We had the good fortune of connecting with Mark Valenzuela and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Mark, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?

I knew in High School I wanted to work for myself.

I failed at many business ideas before finally creating a business that made money.

My thought process was I had a passion for music production, and I wanted to share my knowledge with others.

I saw other people talk about making a living from blogging, and I wanted to do the same.

I wasn’t going to let my poor writing skills stop me from sharing information that could help others.

I want to see others pursue their music career goals, and I want to provide insight to help.

I have also always had a passion for creating. A blog has been a great creative outlet to write, design, create videos, and test marketing ideas.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?

I have been self-employed for over 6 years.

I run a music production blog called Hip Hop Makers. ( https://hiphopmakers.com/ )

I make a living through ad revenue, affiliate marketing, and selling products for music creators.

My main source of income is a website template I created for music creators. It has over 6,000 users. ( https://www.musicmakertheme.com/ )

For the first 4 years of blogging, I pretty much made no money.

But I began to survey my audience to better understand their needs and what they were struggling with.

From the survey, I developed the idea for the product.

I put together a focus group of 7 to 10 people to get feedback on my product when it was in the planning stages.

I would send out design comps to the focus groups and get feedback and make improvements.

This went on for months.

When I finally launch the product I did a launch sale and made between $1,400 to $1,700 in the first 7 days.

This was life-changing for me because it showed me what was possible.

I have continued to update the product to this day, and it continues to be the top source of revenue for me.

Was it easy? 

No, running a blog and business has not been easy.

It takes being open to failure and continuing to persist.

I have had so many ideas that have failed.

I think it’s a humbling experience. Because at many points in my life I felt like I knew something, and had the answers.

But then I fail again and realize I don’t know anything. That I need to keep learning, keep testing, and don’t get comfortable.

Important Lessons You Have Learned?

The importance of building passive income.

A great aspect of running a blog is it can make money on its own in a lot of ways.

I have invested a lot of time in creating content that is getting found in search engines. 80% of my website traffic comes from searches. So a majority of my traffic is automatic.

A majority of my income doesn’t require me to do anything.

For example, there is a time I was going through some personal things in my life, and wasn’t inspired to write for over 6 months.

But my site continued to get traffic and made the same amount of money to pay all my bills.

What do you want the world to know?

I want to encourage people to pursue their creative passions.

If I can make a living from blogging. ( I am not a great writer. I struggle with focus and anxiety. ) They can make a living from their dreams also.

It takes learning from mistakes and continuing to take action.

Many people don’t need support from friends and families to accomplish their goals.

They should look to external sources for inspiration, and surround themselves with like-minded people.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.

I would take them to some of the most popular tourist attractions in California:

– Disneyland
– Universal Studios
– Hollywood
– The Beach ( Santa Monica or Venice )

One of my favorites places to visit is Catalina Island.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would give a shoutout to my mother, who is deceased for a lot of my success.

We lived in a poor neighborhood growing up. My mother sent me to Palisades High School which required a 50-minute bus ride to Santa Monica.

In High School, I was enrolled in the media academy where I learned the basics of web design, video, and 3d animation.

This led me down my career path of graphic and web design.

Without the media academy, I don’t know where I would be.

Growing up, I also looked up to a lot of online entrepreneurs for inspiration. Patt Flynn at SmartPassiveIncome.com. Eric Thomas the Motivational Speaker, and many other driven individuals.

I’m overall inspired by people pursuing their goals, and not just settling for what they currently have.

Website: https://hiphopmakers.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hiphopmakers/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/markvalenzuela/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/hiphopmakers

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hiphopmakers

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/hiphopmakers

Other: Design portfolio https://www.markvalenzuela.com/

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.