It’s one thing to come up with groundbreaking business ideas and aspire for success. It’s another to breathe life into those aspirations.
Realising your business dreams and sustaining them is more challenging than one could hope for.
That’s why you need someone to look up to for guidance and advice.
With multiple revenue streams from affiliate websites and SaaS, Spencer Haws is your guy.
In this interview, I caught up with Spencer and got to dig into his mindset that led him to prominence as an entrepreneur and business owner.
Spencer Haws Interview about Building Successful Online Businesses
1. Tell us a little about yourself – who you are, what you do, your background, what you enjoy doing outside of work.
My professional background started similar to others. I went to college, graduated, and then took a job in the corporate world. After working 8 years in a professional position, I decided the corporate life wasn’t for me.
Fortunately, I was able to build a business on the side while I was working full time. I discovered niche websites, SEO, and online marketing. Building this side business eventually allowed me to quit my full-time job in 2011, and I’ve been building online businesses ever since.
I’m also a family man, happily married, and I have 4 amazing children. When I’m not hanging out with my family, I enjoy running and hiking. I’ve run several marathons and am currently training for another one.
2. You’ve mentioned how you got into online entrepreneurship and Amazon niche websites on your about page. But how would you describe your journey so far in one word? Why?
Quitting my job was certainly risky and what I do currently has the potential to fail (like any business). However, I feel like I’ve always taken very calculated risks to either invest in one aspect of my business or not. These calculated judgment calls have paid off well for me.
3. You have detailed the reason you sold Long Tail Pro in this post. How does it feel giving away part of your life’s work to someone else? As an entrepreneur, do you treat every venture as a project that you will eventually sell or do you come to this decision?
This was an extremely difficult decision! It certainly was a big part of my life for 5 years while I grew the Long Tail Pro business. However, I always viewed it as a business and not really part of “me”.
It was very difficult to sell the business, but the money made it a little easier.
4. As an entrepreneur, do you treat every venture as a project that you’re eventually going to sell in the end or do you come to this decision?
I don’t view every project as something that I will eventually sell. Each decision comes individually. However, the very appealing aspect of owning your own business is that you can sell at any time and receive significant payment upfront.
I suppose I do consider the potential to sell all my businesses at some point. When it’s time to truly “retire”, I suppose I would sell the remaining business assets I have.
5. Entrepreneurs dabble into more projects than they can handle. Some fall to the shiny object syndrome that prevents them from getting their ideas off the ground. What is the best way to deal with this problem, and how should one plan for it?
I wish I could say I had excellent advice on how to avoid shiny object syndrome. I fell victim to this for many years.
I do think that I’m getting better at saying “no” to new projects now. I think the key is to find something that works and realize that taking on additional projects can hurt your existing revenue stream as you lose focus.
6. Since you’re running WordPress on all your niche sites, what do you think is the biggest strength of the platform and why lots of people use it to run their online businesses?
For me, I’ve always used WordPress for ease of use. However, I’ve been using it basically since WordPress was launched. So, there may be easier platforms to use nowadays.
However, the huge advantage is all the 3rd party plugins that are available with WordPress. You can install either for free or for a fee just about any functionality you want for your website with 3rd party plugins.
7. Being in and around the WordPress space, I’m sure you can understand the need for site care. How would you compare someone does it alone/in-house vs having a team to take care of the technical aspects such as WordPress updates, backups, security monitoring and more such as what Newt labs provide?
Site care and regular updates are very important. Especially as you have more and more websites, it can be difficult to remember to log in and update all your sites manually. I think have someone to help manage WordPress for you can be quite beneficial.
The risk, of course, is that if you forget to back up or update something, you could fall victim to hacking, spam, or other issues.
8. You’re building a premium WordPress plugin. Can you run with us the thought process that led you to develop the plugin in the first place?
I created Link Whisper to meet my own needs for internal linking. I’ve always known that building internal links to your own articles is both user-friendly and helpful for Google to rank your site better.
However, the task can be quite tedious as you have to go into each article, look for related posts, and then add each individual link yourself manually.
Updating dozens of articles with internal links could take hours.
As a result, I created Link Whisper to reduce the time it takes to build internal links significantly. Link Whisper is smart enough to find and suggest links for you. Then it’s as easy as checking a box to add the link to your article.
9. As an SEO practitioner, what’s the one thing that people need to rank their websites higher on search results and drive more traffic than their competitors?
Relevant and quality content. And links.
10. I enjoy your Niche Site Project posts that show people the progress with the sites you’re building at the moment. It is also through these batch of posts that somebody attacked your site with negative SEO. It is great for people to read the exact tips you implement on your websites to make money. But what’s in it for you? What drives you to share your knowledge and what do you get in return?
That particular negative SEO attack took place in a time when Google was more susceptible to these types of attacks. I truly believe that Google is smarter than it was and negative SEO attacks either don’t work…or don’t work very well.
I do my projects to inspire and show people what is possible. Ideally, others will have success and this brings a small amount of pride and joy to me (seeing my audience succeed).
In addition, it does build my influence and traffic to my blog as I share these projects publicly. So, it’s usually a win-win. My Niche Site Project 4 is going very well and I don’t expect any negative issues from revealing that site publicly.
11. There are lots of successful online entrepreneurs out there. But what do you think separates you from the pack? Why do you think people buy into the stuff that you write or do?
I didn’t give up.
I often find that people give up way too early on an idea (sometimes after only trying for a month or two). Alternatively, some people don’t give up soon enough. If you’ve worked on something for a couple of years and still aren’t seeing traction, it’s time to move on.
I think people appreciate my down-to-earth style and honesty. I share the bad times right along with the good. People that only share the “rosey” moments tend to be harder to believe I think.
12. Any tips for site owners on how to optimise their WordPress websites?
In terms of optimising for speed, I think image compression is a big one. I’ve been using the Short Pixel plugin to auto-resize my images to ensure that my site loads faster.
13. What are your productivity hacks in order to do what you do and keep moving forward?
I use Asana quite a bit to keep my day-to-day tasks organised and prioritised. I think taking 5 minutes each morning before you start working to review what you hope to accomplish that day and writing it down can have a huge impact over time.
14. Any words of motivation for our readers?
Entrepreneurship takes a bit of knowledge and a lot of courage. You don’t have to be a genius to be successful, you just need to put in the time and effort into something that is showing promise.
Just by reading the post and getting a sense of Spencer’s accomplishments, you can tell he knows a thing or two about making money online!
His authenticity and transparency are refreshing and help him stand out in the sea of over-zealous gurus trying to outsell one another.
More importantly, Spencer mentions WordPress as his go-to online platform. The ease of building websites using this CMS made his dreams of breaking bank possible.
So if you want to follow Spencer’s footsteps, you need to learn how to create a WordPress website.
Once you finish building your site, you still have to keep it secure from online threats and keep it running at optimal conditions.
To do this, you need to sign up with our FREE and EXCLUSIVE 7-day course and get a leg up on the competition!
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