new ways to make money. In some ways it’s extra rewarding when I try something new that succeeds (instead of just doing the same things over and over).
For example, I released a Kindle book (non marketing niche) that I didn’t write, didn’t create the cover for, didn’t fully read myself (paid someone else to read and edit it) and was able to push it to a top 1,000 book on Amazon during it’s launch.
What has been your greatest success (or successes) so far?
Unfortunately, my biggest website sale was a few years ago back in 2010 for low six figures (specific details here). I haven’t surpassed that benchmark in terms of a website sale but I just sold another one of my sites back in November 2013 for $42,000 – combining that number with the rest of the earnings for that month and I earned $86,401.31 in profit – wish I could say that it wasn’t my best month of the year, but it was (income report details here).
So, although I’ve been on my own full time for a little over four years I haven’t yet exited one of my businesses for seven+ figures, but I’m still pushing to get there.
My current goal is to hit 7 figures per year in profit. I’m still a way off from getting there, but the beauty of the internet is that once you find something profitable and (most importantly) scalable then the numbers that seem so impossible become more realistic.
When I was still at my old high stress sales job making roughly $60,000 per year, I’d have never thought that I could continually make a solid 5 figures per month in profit, but in my very first year after getting fired I made over $150,000. Now the longer I do this, and the more I meet other internet entrepreneurs doing six figures per month in profit on up and they don’t seem to be doing things that much different than I am, it encourages me to keep pushing.
If you’re just starting out a lot of this may sound unbelievable or unattainable, but my advice would be to look at everything as a stepping stone to bigger goals. 5 years ago I don’t think I had even made $1,000 in profit in a single month.
All successful people stumble at least a few times along the way. Which failure was most significant for you, and what did you learn from it?
I discovered Google Adsense back in 2004 or 2005 back during the absolute crazy easy time to make money on the internet from SEO and what did I do with that discovery?
I built video game forums.
One of the lowest paying – yet highest competition niches – (like an idiot).
One of my best months I had over 500,000 page views in the month but made only $500 from Google Adsense from one of my video game forums. Had I really taken a step back to think about how the internet works and that some niches are absolutely 1,000x more valuable than what I was doing, I’d easily be a multi-millionaire by now.
I know that last comment sort of comes off as a “woulda shoulda coulda” – which is absolute loser talk, I know.
But I only bring up this story because it highlights the importance to pull your head up from the ostrich hole once and a while and see what other things people are doing.
You’re the Amazon affiliate master, so I think I need to ask you this question: With all of your great tips for Amazon affiliates, what’s the #1 thing that you see people aren’t doing that may be causing them to leave a lot of money on the table?
People go into the wrong niche. This is the number one cause for failure. (I’ve written at length on my blog about my experience as an Amazon affiliate, if you want to learn more.)
Let’s take a step back and look more generally at entrepreneurship and blogging. I know you have a lot of great advice to share, but If you had to take your best advice and put it into one sentence or phrase, what would that be?
Just start something. You’re more likely to fail on your way to eventual success. [Click here to tweet this]
For someone who is just starting out creating a blog or attempting to create a new product online, what advice would you offer? What do you wish someone told you about when you first started?
Approach whatever you’re trying to do like a business that can help you quit your day job.
Sure, some internet successes are people who start a hobby and it turns into a business accidentally, but if you go into your project with a deliberate, well thought out plan about what you’re trying to accomplish, you’ll be several steps down the path toward success.
Really think about how you’re going to get traffic, how you’re going to make money etc.: Will people really pay you to teach them how to become a better Halo player? Turns out I was able to make $10k doing just that.
Was it a big business? No. I half did that project just to prove a point that even random niches can make you money. (Last I spoke with him, an acquaintance of mine was making six figures a year selling Starcraft 2 guides, but Halo just isn’t popular enough. [PC gamers are also more willing to spend money than the generally more casual console audience.])
Finally, where can people find you online?
My Kindle books: http://chrisguthriebooks.com
Thanks so much for the interview, Chris!
In addition to following Chris’s journey for several years, I’m also a longtime customer of his. One of the products (WordPress plugin) that he created, EasyAzon, has been a tremendous help to me in the past, and I’d highly recommend it if you promote Amazon products on any of your sites.
What do you think of this interview and Chris’s journey? Leave a comment below! 🙂