058: Launching a Blockbuster Blog on a Budget: Interview with Ruth Soukup [Podcast]

When a new artist we’ve never heard of sweeps the top honors at an awards show, it’s easy to wonder where they came from. We want to know the secret to their overnight rise to stardom.


What we don’t see on the highlight reel is all the late nights spent begging to sing in dive bars, or the countless tattered notebooks filled with scribbled lyrics. We don’t hear them singing heartfelt solos in the shower as a roommate bangs on the door telling them to pipe down.

The truth is there is no such thing as overnight success. Or if there is, it never happens overnight.

This week on The Portfolio Life, Ruth Soukup and I talk about her five-year journey to building a blockbuster blog with over one million monthly visitors, and the fastest path to “overnight” success.

Listen in as Ruth and I dive into how tension births inspiration, and how proximity to a pain point makes us relatable to our audience.

Listen to the podcast

To listen to the show, click the player below (If you are reading this via email, please click here).

You can also listen via iTunes or on Stitcher.

Invest in relationships before revenue

A hero in any great story is imperfect. Their flaws are what make them human. Even Superman had a vulnerability to kryptonite. The humanity of our heroes makes them relatable and helps us to believe in ourselves.

The best heroes share the journey, reaching out to pull others up to their level. They don’t have all the answers or diagnose problems from a distance. Rather than pointing out the problem on a map, they are climbing the mountain with us.

One of the things I found most interesting about Ruth’s journey is her intentional focus on relationships. The pivotal moments on her path to monumental success all involved relationships.

During our conversation, Ruth shared she often attends conferences, but will fail to participate in any of the sessions because she is too busy talking with a new acquaintance or old friend.

Ruth’s strategy for success incorporates the discipline of showing up daily to create and embracing opportunities to foster relationships. She is motivated by a teacher’s heart and genuinely wants to help people make their life better. Ruth is a hero who lifts others up on her shoulders to reach the next rung on the ladder.

It is no coincidence when givers experience success in their endeavors. When we learn a new lesson and turn around to mentor others the wind is at our back.

Consistently giving our best effort to create excellent content in the service of others is the only possible “shortcut” to overnight success.

Show highlights

In this episode, Ruth and I discuss:

  • What goes on behind the scenes of a blockbuster blog
  • The hard truth behind secret sauce shortcuts to success
  • How to pick a passion and get started blogging for big results
  • Tips to blog on different topics while maintaining a common thread
  • Why great content often originates from a place of pain
  • How conflict plays a role in the creative process
  • The key ingredient “experts” fail to include in their message
  • What bloggers need to build a business in the margin of life
  • Navigating the tension of the startup phase and beyond
  • A crucial asset when family and friends don’t “get” it
  • Which investment will ensure the most return on resources
  • Tips for mastering SEO out of the gate
  • The importance of boundaries to preserve sanity
  • A perspective for finding clarity admits the chaos

Quotes and takeaways

  • “It doesn’t matter what I do if I don’t treat people the right way.”
  • “A certain intimacy comes with proximity to a problem.”
  • It takes years to become an overnight success.
  • Sharing the journey resonates with readers.
  • Sometimes you have to believe in your dream before anyone else will.
  • Relationships have the highest ROI.
  • Getting small wins builds momentum and confidence for the long haul.
  • “As long as you create great content wherever you go, you’ll have a solid base to fall back on.”


Who are you investing in? How are you taking daily action to pursue your dream? Share in the comments