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How One Blogger Made $3k a month by Helping People – And How He Can Help You

Posted By Jade Craven 9th of October 2009 General 0 Comments

A Guest post by Jade Craven.

JohnnyBTruantHave you heard of Johnny B Truant? He started writing at ‘The Economy Isn’t Happening’ but recently, he revealed he’s made $10’000 in 3 months. In his Ittybiz column, he told how he made nearly $3’000 in one month. He’s also written a couple of guest posts here on ProBlogger here and here.

What really attracted me to him was that he didn’t earn this money by taking advantage of people or using questionable tactics. He did it by finding out what people wanted and providing them with a solution that benefited them both.

In this post, I’ll talk about how Johnny did it. I’ll provide strategies and case studies so you can apply these tips to your on blog. I’ll even talk about the tactics he used to promote his killer new ecourse, for those who are looking at selling information products from their blog.

Finally, I’ll give you an exclusive discount for that e-course Zero to Business – just skip to the bottom if you want 10% off.

4 Ways To Earn Money By Helping People

Give Free Stuff strategically

strategyImage by Anil Jadhav

How Johnny did this:

  • He released a free instructional ebook about setting up a blog.
  • He did free website setups in return for testimonials

How You Can Do this

  • Barter your services with other skilled bloggers
  • Release an introductory report
  • Do free work in return for references or exposure
  • Do case studies highlighting your skills.

Case studies.

  • Leo Babauta, Skellie and Chris Garret got a lot of exposure because of their guest posting.
  • Neil Creek takes headshots of attendees at twitter meetups for use on their social media sites. He has received a lot of praise over this, both from the local twitter community and international photographers. He has gone on to get many more clients and enquiries.
  • Darren used to do case studies on his blog as an advertisement for his consulting. He no longer offers this service.

Provide calls to action regularly

callImage by kozumel

How Johnny did this:

  • He would frequently have P.S at the end of his post – including a few humorous ones
  • He would simply state “Call to Action”

How you can provide calls to action:

  • In the conclusion of the post, tell the reader what you want them to do
  • Give them an incentive to click through

Case Studies:

  • Ali Hales guest post on Problogger. She talked about the topic of staff blogging before encouraging people to check out her ecourse. As an extra incentive, she gave the readers a discount code.
  • Dave Navarros post on Freelance Folder, where he encouraged the readers to give an example in the comments.

Find your people.


Image by Elvire.R.

How Johnny did this:

  • He got a guest posting slot of Ittybiz, offering himself as a case study
  • He is on the faculty of Project Mojave
  • He has guest posted on the places where his target readership hangs out

How to do this:

  • Find blogs that attract the kind of people you want to target. See if you can guest post on that blog.
  • Seek  work and joint venture opportunities
  • Look for regular writing opportunities

Case studies.

I don’t need to offer any case studies. Look around at your favourite blogs. Do you see the same people being featured? Are the same people interacting? They are the loyal fans.

Are you a loyal fan of anyone? You’ll usually find you tend to hang out in that persons group. You may buy from more than one person. These are the people you want to connect with.

Selling something? Focus on selling solutions.


Image by Doug88888

How Johnny did this

  • He offered wordpress installs at a discounted price. To compensate, he asked that people buy through his affiliate link
  • He sold group coaching to those that couldn’t afford the price of individual coaching..
  • When realizing that people were still needing information, he created a course that was cheaper than getting Johnny to help them through the process.

How you can do this:

  • See if you can offer a service at a discounted rate in exchange for purchasing something through their affiliate link
  • Find creative ways of making your products more affordable without underpricing yourself.
  • Listen to your audiences needs and create products to help them.

Case Studies:

  • Sarah Prout does this in her Twitter Success Blueprint. She realized that businesses needed an affordable way to learn about twitter, so she created an ebook with information catered to professionals, as well as other twitter users.
  • Men with Pens do this with their blog critiques. They offer a discount for ones offered on the blog.

I know many people hate being sold too. Rather than promote his course Zero to Business, I’ll talk about what you can learn from it.

What you can learn from the course

There are three main things I loved about the promotion strategy:

  • He created humorous videos with viral potential.
  • He purposely  avoided hype in his sales page
  • He provided real and useful bonuses

Lets discuss how you can learn from each strategy.

The Humorous videos.

  • He mocked a number of the key sales tactics in the internet marketing niche
  • In his letter to his affiliates, he recommended that people promote the videos rather than the product

So – how can you adopt this to your launch?

  • Offering a quality resource that your affiliates can promote
  • Mock some of the common techniques used in product launches in your niche

Avoiding Hype

  • Johnny repeated several times that this product would provide technical solutions. It not make them rich.
  • He then explained the costs of learning this if you paid his normal consulting fees.

So – how can you adopt this to your launch?

  • Talk about the practical reasons about how your product can help someone
  • Explain to them how your solution is better value than the alternative

Cool Bonuses

  • He provided individual coaching to the first five people that signed up
  • He offered group coaching to those who signed up by a certain date.

So – how can you adopt this to your launch?

  • Offer bonuses that are exclusive and are not freely available to other marketers
  • Offer bonuses that will provide real value to the majority of your buyers

My call to action:

  • If you want 10% off Johnnys e-course, Zero to Business, just use the word ‘problogger‘ as the discount code. Its that easy.
  • If you want to check out Johnnys blog, go on over to his fancy new site.
  • If you want rants about zombies, check out his twitter feed.
About Jade Craven
Jade Craven is a regular Problogger contributor. She wrote the Bloggers To Watch column for four years and currently manages the DPS Pinterest boards. She writes about bloggers doing amazing things at her new project, Bloggers To Watch.
  1. Ya, to provide additional services that others are not providing. This way you will not just help them and also help yourself in getting new sale.

  2. I’ve been following Johhny for a few months – his blog posts that is, not literally…

    He’s a good symbol out there of how to get moving and put things into action. If you’re looking for a bit of motivation as well as the value he offers in his courses I definitely recommend you check him out.

  3. Johnny Truant’s success formula is simple – Help Others.
    No need to do lot of case studies for explaining his success.

    I am going to launch my blog http://www.RedisRed.com on October 14th. My blog motto also the same.

    I’ve planned to help people for making money online in different way. I’ll walk with them to success without asking any money to guide them.

    So My success also sure, :)

  4. ‘Giving away free stuff’
    But on the end of the post there is a link to a 300$ product?

    Don’t get me wrong, the product is niche related and all, but I find this a strange post..

  5. its really best article about blogger making a money.. good info too.

  6. Emily Clark says: 10/09/2009 at 3:42 am

    Well, after reading all this useful information, I was really in the mood to rant about zombies… but the twitter link is broken. Might want to update it. :-)

  7. Although Johnny B Truant does gets high volume of traffic but still he is able to make the said amount from his blog. Really amazing. Further it will be a pleasure to read a post regarding earning from blogs without ad sense or any banner adverting.

  8. Hi darren,
    I am completely agree with the opinion of Jade Craven.Even many people expose their services by giving free themes developed by them.
    Really wonderful case studies…

  9. Excellent write-up on providing value to readers before asking for anything. Great tip on making call-to-action transparent – I think I will try that on my next blog post :).

  10. Steven – thanks for your kind words :-) Johnny has indirectly taught me a lot.

    Surender – Glad you liked it. Let me know if you want further case studies and I’ll send you the links to them (they might be on other blogs)

    Emily – Either remove the ‘l’ from the end of his name, or look for http://www.twitter.com/johnnybtruant

    Amy, thats why I wanted to write about him :-) He just took action instead of talking about it, got a lot of great people behind him and has had a lot of success as a result. I wanted to share this story because it shows its possibly to earn an income within months if you are really strategic about it.

    Stefan – I understand your sentiment. The link was mostly for those who wanted the course with the custom discount code. I know of friends who would think it was a bargain – they are busy people who just want the blog and e-commerce part of their site set up.

    Giving away so much help was a great way to get testimonials and gave people an incentive to promote him via word of mouth. This is what made the launch of his e-course so successful.

    At the end – I only mentioned that there is a 10% discount code, which would benefit some people. I purposely tried to keep any promotion of that course out of this post – in the earlier draft, I did a mini review.

    Pascal – I go to a lot of business conferences and interact with clients as part of my job, and the concept of helping people online isn’t as clear as it is to you. I’m really glad you understand it but I wrote this for those who are struggling.

    Most of my favorite bloggers are so successful because they help. I got my job because I was really helpful on twitter.

    Can I just ask for some feedback? If had to do a blog post about helping others online, what would you have done differently? I find people really like case studies as they can learn more from them.

  11. Chris Guthrie says: 10/09/2009 at 7:36 am

    I rarely comment on posts here (especially since I’ve been reading for 3 years), but this post was so odd I just had to say something.

    So this is a guest post about someone else other than the author called Johnny and the premise is that you can make money helping people freely (like Johnny did), yet then throughout the entire post it’s affiliate links to Johnnys paid products?


  12. I was “attracted” to Johnny because of his humor. Hands down, the ability to make me laugh when I’m sitting in my office alone will get my readership.

    Also, and I don’t think this was his doing, the name – nom de plume?- “Johnny B Truant” captures my imagination. Is he a cowboy harnessing the massive energies of the blog-sphere for the well being of all? OH, what a rogue!

  13. Give a discount trough your affiliate link surely give big impact for selling number. And i see you did it in this article. :D

  14. Great Post.

    This proves how anyone can make money online, by having a good plan and mindset. $10.000 in 3 months is very impressive

  15. Interesting.

    I’m going to have to do something different. I have given a fair bit of work away, but only one person has ever returned anything back to me. Ever.

    How do the new rules from FTC affect work done for testimonials? Are they regarded as “paid” or solicited testimonials? I don’t quite understand it.

  16. Very solid advice Jade. As for giving free stuff, people who make the most give the most away. It’s not so much throwing out freebies as it is putting your heart and soul into your work and giving it away freely. Joe Vitale speaks of this in ‘The Greatest Money Making Secret.’

    From my personal experience the more I give the more I get.

  17. Lot’s of good stuff here. Particularly, I appreciate the tip on avoiding hype and being authentic.

  18. Good on Johnny. He found out what people wanted and provided a solution that helped them and himself at the same time.

  19. Hey, thanks to everyone who had good things to say. I mean, I guess thanks to people who have bad things to say too, but there really weren’t any. So far.

    Stefan – I get what you’re saying, and I get Jade’s response. My approach was and remains, honestly, more about win-win than altruism. I evolved into higher-end products but still feel it’s a win-win or I wouldn’t do it. I figure it would take a hell of a lot more than $300 in money or time or both to learn the stuff in that course, so we both still benefit.

    But yeah, nobody think I’m out to be Ghandi. I’m just saying there’s a way to be in business AND be a giver.

  20. Does trying to entertain people count? I really have no idea what I am doing but find it interesting to feel my way around. Mostly I want to write something people want to read, vent, sometimes inspire, sometimes get people to click a link for a little dollar nugget, and above all else share my Fattitude of Grattitude.

    I am curious if anyone has stories of persistence paying off either with sudden boost in readership over time or a hint of profit after putting in some serious time without one.

  21. @JadeCraven – Yes. Case studies are important to those who are not understanding the concepts in first sight. I love the way you did.

    Surely As I was well-known the “Help others” principle, I was not needed Case studies.

    Thanks for the reply you made.

  22. i really loved reading or watching case studies of those who really succeed,thanks for sharing these infos

  23. I know people here are commenting on how they can use his tactics for the same purpose but if you’re a business owner there’s a much deeper lesson here:

    This is a great example of how to generate positive word of mouth for your business.

    Helping others, solving problems, just making people happy. Great to read these types of stories.

  24. Chris –

    writing about other peoples experiences is my way of giving freely. You wouldn’t believe what its done for me. I try not to write about myself when guest posting – I always try to mention the successes that other people have had. Was it that i wrote about someone else, or the affiliate links that annoyed you?

    I get no commission from any of the affiliate links. Is that your main reason for offense? If so, would providing a disclosure at the bottom have helped?

    I will like to say that elsewhere, I’ve gotten very positive feedback from the post.

    Edit: When rereading that, the comment seemed really snarky. What I meant to say was, what could I have done to make it a better experience for you?

    JJ – well, just looking at how Johnny entertains people. I started reading his blog because he added humour to his posts. It was a refreshing change and it really helped him to stand out.

    Dave – not sure how the FTC rulings affect those that do things for testimonials. I do a lot of freebies in exchange for recommendations and referrals and its a really useful strategy for me.

    Ryan – :-) I’m so glad you got the point. Its about using free products as leverage. You give away review copies – I’m actually distributing review copies of products on behalf of a friend because I know the people who can get the most use out of them. Again, its a win/win/win situation in this case.

    Its like guest posting on Problogger. I get something for the portfolio. Johnny, who I really admire, gets to share his stuff with a new audience. And the readers get to learn about stuff that took me a long time to learn.

    Dana –

    Offering a discount with an affiliate link is a tip I now reccomend a lot. Why? Its usually what gets me to buy. Just look at what Ali Hale did with her staff blogging cause. Again, its a solution that helps everyone.

    Lydia – thanks for your comment. He is quite the rogue ;)

    xx So glad that this post helped some people.

  25. Your maths don’t stack up. ‘he’s made $10′000 in 3 months. In his Ittybiz column, he told how he made nearly $3′000 in one month.’

    To make 10K in 3 months he would have needed to make well over 3k in at least one month. So only making ‘ nearly $3′000 in one month’ equates to alot less than even 9K over 3 months…

    The main thing as a blogger is checking your facts and writing about the truth. Not putting a fake statement in the first paragraph!!!!

  26. Hi Average Joe :-)

    I appreciate your response. I always like it when someone points out a fact but in this case I did, in fact, check my sources.

    These statistics occurred over different months and were reported in different articles. The $3000 in that one month grew – perhaps I should have mentioned that. Now, I believe, the income is considerably higher.

    The statement was not fake and I hope this helped you to understand. Other than that misinterpretation, did you like the article?

    Jorge – thanks for your comment. My job is to actually help businesses with their social media strategy. My boss creates the strategy, but I’m the one that does all the relationships on twitter. The first thing I do? Provide value and help. You wouldn’t believe what this does for our clients. Its amazing.

  27. Great article! Adding humor and value (and funny PSs too!) will always attract attention. It makes sense not just for business as well!

  28. Thanks Jade, this is a really useful post. I’m only just getting into the blogging side of things, but can’t agree more about being yourself (Darren’s previous post on Trust outlines this principle marvellously) – it’s how I feel comfortable talking to groups of people about career change.

    Some very helpful ideas about products too (something else that’s in the offing), which I’ll definitely bear in mind as I develop my site.

    Thank you!

  29. Great Post.

    This proves how anyone can make money online, by having a good plan and mindset. $10.000 in 3 months is very impressive.

  30. @Chris – Dude, I would totally think the same thing, so I see where you’re coming from. From my perspective as the guy selling the stuff, here’s my answer… and note that I’m not speaking for Jade or Darren:

    1. Yeah, I totally, absolutely, without question, unabashedly hope people read this and then decide to buy my most expensive product. Like, the post is about, in part, giving stuff away. You know the problem with giving stuff away? The pay SUCKS! So I like it when people put money down. It’s an exchange of value, and everyone wins.

    2. If Problogger refers those sales, then I want someone to get a commission.

    3. The links to the course really don’t change the meaning of the post. Jade is saying that I started by giving stuff away, then started charging. I still routinely “give away” advice for free, though… just yesterday, @christiaanH on Twitter tweeted a thanks to me for debugging his domain. I didn’t charge him for that.

    4. So yeah, I get the mixed message, but I still think it all works. You get: “Here’s what Johnny did; here’s what you can try. But by the way, he makes good money doing it. And by the way, here’s a link to one of those ways.”

    5. And what she didn’t say? Please feel free, any of you, to drop me a line any time. I’m @johnnybtruant on Twitter, and my email address is johnny [at] johnnybtruant [dot] com.

    @Joe – I’ll answer because I’m the guy who, you know, made the money. Also because I’m way too transparent and am sort of building a biz based on talking about things that any normal person would know he shouldn’t talk about online.

    My first month, I made $2978.39. But by the three-month mark, I’d gone up to $10,381.19 total, chiefly because June was really good. Now, I’m at around a $6k/month pace. So it’s just from ratcheting up. I don’t think Jade tripped over that, but if there’s confusion, the above is what really happened.

  31. Dareen I think this kind of posts from you is keeping you way ahead from other bloggers of your era …

    You are still providing us useful and informative with live examples.

    You are rocking.

  32. Thanks a lot for such a nice post! This is a really useful post. I’m only just getting into the blogging side of things, but can’t agree more about being yourself – it’s how I feel very comfortable talking to people about changing their path.

  33. First I want to congrats Johnny for his $10′000 in 3 months and secondly I like the tips that he use for earn such a big amount. Here I have one question that the blogger who do not have anything to sell what they will do to increase their traffic?

  34. I think good for them for providing something unselfish that helps people establish themselves but they still had the ability to make money. This is a great long term strategy as people remember who helps them.

  35. @work at home – You’re just asked the most famous and most difficult blogging question of all time! I’m no traffic expert, but fortunately there are zillions of articles right here at this sight on building your readership.

  36. Hi Darren,

    This is an amazing post. I usually wait at night to read your blog, but the subject line was really compelling and I spent time in the morning reading before starting my day … that says a lot.

    I quite like the “call to action” at the end of posts!

    I really think I will start using that more often.

    I recently did to promote a charity that wants to save our Oceans and I asked people to circulate the post and to write their “happy place”.

    Here’s the post:

    I also started asking people to “rate” videos, but I have not used the “call to action” until the “happy place” post.

    After reading this, I think (and can see how) it makes a lot of sense.

    I also quite like the idea of offering group coaching or individual coaching as a bonus. This has a lot of value and I will actually use that idea for a future launch of a new product of mine.

    Wow- what a great way to start a Friday morning!

    Thanks Darren!


  37. Oops,

    I forgot to include an example of a link where I actually had a call to action (you can see how I specifically ask reader to help this great cause to save of Oceans to ensure we can have access to fish and Omega3):


    Once, again, this post is still on my mind and I can tell you that I’ve bookmarked to read it over and over again.

    Thanks Darren and thanks Johnny B for sharing. I love the way you do business!!!

    Pay it forward like Oprah would say.

  38. That’s cool!.

    It’s one of the things you can do to get exposure and find yourself some place in this blogosphere!!.

    Great going Johnny !!.

  39. Bravo!
    Another post that makes ProBlogger deserve its name.

  40. I really like the humorous video idea. This is so overlooked, but think about how many bored office workers sit around all day watching this stuff. Great advice.

  41. I like this post, and find out that the gust posts are more important than I thought before.

  42. This is a very interesting story. Again, Problogger is the best.

  43. This is wonderful post about hope and prosperity by lending a helping hand. Regardless of what the revenue numbers are I still like the idea of be a community leader through action.

    I am open to helping others in any way I can. I would love to feature guest bloggers so if anyone would like guest blog on my site please contact me via my blog and lets get this done.

    I am also interested in featuring about four 125×125 banners in my side bar for free, I think I should give them away to the top commentators so if you are interested in that please be sure to comment on my blog.

    Please let me know what I can do to help out! :)

  44. Another great post Darren. I think one of the real barriers bloggers face is not finding that affiliate/advertiser that fits for them. Adsense just isn’t going to cut it without the mass traffic. Find someone that will help you make money in your niche, is doesn’t take that much.

  45. great post by jade craven

    make money $10k in 3 month is very impress me… I only make $1k after a year ;)

    so the answer is “strategy”

  46. If I’m not mistaken, Johnny is one of the editor in Copyblogger and he is a good writer. Thank you so much for revealing this to us Jade.

  47. Rocky – I love that that perception is out there, but I’m not an editor… yet. Say, you should ping Brian and tell him about his great new editor Johnny. Tell him how much better Copyblogger is now that I’m writing there a few times a month.

    But most especially, make sure you tell him that he should start GIVING ME LOTS OF MONEY. That would be awesome.

  48. People are generally numb to sales pitches these days. Even good products get snubbed, since consumers generally recoil when confronted with these pitches. Johnny’s method is a far better match for savvy, and scam weary potential clients. Doesn’t that describe most all of us.

  49. It seems that he has a lot of time. But it could work in the long period.

  50. This is a helpful post and like many others here, my brain is “sparking” several ideas I can implement easily. I have only blogged personally so far – but am wading my way into the waters of blogging for profit with helping someone – this is valuable, practical guidance – THANK YOU!

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