eBusiness Institute

Athlete uses professional skills to earn income online

How Pro Athletes Can Transition To Online Income

How can pro athletes turn their professional experience and skills to earn an income online, even if you have no experience making money online?

That’s why I’ve asked James to come onto the Digital Investors show.

James didn’t start out online. He’s actually a professional sports coach at an elite world cup level. And his wife is a professional athlete as well.

Today, James earns full-time income online from content websites and blogging.

In this interview, you’ll hear how he makes money online by blogging and building his portfolio of content websites.

See how James de Lacey turned his knowledge and expertise into online income…

Matt Raad:      Hello again, everyone. It’s Matt Raad here, your host of the Digital Investor podcast. And today, we’re speaking to James de Lacey.

I’ve asked James to come onto this show because he has had a really interesting journey, particularly over the last couple of years. James now earns full-time income online from content websites. He’s built up a couple of specific content sites and makes money from AdSense and affiliate offers. 

But what’s really interesting is James’s professional background because he didn’t start out online. He’s a professional sports coach at an elite world cup level. And his wife is a professional athlete as well. 

And so, I want to show you how you can use your specific industry experience and skills, and transition to earn an online income.

How James de Lacey replaced his income with content websites

Matt:               So James, thanks so much for coming along today and chatting with our community about your incredible success with your portfolio. Because I don’t think you realise just what you’ve achieved there. You have a portfolio strategy with content sites. But realistically, you’re making good money from two of those sites, allowing you to transition and work from home.

To start with, can you share with us those two websites?

James de Lacey: Yes, so my two main sites are:

  1. sweetscienceoffighting.com – based on physical preparation for combat sports.
  2. liftbigeatbig.com – more focused on general fitness and strength sports, such as weightlifting, strong man, powerlifting, etc.

Those are the two main big sites, and I’ve obviously got some smaller ones on the side that don’t make much.

Matt:               Yes, and that’s perfectly normal in a portfolio.

He used his skills as an elite sports coach to create his passion websites

Matt:               Your background is a strength and conditioning coach at an elite level. Let’s look at that so that everyone understands the framework of this interview. 

James and I met when he interviewed me on the Niche Website Builders podcast, which many of you would’ve heard about. We’re talking about content sites. James asked me about my experience because we coach beginners on how to make online income through content sites. And so that’s what James interviewed me about. 

And then, off the camera, I started asking James, “Well, how did you get into this game?” He showed me some of his sites, and we started geeking out, looking over his sites. I was giving him some ideas, exactly like I’d give any of our students reading this.

James and I got really excited, and I said, “Mate, can you come along and share your story?” So that’s the background there.

James: And here I am!

Matt: And James’s story will impress anyone who’s into sports. Even if you’re not into sports, you’ll still appreciate seeing the elite level James is at.

James started his online business as a complete beginner

Matt:               So, let’s go back to the glory days. We know quite a few professional athletes. What’s your background, and where did you start? Because you’re not a professional website builder or anything like that. What’s your actual profession?

James:             I was working as a strength conditioning coach within professional rugby and rugby league. And I know Aussies love the rugby league even more than the Kiwis.

Growing up, I wanted to be a surgeon and go on to medical school. But I didn’t get into med school, so I ended up going down this road and realised this was actually what I wanted to do.

He spent 5 years coaching professional sports around the world…

James:             I started as a university intern at the Warriors (an NRL team). I spent four years there as an intern, working with the junior academy. And I just said yes to every opportunity. So, I was working with different clubs, doing various things that popped up there. 

In 2015, I got my first full-time role at a team in Romania. But it was so badly organised over there. So, after seven months, I managed to land a job at the Kiwi Ferns (New Zealand woman’s rugby league team). In 2016 we ended up winning the NRL Nines against the Aussies. We also beat the Aussies in the Anzac Test that year.

I then got a job here in Austin for the new major league rugby competition in the States. So that was the first year (the pilot year), so see how it was all going. Within that first year of major rugby league, I got the call to join the Romania national rugby team for the World Cup in 2019. 

They ended up getting disqualified after I signed the contract for fielding ineligible players. So, I thought, “Okay, I’ll go back to Romania. It won’t be such a mess because it’s a national team.” It really was a mess, though.

So, I ended up with the 15’s team, which was cool. And also trying to qualify the sevens for the Olympics as well. 

…Until COVID hit which suspended his sports career

James:             And then COVID hit at the beginning of 2020. I was in France with one of the teams at the time, and we had to get an emergency flight back.

The contract basically ended there because of COVID. We were stuck in Romania from April to December because we couldn’t get flights back to New Zealand. And that’s when I found my way online.

Matt:               That’s the important point in this story. As you can see, whether you’re into sports or not, if you’re overseas reading this, rugby union and rugby league in Australia and New Zealand is a big, big thing.

James:             It’s everything.

Matt:               And anyone who’s into those sports, if they just read what James has achieved in that space, would think, “Okay, this guy is fully dedicated to the sports career as a strength and conditioning coach for a national and elite rugby team.”

James:             To put it into perspective of how dedicated I was, when I first started, I remember thinking, “I don’t care about the money. All I want to do is coach. I’ll make $50,000 a year and just coach. I don’t care.” But then you get to a point where that’s not sustainable.

Professional sports was everything James and his wife Mona – they didn’t know how to make money online

Matt:               And to paint the full picture in everyone’s minds, James and his wife, Mona, are dedicated, full-time athletes. They’ve never been online or tried making money online.

Mona is a South African professional athlete. She’s represented South Africa, is a six-time karate world champion, and represents CrossFit. But also, another really big thing if you’re into sports, Mona is a Commonwealth Games medallist for Olympic weightlifting.

Again, if you’re into sports, the Commonwealth Games in this part of the world is a really big deal. And anyone who’s an Olympic weightlifting and a medallist in that sport is just phenomenal.

So, I’m looking at these two, going, “Okay, these guys are just full-on in my mind.” And you know what it’s like in the New Zealand and Australian sporting culture. People like yourself and your wife are full-time athletes, and we know what you give up to achieve what you do.

Are you a professional in your industry, looking for a way to earn online income?

Matt:               Some of our readers might also be in the athletic space, or maybe in the military, or lawyers, or professionals. You might be in a full-on role and considering transitioning to earning an online income.

And this is why I’ve asked James to come along because this is where the story gets really interesting. You can see he’s a young guy and trained all his life as a sporting professional. He’s hanging out with professional athletes, and James’s wife is also involved in the world of sports and conditioning training. It’s all very full-on.

But then all of a sudden, you’re stuck in Romania, James, and there’s this thing called COVID. And I’m guessing you’re thinking, “Oh no. What the heck are we going to do here? Our world has just stopped.”

Here’s how James started making money from blogging…

Matt:               What happened to you at that point, James? You’re presumably stuck in an apartment in Romania. How did you go from there to earning the money you are now online?

James:             Well, I’ll preface it by saying I was earning some money by freelancing (or contracting) to another site. I wasn’t writing content for them but reviewing research for their monthly membership magazine. And I still am to this day.

Matt:               So, you’re already using your expertise to do research work for a website?

James:             Yes, for a sports science company. They do a monthly magazine for coaches with a roundup of the latest research. 

And I’ve been writing here and there on the side for other different sites. That’s just what you do as a strength conditioning coach.

But I didn’t know you could make money from blogging. So back in the day, before you made everything for SEO, you used to be able to follow your favourite bloggers. 

So, I followed my favourite fitness bloggers. I’d have an RSS feed of all their latest blog posts. It had nothing to do with SEO. And I wanted to get into that. That was over ten years ago. 

Even though James was bad at writing, he was still making money online…

James:             I’ve tried my hand at it a few times, but I used to suck at writing. I almost failed school because I couldn’t write. I seriously suck at writing.

Matt:               All right, let’s reflect on that for a moment. Even though James is writing for these guys, he sucked at writing. That’s what our audience needs to hear, James.

James:             It wasn’t until my master’s year at university that I really started developing the skill and writing more online

But at the time, during the beginning of COVID, I don’t know how I came across it. Still, I remember I was going to start trying to dropship because that was the big thing at the time. So, I set up a drop shipping site selling magnetic eyelashes, of all things.

Matt:               You don’t look like an expert on magnetic eyelashes!

James:             Unfortunately not. And so, that lasted like a week. 

I can’t remember how I came across blogging, but I was like, “What, you can make money doing this?” So, I did a course similar to what you present here, Matt, on how to build and buy websites for profit. And I realised I can make money doing what I’m already doing. 

Once I realised that, the whole world opened. People are actually making a lot of money doing this. And you realise that when you last searched for the best blender for an apartment kitchen and clicked on someone’s affiliate link, they made money. 

So that’s pretty much how I went down that road, and it just snowballed from there. And from interviews like these, I started learning more and more. And I just jumped in with both feet and went down that rabbit hole.

How James started his content website portfolio

Matt:               Let’s talk about sweet science of fighting, a leading website on strength and conditioning for fighters. Would you describe that as your passion site? You’ve built that site yourself, so did you start that one before you bought the lift big eat big site?

He learned how to build a website in the pet bunny niche…

James:             Yes, I did. But before that, I had a pet bunny website. That was my first site, and it still makes around $15-20 a month in passive income.

Matt:               Perfect. So that was your learner website?

James:             Yes, that was my learner site.

Matt:               Okay. So, that’s important for our readers to know – we also get our students to start on small passion sites.

Are you passionate about pet bunnies, or it just happened to be a cool keyword?

James:             We had a pet bunny, so it was perfect because I could take real pictures. I also published a Kindle book from my blog post. So, I’m an author of a bunny book, but it’s not under my name. 

Why James started his money-making website about strength and conditioning

James:             Eventually, I decided to apply that skill to something I didn’t typically know anything about because I got bored of writing about bunnies.

Matt:               That’s pretty important, James, because you enjoy writing about your professional career in strength conditioning coaching. So, that puts you at an advantage.

And that’s the point of this interview. 

If you have expertise and knowledge in a particular niche, you can use it to create a money-making website – Matt Raad, eBusiness Institute.

Looking back at your journey. You started it with a pet bunny site. You’re not really passionate about it, but it was fun. You learnt on that site, and it still makes you $15-20 a month today. It’s just ticking along.

But then you started the sweet science of fighting website. And that’s your professional background – strength and conditioning coaching for fighters.

James is also into BJJ, jiujitsu etc., so you know it back-to-front. Plus, you’re a professional coach in that space.

He creates real and valuable content for his readers…

Matt:               So, when you first launched that site, was it easy for you to start?

James:             I don’t know if it was easy to start. It was more just applying what I’d done. 

As people know, professional coaching is the most volatile career in the world. So, I actually bought the domain when I was in between jobs in 2018. 

I still knew nothing about SEO, but I just wrote an article. And it happened to bring in 100 visits. I was just sitting there and getting the visits. So I started building it out, and researched some topics.

I tend to go down the rabbit hole in terms of research. I’ll go onto Google Scholar and look at everything if there’s a main topic. I’ll basically write a literature review on the subject, all referenced and everything, so that I can refer back to it. But it also ranks well because I’m linking out to 25 journals.

Matt:               And you’re passionate, and it’s real, like you said. 

I want our readers to notice that James almost wrote this article for himself. And being in the passion niche himself, this is where you’re going to win big time. It’s a no-brainer for Google to recognise this is real content, and it’s seriously helpful to someone. You’re inadvertently creating this real asset. 

How James monetises his websites

Matt:               So James, for our beginner readers out there – they’re probably wondering, “Hang on, how’s he actually making money here?”

What’s the main way you monetised the site?

James:             I monetise it through affiliates and then through my own digital products. And the digital products are now done through a membership instead of one-off sales

Actually, after our chat the other day, I have a call later this week with a company for sponsorship. So we’ll see how that goes too.

How to increase income on smaller sites by offering direct sponsorship deals

Matt:               What I suggested to James was, with a great site like this, it’s real, and it’s all about strength and conditioning coaching. He can get direct sponsorship from product manufacturers in the athletic niche

This is exactly how Liz and I have done it over the years. We’ve owned very similar websites in these same sorts of sports, but we are not professional coaches ourselves.

I was telling James the main way we monetised those sites because they were only relatively small traffic for us (about 10,000 visitors a month). Still, we had a really specific niche loyal following, just like James does. 

We just went around to all the big companies that sold products we used to review. And we’d say, “Hey, we’ve done reviews of your products on our website, and we’ve got lots of eyeballs reading those specific reviews. Do you want to be an actual sponsor on our website?”

We would have gold, silver, and bronze packages (simple packages). And we would promote them, give them an ad on the front page, and send them off. We’d feature them on the associated Facebook page and email the list of subscribers we had on that site. And it made great money, just ticking along.

So, that’s what I see when I look at your site, James. You’ve started posting helpful content around strength and conditioning people want to read. And then, you’d initially either have ads or affiliate products on there.

James now sells his branded merchandise on his site

Matt:               What were some of the products you reviewed on your site?

James:             Rash guards. Well, I’ve got my own rash guards and shorts now because I partnered with a company. They’ve been trying to get in contact with me for ages. And when you get a lot of inbound emails, you just ignore them. But then they contacted one of my coach writers, and he put me in contact with them.

When I talked to them on the phone, they said, “Okay, we want to do something together.” What would be the thing that I would want from them? I was like, “I’ve always wanted my own gear.” And he said, “Okay, yeah, we can do that.”

Matt:               Awesome.

James:             So, I’ve got my own branded gear with them, and I get a percentage.

Matt:               This is an awesome journey.

After we spoke the other day, your site really caught my attention, and I couldn’t help myself. I had a good look around your site and reversed-engineered it a little bit. And that’s why I mentioned trying the sponsorship idea in this particular niche because it can work really well.

How James found expert writers for his content website

Matt:               I want to congratulate you because you’ve built this site well. You started out writing the articles yourself. But obviously, that’s not sustainable, and you quickly figured out you needed to get other writers on with you. 

How did you find your expert writers?

James:             Mainly through my own network because I have a pretty good network of coaches around the world. But funnily enough, the biggest thing has been the podcast for growing my network.

The podcast has been the best thing that’s happened to the site, just for bringing coaches in and networking and growing that way. That was another way I brought people in to write about the expertise. 

James found an experienced martial arts writer on Fiverr

James:             But I found my first writer on Fiverr. I didn’t have to search “content writer” or “SEO content writer”. I searched “martial arts writer”. So, I got someone who actually coaches and practices martial arts.

Matt:               On Fiverr?

James:             Yes, I’ve found Fiverr’s the best for everything so far. 

This writer lives in Bulgaria and works with me full-time. I pay him monthly, and he gives me a certain amount of articles. I’ve had thousands of dollars worth of gear sent to him for free, which he loves because he gets to test them out and keep all the equipment. 

So that’s been awesome. He does all the product reviews for me that I don’t want to do. I do the jiujitsu stuff. But because I’m not a striker and he’s a striker, he compliments my knowledge perfectly. So then, he does all the writing about boxing gloves and things. And he also writes the articles that I don’t want to write.

I don’t want to sit there and answer basic non-training questions or martial art verse martial art. I don’t care about that. It takes me too long, and it’s boring. So, he writes about that, and I write the training stuff.

How much does it cost to write a professional article?

Matt:               And how much does he charge for an article? What are you paying for an article generally?

James:             Right now, I pay him $800 a month. Well, it depends. It varies on the article because we assign them points based on how comprehensive they are. A basic how-to article would be one point. But then a big roundup post would be one and a half points, if that makes sense.

And there are 20 points total in the month. So if you divide $800 by 20, it’s $40 on average.

Matt:               So, it’s $40 on average for an article written by an industry expert who compliments James’s writing. 

If you’re an expert, I wouldn’t advise that you plan out your life around being the full-time writer on your own content site because you’re just going to max out.

Instead, you need to leverage it. And this is what James has done really well. He’s brought in other experts. 

If you’re an expert, then like James, you will likely know other experts in your field and bring them in. But not only that, you just read it wasn’t even through James’s network. He went to Fiverr and found the best writer who happened to complement James’s level.

But did you also notice that this writer is an expert in a slight sub-niche? He’s a striker. So you can find a sub-niche expert on Fiverr as your writer. And for $40 an article, James now has leverage and can keep that site going.

This is really important, even if James just wanted to stick with that one blog. But like all of you reading this, he’s building out a portfolio of these content sites.

How James turned a neglected website into a 5-figure a month income

Matt:               Let’s have a quick chat about lift big, eat big, your professional strength training website, because that’s also given you extra leverage. 

What’s the story behind that site? Did you start this site yourself?

James:             No, we acquired that one in September 2021.

Matt:               Okay, so you bought that?

James:             Yes, I bought that one. 

Remember earlier I mentioned following your favourite fitness bloggers back in the day? That was one of those sites from 2011. So, it was ten years old when I bought it, but it had been completely neglected. 

It was initially on WordPress until 2015, then apparently got hacked. Then it was on Wix and had no SEO, no email, nothing. But it still got 300 search volume for branded traffic a month. It was making $200 to $400 a month just from program sales from branded traffic.

Matt:               Nice one. Really well done.

This is the thing we love teaching our students about. It is buying what we call “diamonds in the rough”, exactly what you just described. That is absolute gold. 

You’d personally followed this site since 2011 but had been totally neglected. So, you knew it was the real deal. You’re already making money in the same niche, so you know straight away, no matter what price you get it at, you can confidently make money. And it’s already making $200 to $300 a month. 

James found the website for sale through a private deal

…this is one of Matt & Liz Raad’s favourite strategies – buying websites through private deals…

Matt:               Did you privately approach them, or how did you get the sale?

James:             He posted on Instagram that he was going to shut it down. But if someone wants to take it over, then get in touch.

I originally got in touch with them. I couldn’t remember what I was asking about, but I wasn’t going to buy it. I was just saying good luck etc. 

But then I got back to him a month later and said, “Actually, I think I want to buy this.” And we negotiated on a price.

Today, I have already 5x the evaluation.

Matt:               Easily.

James:             Yes, and the revenue ceiling on that site is 100 times higher than I think on sweet science of fighting.

Matt:               Okay, why do you say that?

James:             Because the market’s so much bigger, and the demographic typically has more money than the fighting demographic.

And the products you can sell are typically higher ticket compared to the fighting niche.

Matt:               All right, this is perfect, James, because one of the reasons I interviewed you today is to put a bit of public pressure on you here!

I seriously reckon this is the moment in time where one day you’re going to look back, and we’re going to have a record of where these two sites are at. This interests me because you and I already see this is a pivot point.

He applied the same digital skills to renovate and monetise his new website purchase

Matt:               So to recap, James has built a site out of his own passion niche. He’s already getting leverage by having expert writers on there, and the best one’s turned out to be a writer he found on Fiverr. Any of you can find a writer on there, or Upwork etc.

And then he bought another website exactly like we teach. I’d swear you’d done our course, James! This is our favourite strategy, where we’d individually (privately) approach site owners to see if they wanted to sell.

So, James has stumbled across this site. And again, being passionate about the niche, he was at the right place at the right time and knew this blog was a fallen angel. And the owner was going to close it down, so James stepped in and bought it. He’s already 5x the site, and here we are today.

James went from a complete newbie to replacing his income with content websites

Matt:               How much money are you making between these two sites? What have you just hit recently?

James:             By the beginning of this year, I now have $10,000 months. Recently, there’s been a bit of volatility with some affiliate programs. But it’s still a minimum of $6,000-7,000 per month. It just goes up and down, depending on the month. So, it’s a matter of continuing to pump out content on the sites.

And, because the potential traffic on lift big, eat big is a million times greater than sweet science, we’ve also monetised that site with display ads. And that currently brings in an extra $1,300 a month.

Matt:               Perfect.

James:             Obviously, that can grow huge too. So, I’m just building that out and slowly adding content that is infinitely scalable because it’s on fitness.

He’s leveraged his existing skills into growing his new passion site

Matt:               This is really cool, James, because it was only three years ago you were a complete newbie at this. And as your knowledge grew from building your own passion website, you’ve been able to see the opportunity and be smart about buying the other site.

And you’ve suddenly realised it has 100x more potential than his other passion site because it’s a bigger niche. And now you’re just using the skills you originally learned on your first bunny website, earning $15 a month. That’s really cool.

James:             And I’m using the same strategies from sweet science on lift big, eat big. I have a friend who’s a two-times world’s strongest man competitor. So, he does the strong man section on that site, and my wife does the weightlifting. 

So then, everything’s just the same. The monetisation model between the sites is exactly the same—the same programs, membership, community, affiliate, text stack, everything.

Matt:               We discuss this at our annual 3-day digital investor summit, where life gets easier, not harder. The more knowledge you get, the more successful you get. You can really start to leverage this up. 

Think of how you and your wife started, James. Both of you are professionally trained in the field of elite sports. But now you’ve completely retrained in digital skills in less than three years. It’s all gotten easier, and you’re well and truly on your way to making a full-time income from this. 

You’ve got a system now and the knowledge to replicate it, as you said. It’s brilliant. It’s the same skills, and you’re using your networks to grow it. But you’ve found a site that can probably go 100x because it’s just such a big marketplace.

He’s earning 5-figures a month, even in a small passion niche

Matt:               On that note, I know some people are thinking, “Yeah, but I’m not going to go into the sports niche. It’s massive.” But when I looked over your YouTube channel and podcast, we’re not talking a lot of views here.

I know there are a couple of hundred views a month. But you’ve found that enough to launch these sites and to make $10,000 per month?

James:             Well, most of it comes from Google anyway. So sweet science gets 130,000 people a month to it, and lift big, eat big gets 60,000 people a month. And that number is growing.

How to use Podcasts to complement your WordPress blog

James:             I started the YouTube channel a while ago for sweet science and stopped because I hated setting up a camera. And then I was like, “Okay, what’s the easiest content you can create where we don’t have to do anything?” And it’s a podcast because someone else talks, and you don’t have to do anything.

And so I published the podcast. Then I had a list of people I knew I would bring on, and I just started with that. I was then recommended to more and more people. And I’ve had some epic people on, too, such as the Australian cricket strength conditioning coach, because he reached out to me through the site I write for. 

He said, “Oh, I saw those warmup games you’re playing. And we did them with the Aussie cricket team before the summer test match.” I said, “Wow, that’s awesome. Let’s catch up for a chat.”

Matt:               I like what you’ve done here. You get chatting and go, “Oh man, that’s really cool. Hey, you should come and share your story with our audience.” That’s great.

James:             And it helps bring other sports training methods into combat sports, what they do, etc.

James grew the site to 130,000 visitors in under 2 years

Matt:               Now, I want to reiterate something so our readers have a frame of reference in this sporting niche.

To put it into context, you’re earning around $10,000 per month, and every niche is different. This is a very competitive niche (strength conditioning etc.) What sort of traffic do you get to sweet signs of fighting, which is about strength and conditioning?

James:             Right now, it’s 130,000 visits a month.

Matt:               Nice one. Okay, so our readers should be out there starting a website in their passion niche. 

These numbers are from woe-to-go within two years, starting a website and doing podcasting with it down the track. And you’re getting expert writers on. Seriously, well done. That is really impressive, James. You’re on a big winner here because I know what it takes to build a site like that.

You’re a young guy, and I’m hoping, for your sake, you and your wife have planned out the next five and ten years. That would be my biggest piece of advice. It’s not just about making money online. With results like that, I reckon the world’s your oyster.

How do you monetise a website that has higher traffic?

Matt:               Let’s now look at the site that you bought that was ten years old because that’s got a really big opportunity, and you’ve only just started on it. What’s the traffic on that one?

James:             Last month was 75,000.

Matt:               Well done. And are you on Mediavine or something?

James:             Yes, I have Mediavine on there.

Matt:               That’s probably the best one there. 

And you know this industry really well now. You know how to buy and sell websites and build content sites etc. So, as you’re building out this site, I’m presuming you have a plan for a possible exit somewhere down the track in the next five years or so. A corporate could come in and buy both of these sites. 

Or you can even get direct advertisers on there, so working more directly with advertisers etc. There are lots and lots of opportunities, which I’m sure you’ve already explored.

James shares his future plans for his passion content sites…

James:             There’s so much opportunity. There’s way too much I want to do, and just not enough money and time right now to do them. But I’ve got many more ideas.

I want to do a spinoff YouTube channel for sweet science. I’ve already talked to the person, and he’s keen to do it. It would include predictions and previews of upcoming fights and then having sports books to sponsor the channel. But this would be a spinoff channel. 

Then I would like to do another one that’s more about technique, so it’s more like the actual sport itself. That would be three different channels, but it’s all under the same brand, just different colours.

Renovating the website helped to grow traffic quickly …

Matt:               Well, I’ve noticed that you’ve renovated these sites and have a standard way of doing so because both sites now look very similar. So, I guess that will help. And that’s another thing we teach here at eBusiness Institute is how to renovate websites.

So, you’ve got a nice platform now, and that would’ve helped with the traffic flow because it’s really easy to navigate your sites and look over the story. You’ve got lots of nice E.E.A.T signals, which are all about expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness right off your homepage. It’s a really nice layout that you’ve got on both sites. 

Did you notice any immediate results on lift big, eat big when you renovated that homepage and organised things on it?

James:             I had to renovate the whole site because it was initially built on Wix. So, it was basically a full rebuild. But as soon as I started posting and getting this going, the site started increasing in traffic quickly.

How to increase the value of your website with E.E.A.T

James:             Also (and this is good if anyone is an expert in their niche), I’ve published a bit of research before. So, I linked my Google Scholar profile to my website, and I also linked my Research Gate. 

I link anything and everything, and then obviously, because I run it for a whole lot of other sites, all my author profiles are linked to sweet science and sometimes lift big, eat big, depending on the site. So, all those things can help.

Matt:               Yes, a big advantage is that you use your professional background online. That’s powerful because Google can see that, as can we as humans.

I can’t help but be impressed when I look over your sites. I can see exactly what you just said within 30 minutes of landing on your site. It’s easy to think, “Wow, these guys are the real deal.” You can trust the site.

You’re sitting on golden virtual assets, particularly with AI-written content and stuff. Anyone into strength and conditioning coaching will love coming to your sites because they can trust it. And so can Google.

And now you’re branching into the YouTube channel and podcast. For any of our readers who want to do the big online content sites, you should watch this.

I’m so excited about this interview, and so is James, because this is a moment in time where James has put the foundation work in and created a solid site. And he is at that tipping point where it’s really going to start growing over the next five years. It’s taken him two to three years to set up this perfect virtual asset in the eyes of Google and his ideal customer avatar

That’s my gut feeling, and you can see it in your results. As you said, once that traffic starts taking off, typically in our experience, that’s a good sign.

You must have been excited when you renovated the site and started seeing those results.

How simple renovations increased James’ website value by 800%

Matt:               Can you share how much you paid for the site? I don’t know whether you said it earlier. How much did it cost you?

James:             It cost $7,500. The domain itself was worth at least that because it was 10 years old with DR30 and links from bodybuilding, CrossFit, and all the big magazines. Plus, I got all the assets and training programs I could continue selling. I also got all the graphics; the graphic designer works for me now. So, he redid my sweet science logo and designs.

Matt:               That’s why private buyers can often be the best, especially when someone’s had a site for ten years and is now bored with it.

For those of you that are brand new to this, what James has bought is an absolute bargain. He’s bought this rundown site that most people would look at and go, “That’s just rubbish. It’s totally rundown.”

But underneath all that, when you know what you’re doing, you realise there’s gold just sitting there. This is the perfect example of buying a diamond in a rough and polishing it up. This website is gleaming now. And the proof is in the pudding. The traffic took off when James fixed it up.

James:             It’s worth more than $50,000 – $60,000 now, and that’s just the beginning.

Matt:               Yes, that’s right. We’re only at the beginning of the journey. This is super cool, and I think you can build this into something really big.

James has built a valuable future-proof asset with his content websites

Matt:               I can still see you’re really passionate about your original site. So, just a fun question; which one do you like the most out of the two sites?

James:             The sweet science one, that’s my baby.

Matt:               Okay, so that’s the one. Because I noticed you kept coming back to say, I’m going to do this and that to it.

Isn’t it funny how our brains work? You’ve got the lift big, eat big site, which is your commercial site. That’s the one that’s just going to go huge.

James:             Yes, that’s the idea. 

It’s hard, though, because I inherited the YouTube channel with the site, which had 6,000 subscribers. But obviously, they subscribed to the previous person. We also have 97,000 likes on the Facebook page, but it’s all from the old owner.

We post on YouTube, but it doesn’t do well, or maybe people aren’t used to it. But we just started another podcast show on there to keep it going. But obviously, there are different faces, styles, information etc., which doesn’t quite gel. 

But that’s okay. The website is all that matters, and that’s just icing on the cake to have that going.

He’s personal passion drives him to build a bigger online business over the next 5 years…

Matt:               So, the actual website asset that you bought is hugely valuable. You’ve already 5-6x your money straight away. But that’s not what any of us here today are interested in. It’s the actual underlying asset.

Everyone reading this would agree, “Okay, you’re sitting on gold. That’s the five-year plan. Just get into it.”

But isn’t it interesting in your brain you still love the niche one with the sweet science of fighting?

James:             It’s the sports performance. That’s my passion.

Matt:               It will be interesting because it’s like a little competition within your own organisation for your portfolio. I will be fascinated to see which one wins because my money might be on the sweet science of fighting. You never know where that will lead to.

I bet you doors will open that you never expected with that. And I’ll laugh if that was the first one that hits seven figures. Let’s see what happens over the next five years.

James:             Eventually, I want to sponsor some competitions to turn this into a big real-world thing. I also want to build out a big Twitter asset with it.

And that’s the same with lift big, eat big. I want to build out a big Twitter asset and earn a place in strength sports and general fitness. But it’s much harder to make your own space within that because it’s just so big, and everyone’s in it. Versus combat sports, it’s so small that you can make a big name there.

Matt:               Well, I think it will be a matter of “watch this space”. It’s going to be a fascinating moment in time. Let’s see what happens over the next five years.

…his results show why you need a handful of websites in your portfolio

Matt:               Within your portfolio, you’ve got your bunny website. But you’ve also got these two main ones that have floated to the top, just like any portfolio of websites. For everyone reading this – this is the 80/20 rule. Out of, say, ten websites, you’ll find two will be big winners.

We’ve heard James’s personal story on growing two passion sites from his professional background, sports. And we’ve seen how much they’ve grown to $10,000 a month in just two years. We’ve got the perfect example of a micro niche within a niche, which is James’s personal passion.

And then also the more general weightlifting lift big, eat big site, which is the one that could go really big. But it will be really interesting to see which one takes off. Either way, James, I think you’re laughing.

So, thank you for coming along today and sharing your information. I reckon we’ll have to do a yearly update on this, and everyone will be barracking for you, mate. Let’s see which of these two sites will win over the next five years.

Thank you so much for coming along and sharing your story and helping inspire a bunch of our community members and anyone who’s a professional trying to get online.

James:             Yes, for sure. Thank you very much for having me on, Matt.

Want to learn how to create your own passion content website?

Matt:               If you are brand new to this, and you’re a professional and trying to transition out of a traditional career, make sure you check out our free masterclass, where we show you literally what James has done. We teach you how we buy, renovate, and also sell websites so that you can transition out of your career. Click here to learn more or to register.

So a big thank you, James, and we’ll look forward to catching you up on our next podcast.