Aha!NOW is all about giving, helping, improving, sharing your problems, and bringing happiness to life. To facilitate the aim of the blog, I’m adding a new feature, The Aha!NOW Chat.
This monthly interview series will bring to you famous blogging personalities, popular personal development gurus, and other expert personalities so you can take life lessons from them.
Who can be a more inspiring blogger to start this series with than the ‘Engagement Superstar’, Adrienne Smith herself?
She’s a popular blogger at AdrienneSmith.Net and like me, she believes in giving and helping people.
Some time back, I had asked her for an interview and despite being super busy, she didn’t turn my request down.
I’m glad I’d the privilege to interview Adrienne and ask her the questions that you all probably wanted to know – all about herself and her life, besides the blogging talk.
Without further ado, here’s the my chat with Adrienne Smith… with all the Aha! Moments!!
Before you start reading, I’d like to tell you that it’s a long chat, so you might want to fetch your coffee or your drink, take out time and enjoy this tête-à-tête. 🙂
Interview with Adrienne Smith
Q1. Welcome to Aha!NOW! It’s a pleasure to have you over. First, tell me how did blogging find a place in your life plan?
A: I want to start by saying how excited I am that you’ve decided to create this interview series and I appreciate the opportunity to be included. What an honor to be asked and I hope your readers enjoy learning a little more about me.
To answer your question, blogging was never on my radar. It was about four years ago and I was doing affiliate marketing. I was writing a lot of articles at that time and using a lot of the Web 2.0 free platforms, including Blogger, to promote products. It was working really well.
My AdrienneSmith.net domain name was a static website at that time because I was taught that we needed to brand ourselves. We were encouraged though to have a self-hosted WordPress blog because the search engines seemed to love them more. I then moved my information over to WordPress and continued writing about affiliate marketing.
Q2. What makes your blog different from the rest? Who is/was your idol, and why do you call yourself a business developer?
A: In my mind, I don’t really believe that my blog is any different than anyone else’s. I know so many bloggers that share the same type of information that I do. However, I do seem to have a knack for making people feel very comfortable and at home when they stop by.
I’ve always been a big people person as well as someone who loves to help others. Because of that, I take it a step further, actually reach out to my audience, and strike up conversations. I even ask for a phone number in my opt-in form so that I can call them and say hello. You don’t see many people doing that.
I don’t really have an idol. When I got started, I was just going off whatever product I had purchased at that time. The person that I learned the most from though and I feel really has made a difference for me and my blog, is Alex Jeffries.
As far as me calling myself a business developer, that came about back when I was doing network marketing. We were encouraged to share a title that would entice people instead of scare them off, since most people ran when they heard you did network marketing. Since we were helping people learn how to build their businesses, they recommended us using that particular title. The name just kind of stuck with me and I’ve never taken the time to change it.
Q3. If you hadn’t started your blog, what would you’ve done after you had to leave your corporate job in 2007.
A: After leaving corporate America in January of 2007, I actually tried my hand at something else before I came online. I was looking for something that made me happy, and where I could feel that I was truly helping someone make a difference. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out because I found that people didn’t appreciate you there any more than they did in my old position.
I came online in March of 2007 with no sense of direction, no clue about what to do or who to even listen to. I knew nothing about the Internet except how to search for something on Google and do email. Half of the things I did I still couldn’t explain to you today what they even were. I eventually learned though about affiliate marketing around 2008, and because of that, my blog took root in June of 2009.
I do believe though that no matter what, I would have found my place online doing something. I’m just thankful that I am where I am today.
Q4. Blogging, like the corporate jobs, is stressful. What are your tips for everybody on work-life balance? How can we best avoid stress in our busy lives? How do you take care of your health?
A: Each year stress claims the lives of over 110 million people. Back in September of 2000, my best friend at that time lost her husband to stress. He was 43 years old, they had a five-year-old son and she had a 15-year-old daughter from a previous marriage. I watched what his passing did to them all and her son had to grow up with no father figure.
His passing taught me to stop worrying about things that are out of our control. Is it easy to do? Absolutely not, but that’s where a lot of self-development can come into play. One of the things that helped me the most was reading Eckhart Tolle’s book “A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose”. It taught me how to live in the present moment and to concentrate more on what I’m doing right this minute.
I’m by no means perfect but I have learned to just not stress out about things. Just breathe and know that it will all work itself out the way it should. I also live alone and have no family obligations like most people, so I have more time to spend on work if needed.
As far as my health is concerned, I watch what I eat, I mostly just drink water although I recently started drinking some flavored green tea, and I walk every day. I also remain very positive and I know that has a lot to do with it.
Q5. Back to blogging – how did you achieve success online? What’s your secret formula?
A: There’s a secret formula? Man, I’d love to get my hands on that.
By success if you mean making money online and being able to work at home full-time and support myself, then yeah, I guess I am successful in that respect.
My experience isn’t really much different than others, but the way it started for me was I bought a $37 eBook about how to promote affiliate products online. It was following a seven-day plan and she laid out every single thing you needed to do.
I read the entire eBook, which was not many pages and then I went back to the beginning and started doing what she laid out on day one. Now in her book and like most people will tell you, don’t expect to make anything overnight because it takes time for your content to be seen by the right people who are interested in what you offer.
On day three though, I made my first sale. I was ecstatic and somewhat confused because I just started this course and I wasn’t supposed to make any money yet remember! Two days later on day five I made two more sales. Not only did I make a profit, but enough to pay for the course so I was hooked.
I just continued to improve upon what I was taught to do and when those tactics quit working or Google changed something up, I would research other ways to promote my products and move forward from there. As I built my reputation on my main blog, people purchased products from me because they trust my opinion. Besides doing affiliate marketing, a little over a year ago I incorporated consulting into that mix.
Just be consistent with the right action steps and you will see results, but learn from someone who is doing what you want to do and getting the same results.
Q6. You’re always so full of energy and enthusiasm. What inspires and moves you?
A: I love life and I appreciate every moment that I’m here. Most people know my story, but I grew up with my Dad fighting way too many health issues. He had cancer for 42 of the 45 years I had him and after three of his cancer surgeries, we were told he wouldn’t make it. My Dad loved life and everyone loved him. To watch him go through all he did to just live a full life was inspiring.
He taught me to appreciate every single day we’re here because like my friend’s husband I mentioned above, life can be taken from you at any given moment.
I start my day by thanking God for allowing me another day. I’m in good health, I have a loving family, I have a four legged child that loves me unconditionally, I have a roof over my head, I have wonderful relationships and I’m able to work at home. How can that not inspire you!
Q7. You’ve mentioned on your blog that you were kind of a rebellious teenager. What tips would you give to parents to handle such children?
A: I respected my parents but I felt they were way too strict, which is why I did some things they would have never approved of. I didn’t understand at that time that they were just concerned for my safety. So I think instead of hearing all the time “because I said so” and actually telling me why these rules were so strict for me but not for my younger brother, I might not have done some of the things that I did.
I feel for the parents today because back when my Mom said no, she meant it. If I back talked her I was instantly grounded and trust me, there was no leeway with my Mom. If she told me to jump, I just did. I grew up in a different era with no technology, I was not introduced to drugs and I didn’t hang around with what most would call the bad kids. You just didn’t disrespect your parents. I think that a lot of the parents today let their kids run the house instead of the other way around. I have no right really to give advice on this subject, since I’ve never been a parent myself. I just know what I see and it’s kind of sad.
Q8. How much of your experience in corporate America has helped you in blogging?
A: I think I can honestly say none. Over the years, I learned that I had a way with words. I’ve just been able to phrase things in a way that have impressed others, and I have absolutely no idea where that came from because it was not learned in school or corporate America.
Q9. You do not have any Ads on your blog, neither many affiliate banners. How do you make money blogging?
A: I specifically use my blog for building relationships. Because my readers have come to like and trust me, they do purchase affiliate products that I promote on my blog in my sidebar and on my “Resource” page. I never promote anything that I don’t stand behind 100%.
I also get a lot of emails from people asking my opinion about certain products I might use or do I have any suggestions for them. They want to go through my affiliate links because they trust me.
I also mentioned that I do consulting, but I also have a service where I’ll install a WordPress blog for people who don’t have the time. I’ve been hired to fix plugins that aren’t set up correctly, add widgets in their sidebars because it’s too confusing, or add their opt-in box to their blogs. I have a “Hire Adrienne” page on my blog that has all of my information.
With the release of my product later this year, I intend to add that to what I offer as well.
Q10. Where did you learn about relationship building? Share a few tips that every blogger should consider about building relationships.
A: I didn’t learn relationship building from anyone. I’ve always been a big people person and can walk up to anyone anywhere and start a conversation. I love meeting people and learning more about them, so when I started blogging, I just was being myself.
Once people started commenting on my blog, I would ask them more questions and in my newsletter, I also talk about myself some so that my subscribers feel like they know me. Because of that, they’ll email me and the conversations continue.
The biggest tip I have and you’ll notice on my blog, is to ask for their phone number on your opt-in box. The reason it is so huge is that no one does it. I’ve had people argue with me that I’m an idiot for doing that because they won’t leave it. That’s fine because they don’t have to, but what I do is I pick up the phone and call them. All I do is introduce myself, let them know I’m a real live person and ask them if there is anything at all I can help them with right this very moment, no strings attached.
99.9% of them have been thrilled and shocked that I took the time to call. The best thing about that is they appreciate it and feel like they know me because we actually talked on the phone, and I didn’t want anything from them. That will help build relationships with your subscribers better than anything else I could ever suggest.
I learned this tip a couple years ago from a top marketer, who said if you don’t call your prospects, I will. That really hit home with me so that’s when I started, and it’s definitely paid off.
Q11. What is your daily routine like? How are you able to manage it all?
A: Some days I certainly don’t feel like I’m managing it all. Most of the time I feel like I’m behind – because I want to do it all and there aren’t enough hours in the day. Because I do live alone and don’t have to manage a family like most, I can stay on the computer as long as I want. The problem with that is I get burnt out just like anyone else, and although I love blogging and I love what I do, sometimes I just need a break.
My day isn’t always the same. While I do my best to get up early each morning, sometimes I don’t quite make it because I do stay up late. The way I view this is if I can get everything done that I need sometime during my day, then I’m good. On the mornings, I post, though I am at my desk and ready to go at 8:00 am CST.
My posts go live on Monday’s and Thursday mornings, and as you have recently learned after guest posting for me, the day that post goes live can be crazy busy. I love to respond to comments as soon as I can and although it’s not a necessity, it’s what I enjoy doing. So, those days are usually set aside for responding to comments.
Three to four times a day I check in on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ and see what’s on my stream as well as respond to anything addressed specifically to me.
I don’t necessarily write posts on a specific day but I have found myself more often than not writing them the day before I publish them. On a rare occasion, I’ll have them written early but at the time that I’m responding to this particular question, I already have my next four written.
I have a few other sites for my affiliate promotions, so I make sure to check in on them often.
I have my consulting so the times vary for those appointments.
Each day, I do my best to put some time aside to go through whatever training I have at the time, and to work on my product.
Commenting on other blogs is the most time consuming and with each new week, I seem to have more and more on my list. I sporadically will try to sneak those in between everything else I have on my list. Oftentimes that’s how I’m spending my evenings trying to visit blogs I haven’t had a chance to get to or I’ll do them on the weekends.
Q12. How do you bring traffic to your blog? What tips would you like to share with our readers here?
A: My favorite way is commenting on blogs. This can be very time consuming as you very well know, but a great way to get traffic to your blog. When I was getting started doing this I commented on five blogs a day, five days a week, so by the end of the week I had visited 25 different blogs. Over time, people will start getting curious about who you are because they’ll start to see you everywhere, and then they’ve eventually stop by your blog. This is how my blog got on people’s radar.
My second favorite source is Triberr. Not only will you get your content shared by others, but you can also meet a lot of other bloggers in this community.
My other methods are interacting with people on the social media sites and once again, building those relationships.
Q13. Very few bloggers continue their blogging journey for as long as you have, and keep progressing each year. What important lessons did you learn that you’d want to share with the new and old bloggers?
A: The most important lesson I’ve learned from this experience is to be consistent. Nothing happens overnight nor will it even happen within the first 30 days. I use to do what I felt comfortable doing and even though I was consistent, I wasn’t getting the results because I was afraid to step outside my own comfort zone.
You have to be open to possibly doing things you might never have imagined. Take blogging for instance. I never imagined my blog would be where it is today.
I decided to go with what I knew felt right to me and if people liked it great, if they didn’t that was okay too. I continued to educate myself, do things that were uncomfortable, be consistent in those actions and believe that I could do this.
When I started blogging, no one interacted on my blog for over a year and a half. Once I put myself out there and got in front of enough people over a period of time, people started to get curious about who I was and then they started dropping by.
Whether you’re brand new and need some advice or have been here awhile like I was and still having no luck, all you have to do is learn the right action steps to take for you, and you will be surprised at what can happen.
Q14. What are your views about life? Do you believe in self-improvement? How can a person evolve?
A: Life is precious and should never be taken for granted. If you have a grateful heart, wonderful things will come your way. Know that we’re not promised life, so enjoy every second you’re here and always tell the people, who mean so much to you, how you feel. I’ve seen so many people, who live their life with regrets for the words that were left unsaid.
We should never stop learning and growing as individuals. Most of my online friends know that I’m over 50 years old. I didn’t even come online to try my hand at building a business until I was 49. I learned a lot about myself during my early years online so you should never stop trying to improve you, your thoughts, or even your life. As I mentioned above, I had a lot of work to do on myself and I’m so blessed that I was open to it. Had it not been for personal development I wouldn’t be where I am today.
We’re never put on this earth knowing everything and just like my experience coming online, I never thought that I wouldn’t be working in corporate America. Had I not been open enough to doing something different, I would have never evolved into the person I am today and that’s a much more satisfied one too.
Q15. I know you live alone and prefer it that way. But how do you cope with the life’s down times? What keeps you motivated?
A: I have my moments just like anyone else. As you know, I lost my best friend last July three days before my birthday, and anyone who has lost a loved one knows how hard it is to deal with his or her loss.
I’ve been really really down, I’ve had my crying fits, I’ve yelled and cursed and gone through all of the emotions grieving takes us through. I think for anything that may happen we all just need to let it out, deal with whatever we need to deal with at that moment, and then move on.
As I’ve mentioned numerous times in this interview that we can’t continue to stress out over things that are out of our control. The what if’s and why him questions are going to go unanswered. The important thing is we’re here on this earth and we obviously have a lot more living to do.
I stay motivated because I know I’m truly blessed. I look at the unfortunate, the guy that begs down on the street corner, and I know that life doesn’t have to be this way for me. I’m here for a reason, and I’m excited to see what that’s going to be. That alone motivates me to wake up each new day with a positive attitude and a big old smile on my face, and eager to see what awaits me.
Q16. You’re working so hard now for your product that will be released later this year. What is your end goal? What do you hope to accomplish in this year?
A: That’s a good question and I’ve thought about it a lot. Right now, my main goal is to finish my product and see how well it’s received in the marketplace. I would then like to put myself in front of enough of the right people in order to make an impression. I love my loyal readers and I love helping them but I want to do more. At this time, I’m not really sure what that more could be, but I’m open.
I have a few more things that I would like to put in the mix this year for me, a few more projects to add to my money making ventures and see how they pans out. I love doing consulting because I know I’m helping those that need a little more direction, and I love helping people with their blogs. I’d always like to see that part of my business expand.
Q17. Do you think blogging has a future? Where do you see yourself 5 years from now? How different would blogging be then?
A: I would hope that blogging would have a future but I can’t honestly say. With as many blogs that are being created each and every day I would assume that it would still be going strong five years from now.
As far as where I see myself in five years – that will honestly depend on the direction that my life takes. I know what I want to accomplish this year and if I achieve what I want to then I hope that will help me excel in other areas. I know as we all get busier and our businesses expand, we have to cut back on some things. I love blogging and I hope that’s not one of the areas, but I’ll just have to wait and see.
Q18. If you were given a second chance, would you have blogged differently? Whatever is your answer, please give the reasons?
A: When I first started my blog back in June of 2009 I wish I would have bypassed writing about affiliate marketing and started by writing what I was learning at the time.
On the other hand, because I did start off in a whole other niche, I learned a lot of things about blogging along the way that I would not have known back then. I’ve always said that had I done it that way from the beginning, I would be much further along and I might have been but I also might not be where I am today, and able to help as many people because of it. Who knows!
Q19. Everybody recognizes you as a blogger, but you studied personal development too. How much difference does PD make to a person, and what development tips would you like to give to my blog readers?
A: Oh my gosh! I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for personal development.
I’m a very positive person; I’ve been like that most of my life. Being positive though and having confidence in yourself to excel in an area you know nothing about are two different things. I had to learn that about myself and I struggled a lot in the beginning.
I would tell myself that I knew I could do this, I knew I was worthy, I knew, I knew, I knew. At the same time, you’re not getting the desired results so you start second guessing yourself and those old thoughts start to surface. The saying of “what you think about you bring about” is 100% true.
Until you learn that about yourself and learn how to handle those types of thoughts, you’re not going to have the success you crave so badly.
Personal development is about learning who you are as a person, how to handle things when they arise and even how to treat people. It’s about how to control those unwanted thought and how to truly believe in yourself. It’s a part of life and I encourage everyone to explore it more. As I always tell my friends, I’ll always be a work in progress.
Q20. Let’s get back to the present. What is the best thing you like about my blog, Aha!NOW?
A: I love how detailed your posts are no matter what topic you cover. It’s like you leave nothing to chance and really dive into the meat of whatever you’re sharing at the moment. It’s pretty obvious that others love that as well because of the interaction you receive on each post as well as the social shares.
I can tell that we’re a lot alike, and I love that you have such a giving heart as well. I connect with you so much because you blog for a lot of the same reasons I do, and that’s to help people learn and grow. Whatever advice you can give you’re more than open to that, and I think that’s one of the things I admire about you the most.
Thank you Adrienne for your time and the inspiring talk that I’m sure every blogger will appreciate. You’re really wonderful and there’s so much to learn from you. You’ve the best wishes from the Aha!NOW blog community and myself for all your future endeavors.
Isn’t she just amazing? Next month, The Aha!NOW Chat will feature another inspiring personality to tell you all about his or her life experiences so you too can take a leaf from their life book. 🙂
Over to You –
What did you learn from the life and experiences of Adrienne Smith? What are the qualities of Adrienne that you like most and what tips do you find useful? Share in the comments.