Million dollar blogger, Jeni Hott, travels globally but knew my sister Sarah virtually! I met one of her Mastermind group members on a sun lounger in Grand Caymen and knew I had to interview her. Check this out for the real secret of how to build a million dollar blog.
Nicola: Hi, today, I’m joined by Jeni Hott who is considered to be the highest earning blogger in the world. In fact, she’s one of the few seven figure bloggers in the industry. She pursues what she calls her extreme passive income strategies, which have allowed Jeni to travel the globe for four years while working only a few times a year, and still earning millions of dollars. Recognized by Google as one of the most widely read bloggers on the web with over 100 million visits and growing, Jeni collaborates with both Google America and Google Latin America for testing and general insights on Ad Sense.
Jeni has recently accepted a request to create a blogging course for universities across the US that will also be available for veterans uncovered by the GI Bill.
She’s a featured entrepreneur in Living Dot Com documentary released summer 2014, which we can highly recommend because we saw it early last weekend. Welcome to the call, Jeni, I really appreciate you joining me today.
Jeni: Thank you. It’s such a pleasure.
Nicola: The funny thing was that I heard of you, and I’ve been telling this story on the podcast for a while. First, while sitting on a sun lounger in Grand Turk with your friend Margaret and her son Tyler.
Jeni: That’s right, I heard about that. Such a small world, isn’t it?
Nicola: Especially when you take the virtual world into account as well. Tell us about Jeni Hott. Where did you grow up, what kind of background do you come from, how did you become an entrepreneur?
Jeni: I come from a long line of entrepreneurs. That was something that was instinctive in me. I didn’t really like working for other people or for other corporations. I grew up in California, but I went to school on the east coast at Rutgers. I ended up working in the corporate world doing PR, and I just despised it. It was just horrible. You know how the corporate world is. Just not the most liberating industry to be in.
Nicola: I’ve never lasted more than 18 months in a proper grownup job.
Jeni: See that? We’re not suitable to be employed by others. I ended up working in the typical corporate world where I was in it to achieve a goal. I was working for a boss I just could not stand. She was just a nightmare. She’s not a nice person. I saw so many of my friends getting laid off and fired. The politics there was just horrible. So, I just decided to make a change. One day, I just realized, “I’ve got to do something because this isn’t what I want to do. This isn’t where I see myself for the rest of my life.” One day, I just decided to give my things away, packed up, and moved to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
Nicola: Where did you move from? Where had you been living up until that point?
Jeni: I was back and forth between New Jersey, from Princeton, to New York.
Nicola: Then you went down to, is it New Mexico, did you say?
Jeni: No, Mexico. The actual Mexico. To Puerto Vallarta, which is actually paradise. But it was still quite a culture shock.
Nicola: Had you been there before?
Jeni: I had. I’ve gone down and visited with my grandmother just a typical vacation and I just fell in love with it. I just thought, wow, this is just such a cool, relaxed place, such a different atmosphere, different environment than New York. Also, too was I loved the qualities that people had there, the values. Such a different thing than I had ever experienced. Everybody was so happy but they had so little. It was just the total opposite of what I was used to. It really resonated with me and I just felt like I wanted to do something different, I wanted to make some changes and I wanted to make sure that I was on a path that I was going to be happy, not stuck in a corporate world. I already knew I was miserable.
Nicola: Now, I don’t know if you’ve been warned, but I ask questions that other people don’t ask. So, do tell me to be quiet if you don’t want to answer any.
Jeni: I think that’s wonderful.
Nicola: Did you have a big pot of cash when you went down there or did you live on your wits?
Jeni: No, not at all. Not at all. I had some saved up, but not much. For the following year I was taking on just freelance PR jobs and the following year I made about $13,000, for the year. I know, that’s even less than pounds. No money whatsoever. I had this one particular client who was, to say she wasn’t a nice person would be really putting it nicely, so I went to go visit her one day and this led to the most defining moment of my entire life. I went to go visit her and standing in her shop, and she starts screaming at some people that tried to come into her shop before it was open.
Nicola: Oh nice.
Jeni: And I just thought, “Wow, this is crazy.” The way that she was speaking to me, the way that she was speaking to other people. I had gotten up early to be there for her and I was leaving and I thought, “Wow, this isn’t much different than what I was doing back in New York.” And I just thought, I don’t know why I came here if I’m going to be doing the same thing.
I was walking back and there’s this famous street in Puerto Vallarta and it’s very old. It’s nothing but cobblestones and these old lanterns and cute little lanterns and stuff. I stopped on these cobblestones and just had this moment where I just had this moment. One of those epiphany moments that just happen once in a lifetime.
I looked down at my feet on these cobblestones and I started thinking. And I thought, “This isn’t what I want. This isn’t why I moved down here. This isn’t what I was going for.”
I just decided to make some changes because I thought about all these things I don’t want, and I thought, this is great. Now I know what I don’t want so now I can decide what I really want and I can go for that.
So I stood in the street, on those cobblestones. People must have thought I was nuts because I stood there for another hour and just went on this rant in my head about all the things that I wanted in my life. I want to travel the world, I want to make endless amounts of money, I want to work on my own schedule, I want to be able to sleep in until noon if I want to. I want to be able to buy my parents a house if I want to. I just sent on this rant about all these things I wanted and when I was done, I stopped and I thought, all right, I’ll make a promise to myself right in this moment. I will never again do anything that makes me sacrifice all these things that I want in my life. I did that. I’ve kept that promise to myself since that day…