This Publisher Just Won a Grant and Her Story Will Inspire You

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If you haven’t noticed by now, seeing experiences from Ezoic customers is a great way for you to learn more about growing your site, and your income.

Now is our time to shout out one of our recent grant winners and learn more about her as a person, publisher, and Ezoic customer…and see how she was awarded a $1,500 grant. All this while giving you pointers on how to succeed – whether you are a current Ezoic customer, looking to sign up with us, or any stage of the digital publishing journey – this story will inspire you.

Beginnings as a publisher

One of my favorite stories I learned recently was from Carmen at BC Driving Blog.

I got a chance to talk with Carmen on a range of topics.

Firstly, I had noticed that she had signed up and became an Ezoic customer back in 2015 but most of her growth has been in the past year or so.

She enlightened me that after starting her first website in 2012, she got more heavily involved in working on her sites just last year in October 2020.

I asked about any critical instances to her that stuck out in terms of breaking through into the digital publishing world.

Carmen went on to mention that in terms of ‘a-ha’ moments, “there wasn’t really one defining moment. In fact, I almost gave up completely on my website. I had worked as a driving instructor for almost 10 years, and I felt I’d overloaded on driving in my life, big time.”

She continued, “So here I had this website all about cars and driving, and I felt I no longer wanted anything to do with it, like I was over it. Almost like if I had to look at one more stop sign, I might spontaneously combust. I considered selling my driving site for quite a while.”

To her surprise, she returned to her main site during the pandemic and decided to give it another shot.

The former driving instructor told me there was a turning point.

“I realized that having a site about cars doesn’t mean I have to drive cars or teach people how to drive in person. In fact, I can write, I can read and do research, I can create graphics in Photoshop, I can create videos which I love… there is so much that goes into making a website and it doesn’t need to include driving, actually. Of course, I will always love driving, it’s in my blood with my dad having many cool cars and now a beautiful Corvette.”

Next, she mentioned something valuable that I’m sure crosses the mind of anyone in this digital publishing space.

“When I realized that my website was already awesome, and could turn into something totally valuable. All I had to do was update my posts. I didn’t need to start a whole new website, or even a new article, although I do make some new ones too.”

Additionally, she said, “When I first started my website I was 20-something, and I noticed that a lot of the articles reflected that. It was now a little embarrassing how unprofessional my writing seemed. I found it was easy to update it with a more mature tone, and I enjoyed doing that.”

Fast forward to now

Now in 2021, we’ve noticed Carmen’s hard work and wanted to reward her with a grant for $1,500.

She told us without hesitation that she’ll be buying a new Mac!

“It feels totally amazing to receive a grant, to be recognized for all the work I have done and am doing, and gives me a whole new level of inspiration and motivation, knowing Ezoic has got my back and believes in me!”

Talking about more aspirations, Carmen revealed, “I am so grateful, especially since my iMac is getting older and older and slower and slower. For future plans and goals, I am going to make more videos.”

She is dedicated to growing her site even more and really exploring new options to help her along the way. She said, “I found several different places online (thanks to Level-Up Learning telling me about this) where I can make animation videos, and I think that would be a good match for my site. I’m excited to work on that, since my sites really don’t have many videos, and that’s an area I could really expand upon.”

As a member of Level-Up Learning, here’s a hidden gem she’s used for her own workflow that other publishers could employ:

“One thing I found really valuable was when one of the speakers recommended setting a timer and only allowing yourself one hour to update an older article. I totally do that kind of thing where I get stuck perfecting an article for many hours, sometimes even days, like it’s this epic masterpiece…. which it might be, but when you have so many other articles needing attention, it’s good to move on and It’s good to realize that getting many articles updated is way better than updating the heck out of merely one of them!”

How to get the most from Ezoic

Speaking more to what she does with Ezoic, she mentioned, “what I look at in my Ezoic dashboard regularly is the daily revenue, because I find it interesting how consistent the weekly patterns are. Mondays and Wednesdays seem to be the highest earning days, and weekends much less.”

While exploring the Ezoic dashboard, there are so many data points to collect information from, and Carmen certainly is using the tools the most effectively. “I also look at the graph which shows my progress since January. This is motivating, and I like to see a picture of how I am doing. Also, I look at Big Data Analytics. Once I finally learned how to use it properly, I was addicted to going in there and seeing what I could find, like how more people read my site when it’s raining compared to any other weather… I guess that’s just a fun fact.”

Carmen also added, “Not only have I already gone from making not even $200 a month, to getting a new record a few months ago of $1,300… in less than a year. But it also has me realizing that there is no limit to what I can accomplish.”

Having the ability to make her own schedule and really put her future in her hands has been one of the most exciting “bonuses” for Carmen. She said, “…with my freedom being my number one priority, I am just super excited for the future and to continue this work. Being my own boss is the best feeling in the world and I can’t imagine any other way now.”

She says that “My sites are literally a financial lifesaver right now!”

Above is a comparison of her revenue and EPMV a little over 6 months ago, to now. They’re both growing 86% and 113% respectively. An amazing accomplishment! We’re so proud.

Looking forward, Carmen dropped that she wants to make even more niche websites she’s knowledgeable about. Right now she’s in Level 3 and climbing!

We’ll be sure to post an update on what Mac Carmen ends up buying.

Level-Up Learning info

To give a tip for all the publishers, Level-Up Learning has been the fast track to getting grants. We have the November class underway and now officially have alumni from the October class! This is pretty unbelievable to us.

Look in your Levels Dashboard for your chance to sign up for the next month. If you’re not already in the program, your dashboard will look like this and you can sign up at the “Classroom” button.

Update on Ezoic grants given so far

In October, we gave an update on the sum of our investments and grants in our publishers.

A month later, our total is hovering around the $3.5M benchmark.

We’ve been overwhelmed with amazing applications and are so excited to hear about how many of you have seen results from implementing the course content and recommendations.

I want to remind everyone that we will be giving out Spark Grants every week, so if you were not selected, keep applying! We want to recognize and reward as many publishers as we can.

Be aware, these grants are only available to publishers involved in Level-Up Learning or our Access Now programs.

Otherwise, keep your nose to the grindstone, watch your site grow, and look out for an application to a Growth Grant! Applications for Growth Grants are ONLY sent to publishers identified by Ezoic as those actively growing audiences each month. More info can be found here.

We have exciting updates coming to the rest of the Ezoic site soon as well as sharing more stories from grant winners, so stay tuned!

By Erik Anson

Erik is a digital marketing and content creation expert. Erik has consulted and developed media for brands, earning accolades for his agile tactics and lean marketing approaches.