10 years ago, I started a new journey in life. I moved to Florida and I had little direction. I didn’t know much about who I was or who I wanted to become.
That was when I discovered Copyblogger and it completely changed my life. Through Copyblogger, I found a direction and since then, I have built a life than I am proud of.
As fate would have it, at the tail end of 2019, I became a partner in the company that I learned so much from. Without Coyblogger, I never would have my blog, Stodzy, Sober Nation or any of the other projects I am so blessed to be a part of.
This podcast episode is the story of how it all happened.
In this episode I talk about…
- How my first ever blog started my journey as on online marketer
- How I found Copyblogger in the first place and the lessons it taught me
- How Brian Clark and I first met and how he introduced me to Darrell.
- How I was able to close the deal on a partnership and what the plans are for the future.
- A new year. A new decade. A new Copyblogger – The first article I published on Copyblogger announcing the future of what we are doing.
- StudioPress – The theme store that Brian Gardner had created.
- Brian Garder – The official website of Brain Garder
- YourBoulder – The site that Brian Clark and I teamed up one.
- Follow me on Twitter
What the Video
It’s a new year, a new decade. It is January 8th, 2020 and we got some big changes coming this year. I took some time off at the end of December. I enjoyed the holiday as best I can, I tried my best not to just completely jump right into the rat race at the early parts of the year, and instead take a step back and try to game plan and try to reflect on exactly what it is that I wanted to do and what I want to accomplish this year. It’s amazing how when you give yourself some space to breathe, that things just kind of fall into place and happen.
With all that, the podcast is going to be an integral part of my personal brand this year, of my blog, of timstodz.com. I’m going to continue interviewing guests on my show, but I’m also going to be doing a couple of solo episodes. In the past if I didn’t have time to book a guest or maybe I was running around doing some other things and it was difficult for me to actually have a moment to sit down with a guest and plan everything out on Zoom, I would just put the podcast on the back burner.
This year, going forward, if I can’t figure out how to get a guest booked on the show, I’m just going to do it myself and I’m just going to talk about what’s going on in my life, or some things that I’m working on, or maybe some things that have been going well for my brand and for all the companies underneath it.
All right, today’s episode, I’m sure the people who clicked on this video, you saw the title. I’m sure the people who clicked on this podcast saw the title, How I Became a Partner in Copyblogger. Wow. What a story that this is. What a story that this has been in my life. It’s a real pivotal point in my life. Where do I start with the story? I guess we have to start at the beginning. I’m just going to go fully into it and give you all the context that you guys will need.
The year was 2010, I had just moved to South Florida. It was the first time I’d really been out of Philadelphia. I moved in with my cousin who let me sleep on his couch, more or less, for the first couple of weeks. It was during that time, it was a new chapter in my life, I was really confused. I was in this new place, I didn’t know what my future was, I was trying to live this new way, a better way of living.
I started a blog. I’d always been a writer. I get a lot of peace and solace from just writing and expressing my thoughts. I always say, “The blank page never bitches at you and never yells, it just lets you say what you got to say.” I went to Blogspot. For those who have been doing this as long as I have, Blogspot was Google’s blogging platform. I went the Blogspot and I started blogging. I just started writing what was going on in my life and I honestly didn’t think that hard about it, I didn’t have any goals associated to it. I just would write, and I would write about my life and I would write about my recovery and some of the new things that I was doing.
After a couple of weeks of doing that, I started … On Blogspot, you used to have this dashboard where you could see the traffic. I started noticing, damn, some people that actually starting to read my articles and are reading some of my work. How were they getting there? That was the beginning of my fascination with content marketing, and with online marketing, and with building online brands built around ideas and around what it is that you have to say.
I started getting into it, and I started reading articles, and I started searching online of trying to find out things, skills that I could use to grow this blog. That is when I found copyblogger.com Copyblogger is without a doubt, one of the world’s foremost authorities for online marketing. If you want to learn how to build a blog, if you want to learn how to build an online brand, the first thing I do when I hire people for Stodzy is I tell them to read Copyblogger every day. If you want to be a writer, if you want to be a content creator, if you want to figure out how to use content to grow a brand or grow a business, copyblogger.com is the place to go.
I started reading every article. It was founded by a man named Brian Clark, and Brian Clark is the CEO of Copyblogger, and still is to this day,. I would just read everything. Every time they posted an article, I would read it. Every time they published a podcast, I would read it. Every e-book they published, I would read, I would take notes. But most importantly, I started really implementing this shit into my life, into my blog, and that’s how it started. Eventually, that’s how Sober Nation became such a big brand. If Copyblogger was doing it, I would instantly copy the idea.
Again, just to give you some backstory, I always associated Sober Nation with Copyblogger because although the messages were different, the strategy was the same. It was basically building a brand around written content, around blogging. But then a Copyblogger created this website called Rainmaker.FM, which is essentially a podcast network. If you had a podcast and you were talking about entrepreneurship or growing an online company, you could be in the podcast network, you could be published on Rainmaker.FM. I copied the idea. Straight up, I just copied their shit and that’s why I created soberpodcasts.com, and that’s how we built that whole podcast network around all the recovery based podcasts that there are.
They came up with an idea called digitalcommerce.com, which was essentially creating online courses to teach people how to build companies. They were using Copyblogger, which was essentially the marketing machine to sell their courses. So I did the same thing, that’s why we created Sobriety Engine. We were creating these online products to help people in recovery and we were using the audience of Sober Nation to promote these products.
Even though they’re totally different industries, copyblogger.com is about online marketing and sobernation.com obviously is about recovery, but the strategy was exactly the same. I couldn’t have been more deliberate in my ruthless copying of what Copyblogger did and the strategies that they implemented. That’s how it started.
Long story short, we’re going to fast forward about 10 years. Brian Clark, again, the CEO of Copyblogger, he had this little side project, it was called Your Boulder. He lives in Boulder, Colorado. He created, in the industry, we call it a hyperlocal site. It’s basically a website around news, and events, and real estate, and restaurants, I don’t know, maybe politics or gossip. Focused around what’s going on in a particular city, hyper-local. He had this website called Your Boulder and about two years ago, Brian Clark went on a sabbatical. He went all around Europe, I believe, I think you went to Japan and maybe Australia. He went all around the world, I’m not exactly sure. He stopped working on Your Boulder.
I saw this, and since I’d always been such a fan of his, I would just keep up with what he was doing to get ideas as I told you about, and I saw that he stopped working on it. About 10 months ago I sort of built up some courage and I sent him an email. Mind you, Brian Clark and I talked two or three times through Twitter and through Instagram. It was really funny because he’s a real big fan of Fight Club and Tyler Durden, and I’m a huge fan of Fight Club and Tyler Durden. On all my social media, I don’t know what’d you call them, the profile, the one or two sentence that you get to put at the top of your social media accounts, I would always put, “You are not your fucking khakis.” It’s a really brilliant, amazing Tyler Durden quote. I guess he saw that and somehow he found me just through me interacting with him. Some of those peoples on Twitter sent me a message about Tyler Durden. It was a cool moment for me. I was like, “Oh shit, I talked to Brian Clark on Twitter.”
That was all the familiarity that he and I had with each other. I was really nervous to send out this email because it’s Brian Clark. He gets, who knows how many emails he gets a day from people pitching him ideas, or asking him to read something that they made, or, “What do you think about this?” Or, “Do you want to start this company with me?” My mind was going off on all the reasons why he wouldn’t care. I had that sort of self-limiting belief about the whole thing.
Nonetheless, I emailed him. I said, “Hey Brian, I’ve been following your site, Your Boulder. I saw that you haven’t published anything since 2017, I think it was, was the last time we did an article. I have a lot of experience with this. I’ve been following you for a while. I think you should let me manage this site for you and that we should partner on it. I think you should put an online directory on it because local businesses need exposure, and if you have a hyperlocal website, you can build a directory on it.”
Low and behold, I send him an email, I sent them a plan, I sent him my pitch, and I got an email back from him like 10 minutes later that just said, “Let’s talk about this.” That was it. Actually, I think I said, “Let’s chat about this.” That was it. Before I knew it, the next day I was on the phone with Brian Clark and we decided to partner up on Your Boulder. It was a huge, huge privilege for me to be involved with that because although yourboulder.com is not even remotely close to the size of Copyblogger, it was still a moment for me to realize wow, what you’re doing to him. Obviously he’s not just going to partner with some dope. You have the skills, you have the knowhow, you have the organizational thinking to be able to manage something at a scope like this.
I went right to work. As the people that work with me a lot know, I’m really into systems. I think building systems supplements “hustle,” and if you build a system and you build a really great process around what it is that you’re doing, you don’t have to be constantly running around all over the place. It was the first thing I did. I put the site on a new theme, I made it look really good. I found the right people to work with, and after about three months of really, really working on it, I developed Your Boulder into a bad-ass media platform. It’s growing every day, and we’ve got new email subscribers every day, and it’s really fucking cool.
We got a real estate directory on there now, we got a business directory on there. The point I’m making, I’m not trying to pitch Your Boulder, I’m trying to say that it was through my work on Your Boulder that Brian Clark was able to see what it is that I have to offer. Not to mention, even though I built a really good system and I came up with something that makes everybody’s life easier, there was definite growth, which at the end of the day, is the most important. My work created a really good return, which is ultimately, I think what you want to see happen with anybody that you partner with or pitches an idea with you.
Fast forward, again, Brian Clark had to come to Nashville because he was speaking at an event that was being put forth by a guy named Jeff Goins. Jeff Goins is also a pretty well known blogger. I think he’s got a podcast too, but he does most of his business through his blog. He said, “Hey man, I’m going to be in Nashville. Let’s get together for coffee.” We did, and it was a really cool chance for me to actually sit down and meet Brian and just sort of talk to him about my ideas for Your Boulder. We had a great chat, it was great.
It was in that conversation that he told me that a guy named Darrell who is kind of the six degrees thing of separation here, so I’m not going to harp on it, but I’ll tell you all the relationships real quick. Darryl is partners with a guy named Brian Gardner, who was partners with Copyblogger. There were five partners on Copyblogger originally and Darrell, I believe, bought out all of them except for Brian Clark and Brian Gardner. As of four or five months ago, I learned that this guy named Darrell, who I’m familiar with because he’s part of the online marketing club, so of speak. I found him and I saw some of his work. I discovered that Darrell was the one that bought out all of these partners with the exception to Clark and with exception to Gardner. So now Copyblogger was a three man team. The crazy part about it is that Darrell lives in Nashville.
Clark was telling me about this and he said, “Yeah, maybe you guys should get some coffee.” I reached out to Darrell on Twitter and said, “Hey, what’s up, man? I just had coffee with Clark.” We call him Clark. “Just our coffee with Clark and he mentioned you, I hear you live in Nashville. We should get together some time.” So we did.
A couple months ago, we just got together and had some coffee and he told me about some of his ideas with Copyblogger. That was really as far as it got. He asked about some of my ideas with Your Boulder, he said, “Man, I’ve always wanted to talk about or find somebody to partner with who would build a hyperlocal brand around Nashville, just because Nashville is blowing up so fast and it’s such a crazy place to be right now.” It was a really cool conversation.
Living in Nashville the last couple of years has been much different than living in Florida because I don’t have all of my friends here. My friends in Florida and my crew in Florida, we all got sober together and we all hung out with each other every day. Since we all scattered all over the country, it’s been a much different dynamic living here. Having a new … He’s a really good friend of mine now, but even before our relationship grew, having somebody like Darrell, who was into the same things that I was into, who just loved talking about building online brands and about marketing, and some of the cool ideas he had. It felt really good for me to have somebody like that in my life that I could just shoot the shit with. He and I would meet for coffee once every week, once every other week or so.
Eventually, actually, he didn’t even tell me anything, I just was thinking about it. I thought to myself, “Man, I wonder how much Gardner is still emotionally invested into Copyblogger.” Again, giving a little bit of context, Gardner is not a marketer in the same way that Clark is, Gardner’s a designer. Gardner is a really a legend because he created this company called StudioPress, which is basically a place where you can buy themes. A theme is something that you can put onto a website so that you don’t have to design it. You don’t have to hire a designer, you can just upload a theme and then bam, you have a well designed, functional website. StudioPress is probably the most successful theme store that has ever been created. Again, they would use Copyblogger, which was like the media machine behind it, to sell some of these StudioPress themes. It was hugely, hugely successful. I knew that Gardner wasn’t a marketer in the same way that Clark was. I knew Gardner was a designer, simply because I would read Brian Gardner’s blog and I knew what he was into.
Eventually, I’m sitting on the couch one night and Jules and I were watching, I don’t remember, maybe we were watching The Prophet or something like that because we love Marcus Lemonis because he’s a fucking gangster. I shot Darrell a text message just to say, “Hey man, I was thinking about it. What do you think?” I said, “How would you feel about having a conversation about me purchasing some partnership stake in Copyblogger?” Fucking bam. Turns out that Gardner was completely open to it. In fact, I think he welcomed the idea.
It happened really, really fast. When I was in Philly for Christmas almost two weeks ago now, I went to the bank and I got over some paperwork, and I signed it, and I wired over some money. Just like that, me, Tim Stoddart, is a partner in copyblogger.com. It’s a real moment for me to say that. It’s a real dream come true because it’s not just that it’s a really cool opportunity for me, it’s more so a personal success story for me.
On my personal brand, I talk about my recovery and my sobriety from time to time, but I don’t really get into it. Especially because I know that there’s a lot of professionals that see me here and I don’t want everybody to see me in that light. But, I’ll take the moment to really talk about it here because 10 years ago I was basically homeless. I was ridiculously malnourished. I had nothing going for me, I had no education. I was worthless, completely worthless. So much so that we had to just ship me out of the state of Pennsylvania because there was nothing else for me there and I had to go sleep on my cousin’s couch. Through Copyblogger I built myself up a day at a time, and it goes without mentioning, all the help from the people around me that love me and the people that I found in Florida that that helped me along the way.
Nonetheless, I put in a lot of work through Copyblogger, through reading these articles, through getting these resources, through practicing, through experimenting with some of the shit that I would learn on Copyblogger. The website changed my life, it was my education. The only way I learned how to be a good entrepreneur and a good web marketer is through Copyblogger. There’s other blogs that I read obviously, but it was my education. I owe a lot of my success and even not just success, but a lot of my fulfillment, just because I love the work that I do.
A lot of my self esteem came from that website because finally I found something where I was just like, I can do this. I can build an audience around my ideas and around what it is that I have to say. I can take that audience and I can build a company out of it. I can serve people through my message, and I can come up with things that help people and deliver it to them because they trust me, because they already know what it is that I represent, because I took the time out of my life to write it and to create that content.
It’s come full circle. 10 years later, I’ll have 10 years sober on March 4th, which is a little less than two months from now. Through 10 years of this entire journey of me being a fan first of Copyblogger and me being a practitioner of what it is that I learned, I was able to be in a position where I could legitimately be part of the management team. That’s just such a huge honor for me. It’s such a great experience in my life. It’s something that I’m very proud of and it’s something that I’m still pinching myself on.
Yeah. There’s my story. If you want to learn more, go to copyblogger.com. My first blog post is published as of this morning. Actually, let me check to see, for those listening on the podcast I’m also live streaming this, so if you hear some typing. It’s not published yet, but I believe in an hour or two my first blog post is going to be published on the site. It’s going to be sent out through email to the ridiculously huge email list that Copyblogger has. It’s going to really be a big thing for me.
I’m humbled, I’m honored, I’m so excited, I’m extremely motivated. I feel so grateful for Copyblogger and for all the other amazing things that I have going in my life. This isn’t going to change how I feel about JourneyPure especially, which is my biggest focus right now and has been over the last year. I’m so, so fucking grateful to be involved with those people there. They teach me so much and they challenged me every day. It’s the first time I’ve felt really, really challenged in this way in a long time. It’s not going to change what I got going on over there. It’s not going to change my mission, it’s not going to change my blog. I’m still going to show up for everybody that follows me, and all my email subscribers, and all that. This is the beginning of something remarkable for me and I hope that you will follow me on my journey, and I invite you all to reach out to me, and ask me any questions, and just really be a part of it.
All right, I appreciate you guys watching, I appreciate you guys listening to me. We’re going to get these podcasts rocking every week now. As I said, I might not have an interview each week, but I will have something to say each week because I actually, believe it or not, get a lot of requests from people saying, “Hey man, where’s your podcast been? I haven’t heard it in a while.” I take that seriously and I’m going to add that. I’m going to be more mindful of that going forward.
All right guys, thank you so much for listening. I’ll talk to you later. Peace.