#153 – How to Grow a Site from a Single Blogger to 750+ Contributors with Nissar Ahamed

by | Jul 2, 2018

Click on the button below to listen to this episode of the Start Fierce Business Podcast.

Nissar Ahamed of CareerMetis is an accomplished Growth Hacker with extensive experience working as a Blogger, Copywriter, and Editor.

His blog, CareerMetis, has a community-focused approach to career discussion. He’s also the host of the CareerMetis Podcast.

In this podcast episode, Nissar shares the strategy he used to gain over 750 contributors to his online publication. We discuss the benefits outside contributors have on growing your audience. We also talk about why you need to show up every day for your business even if you don’t feel like it.

[bctt tweet=”Whatever you do, if you find it meaningful, you’ll enjoy it, and it makes a significant impact on everything around you. – Nissar Ahamed” via=”no”]

In This Episode of the Start Fierce Business Podcast:

  • Nissar shares how he focused on only 1 thing in his business and was able to grow his blog to over 750 monthly contributors.
  • We discuss the SEO benefits of having multiple contributors on your site.
  • He shares his greatest business challenge – not enough time.
  • We talk about why you should aim to do at least one thing for your business every day even if you don’t feel like it.
  • He shares his greatest piece of advice for new business owners – take the first step; do something even if it’s simple.

Nissar’s Favorite Online App:

(Some of the links listed below are affiliate links, and I will receive compensation for you signing up for service using my links.)

Mentioned in this Episode:

Reach Out to Nissar:


Note: Transcripts are created automatically and are not 100% accurate. However, they help our visitors find relevant content using our website’s search feature.

Welcome to the show Nissar. Hi, Cindy Thanks for having me. It’s great to have you tell me about yourself outside of your business. So it sort of my business, I consider myself an avid reader. I love reading. And that’s probably that’s one of the one of the many ways I came across the business idea that I was doing as well. But I tend to keep myself pressed by reading. I don’t know, sometimes some years I’ve read for 40 books, some years, 50 books, I just find it very enjoyable. I do have a long commute. I do have a full time career. And I have a long commute, so does make my commute fast when I am reading something on my Kindle. And other than that, one of the things I do enjoy is like trying to come up with new stuff, breaking stuff, bring them together, things like that.

I love reading on my Kindle. Also, most of the people that I meet, they like paper books, but I prefer my Kindle.

I used to a big, big fan of paper and I was very resistant to kindle. Then what happened is I was moving and I had all those books and I had no option to donate them to the library. And then I realized, Okay, you know what, I can have enough library on my phone or my Kindle. So why buy physical books? So I do read them occasionally. But yeah, I love my Kindle. Yeah, me too. And I have I just have the regular like the paper white, right? Not like the regular tablet kind because it’s easier on the eyes. Yeah, I agree. I used to have a Kindle. And now I just have the Kindle app on my Android phone. I got a bigger screen. Okay, so that definitely helps. But yeah, I’ve heard that as well. The original Kindle. It is too bright. Sometimes it’s hard. Sometimes your eyes get a little bit watery, I think.

Yeah, yeah, definitely. And I like the fact that I can start reading something on my Kindle. And then if I’m somewhere and I don’t have my Kindle. I can just read on my phone, or my tablet or my computer.

Yeah, that is, and it saves my space and all of those. And you don’t need to build a wall or like a like a, what he call a deck or something in your living room for the library. You can have it all virtually right. That’s the best part paperless. Yeah, exactly.

And then if I feel like reading something, if I’m in the middle of a series, and I finished a book and I want to read the next book, I can just get it right then. And there. I don’t have to wait for the bookstore to opener for Amazon to deliver it. That is true. But when does you know that you are an entrepreneur.

I believe when I was around 1718, I was reading a novel I was a Sidney Sheldon or novel. He he was similar. He was he wrote fiction is similar to someone like Jeffrey Archer. So he wrote a lot of interesting mushy novels. And one of the characters of the book was this wealthy oil tycoon, and I think his name was constant in Demarest. I still remember his name, and his story is fascinating. And this is fiction, by the way, how we, you know, coming from very poor, humble beginnings, and he’s created a company, he worked his way up, then he became very rich, and on all the things around the world. So initially, I thought that is really cool. I grew up in an Indian background. And as you probably heard, or you know, the culture is very structured in such a way you get a degree, you get a job. No, not a lot of people think about being an entrepreneur, or even think, know that they think it’s something that you eventually grew up in a corporate ladder. So when I read that book, I thought, this is very interesting. I got I was interested because of the wrong reasons, because it was all about the money and travel. But as I started studying more and more, yeah, entrepreneurs started reading more books coming across, I realized, you know what, this is really cool. This is what I wanted to be, you know, it’s one of those things, you can create something from scratch and in some cases are many cases you can have a huge impact.

Tell us about your business and how you got started with that. So, yeah, the business is called career medicine dot com. It’s an online publication, we focus on providing advice for job seekers and freelancers. I call them publication because the reason it is now grown to a site that has over 750 plus contributors contributing on a monthly basis on different topics. So how I got started as very accidental.

What happened was toward my early early my early career, in my 20s, I was in different situations where I had to look for a job and I got all the resource I could get read hired coaches, and I was able to apply those principles to myself, then what happened is, you know, selflessly, I started sharing those ideas with my friends and family to the point where even they were started getting success. And some of my friends suggested, maybe this is what he should do, maybe you should start a blog and started writing about it, I did brush off the idea. Initially, I was skeptical, I thought nobody would read. But after a few years, I took a crack at it. And I started writing. So initially, it was just myself sharing my ideas. And old I wrote the first many articles to just get traction there and got to a point where people started reaching out to me. And that’s when I realized, you know, what, I could stop thinking like a blog and think beyond myself, make it a publication or aspire to be a publication. So I made it that way. And now I have taken the backseat, I miss writing and now I don’t write, I am the editor, I do all the community management, I manage editors publish the content. So essentially, I created my own role as a result of starting something few years ago. So how are you able to grow your site with so many contributors? 750 Yeah, and the 750 did not did not come overnight, I found out that when, when the first contribute, reached out to me, I did not know that was the thing I did not know that people wrote for other site, I thought only journalist wrote for other sites, and, you know, bloggers right for themselves. So I started doing some research and looked at some of the other top publications out there and realize how they grew. And I found out that was a thing. So I use that I decided to focus on that one growth strategy, I decided to focus on so many things I could be doing, for example, social media, and I decided to just focus on one thing, which is building a community of contributors. So I did initially it was just emails, cold emails, I went through all my Twitter, anybody who followed me found their email and email them one by one by one. I then looked at similar sites as myself and started emailing them. And then I started getting reception. And they started, they were interested as well, they started contributing to a point it became like a snowball effect. They, as they started writing more content, we started publishing it online line, it got picked up by the search engines, and eventually now people find me, they reach out to us and say, hey, I want to contribute. I noticed others contribute as well. So it was initially a lot of cold emails. A lot of the times I did not know what I was doing. But I think that’s true for anything else. And once I stuck to the process, I was able to create a system now it is sort of like an automated automated system. Autumn it’s completely automatic right now.

You know what, that that’s kind of like, how I grew my podcast guest right. At first, I was just sending random cold emails, and I’m sure some of them suck. I didn’t get a lot of responses. I would try to get friends to get their friends on the podcast. And after a while, I don’t have to reach out to people anymore. Just I just have people that reach out to me. And it’s awesome that way. But I do you want to grow my contributors? So I want to ask, do you do you pay all of your contributors or some of them are? How does that work. So in terms of the actual contributor, just contributors themselves there, it’s all there at all. They’re all writing for free, there’s no cost. They’re all not not paid contributors.

We do receive advertising agencies, I do this every pricing agencies and sponsors who published sponsored content, which is different because they come from come in with an angle of advertising, but most of the contributors are, some of them are people like you and me, they just have their own blog, they have their own practice, and they want to write and they want to get their name out. So it gives them an opportunity or a platform to share their ideas and get known as well and get an access to a new brand, a brand new audience. Yeah. And so one cool thing that I like about that strategy strategy. And, well, I like it because you have a lot of content. And of course, you can post regularly. But another thing that I like is that these contributors will end up sharing their own content, other social media, so that does a lot to help with SEO, and it exposes you to a whole different audience. Yeah, that’s a great points in there, because that’s one of the reasons I was open to that as well, right? Because people want to, if they contribute somewhere, they want to share the content, and they do and definitely, you all of a sudden have someone else promoting your content, essentially their content, but it is your site. So yes, it is a win win. But that definitely helps a lot.

What’s your what’s been your greatest challenge as a business owner?

I think the greatest challenge I hate to say this, and then whenever you say this, some people would frown is time time as a challenge. Full honesty, I mean, I’m still scaling my business. I, I like what I do full time. So I’m not at a point. I’m not convinced that I should do this completely part time because I want to I want I like the challenge of running two things. There’s similar and that is a lot of stuff kills, I pick up on my full time job. So the time is a challenge. Coming home after a commute, nine out of 10 times. Actually, I do not want to do it. Yeah, but just forcing myself to sit down screen all the content, respond to those emails, edit them, publish them on every weekday and weekend, that’s a challenge. I enjoy the process. Because during the moment, I say to myself, why am I doing this, but month over month, I see the type of content we receive. I see. So once in a while, someone reaches out to me saying, I love this content on your site. This helped me and so on. So ways. So that really helps. So time is a challenge. And when I say that is I know everyone complains about not having enough time, but I’m being I’m tired. I’m being real. Here I am. There’s so much so many things you can do, especially when you’re trying to build an online publication. And when it’s completely online, there are 10 different things I can do what, unfortunately, because they don’t have the bandwidth, it becomes difficult.

Yeah, I have the I have the same problem too. I, I have a startup and I have two business partners for that startup. So that is, that’s my nine to five. And my podcast is like my thing on the side. And you’re right. Sometimes I get home and I don’t feel like working on it. But I do you know, I’m like, I have to do at least one thing every day, whether that schedule a bunch of posts on social media, or I don’t count podcast interviews as one thing because I like to do them. But editing an interview or writing a blog post or something, I have to do at least one thing every day. I like that the daily consistent habit and that really, you know, one a day doesn’t sound like good. But if over the course of a year, there’s 300 plus different activities. And the has a snowball effect, for sure.

Oh, yeah, absolutely. And, you know, when I would try to schedule lots of things in the day, like, I have to do this, this, this, this and this, I wouldn’t do any of it. So my one thing a day gets more accomplished than my five things a day that don’t get done. Absolutely. So aside from not wanting to work for someone else, and aside from your family, what is your why Yeah, this this is a good question. And I listened to I was listening to another interview, you did Reese and and I’m thinking What would I say. And in my case of white changes, and it becomes actually and it becomes a better over time, when I started this, I had a cons, I had gone through a time where anything, I tried it not work. So I had a I had to, I wanted something to keep myself busy. And at the same time proved to myself that I can do something, I could build something. So I just put my head down on work. So initially, the why was I wanted to prove a part of me that that did not believe wrong. So it is like an internal competition. Then over time, my wife became you what, now I have all this contributors, I want to make them make sure that I’m delivering for them from a point of service. And now it has come to a point where I’m thinking beyond so one of the my thought processes evolved. And I one of my favorite quotes is from Robert Greene. He says, your work transforms yourself, no matter what you do, if you keep working on it, he transforms the way you think and who you are, this is also transfer. The work I’ve been doing has transformed my thinking, My publication is focused on job seekers. And one of the things I’ve come to realize is, every job is important. I run a podcast, I interview different people and what I realizes people can be happy people if, if they choose if they find something that they find meaningful. So my Why is now to help people realize that no matter what you do, you can, you can, if you find a meaningful, you will enjoy. And if you do a good job, you not only impacts you and your immediate circle, but it has a significant impact on everything around you. So that’s, that’s my why right now, a long term Why is to change the way people think about work and work could be anything. But no matter what they do, I want them to think of work as not as a chore, but a calling or a sense of purpose. There is a long answer, sorry, but I had to get no, it’s good. And I love that. And I love that you want to change people’s views of work. Because I think if they have a resource, like your site, and they take all of your advice, they could find a dream job. And then it’s something that satisfies them every day. And it’s not not like a chore that you have to do every day. Yes, I agree. And if I may add one more thing to that. Yeah, it’s getting a dream job. But also, a lot of people realize don’t realize this. But no matter what they do, the work is important. Like, you go to any particular company, right from the person at the bottom of the totem pole to the top, every role serves a purpose. And, and if that one person stops doing something, it does affect everybody else. And not only that company, but also everybody else in general. So that’s no matter what people do their job is important. That’s that’s one thing. Also, I wanted people to get what advice you have for someone that’s just getting started in business, I would say get started. I mean, what I mean by that is start working on no matter what it is, even if just simplest thing, do something I know I’ve been in situations I don’t I sometimes I’ve taken a long time to get something started. But when I started, I realized, Oh, it’s not that bad. I should have done this longer. And if you take the first step, the most difficult thing, there’s massive resistance in all of us to get started to get the first things that started. And if you take the first step, no matter what it is, maybe, you know, maybe you want to set up a website like me, just go to GoDaddy and set up a domain and one, once you do the first tab automatically, your mind will want you to do the next step. And once you do the next step, you will all of a sudden you will be exposed to ideas about what he should do. A lot of people do not take that first step. And and they spent planning and thinking and talking and dreaming and that costs more frustration. So take the first step and nine or 10 times and I would say it is not as bad as you think it yes, it is longer. It is not easy. But if you do it. If you consistently take that first step and keep on you will you will be where you want to be like in my case. Three years ago, I just registered domain. I had no clue that I would be doing this interview, I would have 750 contributors and growing if I did not take that first step.

If you could have lunch, one business thought leader, who would it be one of one of the ones person I do respect and admire a lot and I did bring him up during the interviews, Robert Greene, he’s an author, not necessarily a business thought leader. But there’s a lot of entrepreneurs, rappers, anyone in the music industry, they read his content his books, what I like about him has very pragmatic he writes advice that is real. he backs it up the stories and he tells you the good and bad rather than, you know, certain rather than just telling you what you want to hear. And I would love the opportunity to sit down with them pick his brains. I read all his books and I’ll one of my favorite authors.

What’s your favorite business book?

I would say it’s in terms of business book. If you’re looking if you’re asking for more something like a biographical I would say shoe dog. The biography of Phil Knight was really amazing. The everything store about Jeff Bezos was amazing as well. These are both biographies. And when you read them it you know, I can tell you when you think of your business challenge. It’s not as bad as what Phil Knight went through, over and over again, to make Nike what it is today. Yeah, I’ve actually gotten several people suggest that book so I’m gonna look that up. What’s your favorite internet resource or app that just makes your life easier?

I there’s so many. But one thing I really really like is I use an app on my phone calls. Fifth key. it’s it’s a it’s a type of IP. It’s a type reading app. It’s a you can download an Android and Google sorry, Android or iTunes. Essentially what it does is it is it makes typing so much easier. I respond to a lot of emails on my phone, I sometimes I get the same response. So when I’m replying it automatically studies what I replied in the past it just keeps suggesting me the words so if an email that might take three minutes I can get it done in 30 seconds. And surf key is I love it. It allows me to before I could not work on my phone, I had to go to my computer now I can do almost everything on my phone before because of that, you know what, though, somebody needs to create like a can not a canned response. But like a Yeah, like saved responses for the Android or for the iPhone email because that would really prevent me from having to come to my computer all the time.

I strongly recommend I don’t get I don’t work for surf key I don’t get any links or something you would be able to do a lot of it on shift key Okay, you may not get a complete canned response like a template but you you would be able to save a lot of time I i’ve been using it for three years. One of my favorite apps on my phone it’s it’s it’s my favorite app over Facebook and Instagram okay and you can use it probably on Facebook and Instagram right because it’s a typewriter okay it is a typewriter so it’s easier behavior so personalized it’s as if someone’s it’s like your best friend it knows what do you want to say okay and then another thing that I was going to ask you is do you use any grammar software to edit all of your contributions all the blog posts that you’re getting yeah I use used I use WordPress I also review them on a very very high level okay as well so once you do a lot of these posts over and over again you shot of getting patterns and very quickly are able to find out of this post has a lot of grammatical errors so it’s a lot it’s a combination of WordPress has some built in functionality which is really good It has a proofreading app so I use WordPress for my site so it’s very helpful I I have used Grammarly before not a big fan it makes my it makes mode WordPress very clunky so I stopped using it I would see that as tools like WordPress plugins that could do but WordPress but built in has a built in as a as a camera app yeah I’m about to take Grammarly off of my browser because I found that it adds a lot of weird things to my WordPress then I have to go into the actual code and take all the stuff out because my formatting was weird.

I had the same problem and I stopped using it for the exact same reason.

Hmm where can listeners find you online? Where do you hang out on social media what’s your website sure I’m very active on LinkedIn more than anything else and so it’s my full name the sama they’ll find me My website is career medicine dot com. So creators ca r e our medicine is m e di s dot com. And I’m always I respond to almost I think I respond to all emails even if they are spammy if they even if they are not good. I respond to all emails so it’s Nisar my first name or career medicine dot com Okay, wellness I thank you so much for sharing your story with us today. Thank you.

It is my pleasure. Thanks for having me.