Yaro Starak is a professional blogger, best known for Entrepreneurs-Journey.com, a blog that teaches people how to start a successful Internet business, read by over 100,000 subscribers.
A true entrepreneur, in the last ten years Yaro’s started an English school, an online proofreading business, bought and sold websites for profit and consulted on Internet businesses.
Today, Yaro is focused on his passion – blogging. He consistently earns over $20,000 per month from his blog and launched a coaching program, http://www.blogmastermind.com, to help others replicate his blogging success.
Yaro spent 8 months of 2008 traveling around the world, visiting 25 different cities including London, Paris, Amsterdam, New York, Chicago, Toronto, Montreal, Dubai and Singapore, all the while writing to his blog from each city and running his business.
Yaro truly lives the 2-hour work day lifestyle, with ample freedom to enjoy life while making a well above average income thanks to the Internet.
What are you working on right now?
Presently I maintain my blog, as I have since 2005. It’s the machine the keeps my business running, however I only personally write about once a week now as I have columnists contribute content.
I’m also working on a new blog related software service that I will launch early 2011. This is my first foray into software, which is exciting because it doesn’t rely specifically on me teaching or writing, as much of my work in the past five years has.
I also have a new course and report coming out early 2011 called the ”2-Hour Work Day”, which as it sounds, teaches people how to structure a life where they can quit their job, travel and only work for two hours per day on average, which has very much been my goal and lifestyle for the last ten years.
I’m also taking my writing in a more personal development direction and have a new blog starting in that field in 2011.
3 trends that excite you?
I’m excited about the world wide web’s continued ability to shine a light on people with important things to say or create. Social media is a fantastic tool for spreading ideas. All it takes is for a handful of people to latch on to what you create and share it with their friends and friends of friends, and you can start it while sitting at a cafe with your laptop anywhere in the world. That’s non-geographical dependent marketing at it’s best! Now all you need are good ideas :-)
Other trends that excite me are merging technologies, especially the mixing of television and the internet. Media should simply be media, which you can consume anywhere you have a connected device, leveraging the power of the shared network to create a very personalised user experience.
I’m also excited about increases in capacity of bandwidth so we can make use of more forms of media without delays. As a writer I’m happy that words are still the most powerful tool we have to communicate with each other on a mass scale. However much of the world doesn’t like to read, so like the television was a revolution in communication, the web can only have more impact the closer it gets to functioning like a TV – streaming all forms of media without delays.
How do you bring ideas to life?
My blog is the best tool I have for distributing my ideas, however the real source of the ideas comes from just living. My blog has always been about reporting the “journey” and continues to be so for me today. I still write content that is relevant to me in that moment, based on what I am striving for and thus experiencing as a result.
The great thing about this is that I can simply think of something in response to a conversation, or watching a movie, or reading a book, or any form of stimulus in my life, which can then become content for the blog, which I share using my own interpretation and ideas. Because I have a following, I have a platform to share these ideas and impact people in a positive way, so while I help myself I help others too, which is immensely gratifying on many levels.
What inspires you?
I’m inspired by people who devote their entire lives to making themselves and the world a better place. Most people operate in a very small world, thinking and talking about the gossip going on between friends and family, working towards their next material purchase like a car or watch or house, and ultimately living in a bubble.
There’s nothing wrong with that, and you can still have a massive positive impact on the people around you simply by being an example of the best kind of person you can be. That’s what I strive for every day. However, you can expand your influence and aim to create positive change on a grand scale, which only a few people on the planet ever aspire to do. These are the people who truly inspire me because they go way beyond normal.
What is one mistake you’ve made, and what did you learn from it?
I’ve made the mistake countless times of responding to people with an immediate defensive emotional response, usually based on my ego demanding recognition for its existence.
I still do this, but I’m much better at spotting the knee jerk reaction and changing my response to coming from a much better place. The lesson here is about gaining awareness of first how you react to people around you, then changing it to something more in line with the kind of person you want to be. This takes patience and a level of surrendering that is difficult to master.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Here’s something off the top of my head – I’m surprised that we still receive paper notifications via snail mail (the real world mail). There should be an intermediary service that people (users) and companies who issue the papers, whether for bills, or record keeping, or notifications etc, can use so that these letters can be sent digitally instead.
I’m thinking of something rather than on a company-by-company basis we opt-in for electronic notifications, we can just do it once and all our mail that doesn’t need to be printed and sent via paper, comes electronically. This would save paper and all the costs involved with mail distribution – planes, trucks, motocycles, etc, reducing energy consumption and environmental impact.
No doubt there is a profit model in there somewhere too, as what companies used to spend on stamps and envelopes could be used to pay for the digitization process.
What is one book and one tool that helps you bring ideas to life?
WordPress is by far the most important software tool I use. It’s the blogging platform I run my blog from and distribute all my content through. AWeber, my email newsletter system is equally important as I communicate a lot via email as well.
In terms of a book, it is challenging to pick one as any time I read anything I get ideas. I don’t really go to any one book unless I have a specific problem to solve. I can tell you early on during the formative years of my blog, “The Perfect Store“, which is the history of eBay, was a hugely motivational book for me, and definitely had an impact on my direction as an online entrepreneur.
Who would you love to see interviewed on IdeaMensch?
One of my key mentors during the development of my first product was Rich Schefren. He has a keen insight into internet marketing and business, and has done a great job helping people transform from hard working solo online operators into fully fledged business owners. I’m sure his answers to these questions would be very interesting.
How can you find balance between growing a business and living your life so that you have enough time for everything you want to do?
I’m one of the few people in my immediate network who has deliberately said no to quite a few business opportunities because I knew that more business success would not lead to greater happiness.
Making money is addictive, and I love it just as much as anyone, but I value my freedom of choice more than anything. As a person who wants the freedom to indulge in ideas for projects, but not become trapped to 12 hour days, it’s critical to get the balance right.
As a result of this I’ve been very careful with the business models I’ve gone after and become very aware of what I truly want from my life. I’ve made aspects of my life a priority over business growth many times because I knew that would make me happier, and it has, so knowing when to say no and being aware enough of your real desires is critical.
Why don’t you drink alcohol?
Oh that’s a good question – great choice.
I’ve never been drunk in my life (as I write this). Of course growing up in Australia’s drinking culture I’ve naturally had to justify my decision not to drink over and over again. My aunt used to joke that I should say I’m a recovering alcoholic, but I’m not good at carrying a lie, even for a joke.
It’s fair to say I used to choose not to drink because I was a control freak and I didn’t like what alcohol did to you, based on seeing what happened to people around me. However as mature as that decision might sound, it also stopped me from having a lot of experiences while younger I would have enjoyed because I was afraid to do things. There was an underlying fear that needed to change that went beyond just not drinking.
Today I’m capable of doing everything that I was afraid to do when I was younger that I believed required alcohol to enjoy, yet I still haven’t been drunk. I don’t like the taste of alcohol, but I’ll hold a glass of wine to keep people company.
I’ve noticed that drinking can make other people become more interesting as they loosen up, so there are positive sides to it. As with most things, it’s when you reach the point of “too much” that things tend to go wrong.