The Secret Keys to Success in Blogging (Interview with Ajaero Tony Martins)

This blog is aimed at teaching Nigerians how to make money online and motivating them with proofs that this is quite possible.

One of the strategies I planned to use (to achieve this goal) is to interview Nigerian experts who have made their mark in online business by establishing money-spinning web assets.

In this interview, which is the first to be published on Web Income Plus, my host is Mr Ajaero Tony Martins, a humble gentleman who gets a fat pay check every month — courtesy of blogging.

ajaero tony martins

Mr Martins reveals some invaluable tips that will reshape your orientation about blogging and motivate you not just to get started, but to also adapt to change and do things well.

Enjoy the interview.

It is my pleasure to feature you on this blog, Web Income Plus.

The pleasure is mine, Abass.

Kindly tell us your name and some brief information about your background.

Okay. I am Ajaero Tony Martins, an entrepreneur, investor, and the CEO of Firefly Technologies. I am the first son of my parents, and I have four younger siblings.

I had my primary education at Nazareth Nursery and Primary school, Ijeshatedo, Lagos and my secondary education at Hopebay College, Lagos.

By God’s infinite mercies, I gained admission into Federal Polytechnic, Nekede to study Electrical and Electronics Engineering but I had to drop out after my first year to focus on my business.

When did you start online business, and which online business are you majorly into?

I launched my online business officially on the 7th of October, 2009, but I had been doing a lot of research, studying, planning and preparations long before 2009.

I have also had some stint of business failures before 2009, but I kicked off fully in 2009. As for the online business I major in, I am into information brokering — what most people prefer to call blogging.

In brief, how can you define blogging?

Looking beyond the conventional definition of blogging, I see blogging as an information brokerage system or a platform where you provide valuable information in an easy to understand format — in return for profit.

Why did you choose blogging over other online businesses?

Wow, that’s quite a tough question. Well, long before I started blogging, I had the opportunity to analyze a lot of online businesses ranging from Forex, Freelance services, Web design, Reseller webhosting, etc. But I ended up choosing blogging.

I chose blogging because my mentor, Robert Kiyosaki, advised me to always build businesses and invest for cash flow (passive income). Though this income strategy is tougher, I chose to follow it because it made sense to me.

Nothing beats a business or investment that operates at full scale without your active involvement and still generates a decent income monthly or yearly.

My goal is to become a businessperson and employer of labor — not a self employed entrepreneur. I want a business that can run without me, not a job. That was the sole reason why I chose blogging.

About how many blogs do you have?

(Laughs) Having been in the industry for years, it is not a thing of surprise to see people running as much as 200 to 300 blogs. But for me, I chose to follow the strategy of my mentors like Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Robert Kiyosaki, and Andrew Carnegie. That strategy is “Concentration.” So I own just a few blogs.

The wise man puts all his eggs in one basket and watches the basket closely.” – Andrew Carnegie

The men who have succeeded are men who have chosen one line and stuck to it.” – Andrew Carnegie

And here is the prime condition of success, the great secret. Concentrate your energy, thoughts and capital exclusively upon the business in which you are engaged in. Having begun in one line, resolve to fight it out on that line to lead in it. Adopt every improvement, have the best machinery and know the most about it.” – Andrew Carnegie

Can you mention some of the blogs you own?

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Sure. StrategicBusinessTeam.com was the first blog I launched in 2009.  MyTopBusinessideas.com is my newest and fastest growing blog. It was launched in June 2013, and as at September 29 2013, MyTopBusinessideas.com was averaging 8,500 visitors per day — and the number keeps growing.

Are all these blogs making enough money as you always desired?

By God’s grace, yes. In fact, I don’t call them blogs anymore. I refer to them as web assets, and with income from these web assets, I have divested into other portfolio and hard assets.

What has been your biggest challenge so far as far as blogging is concerned?

My biggest challenge as an information brokerage business owner (blogger) is “dealing with change.”

On the internet, things change so fast that, if you are not prepared, your web assets (blogs, and so on) could become valueless within a twinkle of an eye. Just one algorithm change by Google and the likes can wipe you out overnight.

So I and members of my team strive to keep our web assets less vulnerable to algorithmic changes, and the only way we do this is to continually change our strategy before we are forced to.

Willingness to change is a strength, even if it means plunging part of the company into total confusion for a while.” — Jack Welch

What are your plans for the future?

Well, we have a vision of where we want to be in 5 to 10 years time. As a web publisher, I am working alongside my team to deliver our content in various formats.

I see us broadcasting via our own WebTV. I see us growing via strategic alliances with seminar brokerage companies and consulting companies. And ultimately, I see us bringing together, several experts on our blogging platform.

More specifically, I see MyTopBusinessideas.com being an authority source of business advice and information in not just Nigeria but Africa at large. This is our vision and goal for the next ten years.

Do you plan to leave blogging for another business?

Like I said earlier, I don’t see myself as a blogger. I am an entrepreneur and investor; and my primary duty is to solve people’s problems or fill a need.

So I will definitely leave blogging. In fact, I am almost out of the game because my team now runs 90% of the blogging operation.

Based on your experienced, in brief sentences, kindly walk us through the whole process of setting up a profitable a blog? In other words, briefly explain the steps involved.

Well, there are two sides to blogging — the technical aspect and the business aspect. I believe the web is filled with details concerning the technical aspect of blogging such as SEO, niche research, keyword research, domain name selection, WordPress hosting and installation, and so on.

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However, the business side of blogging is what really determines if your blog would succeed or not. When I talk about the business side of blogging, I am talking about your marketing strategy, growth strategy, monetization strategy, content development strategy, how you interact with your readers, how you network or relate with other bloggers, and so on. This is the area where most bloggers miss it.

Defeat your enemy by flexibility and strategy.” – Sun Tzu

How do you maintain your blogging business?

My team runs my blogging business, and this gives me more free time to look into my other businesses and investments. However, I must emphasize the fact that I still maintain the role of a watchdog, strategist and adviser on my blogging business.

By God’s grace, I have an in-house team comprising of four individuals working on my blog 5 days a week, 8am – 5pm. I also have an outside team of independent contractors located in Lagos and the United States. They handle my graphic, content, and other technical needs.

But in all humility, I want to say that the way I run my blog now is very different from the way I ran it years ago. Back then, I was a one-man blogger. But right from the beginning, I had a vision of where I wanted to be, I was focused, and I worked like hell. Actually, I started from the scratch.

What are those factors that increase the profitability a website/blog?

As I said earlier, strategy is what separates the profitable blogs from the average blogs.

To increase the profitability of your blog, you must first be in the right niche. That is, you must understand everything about the people you are serving. Your blog should be people oriented, not profit oriented.

Secondly, you must strive to provide value and stick with it. I know many blogs that were very informative back then, but are now publishing junk simply because they have grown big and have a lot of email/feed subscribers. Don’t be like them.

Thirdly, you must always keep an open mind and be willing to learn — and learn very fast. Things change so fast on the internet, so you must constantly be on the edge. Or else, you will become obsolete.

A cup that is full is useless.” – Chinese proverb

Now, what are the challenges one would face as a blogger?

Well, the major challenge almost all businesses face on the internet is traffic generation.

However, I think we need to change our perception about this traffic of a thing. Most bloggers see traffic as numbers, data or machines. They just want to see their stat counter increasing everyday and they will do anything to achieve that goal.

But one big mistake they make is that they forget that those numbers are actually human beings. Change your perception towards traffic, take care of your existing readers, give them quality information, and the rest will fall in place.

What are those things one must have known before venturing into this business?

There is no big deal about starting a blog. Anybody who spends a day doing serious research on the internet can setup a WordPress blog. Things are so easy nowadays.

However, what distinguishes your blog from the others in the same niche is your competence and knowledge base. Do you know what you are doing? Do you know what you are talking or writing about? Can you stand behind your content even in the face of a lawsuit? Can you proudly stick your real name and picture on your blog? These are questions you must answer before starting a blog.

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Now, as you know, this blog is aimed at helping Nigerians discover how to make money online. Kindly give your pieces of advice and words of motivation to those who are aiming to start blogging – professionally.

I have just one piece of advice for anyone who wants to make money online and that advice is this: “Stop trying to make money online. Stop jumping from one moneymaking opportunity to another. Instead, start thinking of how you can create value and give it away for free.”

The Bible did not say make money and give. Neither did it say take before you give. No. The bible said, “Give and it shall be given unto you.” So create value, give it away, and people will give back to you. This is the ultimate secret of blogging.

If there is any secret or golden advice you’d give a new blogger, what would that advice be?

To a new blogger, this is what I have to say: Follow your passion. Stick to what you believe in. Look for a niche you have knowledge, competence, and expertise in — and stick to it.

I don’t care how many guitar blogs exist, if you know what you are doing, you will break through. After all, the business niche is one of the toughest and most saturated niches — yet, it was in it that I struck gold.

I know many bloggers that tried to compete with me in the business niche — including those I taught and trained. But in the end, they failed. Why? Because they don’t know what they are talking about. While they were discussing the theories of starting a business, I was sharing my personal experience, failures, and successes in business. I was a doer, talking from experience but they were not. So, they failed.

After checking through the WebIncomePlus.com, what do you have to say? Do you have comments, suggestions, corrections, or something else for us?

Well, after going through WebIncomePlus.com, I want to say I am quite satisfied with what I see. But I believe there is much room for improvement.

Secondly, I want to offer an advice to you (Abass) because you are the brain behind WebIncomePlus.com: You need to separate yourself from the crowd. There are a lots of websites and blogs out there teaching people how to make money online. But unfortunately, most don’t even have practical experience of what they are talking about. So to stand out from the crowd, I advice you concentrate your content on your core expertise. There are a million ways to make money online, but what we need is just one way. So, focus on that one way, which you have experience in, and you will find success there.

Thank you very much for your time, and for your willingness to help others succeed.

You are welcome Abass. The pleasure is mine.

***End of interview***

Now, your turn…

Have you been motivated by this interview? What lessons have you learned? Do you have any questions or contributions? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment.

And… don’t forget to share this great post with others. Be generous.

21 Comments

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