My intro to blogging
I started this blog in the end of December 2020. The main reason I started this blog was to make money because my income as a freelance writer was always up and down. I needed a reliable source of income that would eventually pay for my living expenses.
Although I love to blog and share what I learn while building a business, if my efforts are not generating revenue, my time is best spent elsewhere.
I asked myself why do the people I write for pay me money? There must be some way that they are making more money than they are paying me to write their content.
I did some more research and learned how SEO brings traffic to a website and how that traffic can be monetized to make money. Since I had some downtime with freelance writing, I decided I might as well start a blog and maybe that can replace my income as a freelance writer.
How I came across Income School
While scouring through the rabbit holes of YouTube, I came across several videos from Jim and Ricky from Income School.
I immediately liked their approach because it was realistic. Having built my own freelance writing business, I knew how much work it took before it became my main source of income.
They weren’t promising results, but they’re plan to build a full-time income in 2 years seemed very doable with hard work.
After binging most of their free content over a month or so, I knew the general idea of how to make money from a blog. It’s the following basic process:
- Write a lot of helpful content for a particular audience
- Organic traffic will start coming to your site
- You can monetize that traffic with ads, affiliate links or your own products
This made perfect sense to me because they are saying 1+1=2. There’s very little room for any guesswork, so I automatically trusted their approach.
What made them stand out to me was their timeline. They did not promise results by a given time, but if you followed their approach you can definitely make close to a full-time income online.
This made a lot of sense to me because if I were to teach someone how to be a freelance writer, I can show you the steps but I can’t guarantee the results. My blog is my responsibility. The more I learn and effort I put in, the higher my chances of success.
What is Income School?
Income School is a site and YouTube channel that shows people how to build a sustainable business online. This is done primarily through blogging and YouTube. The vast majority of Income School students do blogging for the most part.
Income School is directed by Jim Harmer and Ricky Kesler. They’re business owners based in Idaho who have built dozens of blogs. They decided to package what they have learned in their years of blogging and teach aspiring bloggers how to make a full-time income online.
With Income School, Jim and Ricky created a step by step process on how to build a blog from the ground up. Income School has a ton of courses for bloggers on how to create a blog and how to create a YouTube channel.
Today, Income School has hundreds of students and over 70 of them have built a full-time income online (>$5,000 per month). Income School has become one of the most popular blogging courses on the internet. There are hundreds of students currently enrolled in their courses. You can check out some of the sites that Jim and Ricky have built here.
What is Project 24?
Project 24 is the main course within Income School. It is a step by step course that helps you build a full-time income within 24 months or less. Within Project 24, there are many additional free courses. The main course is the 60-step guide to blogging and that’s what most students follow to create their full-time blog.
By following Project 24, you can maximize the chances of creating a full-time income within 2 years or less.
Within Project 24, new bloggers can get thorough guidance on basically every aspect of building a niche site. This includes:
- Setting up your site
- How to do search analysis
- Writing tactics and tips
- How to monetize your blog
Project 24 does a really good job of taking a new student through all the necessary to steps to make money blogging.
Courses within Project 24 and Income School:
When you become a student at Income School, you’ll have access to a ton of course content. The majority of new students are sold on the 60-step guide to blogging. While this is by far the most beneficial for new bloggers, there are over 20 courses within Income School.
The most popular and in-depth courses are the blogging and YouTube courses. There’s nearly 100 lessons in those courses alone.
Income School is by far the most expensive investment I’ve made into my blogging business.
I paid $449 for a one-year access to their courses, community, etc. Many other blogging courses are a fraction of this, so be prepared to bite the bullet on this.
This is how I look at any investment into my business: What is my ROI and when will I get my money back?
With Income School, they have an expected timeline for you to follow. I’ve linked it here.
As you can see from their timeline above, it takes until the 12th month for you to start make your money back.
This is assuming you actually follow their timeline and put in the work. If you don’t, your results may be much less.
To truly look at the ROI, you need to see the second year. By the end of the second year, Income School estimates the following:
As you can see the income nearly 10X’s in the second year to roughly $7,900 per month. The hard part is actually putting in the work and waiting for Google to rank your articles.
Taking a long-term view, the price of Income School is a no-brainer. If you are expecting a get-rich quick approach, don’t purchase Income School. It takes work and time for you to really see the benefits of blogging.
Income School’s approach:
Income School takes a very organic search heavy approach to building a blog. This means instead of focusing on building links and other activities, Income School emphasizes for students to publish high quality content.
The saying I always hear from Jim and Ricky is “If you build it, they will come”. This means if you build a blog with helpful content for an audience, they will come.
I agree with that statement to an extent, but it’s probably the best approach for new bloggers. It can be overwhelming to focus on a ton of different things at once, so producing content should be the main focus.
The premise for Income School’s approach is that if you produce hundreds of high quality blogs, you will slowly build up the traffic and branding to monetize your audience. Many bloggers who use backlinks and other SEO tactics disagree with this approach because it’s too slow.
In the grand scheme of things, you will need hundreds of blogs for your site anyways. Why not build it first and do all the SEO tactics later? That’s just my opinion, but I can see where people can find fault in this approach.
Best parts of Income School:
I knew prior to purchasing the course that I wanted to connect with bloggers who are on the same path as me. The best part of Income School is the community of students that can answer your questions.
As you blog, you will have a ton of doubts and questions. Having a community that has the same goals as you is invaluable. Whenever I login to the community page, I get motivated because I can see someone who’s a few months ahead of me getting the results I want.
Above is a snippet of what you can expect in the community tab of Income School. You can ask questions and bloggers in the course can help you. This is by far the best part of Income School.
The courses in Income School are invaluable. I pride myself in how fast I can learn, but some things need to be done right the first time.
If you incorrectly set up your site, it can mess with your SEO for months. Income School does a good job of hand holding and taking you step by step when setting up your site. This is great information and also you can learn from the mistakes of others, so you can accelerate your growth.
In Income School, there’s a My Story section where you can track your progress. In My Story, Income School will set out goals for you to reach each month and you can track your progress.
I think it’s pretty cool because it allows you to focus on what matters instead of looking to the future. Below is a snippet of how it looks for each month:
No one is free of criticism, even if you have the best blogging course out there.
As a current student, I don’t have anything negative to say about Jim, Ricky or Income School. I’ve gotten what was advertised and have no complaints. I can definitely see how people would be mad if they think buying a course will guarantee results. You can work hard and still fail, that’s ultimately your responsibility.
The criticisms I’ve seen for Income School are ideological. Income School emphasizes a content production heavy approach. Many other bloggers who criticize Income School say that Income School doesn’t put any emphasis on link building or other SEO strategies. This is true, but link building is not needed following the Project 24 timeline.
This is not a criticism of Income School, this is just what works for me. Income School helps students build niche websites focused on very few topics. Once you build trust in that particular audience, you can position yourself as an expert and sell a product.
Once you actually build your site in 24 months, you’ve probably covered every single topic in that niche. My plan is to build this blog over the next 10 years. It doesn’t make sense for me to use a URL that’s industry specific or niche myself down to one to niches.
I’m following an approach I learned from popular bloggers like Adamenfroy.com and Ryrob.com. They position themselves as experts in blogging and they can attract additional work like consulting, freelance writing, etc to their site. Their blogs have generated well over 7 figures, so I’m taking that approach.
My foundation is still the Income School approach of having hundreds and eventually thousands of great blog posts. By having my site URL as my name, I can brand myself and become an expert in several niches over the next decade. This is just my personal opinion, but I’m taking the longest viewpoint possible for my blog.
Search Analysis by Income School
Another thing I totally don’t agree with is their method of search analysis (SEO). Income School teaches a variety of methods like the “alphabet soup” method. Although that will work for most new bloggers, I’m not a fan personally.
I’d rather take my chances with the tools like Ubersuggest and Ahrefs instead of hoping a keyword has enough search volume. My hypothesis is that if I write 100 articles using guidelines with Ubersuggest or Ahrefs, they will likely outperform the 100 articles I’d write using Income School’s search analysis method.
This is a very minor criticism from my end and I can totally be wrong. I have about 25 articles published using Income School’s method and 15 articles with Ubersuggest. It’s too early to see what works best, but I’ll follow up in a future blog.
At the time of this blog (April 2021), Income School announced they’re releasing a new version of search analysis for their course. It looks like they’re going to start incorporating some SEO tools, so this is a good improvement. They will launch their new search analysis guide in May 2021.
All in all, I truly believe Income School is the best blogging course out there for new beginners. Without the content-first foundation set by Income School, I would’ve quit blogging already.
Even with the pricing, I think Income School is worth it. I’m nearly 4 months in to my blog at the moment and without the timeline of Income School, I’d probably be questioning my efforts.
The honest truth is that building a blog is that it is your responsibility. Whether or not you decide to purchase Income School should not affect your commitment to building a blog.
Before I saved up money to purchase Income School, I was binging all the free content I could on their YouTube channel. By the time I purchased Project 24 from Income School, I’d already finished 10 blogs and was ready to hit the ground running.
My philosophy is take what works and leave the rest. Income School has reinforced the most important concept for blog building: creating high quality content.
Other courses may focus on other time-wasting efforts, but Income School gives you the most logical approach.
Although I’m a current Income School student, I don’t take everything verbatim. I’m continuously learning what other bloggers are using to grow their blogs also. Once I build the foundation of my blog with hundreds of high quality blogs, I’ll look into growth tactics and everything else.
If you’re interested in seeing how progress looks like from following Income School’s blueprint, check out my blog report for my third month here. I outline exactly what I did and the results I got. I mostly follow Income School’s guidelines, I also incorporate a few elements that I’ve seen other bloggers use.