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How To Effectively Scale Your Content Production (with Chris Fernandez from Women’s Health Interactive)

Ben Aston is joined by Chris Fernandez, founder of Women’s Health Interactive. Listen to learn how to effectively scale your content production.

Interview Highlights:

  • Chris launched his first site back in the ’90s and his first e-com startup. [1:14]
  • Chris is a meteorologist and he has a degree in meteorology. [1:28]
  • He went on a tornado chasing tour about four years ago. [1:44]
  • One of the courses he took in his fourth year was called Introduction to HTML Programming. Back then the web was just starting to get going. [2:41]

“The one that I took for fun, for pure enjoyment was the one that I use even to this day.” — Chris Fernandez

  • After Chris graduated from college, he moved to California to be a personal trainer. [3:09]
  • He was one of the very first companies to sell supplements online in 1997. It was called AthleticNutrition.com [3:22]
  • Chris always started his own businesses from scratch. He got into the Rhodium Group probably about five years ago and he discovered that these guys are buying and selling existing businesses. [4:13]

“I have a very deep love of content and I love good solid content.” — Chris Fernandez

  • Chris bought the site and took the first year and a half turning it around. [5:30]
  • They built a new cycle, The Roots of Loneliness Project and now it’s starting to rank for all those wonderful, beautiful articles, all on its own. [7:55]
  • They changed their business model to not be ad-driven, but affiliate-driven as well. They do editorial content and affiliate stuff. [8:07]
  • Chris bought his site on Flippa. He purchased it for about $28,000 [8:53]
  • The site was running on a software forum called vBulletin. [10:07]

“The toughest part is knowing when to pivot and when to let something go.” — Chris Fernandez

  • Chris put out content that’s geared solely towards sex and sexuality. They do reviews and guides. Towards the end of that six-month period, he started to see things happening. [12:17]

“If you buy an existing site, go look for what you were already ranked for. Pop it in Ahrefs and go write another article about that stuff.” — Chris Fernandez

  • They had an actually 20% conversion rate on HARO of getting links to pitches. Basically, that meant one out of every five times they replied, they got a link. And that was a very cost-effective medium for them because of the ROI, they were getting links for 20 bucks to a hundred bucks at most. [14:43]
  • Chris shared how intentional they are in building their audience. They build a newsletter list. Once they build up the traffic and the authority and get a revenue stream, then they’re doubling back on social platforms where they can control more of the audience and more of the reach.  [17:00]
  • They put rules in their push notifications. It doesn’t show up right away when you land on the site. [18:52]

“It’s more effective and has a higher reach, higher chance of getting accepted.” — Chris Fernandez

  • In terms of increasing their traffic, they’ve done a lot of exit-intent stuff. They use exit-intent popups, and those have been building their email list. [19:35]
  • One of his screw-ups in the past was the first company that he started, AthleticNutrition.com. [21:54]
  • Presently, they are dealing with women’s health, trying to be all things. [23:47]
  • Chris used two things to evaluate whether or not he’s being successful. One is ROI and the second is his pleasure, passion, and purpose. [24:57]
  • Chris’ favorite type of monetization is the MANDY affiliate and the content side. [27:03]

“After all this journey that I’ve been on, I think I’ve settled on the one that I liked the best, where I can write passionately and have a passionate team of awesome writers that do good work.” — Chris Fernandez

  • To scale content production, you have to have the logistics in place, you have to have the SLPs in place and SOP standard operating procedures for people that don’t know. Basically, what that means is you’re giving people a template to follow, a roadmap to follow. [29:23]

“The hardest part of scaling anything is taking a step back, stopping everything you’re doing.” — Chris Fernandez

  • They use a search console to see what they already rank for. [33:23]
  • Chris and his team have their own SOPs. They created a workflow and they have a Waterfall document to manage the flow of their content. [36:07]
  • Chris has six writers at one time, and they’re trying to get up to 8 or 10. They require one long-form article per month per writer. [39:20]
  • They pay $400 per one long article, and shorter ones are $50 for 500 words or less. For 1,000-2,000 words they pay from $200-$300 depending on the length, the time involved, the work, the research, and stuff like that. [40:23]
  • They do an ROI for the affiliate pages. [42:22]
  • The biggest challenge they’re facing is scaling the content, keeping the quality high as they bring on more writers. [43:48]
  • They used Craigslist ads to recruit writers. Then they assign them a short topic that’s 500 words – they call it knowledge base and they pay $50 for it. [45:52]
  • Chris’ goal is to  generate six figures easily within a year. [49:38]
  • Chris’ personal goal is to travel. [52:14]
  • Chris’  personal habits that have contributed most to his success over the past 20 years are his passion, diligence, and integrity. [57:03]

Guest Bio:

Chris Fernandez is the Owner and CEO Of Women’s Health Interactive.

Passion, integrity, curiosity, joy. These are some of the words that represent what he brings to everything that he does and have guided him throughout his entrepreneurial journey.

His passion for business, entrepreneurship and online marketing began in 1997 when he developed his first website and e-commerce startup. Since then he has founded and led multiple companies while shepherding many others with his diverse knowledge of internet marketing and what it takes to create a successful online presence.

In addition, for over 20 years, he’s also been a certified personal trainer and health and fitness expert and embody the belief that all good things begin with careful attention to your mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical well-being.

photo of chris fernandez

“After all this journey that I’ve been on, I think I’ve settled on the one that I liked the best, where I can write passionately and have a passionate team of awesome writers that do good work.”

— Chris Fernandez

Resources from this episode:

Related articles and podcasts:

We’re trying out transcribing our podcasts using a software program. Please forgive any typos as the bot isn’t correct 100% of the time.

Read the Transcript:

Ben Aston

Welcome to the Indie Media Club podcast. I’m Ben Aston, founder of the Indie Media Club. 

We’re on a mission to help independent bootstrapped media entrepreneurs succeed to help people who create, promote, and monetize through content do it better. Check out indiemedia.club to find out more.

I’m joined by Chris Fernandez. He launched his first site and econ startup back in 97. He is. Would you believe it? A meteorologist I’ve not met one in real life before, but here he is. He turned online marketer. He’s now an entrepreneur operating in the health and the wellness space. And over the last 20 years, he’s founded, exited and led multiple online businesses, as well as a successful personal training business. He is the founder of Women’s Health Interactive, which we’re going to talk about today. And I think what’s interesting about it is that they found some really interesting ways to scale their content production. So keep listening to today’s podcast to learn how to effectively scale your content production.

Hey Chris, thank you so much for joining us today. 

Chris Fernandez

Awesome. My pleasure. 

Ben Aston

So I want to go back right to the beginning back in, when you launched your first site back in the 90’s and your first econ startup. Tell me about that. How did you get into this world and what was the, what was your first project out there?

Chris Fernandez

Sure. So like you said, I’m a meteorologist I actually have a degree in meteorology, a bachelor of science. And so yes, I could have been one of those guys you saw on television, uh, pointing at the maps and charts and telling you the weather. Uh, I’m still very passionate about the weather. Actually, I went on a tornado chasing tour about four years ago.

Uh, and we were chasing tornadoes around the planes and that was awesome and so exciting for me. We didn’t see any tornadoes. Of course, there’s no guarantee of ever seeing one, but just having that experience and seeing whether chasing like weather around. Awesome. I want to do it again. So back then, when I was getting my degree, I realized that I didn’t want to do a career in meteorology.

It was too much math, science, research, and it was like, what are your career options? It’s like, well, you did to television or you’re going to teach. Or are you going to do research? And I was like, I don’t like any of those. The TV part sounded cool, but I didn’t want to start my way on the bottom rung because back then there was no internet.

Like there is now with streaming social platforms and all these kinds of things. Back then, it’s like, you got to go work for a station. A television station or something at work your way up is someone’s like, you know, fetching them their morning coffee. And I’m like, no, I want to go live my life. I want to go do stuff.

So one of the courses that I took at the very end, my fourth year, uh, it was called Introduction to HTML Programming. And back then the web was just starting to get going. I was playing fantasy baseball and I was like, this is awesome. I was like, I get to learn how to make a webpage. It was like the most exciting thing, the best course that I’ve ever taken in my life.

And the one that I took for fun, for pure enjoyment was the one that I use even to this day. And so that got my journey started. So then after I graduated from college, I moved to California to be a personal trainer and I was into big into the health and fitness space. And I was buying supplements at GNC and they’re expensive as hell.

And it was like, why aren’t I want to go buy them online? Why can’t I buy them online? And so then that’s the Genesis for my very first company selling supplements online. I was one of the very first companies actually to sell supplements online in 1997. It was called AthleticNutrition.com. And, um, I had the stuff in my garage.

I trained during the day and at night I’d come home and pack boxes. So that was the beginning of that. I did everything myself too, by the way, all the coding and the shopping cart and everything. Everything. Yeah.

Ben Aston

No. So that’s a pretty solid foundation. And now 20 years later, you’re still in this world of creating websites and content and then monetizing that.

So tell us a bit, for people who haven’t checked out Women’s Health Interactive yet, what is it? Who is it for? How did, tell us the backstory for that. 

Chris Fernandez

Sure. So I had always started my own businesses from scratch. And as many of your listeners know that is difficult. It’s a tough road to hoe. And so I got into the Rhodium Group probably about five years ago and I was like, Oh wow, these guys are buying and selling existing businesses.

I was like, what a great idea, why haven’t I thought of this? And so I started looking around for something to buy at the time I found Women’s Health Interactive and it was just a forum. And so there was no long form content on it at all. Now I have a very deep love of content and I love good solid content, journalism, uh, stuff that’s well-researched that has good pros. And so most of the content on the internet is shit and it sucks. And so for me, it was like, it was a chance for me to meld two things that I really wanted to meld together, which was my love of kind of health, fitness, wellness with content, internet marketing, entrepreneurship, and that kind of stuff as well.

Well, and it was like, Hey, I get to start a site that’s, uh, gets traffic, has backlinks, but yet has no content except user generated content, which by the way, was falling out of favor. Right. Google doesn’t really like ranking that anymore and stuff like that. So I was like, this is basically starting a start from zero without starting a site from zero.

And so I bought the site, took the first year and a half turning it around and at the time I wanted to do everything on women’s health. Because the forum had stuff about fashion, uh, had food, it had mental health, it had sexual health. And I was like, whoo, we’re going to write about everything and it’s going to rank and I’m going to rule the world.

And so we started writing about all kinds of topics and I would have writers and I’d be like, what do you want to write about? And I just asked them what they wanted to write about. We would, because I wanted passionate writers. And so they would bring that passion to the table. If I asked them, what do you want to write about?

And he’d want to get something off their chest. And so then they would write about that and I’d be like, it’s going to rank because I’m women’s health. And so it’s going to be awesome. And I’m going to put ads and I’m going to be lots of money. It’s going to be great. That didn’t happen. And so what did happen was Google algorithm hit, uh, the medic update.

We got crushed traffic went down by 80%. Uh, and so that destroyed all the traffic that we were getting. And I don’t blame Google for doing that because our site was just a forum and it was just crap. Right. It was mostly just people’s opinions and things. So I don’t, if I was Google, I would have demoted my site as well.

So it was okay. But again, that gave me insight. To like what I was doing was going to work because all our articles are medically reviewed. They’re all researched. We thoroughly vet them for accuracy and medical accuracy and all that kind of stuff. But what was happening is any article that wasn’t about sex was not ranking at all.

And at the time we started also writing about mental health and loneliness, and we built this big hub around loneliness and none of those articles are right we’re ranking and they were a beautiful, wonderful content. And so about a year and a half ago, maybe about, maybe more about a year ago, I was like this isn’t working. The RPMs for the ads that we were using was like less than a dollar.

No advertisers wanted to touch our site. It took me a year to find an ad network that would actually work with us. Then the RPMs were so low that it was just slowing the site down, not providing any income. So I said, this has got to change. It’s not working. What do I do? And so this is a critical point for a lot of, um, entrepreneurs.

Usually they cut bait and they’re like, it’s not working. Let’s sell it. Let’s fuck and get out and do something else. I said, wait a minute, I’m just not doing what I’m supposed to be doing here. I need to figure this out. I’m smart enough to figure this out. And so what we did was we separated all that content from the site, all the loneliness.

So we built a new cycle, the roots of loneliness project. And now that is starting to rank for all those wonderful, beautiful articles, all on its own. And now we focused on just sex and sexual health and we’re leaning into it. And so then we changed our business model to not be ad driven, but affiliate driven as well.

So we do editorial content and affiliate stuff. So we don’t just write guides and reviews. We also do really awesome articles about all kinds of things about sexual health. That’s that’s where we are right now. 

Ben Aston

Cool. So just, just rewinding a second back to that moment where you purchased it. Uh, cause I’m sure that that part of the story is interesting for me and maybe partly for the listeners as well.

Um, you decided to go out and buy an existing business. What, uh, can you share how much you paid for it and what your, what, the kind of first things that you did to migrate it from a forum to a content based site? 

Chris Fernandez

Yeah, so it was on Flippa. And I know Flippa was like the dark hole of junk, but I’ve been doing this, like you said, for 20 plus years.

So I know, you know, like all the vetting, the research and all that kind of checking that I needed to do. Uh, I knew the site needed a lot of work. Okay. I wasn’t under any kind of impression that it was like, Oh, this is a turnkey thing. And it’s going to be great. I knew it had a lot of work to do, but I’ve been doing that for 20 years.

I’ve been building a site from the ground up. So it’s a lot easier just to do an existing site already and do the same thing. So I purchased it for about $28,000. Uh, it was an extremely valuable domain name with great backlinks and, and, um, age, it’s like 15 years old. Um, it’s got a lot of history. And so it was like, this is great.

I got the platform, I got the, I got the foundation. Now I can build a house on top of that foundation. So I was like, let’s do it. This is great. And so, um, yeah, so from there we just kind of turned it around, added the long form content. That was an extremely long process because it really was building a site from the ground zero.

We had to redesign a logo, the layout I had to recode it. And here’s the tough part and something I wish somebody would have told me and the gotcha that I didn’t know. It was running on a software forum software called vBulletin. vBulletin at the time, nobody really codes it. There’s not a lot of people developers that do it.

And so I couldn’t get help. I couldn’t get developers. I couldn’t get people to help me with it. And I had to run two different websites, essentially one, a forum and one WordPress. So half of our site is WordPress for the long form articles. The other part is on vBulletin and I had to tie them together seamlessly so when you’re on the site, you don’t know, you don’t know that you’re on one or the other, but you’re seamlessly navigating between each one. That took a lot of money. A lot of time, a lot of testing, a lot of anguish. And that’s the part where I was like, shit. You know, I probably would, if somebody would have told me all this, I probably wouldn’t have done that.

Ben Aston

Yeah. And so you hit this kind of brick wall when that algorithm update came out. And I guess you got tagged as being not only a health site, which has its own challenges, but a sexual orientation to sites. So how did you, how did you kind of make that decision? I mean, you were pouring content into the site trying to get other stuff to rank and it wasn’t, how did you kind of make that distinction?

I guess that, Hey, now’s the time to, um, kind of cut our losses with that content folded into something else. Cause that must have been a difficult decision to make. 

Chris Fernandez

Yeah, it was. And the toughest part is knowing when to pivot and when to let something go. And I think there is usually no right or wrong answer because there’s shades, right.

There’s going to be shades of gray in terms of like. Uh, there’s many businesses out there that they pivoted and they built and grew. There’s other ones that pivoted that didn’t and you never know if you’re giving up too soon. So I, I trust my gut and my instinct because I’ve been doing this for so long.

And what I found is, as I’ve built more businesses, I let them go faster and faster and faster and faster because I recognize this is not working. And no matter what I do, it’s probably not going to work. I need to move on fast. So this site, it was like, wait a minute. We’re ranking already for sex and sexual stuff.

It’s easy. It ranks quickly. What if we started writing about, uh, guides and products, sexual aids, um, all kinds of different things that people are looking for. Right? And it was like, ding, ding, ding, the, we need to do that. So here’s what I did late last year. I said, I’m going to get this six months. I’m going to put out this content that’s geared solely towards sex and sexuality. We’re going to do reviews and guides. I want to, I’m going to give it six months. If I don’t see something change where it’s meaningful. A meaningful change that I’m going to let this sucker go. Right? And so towards the end of that six month period, I started to see things happening.

We were ranking for those articles. Uh, commissions started coming in, it started making money and I was like, okay, I’m seeing what I need to see to know that if I go full bore on this, it’s going to work. And so that’s where we’re at now. 

Ben Aston

Cool. And so when focusing, you decided, okay, let’s just, let’s double down on sex and, and really just leverage what we have, which is, Hey, Google thinks we’re a site about sex, so let’s keep writing about it.

Um, tell me when you went through that transition though, of, uh, turning this forum into a website, what was the process that you went through to begin to try and get stuff to rank where you, I mean, you talked about having lots of backlinks and stacks of content on there already. Did you just rely on the foundation that you had or were you, um, Really trying to push to, to get that search visibility.

What, what were your hacks to do that? 

Chris Fernandez

Yeah, no, so that’s, it’s a good, good point because we were ranking for a lot of stuff, but then other things it’s very difficult to rank for, especially the more competitive things. So we did a blend of stuff. A, we looked at search console and looked at the things we were already ranking for.

And so that is the easiest thing you can ever do. If you buy an existing site, go look for what you were already ranked for. Pop it in ahrefs and go write another article about that stuff. It’s like guaranteed traffic and stuff. Right. So we started with that knowing like, if we’re already ranking for this topic, this one is a corollary close.

We’re going to rank for that too. And so that was part of the low-hanging fruit for that part of it. Then there were other topics that we didn’t rank for, but we thought we could. And so that was the ones where we started doing some outreach and link building for using HARO and HARO was very successful for us.

So we had an actually a 20% conversion rate on HARO of getting links to pitches. Yeah, it was awesome. And so, uh, basically that meant one out of every five times we replied, we got a link. And so that was a very cost-effective medium for us because the ROI, I was getting links for 20 bucks to a hundred bucks at most.

And these were editorial links, awesome links, follow links. Most of them were do follow the work that, you know, follows. Cause sometimes you don’t know the publication of what they’re going to put, so you have to kind of go with it. So sometimes there were no followers, but that’s okay too. No followers are great for branding and all this other stuff and to make your backlink profile look more organic. So that’s cool, it was no big deal. And so we started doing a blend of that kind of stuff, ranking for things or writing things we know we can rank for and then doing things maybe we’re not so sure of, but using other mediums to try to boost those.

Ben Aston

Cool. And so in terms of your site, would you say your. Oh, how intentional have you been about building an audience? Um, versus trying to, um, write for keywords. I mean, you’ve been talking a few times about, you know, creating a publication, creating beautiful articles. Um, you’ve been talking about passion posts and how that is important.

So how are you trying to, like, do you have an email list? Are you trying to get people coming back to the site? Um, how have you been intentional or unintentional about that? 

Chris Fernandez

Yeah, that’s a good question. So we wanted to do both things. What we found was on many of these social platforms you have to pay to play.

And so we have a pretty large following on Facebook, but nobody was seeing our articles and I was sick and tired of paying for people to see our articles. And so I said, I’m not doing that anymore. We’re just done with that stuff. And so we pulled back on that stuff because we were also not at the time having the brand built in yet in terms of, Oh, Women’s Health Interactive.

They do the cool stuff about sex and sexuality, and I love their stuff and I’m going to follow them. We haven’t been, we hadn’t built that base because we were so doing so many different things, a shotgun approach in the beginning, we hadn’t built that. And so the redoubling now that we’ve done in the last six months has allowed us to now focus on building an audience.

We’re building a newsletter list, finally. We’re doing push notifications and we’re starting to then do other social channels. So one of my big pushes, once we build up the traffic and the authority and getting a revenue stream. So we’re positive ROI positive is then doubling back on social platforms where we control more of the audience and more of the reach.

And then I will devote resources solely to that, to start building that audience in that platform. But right now we didn’t, we didn’t, we tried in the beginning, but that we we’d let it go because it just, the ROI was just not there for us. 

Ben Aston

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. It’s always hard to justify in the short term that brand building an audience development when organic driving organic traffic is so easy, relatively, relatively easy, but I’m curious, one thing you mentioned there was, um, push notifications.

Does that, has that worked for you? Like, so you’re talking about browser push notifications. 

Chris Fernandez

Yes, it was. It’s been okay. Um, The conversion rate on that, the click through rate is about what email is. We’re looking at two to 4% kind of thing, you know? So it’s not something that’s a revelation like, Oh my God, everyone has to try this.

But what I found is there are a lot of people that prefer the push notifications that would never do email verification, like for double opt-in. Right. And so, okay, fine. We’ll take whatever someone’s willing to, like, if they want to follow us. That’s cool. Because then we got the push group, we got the email group and we could start building an audience that way.

Ben Aston

That’s cool. Yeah. I’ve not tried push notifications. Cause I was, you know, you go to a website. I always, when it says, do you want a notification? I’m like, no, thank you. Good. 2 to 4%. That’s pretty like, yeah, that is a significant amount. It’s not less than a percent. 

Chris Fernandez

Yeah. Here’s the key to that. Right. Is doing it so that you don’t piss people off.

And so we put rules in our push notifications, so it doesn’t show up right away when you land on the site. Cause that’s when people say, you know, I don’t want this to get this out of my face, so we did it. So like, you have to have visited, I think, two or more pages. Uh, there’s like rules that we put in place for our push.

So it’s more effective and has a higher reach, higher chance of getting accepted. Yeah. 

Ben Aston

Yeah. That’s great. What else has been working for you recently? Like push notifications is an interesting one, but how else have you been building your audience, building your visibility? We’ve talked about link-building, creating great content.

What’s worked for you in increasing our traffic. 

Chris Fernandez

So we’ve done a lot of, um, the exit intent stuff. And so we use like exit intent popups, and those have been building our email list. So we test different ones out on mobile and on desktop, where again, do you do it right away when they’re trying to exit, do you do it when they visited their second page?

And so we’re testing out all of these modes to see like what works and what doesn’t based on mobile and desktop. Uh, that’s one way that we’ve done it. Another way is partnerships. And so we have partnerships that we’ve done. There’s other sites that deal with sex and sexuality. And so we’ve, we’ve partnered with them in terms of, Hey, um, are you guys writing anything like this?

Do you need any help with this kind of content? And so we’re reaching out now to those folks to do maybe some guest posting on their site, legitimate guest posting, not just for back links, but it’s topically relevant and it’s stuff that they’re wanting to write about. And they just don’t have the, the, uh, maybe the, um, the team in place, right.

To write about all these topics. So that’s another way we’re broadening our audience and then the manufacturers. So when we review these products, the lowest hanging fruit is to reach out to the manufacturer and be like, Hey, you’re the top rated vibrator in this category in our website. And we just want to let you guys know, so you could promote it to your audience and stuff.

And they will sometimes give you a link and promote your stuff in their blog or in their socials and things like that. So that’s another great way to do it as well. In addition, you get in good with the manufacturer, which helps your affiliate stuff. So. 

Ben Aston

Yeah, that’s great. I think I think the power of partnerships is some is kind of underrated.

Like it’s work and it’s, it’s not as you can’t automate it, but reaching out to people and saying, Hey, I featured you. Um, and letting people know that you’re writing about them. I think it’s, it can be super effective. 

Chris Fernandez

Yeah. 

Ben Aston

Tell me about your biggest screw up along the way. What, uh, and what you, what you’ve learned from it, maybe it’s from Women’s Health Interactive or, you know, in your past 20 years, tell us about something that went really badly wrong.

Chris Fernandez

Wow. There’s been a lot. Um, there’s, there’s scripts in terms of decisions there scripts in terms of, um, timing, there’s all kinds of scripts. So I’ll give you one from the past and one from the present. How’s that?

Ben Aston

Yeah. Sounds good.

Chris Fernandez

So one, one from the past was the first company that I started AthleticNutrition.com. Um, that was back in the.com boom, 97, 98, 99, 2000.

And I got offered to be bought out. There was this company that was doing basically like a roll up, kind of like what a lot of firms VCs firms are doing now, buying up all these internet companies don’t care what the multiples are because when they roll them all up, they get like triple or quadruple the multiple anyway, in their fund.

So they’re like, cool, we’ll pay whatever. And we don’t even care if your business is really that great. We just want it in our portfolio. So I was caught up in that wave back at the.com boom. And I got offered to be bought out by a company that was rolling up into health and nutrition supplement sites and things like that.

And I think at the time they offered me, I believe it was $300,000 and my sales were about $150K and profit was like $20K. 

Ben Aston

Right. 

Chris Fernandez

It was like ridiculous evaluation for me. And I was like, I was, I was, well, I was 23, 24. I was like, no, I’m going to grow this business and they’re going to compete with me and I’m going to take them down. And I’m going to have the biggest supplement site on the internet. And that was a big mistake because shortly after their, uh, big boys started coming in on the, uh, on the web, right? Like the Amazons and the e-health and all these other big boys that undercut my prices and it was a commodity business.

And so you’re done. Once you’re a small fish in that big pond and you’re competing on only price. And that’s your differentiator? You’re out. And so that was one of my biggest mistakes was like at the time, I should have been like, fuck, yeah, dude, don’t take $200K and I’ll see them. It hadn’t like that would have been a great exit for someone at my age, first business.

You know what I mean? That would have been amazing. So that was one of our big mistakes in the past. Uh, present was dealing with, uh, the women’s health of, um, trying to be all things. And I didn’t look deep enough at what we were ranking for already to the point where I, it really, I realized in my head, if you write about other stuff, it’s not going to rank.

And so that was the biggest mistake I made was like trying to be all things and not understanding that it does that doesn’t work rarely. Are there some sites out there like a Wall Street Journal or whatever. Sure. Anything they write ranks fine. But for most of us now you’ve got like the sliver that you belong to.

It don’t go outside of your sliver. Uh, just do your sliver really freaking well, you know? Yeah. 

Ben Aston

Yeah. That’s cool. And tell me, um, when you look back, uh, um, your, your, the things that you’ve created, the science that you’ve been a part of your exits, when you, when you’re assessing the health of your business, but particularly within immediate business, like you’re in now, what, what for you is the most important metric that you use to evaluate whether or not you’re being a successful or not?

Chris Fernandez

Yeah, that’s a good question. And I guess that’s very different for every single person. Uh, there’s quality of life issues, there’s passion issues, there’s purpose issues. And so there’s a lot of things that go into is something your ROI. Your ROI is comprised of a lot of stuff, mental health and wealth and physical health.

And there’s a lot of ROI in terms of life. And so for me, what I use, I use two things. One is ROI, ROI. Like, am I spending more than I’m making? That’s not good. Let’s not do that for too long. I’m okay investing, but I don’t want to have it be something that just drains on my finances. The second ROI is my pleasure and passion and purpose.

Is this business something I like doing? Do I look forward to it? Is it growing? Does it feel like I’m contributing that I’m creating something of value that I’m providing awesome jobs for these different folks that write for me that are all across the country and all across the world. And I feel like I’m helping people that, you know, would have otherwise not been able to write about these topics.

Right. And things like that. And so for me, that’s the two that I look at is like, okay, are you making money? Because you don’t want to be losing money. Cool. And then second is, are you enjoying this journey? Because making money as a lot of us have found that doesn’t really make you happy. Um, when it’s like, you’re grinding.

You get no sleep. You can’t see your family, you have shitty health. Like that’s not an ROI either. And so it has to be both ROI is in there for me before I decide, like, is it time to let go? Or is it time to keep going? Or do I enjoy this? Don’t want to keep going. 

Ben Aston

Yeah. And so you’ve monetized in different ways over the years. We’ve, I mean, it’s been in the online marketing space, but you’ve been doing e-com. Um, now I know you’re doing affiliate based, but what is your favorite type of monetization that you’ve been able to do across your different sites from properties? Um, and why, why do you think you’ve now landed on affiliate?

Has that been intentional or is that just it’s works best with what you have right now? 

Chris Fernandez

Yeah, I, like you said, I’ve done pretty much almost every business model. Maybe SAS is the only one I haven’t done. Uh, but I’ve done a lot of other stuff. I’ve done consulting. Um, so it’s like, uh, consulting work. I’ve done e-commerce, I’ve done content. I’ve done region. I’ve done a bunch of different things. Out of all the ones that I’ve done I have to say MANDY affiliate and the content side is the best. Uh, I love being able to turn off at night and if I want to go on a hike the next day, nothing’s going to happen with my business.

I got to answer customer emails. I don’t have to worry about inventory. I don’t have to worry about packing boxes, returns, nothing. And so, or like the, the, the software crashing in the middle of the night, like, no, I don’t have to worry about any of that. And so after all this journey that I’ve been on, I think I’ve settled on the one that I liked the best, where I can write passionately and have a passionate team of awesome writers that do good work.

And then once we put it out there, it’s evergreen. And so that beautiful work is to be seen from that point forward. And it makes money all the time and I don’t have to pack the boxes and do all that work. So for me, I think I’ve settled on the one that I liked the most, all businesses have their ups and downs.

There’s people that crush it with Amazon FBA there’s people that crush it with SAS and there’s people that crush it with affiliate. So it’s just a matter of like what works for you, what your expertise lies and what you like doing. And so there’s no right or wrong, but for me at this stage in my life and journey, I like this, I really do.

Ben Aston

Yeah. I mean, there’s a lot to be said for, in terms of a lifestyle business, um, affiliate, uh, surely has to be one of the, one of the best models for that. 

But so let’s talk, I mean, we keep on talking about content and what we’re talking about today is yeah. How do you scale content production? You’ve been focused now on creating lots of really great content.

The quality of content is important. Um, So that you can rank so that it’s believable. So people click on your links. If you’re writing an affiliate post, it’s got to be a useful post. It’s gotta be believable. You’ve written tons of articles and, and commissioned writers to write for you. So tell us a bit about your process and how you go about creating so much content.

How do you produce content at a scale? 

Chris Fernandez

Yeah. So that’s a good question. I know we’ll get to the meat. This is what people probably want to know about. So you have to have the, uh, logistics in place. You have to have the SLPs in place and SOP standard operating procedures for people that don’t know basically what that means is you’re giving people a template to follow a roadmap to follow.

So they’re not left to wonder or decide on their own, what should I do here? And then they do something you didn’t want them to do or something that doesn’t help your business accelerate to where you want to go. So the hardest part of scaling anything is taking a step back, stopping everything you’re doing.

And writing out a detailed plan and process that covers every single detail with screenshots, with video, with a detail that like makes you almost tear up with anxiety because it’s so excrutiatingly like hard to sit there and just write this thing out. Right? Cause it’s like, you know how to do it, but it’s like, you got to get it out of you and put it down in a document for someone else to follow.

And so that is the first part for each business. You got to figure out what is germane to your business. What do you want to do in terms of your scaling? And so we did that with ours. It was like, okay, here’s where we get our sources. We go to HARO, we get quotes from medical experts and people that have used these products.

We do that first before we write, you go to HARO first because it takes a while to get the pitches. Then you go down the list of things. Here’s the keywords. We give you the keywords. We use market muse as well. Here’s the brief, here’s how you use the brief. Here’s how we want it structured. Here’s the sections.

Here’s the headers. Here’s what we want it done. And so we have everything laid out. So when the writer sits down, they’re like, okay, I know exactly what, what these guys want out of me. And then I let them do, uh, use their personality over that like spillover, so to speak. And so it’s like they’re writing with their heart and their passion and they’re making fun, cool, funny, engaging articles yet they’re also following a unique SEO structure, a structure that makes sense to the reader and a structure that also makes sense for like, um, making sure it’s SEO friendly, um, and fits with all the things that we’re trying to do. The goals that we have and medically accurate as well.

So we teach them about sourcing studies about making sure that they, anything, they say that stated as a fact has to be backed up by research, by a link by an article by something. And so that’s all the process that we did. So to scale content, first thing, you’ve got to stop, stop everything you’re doing and lay your foundation.

And then from there, then you can throw gasoline on the fire because now that you got your process in place, let’s go hire more writers. Let’s produce more content, let’s get more market muse briefs. Let’s get, you know, then you can start accelerating, but it’s not until you stop. That you can do all that effectively because if you do it without being effectively, all you’re going to be doing is creating more work for yourself because you’re gonna be running around, putting out fires every which way, because this writer didn’t do what you wanted here.

That writer put weird keywords there. That writer wrote a crappy article that sucks. And so you don’t have a system in place where you have checks and balances to make sure that you’re getting exactly what you want each time. 

Ben Aston

So, yeah, I think it’s really interesting how you combine writing or writers writing about what they’re passionate about with this keyword orientated backlog, that it sounds like you were creating, but I also think it’s interesting how even a stage before that you are sourcing, uh, sources from HARO to, to make these, uh, facts based pieces based on, um, experts.

So can you tell me about how you have architected your whole kind of content strategy and figuring out what you’re going to write about? Um, how did you, how’d you work with that content strategy and sourcing, um, your kind of HARO queries and how does that then become, go into your backlog? What does that process look like?

Chris Fernandez

Sure. So what we did was we do a couple of different things. Like I mentioned, at the beginning, we’ll use search console to see what do we already rank for. Then we have a sit down, I have an editor in chief, um, who helps me out. And we also have an admin that helps us out as well, plus our team of writers.

So I sit down with my editor in chief, we go through our search console and we talk about like, what are we ranking for? And now what can we correlate really rank for? As well. So let’s say if you rank for, you know, uh, hot wheels, then you say, well, I could probably reasonably rank for this other type of car.

That’s a toy car, right? Because if I ranked for this toy car, then if I read about another toy car, I bet is probably gonna rank two. So then that’s how we decide, what hub are we going to write about next? And so if we ranked for a certain hub, it’s like, wow, we’re ranking for five different things on this type of topic right over here is one that’s very similar to this topic.

I bet we could do a whole hub on this. So then we dive deep on that. We look at market muse data, and then we decide editorially, how do we get links for that? How’s it going to be useful? What products we review because not every article we write is going to be a review or a guide. It’s going to be editorial.

It’s going to be like how to do something or what is this? Or what, what does it mean if my boyfriend does that? And that has no, uh, No at all, bearing on like monetization, right? No monetization strategy for those articles, but you have to write those if you want to be an authority in that topic. And so I already know that going in, it’s like, Hey, we’re going to write a hub about this.

And then that Hub’s going to have all these little cool spokes that are going to go to different things. And on those spokes, we’ll be a few monetization articles that’ll naturally fit in. So that’s what we’ve done. And then we do is we set out like about a 20 to 30 article run of topics. We get those briefs done, we do the research and then we assign them to the writers.

And so then we kind of just go, and so we know about two or three months out what we’re going to be writing about. 

Ben Aston

Cool. And so tell me about your team and you mentioned that you, as your editor in chief, um, how have you structured your writing team? So you’ve got 30 pieces of content on the go at any one time.

Um, how are you, how are you managing all those moving parts? You’ve, you’ve created this SOP. You’ve got a content brief, but there’s 30, maybe there’s 30 writers. I don’t know how many writers there are. Um, how are you managing your writers? How are you managing that flow of stuff? Being briefed, stump, stuff, being reviewed.

How’d you actually manage that? The, the messy part of content creation. 

Chris Fernandez

Yeah. That’s so that’s where the SOP has come in. We have our own SOPs. So my editor-in-chief and I have our own SOPs that we created for ourselves. And so we created a workflow. And so we have a waterfall document. Okay. And this waterfall document, we start at the top and it’s like, is this article something we can rank for?

Yes, no. You know, and it goes all the way down to, if we write this article, does it need HARO? Does it have an infographic we’re going to create for it? Does it need special research is a poll. Could it use a poll? Could it . And we go through that whole entire waterfall document before we assign it to the writer.

Right? Because then we know when we give the writer, we’re like, Hey, this is going to have five sections. We’re going to do an infographic. And each section on the infographic is going to tie to your sections. Here’s what we want you to write about that we could send this infographic out to be started on while the articles being written so that everybody can think could come together at the same time, but that doesn’t begin unless we step back first.

Uh, it’s called going slow before you go fast. And so we’re going slow. Take our time, think about this article. And so then we have that going in a row. Some of the articles that are longer, we require an outline. And so we give the writer one week to get an outline. They get one week to go to HARO, to get sources and quotes one week to get the outline in the way that we want it.

Uh, they’re going to share with us what they’re going to write about how they’re going to do it, what products they found that are the best ones in that category. I review that myself because that is the business. And so I insert myself only where I’m not a bottleneck, but where I’m a necessary part of the process.

So assigning the topics, then checking on the outline. Is this article being written the way I want it to be written the way it needs to be written, not just for search engines, but for people and humans, then the editor in chief takes over from there when they returned that article. She’s the one that edits it, make sure it’s ready to go.

And then only when it’s finished and polished and has the images and everything’s ready, do I review it one more time? And I create the title, the SEO information, the titles, the meta descriptions, all those kinds of things, because that again is the business. And so I insert myself only where I’m uniquely qualified and where my expertise, knowledge, and where I want to put my fingers in the business to make sure it goes the way that I want it to go.

And so our articles are the business, and so I need to get only where I’m needed to make the business successful. And that means choosing the topics and the direction, and then also making those sure those topics and those articles are written in a certain way. That gets us to where we need to be. Everything else it’s done by the editor in chief and our admin that helps her like help her search for images. She does the alt text and the titles of the images. She edits them deeply. She interfaces with the writers, the writing team. I don’t talk to the writers only when they turn in those outlines. Do I interface with the writers?

So I removed myself, so I’m not a bottleneck, so I don’t stop this process from going on. And so that’s how we’ve managed to ramp up and roll up our scale. 

Ben Aston

So how many writers do you have on staff or at any one time writing a post, do you think? 

Chris Fernandez

Yeah, we have, we had up to 6 writers at one time, and now I’m trying to get us up to 8 to 10 writers.

My goal with that is to have, because we require one long form article per month per writer. And the reason we do that is because I want it to be an amazing quality article. So I’m not looking for like five articles per week, you know, let’s do that. It’s like, I don’t want that. I want you to take your time.

I want you to source it from HARO. I want you to talk to experts. I want this to be a beautiful piece of art. And so we require at least one article per month. That’s a long review article, 5,000 words, something like that from each person. And that includes our review process of like the outline reviews and all that kind of stuff, the editing and all that stuff.

So I want to get up to 10, eight to 10 writers so that every week we’re getting about two pieces of content that we can release that are going to be brand new. And so I think that’s a good pace for us to go on. 

Ben Aston

Cool. Do you know how much do or do you calculate how much each piece of content costs you on average to produce?

Chris Fernandez

Yes, I do. It’s a lot. So I pay some very generous rates to my writers because I want good writers. Uh, and so long articles, we pay $400 per article and shorter ones are 50. Those are like the really, really short ones, like 500 words or less. We pay 50 bucks. And then in between we have other articles that are like 1000, 2000 words, and we pay anywhere from $200, $300, depending on the length, the time involved, the work, the research and stuff like that.

So very fair rates. Okay. I want to compensate people fairly. I’m not trying to get the lowest cost writing. I want native English speakers. I want people not just that are native English speakers, but that have pop and snap and crackle in the writing where like it pops off the page and you’re like, wow, this is a cool article.

Like this person knows. Yeah. Full. And so I don’t mind paying more for that because that again is an evergreen piece of content. That’s going to be there for 10 years. So I don’t mind paying it a little extra for that. Now that’s fine with me. So we’ll pay the writers about $250 to $400, depending on the length, then the editor and her time, then the images, then the graphics team, if we need custom graphics.

So sometimes we would do infographics and custom graphics, uh, roll it all up with like a little bit of her time, my time, and any kind of custom things. It could be anywhere from $500 to a thousand dollars per article in that range. 

Ben Aston

Yeah. Yeah. And so do you calculate ROI per piece of content or do you just have a kind of high level view of, you know, we produced this many articles this month in six months time, we’d expect it to pay for itself.

Chris Fernandez

Yeah, I would do a blend of both. So the editorial stuff obviously is harder to do an ROI on, especially cause we don’t do ads anymore. So at least if there was ads that could be like, Oh, okay, this is RPM on this page. And the, you know, it’s making this much, but now that we removed ads, now it’s only affiliate.

So I can do an ROI for the affiliate pages. And we do that. So I keep track directly like, Oh wow, this affiliate page is making this much per month. And so it paid for itself in like three months and yeah, let’s keep doing those. Those are awesome. But the editorial ones, there’s no way to do that. And so for now it’s more of that’s the, uh, overhead view of like, is the site profitable.

And so I’m making these new articles. Are they profitable? Is the site paying for itself and is it making money and is it making profit? And that’s the bottom line? Like, are you, is this a profitable business? And so at that point it’s like, then you can go deeper in terms of, okay, which articles aren’t ranking or aren’t getting traffic, make sure we don’t write too many more of those and make sure that the ones that are ranking it’s like, let’s keep going there.

That’s a good hub. That hub is working. Let’s keep building that out. And so there’s, it’s a blend of, um, data with intuition and just kind of blending the two together of like experience intuition and that kind of thing. 

Ben Aston

Yeah. Yeah. Cool. Well, let’s move on to now, just talk about your future-focused. Um, I’m curious for you, as you’ve obviously spin up a new site, the roots of learning this project, um, what do you see in the year ahead being.

Um, being tough or what are some of your biggest challenges that you faced in the year ahead? 

Chris Fernandez

So I think for us, it’s definitely going to be scaling the content, keeping the quality high as we bring on more writers. And so we have a policy of it’s either fuck yes or no. And so what that means is per probably a lot of people have heard this.

It’s like, if something isn’t a fuck. Yeah. Then that means it’s a note. And that that’s for everything in life, like relationships and work and everything. And so what we do is when we’re reading an article, it’s like, if that article, when I read it, I don’t go, wow. Like, fuck. Yeah, that was great. Then it’s like, no.

And then we get rid of that writer quickly, like, we want to move on fast. We give people chances because sometimes we know that what they submit to us isn’t done the way we want it to be done. And so sometimes they may have trouble with that, or maybe there’ll be really good at it. And so let’s give him a chance.

Let’s go. But we do a quick article, we turn it out and it’s like, did they do what we needed? Fuck. Yes, no. And so the biggest challenge for us then is going to be scaling that level of content and keeping that quality high and not bogging us down, you know, having to like, Oh, we’re running out of writers, we’ve lost two writers this month and that content is slowing down.

And like we can’t write about, or we need an expert in this subject matter. That’s been an, also a challenge. So some of our articles are technical and they talk about certain things with like sex and sexuality. That’s a very technical subject or a scientific subject that needs like an expert to write it.

Uh, and so we get bogged down sometimes and like, I need to go find a PhD to write this article so that it’s credible, believable, trustworthy, authoritative. And so that is another challenge that we have going forward as well, because that’s the quality standard that we have for all the stuff that we do.

Ben Aston

Um, let’s touch on that Reiser recruitment for a minute. So finding really good writers is tough. Right. So where do, how do you recruit writers? How do you source them? And. Um, how do you test them to make sure that they will be able to do follow your briefs and follow those SAP’s that you’ve created? 

Chris Fernandez

Yeah. It’s a good question. So we’ve used, we’ve had a lot of success with Craigslist, believe it or not. So pudding. Yeah. Yeah. And so I, what I did was I took, um, the top 10 cities in the US by population size and I put Craigslist ads on all 10 cities and ran, ran ads in those sites. We also then have other, uh, freelance websites that we donated money to.

So they would put our ad on their site and they accept donations. So I’m like, well, okay, we’ll give you a donation, just put our ad up at the top of your site. Cause we actually pay good rates. So they want to, you want to provide this to your audience. So there’s been sites that we’ve used like that, that we’ve partnered with, that we’ve donated money to Craigslist.

And then, then it’s just time and churn because you’re going to get a lot of crap. You’re going to a lot of people that like see the dollar amount that you’re paying and they’re like, yeah, I want to write for you guys, but they’re not the right fit for what we’re doing. And so that’s the most difficult part.

And so what we do is we look first, we have a process of, they have to submit a letter to us in a certain way, certain breakdown, the person that doesn’t do that we delete. And so if they’re a subject was the wrong subject, delete. If they information they can closed was not good. And what we want it delete if they don’t have examples of what we asked for delete.

And so our process has made a lot simpler by just having an SOP for like, these are what we look for when someone submits their stuff to us. Then after that gets filtered down and we do have someone that like catches our attention. It’s like, wow, this person’s like got the background, the chops. They seem like they’re really passionate about the subject matter.

I talked to them on the phone, a brief 15, 20 minute call. I say, look, this is how it works. We require this, we would do this way. Are you okay with that? Are you okay with strict deadlines? Are you okay with like having HARO quotes? Are you okay with like feedback? Because some writers don’t like feedback.

They’re used to just sitting in their desk, writing the content and they get paid and they’re like, Ooh, I’m done. But we don’t do that. Our stuff’s like, okay, you need to fix this, this, this, this needs to be rewritten. We need to move this section up here. Right. It’s like just feedback to make your writing better.

And so some writers, they don’t like that. They don’t take feedback well, and so that’s one of the questions I ask, Hey, can you take feedback? It’s not personal. I mean, we’re never going to say like, you suck, this was shit. You know, it’s just going to be like, Hey, we need to clean this up. Like this grammar isn’t correct.

Or this doesn’t have a transitional statement that we need here because you’re just jumping from this subject to the next. And it’s like, Whoa, how did we get here? And so you need to add a transition. It’s just good writing. We’re just teaching you how to write. Well, uh, so. Then we assign them a short topic.

That’s 500 words, we call it a knowledge base. And so that’s a 500 word or less article and we pay $50 for it. And we give them that as their trial run. And so that’s what we start all writers on so that even if they mess that up, it’s not a big deal either we use it or we don’t use it, but it was 50 bucks who cares.

It was no big deal. Yes. There was an onboarding cost time of onboarding and teaching them that sucked. And we lost that, but at least we know right away, like, no, this person’s not the right fit. Or if they’d kill that article, then it’s like, okay, you’re ready for the next step of article, which is the longer ones.

And here’s what we do now and stuff like that. So that’s how we turn it out. 

Ben Aston

Nice. And so if that’s kind of, one of your challenges is, is scaling this. Um, what, what else are your goals for this year? What else is on the roadmap? How do you see your products, your site evolving, um, Your processes are evolving.

What, what will be different for you? Do you hope in 2021 moving into next year? 

Chris Fernandez

Yeah. So this year, my goal, I have written down all these financial goals. So that’s one layer of it. And I have like, I think we all do this, right? We have the monthly goal of like, okay, this month, I want to make this much, this month.

I want to have this much profit and it keeps growing over the year. So, because up to this point, we hadn’t been profitable because of the ads being so crappy and because of all the content mismatches. So I paid for content that never ranked and didn’t get traffic. And so I spent a lot of money investing in the site that didn’t turn anything.

So for me, it’s like stage one, breakeven, stage two, profit, boom. And then now we start jamming. I honestly feel that the niche that we’re in and what we do, we can generate easily six figures within a year. Uh, that’s my goal and easily seven figures within a couple of years. And so that’s where I’m headed with this because I feel like we do amazing reviews.

We do amazing articles, and I feel like we’re going to build out these beautiful hubs of content. So like, let’s say someone who’s new to sex sexuality, a woman who has never used, um, toys in her life. And she’s like, I don’t even know what to do. I don’t even know what they are. I don’t even know what kinds we’ve got you covered because now we’re doing a whole guide of like introduction to sex toys or whatever.

And so we’re not just going to sell you something. We’re going to educate you. We’re going to have videos. We’re going to have diagrams. We’re going to have visuals. We’re going to have like, Hey, what kind of thing works for you? Is this how you be stimulated? Or is that how you like stimulation? Okay, well then here’s the type of toy that you probably need for this is what’s going to be actually helping people.

And so that’s our biggest mission. Our biggest mission is to help it’d be sex positive site that helps everyone to, uh, be open understanding and like, uh, learn about their bodies, about sexuality and in a non-threatening way, in a fun way, in an engaging way. And that’s their biggest goal. And believe it or not, 45% of our viewers are men.

And so there’s guys out there reading all our stuff for women. And so that means they’re buying stuff for their girlfriends. That means they’re learning about their girlfriends. That means they’re, you know, so we’re going to write about all those kinds of things for everyone. It’s not just for women, but it’s for all inclusive to all genders, um, you know, everything, everyone, all ages doesn’t matter to us at all.

Ben Aston

Cool. And in terms of you personally moving away from the business as your leading this business, turning it from well into creating revenue that’s profitable, what, what are some of your personal goals for this year? Kind of go alongside the business goals. 

Chris Fernandez

Hm, well, because COVID is going to be ending here soon.

I hope, uh, one of my biggest goals is to travel. I hadn’t gotten to travel last year. And so one of the big things I want to hit is, is doing some international, traveling, some domestic traveling and stuff like that. And I’m setting up the business so that I can do that. So, because I took all these steps with the SOPs and hiring good people, I’ve been able now to let go of a lot of stuff and get out of my own way.

I was so back when I first started, that’s the biggest lesson. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned too, is learning to delegate, learning, to trust and learning, to hire good people that you can trust that you could delegate without worrying about stuff. And knowing that just because they may not do it your exact way doesn’t mean that they’re not doing it right.

And it doesn’t mean that it’s not successful and it’s going to work. And so I let that go now to the point where now I can relax. And it’s like, when I look at an article and maybe. The alt text was not what I would have done, or this section title you could have put, should move this word. You know what I mean?

Like it’s like you could, but I’m like, but it’s good enough. It’s fricking 80, 20 compliant. Let’s go. And I’m not going to stop this process and be a bottleneck anymore in my business. And so that’s one of the biggest, cool, coolest things for me is learning to let go and have the freedom now of peace of mind of sleeping at night.

And just knowing like things are working. I get reports from my team on Fridays, they report back in of like, here’s how many backlinks we got this week. Here’s where we were featured this week. Here’s how many articles we released this week. And it’s like, it’s a beautiful, beautiful synergy and system working now that I’m very so happy and proud of myself for finally building and letting go of trying to control everything and, and being too worried about the minutiae, the detail, uh, to not back up enough, to teach people how to do it so that they’re doing it at a 90% effectiveness rate of what I would have done it.

And that’s plenty good enough. You know, Google is not going to rank you fricking, you know, four spots lower because the title had a word that was a little bit different than what you would have written in the title. Do you know what I’m saying? It’s like, come on now. Like get to let shit go. It’s okay.

And so that’s the one thing that I’ve learned to do. And so I’m looking forward to having more of that separation this year so that I can do the good stuff, which is partnerships, planning, executing plans, and monetization strategies and growth strategies, which is where I have my unique skillset.

Ben Aston

Awesome. Well, let’s close this out with a lightning round, so I’m just gonna ask you these questions. We weren’t converse about them, but, um, let’s just close out with this lightning round.

Chris Fernandez

All right. 

Ben Aston

So what is the best advice you’ve ever gotten received? 

Chris Fernandez

Ah, okay. That’s a good question. So I thought a little bit about this back when I was starting my first company in 1997, I was so obsessed.

I was working weekends, nights. I would like when I would get a new catalog from a vendor, I check my mail every day, like the new catalogs coming with all the new supplements and I got to order these and we’re going to get a wholesale pricing. And I was like, so excited about everything, stupid little thing to the point where I was neglecting other stuff.

And so I’ll never forget this. My dad was visiting my brother and I, uh, from out of town and he was only staying with us for a couple of weeks. And I only saw my dad maybe once a year, twice a year, maybe once every other year, just because we live so far apart. And I remember that I was so obsessed with my business, that I was like, I gotta, I gotta stay home today because I gotta do this work.

And I remember my brother said to me, he said a year from now, you won’t remember what you were working on this weekend, but you will remember the time that you spent with your dad. And so for me, that stuck with me and so forever from that day forward, I always ask myself is what I’m doing today meaningful enough that I will remember it a year from now. And if it isn’t, then I need to go do what is, and if faced with the choice of one or the other. Sure. If you don’t have another choice and it’s like, yeah, I’m going to work today. But if you have a choice, you have family in town, you have a significant other, you want to spend time with, you have, uh, someone who needs to talk to you on the phone today, whatever your decision needs to be predicated on.

Which thing will I remember after a year, which one’s more such, such a meaningful event that a year from now, I’ll be like, I’m so happy that I took that phone call. I’m so happy that I went hiking with my buddy today. I’m so happy that I spent time with my family today. You won’t say I’m so happy that I spent my weekend working that weekend.

I don’t think anyone ever says that. Right. So that’s probably the biggest lesson. 

Ben Aston

Cool. And which of your personal habits do you think has contributed most to your success over the past 20 years? 

Chris Fernandez

Probably my passion, my passion, and my diligence, and my integrity. So everything I do, I bring my passion to it.

I get excited about it. And, um, I’m, I’m just, can’t wait to get up in the morning and do it. And then my diligence. So I don’t give up easily. Um, I’m the kind of guy that bugs the crap out of people to get stuff done. So for partnerships or whatever, right. I’m the guy that will keep emailing someone and calling them on the phone and that kind of thing.

And so those are probably qualities that have served me very, very well. 

Ben Aston

And can you share a resource or tool that you use maybe to help you manage your, uh, publishing system? Uh, whatever it is, your favorite tool at the moment? What is it? 

Chris Fernandez

Wow. We use so many different tools. Gosh, um, you know, I got, this is going to sound probably boring, but Google docs.

Google docs is amazing because we can share with all our team wherever they are, do it in real time, we can have the sheets, the docs everything’s tracked. It’s beautiful. It’s clean, it’s easy. You don’t have to worry about operating systems compatibilities. And so that’s been the huge time saver in terms of, uh, cross functionality is probably like the Google suite of stuff online.

Ben Aston

Um, what book do you think you’ve been most influenced by that you’d recommend? 

Chris Fernandez

Uh, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. That’s a good one. There’s a book called the E-Myth Revisited and a lot of us entrepreneurs are probably read it, but some of us probably haven’t and if you haven’t, then I recommend you stop whatever you’re doing.

Go to Amazon right now. And order that book, it will change your life. It will change your business. It will change how you look at business. And so the E-Myth Revisited is where I finally realized that I was the reason that my business wasn’t successful. And it wasn’t because of anything else. It was because I was trying to do everything.

I wasn’t systematizing. I wasn’t hiring the right people. I wasn’t letting go. I wasn’t trusting people to do their job. And I wasn’t doing all the things right to set up a business for long-term success. And it was a really stark, like visual reminder of like, this is why you’re not successful. And that’s why it’s called the E-Myth Revisited because it’s like the myth that we all have of entrepreneurship and what it means.

And it’s not the truth. The truth is other shit. It’s more boring than you think it is. It’s about making processes and stuff, but the things that you do that do that, that’s what you need to be successful. And so that book is one I recommend for everyone. 

Ben Aston

And finally, for someone who’s at the start of their digital media journey, who’s maybe starting out creating content, writing a blog, uh, trying to start their first site.

What is one piece of advice that you’d give, uh, maybe that you wish you to turn earlier? 

Chris Fernandez

Um, I would say, do everything at least once yourself. And so code that WordPress site do the shitty CSS where it looks terrible and you’re like, Oh my God, this sucks. Do a graphic and Photoshop where you’re like, Oh my God, I suck at Photoshop like this, terrible.

Do everything once so that you can understand the time, the effort, what it takes so that when you delegate that or hire someone to do it. You understand exactly what it takes. And so they won’t take you for a ride in terms of like overcharging you, or you’re more understanding of like, this is going to take them like four days.

I know how hard that’s going to be. And so when, uh, when a developer tells you, yeah, it’s gonna take me a month to code the site. You don’t freak out and go that’s what the hell do? Just sit down for a day or two and you get it done. You know, you’ll understand that, like, it’s going to take a month because it’s going to take like all this special code and you’re going to have to test it.

It’s going to break, you’re going to do this. You’re gonna do that. And so I would say the value that I got from starting my own company in 1997 and doing everything, myself, coding the site and the shopping cart and the merchant account and like the visuals and the images. And it was like, I dug deep. And so now I’m able to like, wow, I understand when someone does some work for me, that’s a high quality work.

I’m like, wow, like that person killed this. They crushed it. They’re worth whatever they charged me, man. That was awesome job that they just did for me. And so that’s what I would say. That’s the biggest piece of advice is don’t delegate right away. Do some of the hard shit yourself that makes it look like that looks terrible or that didn’t work or you broke it and the site’s broken and you’re like, don’t know what to do.

Do that. Have some of those struggles and get frustrated, have a weekend where you’re coding CSS and you’re so frustrated cause it’s terrible and it’s difficult because then that sets you up to understand how to delegate and how to be more effective as a leader. 

Ben Aston

Awesome. Well, Chris, thank you so much for joining us today.

Where can people find you more about you? What you’re up to, uh, and, and your sites 

Chris Fernandez

I’m averse to social media. So you won’t find me on social media. I have, uh, a couple like Facebook stuff, but I hide them. Uh, so the best way, if you ever want to reach out to me would be LinkedIn. LinkedIn is probably one of the few social media channels that I like and use.

I think it’s very valuable. So I’m on LinkedIn, Chris Fernandez. And then, um, my site Women’s Health Interactive it’s womens-health.com. And then we also have our other site, The Roots of Loneliness Project, which is rootsofloneliness.com. And so that’s how you could probably find me on any of those channels and, uh, reach out to me if you want.

Ben Aston

Well said, well, Chris, thank you so much for joining us today, explaining so much about your content process, lifting the lid, uh, on that journey that you’ve been through. Uh, it’s been great having you join us. 

Chris Fernandez

Awesome. Thank you, Ben. I appreciate it. 

Ben Aston

And if you like what you heard today, please subscribe and stay in touch on indiemedia.club.

Uh, please leave us a review on iTunes as well. Tell us if you liked this episode or you didn’t tell us if you loved Chris and what he’s up to. We’d love to know what you found helpful or not, but until next time, thank you so much for this thing.

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