In over a year since I have been blogging, I have come across some awesome people. When I didn’t know much about blogging, I still was able to meet some great people along the way to help, inspire and teach me what it means to network. Each week I want to feature men and women in the Blogger Spotlight that has inspired, taught and supported both myself and other bloggers.
Introduce Yourself to Brian: Please comment, visit “Brian” and keep the support flowing to every blogger you know!
Please introduce yourself and tell us about your blog?
My name is Brian D. Hawkins and I run HotBlogTips.com. I’m a long time blogger and love online business. I’ve been married to the same sweet lady for twenty nine years; we have four grown children and four Grandchildren so far. I’m a family man, very dedicated to my online business and I love blogging.
What most influenced you to launch your business?
I registered HotBlogTips.com simply because I thought it had value when I realized it was available. It was just one of over a hundred domains I had at the time. I already had my hands full with a couple other blogs, internet marketing and a membership site so I really had no interest in another blog. I sold the site but ended up with it again a little over a year later (long story). I deleted the content and parked the domain until I decided to give it a go last August.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced so far with your blog?
Time! Time is my toughest obstacle daily. I’m a local truck driver and that job takes up twelve hours of my time five days a week. The good news is that if I can manage to (almost) keep up, anyone can.
What role do social media play in your blogging life?
Social media is pretty powerful as a networking tool and bloggers seem right at home in that environment. Sure, it’s great for our blog posts to be tweeted, liked, dugg etc. but sending a tweet to get a link you need or sending a quick message on Facebook for a little advice is pretty incredible for a guy that grew up putting dimes in payphones and using stamps to send letters. Social media hasn’t only changed my blogging life; it has improved my entire life.
How has blogging affected your career?
I’ve played many roles online and while blogging has never been my main source of income, it’s certainly my biggest source of pleasure when it comes to business. Blogging has taught me that enjoyment should be a key factor in conducting business. Who said business and pleasure doesn’t mix? That sounds like a foolish statement to me.
What advice would you give to aspiring bloggers?
My advice would be to find YOUR way. It’s easy to get overwhelmed trying to do all of the things we’re told to do and results suffer. Be yourself, find your niche and treat it as a calling. Put content, relationships and interaction above details and aesthetics.
The other piece of advice I’d like to offer is don’t be afraid to invest in your business. I see blogger after blogger moving as slow as molasses because they won’t spend a dime on or for their blog. Try that in the real world and you go hungry. With that said, don’t go the other extreme by wasting money on every “must have” product marketers send your way. Use common sense and ignore the hype.
What aspect of social media has helped your business?
I’m really behind when it comes to things like our Facebook and Google Plus pages but I am connected with some fantastic people and I wouldn’t trade that for the World. I love Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook.
What would you say is the single biggest reason for your success?
That’s an easy question. The biggest reason we’re enjoying a little success is by far, hands down, due to the support we get from the blogging community. That may sound a little cliché but it’s the absolute truth. I started blogging before most people knew what blogging was and I am very proud of the community and the way we come together and support one another; especially when you look at the questionable reputation other online activities such as internet marketing has endured.
If you could step back in time to when you were just starting out, what advice would you give yourself knowing what you know now?
I’d say, “Brian, (That’s what I call myself, Brian) stop worrying about numbers and build the business with relationships. Build a list but forget about subscription numbers and concentrate on value. Encourage interaction but stop worrying about numbers of comments.” Ultimately our business success will be determined by the value we provide and the trust we’ve earned based on our readership and customers; nothing else, not Page rank, Alexa rank, Twitter followers or any of the other numbers we’re taught to obsess over.
Do you have any big projects in the works?
I plan to host a couple of contests in the near future but right now my concentration is focused on our Blogging Tips Newsletter. I believe we have a pretty unique concept with four newsletter partners so far. We’re getting back to that great blogging community again.
What websites to you visit most?
It needs updated but I do have a page with blogs I frequent http://hotblogtips.com/bloggers but I love any blog with useful information on blogging, social media, or anything related to internet business
What is the best way for our readers to learn more about you or contact you for more information?
I have a contact page and I’m very approachable. I also have an “About” page but, honestly, the best was to learn more about me is get to know me. I’m very social and I’m on all of the major social networks. Rather than list those anyone interested can find my social connection links at brianDhawkins.com.