Ricard Torres on Escaping to Freedom with Internet Marketing
Ricard Torres was doing great in his Engineering career, drove a sports car, and had a dream lifestyle, but he felt empty inside. Here’s his story.
Thank you so much for doing this interview with me, Ricard! I’m really interested in learning more about you, since I recently escaped the 9 to 5 as well. So, let’s get started!
What was childhood like and what did your parents do for a living?
Thanks so much for having me, Erik! I’m flattered that you approached me for an interview!
I was born and grew up in Barcelona, Spain. The sun, sea, mountains and big city life are all part of me – they molded me into who I am now.
I’m the youngest of a family of much older siblings and parents (there’s an 11-year gap between me and the next sibling!), so I always felt like an only child with many parents.
My dad is an investment fund manager, and my mother has always been a housewife. It’s amazing how much can change in one generation – back when my parents were young, women stayed at home and men went to work. It was just the way it was!
At the age of 18, I left home to go and study mechanical engineering in Manchester, UK. What was meant to be a 3-year degree ended up being almost a decade of English life. I fell in love with the country and its people – especially this one lucky girl, who I brought back with me when I moved back to Spain!
Was there any Entrepreneurship in the family?
Not one bit. I was raised with the classic idea that there is a certain path you have to follow – you better not deviate too much or you’ll be branded as a failure!
This caused me to go through all the motions that were deemed “successful”: getting good grades, finishing university with a good degree, finding a reputable company to work for, and earning a high salary. You know the drill.
It wasn’t until later in life that I decided that the 9-5 lifestyle just wasn’t for me – that’s when I decided to start my own online business and become my own boss.
What were your plans for when you “grew up?”
I always assumed I’d just “grow up” one day and instantly become a middle-aged man with a mortgage, family car, wife, kids, and a position of power in some organisation. By the time I got out of university and landed my first job, I realised it was going to be a gradual process which needed a bit of a plan!
My idea had always been to rise up the ranks in an engineering company, but I never wanted to get to the very top. I felt like I wasn’t meant to be a leader. Then I got more experience and my confidence grew- I started thinking “hey, I could probably become a leader!”.
The entrepreneurial bug came soon after that.
When did you begin internet marketing, and how were the first two years, and what kind of struggles did you experience?
I started internet marketing fairly recently, but the biggest struggle that I am facing at the moment is just having patience.
Being resilient enough to go through days when nothing will progress and stay motivated. It’s also difficult to see such small amounts of money coming in at the beginning – at least in my case! – which is why I have a plan of action, buckets of motivation and plenty of good intentions!
I love your blog. How old is it, what’s the traffic like, and who is the designer (if you don’t mind me asking :), is it WordPress?
Thank you! That means a lot to me – especially coming from someone as successful as you!
I only published it about 5 months ago, but the idea has been with me for about 2 years. It took a lot of thinking, drafting, sketching and mind-mapping to get a feasible idea and business model that I was 100% on board with.
I’m sure that lots of people are in the same situation; they realise what a life-changing opportunity starting a blog could be, yet they never take the leap.
Escaping to Freedom is indeed a WordPress blog – I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s the far superior option – other platforms like Blogger are nowhere near as advanced and functional.
Although I bought a premium theme, I have heavily modified it myself. It’s taken a lot of fiddling around with CSS and HTML to get it to where it is now, but I love how it looks at the moment – finally!
I’m also trying to get myself in the shoes of my ideal reader / client – what would this person want to see? Where would they click first? How can I lead them to the most useful stuff on my site while getting them to understand what it’s about?
I’m fairly happy with the traffic, which I’d describe as “perfectly middling”. I average around 30-40 unique visits a day, which are baby numbers for bigger blogs.
The good news is that it’s trending upwards. I know from my experience in a previous blog that it takes time – a lot of it! When your content gets fully indexed by Google and your authority rises, organic traffic can then kick in.
How would one get setup on a blog through you, and what kind of content creation should a new blogger start with?
I’ve found that there are so many people who would love to run a successful and fully monetised blog, but they can’t get over the technical barrier. Although starting a blog now is as easy as it’s ever been, it still requires some knowledge.
That’s what prompted me to write a step-by-step guide which takes people through the steps, one by one. You can find it here. It’s great because I can now just send people directly to that article rather than having to explain what hosting is, or how to install a theme!
I’ve actually just started offering blogging and marketing services on my site. Those include setting up a blog from scratch and getting everything ready to start blogging. That’s a side of my business that I want to grow in the coming months, as I’ve learned that there are lots of small and medium-sized businesses that need someone to manage their blogging, website or social media.
Before I started blogging, I had no idea that the skill set involved would be so useful and well-paid!
As for the content creation side, I think all new blogs should start with a few articles published at once. I started mine with 8 articles – that was enough to cover most of the basics of escaping the 9-5, starting an online business and learning about how money works – these are the cornerstones behind Escaping to Freedom.
All articles should provide value to readers, and they should always be on subjects that people are searching for. A little SEO research and keyword analysis goes a long way!
What is an ideal blog post to you, like word count, Heading tags, video, pictures, etc?
The ideal blog posts will vary depending on which niche you’re in. A written article with only text would be pretty useless to teach a yoga pose, for example. The same goes for length and which social media sites to publish it in – this requires some market research.
As a rule of thumb, I try to keep my articles to a minimum of 800 words. The reality is that people have short attention spans, so 800 words is the sweet spot between providing a good amount of value while being a quick fix.
I also create posts which are longer, because there will always be a segment of my audience who will want to stick around for longer.
Posts should always be separated with headings (h2 headings normally) to make them easier to read. There’s nothing worse than a long article with no headings to take a breath!
Pictures are also a great way to separate text and they give you an opportunity to re-capture the reader’s attention in the picture caption – turns out that’s one of the most read pieces of any article, so they should not be neglected!
Based on everything I’ve heard, SEO is moving towards quality content and away from gimmicky loopholes. I think that as long as bloggers write good quality articles that can help people to solve a problem (even if it’s by keeping them entertained!), they will be on Google’s good books.
What are some of the best ways to create residual and passive income online?
The closest thing to passive income I’ve found is to promote affiliate products on a blog. I’m still fairly new to this, but on paper it’s excellent: set up affiliate products that will help your audience, drive traffic to those articles, and get paid a commission for every successful referral.
Once I’ve grown my audience I plan on creating digital courses that will help people to make money with an online business that they feel passionate about, and to escape the 9-5 lifestyle.
Online courses can be great passive/residual income – you create the course once, and you can hopefully keep getting paid for years to come.
I’ve also made money with Kindle publishing. This consists of getting short non-fiction books written (either yourself or hiring a ghostwriter) and publishing them on Amazon Kindle. If they are books on subjects that people are interested in, they’ll sell.
I have 7 books published, and all the work was done about a year ago – I’ve literally not touched them for months. The best part is that I’m still getting paid royalties on those 7 books every single month.
While I’m still new to making money online, it’s easy to see that passive income is far superior to active income, and I’d like to set up my website to generate as much passive income as possible.
Do you like using Adsense or any other type of ad networks, or just Affiliate Marketing?
I haven’t bothered to setup AdSense on my site. I did have adverts scattered on a previous blog I ran, and they generated laughable amounts of money. I don’t think it’s worth annoying my readers, considering the low payout.
Of course, it’s a different story for high-traffic sites. Advertising income can be huge for them, but it’s not for me – yet. Further down the line, I’m planning on joining bigger ad networks such as AdThrive, who can then manage and optimise the advertising side of my site. They do have a 100,000 pageviews / month entry requirement, so it might take me a while!
What is your favorite book right now and why?
The book I’ve just finished reading, and which has become my favourite book, is called “The Wise Man’s Fear” – not many people have heard of it, but they’re going to try and make it the next big, Game of Thrones-like, fantasy fiction success. It’s just really good.
As for the book that has had the biggest impact on my life, which is the real answer to this question, I’d say “The Richest Man in Babylon”.
It taught me some basic principles about money that I will practice till the day I die: how to spend less than you make, invest the remainder, and keep it growing for decades – that’s how anyone can build wealth.
What are your goals for 2017?
2017 is going to be a big year for me. I know that everyone says that every year, but in my case, it’s true. 2017 will – hopefully – be the year that I can truly make my website into a thriving business. Blogging takes a lot of work before it can be fully monetised.
In 2017, I will focus on growing my blog, and figuring out how I can best serve my audience. I’m hoping that I can create a small course that solves a specific problem, which would then allow me to learn as much as I can about digital courses and their marketing.
At the moment, I am still using up the $20,000 that I saved while I still had a conventional 9-5 job. It’s a comfortable amount for now, but I need to start making a significant amount of money in the next year to cover my living and business expenses.
Although this might sound scary, escaping the 9-5 and starting my online business was the best decision of my life. Hands down.
What is your favorite quote and why?
This one is tough – I have so many in mind!
Ok – I’m going with one by Warren Buffett, the greatest living investors and one of the richest people in the world:
“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”
For me this applies to every part of life, but most of all to my business. Integrity and honesty are two of the traits that I value the most, and I always do my best to maintain them in everything I write and do.
Thank you so much for this interview, Ricard! This has been an amazing interview!
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