Content Creation

#23: Nat Eliason on Starting a Life-Changing Blog

Josh Gonsalves
11.9.2020
1 HR 28 MIN
Listen to Mind Meld on your favorite podcast app

Episode Description

Nat Eliason joins Josh to share his experience building a successful 6-figure personal blog with multiple viral articles and passive income projects. Nat also shares his digital marketing and SEO insights, content creation strategies and productivity hacks.

About Nat Eliason:

Nat is the CEO and Founder of Growth Machine, author and writer at nateliason.com, and co-host of the Made You Think podcast.

Connect with Nat Eliason:

https://www.nateliason.com/

https://twitter.com/nateliason

https://www.growthmachine.com/

https://madeyouthinkpodcast.com/

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Twitter: (https://twitter.com/joshgonsalves_)

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Facebook: (https://facebook.com/gonsalvesmedia)

LinkedIn: (https://linkedin.com/in/joshgonsalves94)

YouTube: (https://youtube.com/joshgonsalves)

Show Notes & Links

  • Nat got into Entrepreneurship in college after doing some consulting internships and figuring out that he would rather take the entrepreneurship path.
  • Nat started his personal blog near the end of his college degree as a resume to get practice doing content marketing and blogging, and then used it to get freelance writing gigs, then eventually landed him an internship with Zapier.
  • Nat's biggest challenge doing marketing as a consultant is that he would give his clients the process of everything they needed to do, but they didn't do it. So he ended up starting his marketing agency, Growth Machine, which became a done-for-you marketing agency.
  • Growth Machine does content marketing for companies like Brex, Yelp, Adobe, and Quickbooks, as well as smaller startups that come out of Y-Combinator.
  • Nat Eliason has been doing his personal site nateliason.com for 6 years (as of 2020) and has been a big part of how he attracts clients for Growth Machine.
  • Nat's website has been read over 15,000,000 (fifteen million) times over the last 6 years.
  • Nat's personal website brings in 6-figures of (mostly) passive income on its own.
  • Nat recently got into creating YouTube videos. Check out his channel.
  • The 4-Hour Workweek book by Tim Ferriss
  • That last chapter in The 4-Hour Workweek is The Void, where Tim points out that if you remove your need for work, you'll probably be bored, unhappy and empty, unless you know what you can fill that time with.
  • Both Josh and Nat's websites are built with Webflow
  • Around 7 months after starting his blog, Nat wrote an article about Water Fasting, and months later it started getting picked up on Google on keywords related to "five day water fast", and now consistently gets over 200 views (or more) per day, and at some points gets up to 5000 views per day, without Nat having to do any additional work.
  • Nat started thinking about finding a way to monetize his site after he was consistently getting 5,000 - 10,000 visits per day.
  • Nat says that having ads on your site is a poor monetization strategy.
  • To monetize his site, Nat started doing affiliate marketing and got a mobile app built, which he promoted through the site.
  • Nat learned about SEO by writing about sexual health and performance for men.
  • The first viral article Nat wrote was about "How to Last Longer in Bed" for men. He published this article in 2016 and still gets messages about it in 2020. Read the article here.
  • Nat wrote a second article on "non-ejaculatory orgasms for men" that did even better than the first article. Read it here.
  • Nat eventually ranked number one on Google for "How to last longer in bed" and realized he was getting a LOT of traffic to his site.
  • Nat realized he was linking to a women's Kegel app on the app store and there were literally no apps on the app store for men, so he decided to get the app built. Check it out here.
  • Nat's kegel app makes anywhere from $2,000 - $8,000 per month, every month since he published it. He's only updated it twice in four years.
  • Glide is a no-code app to built apps like Nat's kegel app with a Google Sheet and no coding expertise needed.
  • Nat moved his website over from WordPress to Webflow after getting a recommendation from his friend Julian Shapiro.
  • Nat compares Webflow to Photoshop and WordPress being the Microsoft Paint of web design tools.
  • Nat wrote an article on why he moved from WordPress to Webflow. Read it here.
  • When Nat migrated his site to Webflow, he went from getting 10,000 views per day consistently, down to about 5,000 views per day after the migration for a short period of time.
  • When you migrate your site to a different platform, there will a short term SEO consequence, but if you keep going with the new platform, it will start to go back up.
  • Nat got a spike of 60,000 visitors to his site in one day from the Reddit thread Monkey's Paw
  • One of Nat's most popular articles is is book notes on The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene. He wanted to find a way to use his existing site to grow his YouTube channel, so because this was one of the most popular pages on his site, he made a video about this book. He says since around 40,000 people per month land on this page, he can turn those readers into viewers for his YouTube channel as well to grow his channel. And since it's a video, it will encourage people to stay on the page longer, which will also help the page rank higher on Google.
  • Nat is creating a YouTube series on how to create a life-changing blog. He also wrote an article about it here.
  • Nat just released a video on The Almanack of Naval Ravikant based on Eric Jorgenson's book.
  • Josh points out that what Nat is doing with his content strategy is Transmedia storytelling, the idea that a narrative can extend beyond multiple media forms that also plays to the strength those mediums. For example you can start with an idea for a blog post that then becomes a YouTube video, a TikTok series, a Twitter thread, and even an Instagram story. You then link back to each different version of them to grow your overall network.
  • Nat uses a combination of Roam Research and Notion for his content creation. He uses Roam for his "maker brain" and Notion for his "manager brain", which comes from Paul Graham's Maker's Schedule, Manager's Schedule article, which you can find here.
  • Sleep Mastery Course on Mindvalley
  • A [chronotype](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chronotype#:~:text=A chronotype is the behavioral,during a 24-hour period.) is the behavioral manifestation of underlying circadian rhythms of myriad physical processes. A person's chronotype is the propensity for the individual to sleep at a particular time during a 24-hour period.
  • Find what your [Chronotype](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chronotype#:~:text=A chronotype is the behavioral,during a 24-hour period.) is to figure out your optimal sleep schedule.
  • Mindvalley's office is called the Temple of Light and was rated one of the most beautiful offices in New York.
  • Up until this year, all of the content Nat created was on his own, but this year he joined two groups, what Nat calls "Mafias".
  • One of the groups Nat joined was Tiago Forte's Forte Academy where Nat could publish his Roam Research course under an umbrella of other courses that achieve a similar outcome.
  • Nat also joined the Everything Bundle which is a Substack publication that bundles other publications.
  • Nat loves the "Mafia" model for paid newsletters because he's in a Slack group with the other writers and creators that can give feedback to one another before publishing a new post, but also if he has a month where he doesn't want to write anything, his subscribers still get value because the other writers in the bundle will publish something in his place.
  • Every time Nat writes about something controversial or criticizes something, it always becomes his most popular articles, but he says that there is guilt and sadness that comes with these articles.
  • Some of his most controversial articles are: No More Struggle Porn criticizing Gary Vee, an article exposing how bad Oatly Oat Milk is, and this article on why you should delete Facebook.
  • Nat says that if you ONLY write and talk about positivity, then you're not trustworthy, because no body is positive all the time. You need to be able to critique things in order to be trusted as a source.
  • One thing that is very important to Nat when it comes to creating content online is being perceived as someone who is giving his honest take on his experience.
  • In 2018 Nat and his wife started an e-commerce business called Cup and Leaf that sold high-end tea online. In January 2020, they opened up a physical café, and two months later they had to shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Nat has a great mental model that is "you don't have to earn your money back where you lost it." Instead of trying to make his money back on the café, he launched his Roam Research course and his wife got her real estate license.
  • Luckily Nat was still running Growth Machine and had multiple passive income projects, so he wasn't as affected financially by the COVID-19 pandemic, which is why diversification is a very good idea.
  • A mental model that Nat's friend told him when Cup and Leaf failed was "you didn't lose money, you were paying tuition", because he learned so much through the process of creating the café and meeting new people.
  • Nat says that if you're going to multiple things, they should feed into one another in some way. He says that one mistake with the cafe was that it didn't really feed off of anything else he was doing. There was no real way to leverage his site or his newsletter to make the cafe work better.
  • When Nat started his YouTube channel, he was able to leverage his existing subscribers from his Newsletter and Twitter to accelerate the growth of his channel when he first launched it, and it feedback into those existing networks.
  • Compounding interest is the most powerful force in the universe. If you can compound on something for long enough, you get incredible results. But if you keep restarting at zero, you never get compounding. But if you can find something to compound, you get incredible returns.
  • Nat says starting his site back in college was one of the smartest things he ever did.
  • Even though his friends got high paying prestigious jobs right out of college, Nat decided to forgo the short-term gain, and instead, over time his blog has compounded and paid tremendous dividends for him over time.
  • "If you need a task manager to get a project done, it's not a project that truly resonates with you."
  • "I know I'm really bad at most things, so hire people who are good at those things and letting them do the things they're great at so I can do the things I'm great at."
  • "Do well enough in the area where you are great so you can afford to hire at least one person to cover the areas in which you are not is the most powerful way to significantly accelerate your success in any field."
  • Nat found his virtual assistant Amanda on a service called Great Assistant.

Thanks for coming this far! if you're reading this, it is no accident. The universe brought you to this corner of the internet for a reason, and you're on the right track. I already know that you're an amazing person and I can't wait to connect with you!

— Josh

Episode Transcript

Josh Gonsalves
Mind Meld Podcast Host

Hi, I'm Josh Gonsalves, the host and producer of Mind Meld. I'm also a Canadian Academy Award-nominated director and Co-founder of Contraverse, an immersive media company. I'm a multi-media experience designer living and working in Toronto, operating at the intersection of design and exponential technologies to develop solutions that change the world for the better.

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