This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Yaro Starak. Yaro has an awesome entrepreneur story. From growing up sleeping in an old van parked in the backyard of his small home in Australia to working multiple jobs trying to make ends meet, putting himself through college – Yaro learned he wasn’t an employee. His first breakthrough came in the form a website where he gained following and traction making money with banner ads.
I won’t spoil his story, as I want him to tell it, but he went on to create more online businesses, especially in the blogging space making millions, and created his financial independence. Today he invests in companies – making over 30+ investments to date, continues to build others and coach entrepreneurs. He’s been featured everything from Forbes to Entrepreneur and Business Insider. His latest project is called Inbox Done, an email management company.
I asked him to come on the show to share what he’s learned on his journey and how you can use it in your life.
Yaro shares his story and his experience during this time having business and property in Ukraine. His father was born in Ukraine and escaped after WWII and immigrated to Australia where Yaro was born. When Yaro turned 18, it was 1998 during the Dotcom boom. He started a card game business, a media site where it had commentary, e-commerce store, and he sold advertising. When he went to college, he started an essay editing business to offer editing/proofreading that became a full-time business. In 2005, he got into blogging and found a lot of success and still does it today. He was an early adopter. He sold off the essay company and card business and focused on blogging full time. He turned the blogging into creating courses, e-books, a membership site, etc. It was the first business that did over a million dollars. He traveled the world living in over 26 cities running the business. He did it up until 5 years ago. He then started his current company Inbox Done to help provide outsourced professional assistants.
What are some of the principles you have applied to your different businesses that have allowed you to be consistently successful?
- Compounding a skill set. For example, with the card business, content helped build a community, this gave an audience that could be monetized.
- Content was used to drive sales in the essay company through SEO.
- Content is also a driver for Inbox Done.
- Using the written/spoken word to build an audience and build trust has been the common principle used to build the businesses.
Best advice on how to write good content and sell with it?
- First is the delivery mechanism. It is all about technology and it is constantly changing.
- Email has been tried and true alongside a blog/website.
- What you put into the content will follow the same strategy.
- Look at what kind of content you will produce and how it relates to your goal of building the business.
- Storytelling is powerful which is intimate and grows trust.
- Step 1 is always telling a story. But, your story telling must turn into the strategic goal you have for the business. Each business will require different content and stories focused for it.
- What does your business do and what are the rejection points from people purchasing – use story to discuss these and show why people should buy.
- Email newsletters are most important. Email is the only true platform you have 100% control of, so building your list is critical.
Can you layout the components of your business models that you have duplicated?
- It is different depending on the product or service.
- It starts with what you are excited about building what need you can meet in the marketplace.
- Next, you must understand the right business model to capitalize on the need that must be met.
- Then it is all about execution.
If you choose one model to work with, which one is best?
- Yaro at different times in his life would answer this differently.
- Blogging was very simple, but it required consistency and constant creation of content – you’re on a treadmill. It is harder to scale.
- A business that is more SAAS or marketplace oriented, it can scale easier.
- If he had to choose, it would be to build a company that can scale without him.
Talk to us about blogging. How does someone create a million-dollar business blogging?
- It’s changed a lot.
- Things are way more crowded and there are way more platforms.
- Niching down is important for blogging today.
- Story telling about real results will always work. How content and stories are important.
- Stay specialized and differentiate yourself in every way you can to help you stand out. Double down on everything that is different. The content will help you stand out in search engines.
- At the 28 min, Yaro gives an example.
- When you go narrow, you still have a large enough audience in today’s world to have a really good audience.
Thoughts on driving traffic?
- It continues to be very dynamic.
- Google ads and SEO can work well for niche.
- Podcasts are a great medium.
- A solid referral program for clients to refer.
- Branding to drive a sense of awareness in your niche – what is the message you need to state that stands out and makes you different?
- Build an email list!
- Get published – go in front of audiences that are interested in what you are doing. Whatever platforms those are – get in front of people on them.
- Things do not work straightaway or at all sometimes, so you must be ready to pivot and try others. Keep trying and testing mediums.
How do you keep up with everything and stay successful across your businesses?
- Genuine interest and passion for what he does which drives intent.
- Intent drives focus. Researching and learning to stay on top and be a leader in his space.
- Most important is to make sure you structure your life and business for the free time you need and the time you need to keep on top of things.
- 80/20 Rule. Focus on the most important things and delegate or eliminate the rest.
- It’s not so much about “working hard and the time you put in,” its about working hard on the right things that move the needle and it’s ok if takes just a few hours a day. Focus on getting the results.
- Use technological automation. Build teams by hiring or outsourcing.
Best Quote: It’s not so much about “working hard and the time you put in.” It's about working hard on the right things that move the needle and it’s ok if takes just a few hours a day. Focus on getting the results.
Yaro's Misfit 3:
- There will be ups and downs, but neither will last forever.
- Rest is the foundation for performance.
- Focus on where your creativity can add value for others.
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