Growth Hacking Interview Series #100: Zac Johnson
Zac Johnson has been making money online for nearly 20 years now and would love to help you do the same. That's the reason why he created his own blog at ZacJohnson.com.
With over 1,000 original and real life experience based articles, He will continue to walk you through the ups and downs, and in and outs of affiliate marketing and how others are making money online.
How did you start out as a marketer?
I first started making money back in the mid 90s when I was in high school.
It started off with graphic design in the AOL Web Diner, then I started building out my sites and found my way into affiliate marketing (mainly with Amazon). You can see some of my first checks here.
Looking back, what is your hardest struggle when it came to delivering results?
Coming up with new ideas and ad campaigns is always tough.
This was one of the main reasons I started my blog at ZacJohnson.com in 2007, to be able to build something that I owned and would keep growing with time.
How did you get your first client back then, and what kind of service did you do for them?
My first dollar was actually through designing and selling graphic banners for people in the AOL Web Diner.
This was way back before Paypal was around, so they had to actually send me a physical dollar in the mail. Now most clients are big brands and done on a lead generation or pay for placement basis.
What do you find most rewarding about what you do?
Being able to work for myself and make my own hours. It's not easy and it can be extremely stressful at times, but I'm responsible for all of my successes and failures.
We have a lot of readers who are bent on becoming freelancers, aside from freelancing how else can someone earn online, and what is your advise?
If you want to freelance, start a website or a blog of your own to build out your credibility and brand. A million other people are probably doing the same thing as you, so find a way to stand out from the crowd.
If you were given the chance to build your career all over again, what would you do differently so that you will achieve your dreams faster?
If I could go back to 95 again, I would buy up a ton of domain names that were available back then, hold them for a bit and sell them for millions. Like anything else… if only we knew back then!
How is your typical work day structured?
Usually wake up around 9am, check my email and start working on various projects (mainly my own sites and ad campaigns).
The day consists of checking emails, working on content, doing outreach and promotion, while also maybe fitting in an interview or two as well.
Can you tell us about a time where you had to put in significant effort up front and then wait a long time for success?
Mainly with any content based website you are going to have to wait for the site to grow and rank organically.
Unless you have a lot of money to put behind the site in terms of marketing, content creation and SEO is a very long and drawn out process.
On the flip side, it's a great model because once it's up and running, you get a good amount of traffic and revenue for free.
You’ve been tasked with redesigning the company’s brand strategy from the ground up. Walk us through your process.
Analyze the competition. Create better content than the competition and find what your audience is looking for.
Have a nice site with valuable and engaging content for your audience. Set up social profiles to go along with the site.
Start guest blogging and getting coverage on other relevant industry sites. All of this will come together and start growing a nice brand and following for the company.
Can you tell us about a past situation where you had to juggle multiple projects with competing deadlines?
All of my work is my own, so it's just a matter of clearing out the clutter and working on what makes the most money or has priority.
It's way too easy to get distracted online, which is why so many people fail. This is also referred to as “shiny object syndrome“.
What recently-developed marketing strategy, technique or tool interests you the most right now?
I'm still a fan of guest blogging. It's a great way to get my name, brand and message out to new audiences that might not know about me yet.
What do you do to stay up to date with new marketing techniques?
Always advance with the industry. Nothing stays the same and you need to know where and how your audience is finding you.
In the past, the internet was all HTML and a one-sided conversation. Then MySpace, Facebook and social media blew up and now mobile is the big thing.
Stay ahead, or you will fall behind the competition.
Can you tell us about a project you’re most proud of from your past work history?
Over the past 20 years I've had a lot. A recent one is my Rise of the Entrepreneur podcast, which allows me to interview industry experts and better connect with my audience.
Which one book/blog post would you recommend every Marketer should read?
“Who Moved My Cheese” by Spencer Johnson is a good short read. It teaches you how to deal with changes within your environment and not to solely rely on others.
What advice would you share with other Marketer's who want to become more productive?
Have a legitimate business model and plan before you get started. It's not easy.
Follow this make money guide and discover how to choose a niche audience and create content around their needs.
You then need to have a monetization plan in place and then promote your content. With over a billion sites online, you can't just “create content” and expect to make money.
If there's one Marketing Guru you'd recommend who and why.
I hand pick everyone on my podcast, so anyone on this list is a great person to follow.