Ultra marathon runner Joel Runyon’s online journey began 6 years ago when he started IMPOSSIBLE – a blog about how he wanted to push his limits and do some of the impossible things he always wanted to do, but never felt like he could.

He decided to try and see if he could do them, and blog about it to keep himself accountable. Eventually he found out that not only could he do the challenges that he set himself, but he could also share challenges with other people and help them to accomplish their goals as well.

In 2012, after getting questions from his readers about the paleo diet, Joel started a second blog where he shared paleo meal plans and the Ultimate Paleo Guide.

How does Joel monetize each blog?

Blog #1: Impossible

On this blog Joel breaks down how he achieves specific mindset and fitness goals, and sells guides on how to do the same. There are also affiliate links throughout the site and other products that generate revenue. They also have physical apparel line that is expanding.

These all grew organically out of writing about what Joel was interested about, taking in feedback and then doubling down on what was resonating with his readers.

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Blog #2: Paleo

Joel sells online meal plans, paleo guides, and other nutrition information. Joel started this site after getting a lot of questions about the paleo diet on IMPOSSIBLE.

Joel explains It started off as a basic informational site with affiliate links to cover hosting. There’s not very much margin in the affiliate game so Joel’s team ended up creating our their services, paleo apps and other revenue streams to make better services and get more leverage.

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Unexpected challenges of building multiple online businesses

Joel shared that the most challenging pieces of growing his businesses have been managing things he didn’t expect to have to deal with.

The legal and accounting headache

In Joel’s words:

“I got into entrepreneurship because I wanted to get stuff done. Jumping into legal and accounting work seemed a little bit “too formal” and almost felt like I was going back to work for the man.
I’ve had to do more stuff on the legal side than I would have liked in the last 2 years. I fixed this by hiring a very expensive lawyer and getting all my legal documents and trademarks in order. The other side of that is accounting & bookkeeping. This was a complete mess for the first few years (where I basically ignored it), until I hired Bean Ninjas (thanks guys!)”

Tip: If you’d like to optimise your Xero bookkeeping so that you’re not a complete mess like Joel was, download our free Xero Starter checklist.

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Building a team and business that can run without you

“You have to put aside immediate effectiveness as a goal in order to build a long-term infrastructure that can run without you. I’ve been reading and learning a lot about this as well as focusing on building value into people and trusting them more.”

How to grow your blog audience

We asked Joel what marketing strategies were the most successful for growing his audience and customer base online. Here are his top 3 growth hacking strategies:

1. Guest post on other websites and blogs that overlap with your intended audience

Process steps: email, ask (pitch), write, promote, repeat.

2. Ask customers what they want to see

“A lot of the time, customers already know what they want and are willing to pay for, so I’ve found asking them what they want is easier than trying to guess at what might pique their interest.”

3. Be strategic with Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

“A lot of people write off SEO as something that’s gaming the system or cheating, but knowing what people are searching for means knowing what people want (and that’s the start to any business). We’ve written over 500+ articles on Ultimate Paleo Guide and have over 370+ paleo recipes. Write. A lot.”

As you can see, having a clear content strategy is critical to becoming successful online. Check out how we were able to double our own website traffic in just 4 months with a clearly documented content strategy.

Joel’s recommend resources for building a successful online business

Joel recommends:

  • The TMBA podcast if you’re wanting to build a sustainable online business,
  • The Jocko Podcast to learn the more important characteristics you’ll need to succeed in business: determination, discipline, and commitment.
  • If you want to make starting a blog super simple, Joel suggests StartABlog.TV is a good place to start.

The Bean Ninjas difference

We asked Joel what has been the biggest benefit of working with Bean Ninjas and this is what he had to say:

“Not worrying about bookkeeping every month and simultaneously getting monthly P&L’s without having to do any of the work myself. It allows me to have the insight that I need into my businesses, without any of the headache.”

To connect with Joel and achieve the impossible visit IMPOSSIBLE X.

To learn more about paleo diets check out the Ultimate Paleo Guide and Paleo Meal Plans.

To see how Bean Ninjas can save you time, money and headaches with your bookkeeping refer here.

Meryl Johnston

Meryl Johnston

Co-founder at Bean Ninjas
Meryl is a Chartered Accountant, entrepreneur and surfer!

Prior to Bean Ninjas she ran a cloud accounting consulting firm, worked in both commercial accounting roles, as an auditor (BDO), and as a lecturer in accounting and audit.
Meryl Johnston
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