Honestly, I never thought I would start a blog like LouPrime. I have been a software engineer for almost two decades, always helping others launch or refine their blogs. More than 300 blogs have seen results from my efforts, but I have never followed the steps to launch my own blog. Now, here I am with a blog of my own, ready to help the world! Time to make the best of it!
Pssst… If you like this long content, check out my Make Money Blogging Guide.
Curious from the start
It all started on a nippy, mid-September day in 1983 before blogs had even been invented. I had been granted life after hours of painstaking labor. Embraced in my mother’s arms, I carefully explore the world around me. I remember my parents used to say I came out of the wound curious about everything, trying to understand how it all worked.
To say I was curious might be an understatement. Curious people ask questions and make notes about the answers they uncover for future reference. My fascination went well beyond the standard curiosity. I would dig in and try to understand the true inner workings of things others would dismiss as inconsequential.
Do you remember the Magic Mike Robots from the late-80s?
My father would often tell this story about a Magic Mike Robot they gave me for Christmas when I was four or five. Mom and Dad would intently watch me explore technology. They were both in Bible College at the time, distant in every respect from anything technology related. Despite that, they knew if they encouraged me, I might find a passion for it later in life.
They didn’t have much money, being college students and on the lower end of the income spectrum. As they told it, Santa Clause gifted me the robot because I was always a good son. I remember playing with Magic Mike briefly that day. Later I apparently asked my parents if I could take him to my room and play some more. They said yes, of course.
After not hearing anything from me for a few hours, my parents decided to check on me, hoping to snap a quick polaroid for the scrapbook. They crept down the hall and slowly opened the door to my room. I remember being startled when my mom shrieked in surprise.
They said I found one of my Dad’s small eyeglass repair kits, one of the kits with the tiny screwdrivers. Magic Mike had been dismantled, and all the parts were organized & itemized on the floor in front of me. I had a small cluster of reassembled parts in one hand and a little gear in the other. Even then, I wanted to know how things functioned. That has stuck with me for my entire life.
I love computers
We were poor growing up. Most of the time, we were barely getting by, barely paying our bills on time. We moved a lot and I went to several different schools all over the southeastern United States. My sister and I felt the strain on our education. From school to school, the curriculum varied greatly. Sometimes we felt ahead. Sometimes we felt behind.
Eventually, we landed in Lexington, Kentucky: home of the world-famous Keeneland racetrack. I spent most of my teenage and early adulthood years there. I attended one of the poorest, lowest-ranking schools in the nation. One good thing happened though, I finally laid down roots and establish a list of things I liked doing.
A focus on tech
Most kids my age were just starting to discover their attraction to other people. I was not one of those people. Instead, I focused on more introverted activities, like playing video games at my best friend’s house (since we barely had a TV), sketching perspective pictures (which were published in the school newspaper), or joining the STLP program (Student Technology Leadership Program, aka “geek club”).
It was here that I first discovered my love for computers! My Dad used to frequently visit the Carnegie Center, where he would use the computers to create brochures to promote his entertainment business (he was a professional Clown & Magician). He would spend hours on PageMaker (a popular layout design program at the time) and I would try to find a game to play.
I loved that time so much!
Dad would watch me sometimes as I played the games. He saw how much I enjoyed it and wanted to encourage me. One of our neighbors worked for Lexmark Printers as a Software Engineer, writing printer drivers. Dad caught wind that he was upgrading his work computer and offered to buy the old one. We could not afford much, but our neighbor understood that it would benefit my curious mind, so he gave Dad a deal on it!
Just like that, we had a new(ish) 286 computer just sitting in the office! I would stay up late playing games and exploring the depths of the abstract digital world it opened up for me. On one of my exploration missions, I stumbled across some old programs my neighbor had written. They were written in a now-dead language called Pascal!
Remembering back, I was pretty obsessed with learning how to read and write pascal. My visits to the public library would frequently yield Turbo Pascal books. I spent some time teaching myself how to program using the random assortment of Pascal texts I could find. Eventually, I discovered that Pascal was not the only language out there!
I branched out to several different programming languages from there: Q-Basic, Borland C++, batch-file programming, Delphi, LISP, Java, Perl, etc… Before high school I was quite an accomplished programmer. Even the programming teachers in high school were impressed. Truth be told, I was running circles around them, frequently teaching the class topics they did not grasp.
Throughout most of my middle school years, I was the kid everyone made fun of. Even other kids who were picked on would ridicule me. To make matters worse, we lived with two cats who enjoyed marking my clothes as their own. And if you did not know, no matter how much you wash them, clothes ruined by a cat never smell the same again.
Unfortunately, I could not do much to stop the abuse directly. Not only was I awkward, but I was also tiny for a kid my age. In 8th grade, I reached my limit. I could not take any more psychological terrorizing. Joining a sport was my only option. There is something to be said about a group of peers having your back, at least most of the time.
My parents were surprised when I told them about my desire to play football.
They had always viewed me as a nerdy kid, not an athletic one. It also caused a bit of stress for them because, as you may know, playing sports in school is not entirely free. Equipment rentals and purchases were more than my parents could swing, and that caused a bit of financial pressure that ignited several arguments.
Somehow, from 8th grade through high school graduation, my parents managed to make miracles happen. I played all five years, mostly insulated from the monetary strain my sport posed. Thanks to them, my sports career seemed to be on track until disaster struck leading into Junior year.
It was hell week, the summer training leading up to “return to school.” This week was jam-packed with high-intensity, physically demanding, limit-pushing training meant to weed out the weakest links. Only about 50% of new players stick around for the following year. Having a previous hell week under your belt raised your chances to 90%.
Fast as lightning
During my freshman and sophomore years, I had become somewhat of a rising star. I had been a starter on both the Freshman and JV teams. My 40-yard dash was amongst the fastest on the team, a solid 4.4 seconds, putting me a front runner for scouts. I was being groomed to start on the Varsity team as the lightest fullback in the history of our school, squeezing through the gap faster than most could react to the snap.
This worked well for me because I was also already the first alternate for the opposing position of linebacker. Understanding the linebacker role gave me an edge that most other candidates could not have. It also meant that I could practice the opposite of my competition for the fullback position. I could get insights into their strategies and adapt my own to incorporate some of their more genius moves.
Unfortunately for me, there was a massive senior vying for the same position. During hell week, they taught us most of the plays we would use that year. We were supposed to “walk through” plays so that we could all get accustomed to what our position should be doing. I walked. He ran. I got trampled, and even players around me could hear the popping sound as the senior jammed his foot onto my shin.
My ACL exploded. It is a common injury in the sport. Most occur at or above the college level. I was not so lucky. The scouts wound up dropping me from the watch lists. The few conversations I had with them got ghosted. I was damaged goods, and I never got a second chance. My recovery lasted the entire Junior season. Senior year, I only played on special teams, plus a few times when we were leading a shutout. But, for all intents and purposes, my football career was over.
While I recovered from ACL surgery, I spent most of my time on the computer. Much of that time was wasted. I played video games, participated in chatrooms (back when those were a thing), and even contributed to some Open Source projects that I cared about. After high school, it was much of the same, only instead of school, I was working at McDonald’s, breaking drive-thru records.
I finally found a girl I liked, and we spent some time dating.
One of the things we did together was The Rocky Horror Picture Show, live action at a community theatre. The show’s format included a movie screen playing the film behind a stage where my crew acted out the scenes. Most of the time, I played Rocky, but I did play Frank-N-Furter a few times when the usual guy did not show. The director, Brent, became a friend and eventually a boss.
Brent was a website developer who worked with several local businesses. He made rudimentary software specialized for each client. It was similar to their existing software: only it could be accessed over the internet. This was where I was first introduced to PHP. He knew I wanted to get into professional software engineering, so he threw some work my way. Unfortunately, the pay was pretty poor, barely clearing enough to beat out McDonald’s.
We worked together for about a year before he closed down his business so he could move to the Cayman Islands. I never heard from him again. Around the same time, the girl and I broke up, and I was alone again. After that, my prospects of joining the ranks of elite programmers dwindled to non-existent. My roommate was working on a game and asked me to help. That only lasted a few months, and then he abandoned the project.
The worst job ever: Customer Service
From there, I worked as a customer service call center worker: one of the worst jobs on the planet. I highly recommend never working in such a hell hole if you can avoid it. The primary focus of the job was to accept calls from cellphone customers. Most people were unhappy with their bills. My job was to politely inform them they were not getting a bill credit to offset their international calls. As you can probably imagine, it was a thankless job, with every customer more belligerent than the last.
Fed up with the mental abuse and not learning my lesson, I switched to another call center. Here I provided tech support for various businesses whose non-technical staff needed frequent help using a computer. Roughly 70% of my calls were from people who needed their password reset or account unlocked due to password typing failures. The other 30% were computer usage training issues. Less than 1% of the calls allowed me to use my developed computer skills.
I struggled there because of extreme boredom. My manager and I had a heart-to-heart about where I saw myself in 5-10 years. I came clean and told him I had a passion for programming and that my current position was poisoning my soul. To my surprise, he mentioned a new project opening that required programming skills, an Access Database, and ISO9000 compliance training. Of course, I accepted.
My manager did not share that the job was not actually what he said it was. He also forgot to mention it came with lower pay. I stuck with it for about two months and then asked for my old soul-sucking job back. He quickly obliged, and I was again stuck in techie hell.
I was lost in a world that seemed not to want me to pursue the life of a programmer.
Odd jobs became my specialty. I could perform most physical jobs as if I had years of experience. One of my friends wanted to start a painting job, so I was a house painter. That lasted all of one summer. Another friend wanted to make magnetic advertisements that stuck to the side of cars. I sourced magnets that never got used. My best friend wanted to install networking drops in buildings, so we did that for about a year until we ran out of clients. All of them were side jobs without any longevity.
I had given up, so I talked to another friend who worked for a local factory. He described his job as moving 50-pound stacks of product from a pallet to a pallet jack about a thousand times a day. At that point, I decided that factory life was for me since my programming career was not quite going as planned, and none of the odd jobs were taking off. A bonus was that it paid very well, at least by my standards back then.
A couple of years went by, and I found my groove. Physically, I was in the best shape of my life. But mentally, I was a bucket of mush. My brain was in shutdown mode for 10-14 hours a day while I walked 20+ miles or drove a forklift. My best friend moved to Nevada, and I felt alone. My family was still in town, but honestly, they did not understand what I wanted out of life, so talking to them was pointless. It was time to make a change.
The 34 hour drive
Like most 25-year-olds, I was an idiot who thought he was invincible. I could achieve feats no normal human could even fathom. Once I stayed up eight days straight without drugs, fueled by video games and competitive conversation. I had taken three guys in a fight and won. My football training enabled me to join the 500-pound squat club, which only a handful of previous upperclassmen had ever done. Surely my physical endurance and prowess could hold for a straight-through cross-country drive…
I almost died. Around hour 28 of my non-stop road trip, I experience what I can only call a total system failure. My vision went blurry, and the world around me was shaking. The strength all over my body was so depleted that I could not keep my foot firmly on the gas pedal. As I slowed down, it took every ounce of my energy to jaggedly guide my car off the road onto the shoulder. The sun was beating down through the window, and I could not move a single muscle.
Burning to a crisp, I felt fear overcome my entire body. My heart started pounding, and I was literally afraid that I might die. I remember my mouth being so dry that every breath scratched as I pulled it in. As I waited for imminent death, I gathered all the focus I could muster. Using only my eyes, I searched the front seat for anything to help me dodge the grim reaper’s grasp.
My hoodie sat in the passenger seat, overflowing into the console. In the floorboard was a half-filled backpack containing some “essentials” for computer gaming: useless. Next to the pack was a clear sleeve with crumpled-up sandwich wrap from where I stopped at Subway a few hours back. And then I had an epiphany!
The Subway was busy, so I wanted to get in and out as fast as possible. In a rush, I grabbed my cup and filled it to the brim with Sprite, no ice, and jaunted to my car. I was so eager to get back on the road that I did not eat or drink until I was several miles away. After scarfing down my sandwich (I know… eating while driving is dangerous), I felt like I needed a drink. I grabbed the cup and took a huge gulp, and my eyes immediately started watering.
There was no syrup in my cup at all. It was pure seltzer water and disgusting at that! At the time, I was frustrated and almost threw it out the window, but my Dad’s voice in the back of my head forced me to wait until the next stop to throw it away.
It was that nasty drink, combined with my Dad’s ethereal advice, that saved my life.
Under the sleeve of my hoodie, I could see that nasty drink sitting in my cupholder. I gathered enough strength to sling my hand over the console and knock the sleeve off the cup. Then with another magical burst, I drug my hand back to the cup, loosely grasped it, and shakily raised it to my mouth. With all my might, I gripped the straw with my lips and coaxed the seltzer water up the straw into my throat.
Within moments, I started feeling better. My vision steadied. My strength returned. I could breathe normally, which allowed my heart to stop pounding out of my chest. I had been within reach of death and narrowly escaped. Until my late 30s, I firmly believed I had used all of my luck that day, like a cat using its 9th life.
Thankfully, I landed safely in Las Vegas. My best friend was surprised to see me, which was expected because I did not tell anyone I was on my way. He graciously allowed me to crash on his couch until I could get on my feet. It took several months and a few false starts, but I finally found a stable full-time job at a local SEO company.
Vegas is full of scammers
My first job at this company was the equivalent of data entry. The company sold them as mini blogs when pitching to the customers, but that was a gross misrepresentation. I would accept information about a client, copy and paste some “generated content,” highlight all the keywords, and then spend about 2-3 hours making the “banner” image, which at the time was a key to their SEO strategy.
Most of the clients we catered to were blogs trying to increase their traffic.
Back then, SEO was still a pretty new concept. Most players were guessing at the “right” things to do to boost traffic going to blogs. The whole industry was powered by charlatans and belligerent salespeople who would browbeat you into buying their service. I was not one of them. Instead, I was a lowly data-entry employee with no real say and no real exposure to the truth about the industry.
About one month in, the head of the IT department approached me. He had heard from the rumor mill that I had some programming skills. I raved about it quite a bit to my coworkers, and somehow that got back to the IT manager. He offered me a full-time position as a programmer for the “website software building” team (aka. the software engineers). I gladly accepted, receiving a $10,000/year raise in the process.
Again I was a rising star. After proving my skills for a few months and improving the tool they use for building their blogs, they set me on a new project. This new project was to create a search engine that our company would own. At first glance, it sounded like a golden opportunity. Every young, ambitious programmer dreams of creating a search engine that could rival big-name players like Google and Yahoo (yes, they were still relevant back then).
The project was massive and took much more planning than anyone expected. My plan covered several different phases, each successively more impactful to searchers. It took me about one month to gather all the information and do the appropriate research based on the input from my manager. It was time to present it to the owner of the company.
Tech companies should be run by salesmen devoid of tech knowledge.
This was one of the hard lessons I learned on the day of my big presentation. I learned several things that day. For instance, the owner had been a hustler for over 40 years. The sales team was twice as large as every other team combined. The “closers” for the sales team essentially made people feel dumb for not investing $10,000 into a single-page website with highlighted keywords. I also learned the real motivation for creating our own “search engine” directly from the boss.
“Too complicated” was what he called my project plan. He wanted something that elevated our blogs to the first page, putting our clients front and center. Instead of a search engine, he wanted a wrapped Google search result set. His rules were as follows:
- Aggregate a list of all keywords we highlighted on our mini blogs.
- Cross-reference incoming search queries against that list of keywords.
- Pre-populate the results with the blogs we created for our clients at the top.
- Then automatically fill the remaining results with results from a standard Google search.
- All our clients needed to be on the first page, even if there were more than ten results.
As you can probably guess, this is a scam. He had spoken to his lawyer, and because of the sleazy contract wording, page 1 ranks could appear on any search engine. As long as we owned a search engine that always showed their blogs on page 1, we were free and clear from a legal standpoint.
I was devastated that my project plan was reduced to a scam engine.
My Dad’s voice rang in my head again. I was faced with a huge moral dilemma: either lose my first professional job in the software engineering industry or be culpable in a scam that violated my code of ethics and honesty. It was an easy choice because I am a habitually honest person.
E-commerce: the way of the future
Before quitting, I made sure to have a new job lined up. This time I was told the job would be to support an online store with more features. E-Commerce was an emerging field, so earning some solid experience in it would be a boon for my future career growth. It just so happened that they were paying three times more than the scam job. Needless to say, I started that job immediately, after giving my two weeks.
Things at this new company were great. I met new “programmer friends” who were all extremely competent. They each had substantial experience as both Software Engineers and E-Commerce Specialists. The team showed me the ropes, and I built lasting friendships there. The breadth of my knowledge grew fast because of the plethora of technology we used. I was allowed to explore, research, and strategize “real” solutions to real problems.
This company was an MLM. I had significant experience being a member of MLMs due to my Dad’s obsession with Network Marketing. The technical problems for this company were more challenging than you might expect, which I enjoyed. We supported thousands of MLM members. Each was allowed to customize every detail of their store and its products. They could even embed the store into their blogs. Our database contained over 2 million SKUs, and any number could be included in a given store customization.
I remember proposing using the Nested Set approach for handling the store product & category customizations so that we could avoid copying 2 million SKUs and over a thousand categories for every store. This was a technical feat that I received high praise for at the time. Not long after that my team lead resigned, and I got promoted. At the time, I connected his resignation to my technical prowess. As it turned out, that assumption was incorrect.
A few months later, the signs of economic collapse within the company were clear. Even before I started working there, the company was having funding problems. They, of course, did not disclose that to me when I was hired. Now those financial problems were finally coming to a head. One week we all got paid. The next, everyone’s paycheck bounced. People started quitting every day for a week until I was the only engineer left, and there were only five other total employees. This is the disaster my previous team lead was running from.
The savings I had lasted about two months. I continued unpaid for those two months, hoping that funding would come through. Finally, I ran out of money without any promise of back pay. It was time for a heart-to-heart with the owner.
I will never forget how frigid that asshole was.
My approach was to let him know if I did not receive at least some money soon, I would have to seek other employment. He looked me dead in my eyes and said, “You’ll be cleaning out your desk then?”
Even though I was furious, I responded, “I guess so.” I calmly walked to my desk, gathered my belongings, and headed home. I was in such utter shock that I completely forgot to check in with the other five workers and tell them goodbye.
Emotionally, I was devastated. This was the second engineering job I had landed. The first was a flat-out scam. The second was a borderline scam (yes, MLMs are scams, and don’t let any snake oil salesman tell you anything different). For a moment, I thought that all software engineers were only allowed to work for scams. Despite that, I knew I needed to find something to replace my income.
Every day I would scour CareerBuilder (back when it was a thing) and Dice for programming jobs. I now had around 2-3 years of experience, and I hoped that would get my foot in the door. All I got were crickets. My best friend pressured me to pay my part of the rent, and I was highly stressed because of the strain it put on our relationship.
Out of the blue, one of my ex-coworkers from the MLM job called me on the phone. He said he wanted to start a consulting company and already had some clients lined up. He called because he needed a techie guy to build blogs while he pursued more business through salesmanship. The pay was three times what I made at the MLM company, so I immediately said yes.
The next day, we met up. He brought me a two-year-old Mac laptop and told me to use it as the company machine so he could write it off. Then we talked about the incoming projects. This is where my introduction to blogs and blog companies took place.
He had connections at a big company in the Entertainment News industry. The company owned several blogs. My partner leveraged those contacts to get us some quick jobs. One project for that company was 2.5 months behind on a 3-month project, and they needed us to build something from scratch to catch up. Three months of work in two weeks seems outlandish. Despite that, I worked 14-hour days for those two weeks and killed it!
That company was so impressed with our work they offered us a full-time contract for four years to build out all of their blogs, which we accepted. They were our only client for those years. During that time, I worked on all of their big-name blogs. Their property portfolio included high-traffic blogs, like JustJared.com, which received half a billion visitors a month. They also owned all the Kardashian blogs and the blogs of every other “because I wanna be famous” celebrity in the Kardashian circle. I built and maintained them all. More than 120 blogs resulted from my handiwork in those four years.
Our contract ended around the same time the company required a complete rebrand. They hired a new CEO who was dead set on eliminating all contractor workers. Needless to say, we lost that contract and had to move on. Thankfully, we had built up some local fame because of our top-notch work, especially for blogs and e-commerce stores. We had a long list of local and semi-local companies that wanted us as their developers.
A masterpiece from scratch
One of our not-so-local clients was the largest Community Theatre in Texas. They wanted to replace their antiquated event ticketing system with something that would not double book seats at every event. It also needed to be accessible via the internet so they could start accepting ticket purchases online. They had a box office, but their following was growing, and many of their parishioners had all but demanded that they come into the modern age.
We struck a deal with them. They would pay us to build this event ticketing software. Our company would own the rights to the software, but their theatre would have a free lifetime license with unlimited access to upgrades. Both parties were happy with the deal, so we started gathering requirements.
I flew out and observed their operation. Many workers were eager to speak with me about what features they would like to see in the new software. The chairman was particularly fond of me. He was impressed by how intently I listened and the quality of the questions I asked.
It took me about 3-months of full-time solo work to create a solution. The result was a monolithic custom WordPress plugin that integrated with WooCommerce. It had all the bells and whistles. They could sell tickets from their blogs and at the box office. Reports were available for their accounting department. Users could click to select their seats on an interactive seating chart. They frequently changed the seating configuration, and the software allowed the staff to manage this. Their leadership could plan all of the shows for the year. I even built in Season Tickets!
They were elated, and they used our software for almost a decade. We had a great product. The main problem was that many people did not need all of the bells and whistles. Most people felt the software’s price was too high because they did not need all the features, despite being able to add it directly to their blogs. So we thought laterally.
We decided to split the monolithic product into a Free Plugin with Premium add-ons.
This is still the most used monetization pattern for WordPress plugins. It took me about six months, but I managed to break this monolithic plugin down into a Free Tier plugin with seven add-ons. I also invented the licensing mechanism we used to sell the add-on licenses on our website (instead of directly through a private PayPal link). We put the free version up on WordPress.org, and once installed: we funneled free-tier users to the add-ons through the admin interfaces on their blogs.
All the while, I was also working on several small client blogs. Most of the local businesses were small blogs or e-commerce stores. A few projects branched into mobile app development; however, we mostly stuck to blogs built on WordPress. That lasted six more years.
In those ten years, I built and maintained over 300 websites. They were a mix of blogs, e-commerce stores, and event ticketing clients. Our ticketing product had over 2,000 free tier users and a few hundred paying clients using an array of add-ons embedded in their blogs. I had created a masterpiece, and my masterpiece was well on the way to becoming a big-name product.
Blogs to Big-Tech
In the first year of our company, I made well into the six figures. After that initial year, things started to decline. I remember the last year I made less than at the MLM company. I was backsliding, and it was not entirely clear why at first. Our clients were happy with the blogs we created for them. Why were we making less money?
One thing I noticed was that my partner would frequently underestimate the timelines it took to create these blogs and the budget it took to create them. He would blow by the “ask Chris” phase of project planning and just get them to sign a contract. Of course, without me understanding the scope and signing off on a timeline, blogs would frequently require more resources and time to create than we had available. Being the CTO meant I had to pick up the slack.
The last year or two was particularly tough. I was supposed to be responsible for guiding our team, assigning work, and picking up slack as needed. For a while, this was working great, despite the gross underestimations. In the final years, though, he decided to delegate behind my back, undercutting my authority. We had several heart-to-heart conversations about it. During those talks, I started to see the shift.
He seemed preoccupied, disorganized, and belligerent way more than before.
It got to the point where I knew something was wrong, so I decided to investigate. Let’s just say our money was no longer going toward the business, and let’s leave it at that. After confronting him about this, it was clear the problem was not going away. Again it was time for a change.
One of the blogs we worked with expressed a desire to transition from a health blog into a social network. It was a massive project and one of the best blogs I had worked on. They asked me on multiple occasions if I could give them more of my time to ramp up the transition faster. Until my discoveries about my partner, those requests had been denied.
Client to employer
I took it upon myself to reach out to the CTO. He was one of the people from their company with which I had daily conversations. I used this conversation to land myself a new six-figure engineering job working on one of my favorite blogs. At the time, I had been their only engineer and created most of their blog and every social feature. After he accepted my offer, I told my business partner I could not deal with the dwindling pay for another year. He was furious, but it was my decision.
The transition to TheMighty was easy since I was already the only one who knew the code.
Working on this project was very fulfilling, more so than any of the previous blogs I had worked on. The focus of the business when I joined was to help connect people to first-hand testimony that would help them cope with the mental health and disability-related issues affecting their lives. We were in a transition to expand that into allowing groups of our users to form support systems within our community.
My work included basically every social feature you can think of. I implemented likes, follows, friends, UGC, commenting, chat, personalization, etc… I even created an algorithm that would help our users find more of the content they were interested in. A coworker helped refine that algorithm to favor newer content over older content.
My true love: Zora Valentine
While working there, I met the love of my life: my wife Zora Valentine. Check out the latest of her blogs. She is an extremely beautiful, intelligent, and creative person. I am so lucky to have found her. Before meeting her, I would often be consumed by the quest for what is correct, and would frequently trounce feelings and emotions as if they did not exist. Zora helps me to level out and have a softer touch. I am a much better person with her in my life, without a doubt.
Zora is so supportive. Not only has she taught me a lighter touch, but she is also incredibly encouraging. Earlier in our relationship, I shared with her that I have known I wanted to be an engineer since I was a youngster. I told her how I dreamed of becoming an engineer at a top tech company like Google or Facebook (before it was Meta). She really heard me. We had many deep conversations about getting into a big company like that.
Zora pushed me to pursue my dream and apply to all the big tech companies.
I completed the “full interview loop” at many big companies: Google, Facebook, Twitter, Uber, and Amazon. Each has its typical timelines for the interview loop and hiring process. All of them share the same basic format though a phone screening with a simple interview question followed by a day jam-packed with 4-5 “chalkboard” interviews (performed virtual interviews during covid). It is pretty crazy!
The fastest two, Google and Facebook, both presented me with an offer at pretty much the same time. This is precisely what you want because then you can pit them against each other to get the best offer possible. Using this technique, I managed to negotiate both compensation packages to the top of the salary band! In the end, I chose Google because people talk about “Googlers,” but nobody talks about Facebookers.
LouPrime is my future
It has been a long journey. You may have noticed I did not mention college anywhere above. I never went. With lots of failures, hard work, and perseverance I was able to go from a poor kid to a Big Tech Engineer without a degree. The trek took about 25 years but I made it in one piece. But that is not the end of my journey.
It is time to take control of my own destiny with LouPrime!
My priorities are centered around my family and our happiness. We need security and comfort. To realize both, I need to be financially free and time-independent. The only way that can happen is by creating something that makes money that is not directly tied to my ongoing efforts. LouPrime is my experiment to achieve that goal.
I have read many blogs about being financially free and time-independent. Based on my research, blogs are the way to go, but only if they are executed correctly. LouPrime is one of those blogs that is meant to stand out from the crowd. I want it to be a guide for the blogs of others, something they can follow along with. In an ideal world, the readers of LouPrime would be able to see my success and replicate it in their niches and blogs.
Many of the blogs I read recycled the same antiquated guidance: pick a topic you are passionate about, write a bunch of content, push through a bunch of failures, hope you make money, and eventually, you will. Blogs created using this antiquated advice generate far less income than blogs using modern advice. Researchers like Ahrefs and Moz have proven this to be true.
Here are the high-level steps LouPrime will follow:
- Choose a niche that is monetizable based on data and research.
- Build my blog around that niche, writing most of my starting content alone.
- Drive traffic to LouPrime by writing Guest Posts on other blogs with backlinks.
- Slowly scale my blog by outsourcing parts of the production process.
- Convert it into a money-making machine that runs with little intervention from myself.
Making blogs has been my business for almost two decades. I have vast amounts of experience building and optimizing blogs. LouPrime will be no different. I will make it into something grand, just like the 300+ other blogs.
LouPrime will be something useful for authors of other blogs to refer to. I want to share my progress frequently so aspiring blogs can use it as a research tool or a guiding force. The tips I share are meant to help others with their blogs.
I also want LouPrime to be successful for my family. So many blogs have become successful because of my handy work. It is time for our family to see the same benefits as those blogs. LouPrime will become an income source for us. Helping others achieve their goals with their blogs will lead to more security for my family.
You can start your journey too! Take control of your destiny as I have.