An interview with Joel Brown the man behind Addicted2Success.
Joel Brown is an entrepreneur, motivational speaker and the CEO and Founder of Addicted2Success.com
In this exclusive Interview Joel shares how he created a site that gets over 3 million pageviews a month in a just 3 years.
Joel now spends his time travelling the world and inspiring and helping other entrepreneurs to reach success.
An interview with Joel Brown the man behind Addicted2Success.
Kyran: Okay so lets start this thing off by just giving our viewers a bit of background about yourself and how you first found your passion for success.
Joel: Oh, I think I’ve always had a passion for success, it’s been a thing where I’ve never really settled in my life. I feel that I’ve always wanted to follow my entrepreneurial spirit and cash in where I can and help others where I can, so for me, its really been a life journey of trial and error and really getting out there. For me success is something that I’ve been learning since I was old enough to walk.
Kyran: I just recently read your book The Formula and in there you talked about how you had a life changing experience when you met the Wolf of Wall Street – Can you tell us a bit about that?
Joel: Yeah, Jordan Belfort. That was a pretty awesome experience. I would have probably been about 24 years old and I was in a bit of a rut in my life. I had just left the music industry, I felt that I’d lost my passion for it and I was really just a little bit lost and like wondering what’s next and what can I turn to and you know, how can I better myself?
I was working for a sales company at the time in the city and they organized a workshop with Jordan Belfort. I’d heard of Jordan’s success back in the day, and also his failures as well. So I was familiar with who he was, I just didn’t really know what he was really like, you know, you hear a lot of things in the media, and in the newspapers about people, but the best way to really work someone out is face to face.
So I had the opportunity to meet Jordan face to face, and I was chatting to him and congratulating him on his success and he asked me “Joel, what are you doing with yourself?” And I explained what happened in the music industry and also, what my interests were and he asked me – “What are your goals?” I said “I don’t really have any kind of goals” and he said “Great, neither do I.” And I was like wow, okay. Someone successful like you, doesn’t have any goals, you know that’s kind of weird.
He said that goals are good for short-term success, little achievements here and there but he said that you really need to clasp the vision. If you’re thinking big you need to think bigger. So he really got me thinking, should really be setting a vision for my future. What do I really want to do? What do I want to achieve? What do I really want to get out of life? And he said to me, write it down step by step, day by day, week by week, month by month. Make it as clear and concise as you can so that you can get there.
Then he walked me through a few more steps and in that kind of moment I realized I wanted to be able to reach people, build a network of entrepreneurs and people that think like I did because I felt like I was kind of alone. So that’s where the idea of Addicted2Success was born and it moved on from there. I obviously saw an opportunity to make some money and leave my day job and at the same time also inspire other people and share the good knowledge.
Kyran: So where did the idea for blogging first come, was that just the mode that you thought you’d be able to reach the most people in, or how did that come about?
Joel: I’ve always been pretty cluey on-line and had an interest in how social media works and how to build on-line communities. So for me I’m the kind of the ‘push the buttons’ kind of a guy. I’ll get on, I’ll push all the buttons, I’ll install things and I’ll play around with it. I don’t want to really sit there and read instructions all day so for me it was really quick, have a look, you know what is really considered to be the best platform to start a blog or to reach people through a certain medium. A lot of professionals were saying WordPress. So I jumped in there, and I just started messing around with things and adding plug-ins, putting up posts and playing with the theme and everything and it all kind of started to come together.
I really hated the name blogger, blogging, people have this kind of misconception like they think it’s someone who just sits there that’s like emo and just leaks out all their emotions all day and talks about their cat and shopping. But there’s more to it than that, and the more that I found communities of people into the same thing as me and that it actually really had a massive impact on-line, that’s when I started to really own the name, take hold of it and run with it. That’s how I got into blogging.
Kyran: You really learnt by doing rather than by reading and stuff at the start, you really just used trial and error and got it kicked off that way.
Joel: Oh yeah man, like if you look at a lot of the successful entrepreneurs that are out there, the founders of a lot of companies, a lot of them know this much (indicates a little) and did that much (indicates a huge amount) do you know what I mean?
Kyran: Yeah definitely.
Joel: You have to take the action, you have to! You can’t sit there and cognitively you’re trying to understand it all, because it’s no good if it’s in here (motions to his head), it needs to be out there.
Joel: Read a little bit and then act on it! Go ahead and just start doing it! Get out there.
Kyran: Definitely. So can you maybe touch on some of the key elements for setting up a blog and getting it up and running, for those of our viewers that are kind of interested in this kind of stuff.
Joel: Yeah, The first element is find a platform that you feel you’re going to be able to use and that you understand. WordPress has become the industry standard. If you look at a lot of the other successful blogs or big platforms out there, most of them are running through WordPress. It’s nice and easy, easy to use. So I mean, first and foremost get onto the right platform that you can understand, and second is work out your audience. You really need to understand who your audience is going to be. It sounds kind of corny, but even if you have to draw down or create a character of what your main audience is going to look like Is it going to be like this little dude with a baseball cap backwards and he’s into hip hop and he listens to Little Wayne and Drake and I don’t know. You really need to work out who’s your audience and what’s their taste.
You need to understand your audience because you need to understand what you need to deliver to them. Because if you’re not delivering the right content it’s not going to get shared and you’re not going to grow. A lot of websites growth is based off being shared in social communities and also through organic search. You need to know what people are really looking for, if you’re not ranking for those kinds of keywords and you’re not writing things people want to hear about, then you’re not going to get out there. You’re doing a lot of work and getting like no response.
Kyran: Yeah absolutely, man and that all comes down to building a value for your customer anyway because if you’re not writing the type of stuff they want to hear and the type of stuff they want to learn about then they’re not finding value and they’re not going to come back are they?
Joel: Yeah 100% man. You’ve got it, that’s right.
Joel: Here I’ll give you an example. This is something I learned from a guy by the name of Gary Vaynerchuk. Gary was able to build his family wine business from a brick and mortar store that was making $3million a year, he moved it up to $60 million a year in a matter of a few years, because he brought everything on-line. He did social media the right way, he did video blogging and everything he needed to do. I saw him as someone that’s super successful and someone that actually gets it, so I took in a lot of his advice. Some of his advice was, with social media it’s kind of like going to a cocktail party. Like if you just walk in and you just start talking all about yourself, and you’re talking away rambling on chances are no-one’s going to really stand around and listen to you. By the end of the night, you’re going to be in the corner by yourself or you’re going to be kicked out.
So, this is social media, you need to be able to engage with people. It’s about your community; it’s not about you. Yes, you might be in a position of a leader or an authority, but you’re also a facilitator, you’re also somebody that needs to stay engaged with your community, otherwise they’re going to look at you as someone who only cares about yourself. And most people only do care about themselves and that’s the thing. It’s about being genuine, making sure that you’re interacting and staying engaged with your community, and also the same thing as blogging, it’s delivering quality and consistent content.
Kyran: Definitely, definitely. So can you touch on a couple of the key strategies that you used to really get some traffic in the initial stages of building the site?
Joel: Originally it was through Twitter. Twitter was really the thing Gary Vaynerchuck was talking a lot about. This was back when people were like what the hell is Twitter? What’s a tweet? What’s an @ sign? So, I mean I’d see what he was doing and he knows he’s kind of on the cutting edge and he understands what’s coming next. I kind of put that trust in him and thought okay cool, I’m going to jump on this Twitter platform and make the most of it, and see what comes of it. So initially Twitter was actually bringing in quite a lot of traffic.
The cool thing about Twitter is you’re able to target specific industries and specific markets. So I was getting a lot of people that liked the quotes and the content that I was putting out, and they were re-tweeting. Then their friends that liked it also were following me too. So, my site was built a lot off Twitter in the beginning it was a lot harder back then to build a Facebook page and get likes on your Facebook page so Twitter was really the thing that kind of platformed me to that level.
I then added a Facebook Like box on my website and people were Liking that as well. Or I’d jump on Twitter and say please Like our Facebook page for exclusive content that you won’t find here on Twitter.
You have to stick to those words. If you’re putting stuff on Facebook that’s exactly the same as Twitter and you’re telling people you’ll find stuff that’s not here on Twitter and they’re going to it, they’re going to be like this guy is a liar, why is he B/S ing us. That was really what I built if off and then obviously like everything else came from there. Now social media is probably about 40% of the traffic that comes through and a good 60% is through search engines and organic traffic.
Kyran: So can you tell us a bit about the initial set-up stages? Maybe the first year of actually trying to get this up and running how you, maybe some of the struggles that you went through and how you overcame them.
Joel: I think the biggest struggles really were technical issues. A lot of it was overloading my website with too many plug-ins, and that can get really resource hungry so it was crashing my website out quite a lot. Once I understood why it was doing it after speaking to a few technicians. The second issue was really, and this is what I teach a lot of people now is, always pay just that little bit extra for your web hosting to be on just that much better plan. If you know that your site is going to keep growing because I had a constant issue of upgrading to a plan and then I put out a couple of posts that would go viral and really explode and there’d be such an influx of traffic, then my site would crash and it would go off-line.
If your site keeps going off-line you’re going to stop ranking in Google and it’s going to really affect you in that way. That’s what I was finding, so I ‘cheaped it’ at the start and, knowing what I know now, I wouldn’t do that anymore. The plan I’m on now, I think it’s like 5 times more than I actually need just in case, because I always want to be ahead so that I’ve got the site running at full speed and its able to be open for everybody that comes to it. I don’t want those technical issues.
Kyran: It’s not worth losing the traffic over a couple of hundred bucks a month, is it?
Joel: Yeah, exactly, exactly and that easily converts, you get those people that could have been on your site and you get that money from advertising your affiliates or whatever way you’re monetizing.
Kyran: Absolutely man. So, there’s a lot of motivation blogs out there, what do you think sets Addicted 2 Success apart from these blogs?
Joel: We keep a lot of out content original. I see a lot of blogs that actually link back to Addicted2Success. What usually happens is they usually copy or select the whole entire article, copy it and they’ll paste it into their WordPress and they’ll post it up, not knowing that there’s actually still links that are going to Addicted2Success and I don’t mind at all if people are sharing the knowledge and spreading the word, that’s all good, but it affects them negatively with their SEO. It also can affect me as well if I’m getting a site that’s constantly, constantly re-posting my stuff and there’s constantly links coming back from that one site. Google doesn’t like that. I think that we really cornered the market; we’ve covered so much in motivation and in picture quotes and all the inspirational content that I’m not so much looking at what we’ve been looking at for the first 3 years. I’m moving toward another level. I’m always looking ahead at the next thing. I’m always looking at platforming up to the next level, and as far as content goes, as far as courses, training, products all these things that we’re starting to bring out, this premium content, this is just going to be on another level. So, yeah that’s definitely something to look forward to.
Kyran: Yeah, man. So you’ve definitely got to keep evolving with your customers and your audience as their needs grow you need to grow with them or you’re not going to stay up to date – you’re going to loose out.
Joel: Yeah, exactly. I think we’re going to start, hiring as well soon. This is the one thing with running your own business, is that it’s hard to find people that are like-minded in the way of, seeing the same vision as you. So even if it takes just that little bit longer to find someone, it’s worth it. A lot of millionaires, entrepreneurs, people that I know that are super successful, or that have been running million dollar businesses, they say their biggest problem is people. So it’s about hiring the right people. So I’m always keeping an open ear, an open eye for the right person for Addicted2Success that gets the vision and wants to be a part of something, truly amazing. It’s starting to get a little bit epic now.
Kyran: Awesome, man. Well, good on you. So obviously, there’s a lot of moving parts in growing the blog. Do you have a schedule or a kind of daily routine that you go through to check off all of the things that you know need to be done in order for the blog to keep going that day?
Joel: Yeah. There’s a few different parts in my day. I stage it so, the morning I wake up, I listen to an audio CD, like a self-improvement CD -Jim Rohn, Les Brown, Tony Robbins, whoever alright. Because that’s when your brain is cycling the craziest, that’s when it’s absorbing all the information that it can. It’s on that good level where it’s going to be basically like a sponge and it’s just going to soak it all in and that will set the mood for your day. First thing when I wake up, I listen to something that’s inspiring. I then go and meditate, I meditate for 15-20 minutes.
I do TM it’s called transcendental meditation.So it’s not so much that airey fairy kind of meditation, it’s more just repeating a mantra over in my head and transcending and coming back out and transcending again. I find that really sets an awesome tone for the day.
I then go and make sure I have my breakfast, have my shakes, my vitamins, minerals, herbs whatever I’m getting onto because health is very important – just as much as wealth. Then I really get into skimming through my emails, skimming just going which is important, and prioritizing. I flag the most important emails, they go into a flag folder and then what I do is I then have a look into my inbox where I’ve dragged imported articles that need to be posted. I get a lot of guest contributors that send through articles, so I review those and then I work out okay, what is the tone for the day? What am I aiming for today on Addicted2Success? Also, does it work with my content calendar I have an idea of each month what I want my theme to be. I don’t like to restrict it too much, I like to keep it kind of loose, but try and run it along a certain guideline for the month and then move to another theme and another subject and focus more on that. Then its just a lot of it is then social media.
Lately, it’s been a lot of interacting with other bloggers, a lot of experts – because we are taking it to another level where we want to start bringing a lot more of the experts in. You don’t want it to be like the same repetitive information that’s put out there all the time; you need to start bringing in people that can bring different values to the company and to the viewers as well. So that’s basically it. Then obviously once a week I’ll try and get onto the mail outs and workout what my email will be to my followers and subscribers.
Kyran: All right, cool. What is the biggest key to your success – if you could sum it up?
Joel: I think the biggest key would be that I‘m passionately curious. I’ll sit there and I’ll watch and hour long interview with some sort of experts on field just to get that one little nugget of information, because I’m that curious. And then I can go, all right am I going to implement this? How does this fit into my jigsaw puzzle? How does this really fit so that I can create the bigger vision, the bigger picture? So for me I’ve always been passionately curious about learning new things and acting on it and making it happen. I think that’s really the key to success. All these billionaires, philanthropists, astronauts, Einstein, have all been passionately curious about what they’re doing and that’s why they’re so successful. It’s because they keep digging, and digging, and digging and digging and finding ways to improve on what they already know, and fine tuning and tweaking and I think that’s when you succeed. Most people only do the 90%. It’s the 10% that gets you the cut above the rest, what makes you the cream of the crop. So if you’re passionately curious – you’re the cream of the crop man. That’s what you’re going to be.
Kyran: Yeah, man. I was listening to an audio by Tony Robbins the other day and he really talked about the rewards of being outstanding other than just being good or exceptional. All the rewards are in that top 10% and just going the extra step further than where others give up. Its really not that much more, but it really pays off exponentially doesn’t it?
Joel: Oh, yeah, yeah. Tenfold man, tenfold definitely. Yeah, Tony’s amazing, man. I could listen to that guy all day.
Joel: He’s awesome.
Kyran: So, you’re in Kuala Lumpar right now and you’ve been able to travel the word really on the success of Addicted2Success, how has this site really changed your life?
Joel: Oh, man exponentially. One of the main reasons I wanted to monetize and make some money from blogging wasn’t to make millions of dollars or wasn’t to make six figure incomes every year or anything like that. For me it was that I wanted to get the hell out of work so I had the freedom to be able to be creative, to not stress, to wake up when I wanted to wake up, to have good value in my relationship with my fiancé, to have more time with my friends and family. So, that was really the why, it was really just to have that freedom and this is what it’s allowed me to do. The crazy thing is, it’s at everybody’s fingertips, like, you can do it – you seriously can. I don’t want to be that guy that says I did it, you can do it too, because I’m not Mr Joe everybody. The opportunity is there, man 60% of the jobs that were out 50 years ago, they’re all dying off man. 60% of the jobs that are out now are all new. They’re new in this next lot of generation so, things are changing, it’s not, you can’t go by these old school rules any more, you can’t go by even the education system is still kind of backwards. There’s a lot of catching up to do really, because we’re evolving and adapting very, very quickly to the technology and everything that’s coming out. I just think that there’s an amazing opportunity for you to be able to live life on your own terms, and it’s on-line man, that’s where all the eyeballs are shifting. All moving on-line. And that’s where everything’s going, that’s where the money’s going, because eyeballs are going, the money’s going there too.
For me money equals freedom. So, when you’re working on-line, and you’ve monetized from your website and you’re waking up when you want to, you’re getting that more time and more freedom, and that’s really what you want to achieve. You want to achieve more time and more freedom. You don’t want to be having less money and more time, you want to be able to have more time and more money to have freedom.
Kyran: Yeah man. So what are some of your goals that you have for Addicted2Success in the next year, or in maybe 5 years?
Joel: With Addicted2Success I’m focusing more on education. I get a lot of emails and that from a lot of people from third world countries. Young people that are still in high school and they’re telling me how much the information has changed their life. A lot of them are still not very guided in what kind of direction they could go, they don’t know all of the opportunities. A lot of people want to be successful, but they don’t know how to get there. They don’t know what’s out there.
I see myself as a seeker, someone who goes and seeks the opportunities and then exposes it to people to help them out. Addicted2Success is more about educating people that you don’t have to go through the same old protocol of working 9 to 5 and sitting and commuting in traffic for hours and hours a day to go to and from work and wasting your life. We’re really looking at implementing a lot of courses, products, some more coaching and events. Things like that as well you know, it’s like a perfect platform to launch for events. Hopefully, Tony Robbins, Robert Kiyosaki,T Harv Eker, these kinds of guys will come together at these Addicted 2 Success events. That’d be pretty awesome to able to do something like that. That’s really a plan that’s in the works for the future. We really want to be that hub spot for the next level of self-development and education.
Joel: Yeah, my advice is to basically, never settle on what you think you need to do. You need to be 100% happy. You can’t be 99% happy and then be sitting there going where’s that 1%? You need to really find that thing that fills the gap and that really makes you feel whole because at the end of the day life is short. You don’t want to waste your time living in this world doing something that you don’t really want to do. We’re all made to have more of a freedom than what we’ve actually developed for ourselves. You look at society and most people are just sitting like sardines on a train or like sardines in these cubicles, it’s ridiculous. I think really don’t settle and when you find something that you really, really love, relentlessly pursue that dream until your friggin’ face melts and your feet fall off. Seriously, run with it and make it work. Make it happen! That’s my advice.
Kyran: Wow. That’s powerful man!