Chris Makara is an entrepreneur, online marketer and the founder of the social marketing tool called Bulkly.
In this interview, he’s going to talk about how he started his online marketing career, how he runs the one-man business Bulkly and more about his daily life.
Mr. Web Capitalist Interviews Chris Makara
Could you describe what do you do and how you earn your living?
I make a living through multiple streams of income.
I have a day job where I utilize my skillset and then evenings and weekends I do freelance work and work on my own side projects.
How did you get started?
I first got started online back in 2003 while I was in college.
A friend and I wanted to create an e-commerce site where we dropshipped bowling supplies. The reason for bowling supplies is that we were both a
So we had a pretty good knowledge of the products and industry – just no idea about anything regarding a website.
I was tasked with building out the site, marketing it, etc. while my friend handled fulfillment and customer service.
Since everything was new to me (and not many resources available like there are today), I self-taught myself everything through trial and error.
This included everything from design, coding, SEO, SEM, analytics and more. You can learn a bit more about me here.
Do you still own the bowling website? What happened to it?
I still own the domain but am not currently doing anything with it.
After I graduated college (back in 2004) and got a real job, I just did not have the time for it.
The other competitors started undercutting each other which shrank the profit margins. Which made it not really worth our time. So, we were actually in talks to sell our customer base to a competitor.
Unfortunately, the web server crashed and we were not able to restore a backup. Keep in mind, this was back when backups were massive and manual and hardly ever went right.
It was an expensive lesson
What’s your typical workday like?
My typical workday starts with me waking up before the wife and kids and it’s usually when I answer emails from clients, questions from my developers, customer service tasks, social media monitoring, etc.
Then I’ll head off to my day job where I do focus mainly on data and analytics, SEO, SEM, and some social strategy mixed in.
After the kids are asleep and I’ve had some time to relax, I’ll spend time on circling back on similar tasks that I first started with in the morning.
What makes You the most money?
My day job definitely pays the bills, but my client work gives me some extra funds to do whatever with it that I would like.
Usually, it funds side projects like Bulkly or allows me to reinvest in other partnerships and streams of income.
Tell me more about Bulkly. How did you come up with the idea? Why would anyone use it?
Bulkly was actually an idea that evolved from me needing to be more efficient.
A lot of my clients create evergreen content. And I would schedule this content on their social media channels with Buffer. But I got tired of manually adding the same updates into Buffer every week.
So I created Bulkly that would allow me to easily recycle my social media updates on Buffer. It takes just a few minutes to set up and I will always have content dripped into my Buffer account automatically.
It’s the perfect solution for anyone who wants to leverage their evergreen content on social media.
Is Bulkly a profitable business? Have you made back your investment?
Bulkly is slightly profitable. But honestly, I have not promoted it
That is another goal of mine this year – to increase the userbase of Bulkly.
Do you have a large team working in Bulkly?
Going back to my previous answer, it is a small team – just me. And my developer.
I’ve toyed around with bringing someone in to help with the promotion of it since most of my time is spent on client work.
What is your Top source of traffic?
Organic search is definitely my top source of traffic.
Care to tell some less-known SEO secrets for our readers to implement?
I don’t really think there are any big secrets at this point. It’s really about getting your on-page SEO in order and building relevant links.
I will say that content audits are often overlooked and can provide some easy wins.
How many websites do you operate?
Over a given month, I have my hands in 15-20 websites/marketing projects.
How to keep track of everything?
To stay on top of things, I rely heavily on Trello and Skype.
What do you like about online marketing?
What I like most is that there is always something new to learn. I’ve been doing this for 15+ years and I still find ways to learn new things.
Digital marketing is always changing and that keeps things interesting for me. If I’m not learning something new, I feel like I am wasting my time.
Which blogs do you read?
I don’t read as many blogs as I used to because I feel that the majority of them are too high level and rarely bring anything new to the table.
The AHREF’s blog is also a good one as well.
Which books about business would you recommend to our readers?
I recently read Lost and Founder by Rand Fishkin.
I’ve been following Rand/Moz for years, so I knew it was one I would be reading when it came out. I really enjoyed the behind the curtain view he provided in his book.
I think it is a must for any startup/entrepreneur.
Are there any must-have tools or resources you recommend for internet marketers?
I use quite a few tools. Among my “must-haves” are AHREFs, Bulkly, MalCare, Lumen5, and Mailshake.
What’s the hardest thing about being an entrepreneur?
One of the hardest things is the balance of time.
Back when I first started, I wasn’t married or have any kids. Over the years, my situation has changed.
Before, I could easily work on my projects as much as I wanted to. However, now I have to find a balance between my family and work.
With a full-time job, it can become quite the juggling act. But I think I am much more focused and efficient with my time which allows me to get more done, quicker.
Which is your favorite moment in your business?
Great question. For me, it’s when you get validation on what you have been working on makes a difference in someone’s life.
What are your goals for 2019?
One of my main goals this year is to put more of an emphasis on chatbot services for my clients. I feel that the time is right to focus on this channel. It’s still in its early stages and has not yet hit critical mass.
Not only will it help my clients better their business,
Have you ever been offered to speak at online marketing conferences? Any memorable moments?
I’m actually more of an introvert, so I don’t actively seek out speaking opportunities. I’m definitely more comfortable speaking one on one or in small groups.
However, I have previously spoken at the Houston Social Media Breakfast. It was a great experience to talk about using social media automation like a human with about 100 people.
The event took place shortly after I launched Bulkly, so it was a good opportunity to get the word out and feedback on it while answering various questions about automation and measuring data.
What does the Internet Lifestyle mean to you?
To me, an internet lifestyle is really just being able to do what you love online.
Do you like data and analytics?
There’s plenty for you to do.
Interested in design, CRO, and user behavior?
Yep, plenty of opportunity for you in those areas.
Pretty much anything involving digital marketing?
Then there’s plenty of opportunities and ways to have your own internet lifestyle.
Just don’t get all caught up in the get rich quick schemes or those who claim to have it all figured out.
Truth is no one has it all figured out. And for those who do become successful, there’s no doubt that they had a struggle to get to where they are.
But in the end, if you enjoy the journey then the internet lifestyle can be rewarding both professionally and monetarily.
What advice would you give to people just starting out with an online business?
There’s definitely a lot of advice to give. I think among the most important things are to stay focused.
You’ll run into a lot of distractions and unknowns – don’t chase all the shiny objects.
Create a goal and determine what you will need to do in order to get there. Don’t work on something that is not going to contribute you reaching your goal.
But in order to be focused, you have to get started.
So I would say to just get started would be the most important piece of advice…
Because if you don’t get started, then you won’t ever make any progress.
If you liked this interview with Chris Makara, then read my other interviews with entrepreneurs and online marketers.
Did you like the interview? Got something to add?
Or a question to ask Chris?
Let me know by leaving a comment below!