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My first ‘actionable item’ for starting any project – online or offline – is to find a teacher. Online business and blogging is no different. Here is a very selective list of bloggers that are teaching you for free what took them time and money to learn.

I respect them for what they are doing and I pay attention to what they are saying. Goes without saying, I end up learning way faster.

In no particular order, here are the folks who are making it big out there, and telling you about it. I owe them dinner because they have given me a lot more than what I gave them. If you want to learn more about blogging, online marketing and business and general goodness, I highly recommend the following:

Pat Flynn

Pat Flynn

Pat Flynn

Blog name: Smart Passive Income with Pat Flynn

What is the blog about? Pat talks about ways to earn passive income, strictly via online methods.

Why did this blog make the list?

I don’t even remember how I stumbled onto Pat’s blog, but I was glad I did.

The thing that got my attention was his straight-up honesty that no, he is not a “millionaire guru”, just a guy who has decided to earn his living from online ventures. And then he goes ahead and lays it all out, and his monthly income reports are a charm to read. Why? Because you can see the potential of earning online and that is truly inspiring.

His posts are always helpful and very much to the point. A very homely feel. A guy earning in the vicinity of 18,000 US big ones just from online sources, now that is inspiring in the very least.

And the best thing is, he is always up to something. That is the best thing about him that separates Pat from all other bloggers that I follow: he is a true entrepreneur. He is a STARTA and gets the STARTA badge of honor in his sleep.

Some people may think that if the blog is about earning Passive income, then why is Pat working so actively on his projects. These people do not get it. Passive income is not a marketing gimmick, but a solid hands-off system that once set, runs on its own. I can very easily relate to this and know that you, as an entrepreneur, make an ‘entrance’ while setting up the system, then if all goes well, it is just tweak here and there, and that’s that. Pure, unadulterated entrepreneurship.

Click here to check out Pat’s blog

Glen Allsop

Glen Allsop - blogstarta

Glen Allsop

Blog name: Viper Chill

What is the blog about: He talks about internet marketing and has very focused approach towards blogging.

Why did the blog make the list?

If anyone is focused, it is Glen. I read about Glen Allsop at Pat Flyn’s blog. Glen’s blog, oddly called ViperChill is packed with very ‘doable’ advice. But that was not the only reason; the appeal for Glen’s blog is that he almost comes off as cocky (which of course, means no bull, and that’s a good thing!)

He would write two to three post each month and although he has not monetized his blog yet, the subscriber count has steadily climbed. In fact, his blog Viper Chill has grown at an incredible rate.

You should read this blog if you want to know about search engine optimization and you should study this blog if you want to learn how to find focus, stay focused and achieve pre-set goals.

Check out Glen’s blog.

Johnny B Truant

Johnny B Truant

Johnny B Truant

Blog name: Johnny B Truant

What is the blog about: He talks about whatever the heck he feels like talking about.

Why the blog made this list?

I do not read his blog, I study it.

The guy is funny, and no marks for figuring that bit out. But he is also working hard and smart. His blog is a testament that at the end of the day, a well marketed service is better than a well advertised one (let me know if you know exactly what I mean!).

I do not know how much he earns in a month, but I think I read somewhere that he is a six figure blogger. Even the most conservative estimate puts his monthly earnings very much above par. And he seems to enjoy this a lot, and he will at least make you smile, if not laugh out loud.

I wonder if someone with a voice like Johnny B Truant find the focus of someone like Glen Allsop. That would be a great marketing advantage for Mr. Truant. I say that because seriously, I can not ‘define’ Johnny’s blog in a sentence or two. Interesting dilemma this: I can very easily go to Johnny B Truant’s blog and find a few posts that I think define his blog. But I did not do that with the other bloggers on this small list. Why? Because other bloggers’ blog are easy to categorize. Johnny’s blog is not. Of course, Johnny would say that his underlying focus – his defining trait if you may – is his humor and that is good enough. But associating that with a service or a product can be a great marketing experiment (for example, what skill would I learn if I read Johnny B Truant’s blog? In all honesty, I can’t answer that straight off the bat)

I owe him dinner for bringing his very unique style to a sometimes boring playing-field, for playing the ultimate (and useful) guinea pig and also to exchange notes on hat designs.

Check out Johnny’s blog

Yaro Starak

Yaro Starak

Yaro Starak

Blog name: Entrepreneur’s Journey

What is the blog about: Yaro ‘used’ to talk strictly about blogging and getting traffic to your blog. Only recently has he started experimenting with other ideas on his blog, which makes sense; it is an entrepreneur’s journey after all!

Why the blog made this list?

I think he is the first of the firsts that I started to follow online. His blog Entrepreneur’s Journey was interesting because he was laying it all out. (Getting personal is one of the best ways of having a ‘unique voice’ that is so important in any type of writing, especially blogging).

Yaro is a great success story of what silent persistence can do for you; he was and is very modest about his approach, very open and hence, a very comfortable read. I don’t feel intimidated by his great achievements because he presents it in a such a way that it makes one feel that “this is doable”. This is a sure-shot sign of a gifted teacher, which I believe, Yaro is.

I’ve had a few chats with him via Twitter, I have taken his Membership Mastermind course (only to find out that I was not up for it at the time) and I have also advertised on his website. I can safely say that following Yaro through his continuing journey will benefit you in yours. God willing.

I owe him dinner for all of the above reasons, and to convince him to stop calling his Beemer (which really, should be called a Bimmer) a male! All great cars are females (uh oh)

Check out Yaro’s blog

Erica Douglass

erica-douglass-blogstarta

Erica Douglass

Blog name: Erica.biz

What is the blog about: She talks about starting internet businesses from scratch. She has a few products already in the market and reading about her journey teaches you a few finer points along the way.

Why the blog made this list?

Again, I do not remember how I stumbled across her blog, but I know that I have been reading her for quite some time now.

She is an entrepreneur, selling her hosting company for a cool million sometimes back. She has a few products in the market now, and has promised to keep at coming up with other information products online.

I guess the number one reason that I read her blog is because of her honest writing; she doesn’t hold back.

Another credit that I must give to her is that I bought my first online training course because of her endorsement. And the course was very useful and helped me earn my first 500 dollars online. I think I owe her a dinner for that alone.

Check out Erica’s blog

Brian Clark

Brian Clark

Brian Clark

Blog name: Copyblogger

What’s his blog about? Content marketing; using valuable content as your advertising and building your business around that.

Why the blog made this list?

He is the founder of this blog, you know, Copyblogger? Yeah, that one. Only one of the top ten blogs ever. But I don’t read his blog because Copyblogger is famous, I read because it is just so damn valuable (that’s why it is famous, helloo?!!). Mr Clark’s approach towards copywriting – and writing in general – have made me a better writer, no questions about it. And there is a mighty – mighty I said – lesson to be learned here; providing ‘free’ content that is valuable is the best type of advertising EVER. It builds the essential relationship and it keeps the ROI measurable.

I think ‘content marketing’ was pretty much invented by Brian Clark and he drives home the concept of Teaching Sells (he has a course by that name).

I have been reading Copyblogger since the time Brian was the only one writing there. No Sonia Simone, no Johnny B Truant, no no one. Now of cousre, Copyblogger has tons of guest writers and even more relevant content.

My question to him: How the hell do you still keep the content so damn relevant and each and every post seems to be written EXACTLY for me? How? What is the ‘system’ behind that?

You are probably already reading Copyblogger, and if you are not, then either you are very new here, or you are very, very new here. 🙂

I owe him dinner for all the help, and to let him know why he was the sixth blogger whereas the title says five.

Check out Copyblogger

Isn’t this a small list?

The list is small. I know. This is my attempt at the 80/20 principle.

There are a lot of bloggers that write great content, that did not make this list. For example, bloggers like Dooce or Penelope Trunk are great to read and are quite successful, but they are not in this list.

When I thought about it, I realized that the number one reason – and possibly the only reason that these six bloggers are on this list is because:

They give actionable advice in an inspiring kinda way.

The point is to find a relevant focus and then stick to it, at least for a while. Do not make the rookie mistake of subscribing to EVERYONE and do not at all make the mistake of subscribing to blogs without knowing EXACTLY WHY you are subscribing.

To gain from someone, you must first give.

“But I have nothing to give to these guys,” you say.

But you do have something to give to these teachers. Respect and attention.

You will not learn from anyone if you do not respect them and pay attention to what they are saying/doing.