I have a treat for you today and that is an interview with Caroline Middlebrook. you might not have heard of her, but she is fast becoming a top blogger. What makes her story special is she has just quit her day job to blog full time. I was first alerted to Caroline through Yaro Starak's blog who spoke about commenting as a viable way to get traffic and featured Caroline as a great example.
Interview with Caroline Middlebrook
Thanks for agreeing to this interview Caroline, I appreciate your time. The reason I asked for this interview was primarily because I noticed you had given up your day job to become a pro blogger. Then I read some more of the blog and thought your posts were excellent, especially your posts on Twitter. What inspired me was the fact that you left your day job with no real plan, just a deep desire to live life on your own terms?
No thank *you* for the opportunity to talk about myself some more lol 🙂
1. You are a relatively new blogger, what made you want to blog?
I've always loved to write so blogging comes naturally to me. I also knew that there must be a ton of people out there that are sick and tired of their day jobs and would love to quit to make money online. I hope to inspire people with my story and I knew it would be far more credible if I started right rom the beginning when I am just starting out and not making any money.
You hear so many stories of these millionaires online and that's very nice but it doesn't help the little guy who can't resonate with that kind of success. I want to illustrate a real story, without the fluff and the hype.
2. What prompted you to give up the 9 "“ 5 job?
I have always been a dreamer and I always need something to look forward to. When I was at University I dreamed about working as a programmer as I had done many years before and I did that. But about six months into the job I started dreaming again and looking at where my life would be another 5 or 10 years down the track and I couldn't see anything different. I realised that I wanted more.
I love software development but I don't want to write software for other people. I want to use my talents for my own ideas. I don't want to be tied down to somebody else's schedule having to ask permission to take a day off work or feel guilty for taking a sick day or something. Plus you know, in a day job your income is capped at a ceiling. When you have your own business there is no limit to your potential earnings. At the end of the day I am a free spirit and I am just miserable if I don't have the freedom to explore my own ideas.
Oh my god YES, soooo much happier. I do miss the guys I used to work with but I am loving what I'm doing right now and I'm starting to see potential for what I can do in the future.
4. what would you say are the pros and cons of living life on your own terms?
Well the biggest downside right now is that I have no income so I am literally eating into my equity as each month passes. That's kind of painful but of course I'm confident that the situation will not last. Another downside is that if I am sick or something and I can't work then I suffer. The freedom though makes it all worthwhile. I love being able to do just what I want, when I want to. I spend a couple of hours in my pyjamas before I get dressed :-)I love knowing that any success I have is all mine. Of course you have to be motivated to work for yourself – it's not for everybody. You don't know how much money you're going to earn from one month to the next and that can be both good and bad. It's exciting checking stats and things as long as they are good but of course it can be discouraging if not. When you have a standard day job there's no doubt, you know what you earn and that's it.
5. Reading your blog I notice you do other self employed work, can you tell us a bit more about this?
Well my background is in programming. I am not doing any software at the moment but I have some plans for that further down the line. Right now I have one small niche site which I am just starting. This is very simply monetized with Adsense and affiliates. I'm trying out using article marketing to drive traffic to it. To help with that I'm writing a piece of software called ArticleMasher that mashes up several articles to make some more. That's the main work I'm doing right now.
6. What are your goals for the blog?
Right at this moment, I have a goal to hit 450 subscribers by the end of November and I'd like to monetize it this month and start generating a little advertising revenue. Long term, obviously I'd like a large readership – who wouldn't? I'd love to be a well known name in the Internet Marketing industry. I think it helps being a woman because we're outnumbered so we stick out a bit 🙂
7. I notice you are getting some attention from the blog, Yaro Starak has written a post about you, and your subscriber numbers are increasing every day, how does this feel being a relative newbie?
It's fantastic! When I saw that post from yaro I was literally shaking. I phoned my other half and said "ooh guess who blogged about me!!". Sounds silly, but I really respect Yaro so it was nice to see that post. I love seeing all the numbers go up every month and the best part is when people comment or email to say that I've inspired them.
8. How is the monetisation of the blog going?
It's exactly on target at $0 :p Seriously, I have not tried to monetize it yet. I deliberately wanted to avoid that during the early months while I built up the readership and gained a little exposure. I feel the time is right and I don't think it would annoy anybody if I don't overdo it.I have some technical issues to get around – my theme is not really optimised for ads but I'll either modify my theme (eek!) or buy a new one. Also, I've not really read up on monetization yet, I guess I'll figure it out as I go along.
9. What tips would you give other bloggers on being a pro blogger?
I'm not a pro blogger by any means 🙂 For that go ask Darren Rowse. I have grown the blog quite quickly though and the only thing I can think of is that I blog from the heart. I am telling my story, I'm revealing all the mistakes I am making. I'm not afraid to say, jeez look at all the time I've wasted. I'm not trying to be an authority on anything and I think that people like the story because it's real.But of course many people who are tying to be a 'pro' blogger are doing something very different for their blogs – they are not telling a personal story, but are positioning themselves as an authority in their niche and that is something I don't really have experience with.
10. Finally, are there any blogs you read regularly, if so, what are they?
Yes, loads! Le me give you a top 10 in terms of how much value I get out of them1) I Can Haz Cheezburger, http://icanhascheezburger.com/ makes me laugh every day!2) Dosh Dosh, http://www.doshdosh.com/3) Yaro Starak, http://www.entrepreneurs-journey.com/ 4) ProBlogger, http://www.problogger.net/5) WarriorBlog, http://honestknowledge.com/warriorblog/6) 45n5, http://www.45n5.com/7) Skelliewag, http://www.skelliewag.org/8) John Chow, http://www.johnchow.com/9) Copy Blogger, http://www.copyblogger.com/10) Blogging Experiment, http://bloggingexperiment.com/I read a lot more than these but they often surprise me in terms of the content they deliver.Carolinehttp://www.caroline-middlebrook.com/blog/