From out of the woods, on some dusty trail we find ourselves an avid cyclist and blogger, Robb Sutton. Robb has been blogging about his passions of mountain biking since late ’07 and has found his niche.
Making it online is a goal many share and today Robb will shed a little light on how he has met success. Along the way we hope to pick up some tips and words of encouragement.
You have mentioned that MTB by 198 was started as an outlet for your passion for mountain biking. Did you start off with the plan to monetize it?
I had future plans to monetize the blog but that was not my goal during the first 6 months or so. I knew there was no real way to make money from blogging unless to you started to grow a pretty significant and loyal reader base, so my entire first year I was really concentrating on growing those numbers before I worried about the money end of things. As with any successful business, you have that in your long term plan, but there are steps that have to be taken before that can become a focus.
At what point did you realize that your internet presence might have more potential than you originally anticipated?
Once I started receiving emails from readers and noticed affiliate sales off of my reviews, I was kind of taken back. You always start a blog with the hope that those things will take place, but – once it happens – you almost have a “holy shit, this is actually happening!” moment. Once those mini successes started to add up…I was able to see the potential growth for the future.
You are best known for getting thousands of dollars worth of product for free to review. What went through your mind when you got the first one?
I can’t believe they just send me this stuff for free! Of course – it is not free…you actually do work for it by reviewing the product, but when you receive a part in the mail that you used to have to pay top dollar for…it is a pretty great feeling. Then you have to be as objective as possible by stuffing the excitement some. It gets easier with time, but I hope I never lose that excitement.
Did you start blogging with the goal of full time/financial freedom?
Absolutely! That was always a goal but not the main focus. If all you are doing is shooting for money…you are going to fail in blogging. It has to be a REAL passion to keep writing even when no one is listening. Just like any startup business, there is going to be some time where you work for nothing, so you better like what you are doing. I heard a quote onetime on one of my favorite mountain biking movies. “I would be doing this anyway…so it might as well be my job” That is how you really need to look at blogging if you plan on making it full time.
What was your last job before going full time?
OEM Regional Sales Manager for a manufacturing company.
Was it a huge leap to make the change and start working for yourself or did it all just come into place?
Its a leap. You have to be ready to take on the boring tasks (accounting, logging, testing, etc) as much as you are the fun stuff. Its not all just fun in the sun.
Do you maintain a pretty balanced schedule or do you get lost in you obsession and spend nights burning both ends of the candle?
My wife has to remind me not to be so OCD. Balance is something I have always struggled with especially since I like to blog. I’ll spend all day doing it if I could. It really takes a conscious effort to step away from the screen and let my eyes rest. Hanging out with my wife, playing with the dogs and riding my bikes really lets my mind rest some.
You have four blogs in the oneninety8 blog network. Do you have a favorite?
The Mountain Biking by 198 blog by far. I have been riding for 15+ years…so it is my wife outside of personal relationships. I am about to expand the hell out of it too…so it is exciting times right now.
What is the next step? Do you have big plans for the future? What is the ultimate goal?
I’ll answer all three! The next step is expansion and getting ready to enter new markets which is all a part of the grand plan. You have to expand and adapt as the market sees fit to make it big. The ultimate goal is to take over the world…was that not obvious?!
Check out Robb’s many blogs and stay updated by following him on Twitter.