Blogging Tips From Andi Leeman At Tim’s Minions & Bizzebee
Today on Friday’s featured blogger, I would like to welcome Andi Leeman who blogs at Tims Minions and Bizzebee. I first met Andi through a Facebook group that he set up with a couple of other knowledgeable bloggers.
Andi has always been very open and honest about his online experiences and I am sure you will find his interview very refreshing.
Andi works successfully from home with his online adventures. Today he shares his experiences with you, in true no-nonsense Andi style.
1. Tell us about yourself and your blog
I do have a blog of my own but I use that to add unedited chapters for a book I am currently writing which you will have to find as I am not sharing it here
The main websites I write for are TimsMinions and Bizzebee.
Bizzebee is an educational blog I run alongside several good blogging friends which has in all honesty gone a bit quiet lately due to of all of the other tasks we are working on as individuals.
TimsMinions is an educational membership site I am building and soon to be launched for a well-known UK Direct Mail & Internet Marketer called Tim Lowe. I used to work full time for Tim in his offices down in Surrey but now I work from my home back in Lincolnshire as a self-employed content creator and writer.
2. What made you get started in blogging?
Before I got the job with Tim I was working as a carpenter and joiner, I did this from leaving school in 1990 to 2011 and I am fully qualified.
In 2009 I started a second business with my girlfriend doing paintings and printing T-Shirts from home which I then sold on eBay and from a website. I was sending T-Shirts around the world and I became interested in online business and began to study internet marketing, WordPress blogs and creating content.
I was on Tim’s email list at the time and received an email saying he was looking for a ‘New Writer’, I decided to apply for the job even though I lived 200 miles from his office and I didn’t tell the ‘better half’ at first. I was given an interview, before making it home on my 200 mile train journey back from that interview I was asked to return for a second the following week which I did.
I surprisingly managed to beat a lot of people and was offered the job in the office as a writer and content creator. I moved the 200 miles down south to work in the offices. My job was to test out new methods of traffic, create content and try out new business models online.
I suggested that we should start a blog and write up free information about what we were learning. Tim loves the film ‘Despicable Me’ and would lovingly refer to us as ‘His Minions’ so for fun I said that we should call the blog Tim’s Minions and that is how the blog came about. It was an accident that I became a full time blogger really.
3. How much time do you dedicate each day/week to your blogging?
How do you keep track of what you’re doing?
I am contracted to work 35 hours creating content and so I would say with my own stuff I do well over 40 hours a week. I have to be honest though, as we are now changing Tim’s Minions from a free blog to a paid membership site I am more content creating than blogging.
I create video tutorials, articles and write eBooks etc including creating all of the images for the eBooks and guides. I do very little blogging as it were now. I try and write one ‘public’ post a month, the rest go behind the wall.
I do write for other websites and have a ‘fun & interesting story’ website I contribute to regularly so I couldn’t accurately say what time is spent on blogging.
How do I keep track of it all? Badly.
4. If you could have told yourself ONE thing when you started blogging, what would it be?
Choose a better niche As I was blogging for a company in the Internet Marketing world etc the niche was already chosen for me but you need to choose wisely about what you want to spend your time blogging about otherwise hard work could turn into a nightmare chore.
I recently wrote a short story of 10,000 words about a zombie slaying postman and loved it. It was so easy to write and yet when I sit to write an article about social media or blogging etc to go onto the Minion’s website I can be sat for ages trying to think up a new and unique article.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the niche I am in, but there are far more niches I would prefer and being creative is a lot more fun. I ask, seriously which is better? Writing about how to use Twitter correctly or slaying crazed flesh eating zombies with a semi-automatic rifle and a samurai sword? Yep…. Exactly!
5. Do you make money from your blog?
If so, what has been your most successful way of making money?
I personally make money from blogging by being paid to create content for Tim’s Minions. That for now is the main way I make money but I am working on a few other projects with a close friend which will make money from a variety of sources like advertising revenue, merchandise sales and eBook publishing.
6. As well as blogging, do you have another full/part time job or parenting responsibilities?
How do you juggle these demands?
I have a step daughter who is in her twenties so she pretty much looks after herself which is nice, but my better half does have a couple of conditions (M.E. & Fibromyalgia) which can leave her feeling very exhausted and in pain often resulting her taking time off work.
So I have to do more around the house like popping to the shops and washing pots, hanging out washing etc to keep the house running smooth. How she does what she does though impresses me, she has a true fighting spirit and will only give in when she has no choice. She wants to go to work and will, she hates sitting around doing nothing, and I don’t think I could handle the amount of pain she endures each and every day.
The long term plan is to convert a van into a campervan and drive down to Spain to live where I can work as a writer/content creator/blogger. When you make money from the internet you are not location dependent and that is what I really want.
I am also doing up the house to sell so the other big demand on my time is trying to replace doors, repair roofs, lay new floors, create a garden etc and that is all on top of my other tasks (plans)
7. What would you say is your favourite social media platform and why?
Probably Facebook due to the ease of use and layout however I generally use Twitter, Google + and Facebook but all three have pluses and minuses over each other.
For example Facebook is great for ease of use and keeping in touch with friends and family but rubbish for business with them holding back your posts expecting you to pay for fans to see your stuff. They do not allow moving gif images either which Google + does.
Facebook is great for local groups like Connecting Gainsborough (A group my better half and I set up) for connecting with people in your area. Facebook is very GEO specific.
Moving gif images are very powerful and I love to see them in Google +, this is a social media that is great for hobbies and passions and is not so GEO specific as Facebook is. Many great Communities (similar to Facebook groups) have been built on Google + based around hobbies and niche topics which is great for sharing images and videos etc.
To be honest if it wasn’t for the Communities and gif images I probably would not use Google +.
I use Twitter when I interact with live online radio shows, I listen to quite a lot and I use it like a mobile phone text messaging system, it is great for contacting studios and DJs and saying a quick ‘Hi’ to friends. Apart from that Twitter is a pain, it is full of chatter and crap and it does not allow you to use enough characters to say anything worthwhile bar a ‘hello how are you? Loving the show’ or ‘life is crap I wanna die’ kind of stuff you see all the time.
Twitter seems overrun with trolls and haters and pointless chatter that makes little sense. Bit like being in a monkey house with a thousand whaling chimps.
Now if you asked me if they were any good for business then my first response would be not if your business is about blogging, internet marketing, social media or anything like that as most of it is real bull**** and people share the same old stuff just so they can get a reciprocal share of their own article also written about ‘10 Ways To Make Money Using Twitter That Don’t Really Work’
But for REAL businesses for people with REAL interests such as cake making, DJs promoting gigs then these networks are great. Real stuff will be shared by real people and real businesses can benefit greatly using these networks properly but they have unfortunately been hijacked by the ‘Make Money’ and ‘Internet Marketing’ chumps who are ruining them. I too can be blamed for that and I apologise.
8. What has been the biggest hurdle that you have come across in your blogging career to date?
How did you overcome this?
The biggest hurdle is trying to think up new and interesting content without regurgitating the same old stuff. Not sure I have overcome it properly. Sometimes you just have to go and visit a few sites, see what they have written and pinch ideas.
Writing fresh new content is bloody hard if you have to do it several times a week!
9. How do you drive traffic to your blog and grow your readership?
At the moment I do not try and send much traffic to the site but if I do it is a combination of sharing my posts on social media, I no longer go into Facebook Groups and Google + Communities dedicated to blogging, Internet Marketing or Social Media filling them all with the latest post, it is just a waste of time.
They are like rooms full of people all shouting loud to be heard all saying the same thing ‘Come To Me’ but no is listening, they are all just shouting! I now only post in a couple of groups.
I write long posts usually so that in itself creates a lot of relevant keywords and I hope that helps with search rankings, I allow the piece to create natural keywords and do not write keywords into pieces hoping that they will fit as they often make the article look ugly.
When I write something for the public I send an email out to the email list directing them back to the latest article. I create images and sometimes cartoons to drive traffic back to the email opt in page to try and get new sign ups but as we are not yet launched I am doing very little traffic generation at the moment.
10. What is the most important piece of advice you could give to a new blogger?
Think very carefully about what it is that you want? Choose your niche wisely, there is a lot of work involved when blogging and often or not the best way is to build a brand or a name that is recognisable than trying to get traffic.
A brand or a name will be shared for you, think of your business as if it were a band… I love Orbital, if they released a new track on Facebook and it was free, I would happily share it so my other Orbital loving fans can hear it.
If you like the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and they were doing a free 1 hour live streaming performance, would you share that information? Yes you would, people share what they love and so you should blog about things you love and build stuff people would love to share.
I often use the example of Cyanide & Happiness, they have a business built around creating fun cartoons and people share them, why? Because: 1) They like them and want others to enjoy them. 2) They don’t feel pressured or forced to, it isn’t like they are going to be scammed by a cartoon is it.
Doing something that you really love will half the work there and then. So choose wisely.
Do you have any other questions you would like to ask Andi?
Please share at the end of this post.
If you would like to connect further with Andi, you can do so at his social media profiles.
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