#29: Ask Us Anything

What you will learn

  • When is the best time to quit your job?
  • How you can avoid getting sued for plagiarism?
  • How and when to create your first info product?
  • Who get’s 2 armrests on a plane?

This is our first Ask Us Anything style podcast episode where we turn the reigns over to you, the listener. You can ask us any question you like about online marketing, travel or even our personal lives!

Submit your question here to get it answered next time:

Full Transcript

When should I quit my job?

How can I avoid getting sued for plagiarism?

How do I create info products?

Who gets which armrest when flying on a plane?

In this episode, we’re going to reveal our answers to all these plus many more reader submitted questions.

Welcome to the Authority Hacker podcast, the place to learn field tested, no BS tactics to grow hack your online business, and finally- live life on your own terms. Now, your hosts, Gael and Mark.

Mark: Hi, I’m Mark.

Gael: Hey I’m Gael.

Mark: And welcome to the Authority Hacker podcast. Today we’re turning the range over to you and answering your listener questions directly. This is going to be an ‘ask me anything ‘type episode where we really do answer anything and everything you’ve asked us.

Gael: By the way, before we get started, I just wanted to say I have a new microphone guys, It’s been like two episodes, I know some people have complained Ii was recording podcast from my cave, that hopefully should sound a little bit better to you now, so sorry for that.

Mark: Certainly it sounds better to me, so… We’re going to be running these kind of ‘ask me anything’ style episodes fairly regularly so if you have a question that you want to ask us, head over to authorityhacker.com/ask and submit it there. It can be absolutely anything, most of them obviously have to do with running an authority site, but if you want to ask us a personal question or something about work or travel, you can.

Gael: Where can I send you gifts, that kind of stuff.

Mark: Exactly.

Gael: You can definitely ask us that.

Mark: You ask we answer. So without further ado, let’s get started. The first question today, by the way, all these questions came from our pro Facebook group, so they are all from pro members but you don’t have to be a pro member to submit them in future. So the first question is from Mark Witley and he’s asking “At what point do you know it’s right time to quit your job?”

Gael: I mean, for us, for me I have the- sorry, I am answering by the way, should you answer?

Mark: No, no, it’s okay.

Gael: So like for me I had a job for six months in my life, and I was living in London and I had three pounds per meal to eat, otherwise I was losing money because rent was too high and at the start I was paid so little, so honestly the right point to quit my job was like from the day I started. So, it was pretty bad, so but like, I think in general you never, you rarely reach a point where you make 10K a month before you actually quit your job.

Mark: Yeah, I don’t think I know a single person who’s worked on their site or worked on any kind of business while they’ve been had a job and then it’s gotten so successful that they’ve quit, they’ve always quit and then made a success.

Gael: It’s kind of like the dream scenario that everyone’s waiting for, but that never ends up happening. The truth is you can’t get that much done on your site apart from maybe the weekends, if you are working a full day job and if it’s a pretty demanding job which most jobs are these days, just because you know, people want to get something for their money. So it makes sense for them but it’s true that you will [00:03:34] so you kind of need to make time to actually get to that point where you make good money, but to make time, you need to give up money from your job and you know, unless you have a part time job, it’s going to be complicated. I think my solution for that and something I’m looking at for my girlfriend, she has been doing that when she quit her job at the bank, she started just selling her time per hour, so she didn’t just start her site but she also started being a freelancer, right, and that is kind of a way to work still and still have income if you don’t have a lot of income from your site, while at the same time being able to take time to work on your sites. I think that is if you are a little bit afraid of like, if you don’t have savings, if you need money to pay for your bills etc, and if you can’t reduce your cost of living I think looking at being maybe learning one part of online marketing, and I would suggest link building, and then selling that as a service on top of running your sites, is definitely a good way to kind of like limit the risk when you get started, but also know that if you spend too much time being a freelancer then you won’t have enough time to work on your sites.

Mark: Yeah, I kind of agree, I don’t really think that going to freelancer is, that’s what I did essentially-

Gael: It’s a safe way of doing it.

Mark: It is a safe way of doing it but I don’t think it’s the optimal way of doing it, I think you don’t really get you are kind of buying yourself a little bit more time or at least you think you are, but in reality, I think it’s just putting off what needs to be done in a way, I think there is never right time to quit your job and if you’re thinking about it, basically if you wake up every day for six weeks and you think yeah, I need to quit my job and do work on this business then do it; the way I always think about is what’s the worst that can happen, generally, when you really think about it, the worst thing that can happen is you try something, it doesn’t work and you go back to doing pretty much something like you are doing exactly at the moment if you have a job. So in that sense, there is no risk whatsoever. When I did a full time job I was thinking you know, like okay, what realistically can happen and like well, I’m going to go travel, I’m going to go try and do this online marketing stuff, and you know I had all these ideas but the worst case is I go do all that and have a bunch of fun, learn a bunch of stuff and come back, and walk into another job doing something equally as boring as I was doing at the time. If you’re a smart switched on person- which from listening to this podcast you better be, you’ll have no problem finding a job, so don’t worry about it.

Gael: Yeah, I think it’s one of these cases where it’s actually easier when you have a shitty job, you know. It’s like there’s this thing that says like good is the enemy of great, and it’s true, like if you have a good job, you’re making good money, it’s much harder to generate that kind of income from a web property especially at the beginning, and at the same time, it’s harder to find something like that, therefore you’re actually risking something by quitting so it really depends on like how you feel about your job, and how lucky you feel to have it, if you feel like it’s something you don’t want to do then honestly, the worst thing that can happen is you just get something else you don’t want to do, which is going to be exactly the same and if it works it’s like a big win for you; but if you have a job you actually like that pays well, then yeah, I understand it’s a little bit more difficult but honestly, in the end it’s like if you really want to do that just do it because actually you don’t have that many years in your life to do that kind of stuff.

Mark: Yeah, I think you’re never going to go hungry, you’re never going to go homeless, you can always get a job, anyone can get a job at McDonalds, and you can survive off of that and then you can start another site or start another business while you’re doing that. There’s really even if you don’t think it, there’s always this kind of human safety net at the bottom, like you can make this work. So honestly, like sooner rather than later I think is the answer. Okay, let’s move one. The next question is from I’m sure I’m pronouncing this wrongly- Oph sorry about that, and he asks how do you avoid plagiarism in content creation? So I assume this is when you are hiring, so how do you make sure they are not plagiarizing the content.

Gael: Can I answer or should you answer?

Mark: Either or you know, we both answer. My thoughts on this is there is two parts to it, one is the actual written content which is very easy to check, I mean, you can do a very quick check for free just by copying and pasting a paragraph or a couple of sentences in parenthesis and searching on Google, you know see if it’s lifted, any of the copy directly. Or you can use a service like Copyscape which is I think like four or five cents per check.

Gael: Yeah, I actually have a better one, Grammarly now does that actually.

Mark: Ok, cool.

Gael: So like you know, especially if you are not a native speaker, running the content you outsource through Grammarly is a great way to improve it, no matter how good your English is essentially. And, at the same time, there is a plagiarism checker if you have the desktop app you can just turn it on and it’s actually going to show you exactly the sites each content comes from, even if it’s been copy pasted so it’s actually just a good step for your article’s content in general. Grammarly.

Mark: And I think it’s fairly easy with written content to sort of find out. Where it gets a little bit more tricky is with images, because I know these days a lot of people when they are outsourcing content will sort of outsource the whole kind of not just the words, but the images, the imagery that goes along with it, especially within the list posts and all this kind of stuff. And truth be told, they can be quite difficult to figure out where the images originally came from, or who owns the original-

Gael: I mean images on the internet are mess in general, you know. Everyone steals images from everyone, no one is really quoting the source, you don’t know what the rights are, there is nothing in the file that tells you what the rights are and even if there is right nobody cares about them.

Mark: What I have also heard of happened before is someone will take an image which has copyright on it and then sell that image to a stock image site, and then people buy that image from the stock image site supposedly legally, and then the original rights holder sues the end person.

Gael: Another funny thing as well for us is so we’ve used a lot of like stock images while paying for it on Health Ambition and I’ve seen many times people take these stock images and then link to us as the source, you know. And then we start being a source for a stock image for some reason.

Mark: Yeah, it’s pretty crazy actually, how the whole thing works, in general, and again, this is not our official legal advice, so don’t come blaming us if you get sued for this, but in general, use a stock image site for stock images, I highly recommend deposit photos, like twice a year appsumo run like a really good promo where you can buy like a hundred images for fifty bucks or thirty bucks or something like that, it’s really good value. And they don’t expire, so yeah. Look out for those, but use a stock image site, if you’re really worried about stuff, what you can do is you can actually just download the image and then go to google images and then upload your image into google images there into the search bar, like you literally just drag the file over the search bar in your web browser and it will reverse image search and look to see if that image appears elsewhere and then you can identify all the other sites where it’s on. That will again, that only works if it’s a direct copy paste of the image.

Gael: It’s like also like it’s hard to tell which one is the original sometimes.

Mark: Yeah, what you want to watch out for, there mostly are if it’s like a magazine or like any kind of journalistic website or photography website, there is, I forgot the name of it, there is a company which basically has, I think they sell a lot of photos to magazines they have like professional photographers going around, and they actually have like a team which looks out for people who are quote unquote stealing these images-

Gael: Geting images.

Mark: Geting images, that’s the one. They are called something different in the UK but basically they try and extort you, by like issuing a fine from not any legal entity but their own company called like the image standards board or something, just to make it seem like an official thing, and they will try and get like a thousand dollars-

Gael: Basically a giant scam running online.

Mark: Yeah. But if you actually look into it more detail, it’s a lot of hassle to fight it but they are just looking to make a quick buck they don’t really follow up with any kind of strong legal means. There are few cases I’ve heard of people getting sued, like ten thousand dollars or something for these kind of things, if you are a small site-

Gael: You are not worth their time, usually.

Mark: Exactly. So it’s something that, it’s one of these things that like everyone or almost everyone breaks the law, officially on this but you know, there is like letter of the law and there is like not being a dick, like don’t just plagiarize.

Gael: It’s like not understanding the internet, like many other laws. Anyway, to get back to content creation and text content, also think about who you are hiring, like if you are hiring like a dodgy guy on the forum chances are you will probably get some duplicate content. If you are hiring someone with credentials in your niche that has a regular blog, that knows what they are doing etc, chances are you’re probably will get a lot less duplicate content, like just trust your gut on who you are hiring.

Mark: Okay, so this next question, I forget who submitted this actually but he is asking about minimalism and like I think the gist of it was what are the main things you need to focus on, because you know, there is all these different things you could be doing, but starting creating an authority site what’s like really going to move the needle, what are the key things you need to focus on.

Gael: Okay, I’ll do that actually. I think it depends, the steps themselves are going to depend, right, it depends on your business model. And we are going to talk about that in the podcast we’re recording next but that is “where’s the money”. You need to just answer that question how do you make money, right, and you need to choose hey do I want to make money from ads, do I want to make money from selling stuff through, affiliate marketing, do I want to make money through selling stuff like my own products, and are these products physical, are they information. essentially, that’s the questions you need to ask, and you should probably if you want to be going the minimalistic way you should be going only one way and if you don’t even, if you really want to keep it minimal don’t run your own products it takes more time, you need to run payment processing, there is more tech etc. So essentially what you’re left with is advertising or affiliate. And, just pick one, don’t do both, just start with one if you want it to be minimal, and a good example is actually my girlfriend right now, she is growing a site and she is growing it pretty fast, and the only revenue she goes after is advertising, which is- you need quite a bit of traffic to make good money from ads, but she is only doing Pinterest, she is not even writing a single word of content or like very little like she is just doing image galleries and like basically round up image galleries on her site, and using Pinterest to generate traffic and for all I know after two weeks she is over 300 to 500 visits per day, on the site. That is a lot more than a lot of people have after a year running their website and that’s because the only one thing she is focused on was this Pinterest thing, so one method of monetization, whether that’s affiliate or that’s advertising usually, for the minimum, and one traffic source and if you go for Google, if you go for SEO which you probably should if you want to do affiliate, it’s going to take more time, it’s not like after two weeks you would not have 300 to 500 visits per day, but the revenue per visit tends to be higher when you do affiliate, so it depends, but it’s also easier to get traffic from non SEO traffic, so that is what I would do essentially, I would do like one business model one content type, one traffic source and maximize that.

Mark: I think there is also something to be said for focusing on the core activities of what you are doing, kind of ignoring all the stuff like do you really need an awesome 99 designs designed logo on day one, absolutely not.

Gael: She has a text logo.

Mark: Exactly, use a text logo, use a basic themed design, like don’t do any kind of customizations at the start, you don’t even have to do like massive amount of keyword research, I don’t think and you don’t even need to do things like about us page, and branding, and any of the things that’s non core, it’s just a waste of time, so yeah. And I’d also say what I see a lot of people doing is they hear of someone else making money from selling x product or doing x kind of offer, and then they drop whatever they are doing and then they go and try and pursue that and then they work at it for a bit and then the hear about something else, and then they drop what they’re doing and they focus on that; like, done is better than perfect, so like getting something finished is better than-

Gael: Any niche can make money honestly.

Mark: Dropping something in the middle of it is never going to succeed, especially if you keep doing that and also, if you hear people make a lot of money doing certain things like take that with a pinch of salt, most of the people who are like oh yeah I made seven figures revenue last month doing this it’s like wow yeah, but like 99 per cent of that was costs, you know.

Gael: Yeah, when they buy traffic, like a lot of PPC marketers will brag about the revenue they make, right, which is most likely true, they probably make very high sales, but yeah, it’s like 90 per cent of the money they make goes back into buying traffic because buying traffic is expensive. And actually when you bring it back to the profit, then it’s not very far from a guy doing SEO or something else, it’s just that sure, there is high numbers in revenue, there’s high numbers in [00:19:11] such it were as the guy that does SEO or social media that gets low number of revenue but low number cost as well and usually, the difference, the profit is actually quite comparable.

Mark: Yeah, okay, cool, let’s move onto the next one. Mark McDermot asks “how and when should I create my first infoproduct?”

Gael: You start with that.

Mark: I think the when is the first point to look at, you need to be absolutely sure that you are going to make money from this, what most people do is they come up with an idea for products, or they see someone else with the similar product, and they are like, ok yeah, I am just going to do that and so they spend a lot of time making the product and then kind of like build it and they have this “I build it and hope they will come” `mentality.

Gael: I think we should come clear on this, we’ve done that recently.

Mark: Yeah, absolutely, we literally just did this for Health Ambition for three products actually. We’ll explain a lot about that in another blog post I think, but yeah, basically you want to spend, you are not creating a product, you are creating a sales funnel here, the product is just one part of it, so you need to have your opt ins down, you need to have your sales page down and you need to have something that makes money, at the end of it. And all you are doing here is switching out the something that makes money at the end of it as like an affiliate offer for your own product, with the idea that you know, you’ll make a bit more money and there is various other smart things you can do like, with your own product like upselling and all this. Unless you have like a massive funnel coming in unless you have several lead magnets, good sources of traffic, and a high converting affiliate sales funnel already, then don’t build your own product, it’s a waste of time. If you do build your own product-

Gael: I maybe we should talk about the affiliate how it comes in there, you know.

Mark: Take the, if you do build your own product take the mvp approach and put up a fake sales page, and then see how many people like buy or click to buy your product and use that as an indicator of whether it’s like market worthy or not. Yeah, that’s kind of my thoughts on it.

Gael: Yeah, I mean, for the affiliate it’s like yeah, usually, especially if it’s an information product, there is another information product on that topic out there. And they may have good sales pages, they may have crappy sales pages but what you can do is you can take some of that traffic you would get, and put it in front of the offer and see how well it converts, how much sales you can generate so that you don’t- before you even create a product, you have an idea of what kind of conversion you can expect etc, and obviously, when you make your own page you can be better, it can have all these other things that you can offer, but still, you gave a good idea, like that’s something we were talking about with Mark, like you can 2x or 3x a product conversion rate, but you cannot 25x, you cannot, it’s very hard to go to change just small things to an offering and like have exponential growth, you need the coauthoring, is going to be what is going at the time of your co conversion rate as well [00:22:42] and so yeah, you can test that and once you have that then you build the product. And that’s why we do a lot of affiliate marketing, affiliate marketing is essentially paid market research, where and it’s also like a lot easier than running your own products but it allows you to take an audience and put it in front of many many offers that would take you years to build, see what works and then build for yourself what works, so when should you create your infoproducts, well, first of all you should have a way to get traffic, you should probably build an email list, because it’s just harder to sell if you don’t have an email list, and then after that, you should have affiliate offers that convert well, and then you should create the products based on what converts well for affiliate and swap your affiliate links with your own links, that’s it.

Mark: And, in terms of like how you create the product, how would you say go about doing that?

Gael: Honestly, I would, it’s actually something that Tim Ferris says, the way Tim Ferris created the 4 hour chef I think, he went on Amazon and he looked at all these big cooking books from these big chefs and he looked at the bad reviews. And, looked at everything that was missing inside their books and just made sure that it would be in his book, so if you actually cover the basic principles of whatever you are teaching and on top of that you kind of look at the critic at other products and Amazon is great for that, and there are ebooks about everything there, then you are pretty much covered when it comes to knowing what to put in there, then once you have your table of contents just write every chapter like you would write a blog post and then when you’re done you have an ebook.

Mark: Yeah, I think that’s a really key thing, when you are creating an infoproduct, it’s essentially just a series of blog posts but in kind of like some kind of order, you know, like people kind of tend to overcomplicate the content, but just like, break it down into chapters, sections, subsections and then just keep breaking it down furtherworkflow.com is a really good tool to help you do that. And then, once you’ve structured it, like the writing, the actual writing should be the easiest part, almost, it’s figuring out what you are going to write and where you are going to write it is harder. So yeah. Okay, cool. I think that’s a pretty big topic I am sure we’ll cover that again in another-

Gael: These are all pretty big topics in general.

Mark: We need to do a blueprint about that at some point in the future, but yeah. Okay, next one id from Lionel, he is asking “how can you be productive when writing articles?” Well, I actually, what I just said is the same, you know, you need to-

Gael: I just want to say like, great content is creating banging your head on the wall and pulling your hair. It’s like it takes questioning yourself, basically debating with yourself on every argument you put in your content, and then kind of like put the answer to that debate, inside your content. As to be productive, honestly, don’t try to write all day, it’s a bad idea, I’d say like for me it’s I’m like more creative in terms of structure in the morning than I am like, I actually put some music and I just write for like two hours, but I cannot write more than two hours a day, it’s impossible for me. And I think that you should learn how to break down your day with different types of tasks rather than like be like oh I am just going to do this one thing today. Because you got really unproductive when you have to write and you have like the whole day I think.

Mark: I think what a lot of people do wrong is they get a piece of paper- you know what I mean like Word up in front of them and a title and just start like ok, so what I start my introduction with, that’s the wrong way of doing it, I think research is everything these days, you need to look at, you obviously have a topic idea in mind and you need to look at what other people have written on that, on that topic, and like kind of get down and- computers aren’t always the best way to get down all your ideas, but just like arrange all your ideas in some kind of way, and it can be your own ideas and other people’s ideas, and then like sort them and start arranging them into like areas which make sort of logical groupings, and then each one of those groupings can be like a part of your article and then you can sort of break it down further into subsections beyond that. And then, when it comes to actually writing the article it should literally just be like filling in all these little subsections.

Gael: I think one thing is, writing is actually start with the middle of the article, so like I’ll take an example for Authority Hacker, when I write it’s like how to create great images for your blog, if you try to start writing the intro for that, it’s very complicated, but if you take the subsection like places where you can find free images for your blog, than that’s pretty easy to write actually, you just need to do your research and put the stuff in there, right, and basically if you take all this kind of like more technical parts of it and answer that first, and writing an intro to what you just wrote is much easier than actually writing without knowing what is going to come next, you know.

Mark: Yep. Okay, anything else on that?

Gael: No.

Mark: Okay, so the last question today is not an internet marketing one, it’s from Mark Jener, he asks, I love your question by the way Mark, he asks who gets which armrest on an airplane? Do you want to give me your thoughts on that first?

Gael: Usually I get both because I’m so scared in the plane that I swear a lot and so people give me all the room I need you know, so I get both usually, but what’s your answer?

Mark: Okay, so I think there’s quite, there’s a proper way to do this, and there is like the law of the jungle how it actually happens, so in an ideal world, the person in the middle seat gets two arm rests, the person in the aisle seat obviously gets one armrest and a bit more room, the person in the window seat gets one armrest and the window, and a bit more room to the side as well. So yeah, give the person in the middle both armrests but in reality, it’s usually like the biggest, most aggressive person who, it’s usually like an old guy will try and take two armrests. And the way they always do it is they sneak from the back so you know, if you have your arms a little bit further forward, you might suddenly find the guy next to you has their arm like just right at the back of the armrest and then slowly he moves further and further forward and you know of course, you are going to be like taking your table down or you know, eating food or doing that so you are not going to have your arm there the whole time, so yeah, that’s when it starts to get a bit frustrating and then you have these like armrest battles-

Gael: You can just address them-

Mark: No, you can’t talk directly to someone you sit next to on a plane, that’s blasphemy.

Gael: Yeah, I don’t care actually, I am just telling people what I think usually. Which is like we are all going to die on a plane, you know.

Mark: What I would say though is if you want some more room on planes, here are some really good bit of advice, if you are stuck in a crammed seat, take the magazine safety cards all that kind of stuff out, and put it in the overhead bit, that will get you next few centimeters of room, it makes quite a bit of difference if you are flying on a budget airline. Check seatguru.com see which seats have in flight entertainment boxes under them, if you are flying on a long haul flight that usually happens, so like if all the seats have TVs in them, if you are flying like long haul, certain rows, usually three rows per plane will have a box under, like a computer which is driving the TVs for those three seats so if that’s under your feet than obviously you have half as much foot room for straighten, but seatguru.com will tell you which of those rows have it, so you can kind of like sit in a different one. if you are checking in online, and there is two of you, have one person sit in the isle and one person sit in the window, leave the middle free, because nobody is going to deliberately choose to sit in the middle, so that you have a high chance of it being empty-

Gael: Or you have a weirdo who really likes being between two people..

Mark: Yeah. This never happened so far, you can just have like, and then one of you can switch, like that person will always be more happy sitting in the aisle or the window than in the middle. No one likes sitting in the middle. And lastly, and this is my favorite one, just before boarding starts, go up to the desk and ask them if there are any empty rows, or any seats with nobody next to you

Gael: And they are like we have to board people, leave us alone.

Mark: This is just before boarding starts, there will be people at the desk, and you can go up and ask them, as long as this is not like a budget airliner or short haul flight, they are not going to do it, but any kind of long haul flight yeah, they will do that and it can still happen because people get moved around for various reasons but usually, unless the plane is full usually you’ll be able to do that and you’ll get either an empty row or an empty seat.

Gael: Or usually just move after takeoff.

Mark: That you can do, but that’s a big risk, because everyone else wants to do that and you get certain people that actually move before takeoff and you know, people like me who do this, they’ve already got the empty row, so.

Gael: Okay, fair enough. I would crawl down, I would never move that fast anyway.

Mark: Okay, I think that’s about everything for today. So once again, if you guys want to ask us a question, head on over to authorityhacker.com/ask and we’ll probably do another one of these next month or so.

Gael: Yeah, we will probably do one a month or something, just taking questions and yeah, it’s kind of fun actually, it’s kind of a refreshing one and we get to address exactly what you want rather than just arbitrarily picking topics.

Mark: Okay, thanks guys.

Gael: Cool, see you guys later, bye.

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