A few months ago, I invested in Project24. It’s an online course created by Jim and Ricky that sells for $349 the first year and $199 each additional year.
My ecommerce business was trending down and I heard blogging could make a lot of money, so I wanted to give it a try. I researched three or four courses but determined Jim and Ricky’s to be the best.
Jim and Ricky are two experienced bloggers who make a very comfortable living from their blog websites. They decided to compile their knowledge into a course and came out with it in 2017.
They called it Project 24 because they claim it takes 24 months to achieve a full-time living from their program. This is probably the longest time frame I’ve ever seen in a course.
But I loved it. These two guys weren’t about hyping the numbers. No, instead they were giving very realistic figures. In fact, Jim and Ricky claim that if you work your tail off for six months following their program, you can expect to make a whopping total of $5! Wow.
How many other course creators would say something like that? They also said that the longer you work, the more you make. This was the first course where I felt the creators were being honest about expectations.
The pair also seemed very knowledgeable about blogging. So putting my trust into the two, I took the plunge and bought the course. It’s broken up into 60 steps.
You just follow each step one at a time.
If you’re thinking about buying the course, which we recommend, we want you to be aware of some important points. While the course works if you follow it, you really need to consider these points, as it will likely affect your success with Project 24.
I believe these to be the five essential prerequisites to success with this course. Before you purchase it, read the remainder of this blog post.
If after reading it, you feel you’re right for the course, then by all means jump in! But if not, then we’re glad you’ll be saving a lot of time and money.
Finding The Right Niche
One of the first things Jim and Ricky have you do is pick a niche. Sounds easy, right? Wrong. My business partner, Ted, and I struggled to come up with a niche for over a week.
In fact, after deciding on a niche, buying a domain name, and coming up with a short list of articles to write, we decided to scrap it. Our niche was going to be devices and things to help the elderly.
We named our website bettergoldenyears.com. From the beginning, I had trouble conceiving how I would write articles for such a site. Finally, I went to Ted and told him I can’t do it.
Ted begrudgingly gave in and asked me to think of another niche. So I decided it would be tennis, which is a huge passion of mine. It turned out to be a success, as I wrote long, inspired articles for our new website: serveandvolleytennis.com.
However, this story could have ended badly. Let me tell you why. Although Jim and Ricky give their students a list of 300 possible niches, it was incredibly difficult to pick even one. Why?
If you are going to blog on a topic successfully, there are several important factors that go into it. I’ve listed six below that quickly come to mind. We faced all six in our search for a good niche.
- A sustained passion for the topic
- Has to be niched enough to get traffic – not as easy as it sounds
- You need to be very knowledgeable on the topic
- Can’t be in a saturated market
- Must be able to monetize well
- Needs to be evergreen content
If you want to create a money-making blog, you definitely need to hit the mark or come close to it on all six factors. I’ll explain why.
Let’s take the first one. A sustained passion for the topic is absolutely essential. You’re going to be writing the equivalent of a book by the time all your articles are completed. There’s no way you can sustain that kind of enthusiasm unless you love what you write about.
Second, if you don’t niche down far enough, you’ll be in too competitive of a market. If that happens, ranking on the first page of google for your short and long tail key words is going to be difficult, if not impossible.
This factor is tough because if you niche down too far, then very few people will be interested in your blog. That would result in a low number of visitors, even if you do rank on google.
Obviously, finding somewhere in the middle is best. You don’t want to be in a hyper-competitive niche, or one that is a dessert either.
Third, you need to be somewhat of an expert on the topic. Remember, people are coming to your blog to learn from you. If you’re not an expert on the subject, your audience will see right through you.
The difficulty here is that most people are not experts at subjects that make great niches. For example, a great niche idea is welding. However, most people know nothing about it.
So how do you succeed at blogging if you’re not an expert at something?
I would advise you to read books, talk to experts, watch videos, and learn all you can about the subject. Then, when you feel you are ready, you can begin to blog on it.
Fourth, you can’t blog on a subject that is already saturated – as I previously mentioned. When there’s too much competition, it will be difficult to rank and stand apart from the crowd.
As an example, Ted and I thought about blogging on items made of wood (phone cases, sun glasses, toys, etc.). We thought we might be one of just a few to blog on the subject.
We quickly did a search on youtube and saw more than 50 videos on wooden glasses. We also saw competition in the form of blogs. We felt the market was too saturated to compete, so we abandoned the idea. I’m glad we did, as I like our new idea a lot more.
Fifth, you must be able to monetize the niche. Monetization comes from ad revenue, affiliate links, courses you sell, possible paid memberships, selling physical products and even offering drop ship products.
Some ideas are more easily monetizable than others. For example, the tennis blog we have can be easily monetized through all the ways I mentioned. However, we’re basically looking at ad revenue, affiliate links, and online courses.
Lastly, your content should be evergreen. Evergreen content is material that never gets old. People will be interested in it now, 10 years from now, and even further out in some cases. Examples of evergreen content are sports techniques, nutrition advice, spiritual guidance, etc.
These things will be pertinent now and years from now. Examples of non-evergreen content are software tutorials, celebrity gossip, any type of news, the current state of the stock market, etc.
You don’t want to write about anything that won’t be relevant a couple of years from now. Going two years out is on the border of what constitutes evergreen, according to Jim and Ricky, but the longer, the better.
The bottom line is you need to ultimately decide on one niche and go forward with it. You’ll likely second-guess it, as Ted and I did. It happens all the time. But you can’t succeed by second-guessing.
Try to avoid doubting your niche unless you really believe it’s bad. As Sam Ovens likes to say, “People think the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But it’s not. The grass is greener where you water it.”
If you’re new to blogging and making websites, you may be naïve to the complexities of finding good images to use in your blog. I can tell you from personal experience that it’s not easy.
Sure, there are tons of great pictures on google images you can copy and use. I don’t know the exact percentage, but I would venture to say 99 percent of them are copyrighted. This means you shouldn’t and can’t use them.
But people use copyrighted images all the time, right? And they get away with it. Well, sometimes and it depends. The way my business partner and I do business is entirely above the board. We don’t recommend black hat at all.
Suppose you use a copyrighted image and your blog is gaining popularity. If the owner of the photo sees it on your website, he or she could sue you. And you don’t want that. You could even lose your rankings with google.
Overall, it’s not worth the risk. Jim and Ricky talk a bit about this in their course but they don’t go into depth on how to find copyright free images on google. You can find them, but it takes time and work. You need to read and understand the copyright licenses for sure.
Project 24 also suggests using a website like storyblock.com or istockphoto.com for your photos. However, these sites are not cheap. Photos can cost a lot of money. But buying photos or not really depends on your niche.
If you have a niche where free photos are difficult to find online, you may need to buy them or take them yourself.
The main issue I have with using free pictures is that they look quite generic and very bland. They don’t really “pop” like the pictures a graphic designer would make.
For this reason, I believe rudimentary graphic design skills are a must for creating a great blog. This is because a great blog needs lots of eye-catching pictures and infographics. Without pictures, viewers are much less likely to read your posts and stay on your blog.
While I’m not knocking Jim and Ricky’s course, they don’t inform you of the difficulties of finding pictures in their webinar (the sales video that promotes their Project 24 course).
If you don’t have graphic design skills, that’s fine. You can hire one on fiverr.com or upwork.com. However, expect to pay a hefty sum. That’s because your average blog post will be around 2,500 words or more and contain at least five pictures.
Jim and Ricky recommend writing at least 30 blog posts, so you’re looking at 150 pictures. And that’s just to start off. You’ll likely be writing many more posts if your blog is an authority site.
So really, you have three options with photos. You can use free images from google, which in my opinion is the worst option because the photos aren’t appealing.
You may find a couple of good free ones here and there, but finding specific photos tailored around your content is very hard. You’ll definitely need to be non-specific in your requirements.
The second choice is to pay for photos, either from a stock photo company or a graphic designer – or both. This is a great option if you have a large budget and don’t care to throw around $500-$1000 to create an awesome-looking blog.
If you don’t have a budget but want your photos to look good, then taking them yourself is a viable option. However, you need to learn at least the basics of graphic design and photography.
The main challenge with doing photos yourself is the time. It’s one thing to spend 4-5 hours writing a blog post. But then to spend another several hours working on photos is tough. It becomes an all-day affair to write and publish one blog post.
Before you jump into Project 24, at least consider the challenge you may face with images. You may already know how you’ll handle it. If so, great. But if not, now you know the three different options you can use.
Programming And SEO Basics
In the sales webinar for Project 24, Jim and Ricky claim anyone can go through their course and succeed – even people with no experience building websites.
The course is designed to take newbies by the hand. It’s meant walk them through all the stages of registering a domain name, getting hosting, building a website with a good theme, and using and installing WordPress.
While it’s entirely possible to complete all these steps from the information in the course, it won’t be easy. For those who have no experience with SEO, building a beautiful website will be quite daunting.
WordPress is a made to be a simple platform, but it can become very complex very quickly. My business partner, Ted, creates all the websites we run together – including Oriental-Décor.com, Serveandvolleytennis.com, and this one.
Ted is a programmer and webmaster with 20+ years of experience. But building out our first real blog site, serveandvolleytennis.com, didn’t take a few minutes. Ted had to create a logo, come up with a color theme, pick a suitable design theme, and customize various places of the site.
Even with all his experience, it took hour after hour to make the website look good and the functionally perfect. If you’re new to creating websites, or have scant experience with computers, this may not be the program for you.
That is unless you don’t mind paying a programmer to create the blog for you. However, most people don’t have a budget for that, and it could run into the thousands for a good WordPress programmer.
If you plan to go it on your own, expect to spend a lot of time learning WordPress and being frustrated. I write this not to discourage you or be negative, but to be honest with expectations.
The other part of this equation is SEO basics (search engine optimization). Unless you have experience with SEO, it may be daunting to discover how difficult the subject can be.
Jim and Ricky give you guidelines for SEO but it comes down exclusively to you. You could easily pick a niche that has too little traffic or too much competition and end up wasting months of time.
How do you know if the niche is good enough to spend the next three months blogging about? That’s where SEO basics come in handy. Ted and I use SEMrush, which is a paid SEO tool, to help us determine that.
There are free tools as well, but you’ll need to know what to look for and how to decipher the information. When you decide to write a specific blog post, you need to have some idea if it has a chance to rank. Again, basic SEO knowledge is required.
If you have no experience with SEO, I would recommend reading up on it, taking a course, and finding out everything you can before purchasing Project 24. It will help you immensely in going down the right path for your blog.
If you end up going down the wrong path, it could set you back months. You can’t just haphazardly choose a blog topic and write about it. You need to figure out if you have a chance to rank by using SEO methods.
That’s really what it comes to in creating a successful blog. You need eyeballs on your posts. You also need to know how to attract and grow an audience. SEO is a huge requirement for success in blogging – and even in ranking your youtube videos.
Ted: “SEO basics is all about not making ROOKIE mistakes. You HAVE to get that part right to have any chance at all. It’s not difficult, but you need to know A LOT of information before you have peace of mind you are not doing something wrong.”
When people think of bloggers, they think of writers. However, most people are not skilled at writing, and this often holds them back from blogging.
But you don’t have to be the world’s best writer to blog. You just need to put your thoughts into a coherent and sequential format that’s easy to read. Your writing also needs to be free of grammar and spelling errors.
Jim and Ricky don’t exactly address improving your writing skills in their course. They presuppose you have some basic idea how to write, or else you wouldn’t be interested in becoming a blogger.
In their course they state: Don’t worry if your first post is horrible. Mine was. Do your best today and publish!
Jim and Ricky don’t offer any direct tips on how to improve your writing. So you’re on your own with this one.
In fairness to Project 24, it’s not a writing course. The pair do give a lot of advice on what to say in your posts, how long they need to be, how to organize your ideas, and how to format them.
If you’re writing skills are simply awful, I would say you have three options. First, don’t buy the course and try something else. I know this sounds harsh, but let’s be real about things.
If you’re writing sucks, people are going to get turned off quickly and bounce from your site. Good writing is a minimum requirement for a good blog.
Second, you can spend time improving your writing skills before going into the course. When you feel they are up to par, you can sign up.
On the positive side, you’re likely to improve your writing skills while taking the course, as you will constantly be writing blog posts.
Third, you can hire freelance writers to produce the content for you. Keep in mind this will be costly, but it will save you a lot of time and allow you to get into blogging and make progress a lot quicker.
The major drawback I see (besides the money) with this option is finding the right freelancers to work with. Additionally, their writing style or skills may not coincide with what you want.
Now, let’s assume that your writing skills are up to par and you’ll write all the content yourself. There are a few things to be aware of. The most important is the amount of time it takes to create worthy content.
In their Project 24 course, Jim and Ricky say it should take only 45 minutes to write a 1500-word blog post. Perhaps they can. But in my own experience, a 1500-word blog post takes me at least three hours to complete, and usually longer.
I’ve spent as much as 10 hours on a 4000-word blog post. This includes initial research, writing, and doing one rewrite, where I go through the entire post and make edits and rewrites.
Once that part’s done, I hand the post off to Ted, who spends hours doing the following things to add it to the website.
All blog posts need to be formatted correctly in WordPress, images need to be found, captions added, affiliate links supplied (if applicable), meta descriptions inputted, infographics created (if applicable) and lists or bullet points made.
Sometimes these things take longer than writing the actual article. When you combine the writing and the formatting, you can see it takes a lot of time.
If I have one gripe with Project 24, it’s the amount of time Jim and Ricky underestimate when it comes to writing and publishing a blog post. And this is coming from a guy (yours truly) who types about 75 words per minute and has been writing for 25 years.
To boot, I also know my subject well, which speeds up the writing. If you don’t know a subject well, expect to reserve a lot more time writing your blog.
Before you purchase Jim and Ricky’s course, consider these facts. Creating a blog will take up a lot of your time. I’m almost certain you’ll need to put aside at least three hours, if not four, in writing a good 1500-word blog post.
And there’s also this – the longest post you write will be a minimum of 4000 words! So be prepared to spend a lot of time researching, writing, rewriting, formatting, and working with images. Again, I’m not trying to be negative, just realistic.
When I write a new blog post and hand it off to Ted, we usually get it on the website in one day. But that’s two people working diligently. If you’re creating the blog yourself, it could take two days to get it on your website.
Look, if time doesn’t matter to you, then that’s fine. Ted and I like to work quick and blogging is what we do full time. But don’t let me discourage you.
If you hope to make additional income, or even a full time living, you can absolutely do this yourself. Just understand it’s going to take a lot of time and work.
If you work 2-3 hours per day, about six days a week, after 3-5 months, you should have a good-looking blog and a solid asset to start earning a passive income.
Just keep in mind most blogs don’t earn money until they’re about a year online.
As I just mentioned, you really shouldn’t expect to make any money for the first year. This means you will need to survive on another form of income until the end of the second year.
That’s because a blog needs time to build traffic in google. Here are the projections Jim and Ricky give for the first two years of blogging. This is based on creating one authority blog site and one niche blog site. Each should have a minimum of 30 blog posts and 10 videos.
You can see that after working hard for six months, your total earnings are $5. But the numbers go up substantially as time progresses. Ted and I earned our first $6 on an affiliate sale 2.5 months into our tennis blog.
In that sense, we exceeded the 6-month amount in less than half the time. But that’s because we’re two people working full time. If you purchase Project 24 and go to work on a blog, don’t expect to make anything at all for a while.
I think it’s great Jim and Ricky made these projections – which are averages. Nobody can tell you exactly how much you will earn. That depends on the time you put in, your niche, and how skilled you are.
But at least you won’t be discouraged in your first 6-12 months. Jim and Ricky set the record straight in letting you know not to expect much.
I started my blog with Ted not expecting to make a dime until a year in. That’s the sort of patience and long-term thinking you need. But the money that can be made after two years is fantastic, so it’s well worth the wait.
For more than 15 years, Ted and I have owned and operated an e-commerce business. We buy and stock inventory in a physical location, deal with customers and vendors, make sales, and ship products.
What appeals to me about passive income blog sites is that the work load is about 1/10th of an ecommerce website. Sure, there’s always work to do. But most of the money comes from affiliate links, ad revenue, and digital online information products. Easy peasy!
Bottom line is that if you purchase Project 24, just know it’s going to take time to make money. Your first year, you’ll make almost nothing. But the second year you should start seeing results.
Ted and I look at it as an investment. We’re putting in the hard work now but in time it will pay off.
We’re very confident that Jim and Ricky are correct in their predictions. We’re going full steam ahead and plan to create at least six websites over the next two years.
If we do, then we could potentially be looking at earning multiples of the projected Jim and Ricky figures. And that would be a lot of money. Ultimately, Ted and I see blogging as a million dollar a year business.
I hope you received value from this post – and enjoyed it. Check out Project24 here. If you have any questions or comments for me, leave them in the comment section below.