How Bloggers Earn a Living Online: John Meese

Customer Stories State of Blogging

John Meese

You’ve heard the stories, right? The tale of the blogger who made over 6 figures in 6 months with less than 20 hours a week of work. Or maybe you’ve heard about the part time consulting gig on the side that turned into an empire with a team and multiple revenue streams raking in well over 7 figures in less than 2 years.

The stories are out there all over the Internet and crowding our inboxes. The tales of massive success with little effort. The “exact plan” to land your first 5 figure month. The “must do” marketing plan that will get you to your dream in no time.

Then it comes at no surprise if John Meese’s story of starting out feels a little familiar:

When I started my blog, I didn’t know what the heck I was supposed to do first! I found out that there were about three dozen different ways I could be growing my blog or generating revenue, so I tried to do all of it at once―and failed, miserably.


It wasn’t until I narrowed down my focus to one primary revenue stream and a secondary focus that I actually saw results.

With #allthethings to do and a limited amount of time to commit, John focused on what he is best at: helping business owners select & set-up the right software, systems, and tools to accelerate their business growth, mostly in the online information space.

And the results were, well, a bit like those tales we start to believe aren’t real:

In 2015, we made just over $18,000 from my first video course and $7,600 from coaching services. We also brought in just less than $2,000 from various affiliate products. That was all while working full-time at Chick-fil-A, so I could only spend 5-10 hours a week on my blog!


This year (2016) I set a revenue goal of $100,000 but now I’m full-time and we’ve got a growing team of part-time contractors I think we’ll easily hit that goal (maybe we’ll even double that goal this year).

John Meese started his blog more than three years ago but it really became a business (ie: revenue coming in the door) just over a year ago. In fact, John has been fully self employed for barely a month to this date.

And (unlike some of those “live the life of your dreams” stories you hear) he doesn’t have an email list of 10k, or even anywhere near it. But with a passion and dedicated community around him, John has been able to leave his job and dedicate him time solely to growing his business.

While his day-to-day is quite different now than when he held a full time job, John is also a new dad and loves spending time with his family.

I hold pretty close to a structure I created called “The Perfect Day”, and wrote a free ebook on how other people could do the same (Daily Life Navigation).


I wake up at 6am every day, exercise (at the gym Monday, Wednesday, and Friday), start work by 9am after breakfast with my wife and newborn son, and then work until 12pm when I take a mid-day break of two hours to rest and recharge.


Usually that means taking a nap, but I also have time to goof off with my son, play some old video games, or read before I get back to work by 2pm.


I save customer support emails until 2pm so that I have a block of time for that, and then from 3pm until 6pm I finish my daily projects (I theme my days, so these projects are different every day).


After 6pm it’s family time! At least most nights.

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For John, success comes in the form of not just time and money, but impact.

Making a lasting impact on the world. On a small scale, that means my family being able to take care of their most immediate needs (like food and medical attention) without stress, so they can spend their energy on more important stuff.


On a larger scale, we’re working towards a future where we’ll have the ability to bless people, churches, and impoverished communities all over the world with what we’ve been given. That’s more inspiring than anything else.


And we’re having fun. We genuinely find new ways to help people, whether through free or paid resources. With that in mind, working is fun! It’s hard work, but it’s worth it to get messages like “I couldn’t have done this without your help!”

If you look at almost any of the success stories out there (John’s included) you’ll almost always hear about collaboration, team, and a greater impact. John learned with time that cool collaborations were required for him and growth is the name of the game.

I work with a small team and now that I’ve opened the door to collaboration I’m basically just wondering why I didn’t do it sooner! Having a team is a must.


We’re launching a new course called ConvertKit Mastery in March that’s gonna be excellent for everyone involved and I’m now working with a few select partners to expand the consulting side of the business.


First and foremost, we love helping people. Growing the business lets us do that more. Our mission statement is to “always be teaching” and that’s really the heart of our work, but we also know that beyond teaching business owners we’re also opening the door to help more people through charity and our local church.

There is, of course, a key to John’s success. Did you notice it earlier? I’ll give you a hint… it’s about something we touch on quite often here at ConvertKit.

The Perfect Day

You got it! It’s focus.

John’s focus on what he does best gave him momentum to set a goal to 4x his business in just one year. And when asked if he could go back in time and save himself even that brief learning curve, John followed his mission of “always be teaching” and shared his hardest lesson learned:

Spend more time creating new content than “research”. Like most bloggers, I used to spend 80% of my time reading blogs, listening to podcasts, and thinking about what I would do with my blog.


Most of that was a waste. I learned more by actually writing, creating new products, and launching the best I could then by reading posts about people doing the same thing themselves.


In other words: Do. The. Work.

Sage advice from a professional teacher who’s seen the kind of success many bloggers dream of. Do the work. Get focused. Help others. Now it’s your turn.


John Meese is a writer, speaker, and coach. He uses his blog to inspire entrepreneurs to pursue their passion by providing them the confidence and clarity they need to be successful. Join him for ConvertKit Mastery or simply join his email list for weekly inspiration in mastering online business. 

Val Geisler

Val is a yogi, mom, military wife, and avid podcast fan. She is ridiculously obsessed with sharing and creating content that actually makes a difference in the world, connecting with her fellow bloggers, and doing more with less effort. Val is based on Columbus, Ohio (O-H!) and can often be found oversharing on Instagram at @lovevalgeisler.

  • Thanks for featuring me, guys! It’s an honor to share my story.

    By the way, we do have a ConvertKit giveaway going on right now for a year’s subscription for free plus access to ConvertKit mastery.

    It ends tomorrow, but you can sign up here:

  • Mitchell Moore

    Hi John! Congratulations on the feature! Great to hear the real side of the world. Good luck on your $100k year!

    We’re still moving everything over to ConvertKit but we’ve been extremely happy with the move so far. It feels like they get us!

    • Hey Mitchell, thanks for the kind words! Glad to hear you’re a happy ConvertKit user too.

  • John – congratulations on your new baby!
    I liked what you said about” learning by doing the work.” I think that is great advice. I look forward to your Convertkit course.

  • I’m so proud of my husband! Though life isnt perfect, we work hard and dream big. John has really set a beautiful trajectory, and I’m so lucky to be wrapped up in it!

  • Great article. It’s awesome to see a guy who was in a similar situation working his side project, turning it into something awesome, and helping so many people.

    • Thanks Robby. And I’m grateful for your part in that journey!

  • Love this! Focus is so important and I really like the way John has structured his days. We often get distracted by other things because we are avoiding the “must do – but not fun” stuff. Soooooo – off I go, back to that. 😉

  • Leanne Tremblay

    This is great advice. I love The Perfect Day! But do you get stressed if things go sideways and not according to plan (which seems to happen all the time to me!)

    • We all deal with that, but I try to build a bit of margin into my schedule to make up for when things go “sideways.” In the end, I do find that I’m forced to prioritize and make hard (but important) decisions when my schedule is full and my to-do list is long. Less, but better!

  • Hi John,

    It’s so refreshing to read your story. I’ve actually just started my blog about 8 months ago and when I first started, I had no clue what to do.

    Like you, I was trying to do everything. At the end of the day I was so exhausted from trying to be everywhere. I actually didn’t accomplish anything, except maybe giving myself a headache.

    Now for about 3 months, I actually have a plan of what I should be doing everyday for my blog. You’re right, it definitely takes time.

    You can’t listen to those stories that say it only took them a week to make six figures. You’ll go crazy and end up spending money on all types of products.

    Just like anything else, you have to be willing to put in the work and give it time to come to fruition.

    Thanks for sharing your journey, I loved reading it. I am so glad that you get to spend more time with your loved ones.

    That’s my goal as well. Now I need to get back to work, so I can work on creating my perfect days.

    Have a great day 🙂


  • Hey, how did I not find awesome stories like this sooner? Great work by John, but also you guys at Convertkit for featuring inspirational stories like this. Confession time: Whilst being a CK subscriber, I’ve never really checked out the blog… that changes now.

    Keep up the great work 😄

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