Corbett Barr is the co-founder and CEO of Fizzle. He’s all about doing work that matters and living a fulfilling life because of that.
Fizzle.co is his biggest project. That’s not just a blog and podcast with more than 2 million visitors monthly, but a whole community of aspiring entrepreneurs, where people find support and accountability and can join mastermind groups. It’s also a learning platform that offers – as they say – ‘courses featuring big name experts for bloggers, podcasters, freelancers and independent entrepreneurs of all kinds.’
If you’ve never checked Fizzle out, it’s worth spending some time on the site and seeing all that it offers. The least you can do it read a few articles, listen to a podcast episode (they’ve got over 200 now), and download a free guide on anything online business and entrepreneurship related.
But now, I want to talk about how Corbett Barr got where he is today.
Living life on his own terms, doing work he loves, inspiring people and helping them with his products, show and content that he creates, being productive and yet having time for anything else he wants to, splitting time between Portland and the beaches in Mexico with his wife, and never getting bored or lacking enthusiasm.
It took him longer than he had hoped to start earning a living online.
He says this in a post called The Brutal Truth: Building an Online Business isn’t Easy:
‘I’ve been working with clients trying to build online businesses long enough to know one thing: building a successful online business is much harder than most people assume.
Whatever effort you’re envisioning it will take to succeed right now, double or triple that expectation.’
So, obviously, hard work is the main ingredient when it comes to this.
He often talks about the other key factors of succeeding in designing a lifestyle you need no escape from.
These are getting used to the uncertainty, as it never goes away. Also, working on the right thing, and constantly re-assessing your vision and values.
Now, let’s see what it took him in the very beginning, when nothing was sure, he had no experience, and was living the ordinary life so many people are trying to escape from.
The First 18 Months Were Crucial
A free eBook he shares on the Fizzle blog is called 18 Months, 2 Blogs, Six Figures. In it, he tells the whole story, from the beginning, to the moment he was making 6 figures. It all happened in a year and a half.
Anyone who is scared of the thought of working hard on a side project for that long, without knowing whether it will be a success, might be better off doing nothing and continuing his current life.
Because it really does takes dedication and such a portion of your time to completely transform the way you think, work, do business and live.
So, this is the story of Corbett Barr’s experience with building a 6-figure online business, writing about what he loves, and not just during a recession but also from the beaches in Mexico.
He had no blogging experience, and no experience in making money from a website or selling products online.
Today, however, he has a thriving business without any investor’s help. What’s more, he can run it from anywhere in the world and take time off at any moment knowing the business will be fine when he’s back.
Many people wonder how a business like that really looks like, well, here’s how Corbett Barr describes his after these first crucial 18 months of working on it:
‘I have one business built around two blogs. I’ve built audiences around two topics. I then sell products and services to those audiences.
This is a highly effective business model. Instead of taking the “old econo- my” approach of creating something to sell and then looking for an audi- ence, this new model starts by building an audience and then asking them what you could sell to help them in some deep and meaningful way.
The beginning was slow. In fact, I earned very little revenue during the rst
12 months. That may have had something to do with living in Mexico for much of that time. Starting a business while road tripping around a for- eign country will de nitely slow you down. On the other hand, it provided limitless inspiration and topics to write about.’
We are talking about a few different aspects of running an online business here. That’s blogging, getting traffic, creating and audience and building relationships with these people, growing from there, knowing what their struggles are and creating a product that can help them.
It’s important to note that a blog isn’t a business. It’s the tool that helps you get to the right people and provide value, while building a name for yourself at the same time.
The actual business is built around this blog you put so much love and hard work into.
And here’s how Corbett Barr made it happen:
The Right Business Model and The 3 Revenue Streams
That’s an extract from the eBook again:
‘The business I’ve built set out to help people with two specific things. First, I help people learn to live the life they want (which I write about at Free Pursuits-which is now his personal blog, called Corbettbarr.com). Second, I help people build high-traffic websites and blogs (and write about it at Think Traffic – that’s the old name of fizzle.co).
A business isn’t a business without some way of getting people to pay you for providing some specific value. Most businesses built around blogging earn money in one of the four following ways: 1) through advertising, 2) by selling products, 3) by selling services, or 4) through affiliate marketing.
I’m a big fan of affiliate marketing. In fact, it’s how I got started making money from my blog-based business.
After some modest early successes with affiliate marketing, I moved on to offering services. I started my second blog Fizzle around a very specific problem. Nearly every online entrepreneur struggles with attracting visitors to their websites at first. Fizzle provides advice on how to build a high-traffic website or blog.
Then, for readers who need more hands-on help, I offer consulting services.
Around the same time I was developing my consulting service packages (I highly recommend creating packages of services, because it makes people more likely to buy from you), I was also building my first product.’
So for those of you who had no idea on how to get started but who are willing to do an extensive research and dedicate all their free time and weekends to do the actual work, that’s what you should be focusing on.
Finding your niche and creating a website, then writing content like crazy to gain some initial traffic and start connecting to these people on a more personal level by providing value, asking them about their issues and sharing similar struggles you’ve overcome in the past.
Then, you can learn different strategies on how to grow a website and start testing different monetization options to see which one will work for you. During these attempts, you’ll be building some profitable skills that will pay off in the future.
You don’t need to build a product any time soon, or at all, if you don’t want to. Affiliate marketing might turn out to be your thing and it can be enough to make a living.
But it’s also great to publish an eBook over time, think about creating a course, maybe running a membership site too if you seem to be doing okay with bringing people in and engaging them with your words.
Corbett Barr, for instance, started by surveying his audience to see what they wanna know more about.When the most common answer was affiliate marketing, and because it was something he himself was interested in and getting better at, he built a course called Affiliate Marketing for Beginners.
Another interesting thing is that he had 3 revenue streams, each of which contributed to his making over $100,000 in profit per year.
These were affiliate marketing, consulting and selling his own products (that’s the course, in this case, which was then followed by many more products).
What do you think about Corbett’s story?
Hope it has inspired you to start something on your own, go to Fizzle and learn a think or two about online business from the experts, or differentiate your income streams.