James Holt Is 19 and Making Six Figures Online—Here’s How
1. Let’s rewind a bit. You were back on Troublesome Radio…Episode 35. You’ve come a long way since then. What have you been up to?
Back then, I had just started making decent money with niche sites. I’d had a couple of successes and doubled down on those to get myself to the $3-$5k/month mark.
To be honest, I kind of stagnated at that level for a while.
I made a decent amount of money in 2017 and spent almost none of it. I didn’t see much potential in niche sites to scale past $10k/month and putting in work just to maintain earnings is kinda dull.
For a while, I was lazy.
Wasn’t too happy with my life either – I needed a new challenge and that’s when I got heavily into the paid traffic game.
I started with CPA affiliate marketing. I was running these iPhone giveaway ads on shady websites like movie streaming sites.
It was a ton of fun. I was finally hooked on online business again.
Through my activity on the Stack That Money forum (where I learned CPA affiliate marketing), I discovered dropshipping.
It was all the rage in the affiliate marketing space because you could use all the same skills, but dropshipping gives you more control.
So that’s how I got into dropshipping and relatively quickly found success. From there, teaching dropshipping was the obvious next step considering all the big gurus that are doing well on YouTube.
I didn’t quite expect it to explode as quickly as it has…
I fact, I wasn’t even certain whether building a “personal brand” was possible anonymously with a cartoon avatar.
Besides all of that, I also graduated high school with excellent grades, played plenty of football and spent more than my fair share of nights partying.
Currently, I’m working a civil service job as a teacher’s assistant for a year while scaling my business on the side.
It can be tiring at times, but I find online business incredibly exciting so there’s nothing I’d rather be doing.
2. So you’re 19 now, out of high school. From what you’ve told me, Swiss men must serve a year of civic duty. What’s after that for you; are you going to head to college, scale online businesses, or what?
After my civil service ends, I plan to head to university for at least a full year (Blasphemy, I know).
Gotta earn the title of “college dropout”.
In all seriousness, I’m not as anti-college as most people in our sphere.
For one thing, the cost factor is nowhere near as big of a deal here in Switzerland. (It costs about $1-2k per year.)
Plus, I know that I can make a ton of money while going to university. I’ve proved my ability to make money online while going to school over the past 3 years.
I’m also a little more positive about the benefits of university compared to most people.
My future class will be filled with young and ambitious men and women. The future elite of Switzerland. CEOs, investment bankers & the best lawyers of tomorrow.
Can’t imagine a better place to start building contacts for the future.
Especially since most of them are NOT going to become entrepreneurs or internet marketers.
They are going to hold real jobs in powerful positions. Those are the type of people most internet marketers struggle to connect with later in life because they have nothing in common.
Also, I’m not sure whether I’m mature enough yet for complete freedom.
Realistically, I think my decision to go to university will hinder my dating life more than my online businesses.
If I were to go full-time, I’d undoubtedly spend more time partying & chasing chicks instead of hunkering down in my room to grow my businesses to 7-figures.
I know that to be true for myself…and I suspect it’s true for most young men dreaming of dropping out.
Dropping out to focus on business is mostly a justification for wanting to chill and have fun rather than work a double shift.
3. How are your parents going to take the decision if it’s not to go to college? If you decide to go to college, how are you going to handle that plus online business?
I’m going to handle it in the same way I always have: By working on my business whenever I have time.
I’ve always been good at school and I expect university to be similar.
While some kids get stressed out and overwhelmed by the work, I’m pretty good at seeing the 80/20.
And if I believe homework / reading assignments / lectures to be a waste of time, I won’t be complaining about it – I’ll simply skip them and work on my business instead.
Anyone who has their own online business knows that there are usually only 3-4 productive hours of work in a day. What I’ve found is that those 3-4 hours aren’t really affected by school work.
Schools tell you exactly what you need to do in most cases. There’s little creativity involved compared to online business where everything depends on you.
For that reason, I don’t expect to be much less productive in university than if I were to drop out.
As for my parents, they aren’t going to be mad about the idea of dropping out if / when I do.
But by that point, the proof is going to be in the pudding.
I don’t see myself dropping out before I’m making multiple 6-figures or even 7-figures in annual profits.
4. You started with a small blog and niche sites. Then you got into Dropshipping. Why have you taken your foot off the gas with those?
I think both models are a good choice for beginners. However, the odds of you scaling either one of them to 7-figure profits are basically zero.
I’m sure there are 7-figure (profit) dropshippers and probably even niche site owners making the same.
But those are extreme exceptions to the rule (Think 0.001% of dropshippers).
Compare it to personal branding…
You don’t need to be the extreme exception to build a 7-figure company—guys you’ve never heard of are making that.
Personally, I’d rather bet on myself being a top 1% earner in my space vs a top 0.001% earner.
There’s also the aspect of excitement for a business model.
Both niche sites & dropshipping fascinated me for a while, but once I figured out how to make money with those models, I lost the excitement.
Unlike Kyle, who I massively respect for his ability to focus on This is Trouble for 5+ years, I constantly need a new challenge to keep me excited.
I try to keep my “shiny-object-syndrome” under control, but switching business models has actually served me well so I’m happy to do it from time to time.
5. I don’t know how you feel, but I have a feeling of “doom” almost sometimes…like, am I going to run Trouble forever? Am I going to sell courses and write books for the next 30+ years? We’re both making great money from doing what we’re doing, but….is there something more?
And truthfully, I don’t have answers to those. All I know is that when my opportunity with Selo Oils came along, I had a gut feeling it was a “lifelong” business I was getting involved in.
I don’t currently experience the feeling of doom you speak of, but I know what you mean because it’s exactly what I felt with niche sites after stagnating in the $3-5k range.
I’ve never been good at predicting what my life will look like a year in advance.
Every year, I end up pursuing new businesses that I never imagined myself getting into.
I have no doubts that trend will continue in the next few years.
For now, my main goal is to scale my personal brand to 7-figures, but I know that along the way, new opportunities will present themselves (like Selo Oils did for you).
And when those opportunities present themselves, I’ll jump on them without hesitation.
Ultimately, I’m working towards financial independence meaning $3-10 million in net worth earning me passive income.
That goal will take me a while to reach (thankfully).
As long as I’m pursuing that goal, I’ll never be bored.
(Still need to figure out what I’ll do when I eventually hit that goal though…)
6. If yes, what’s your future “lifelong” business plan? I know you’ve mentioned a software company among other “big things” coming from you in ’19. Care to share?
I haven’t decided on any concrete business to start next.
I’ve got a couple of ideas for software products that would work well with my personal brand.
However, I may also go into selling physical products instead.
Like I said earlier, I don’t really know what the future holds for me.
Opportunities always end up presenting themselves so we’ll see what comes my way in the next few years.
Honestly, I’m fascinated by business and money.
Always have been and will be for the foreseeable future.
Getting experience with as many different businesses in my lifetime is a fun way for me to spend my time on planet earth.
7. You were actually one of the people that got me going on Twitter again, and that then inspired this post. So, now that you’ve been at the Twitter game for 9 months and have crossed 10,000 followers, what are your thoughts?
Is social media the name of the future? Why are you going back to building blogs? I admit, I was surprised when you announced you were going to blog, and then asked if we could do an interview.
Social media is a great tool for gaining attention because you have a built-in user base.
I would never have been able to make as much money or reach as many people if I just started blogging instead of tweeting.
Now that I have people’s attention, I need to make the most of it.
To leverage this attention, I think it makes sense to build up an authority website.
Essentially, I want Start Selling Stuff to become a big player in the make money online space.
I want to be an authority in Google’s eyes and turn Google traffic into more leads for my personal brand.
Think about it like this…
I’ve been able to build a 6-figure personal brand on Twitter in less than a year.
What is stopping somebody else to come in and take part of my market share next year?
There are almost no barriers to entry which allowed me to grow quickly, but also means there’s a significant risk of dying off in the future.
Compare it to an authority website…
Hundreds of posts (written by writers – not me) & dozens of backlinks from established sites who trust me to be an expert on internet marketing.
That’s a lot harder for a beginner to mimic.
In fact, it would be nearly impossible because beginners have neither the reputation, experience, money or connections that I do.
That’s why I’m looking to expand my reach beyond Twitter.
Unlike you, I haven’t really faced any downsides to being on social media.
Probably has a lot to do with the nature of my content and also the fact that I’m anonymous.
8. You’re anonymous…so far. Has it’s perks, has it’s downsides. I know I’ve personally soured a bit on social media recently. Are you going to stay anon?
I’m not sure to be honest.
The upside to putting your name and face out there is the added credibility, but I’ve managed to earn people’s trust without it so I’m not sure there’s much benefit at this point.
It would make growing on YouTube a lot easier, but outside of that I don’t see many advantages.
I’m also starting to think that my anonymity makes me more intriguing and unique.
People can make up their own idea of what I look like. Becoming a public figure may hurt me at least in the short-term for that reason.
Having said that, I will undoubtedly start a company under my real name at some point. Whether I connect it to my online brands I don’t know yet.
9. Social media is a HUGE part of your business, like you’ve said, “Tweeting makes me money”.
Have you felt any poisons of it; lower mood, frustration, etc. Have you lost respect for the way your average person acts these days?
There are moments where social media hurts my mood. When inevitably haters come out to have a crack at me.
In those moments, I try to keep the bigger picture in mind.
Without social media, I would never have been able to grow my reach as quickly as I have.
I wouldn’t have been able to help as many people make their first dollars online.
I wouldn’t have met many of the great folks I’ve come across (including none other than Mr Trouble himself).
You have to take the little bit of bad with all the good that comes from social media.
I’d also disagree with your assessment that the average person posting stupid replies on Twitter represents the average person these days.
Most of my followers never interact with me.
They are the average person – not the semi-coherent person asking “what is copyrighting?? Pls teach me bro”.
Never lose sight of who you are creating the content for.
10. Where do you want people to find you now?
The place I’m most active these days is Twitter. If you want to see how I market myself on there or you want to ask me a question, go ahead and follow me here.
My Tweets consist of a mixture of what I consider to be insightful biz content and Tweets that are designed to get attention to my brand.
(You don’t get to 10k by simply helping people with actionable advice – Don’t hate the player, hate the game.)
If you want more long-form content from me, my daily emails are the place you’ll learn the most about my mindset and business activities.
You’ll also get a low-pressure sales pitch almost every day – that’s the cost of admission to my free daily emails which you can sign up for here.