With the first international payment of 103$ to owning 5 blog sites, a YouTube Channel and two Podcasts, Bishnu Mahali, the founder of BloggerSelf, is going to spill all his secrets with me today in this interview series.
Bishnu Mahali is a tech enthusiast, an entrepreneur and an established blogger who currently runs BloggerSelf (a site dedicated to blogging). He also runs a small digital marketing agency serving global clients and a local business in Siliguri.
This interview is an attempt to take an aspiring blogger or entrepreneur like you to go through his blogging experience and learn how he reached from struggling through his financial setbacks to making $5000.
Q. Can You Tell Me A Little Bit About Yourself And Your Family?
Bishnu: Hey guys, I’m Bishnu, the owner of BloggerSelf (a blogging site). I feel very rewarded for doing this interview. About me, I did my schooling from a government school in Malbazar and later pursued my graduation in Kolkata. I come from a lower-middle-class family where my mother is a tea leaf plucker and my father used to work as a gardener.
I am currently a blogger, YouTuber, and a Podcaster and serve different clients through my digital marketing agency. Though I never got a chance to join a proper digital marketing or blogging course due to financial setbacks I concentrated on the online resources to reach my goals.
Q. How You Started With Blogging?
Bishnu: Before I discovered blogging, let me share how I got interested in the Internet. My friend and I discovered the Internet on his father’s Nokia phone.
After coding a few successful websites, I started with my first few earnings but knew in my heart that this was not enough.
In 2012, I discovered Blogger. I blogged about random stuff and didn’t get any traffic. One thing that made me curious was how some websites appear in the search and not mine. This led me to discover SEO and found my mentor Neil Patel. I read all his blogs to gain knowledge of SEO & blogging.
In 2017, seeing my interest, my cousin bought the first domain for me. I was in college at that time. Later, I made my first income through AdSense of 103$ and bought my second domain called “www.itsitadda.com”. So 2017 was the start of my blogging career.
In 2018, I launched BloggerSelf and switched to WordPress. This was a big boost to my blogging career. At this point, I was ready to invest both financially and mentally.
Running these on and off websites taught me a lot of SEO and this helped me in taking BloggerSelf to new heights. Also, this paved a new path for my freelancing career. I registered myself on Fiverr, Upwork and started getting assignments on SEO. There was a time when I started making 3,00,000 lacs/month just with freelancing.
But freelancing was exhausting me and I was struggling to keep up. My blogs weren’t performing and in August 2019 I decided to step back from freelancing. This led to setting up my first digital marketing agency. I hired a few people and made a team. Today, I’m happy with my current earnings and more stable compared to the last few years. I enjoy my work and would like it to stay for long.
Q. Do You Think Blogging Is Dead?
Bishnu: Blogging is not dead. I know it’s a burning question but I want to answer this with a “No”. The reading audience will always be there and therefore if you are looking to start blogging don’t feel discouraged.
I wouldn’t totally deny that the audience has reduced from what it was initially but this is what happens when there are too many platforms offering the option to the audience. This is a signal for bloggers to improve their writing skills and polish them from time-to-time. Also, every blogger must sort their target audience before pouring content on their website.
Q How Many Income Sources Do You Have?
Bishnu: I have multiple income streams as of now. All my websites are registered on AdSense and I get sponsorships for my podcast and YouTube. I am also an affiliate marketer who is registered with different affiliate programs. Also, YouTube is another source of income for me.
Q Should People Pursue Blogging As A Full-Time Career?
Bishnu: Well, folks can surely make a start with blogging but eventually need to think beyond that. There are so many opportunities that come with blogging. For instance, you can do great with affiliate marketing, which is again a huge market.
Once you have a blogging audience, you can start selling them your products in the future with eBooks, lists & guides and eventually courses. Collecting an audience through blogging is essential because it will pave the way for your future endeavors. So blogging needs to be done full-time to gain more audience but only relying on blogging for your income source can get tricky. I wouldn’t suggest anyone think blogging as a full-time career.
Q How Many Podcasts Do You Run And What Are They About?
Bishnu: Currently, I run two podcasts. First is “Siddhi Mantra”, which is about time management and self-improvement. My friends and acquaintances always asked how do I manage so many things at once and always sought my suggestions. This got me thinking there might be many more folks who would go through the same challenge and thus I started with Siddhi Mantra.
Secondly, I started with “The Bishnu Mahali Show” which talks about blogging, different aspects of digital marketing, etc. This is purely to cater to the audience interested in the digital industry. This podcast comes out daily as of now. People can follow my podcast if they wish to know about my personal experience, how to start their blog site and eventually establish it.
Q How Much Traffic Do You Get On BloggerSelf & What According To You Are The Best Sources For Generating Traffic?
Bishnu: I get good organic traffic (3000-4000 visitors) on my blog but I do run ads too. I usually spend 20,000 to 30,000 INR/year sometimes even within a month to get paid traffic. Also, I use pixel data for retargeting my audience.
I think there is no limit when it comes to finding platforms to get traffic. Some of the platforms I can recommend are social media, Quora, Reddit, Email Marketing and blog directories. So if you are new to blogging, you should try and work more on getting traffic and keep a fine balance between producing quality content & its distribution to get traffic.
Q How Many Ventures Do You Own?
Bishnu: So, in the past few years, I have invested myself in quite a few things. I currently own 5 websites, one of which is BloggerSelf (blog site) and rest are either blog sites on different niches or e-commerce.
Besides Digital Businesses, I run a local business in Malbazar, Siliguri. Most brands have not entered three-tier cities due to several reasons and therefore I started with small service-based business here. The business still hasn’t reached break-even but I’m determined to take it somewhere and serve the community I come from. (Name of the business not disclosed during the interview)
Q What Are Your Future Goals?
Bishnu: I look for more success in the years to come. Also, I would like to consult aspiring bloggers and help them get over the challenges quickly and let them not toil in solitude during their blogging journey. Not one should do it alone and work with a mentor.
I have already started working on launching my courses in the future and provide my knowledge to those who seek guidance. It’s difficult to reach every geography by myself and therefore these courses are going to be a medium or rather a solution for my followers and subscribers.
Q How YouTube Is Contributing To Adding Your Audience?
With 2.97k Subscribers and a total of 141 videos, my YouTube journey is getting better every day. I cover a lot of topics on my YouTube Channel. I talk about blogging, Digital marketing and other technologies that I think are useful for my audience.
Some of my videos have reached the viewership of 86K, which is both exciting and rewarding because it assures me that people are benefitting from my knowledge. This kind of viewership also motivates me and keeps me going to work even harder and manage to make more videos in the future.
Q What Are The Equipment You Used For Blogging, Podcasts, and YouTube recordings?
Bishnu: When I started back in 2018, I utilized the basic resources available to me. But as the response got better, I invested in a few necessities such as a microphone (Podcast), a laptop (blogging) and recently got a PC for video editing (YouTube).
Q. Should People Work On Launching A Personal Brand Or Simply A Brand?
Bishnu: I think both have their own sets of pros and cons. But I believe that a personal brand can fetch more influencer opportunities and help you in building a better network. Also, promotion becomes a bit easier as you have to just tell your own story.
With launching a brand, you have to work a bit harder but finding and getting more like-minded people on board to promote it would become easy which is unlikely in case of personal branding.
Q What Advice Would You Give To Aspiring Bloggers?
Bishnu: No matter what you choose, the key is to start and get going. If you are an aspiring blogger then start with it. Make sure you believe in your niche and ready to work on it with complete honesty. The opportunities will come when the time is right but consistency and hard work is necessary to be successful in blogging.
Conclusion: Should You Invest Time & Money In Blogging?
When asked if people should invest in blogging, here’s what he said:
“The trick is to start with blogging and later branch it to out to different platforms and create multiple income streams. It is important to have a business mindset to make it big. With a well-established blog, you can grab on humongous opportunities that come with it. Consider it as a foundation of your digital career.”
So, if you are aspiring to be a blogger and a digital marketer, you must know that with patience and hard work, nothing can stop you from getting what you truly deserve.
I hope this interview with Bishnu Mahali, founder BloggerSelf has given you some great insights on blogging. These interview series aim to reach out to aspiring bloggers and digital marketers like you and help you go through the learning experiences of other successful people from the blogging & digital marketing industry.