85ideas – WordPress Themes and Plugins by Brett Helling

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My name is Brett and I am still fairly new to the online marketing space. Over the past two years, I’ve learned everything I could about online marketing, building websites, and lessons learned the hard way. I’ve applied it to the two sites I now run: rideshareapps.com and 85ideas.com.

Brett Helling Interview - Brett Helling Picture

Could you tell us a little about yourself – how you ended up starting an online business?

My experience online stems back to a simple task that my full time, 9-5 employer asked me if I could do a few months after I first started at the company: redesign their website. Being the motivated, constantly-learning person that I am, I said yes, even though I didn’t know a single thing about building a website.
Since I knew nothing about building a site, I went out and grabbed a few books about the topic, bookmarked a ton of YouTube videos, then got to learning. After a week or so I had a pretty good handle on what route I wanted to take.
I redesigned the site on the WordPress CMS, then went with a simple Genesis theme, which are known for their reliability and design. I redid the entire thing, learning as I went. As time went on, I learned about posts, pages, shortcodes, plugins, and everything associated with actually building the site. From there I dove into SEO, marketing, and networking with other bloggers in the space.
After a few months, I had a site that outperformed our old site, and everybody was happy. But after I built that site, I realized the power that websites had, and the potential to generate a lot of money online. I began applying that same model to many other sites, and after building site after site in my free time, I eventually hit gold.

Do you still have a “day job” or is this your main source of income?

I have a day job that I work typical office hours of 9-5. I run my websites in my free time, usually when I get home from my full time job and on the weekends. I don’t sleep much, but I think that the sacrifice is well worth my time.
Unlike many internet entrepreneurs, I love my full time job, and wouldn’t quit if my life depended on it. I really enjoy what I do, the people I work with, and I get a great satisfaction out of going into work every day. If I didn’t enjoy my full time job so much, I would quit and work for myself. Who knows, maybe that time will come eventually, but for the time being I plan on balancing the two like I am now.

Brett Helling Interview - 85ideas Logo

How long did it take to come up with the right name and how did you go about branding?

Hands down, my most successful project is rideshareapps.com. I attribute that to being in the right place at the right time, and my constant learning and drive paid off. But it took a lot of refining and updates to get to the point I’m currently at.
I first called the site “ridesharingpromocode.com” because, well, I was providing information about the rideshare industry to readers. At first it made sense to me, but as time went on I realized how spammy an uncredible that name really was. After a year, I changed the name to “rideshareapps.com” which in my head, sounds much more credible, easy to understand, and describes what my site is all about.
I am still in the process of branding my site and marketing materials. The downside of working a full time job is that I cannot fully focus on important, time-consuming details like this as much as I would like to. As time goes on, however, I’ll make more of a shift towards this.

If you had to pick the top three reasons for your success what would they be?

I believe that the formula for success on the internet it pretty simple: hard work, constant learning, and patience. In addition, I believe that creativity is also key.
There are a lot of people who copy the success of others. This may be an okay short-term strategy, but the real winners that will come out on top are the people looking for fresh ideas, pushing the boundaries of innovation, and always learning from their mistakes.

Do you have any advice for novices starting their own websites, any rookie mistakes to avoid?

My advice for novice internet marketers is to be patient. There are tons of people that rush to build a site, creating crappy content and then buying tons of spammy links. I cannot stress how badly this will hurt you. There is no question: if you do this, you will get slapped HARD with a penalty, and waste a lot of time building something that will turn out to be worthless in the long run.
Take your time, create great content that people will love, and be patient. If you create something truly great, it will stand the test of time. Think about building something cool rather than building something for the money. When you stop thinking about making money, you’ll focus in on building something that readers want and like, which, in the long run, will serve you much better than if you rush the process.

Brett Helling Interview - 85ideas Website Screenshot

We don’t expect you to spill any trade secrets (unless you want to, then by all means. . . ), but what’s the next big thing for you?

Right now I am just focused on building out my current sites and taking those as far as I can take them. From there, I have a few killer ideas, but until I get to that point I will keep those my little secret 🙂

Let’s assume we’re not omniscient . . . what’s the one question you have an awesome answer for, but we didn’t think to ask?

Nothing that I can think of. Thanks for the opportunity to be interviewed!

Photos ©: www.85ideas.com

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