At the age of 14, when most of us fi nd ourselves ambushed by teenage anxieties and struggling to fi nd our identity, earning money is not even on our minds. However, 14 year-old Vishal Sanjay from Ryan International School, Bangalore, has already joined the entrepreneurial bandwagon along with his friend and has gained success with his blog – ‘dumblittleblogger.com’. An avid Internet buff , he started the blog with a view to earn some money, but soon realized that that’s where his passion lay. We spoke with the young entrepreneur to understand what drives him.

Q. What does your blog talk about?

A This blog is about social media, Internet marketing and Internet business. We provide more than just guides, as our posts are fi lled with external resources. Our audience includes bloggers, Internet marketers, freelancers, writers and small business owners, etc. Majority of them are people working hard to set up their Internet business or those who want to generate a passive income hub to lead an Internet lifestyle.

Q. In what ways did you monetize the blog?

A Our first source of monetization was through advertising networks such as Adbrite and Smowtion. We used those
for the fi rst three months, but we didn’t earn much. Once we gained a bit of traffi c, we started selling advertisements and sponsorships directly to advertisers. As of now, we have just seven advertisers, but they have been with us for months. We still sell a lot of advertisements and enjoy passive income through it, but our main source of income is our web design, Internet business and marketing consultancy services. We have about 17 clients currently, all of whom have come from our blog. So both sources combined earn us enough to cover our expenses and invest a bit to expand. However, we have not been able to make this passive. If we don’t work for a week, our income will come down and we often outsource web design projects due to lack of time.

Q. What methods do you employ to popularize your blog?

A The fi rst method we used was blog commenting. We found a source which many people didn’t notice, which is the comments sections of blogs. We often commented on all the latest posts at big blogs such as Techcrunch and Mashable, and we gained a link to our blog from our name. We also placed a link at the bottom of our comment. This generated a lot of traffi c, and we gained up to 170 to 180 visitors on peek days. We had an average of about 90 to 120 visitors, but it did miracles when it came to the initial recognition of our blog. Later, we started getting active on forums, placed a signature below all our replies. But that was too much work. Right now, our main source of traffi c remains social media sites such as Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook and Twitter. Every new post goes viral on these networks and we also have a practice of exchanging social media votes to get our articles viral.

Q. What is the kind of response you have received?

A We have managed to garner great response and have over 10,000 visitors every month. Also, fellow bloggers often comment or link to some of our posts, which also works in our favor. Even though we have huge traffi c from regular visitors, we have failed to create a community as we have earned a bit of a bad Internet reputation. This was because we often used spam methods for the promotion of our blog and the guys at Techcrunch and Mashable openly criticized us. Many times people have written negative blog posts and comments about us, which is the main reason why you never fi nd many discussions on my blog. Overall, we’ve received good response elsewhere.

Q. What role did your parents play?

A Yes, they were really supportive and are actually one of the main reasons behind our success today. It was my mother who gave me the initial money to set up my site. Unlike most parents, they have never forced me into doing things and have always encouraged me to follow my dreams. I have many ideas of where I’ll be in the next ten years, but one thing is for sure; you won’t fi nd me in a traditional 9-to-5 job. My Internet ventures would have matured by then or I can turn this home-based business into a full-fl edged internet business.