Please note that this is not sponsored content. I just went out a paid for this course myself. This review is entirely my own thoughts on the product. The links are also not even affiliate links.
I am 100% pro side hustle. Even if you don’t want to do it all the time, I think you should have some alternative streams of income that you could fall back on if you have to.
My favorite side hustle is this website – brokeGIRLrich.
- First and foremost, I love how it keeps me accountable and constantly learning about personal finance.
- Second, I love the community, even if my real life does get so crazy sometimes that I’m not always as involved as I want to be.
- Third, I love the extra income it brings in.
My primary job is as a freelance stage manager, so having an alternative stream of income that I can work on any hour of the day from any location is pretty much the most perfect side hustle I could’ve hoped for.
If you’re interested in starting a blog, you can check out my post with details on how to start a blog and exactly how long it took me to break even financially with the initial investment here.
My income from this little blog has been increasing slowly and steadily, but I had an exciting and slightly terrifying period of unemployment this spring – the first since I jumped cruise ships in 2012.
During that time, I decided I wanted to take a blogging course. In many ways, I feel like I’ve plateaued with my blogging knowledge and just needed a little direction. I narrowed it down to three courses I was interested in:
- Elite Blogging Academy ($797)
- Pro-Blogging Secrets (Packages from $199-$599)
- Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing ($197)
I’ve been interested in the Elite Blogging Academy since I went to FinCon in 2014, but with no idea when I’d be back to steady income again, $797 was just not a feasible investment.
I was also hoping to learn a little more about growing traffic, so Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing seemed a little narrower than I was looking for.
I took a leap and invested in Bob Lotich’s Pro-Blogging Secrets course – the $299 Community level. I’d read some good things about it and I’ve been following ChristianPF/SeedTime for several years. I’ve also met Bob at FinCon – all in all, he seemed like a sincere and trustworthy guy with a solid knowledge of how to build an online business.
The Community version got me a 7 module course that covered everything from content creation, branding, graphics, building traffic and business tips. It also came with two bonus courses, one of how to set up a WordPress site and one of how to maximize Pinterest.
Here’s what I really liked about the course:
- The Bonus Material section
- This section included a workshop on email-list building and getting free publicity that I thought were really excellent. The publicity stuff I’ve never really even thought about and opened my eyes to a lot of possible ideas for the future. I have also been a terrible blogger and never really worked on my email-list. I think it’s got about 150 people on it, I’m not sure anyone even knows I have one and I never use it. However, I have lost out of several monetizing opportunities when brands asked me about the size of my email-list and it is so disproportionate to my social media following and monthly page views. The workshop on how to build one had a lot of actionable steps that I can work on.
- The Homework Section
- Lots of sections had “homework” that went along with them, which gave me clear things I had to do to get the lesson to sink in or make sense. I love actionable things.
- Twitter Advice
- One of the sections directed me to a few Twitter tools I’d never heard of and in the last month, I’ve doubled my Twitter following. Twitter is also my favorite social media platform for brokeGIRLrich stuff, so I was excited to be able to grow it. Unfortunately, it’s also the lowest traffic converting platform.
- Affiliate Marketing Advice
- The affiliate marketing advice was a really great primer, since I don’t know much about it. Not only that, but the units alone inspired a few posts from last month and anything that inspires new content is A-OK in my book.
- Pinterest Advice
- Honestly, the Pinterest bonus course was absolutely the best part of the entire thing. I’ve only been working on it for about 2 weeks now, so I’ve only seen a very small increase in traffic, especially since I’m still using the free trial versions of all the recommended products, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to cave and subscribe to BoardBooster and then use Bob’s pinning method from there.
Here are a few things I didn’t:
- The Videos
- This really isn’t Bob’s fault, but I am totally not a YouTube person and I hate learning through videos. I feel like they take twice as long to watch as it would take to read something and they are a pain to scroll back through to check for a fact or something.
- Also, Bob is kind of chatty and repetitive. I’m pretty sure that’s how you’re supposed to teach people – but I felt like most of the videos could’ve been cut in half and distilled down to two or three key points in each one.
- Video Quality
- The video quality isn’t the most professional. There are occasionally audio issues and times when a segment probably should’ve been reshot because a webpage didn’t open correctly on the first go or Bob said um too many times or there were silences that stretched too long. This could also just be the stage manager in me, but I felt for nearly $300, these things could be edited a little better.
- I often felt like each module, which consisted of several units, had like one new thing I was learning. If you’ve been blogging for a while, it’s likely that the vast majority of content that Bob covers is just going to be stuff you already know.
- And on a similar note, I felt like everything way taught at a very introductory level – so while I’d love to improve on my SEO, even just some basic Googling over the years has taught me nearly everything that was covered in these units.
- There’s a lot about Adsense. I still hate Adsense. I have implemented the Adsense suggestions and I still think without a lot of traffic, Adsense is pointless. And by a lot, I mean, like in the hundreds of thousands of viewers per month.
Overall, if you’re a brand new blogger, I really do think this investment could be worth it. A lot of the information is pretty basic and common sense and the bonus unit about how to set up your WordPress blog could be really useful. The technical side of blogging definitely has a steep learning curve initially.
However, if you’ve been around for a few years, even just part time blogging like me, and paying attention and occasionally going on a Googling spree to learn new blogging and social media skills – this course might not be your best bang for your buck. It’s likely to repeat a lot of things you already know.
If it’s possible to take the Pinterest bonus course by itself, I do highly recommend that.
I’m not upset I spent the money though. Committing to a blogging course was a lot like blogging about personal finance. Blogging about it makes me study it a lot. Pro-Blogging Secrets would occasionally frustrate me with it’s lack of depth, but whenever that happened, I’d put more effort into studying the subject more myself through what I could find online – so in some ways it was a great catalyst for forcing me to learn more about blogging while I was unemployed from my usual job and it certainly kept me busy.