My 5 SEO Side Hustles, Which All Made Me a Minimum of $1,000 Each in 2018; Creating Passive Income

What is SEO? It’s search engine optimization. SEO is knowing how to cater to the free market of the Internet by publishing articles, links, videos, and social media messages, based on what people are already searching for. It’s behind-the-scenes marketing knowledge and skills that allow people like me to make money on the side by helping other people grow their brand name online; as well as my own.

I remember back in high school (my 20th high school reunion is coming up this summer!) when I was planning my proposed future career: I wasn’t that inspired by the thought of making money, but instead, just to be “happy”. But several years later, having entered the work force with thousands of dollars of debt from college loans, then getting married a few years later during the Financial Crisis of 2008, I think it sort of scarred me. Or at least it rewired my brain in regards to how I perceive finances:

Use your time, energy, and talents to control money before it controls you, by default.

That serves as my SEO Side Hustler backstory. It explains why one of my superpowers is the ability and the drive to be constantly making money on the side; no matter how great my actual full time job. I’m sure there’s some psychology in there, that having felt helpless and hopeless with finances in my late 20s and early 30s, I now feel the need to reverse my role with money and instead be in complete control of my finances. I have basically adopted my Italian grandfather’s mindset, as he lived through the Great Depression as a 1st generation Italian-American in an orphanage; and was one of the most financial conservative men I knew. 

What are my hobbies, besides hanging out with my wife and kids? The answer: My 5 side jobs. 

My brain interprets these SEO side hustles as (mandatory) fun. Last year, in addition to my well-paying full-time job in HR at a Fortune 500 company in Franklin, Tennessee (though my wife actually makes more than me at her full-time job), I made thousands of dollars on the side by basically goofing off on the Internet after my wife and kids fell asleep each night. Granted, I don’t get a lot of sleep myself, except on Saturday mornings when my wife gets up at 6:00 AM with kids and lets me sleep in around 8:00 AM! 

Here’s how I made thousands of dollars, on the side through passive income, in 2018 by utilizing my knowledge and skill set of SEO; and plan to make even more in 2019…

#1 My 1st YouTube Channel:

Named after myself, Nick Shell is a YouTube channel with over 6,200 subscribers. I serve as a mentor who helps young men find their own masculine identity and confidence, despite their perception that early male pattern baldness takes away their value as men.

Thanks to the ads that play before each video, I made nearly $3,000 in 2018 from this channel; see below. It also helps that for 3 months straight in 2018, I kept shaving my head, which made me a lot of money as I have since then been able to casually yet effectively sell the electric clippers I used to do it, through the use of Amazon links. (More on that in a minute.)

#2 My 2nd YouTube Channel:

Named after this blog itself, Family Friendly Daddy Blog currently has over 1,500 subscribers. I named it after my blog, as a way of extending my brand name online. On this 2nd YouTube channel, I mainly talk about DNA test results and cultural perceptions of society. Some of my most popular videos are where I feature vehicles that car companies send me because of my blog. (More on that in a minute.) I have learned that producing nearly 3 videos per day, on each channel, grows my audience more than producing fewer, yet higher quality videos.

Quantity over quality is my formula. Even though I have the skill set to make polished, edited videos with music and words that pop up on the screen, I’ve learned that I earn more revenue from the dozen videos I can make in the same amount of time it would take to make one high-quality video.

#3 My website, Family Friendly Daddy Blog:

Yep, you’re on it right now. I created this website over 9 years ago and have regularly maintained it with new posts. (If nothing else, I publish 2 new posts every Thursday: A letter to each of my children, which I have been doing since my wife announced her pregnancy for them both, accordingly.) That’s one of the reasons it has such strong SEO; making it very easy to find when people Google nearly anything. My blog is a dragnet for search terms.

The name of this blog itself, while it may sound a bit corny, was something I strategically created for the purpose of SEO. Therefore, on a daily basis, I have requests from 3rd parties requesting to be featured as a guest blogger on my site, to boost their own website’s SEO. For the right price, I say yes. From these fees alone, I cleared well over $1,000 in 2018.

That’s not including the free vehicles my family was loaned, complete with a free tank of gas, for our family vacations: Mitsubishi sponsored our trip to Sacramento, Mazda sponsored us for Lake Tahoe, and Chevy took care of us for Destin. Plus, I got sent on an all expense paid trip to Florida for the Grapefruit League Baseball Series, thanks to Toyota. Additionally, my kids also get some free toys this year and our family is regularly offered free tickets to events in Nashville, like Frozen on Ice. And all of this is simply because of this blog’s very healthy SEO.

#4 Handling SEO for a major university in the Nashville area:

I’ll keep the name and dollar amount confidential on this one, but I serve as the behind-the-scenes SEO independent contractor for a particular department. I handle their Twitter account, I’ve produced promotional videos for their YouTube channel, and I manage an ongoing blog series which features its employees in a more casual light, so that people in the department can learn more about one another; while increasing the university’s presence online. 

#5 Amazon Associates:

Anytime I place a link to Amazon for a product like this really cool Mama Bear t-shirt for moms, whether it’s in a description for one of my videos on either YouTube channel, or in one of my blog posts, I get a cut of the sale that is made. Even if the person doesn’t buy the actual product, as long as they buy something while they are browsing through other suggested items, I still get a cut of that sale. It’s Amazon’s way of thanking me for directing a new sale to them. In 2018, I made right over $1,000 from these links; even though I didn’t even start the program until February. See below.

I am a huge fan of the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. The book focuses on the importance of creating venues of passive income; making money while you sleep, which is especially what my YouTube videos and Amazon links do for me. The author explains that it’s not enough to become and remain debt-free or pay off mortgage your early, but also to start making side incomes (ideally passive ones) and then investing that money. He presents that formula as the way to graduate from the middle class. So far, it’s working for me. 

At this point, our family could move into one of those McMansion homes in the next neighborhood over; increasing our square footage by 50%. We could afford it, but we instead choose to keep our current lower overhead and send the extra income towards paying off our mortgage early, building our kids’ college fund, growing our retirement, and focusing on our financial investments through Charles Schwab. I could also pay cash for a brand-new vehicle, trading in my old 2004 Honda Element with 180,000 miles and a salvaged title; and still have thousands more in the bank and investments. But instead, there’s a sense of pride in knowing I’m living below my means; not simply within them. 

So while I don’t get much sleep at this stage in my life, I can at least known that I am constantly making money even when I do sleep.

I am Nick Shell- and I am the SEO Side Hustler. 

Motivational Sylvester Stallone Quotes that I Will Pass on to My Kids: Choosing the Victor Mindset over the Victim Mentality

Motivational Sylvester Stallone Quotes That I Will Pass on to My Kids: Choosing the Victor Mindset over the Victim Mentality

In the past few days, I have watched 2 movies written by and starring Sylvester Stallone that have quotes which ideologically line up with what I believe and want to install in my children.

The first is featured in the beginning of Rocky 3 (filmed the year I was born in 1981 and released the following year in 1982). It’s my favorite of the Rocky series.

Rocky tells his victim-mentality brother-in-law, “Nobody owes nobody nothing! You owe yourself.”

A few months back, I wrote about how I believe the world doesn’t owe me anything; not even the government. Stallone adds to that, by clarifying that we as individuals owe it to ourselves to try to earn what we think we are worth.

Five years later in 1987, Stallone made an accidentally hilarious movie in which he plays an arm wrestling truck driver who lifts weights on a pulley contraption in the truck while he drives: Over the Top.

He tells his estranged son on a couple different occasions, “The world meets nobody halfway.”

Motivational Sylvester Stallone Quotes That I Will Pass on to My Kids: Choosing the Victor Mindset over the Victim Mentality

Stallone again shares his philosophy, in which I endorse, that if you leave it up to someone else for your own happiness and/or fulfillment, you will ultimately be disappointed most of the time.

As part of our own family creed and our household, we simply do not allow the victim mentality (also known as the scarcity mindset), where we are quick to blame, criticize, and expect other members of society to take care us.

Instead, we believe in the victor mindset (also known as abundance consciousness), where we are quick to take responsibility for own decisions and actions, while proactively being willing to get ahead in life by choosing to do the things that most of society is not willing to do.

That’s a major principle taught in one of my favorite books, Rich Dad, Poor Dad; by Robert Kiyosaki.

It’s a matter of working both hard and smart. I feel so much of my job as a parent is to teach my children how to think creatively and independently.

I believe it’s not enough to think outside the box… because, why must we be boxed in to begin with?

Find a way to remove the box, then proceed.

A True “Status Symbol” Is A Paid Off One, Including Our New House (Which Is Not)

4 years, 1 month.

A True “Status Symbol” Is A Paid-Off One, Including Our New House (Which Is Not)

Dear Jack,

As your Daddy, it is one of one my responsibilities to help teach you how to manage your money.

These days, it’s not as simple as saving more than you spend. It’s just as much about planning further ahead; decades ahead, as well as investing our money; as Robert Kiyosaki teaches in his book, Rich Dad Poor Dad.

In a modern culture where it’s “normal” to be in debt, Mommy and I are doing our best to lead you by example, in hopes you will likely grow up to have the same mindset.

We worked very hard to earn our “debt-free status” (other than the mortgage) back in July 2013; we lived without smart phones, cable or satellite TV, eating out, pets, or buying any new gadgets or appliances; nor can I deny that having you as our only child has had a lot to do with it.

Really, I’m just now becoming more open-minded to the idea of having another child; largely because we are much more secure in managing our money now, and also obviously because we are moving into a bigger house, which makes more sense as compared to our 2 bedroom townhouse we’ve lived in this whole time, up until recently.

And so with that being our norm and our lifestyle for the time leading up to going debt-free, it’s something we’ve naturally maintained since then.

Without our family being “weird” in regards to living without certain things, it’s an absolutely fact we wouldn’t be able to move into our new house.

For the record, we are not able to buy a new house because Mommy and I are suddenly began making a lot more money all of the sudden; in fact, I make less now that I stopped writing for last July.

As you get older, I want you to notice the definite irony in congratulating someone when they buy a new car. Because in almost every case, you’re in essence congratulating them on having to now make monthly payments; the majority of which, at first, goes straight to interest.

They have now inherited a new debt to have to worry about, as part of their family budget.

One of my coworkers, who was a banker for a couple of decades, likes to say this: “Those who understand how interest works, charge it. Those who don’t understand how it works, pay it.”

I recognize that, in reality, the commonly perceived glory of that new car will essentially be gone by the time it’s paid off; since it’s a depreciative asset, unlike a new house. The true glory is when the car is less shiny and impressive, but is paid off.

It used to mean something to see a person driving a nice new car. But these days, it typically just means they’re making payment.

Why should that impress anyone?

Nearly anyone these days can go into more debt by financing a new purchase; not everyone can buy something in cash.

Or if it’s not a car, we can use other examples of perceived status symbols: clothes, electronics, house furnishings, vacations…

However, a true status symbol is a paid off one. Like Dave Ramsey implies, being mortgage free is the new retirement.

I’ve been thinking about this stuff a lot here lately we are exactly 2 weeks away from closing on the new house we are building.

There for a while, it looked like there was a good possibility my paid off car was going to be totaled, when I was hit by an albino deer the night before Thanksgiving.

Thank God, I missed the “totaled” criteria by a couple hundred dollars. I am so grateful that I won’t have to worry about a new car payment, in addition to our mortgage payment on our new house.

A True “Status Symbol” Is A Paid-Off One, Including Our New House (Which Is Not)

I get to continue driving my 10 year-old 2004 Honda Element with 143,000 miles on it! I am so happy about that.

With that being said, our new house is not a true status symbol. Unless we strive to get ahead of the game, it would take 30 years to pay off our new house; I would be 63 years old.

That’s why it’s going to be one of our new challenges to figure out strategic ways to pay off our mortgage early. In a strange way, it’s something I look forward to.

I recognize that for the first 15 years of that 30 year mortgage, the overwhelming majority goes straight to interest, not to the principle. I’m very passionate about taking advantage of the situation by paying as much as we can on the principle whenever we can.

Until we pay off our new house, however many years it ends up taking, our new house is just like any other financed, perceived “status symbol” a person can have.