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. 

Social Media Kit for Family Friendly Daddy Blog by Nick Shell

Here on Family Friendly Daddy Blog, I am in a very special niche that allows me to be easily visible from an SEO perspective.

As far as numbers that marketers would be interested in, here is the mid-March 2018 update. Just click on each link to go directly to each account.

Facebook Fan Page for This Blog: 1,110

Personal Facebook Page: 1,328

Twitter: 749

Instagram: 342

Blog YouTube Channel Subscribers: 667

Personal YouTube Channel Subscribers: 3,539

Blog Subscribers: 710

Average monthly: 14,000 views

Average daily: 500 views

While my numbers may not seem amazing, I have learned over the years, that ultimately, companies continue to reach out to me, on their end, to receive publicity from me anyway.

Again, it’s because I am in a niche, with a blog that’s updated weekly and has been around for nearly a decade. People find my blog very easily and very accidentally. That’s why marketers like me enough to reach out to me.

Here are a few examples of companies who reached out to me for publicity on my site:

Lexus (This is one of several examples where they sent a vehicle from Atlanta, to my home in Nashville, for a week, complete with a full tank of gas; so that I would model it with my family.)

Toyota (In addition to also sending me dozens of vehicles over the years, as Lexus has, Toyota recently flew me down to Florida for an all expense-paid road trip to drive their newest model cars to see the MLB Grapefruit League tournament.)

James Avery Artisan Jewelry (They paid me to feature their Valentine’s collection, in addition to giving my wife a gift card to buy their jewelry.)

Additionally, I am bombarded on a weekly basis by fellow bloggers who request to do a “guest blog post” on my site; to boost their own SEO. This happens so often, I had to create a page here on my blog, explaining I now have to charge for that service.

So for me, I am comfortable knowing my numbers aren’t the biggest, but that I am relevant enough as a daddy blogger, that well-known, reputable companies reach out to me, to serve as a social media influencer for them.

If you are interested in working with me, you can contact me at this email address:

nickshell1983@hotmail.com

Social Media, Help Me Find My Twin: Campbell’s Go Southwest Style Chicken with Quinoa

 

Dear Social Media,

I am recruiting your help today. I believe that together, we can find my twin, whose image can be found on the current Campbell’s Go Southwest Style Chicken with Quinoa package.

Granted, he’s not my actual twin, but instead, my apparent doppelganger; as my friends on Facebook have collectively agreed.

Last year March here on my blog, I first mentioned this finding. Since then, Campbell’s has evidently made a slight change to the their packaging, changing the name of the flavor of this soup from Chicken & Quinoa with Poblano Chilies… to Southwest Style Chicken with Quinoa.

Social Media, Help Me Find My Twin: Campbell's Go Southwest Style Chicken with Quinoa

Either way, it’s the same guy in the picture.

Can you help me find him? I think it would be cool for us to meet up for a photo opp.

I am curious to see how much we actually look alike when we are side-by-side. I would also like to learn other similarities:

How tall is he? I’m 5′ 9″.

What’s his ethnic background? Mine is Mexican and Italian.

Where is he from? I live near Nashville, Tennessee.

Social Media, Help Me Find My Twin: Campbell's Go Southwest Style Chicken with Quinoa

I understand right now that Americans are more focused on Pokemon Go, but I’m sure there’s someone out there who could help me find the model who posed for this soup packaging.

Last March when I did my original post, Campbell’s (understandably for legal reasons) was not able to give me any information on this male model.

Here is the Facebook conversation I had with their social media person:

Nick Shell  3/10, 7:52 pm

 Hi, I’m Nick Shell from Family Friendly Daddy Blog. My recent story featuring Campbell’s Go has been my most popular this week! (Am I The Guy From The Campbell’s Go Chicken & Quinoa With Poblano Chilies Package?) As random as the conversation is, it is proving relevant in my social media circles 🙂 So the truth is, I’m actually a vegan and my wife and son are vegetarians. But if there’s anyway I could land an “email interview” with the actual model used for that package, it would make very a really cool, unique follow-up story that would serve as more product placement for Campbell’s Go. It would also give the model guy some extra exposure for his career. Is there any chance at making that happen? Thank you so much for your reply.

Facebook User  3/12, 8:23 am

Thank you for your message, Nick. Unfortunately, specific information about actors is controlled/proprietary to our ad agency. Can you please provide us with your contact information? Your comments and inquiry will be forwarded to our team and should they be interested in working with you, they will reach out directly.

As you can see, by going back to my old Facebook messages, social media account now simply shows up as “Facebook User”, where as before, it was something like “Campbell’s Soup”.

So maybe now, a year later, someone at Campbell’s would be willing to go out on a limb and help me find my doppelganger.

But if not, how about you, social media? Can you help me?

 

Sincerely,

Nick Shell of Family Friendly Daddy Blog

AKA: The Guy Who Looks Like the Guy from the Campbell’s Go Southwest Style Chicken with Quinoa

Social Media, Help Me Find My Twin: Campbell's Go Southwest Style Chicken with Quinoa

 

What I’ve Learned From Not Checking My Facebook Homepage For 30 Days

What I’ve Learned From Not Checking My Facebook Homepage For 30 Days

I’m not against Facebook. I think it’s a great thing. However, a month ago I had to go 4 days without any Internet (and therefore, Facebook) as we were moving into our new house.

When I finally did check Facebook, I realized that life went out without me… and I didn’t feel like I missed anything.

Prepare for the Hallmark movie cliché, but it showed me that my family right in front of me is all that really matters.

So from there I decided to stop checking my Facebook homepage for the following month; that time period ended today. However, the 30 day self-assigned pledge has inspired me to continue staying off my Facebook homepage.

I no longer am exposed to snarky, annoying, self-serving comments; including being tempted to post my own. My exposure to negativity has decreased by 100%; though I admit there’s probably not a true way to measure the validity of that percentage decrease.

But I feel it. I feel great. My quality of life has improved since nixing my Facebook homepage.

There is something called “FOMO” (fear of missing out) that is apparently increased by social media. Apparently, I have less subconscious anxiety in my life because I have less exposure to the news I’m apparently missing out on.

Can you gossip about yourself? If so, Facebook is the platform. I’d rather not tune in to people gossiping about themselves, about the the news, about groups of people, or whatever else can fall into that category.

I should point out too that I cancelled the ability for my phone to receive any messages based on Facebook activity too.

What I’ve Learned From Not Checking My Facebook Homepage For 30 Days

Another part of my pledge was to only start publishing new posts here on Family Friendly Daddy Blog on Thursdays, which helps me focus on living “real life” with my family and not being distracted by daily focusing on publishing new stuff.

That decision has proven successful for me. I am happier now that I am only posting new material one night per week, all at once. Therefore, that’s really the only time I’m needing to log in to Facebook anywhere.

I don’t feel socially disconnected since locking myself out of my Facebook homepage.

Friday begins the National Day of Unplugging (March 6-7, 2015). Of course, I’m taking the pledge. It’s pretty much my life now anyway.

It’s not right for everybody, but it’s definitely right for me. In the past month I have learned that my personal happiness can truly be measured by my lack of exposure to my Facebook homepage and having to feel pressured to daily post new stuff on my blog.

My Decision To Unplug From Social Media, Except On Thursday Nights (Including Facebook And My Blog)

Simply put, I’m now consolidating a week’s worth of social media activity into just a couple of hours per week; during a specific window of time, from now on…

My Decision To Unplug From Social Media, Except On Thursday Nights (Including Facebook And My Blog)

Starting 2 weeks ago, I began only publishing new posts here on Family Friendly Daddy Blog on Thursday nights.

Similarly, I am now only logging into Facebook (as well as all other forms of social media; it helps that I don’t have a smart phone) just once a week now on Thursday nights, when I publish my new posts for the week.

I’m also done paying any attention to my “home” page on Facebook, where it shows everyone’s status updates. I just don’t see how that daily exposure is enhancing my life; it only seems to complicate it.

My addiction and attention span to “keeping up” with all that stuff is apparently expired.

I guess moving into our new house has sort of… recalibrated my priorities and changed my mindset.

Ultimately, I don’t want the video game of Facebook or my hobby of blogging to interfere with the actual reality of my life with my family.

I’ve come to the realization that I no longer have to pressure myself the way I did when I was writing for Parents.com for those 3 years when I did The Dadabase.

My Decision To Unplug From Social Media, Except On Thursday Nights (Including Facebook And My Blog)

Something I’ve learned is that I ultimately get as much traffic no matter when I post new stuff, so I might as well just save it all for one day each week.

It’s similar to concept of “binge watching” premium TV shows like Breaking Bad and Man Men. Instead, I’ll be “binge posting” my new publications each Thursday night here on Family Friendly Daddy Blog.

That way I don’t have to be constantly preoccupied with publishing new stuff throughout the week; therefore dividing my attention all week long. Now I can actually live my life with my family without that distraction.

Over the past couple of years now, I’ve struggled with my relationship with Facebook. I see now I used to put way too much thought into it.

Recently we had to go 4 days without Internet as we moved in the new house, and once I did finally check my Facebook, I realized I actually didn’t miss anything.

While Facebook is full of people I care a lot about, the overall emotional intelligence of status updates in my daily feed ultimately seems to clutter my life; not enhance it. I am choosing to pull the plug on my daily exposure to that large daily nose of negativity and sarcasm.

If I am thinking about someone I’m friends with on Facebook, I can go straight to their profile page on Facebook. That way I don’t have to feel compelled to rely on my “home” page to find out on what is supposed to be my social news for the day.

baratunde_fast_company_cover_1200w

I discovered the people I most wish to be like in my circle of friends are the ones who are the least active on Facebook and the most active with their families away from social media.

It’s true; I used to be much more involved with Facebook, as I attempted to be clever and engaging. These days, I suppose I’ve just moved on with my life.

Maybe it’s because this is truly the most settled I’ve felt since getting married.

For the first two years I was married, my wife was getting her Master’s Degree. Then once she received it, she got pregnant with our son.

Next we moved to Alabama to be closer to family and went further into debt; only to eventually move back to Nashville. After that, we had to completely work our way out of debt, other than our mortgage on our townhouse (while I studied for my certification for Human Resources). Finally, we were able tosave up enough money for a down payment on a bigger, more efficient house for our lifestyle.

Now that we’re in our new house, and not in debt, and having more quality time together as a family in our new suburban life, I am experiencing a feeling of completeness I haven’t previously known with my wife and son.

I’m thinking that now, I can just enjoy this new house with my family.

My Decision To Unplug From Social Media, Except On Thursday Nights (Including Facebook And My Blog)

So I invite you to tune in every Thursday night, when you can catch up with our new simple life. You don’t even have to go to Facebook; you could just subscribe to Family Friendly Daddy Blog by clicking on the button at the top of this page.

As for Friday through Wednesday, you probably won’t hear a peep out of me.

I’m sure certain exceptions will pop up along the way, but they will definitely be the exception to the rule.

But as it concerns my own personal schedule, I’m choosing to unplug from social media now, except for on Thursday nights.

So by default, I will definitely be participating in this year’s National Day of Unplugging on March 6-7, 2-15.

What’s the worst that could happen?

Or maybe the real question is, what’s the best that could happen?

Screen-shot-2013-02-06-at-1.12.58-PM1-669x515

Can Facebook Lower (Or Raise) Your IQ?

Earlier this week I proposed the question, “Is Facebook Technically A Video Game?

Well, today I am following that up by asking what I feel is an equally relevant, if not more relevant, question:

“Can Facebook Lower, Or Raise, Your IQ?”

Does Facebook Lower (Or Raise) Your IQ?

When I first joined Facebook around a decade ago during my final semester of college at Liberty University, Facebook was basically still in “running concept” format. It was only set-up for college students at the time.

To log on to Facebook meant a drama-free, stress-free, guilt-free experience. It seemed like back in those days, circa 2005, you could interact with your classmates and friends without being judged… or being tempted yourself to judge others.

I think we all have to be honest here and admit: it can be challenging to refrain from at least quickly subconsciously passing judgment as you scroll through hundreds of your friends’ strong opinions, daily selfies, and doses of TMI.

willy-wonka-meme-dumpaday-24

As I mentioned in Is Facebook Technically A Video Game?, Facebook has evolved into a place where people ultimately go to receive and give confirmation to each other.

That may sound simple enough, but the way I think it, each time we check our Facebook, we are entering into a world of concentrated drama; overexposing ourselves to information that outside of the social media website, would be not only impossible, but also, unnatural to encounter.

Yet we tend to enter the semi-alternative universe of Facebook nonchalantly and unguarded; even treating it as a form of escape.

In part, it is that escape. It’s an escape as you are exposed to positive people who share information with you that is close to or greater than your own intelligence level; but they are mixed in with those who are… not.

Daymond John Does Facebook Lower (Or Raise) Your IQ?

It reminds me of something Daymond John mentioned one time on Shark Tank. He mentioned the importance of “people proximity.” You ultimately become like the people who you are exposed to most in your social circle.

So out of your 500 or a thousand Facebook friends, who do you pay the most attention to as you scroll through your Facebook feed? Who do you let affect you the most? Who do you let affect your mood or current thought process, if nothing else?

Compared to actual reality, Facebook daily puts in you the same proximity as people who you might not normally interact with (even passively) on a personal level.

Thanks to Facebook, I can easily learn about the strong, one-sided views and opinions of anyone in my social network- and the thing is, I don’t necessarily want to.

So can Facebook lower, or raise, your IQ? I believe so. Just like how I believe being exposed to reality TV can, as well; as Jack Johnson sings about in his clever song, “Good People”.

Bad news, misused, give me some truth
You got too much to lose…
Wrong and resolute but in the mood to obey
Station to station desensitizing the nation
Going, going, gone

Does Facebook Lower (Or Raise) Your IQ?

Ten years ago, I didn’t have a daily feed of information coming from people of all types. I was pretty much limited to the influence of just those I actually spoke with in person each day; and again, they were never as opinionated or dramatic or likely to share too much information as those on Facebook tend to be.

Something I have noticed is that the people of Facebook who I respect the most tend to be the least openly opinionated.

They serve as a model for me to follow. It all goes back to that people proximity theory.

Even in in the unnatural (and largely unrealistic) setting of Facebook, I am still subconsciously seeking out and associating with the people I respect the most.

I believe that what you get out of Facebook is largely based on who you’re paying the most attention to, and sometimes more importantly, who you are choosing to ignore.

And from there, I believe your IQ can be affected for better or worse.

So the way I see it… no, Facebook doesn’t lower your IQ, but it can if you allow it to. In theory, you could choose to use Facebook as a tool to raise your IQ in the same way.

Is Facebook Itself Technically A Social Video Game?

I think it will be difficult for me to ever look at Facebook the same way again…

extreme close-up selfie

Back in February while researching for Rock Music Used To Be Rebellious, Now It’s Rap Music Instead, my friend Sam Royalty simply stated this to me in a side conversation about social media:

“People use Facebook status updates and pictures to find validation in their ideas and life choices.”

The more I’ve thought about it, the more it makes sense.

When I consider the selfie alone, it only makes sense that the “selfie taker” is looking for some kind of validation from their corner of society that their appearance is… relevant.

I say “relevant” because that could mean a lot of things depending on what the person is needing slight reassurance of:

Am I pretty enough? Do I look cool? Can people tell I’ve gotten in shape? Am I still funny? Am I even interesting?

With that being said, it goes beyond just the pictures we post. It transcends to our status updates and shared as well:

Am I doing a good job of being informative in society? Am I an influencer? Is the world aware I am part of it?

Is Facebook Itself Technically A Social Video Game?

I would never want to be seen as the kind of person who is known for “needing attention” all the time, yet there’s this subtle paradox that says if you don’t post enough on Facebook, you’re sort of a Facebook snob who only looks at other people’s info and pictures without contributing or getting involved aside from “liking” other people’s post or very generically wishing them happy birthday after being prompted to by Facebook itself.

My theory is that those people who apparently don’t need confirmation or validation are at least looking for inspiration or, for a few minutes, to live vicariously as someone else.

Of course, I believe if you’re too inspirational, you may appear as a show-off. You don’t want your Facebook friends thinking you trying you’re, in essence, “trying too hard to win” at this unofficial game of Facebook.

Despite the daily overdose of negativity on Facebook, there is a fraction of my news feed that is actually positive; or at least neutrally interesting or fun. Like the pictures of my friends’ families: those are the posts I scroll my feed for.

More importantly, I try to be the person who is contributing those pictures, links, and status updates; just like Gandhi famously said:

“Be the change you want to see in the world.”

I really don’t think there’s truly a way to “win at Facebook,” sort of like the game Animal Crossings that I loved so much in college on Nintendo GameCube. Ultimately, to someone out there on Facebook, you’re going to contribute too much or too little; seem too showy or too aloof.

You can’t necessarily win or lose at the game of Facebook, but it’s a video game that millions of people play all day long, all over the world.

Video Games: The Movie

In theory, it’s the most popular and relevant video game of all time; that’s an idea proposed in the Netflix documentary, Video Games: The Movie.

But for this modern tower of Babel we have built and participate in, I say this is ultimately why we show up to it:

To give and/or receive legitimate validation, confirmation, and/or inspiration.

The reason I say legitimate is because not all ideas on Facebook should merit reinforcement. Plus, as I recognized earlier, Facebook has its fair share of negative people who would rather attempt to hurt instead of edify others.

Overall though, Facebook is a place (and/or social video game) where essentially anyone can give or receive confirmation on one’s beauty, worth, and relevance.

I can even post an “extreme close-up selfie” and I will get what I want out of it: for people to recognize the humor in it.

And no, I’m not writing this to get more “likes” on my Facebook page, or to try to prove I am a decent writer, or to simply feel validated by my Facebook friends so that I can essentially score more points in this video game we’re all playing.

Or am I?