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. 

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How My YouTube Channel Got Monetized in Just 40 Days After I Got 1,000 Subscribers: Quantity Over Quality; 2 to 3 New Videos Daily

In January 2018, my 2nd YouTube channel which was 9 months old at the time, only had 328 subscribers, about one third of the required number it needed when YouTube changed its policy on monetizing videos.

It took me 4 more months to reach the coveted 1,000 subscriber status; on June 21st.

However, I was confused when my channel was not monetized by the next day… or week… or weeks…

So I did some research (on YouTube) and learned about a theory that explains how a YouTube bot was in charge of my monetization destiny as I remained in purgatory.

The YouTube bot rewards YouTubers who continue to prove that their channel is still very active and engaging; even after gaining 1,000 subscribers.

Admittedly, I had totally slowed down how many videos I was publishing after I hit the 1,000 subscribers; as I didn’t want to “waste” them by publishing them without monetization.

But in reality, the best thing you can do is to prove yourself that much harder by using the secret YouTube algorithm: Publish 2 to 3 videos per day.

Not only did that formula apparently help make my videos more visible in the suggested videos column to potential new viewers before I reached 1,000 subscribers, but it also sped up the monetiazation process after I reached that goal.

While I do have the skill set to edit my videos, I typically don’t. I have managed both of my YouTube channels by the unspoken algorithm:

Quantity over quality. Two to three videos per day.

Based on my experience, you’re more likely to reach 1,000 subscribers and be monetized quicker afterwards by publishing 2 to 3 unedited, conversational, engaging videos per day than you are published one well polished video per week.

Quantity over quality.

So if you’re reading this because you have finally reached 1,000 subscribers on YouTube but are feeling discouraged and even disillusioned over not being monetized yet…

Just stop trying so hard, in a sense.

Publish 2 to 3 videos per day and let the algorithm take care of the rest!

It worked for me.

I Got a Clean Head Shave at Boardroom Salon for Men in Nashville on West End

Two months ago in February, right after I made my TV debut on Lifetime’s This Time Next Year in the episode, “Dudes From Different Latitudes”, I buzzed off my hair with a zero guard. My inspiration? For more than a year and a half, I had to have messy hairstyle to look like my doppelganger; as part of the show.

I was so tired of having to deal with hair, that in the likeness of Pedro on the movie Napoleon Dynamite, I just grabbed a pair of clippers and buzzed it all off. (And I have yet to regret my decision!)

A few days later though, I was invited to attend the Grand Opening Celebration for the Boardroom Salon for Men in Nashville on West End. The thing was, I had already been invited to and committed to attend the Toyota Grand Slam Road Trip across Florida during the same week.

So as a consolation, Boardroom Salon for Men offered to give me a haircut after I returned from my Florida trip. The funny thing was, with me having already buzzed off my hair, there wasn’t much left to cut.

However, on my most popular YouTube channel which happens to focus on men’s hair, many of my nearly 4,000 subscribers had been asking me to shave off all my hair with a razor. I didn’t want to do it myself because I saw it as too much trouble.

So as you can imagine, Boardroom Salon for Men was happy to engage my YouTube audience, as I made a video chronicling the epic event.

Here is the video I made featuring my visit. I admit, I am especially proud of the jingle I wrote for Boardroom Salon for Men, in Nashville on West End.

It is one of the most liberating experiences for a man to shave off all his hair; though I imagine many men, especially for those who can still grow hair, fear such an extreme change.

Not me. I love it.

And I think this speaks to the concept of a classy barbershop like Boardroom Salon For Men: That when it comes to men’s hair, choosing to go completely bald these days is just relevant as maintaining a traditional hairstyle.

Boardroom Salon for Men is aware of this, to the point they actually have a separate page on their website dedicated just to head shaves.

Nationwide, there are 30 locations for Boardroom Salon for Men; across Texas, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Georgia. If you’re interested in visiting the new location I visited, which is right across the street from Nashville’s famous Parthenon, here’s the address:

2505 West End Avenue, Nashville, TN 37203

I am very pleased with my visit. I also feel honored to be have been sought out as one of YouTube’s most popular “men’s hair” hosts in America.

And yes, I totally get the layers of irony: I run a popular YouTube channel about men’s hair, though I choose not to have any hair, and then I get approached by Boardroom Salon for Men.

Either way, I am proud to serve as a spokesman.

* Since 2004, Boardroom Salon for Men has been the place where men get ready.

* Boardroom pioneered the concept of luxury salons for men when the industry was yet to exist.

* What started as an idea to build a single salon has now grown to 30 locations across Texas, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Georgia.

* Boardroom currently has two locations in Tennessee, including Brentwood at CityPark and here in Nashville at West End that opened recently.

* Brentwood-CityPark: 7010 Executive Center Drive, Suite 104, Brentwood, TN 37207

* Nashville-West End: 2505 West End Avenue, Nashville, TN 37203

* Boardroom Salon for Men was created to provide the ultimate relaxed grooming experience for men.

* Clients enjoy salon and spa services in an elegant, country club environment that features oversized leather chairs, a pool table, a chessboard and a great vibe.

* A complimentary beverage is also provided with each service.

* Boardroom clients have the opportunity to purchase an Annual Membership, which provides members the freedom of unlimited haircuts, plus 10 percent off all other services and products for one year.

* Boardroom also recently launched a Head Shave Membership:

– 24 head shaves per year – $865

– 48 head shaves per year – $1,620

* For more information, please visit http://www.boardroomsalon.com.

@BoardroomSalons

#WhereMenGoToGetReady

3 Non-Romantic Reasons I Love My Wife

On the surface, it’s easy to see why I chose to spend the rest of my life with the woman I married over 9 years ago. She’s universally beautiful, she’s unselfishly kind, and she’s humble yet confident in herself.

I am a lucky man. I have the ability of knowing in all confidence, I made the right decision.

Not only did I choose the right person to marry, but I made the right decision that fateful night of October 5, 2006, when I spotted her in a crowded room full of hundreds of people and decided to take a chance: I walked up to her and attempted to woo her with my interesting stories, my charming, yet off-beat personality, and my average looks.

It worked.

Now here we are in our mid-30s, having been married nearly a decade, and having produced two blue-eyed, Dutch-looking children despite our DNA.

So while I could easily write 841 words on the romantic aspects of how much I love my wife, I’m instead going to take a different direction. What about the non-romantic reasons I love her?

What about the reasons that would be symbolized not by a heart emoji, but instead, by a house or a stack of money, or by a clock or even a skull?

If for no other reason than to challenge myself as a writer, I now present to you 3 non-romantic reasons I love my wife.

  1. We make a good business team.

I feel like this isn’t emphasized when a couple becomes engaged, but marriage is a business, and it needs to be ran that way. The longer we are married, the better we become at running our family’s business.

During our first year of marriage, before kids, we were able to pay for my wife to go get her Master’s Degree, without going into further debt. That investment paid off, as my wife has since then, consistently made considerably more money than I have all these years. My wife also handles our family’s weekly budget.

On my end, I have been faithfully building my experience as a writer (thanks to this blog) since 2009, and as a YouTuber for the past 3 years. Now at present day, we are seeing the possibility that my “side hustles” (as a blogger, ghostwriter, SEO expert, social media influencer, and YouTuber) are starting to pay off. I actually speculate that by January 2019, our monthly mortgage payment will be covered from my YouTube earnings alone.

My wife is the detailed accountant and investor. I am the creative entrepreneur. Together, we run a family business.

            2. We make a good parenting team.

In the same way we are counterparts as co-business owners, we function the same way as parents. My wife is the nurturer, the schedule keeper, the travel planner, the head chef, and the laundry engineer.

Meanwhile, I am the disciplinarian, the head of communication, the chauffeur, the before-and-after school program director, and the “wake up at any hour of the night to get our daughter back to sleep” technician.

We are not great at doing each other’s roles. Instead, we embrace our individual parenting strengths as part of our own identities. We’ve got a good system. And we’ve got good kids.

Whereas I see marriage as a business, I see parenting as a talent management agency. We have two young recruits who we are responsible for molding into respectable and independent adults, preparing them for the real world.

        3. I want to be around her even during the predictable, seemingly uneventful, non-                          Facebook-status-worthy moments of life.

For me, it all comes back to the famous line in our wedding vows: for better or for worse.

Yeah, I’m totally cool with slowly aging alongside my wife for the next 40 years as we live happily ever after, until ultimately one of us finally dies first, leaving the other person with the insurance money- and unimaginable sadness.

But what about the in-between of better or worse? Not everyday can be a Michael Bublé song. Many days are more like Huey Lewis, when he sang, “Yes, it’s true, I’m so happy to be stuck with you.”

I love my wife for the moments in our life together that are just normal and forgettable; the B-roll footage that no one would care about watching if our lives were a reality TV show on TLC, called Our Crazy Vegetarian Life. Being grateful for your spouse through all the filler moments, which honestly, make up most of our time on this planet, is what real love is all about.

So maybe I’ve failed to hold true to the title of this article. Maybe there really is something romantic about building a life together, running it like a business, creating and raising mini-me’s, and choosing to love a person until the day you die, even if most of those days don’t have fireworks and champagne.

Maybe there’s something undeniably romantic about the unromantic parts of loving the person you married.

If so, consider me a hopeless romantic.

Photo credit: Mohamad Alaw.

About the Author:

I am an accidental stay-at-home vegan daddy blogger based in Spring Hill, Tennessee. I have no spare time, but by default, my hobbies include playing guitar, singing, songwriting, mountain biking, skateboarding, running, and going on road trips across America with my family in vehicles that Toyota and Lexus provide for free because it’s smart advertising for them.

Additionally, I enjoy making videos for both of my YouTube channels: Nick Shell, which is a mentorship program for younger men who are psychologically dealing with going bald, and Family Friendly Daddy Blog, which celebrates and explores ethnic diversity based on DNA test results.

3 Steps for Making over $100 a Month as a YouTuber, Like I Do

You know me as a road tripping father and husband who happens to be the manliest vegan on the Internet and who is trying to meet his doppelganger from the Campbell’s Go soup package.

But to my 1800 YouTube subscribers, I am a hair loss expert.

Are you laughing yet? Because you should be.

I know it seems like a joke. I know it seems like I’m not qualified. But for the past couple of months, I have been receiving checks from YouTube, all of which are a little over a hundred dollars each.

To nearly 2,000 men, most of whom are under the age of 23, I am a mentor. I make 3 videos each day during my breaks at work, or after the kids are asleep at home. These videos help my subscribers psychologically sort out the process of going bald at a young age.

I know. I know. I still have most of my hair.

But that doesn’t get in the way of them listening to what I have to say.

Here’s the good news. You too can become a YouTuber, and make at least as much money as I do. I will now share with you the 3 fundamental steps that got me to this point:

1. Discover your topic of expertise. Do not simply assume that the thing you know the most about or enjoy talking about the most is going to be the thing that people will want to hear you talk about. For 30 days, create 3 videos per day about whatever is going through your head. After the month is over, take a look to see which video surpassed on the others on views. That is now your topic of expertise.

2. Exploit your topic of expertise. Now start making 3 videos per day about that same topic. It’s not about quality, it’s about quantity! People will subconsciously believe you are worth listening to if you invest enough time talking about it that consistently. And of course, you are building a library of videos, which will eventually start bringing in comments of the videos.

3. Respond by making videos that directly and positively respond to the comments you receive on your level of expertise. Just simply give your unrehearsed response, as you begin the video by reading the comment and say the user name of the person who left it. This will help engage your audience. Plus, you will learn more about the topic as well; which helps make you more of an authority on the subject, even if you’re not actually one. As for negative comments, simply thank the person for taking the time to watch the video and to comment on it, even though they did not agree with what you had to say.

As the number of subscribers grows, the number of people who watch each new video grows, and the dollar amount on the monthly checks you get from YouTube grows; as you get a cut of the ads that show before your videos.

It’s true. I make over $100 a month as a YouTuber.

I’m a Millennial dad who not only works a full time job, but who also knows how to side hustle; not only with this blog, but also as a YouTuber.

And somehow, that makes me a hair loss expert? Hey, it’s making me money, that has to make me at least a little bit of a professional. That’s the way I see it.

How I Got My First 1,000 YouTube Subscribers: My Sneaky 5 Step Formula (Based on Kindness and Capitalism; Quantity and Quality)

This month I celebrate reaching that magical (and marketable) milestone of 1,000 YouTube subscribers. What is interesting is that just a year ago in February 2016, I only had a little over 100 subscribers. This nearly 800% increase happened because of a specific 5 step formula I figured out and began applying. And today, I shall share it with you:

1.      Make 3 videos every day for a month; about whatever random topic that interests you. Every that 30 day period, see which particular video is outshining the rest in regards to views and comments. That video topic is now your specialty.

2.      Make 3 videos every day, from now on, mainly on that specialty topic, which is now your shtick. People will begin assuming you are somewhat of an expert on that subject, and from there, your true followers will naturally latch on to your work.

3.      Reply to all comments you receive on your videos; which forms a bond with the people spending their time to watch your videos. For the negative comments, sincerely thank them for spending time to watch your video and spending energy to comment on it, which ultimately draws more attention to the video, which ultimately makes the video seem more interesting and attractive to other potential watchers.

4.      Start making videos in direct response to the most relevant comments you receive. That shows your subscribers (and potential subscribers) that you are personal and involved; and therefor a passionate expert on that specialty topic. Read their screen name and quote their comment at the beginning of the video, then simply reply publicly to their comment; which will often encourage more comments.

5.      Always be honest and direct, yet positive. People naturally follow confident people, yet they also value vulnerability; which reinforces the personal quality of your video channel.

As for me, my “specialty topic” is helping younger men psychologically deal with hair loss. Believe me, I was as surprised as you are to learn that I could become an expert on that topic.

Like the prophet Jonah, I ran from the truth at first. I kept making videos that I enjoyed making (and that honestly, required more time and talent), yet no one was watching.

I realized I had to respect the free market. People were coming to my channel for encouragement about losing their hair. I simply learned to capitalize on that, in kindness, pouring my creative passion into what other people care about, not necessarily what I care about.

In a way, “quantity over quality” was working me. Instead of focusing on the quality of my videos with editing and music and moving fonts, I transferred the concept of quality into my personal interactions with my viewers; not the videos themselves. But since I now have nearly 1,000 videos along with those 1,000 subscribers, I by default am able to incorporate both quantity and quality.

While casual viewers will occasionally accuse me of being “obsessed” because I make 3 videos every day, my faithful subscribers appreciate my dedication- after all, my subscribers are the ones that matter. Perhaps they are the ones obsessed with the topic- I know this and therefore use that to my advantage, by not only catering to their desire but also attempting to help cure them, as well.

Granted, hair loss videos are not your shtick. You have to discover what random topic that people will assume you are an expert on.

Now, get to work. Begin with the first step…

How I Got My First 1,000 YouTube Subscribers: My Sneaky 5 Step Formula (Based on Kindness and Capitalism; Quantity and Quality)

YouTubers: 7 Tips for Handling Trolls and Hecklers (Stock Response Included)

YouTubers: 7 Tips for Handling Trolls and Hecklers (Stock Response Included)

As of this week, I hit the 500 mark for my number of subscribers. To me, that’s a big deal and it’s something I’m very proud of. However, getting here means dealing with a steady stream of trolls and hecklers along the way.

However, I feel very confident in how I deal with them. I feel that my 7 step formula allows me to remain in a positive position of authority and victory, as opposed to oppression and victimization. Today I would like to share my tips with you, assuming you’re looking for the best way to handle trolls and hecklers.

Here are my 7 tips, which I apply on a regular basis:

1- Don’t allow yourself to be offended. Keep in mind that only you can give another person the ability and power over you to offend you. The moment you allow yourself to be offended by anything anyone says, you automatically lose and the troll or heckler wins. Remember that responding with undeniable sarcasm makes you appear to be defending yourself while being emotionally wounded.

This is a video I made about that:

2- Be consistent in following up on every comment they leave for you; which if done correctly, keeps them from being motivated to continue trolling or heckling.

3- In your comment response to their attempt at insulting you, thank them for spending the exact amount of time to watch your video. (Ex. “Thank you for spending 4 minutes and 53 minutes of your time today to watch my video. That means a lot to me.”) This helps the troll or heckler to acknowledge that despite their destructive criticism, they ultimately made a choice to spend a designated amount of their time to watch a video that they ultimately did not enjoy.

4- Next in your comment, acknowledge that the comment they left ultimately helps draw in new potential viewers of the video, since videos that already have comments tend to seem more intriguing than those without. As they say, “Nothing draws a crowd like a crowd.”

5- The next thing to mention in the comment response is to assuming they are a subscriber to your channel. Thank them for their continued support, which actually generates income for you as a YouTuber.

6- Next, if this is their 2nd or 3rd time to troll or heckle you, assign them a consistent, responsible role on your channel. For example, I had a kid who kept mocking my thumbnails for each video, in a suggestive, 1996 Adam Sandler sort of way. I complimented him on his creative talents, asking him to make a funny caption for each new video I make. He stopped after the first assignment and has yet to leave any kind of comment since.

7- Lastly, let them know they are “welcome here” on your YouTube channel. (It is assumed that many of the people of have time, energy, and creativity to troll or heckle you are likely lost teenage boys looking for a place to belong.)

In closing, I will leave you with a stock response that you can begin using for any new troll or heckler in the future. I suggest just sticking with the script; don’t go into details with them as to why. That’s because If they fully recognize that you are attempting to outsmart them, they will take it as a victory against you. Being subtle, unemotional, and factual in your approach is the key:

 “Thanks for watching my video today. You spent (exact number of minutes and seconds of the length of the video) of your time today to support me. Not only does your comment draw more attention to this particular video, therefore possibly bringing in more traffic, but you also helped contribute to my income as well. Thanks so much for being one of my (number of subscribers you have) subscribers. Please feel free to continue leaving comments on each of my videos. It really helps me out. Here on my YouTube channel, you have a place to belong. Please know that you are welcome here.”

I hope you found this blog post helpful and useful. Let me know how it goes!

Also, I made a video version of this blog post if you would like to see it: