In this post in our BeRush Affiliate interview series, we are happy to share with you Pauline Cabrera’s take on blogging, managing multiple businesses and family values, among other things. Pauline is a marketing strategist, a successful blogger (TwelveSkip.com) and a business owner.
Victoria Galperina: Hi Pauline! To start off, I would like to thank you for agreeing to do this interview and for sharing your expertise with our blog readers. Please tell our community a bit about yourself. How did you get started with blogging and what are you up to now?
PC: I’m Pauline from TwelveSkip.com, where I blog about anything related to internet marketing. I also offer services and products mainly for bloggers and small business owners.
I’ve been building different kinds of websites since my mid-teen years; then around 2013, I started blogging. It was part of my many experiments.
Most of my previous websites were graphic-related where I’d just create graphics. I would add them in a page, write a simple title and write about 1-2 sentences with search keywords, then hit the publish button. I was able to grow my websites with ease using simple SEO.
….Until Google changed the way how Google search works. Google “Panda” and all other major algorithmic updates started rolling out which affected my traffic negatively. Most of the traffic of my websites went down.
I did a lot of research to get answers and most gurus said something like this:
“Google is getting rid of spammy-looking sites”
“Google prefers long form content”
“It’s better to start a new website”
I was like… “NOOOO! So I have to write unnecessary long descriptions now on every graphics I create? I don’t like writing. I’m not good at writing. No way.”
I still tried my best to save my old websites (by applying the new suggested SEO techniques) but nothing really seemed to be working. I heard once you’re hit with Google Panda, it’s hard to get back up again.
I became so discouraged and frustrated, I no longer wanted to create any more websites.
I eventually did move on and realize that things change, you just have to be willing to adapt and take the challenge head on.
Around 2011 (or 2012), I started building new websites again and this time, most of them were blogs and one being TwelveSkip.
Since I was attending college during those years and I didn’t really have time to write, I hired people to write for me.
TwelveSkip didn’t really have a specific niche until it started growing in late 2013. I was happy to see it growing again although it wasn’t as big as my previous websites, it was still progress.
So when I realized that my traffic was growing, I came to the scene and started to take it seriously.
That was when I actually started “blogging” myself. It was hard at first because I had to do a lot of research to validate my ideas, and OH MY… a lot of adjustments. Remember, I never really liked writing, but like many other blogging gurus have said, “You don’t have to be formal when it comes to blogging. Write as if you’re talking to a friend.”
It was still fun and exciting because it was a new interest of mine and I actually enjoyed teaching people. It wasn’t just helping me learn new things, but I was also discovering new opportunities.
And now, I’m building real businesses – not just websites. I used to build websites, make them grow and make money solely from ads placed on my website.
Now I have multiple streams of income. I’ve expanded my network and I’ve built my credibility as a marketing strategist. I wouldn’t have known how to implement all these if I hadn’t started blogging.
And right now, I’m in the process of building two other types of products that will help bloggers and entrepreneurs improve their branding and generate more sales (hint: email marketing and product pricing).
VG: How do you typically spend your work day?
PC: I would check my emails, finish up jobs for clients or create new content with my editor. In other days, I would hop around and read blogs, learn something new then generate new ideas. PS: If I’m impressed with someone’s website, I would use SEMrush to stalk their top keywords. Ha ha!
VG: What are the 3 things you enjoy the most about your work?
· Learning new things (especially new business strategies).
· Freedom. Freedom. Freedom. I get to take a nap whenever I want. OH YES! HAAA. Well, not really, but I love how I am in control of my time.
· Perks from companies I love. I love it when I get to work with companies I admire and they send me awesome freebies.
VG: What is your main goal at the moment?
PC: To create more products to sell for bloggers and entrepreneurs that will help them grow (while helping me generate more income).
VG: If you could share three pieces of advice with young bloggers who are just starting out, what would they be?
· Start out with what you LOVE and what you know. Don’t be afraid. Stop the “what ifs.” Just be consistent, enjoy what you do and you’ll learn along the way.
· Network. Find people in your niche. You can be friends with them by collaborating, interviewing, guest posting, promoting their content, etc. Not only you gain exposure, but you’ll learn a lot from them.
· Keep experimenting. Spend some time reading other blogs that will help you grow. Learn from other successful bloggers. This will help you improve your skills and discover new things.
VG: Would you call yourself successful? If so, to what do you attribute your success?
PC: I would like to think so! I love the freedom and how I am able to earn a living by doing what I love. That’s because I never gave up.
VG: If you could travel back in time, what one thing would you change in your past?
PC: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
My very first website was a MySpace resource website where I offered MySpace themes. I put all of my effort into that website alone.
Sure, it was very successful. It was generating about 250K visitors a day and five figures per month, but it only lasted for a few years. When MySpace went down, I lost it all.
I could have invested in learning other methods of making money, expanded my offerings, and hired people to help me build more businesses.
VG: What part does affiliate marketing play in your overall marketing strategy?
PC: I love affiliate marketing and it can be a very effective strategy, but if I’m being honest, it’s not as easy as it may seem. It takes a lot of work. You have to have a strategy. You have to work on it.
I run my own affiliate program for my store but I haven’t really worked on it. I just let people sign up for now, then approve them if they’re qualified. I still get a few referrals per month but not as much (but it’s still a good exposure!). But I get what I work for right?
Another good thing about it is you can email as many people as you want and invite them to join your affiliate program without looking “spammy.” It’s like a sneaky way of telling them this: “Hey I sell this product, so whenever you need one, buy it from me!” So whether you get a response or not, you still build awareness for your product.
Bluehost’s affiliate program is a good example of a successful affiliate program. They’re everywhere. Big influencers promote them and some of them even share how much they make off Bluehost.
Why is it so successful? Besides having a good reputation, they have a strategy, and they actually work with their affiliates one on one (they let you try their products and they educate you as well). They knew who to reach out to.
Same goes to SumoMe. They do the same thing. Great products, great strategy and they’re the ones who reach out to people.
VG: What do you see yourself doing in the future? Let's say in five years?
PC: Great question. I would love to see myself having a solid company like Envato, where I offer products together with other talented people and make profit together.
Actually, I run two businesses in different industries. One would be this blogging business and the other is a business relating local entertainment where I offer event services and products such as photo booth rental, social media cutouts, custom backdrops and other party décor.
My local business is pretty new but I didn’t really have a hard time building it because I already have most of the skills required for this business – you know: marketing, graphic design and some photography. I just need some improvement on certain parts.
I built it mainly because of my family – instead of working for others (my family), I would like to build another business where I can easily get my family involved. So I thought of something I can easily train them, and that was offering event services. They can just manage it after they’ve been trained.
I can create the designs or hire someone to do that while they do the rest such as shipping, producing and showing up.
In five years, I want to see myself having a large physical location for my event services with a fantastic team while I run a very successful business online. Hopefully!
Thank you so much for this interview! I enjoyed the questions. It was fun to look back and smile on the progression I have made (together with my team) over the years.
Thank you for sharing your expertise with us, Pauline!
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