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GOLD! Blogging for Profit (With Legendary GOLD Follow Up Posts)

theag

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There is a difference between properly run and niched down blogs like the ones you talk about and the 99999999th iteration of a guy spitting out personal development, dating and fitness advice on his new wordpress install, which are the ones we usually get here in the forum and rightly discourage from wasting their time.
 

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Yoda

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Let's open the flood gates. Let's think big.

I feel many people think of blogging as, "Let me throw some words on a page once a day/week and throw it on my social and make some money!"

These are the people who won't make it very far.

This type of thinking is equivalent to, "Let me buy a single story home and rent it out and make some money!"

There's nothing wrong with either statement, because both are true: they can both make money. But there's little thought in scale or magnitude.
--------------------------------------------

Elements of Scale and Magnitude: Blogging Edition

Speaking to magnitude, we need to look at how much you can earn per visitor, and how many of those visitors we can attract (don't mistake this as scale, because it's somewhat separate here, though it becomes scale once the full pipeline is created). This will give us:

Value of Visitor x Number of Visitors = Magnitude of Monetization
The reason number of visitors here isn't (in my mind) considered scale, is because for this little exercise, we're just going to look at how the blog is monetized. When we start adding different types of monetization... then we're talking scale. But more on that in a moment.

So let's start with a site pulling in 10,000 visitors a month off organic search from content you've written. (You did remember to bring the audience in first, right?)

Here are some monetization methods you might be able to expect:
  • You can throw on Adsense and let Gorg attempt to make you money by giving your users ads to click on.
  • You can attempt to collect data in the form of Leads and find a buyer/business for them.
  • You can add in affiliate links in hopes users will click them and go make a purchase somewhere else, making you commissions.
  • You can import/create your own products which uniquely fit your audience.
  • You can sell all your ad space to a single buyer who will pay you a steady amount based on traffic/clicks.
  • You can lease your site to other vendors who throw in their own monetization to, hopefully, use your traffic to earn more than they're paying you.
Those are pretty much the basics, and there are more. In a nut shell, assuming the same exact 10k visitors a month, the only way to increase your bottom line here would be to:
  1. Test all of them to find out which makes you the greatest net income (not to be confused with rev, since the different methods have different ways to create a dollar)
  2. Use more than one method to monetize (though, usually, adding in another will cannibalize the others in some fashion)
So, what do you do? Again, since we're using the same 10k visitors, your job is to execute the proper method of monetization(s) to maximize the bottom dollar. Let's say you can make $500/month from these visitors with pretty steady consistency.

Value of Visitor x 10,000 = $500
The value of a visitor is [up to] $0.05, and your best method of monetization is worth $500 (magnitude). Remember, this is per visitor. Why is this important?

Assuming you're this far, and there's no way to suck out another dollar from your visitors, you only have two ways to grow (scale) now:
  1. More visitors (which we're keeping at 10,000 per month, for now)
  2. Find another way to make more money from these visitors
Yes, we could begin to start "driving traffic" to get the 10,000 up to 100,000... but is it worth it? What about number 2?

@csalvato was on the right track, where you could begin to add sites. This is fine, but now we're making our money from lots of sites, and lots of sites means more costs, more time (create and monitor), and more content.

@RHL was right in pointing out how aggregators make their bucks on scale, though there are ways to scale your own blog just like the big guys (and not have to pay for it either).

So, what are we left with?

When you got to the store to buy milk, how many of you come out of the store with something else? How many of you swoop by another aisle to check if your favorite item is on sale, or favorite beer in stock, or whatever? Probably a good portion.

Well, let's give our users more eye candy.

Enter:
  • Podcasts
  • eBooks/Books
  • YouTube
  • etc.
Your goal is to do one of three things:
  1. Get your users to stick around longer and/or do more things (buy more, click more, watch adverts, etc.)
  2. Ger your users to become repeat buyers/visitors
  3. Appeal to a wider user base
If, in the beginning your 10k visitors could only peruse through your content and click/buy, there was little else for them to do. But what if only 1% of your visitors engaged? Maybe they aren't the kind of person who reads much. Maybe they like video.

This is scaling (when talking about value per visitor, remember) what users are worth. You reached the highest magnitude possible at $0.05 per visitor in one channel, so by creating multiple channels, you're now scaling your bottom line on the same number of visitors (instead of adding whole new sites).

Make sense?

Let's say out of your 10,000 users, 100 of them were making you money (1%) conversion through your written content. Well, now, maybe another 1% make you money through your Podcasts, another 1% make you money through your book, and another 1% make you money through YouTube adverts/views. Maybe each one doesn't offer up the same magnitude, but either way, you're pulling in another dollar on the same user count.

You're scaling the value of a visitor through channels, not through "driving traffic" or adding sites or growing social or anything else.

This is not any different than what car manufacturers do. Ford has one brand: Ford. But they have lots and lots of makes/models/upgrades to offer. Not everyone wants an F-150. Not everyone wants an Explorer. Not everyone wants a Taurus. But, by adding all these different styles of cars under one brand, they're taking advantage of giving their customers options. Assuming they had consistent traffic to their lots, they'll close more deals by having more to offer.

Give your audience every possible option, all in one place. A blog is written content, infographics, videos, podcasts, etc. It's every type of media. Open your mind to more than writing words on a page.

Oh, and once you've maximized your magnitude (value of a visitor), now you can go back to the traditional scale by making your 10k visitors 100k+. Now you're really growing.

Now, the impact of scaling each additional visitor is 3-5x more valuable to you, and suddenly the best use of your time is adding visitors, not content.
 
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csalvato

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Great summary - very articulate way of explaining it imho!

@csalvato was on the right track, where you could begin to add sites. This is fine, but now we're making our money from lots of sites, and lots of sites means more costs, more time (create and monitor), and more content.
Give your audience every possible option, all in one place. A blog is written content, infographics, videos, podcasts, etc. It's every type of media. Open your mind to more than writing words on a page.
I would say it's less of me "being on the right track" and more about two sides of the same coin. Different options for different niches and different businesses and CEO styles.

I've seen both work really well. IMHO, It's about playing to your strengths, personal desires and the kind of team you can build.
 

mikey3times

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I think what many people are getting at is that we need to think of ourselves as PUBLISHERS instead of BLOGGERS. I have always seen my website this way in terms of the content produced, but never in the marketing side.

I think I may need to look at how publishers market their publications so that other businesses want to advertise there. Look at how publishers generate their revenue beyond advertising.

My lead generation portion of my website isn't gaining traction. I know how to write content for readers, but I'm having trouble figuring how to reach out to companies and manufacturers in the niche. I can't even get a response. Need to revise my approach here and study what QuinStreet is doing, but I assume most of it is hidden - direct reach out like calls and emails.

This thread has a lot about content and readers. I'd love more input on how you guys reach out to the people who buy/want leads. Is it a matter of calling, emailing, cold selling? I've sent some messages to the marketing and PR departments of companies in my niche, but I'm not getting through.
 

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@Yoda - Killing it bro. Seriously, I always appreciate how succinct and valuable your posts are.

@Vigilante - Thank you for beginning this thread, there have been priceless responses with all the monetization models, evergreen content suggestions, branding, and much more. I knew about these monetization models, but it's nice to have 'em in one place!

@Andy Black - Indeed the blog is a great top of your overall sales funnel, to be used however you wish

* Question guys - Isn't it illegal (immoral?) to sell e-mail addresses once you've captured them, though? They opted in to a specific thing from you, and then they get passed on to another's list.

Anyhow, the way I see it, like @Greg Rutkowski said, you can use your personal blog as your resume and you can monetize through consulting or speaking, or helping people grow their own sites through consultations. Michael Ellsberg spoke about this resume strategy in Education of Millionaires.

You're also able to showcase what you've done, or cross-promote anything that is also relevant. I.E. self-dev heads are likely into fitness, organic food, and sharp clothing & presentation. Look at anyone like Elliott Hulse, Gary V, Brandon Carter, Greg O'Gallagher, and they've all got their personal brands and IM games on point, yet they provide massive value through non-salable assets.

My mindset from the jump has been it is smart to establish my personal brand through a blog that can add value to a specific evergreen target market. I use everything I've learned so far to help millennials master their mindsets, and post YT vids with every post to build it simultaneously. I see your mindset as the absolute most important part in starting anything, because when you have it dialed, you can make most anything work, but if you don't get it dialed in, you'll sabotage everything you touch.

These days, like Halpern speaks on, the way of the internet supports 80:20 / marketing:creation. It used to be you could just upload some stuff that was relevant, and get picked up and ranked for tons of keywords. Nowadays, with so many sources you pretty much have to get links and make relevant friends. This is a win-win anyways, because these people can be your future affiliate partners, content co-creators, plus you just network with some cool peeps

It's actually pretty encouraging knowing that your first blogging year is the playing in the sandbox year, and I was prepared for that, yet I'm always pushing myself forward and applying pressure.

To those of you that've monetized through your own products, how have you gauged demand prior?

P.S. - A fantastic book right up the alley of this thread is Content Machine by Dan Norris, and it shows how he uses the blog of WP Curve as the top of the funnel, and has built it to 7 figure revenue. Tons of gold nuggets inside, but he demonstrates that there are 3 main funnels for blogging for business: content, product, and e-mail and you can easily pick out who uses which more dominantly on their site. I.E. - Doubleyourdating.com is all about the e-mail capture and marketing services thereafter

P.P.S. - My boy @Damian Pros runs his blog as a business and does well with it, on top of running Fiverr businesses
 
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Yoda

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I'd love more input on how you guys reach out to the people who buy/want leads.
Dude, pick up the phone. Period.

In regards to becoming a "publisher" of sorts... when you start a blog, you're at the bottom of the food chain.

Here's the hierarchy:
  1. Blogger - you write, you market.
  2. Editor - hire your writing, you edit it, you market.
  3. Editor In Chief - your writers pass their work to an editor, who edits and publishes, you market.
  4. CEO - your writers pass their work to an editor, who edits and publishes, and communicates to your marketers/affiliates. You brand.
Find your place, and figure out how to get to a critical mass where you're forced to move up the chain.

Ideally, you go from creator and marketer, to spending to more time on marketing and the rest on editing, to spending all your time on marketing, to spending your time on straight up branding.
 

Greg R

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Yup, Google and pick up the phone.

I've sold leads to private individuals and to lead generation companies like QuinStreet and Campus Explorer. This is really not a hard question. :)
Once I had my blog running, I found a list of other top bloggers in the same niche. I emailed all of them. I tweeted all of them. I engaged with all of them. I also gave all of them value one way or another.

When it was time to get links to my site, it was easy for most of them to say yes.

When it was time to get a guest post... No problem!

Get your face out there, initiate conversations, show that you are human too, cultivate relationships, ask for value.
 

csalvato

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I've sent some messages to the marketing and PR departments of companies in my niche, but I'm not getting through.
Also, I always make sure to try my best to get a C-level exec in there. Usually the CEO. Most people ignore shit like that because they can't be bothered and it distracts them from some other directive they are already working on.
 

Greg R

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@Greg Rutkowski / @csalvato How do you like to test demand in your target markets?
I'm not exactly sure what you are asking, but I will approach this question from the prospective of testing demand for a product or service that I may want to incorporate on my site in the future.

I like to talk to those who are engaged most with the blog. The people that write me emails, comment on posts, share my work, and open the most newsletters/ emails that I send them.

It is important to identify who those people are. What they want. What their problems are.

The easiest way to do this is by talking with them ten minutes on the phone or sending a friendly email.

Just be real with them and ask a lot of questions. The will reveal what the actually want with out even saying it. You just have to listen carefully.

To test demand I:
  • Send them a survey via Survey Monkey
  • Send them an email to see if they get engaged with the topic
  • Write a post about an idea and see what people have to say about it
  • Lastly if I am soft launching a product, I ask them to buy it.
The key is getting them to buy. That is the only true way to test demand.

Last year I made these personalized walnut serving boards. I tested demand by simply posting a picture of it on Facebook. I don't think there was any copy associated with the post, just the picture. I got ten sales out of that post and I wasn't even advertising that they were for sale.

That is demand.


There are two videos that I like that address the topic of validating.



Noah Kagan likes to talk about validating. He doesn't over complicate it. There a a few other videos by him we he instantly validates business on the spot.

Don't get too hung up on it. After testing a few ideas, you will instantly know when the demand is there.

I hope this helps.
 

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MJ DeMarco

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Some great posts / debate in here, and mostly civil! Marked GOLD.
 

Andy Black

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klaptoo

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I'll tell you guys how I tested demand for my online course:

To summarize: I have a niche website and had gathered some emails through an email magnet (free pdf ebook).

I then simply emailed my list (through Aweber's free 1 month trial) with some article I had just written.

82 people opened the email. I then, emailed those people, telling a little bit about my course and linking it to a landing page I made with Instapage (which also gives you a 30 day trial).

I linked the landing page with a free made paypal button.

7 people actually bought the course! And I didn't even have anything yet!


That's just what I needed to validate my idea...

If 7 people bought my course, knowing me just because of 1 email I sent before, and some articles. Eventually, if I keep nurturing my email list I'm really confident I can sell 500 courses.

The 6 simple steps I took
  1. Make an email list through some high quality free content given for free ( pdf ebook )
  2. Integrate these emails with an email marketing provider (Aweber)
  3. Write an article and send it to my email list
  4. Make a sales landing page, with an actual "Buy now" paypal button. TIP: it must be clear in the landing page that you're offering a pre-launch special price course and I should also include some high value bonuses.
  5. Email the people that opened my first email with my offer.
  6. Se who buys it. If even 1 person does, I would still have validated my idea.
 
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Greg R

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Because I like this thread so much, I wanted to share a little research that I've found that could be useful.

I did a search for the top earning blogs and with the exception of one blog, their main source of revenue is advertising. The other source of revenue was PPC.

What does this tell us?

To be a powerhouse blog, you need to focus on increasing traffic.

Not conversions. Not subscribers. Not posting three times per week.

Screw your affiliate links.

Focus on driving traffic to your site.

That is the 80% out of the 80/20 rule.

Most people think that it is writing content.

Clearly it is not.

One other thing that I noticed is that the content is not really super high quality.

But what is quality is click-bait and the copy.

The big guys know that if they can keep you clicking, well... you keep clicking.

Take it for what it's worth.
 

csalvato

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Because I like this thread so much, I wanted to share a little research that I've found that could be useful.

I did a search for the top earning blogs and with the exception of one blog, their main source of revenue is advertising. The other source of revenue was PPC.

What does this tell us?

To be a powerhouse blog, you need to focus on increasing traffic.

Not conversions. Not subscribers. Not posting three times per week.

Screw your affiliate links.

Focus on driving traffic to your site.

That is the 80% out of the 80/20 rule.

Most people think that it is writing content.

Clearly it is not.

One other thing that I noticed is that the content is not really super high quality.

But what is quality is click-bait and the copy.

The big guys know that if they can keep you clicking, well... you keep clicking.

Take it for what it's worth.
Guess that depends on what you define as "blogging".
 

Kelly C

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Because I like this thread so much, I wanted to share a little research that I've found that could be useful.

I did a search for the top earning blogs and with the exception of one blog, their main source of revenue is advertising. The other source of revenue was PPC.

What does this tell us?

To be a powerhouse blog, you need to focus on increasing traffic.

Not conversions. Not subscribers. Not posting three times per week.

Screw your affiliate links.

Focus on driving traffic to your site.

That is the 80% out of the 80/20 rule.

Most people think that it is writing content.

Clearly it is not.

One other thing that I noticed is that the content is not really super high quality.

But what is quality is click-bait and the copy.

The big guys know that if they can keep you clicking, well... you keep clicking.

Take it for what it's worth.
That's all very well and a good technique...but you shouldn't under-estimate the power of quality content. If you have something of quality - you've made something better than anyone else...you can get TONNES of links to that with minimal effort which results in lots of traffic. Look at the skyscraper technique by backlinko.com

Also if you want to sell your site in future - generally a potential buyer will look at search traffic over paid traffic so you want to be doing both...particularly if your end goal is to sell for a good profit.

A mixture is the way to go. Some nice image posts like "20 amazing places to take your kids on holiday", sprinkled with some lovely informative articles.

Of course I am simplifying but I think quality content is just as important.
 

Greg R

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That's all very well and a good technique...but you shouldn't under-estimate the power of quality content. If you have something of quality - you've made something better than anyone else...you can get TONNES of links to that with minimal effort which results in lots of traffic. Look at the skyscraper technique by backlinko.com

Also if you want to sell your site in future - generally a potential buyer will look at search traffic over paid traffic so you want to be doing both...particularly if your end goal is to sell for a good profit.

A mixture is the way to go. Some nice image posts like "20 amazing places to take your kids on holiday", sprinkled with some lovely informative articles.

Of course I am simplifying but I think quality content is just as important.

Thank your for the reply!


It is important to define quality here.


  • If you have a blog in a niche like Astronautics, quality may be defined by; your credibility, your sources credibility, your grammar and so on.

  • If you have a travel blog, "Some nice image posts like "20 amazing places to take your kids on holiday", sprinkled with some lovely informative articles."

I'm definitely not saying you are wrong by any stretch of the imagination, but I would like to question the idea that quality is the thing that is going to separate you.

Your blog content is like copy writing. The content has to be good, but it does not have to be perfect.

Could there be a reason that places like Huff Po choose not to make every post the highest quality?

Do they know something that the guru's don't?

Are they stupid or something?

Or have they done their research and maybe realized that easy content rather than quality content is the path of least resistance for the reader?

I would love @csalvato @RHL @Yoda to chime in here, what are your thoughts on quality content?
 

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Do you guys think by creating an authority blog is still relevant today and not 2012ish? If you build it as a business creating your own products/membership site?

This is the route I'm currently taking.

The way I see it, you can explode into multiple revenue avenues by taking this approach.
  1. Build website and interview business owners on current problems they currently having. Build a SAAS software with a solution to the problem.
  2. Build an Ebook product that can help their business with marketing.
  3. Create a membership site and teach business owners how to increase revenue.
  4. Build a lead generation website.
  5. Charge for advertisements.
I noticed in my niche, there is probably a dozen of websites doing what I'm doing.

However, they stop after 3 months and don't produce any more content. This is great as they no longer are around and for me to captivate all their audience.

I also think validating idea is a great idea however, I also believe you can provide solutions to a particular market by diving in more than 1 week to 1 month duration.
 

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Thank your for the reply!


It is important to define quality here.


  • If you have a blog in a niche like Astronautics, quality may be defined by; your credibility, your sources credibility, your grammar and so on.

  • If you have a travel blog, "Some nice image posts like "20 amazing places to take your kids on holiday", sprinkled with some lovely informative articles."

I'm definitely not saying you are wrong by any stretch of the imagination, but I would like to question the idea that quality is the thing that is going to separate you.

Your blog content is like copy writing. The content has to be good, but it does not have to be perfect.

Could there be a reason that places like Huff Po choose not to make every post the highest quality?

Do they know something that the guru's don't?

Are they stupid or something?

Or have they done their research and maybe realized that easy content rather than quality content is the path of least resistance for the reader?

I would love @csalvato @RHL @Yoda to chime in here, what are your thoughts on quality content?
Good luck replicating HuffPo - I wonder what their overhead is?

Meanwhile, as a "little guy" you can definitely create content of the highest quality:

- Most relevant
- Most up to date
- Most useful to the user
- Best designed
- Most comprehensive

I would seriously try to dissuade anyone who wants to create a website and not nail the content side of the equation.

I don't always get there, but that's always the goal with anything I publish.
 

Greg R

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Good luck replicating HuffPo - I wonder what their overhead is?

Meanwhile, as a "little guy" you can definitely create content of the highest quality:

- Most relevant
- Most up to date
- Most useful to the user
- Best designed
- Most comprehensive

I would seriously try to dissuade anyone who wants to create a website and not nail the content side of the equation.

I don't always get there, but that's always the goal with anything I publish.
Again, I do not completely disagree.

But this goes back to the old saying of the best product in the world.

"You can have the best product in the world, but if nobody knows about it, what good is it?"

Too many people try to solve their traffic problem by writing more content and completely neglecting the other half of the equation.

Weight loss is a popular example for this.

They work out and they work out.

Eventually they stop seeing results.

So what do they do?

They work out more. :shifty:

Completely disregarding changing their diet or drug regimen.

Same goes for bloggers.

But ya never know.

Maybe if you write that next post you will get more traffic.

@Yoda hit it right on the head.

"I give my audience exactly what they want/need."

Edit: Spelling error.
 
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redsfaithful

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I come across everything from an SEO perspective. I need to rank, which means I need links.

It's like selling, it's a hell of a lot easier if you are asking for links for something that is top notch and obviously well made.

You can push the lazy content, but it's like pushing a boulder uphill.
 

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So basically - cut the crap, give the reader something that keeps them engaged, and provide professional/expert work at what you do.

Or create something that provides tremendous value. Do so in a way that people will keep coming back to, survives trends, and tackle real issues.

Test, retest, gain viewership.

The competing aspect is: keep writing and targeting searches to fill out your page count. To create more than what is needed to target a huge audience, broadening your aspects, and trying to target the lower volume searches...

Or try to target everything and capture nothing.

Don't enter into a blogging-niche unless you truly know it - unless you want to gurutize it. Sprinkle in some marketing knowledge, and opportunities will find you. Some people are killing it by connecting their obscure amazingness online and having the audience find them. Got it.

I bet the general opinion for why people think blogging may have been dead was the spun content-driven micro/huge niches out there that didn't rely on authentic authorship. That machines couldn't create pride in their work, and that readers and Google knew/know the difference between auto-crap and real viewership.

Glad this thread came up.

Seems like the cheap/crap traffic buying days are long-gone, and low-quality traffic and content generates low quality results.
 

Ankerstein17

Contributor
Mar 22, 2015
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Is there any one on this forum section that would be willing to take on a mentorship role, eager to learn, will buy you supper or what ever it takes to be successful. Willing and wana learn. I have some knowledge already, but I want tot learn from the best of the best!
 

Yoda

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Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Nov 12, 2015
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Dagobah
Is there any one on this forum section that would be willing to take on a mentorship role, eager to learn, will buy you supper or what ever it takes to be successful. Willing and wana learn. I have some knowledge already, but I want tot learn from the best of the best!
If I had a penny...
 

raden1

Bronze Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Dec 31, 2015
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Is there any one on this forum section that would be willing to take on a mentorship role, eager to learn, will buy you supper or what ever it takes to be successful. Willing and wana learn. I have some knowledge already, but I want tot learn from the best of the best!
https://www.thefastlaneforum.com/community/threads/mj-is-offering-free-mentoring-version-2.62474/

https://www.thefastlaneforum.com/community/threads/how-to-find-a-mentor-and-more.54979/

http://imgur.com/a/PVIJ5
 
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