Flexibility Is Freedom
By Yang Tom Qiao
This podcast documents my journey to build passive income online businesses and includes topics like Search Engine Optimization (SEO), affiliate marketing, Wordpress, UI/UX design, and more!
Episode 19 - Q1 and March 2022 Review plus Building A Defensive Portfolio to Hedge Inflation & Recession Risks
In this episode, I discuss my business results for March 2022 and then deep dive into my thoughts on building a defensive portfolio (split into 1/3rds) to weather the inflationary (and possible recessionary) storm that is coming. Overall, my defensive portfolio is as follows: 1. Real Estate (1/3rd) 2. Cryptocurrency, especially Bitcoin (1/3rd) 3. Defensive Stocks (recession-resistant and inflation indexing), such as Chewy.com
April 04, 2022
Episode 18 - Annual Report 2021 - A Review of Business Results & Strategic Pivots in 2021
In this special episode, I review my 2021 annual report (available here: https://flexibilityisfreedom.com/annual-report-2021/), including my business results and activities, rebuilding TheDermDetective.com, outsourcing results, and strategic pivot into real estate.
March 03, 2022
Episode 17 - January 2022, Busy as Bees and the Year Ahead
In this episode, I summarize what was a busy month to start off the new year. I moved into my new house, continued to work my full-time job, began planning my renovation project, and managed my small team of freelancers.
February 05, 2022
Episode 16 - New Year, New Opportunities! 2021 in Review, Business & Personal
In this first episode of 2022, I review my December 2021 business performance, 2021 overall performance, and share some of the highlights of my 2021 year from both a business and personal perspective.
January 11, 2022
Episode 15 - November Results, Buying A New House, and Thoughts on Inflation & Real Estate Investing
In this episode, I share an overview of my November business results - hitting another milestone thanks to Black Friday & Cyber Monday sales - as well as discussing the risk of inflation and my preferred plan to hedge against the upcoming erosion of purchasing power. I also share my opinion on real estate investing as a source of passive income and compare it to digital assets.
December 02, 2021
Episode 14 - October Results, Outsourcing & Scaling, Starting A New Job, and Types of Passive Income
In this episode, I provide a brief discussion of October results for TheDermDetective.com and my outsourcing & scaling efforts to build a more hands-off process. I started a new job as an SEO analyst at Treefrog Inc. this month as well. Finally, I spend most of the podcast discussing the different types of passive income based on volatility (variance), risk tolerance, and level of active management. Cheers, Tom
November 06, 2021
Episode 13 - The Return of the King (I mean, Affiliate Marketer 😂)
In this episode, I provide a long-awaited update on my business venture with TheDermDetective.com as well as some of my thinking with regards to affiliate marketing and real estate (the next stage of my passive income journey!) Stay tuned for next month's episode and my upcoming YouTube series on building a beginner affiliate website (it will be a live example with my next project). To Flexibility and Freedom, Tom
October 02, 2021
Episode 12 - Content Audits, Redesigning TheDermDetective.com with Oxygen Builder, and Conversion.ai GPT-3 Tool
In this episode, I talk about my content audit process (very basic, using Google Data Studio, PageOptimizer.Pro, Surfer SEO, MarketMuse, and Frase), why and how I'm redesigning TheDermDetective.com using Oxygen Builder (for cleaner code and a more robust technical infrastructure), and my thoughts about Conversion.ai's (and others) GPT-3 Long-Form Editor Tool. Cheers and stay safe, Tom
April 18, 2021
Episode 11 - Building My Content Process, Taking 4 IMG Courses for $1, and GPT-3 Writers 🤖
Happy Easter weekend! In this episode, I talk about how I'm building out my content process into an effective and efficient SOP, my thoughts after taking 4 excellent courses on IMG Courses for only $1, and how I envision using GPT-3 technology to create content more efficiently and at scale. Cheers, Tom
April 05, 2021
Episode 10 - Setting Up The First Niche Website in Oxygen Builder (Logo, Fonts, Colors, Header, Footer, Pages, Templates)
In this episode, I talk about how I've setup my first niche website (of the two that I picked for this latest batch) using Oxygen Builder to create the basic elements: Header, Footer, Key Pages, and Templates (Page and Post). Design is an underappreciated "hidden" element of a website. You don't always notice it but when it's really lacking, it becomes very apparent. Creating a well-designed website (and one that "fits" with your target audience and industry) goes a long way towards earning your user's trust, which is necessary before any commercial activities can take place (click a link, buy a product, leave an email, etc.) Here are some additional tools that were extremely helpful: - Canva: create your logo / find your fonts - FontPair and FontJoy: find inspiration for fonts - Coolors: find inspiration for colors (you just need a primary and secondary color)
March 28, 2021
Episode 09 - Final Niche Selection, Domain Name, and Planning Out My New Websites
In this episode, I talk about how I've finished the niche research stage and picked out my top two niche ideas. I grabbed suitable domain names yesterday and am drawing up the plans for both websites. This time around, I will be building a v1.0 first and testing it via Google Adwords in a "fishing campaign". I got this idea from Kyle Roof's on-page course where he discusses the benefits of a fishing campaign: 1. Validate the Actual Search Volume for a Keyword 2. Identify Secondary / Adjacent Keywords (use "Broad Match" in Adwords) 3. Validate whether Users actually convert on your webpages (if they don't convert, you don't make money) 4. Use the insights as feedback to improve your page design, page layout, call-to-action's, etc. (I plan to use heatmaps and session recordings as well to isolate what's working or not working on my webpages). Once I have sufficient data from Adwords (might take 1-2 months for enough clicks/impressions), I will be able to validate whether my niche will actually make me money and what a realistic ROI might be. In other words, comparing how well does my content converts ($ in) to how many I need to spend to create content (writers, VAs, my own time) and get it ranked (links, on-page optimization, software costs, etc.)
March 20, 2021
Episode 08 - Getting Into Niche Research: Pets and VPNs
In this week's episode, I talk about my recent research into two particular (and very different) niches: Pets and VPNs. When judging the viability of a niche for a beginner website, I ask myself the following questions: 1) What's the trend in Demand? (industry growth rate, consumer adoption) 2) How competitive is it to get TARGETED traffic from Google? (SEO metrics, domain authority) 3) How profitable are the primary and secondary monetization routes? (affiliate programs, Amazon Associates, display ads, other) 4) Are there any "role model" competitors that we can copy and emulate? (low DR competitors winning on SERPs, competitors that take a more "creative" angle to approach the topic, etc.)
March 14, 2021
Episode 07 - Special Edition: My Reflection on The Last 5 Years (As I Turn 28)
In this special podcast, I talk about my last 5 years, from graduating and starting a full-time job at a major pension plan, to deciding to leave my job and become an entrepreneur, to building my business and learning from others, and more. Overall, I feel immensely grateful to have the opportunities that I've had and I remain both excited and optimistic for the future, as I continue to chart the waters of passive income entrepreneurship.
March 06, 2021
Episode 06 - 3 Ways to Do Niche Research (Keyword Research, Flippa, Affiliate Networks) and Buying The (Software) Farm at AppSumo
In this episode, I discuss a few methods that I'm currently using to approach niche research: 1. Google Trends + Keyword Research (with Ahrefs or another SEO tool) 2. Browse Flippa sales (and other auction marketplaces) 3. Browse affiliate networks like ShareASale, Skimlinks, Rakuten, CJ, etc. I also discuss various software tools that I've started to incorporate into my technology stack for building multiple websites: 1. Oxygen Builder: an all-in-one design tool that replaces your theme and helps you build beautiful webpages with a drag-and-drop editor 2. Niches$$: an interesting tool that uses GPT-3 (generative pre-trained transformer) from OpenAI to generate natural language text outputs based on a 400-character input (a "prompt" for the AI to work with). 3. BiQ: a full-suite SEO tool with the potential to be a entry-level replacement for Ahrefs or SEMRush in 2-3 years. Currently offers keyword research, on-page optimization, and rank tracking, but no backlink database yet (it's on their roadmap). 4. Optinly: a pop-up maker with customizable templates/design and conditional logic. An excellent value compared to OptinMonster and other popup makers that start at $20-$30/month (seriously, for a pop-up?) 5. Webtotem: a security plugin that includes a WAF (web application firewall) and malware scanner. An excellent value as well compared to WordFence or Sucuri premium plugins which cost $100+ per year per website. 6. AhoyTeam: a business process management tool for documenting SOPs (standard operating practices) in one place and automating processes like sending email reminders to your team members. I think this will help me scale my business as I add VAs and other staff in the future. 7. Analyzz (Not mentioned on the podcast): a Google Analytics alternative to track visitor data. While I plan to keep GA tracking code installed, Analyzz offers the ability to produce heatmaps and session recordings for optimizing the UX. An excellent value when compared to HotJar.
February 27, 2021
Episode 05 - New Business Opportunities & My Thoughts on the Health SEO Industry
A real quick episode this week (missed last week's due to a hand injury). I talk about a business opportunity, discuss my learnings/perspective on trying to rank in the health/beauty industry, and some of the things I'm doing in my personal life. Cheers, Tom
February 13, 2021
Episode 04 - Special Edition: Mental Health and Entrepreneurship
In this special podcast, I talk about the mental health side of running your own business, my thoughts on what "stress" is, comparing the types of stress you may experience in a corporate vs. entrepreneurial setting, and some of the things that help me get through a particularly difficult obstacle.
January 30, 2021
Episode 03 - What A Typical Week Is Like and Setting Up Authorship
Week 3 of 2021 already? In this short episode, I talk about: - What a typical week looks like: it really depends on your priorities and plan, but this week was a mix of producing a guest post, optimizing content, tweaking the website from a technical standpoint (design/plugins), and searching for link building prospects - Setting up authorship: I tried many "author box" plugins this week, finally settled on Molongui, a great looking one with rich features. I believe having a clear author box and link to the author bio page (called "author archive page" in Wordpress) may help with "E.A.T." that many SEOs think Google cares deeply about, ever since the Medic Update in 2018 I'll talk to you in the next episode!
January 23, 2021
Episode 02 - Second Week of 2021 (Settling Into a New Year)
Only 15 days in and 2021 is starting to feel like the new normal. Will we ever get out of lockdown? (doesn't feel like it right now, sadly) In this second episode, I talk about: - Securing professionals in your field to write for you (most successful method was via Reddit forums) - Creating unique/creative content to attract backlinks from bloggers, influencers, and webmasters (ideally, without paying them) - A powerful on-page SEO tool on Appsumo right now: Market Muse (direct competitor to Frase.io) - I stacked 5 codes for it - Continuing to add guest posts via agencies (SEOButler). I'll also be testing other agencies soon (LinkGraph, etc.) - Status of disavow file in late December 2020: still haven't seen any traffic recovery yet. I've updated my disavow file with ~500 toxic domains (spammy websites, content/image scrappers, coupon websites, foreign language or foreign TLD, etc.). Hoping to see some movement in Feb 2021. That's it for this week - have a great weekend and talk to you next week! For more information, you can read my income reports from the last 2.5 years on www.flexibilityisfreedom.com, and I publish a new one every month!
January 16, 2021
Episode 01 - First Week of 2021 (Gone With The Old, In With The New)
2020 is finally over and like many people, I love starting over with a fresh plate. For this first week (and my first podcast episode), I talk about: - What the F is F podcast is all about (hint: it's in the name!!) - 100% FREE ways to do SEO research using browser extensions from Ubersuggest, Keyword Surfer, Keywords Everywhere, Moz, LinkResearchTools, Majestic, and SimilarWeb - Updating your content to reflect a new calendar year (but also with any relevant changes in your industry/products) - How my backlink strategy worked out last year (exclusively using link building agencies like SEOButler) - As well as my plans for the next few weeks: 1) reach out to professionals in my field to find contributors and guest writers, 2) scale up link building with help from more outreach-based agencies like LinkGraph, 3) run a manual email outreach campaign using creative content like quizzes and visual content like infographics to get people's attention and build a link, mention, or share For more information, you can read my income reports from the last 2.5 years on www.flexibilityisfreedom.com, and I publish a new one every month!
January 09, 2021