Oliur – Ultralinx

Yo! Podcast - Published 28 Oct 2020

Oliur (@ultralinx) is a designer, photographer, YouTuber and entrepreneur based in the UK. Having amassed over 100,000 followers on several platforms, Oliur has become well known for his slick, minimal style. This clean aesthetic is also evident in his growing catalog of beautifully crafted digital and tangible products. We have a chilled convo about humble beginnings, creating freedom through products, his upcoming course, minimalism, and why it’s important to re-invest in yourself.



Conversation Topics:

  • 00:55 – Beating Testicular Cancer (blogvideo)
  • 02:47 – Earning $20k from an iOS 14 icon pack
  • 04:10 – Humble beginnings on a borrow laptop
  • 06:00 – Intermission: No Context
  • 06:45 – Why do you think your YouTube channel does so well vs others with similar tech content?
  • 07:24 – Where do you get your inspiration?
  • 07:39 – Would you encourage other product makers to learn photography?
  • 08:11 – Can photography actually be taught?
  • 08:36 – How can someone level up skills with no budget?
  • 09:42 – Does designing in public speed up learning?
  • 10:40 – Would you ever consider Industrial Design?
  • 11:15 – Would you drop everything to work on a new Tesla design requested by Elon Musk?
  • 12:27 – What does minimalism mean to you and would you consider yourself a minimalist?
  • 14:35 – Intermission: True, False, Maybe
  • 15:44 – Why did you not get into WordPress themes?
  • 16:44 – What is the current state of the website template industry?
  • 17:59 – Is one ever happy with their personal website design?
  • 20:08 – Intermission: Yo! Friends Supports Club
  • 20:37 – How involved are you with ULX Store each day?
  • 21:26 – Discontinuing the 6-Figures Ebook
  • 21:57 – Pivoting Ebook into live course
  • 25:45 – In hindsight on your journey, would you advise doubling down on personal brand for new makers or create multiple brands like you did to funnel in different sources?
  • 27:38 – How strategic is your social network cross-promotion?
  • 28:45 – With all these side projects, why do you freelance?
  • 29:52 – Have you considered Patreon?
  • 31:20 – Is all the money you’ve made simply a byproduct of your passion? (Tweet)
  • Yo! Friends Bonus: How can listeners strengthen their personal brand online?


Transcription:

Rob HopeRob:

Yo, Oliur, welcome to the show, my man.

OliurOliur:

Hi, Rob. Thanks for having me. Honor to be here.

Rob HopeRob:

Cool, man. So first off, just a big congratulations on beating cancer, man. How are you feeling?

OliurOliur:

I'm feeling okay now. I've sort of just finished my chemotherapy three weeks ago. And yeah, I'm still recovering, I'm still in the recovery stage. I won't be fully recovered for a few more months. But yeah, other than that, obviously, I'm feeling great. I'm feeling great.

Rob HopeRob:

Well, for listeners who don't know the background, Oliur was diagnosed with testicular cancer in July. it spread into his lungs, but after months of chemo, he found out last week he's cancer-free. And it's really worth reading his blog post on the symptoms, so if you head to his blog, it's in there. And you mentioned the blog actually helped about three or four other people ID the same cancer?

OliurOliur:

Yeah, that was insane to me. So I had three or four people, men message me, saying they had similar symptoms, they went to their doctor, they got an ultrasound done, they went through the scans and stuff, and they found out that they had testicular cancer. Which is just insane, when you think about it. And that was my aim for the blog post, that was my aim to make that YouTube video that I did, sharing that I have cancer, just literally just to raise awareness. Because men in their 20s and 30s, we all feel like we're invincible, so the idea of us having cancer just seems like it's really far away. But I was a healthy young guy, I used to work out, I used to eat healthy...I don't drink, I don't smoke, you know? A very sort of, like, crazy Zen person I am.

Rob HopeRob:

Yeah.

OliurOliur:

And yet I still got it, you know? So yeah, it can happen to anyone.

Rob HopeRob:

It just shows that absolutely anyone... And essentially that content could have saved a life. That's a crazy thought.

OliurOliur:

Hopefully, it continues to raise awareness, and hopefully people just, obviously, just check themselves more regularly.

Rob HopeRob:

Yeah, totally. So, let's dive into your current projects. And in the middle of it all, you managed to ship an iOS 14 icon pack that made $9,000 in a week. Damn, dude, in the middle of it all.

OliurOliur:

Yeah. Like, I saw...I'm sure you guys have seen the story of Traf, James Traf?

Rob HopeRob:

Yeah, we saw it.

OliurOliur:

He released his icon set. So I've been friends with Traf for a while, actually. We've sort of been in and out of touch for years. I saw him make his own icon set, and I was like, hey, man, this is amazing, you know? I want to make my own. And he just went, he goes, yeah, go for it, you know? Do it. He wasn't afraid of the competition or anything. And it makes sense because he's just going to become saturated anyway. So I thought I love designing, I've got a bit of free time between my chemo sessions. Let's give it a crack. And that's what I did. I made it in a day, afternoon, and sort of just put it live that evening.

Rob HopeRob:

Brilliant. So like, you launched the second 3D one. was shipping these somehow to distract you, or would you have done this regardless?

OliurOliur:

Oh, the 3D one actually wasn't designed by me, that was white labeled by another designer who wanted to work with me.

Rob HopeRob:

Oh, nice.

OliurOliur:

So yeah, I don't have the skills to do really in-depth 3D icons like that, unfortunately. But I saw another designer who had them, and I was like, hey, why don't we work together? Why don't we white label these icons, and you can make some money, I can make some money. And yeah, we just go 50/50 on those icons.

Rob HopeRob:

Brilliant. what's so remarkable, a lot of people don't know, is that this icon release is full circle, because you originally designed a set of Android icons on a borrowed laptop to help buy your first computer...what is it, a 21.5 inch iMac?

OliurOliur:

Yes, it was. Yeah, I'm surprised...where did you read that? Where did you find that out?

Rob HopeRob:

Oh, man...I dive deep, dude.

OliurOliur:

Because I can't even remember where I've shared that. But yeah, I was really young, early 20s, late teens...I can't remember exactly when. But yeah, I was using a sort of family laptop that everyone shares, put together some icons, saved a bit of money. I was also, doing some jobs here and there part-time, and just saved a bit of money, and then just bought an iMac, and sort of history from there, you could say.

Rob HopeRob:

Wow, yeah. So you sort of just bootstrapped all your gear, reinvesting, and it all led to this, momentum of making $9,000 off one icon pack in a week. It's just so incredible how that works, all starting off borrowing a laptop.

OliurOliur:

Yeah, it is funny. I think that was my main sort of...I guess, point I wanted to put across when I made these icons and I shared the revenue I made from them, was that it's not going to happen overnight, unfortunately. Not for everyone, anyway. for me, it's been years of sort of working on stuff and for it to come to this point. I had other points in my career as well where, I've generated great revenue, this is just another one of those points for me. And when I look at...when I look back now at the actual income numbers for that, for the icon set, I'm about to cross $20,000.

Rob HopeRob:

Wow.

OliurOliur:

So for me, it's like, wow, this extra money I wasn't even expecting to make. It's just a little bonus almost.

Rob HopeRob:

Let's break into a quick intermission I like to call No Context. So you simply shoot back either of the two options I give you, no context given and no context needed. You got it?

OliurOliur:

Okay.

Rob HopeRob:

Jony Ive or Dieter Rams?

OliurOliur:

Dieter Rams.

Rob HopeRob:

Weekdays or weekends?

OliurOliur:

Weekdays for sure.

Rob HopeRob:

Hard Graft or Ugmonk?

OliurOliur:

Ugmonk.

Rob HopeRob:

Designing or photography?

OliurOliur:

Oh...design.

Rob HopeRob:

Ninja or Dr Disrespect?

OliurOliur:

Oh, Dr Disrespect every day.

Rob HopeRob:

Sketch or Figma?

OliurOliur:

Sketch.

Rob HopeRob:

Digital or tangible goods?

OliurOliur:

Digital for sure.

Rob HopeRob:

"The Last of Us," or "Call of Duty?"

OliurOliur:

Oh, "Last of Us," easy.

Rob HopeRob:

VR or AR?

OliurOliur:

VR.

Rob HopeRob:

And last question, YouTube or Instagram?

OliurOliur:

YouTube.

Rob HopeRob:

Okay, so you're absolutely crushing it on both, with over 100,000 followers on each. What I really appreciate about your YouTube channel is it's not flashy edits, it's just clean video, good grades, honest talking. Why do you think your channel does better than those with very similar tech content?

OliurOliur:

I think the great thing about YouTube is...because I don't want to say I do better than other people on YouTube, because I think the great thing about YouTube is that everyone has their own style. I think that is the most important thing, everyone has their own, unique style. And yeah, I feel like I try to have my own sort of unique taste and style when it comes to things. I'm not looking to sort of copy anyone or anything. A lot of my inspiration doesn't even come from other YouTubers, it actually comes from watching, like, ads on TV, watching movies, watching TV shows, things like that. That's where my sort of inspiration sort of comes from.

Rob HopeRob:

Wow, that's a great answer. I think your photography skills really add a premium aesthetic to your product launches and your videos. Would you recommend taking a photography, for other product makers out there?

OliurOliur:

Oh, yeah, for sure. I think when you're a sort of one-man-band, it's good to learn a mix of every skill, anything and everything. You don't have to be an expert, you just have to be good enough, you just have to be a little bit better than someone else. And I think, that is what will just put you ahead when it comes to launching anything, just to put a bit more effort than someone else.

Rob HopeRob:

And you think photography can be taught? Like, to actually take a great photo, it can be taught?

OliurOliur:

Now, that's a good question. And that's something that someone has asked me with design, can design sort of just be taught? And I think it can. For some people it's quicker, for some people it's slower. It's the same with, like, development, f you're a coder, for some people it's quicker, for some people it's slower. But yeah, I think it can be taught.

Rob HopeRob:

Being self-made and self-taught, you've always been an advocate on reinvesting in yourself, continuously learning new skills. What advice do you have for someone who wants to level up, but no real budget to do the current online courses at over $100 each, and so on?

OliurOliur:

Yeah, that's a question I get quite often, actually. Because you see courses out there going for thousands of dollars sometimes, and when I first started it, I couldn't afford those courses, you know? I started from nothing. So it was just a matter of looking at YouTube videos, looking at a mix of anything and everything online, articles, and just making stuff. The best way I learned is by actually making stuff. And I remember that when I first started, some of my stuff was awful. It looked like rubbish, to be honest. I look back and I think, wow, how did I even think that looked good? But if you keep doing it over years, you sort of refine your craft and you get better and better. But at the same time, I feel like you can only get better if you really do feel passionate about getting better at it. And for some people, it is hard to stay passionate in something for a long time, so you've really got to make sure it's something you really love doing.

Rob HopeRob:

So, where do we draw the line between designing something privately versus designing something and putting it out there? Do you feel like putting it out there, like, really makes you vulnerable, and you improve faster?

OliurOliur:

I think putting it out there can definitely bring unwanted feedback, in a way. I've had that before. But then at the same time, you sort of grow...you've sort of got to have...I don't know what's the term, is it, like, tough skin, hard skin...whatever it is?

Rob HopeRob:

Thick skin.

OliurOliur:

Yeah, thick skin, that's the one. Thick skin, when it comes to people sort of just giving you feedback and stuff. And I'll be honest, I think the reason I have quite thick skin is because of the way I grew up. So, I was one of the only brown kids in school, out of, like, 300 people, out of 300 white people. So I had to naturally have thick skin because I would get racist comments on a daily basis.

Rob HopeRob:

Heavy.

OliurOliur:

And you kind of just, after a little bit of time, you're kind of just like, eh, it doesn't matter to me, I'm going to do what I'm going to do, you know?

Rob HopeRob:

Good for you. With self-improvement in mind here, and your kind of evolution and your skills, and the way you're growing, would I be wrong to assume industrial design is somewhere in your life's path?

OliurOliur:

Yeah, now that's an interesting question. Industrial design is definitely something I'm interested in, and something I've been exploring. It might be in a few years, it might be in a few months, it might be something that I really start getting into. Because I really do enjoy industrial design, I look at quite a few blogs, I look at stuff on Pinterest and I just think, oof, that looks really good, I'd love to design my own version. But we'll see. I don't know yet.

Rob HopeRob:

If Elon emailed you now saying we're looking for a new test to design and we like your stuff, would you drop everything?

OliurOliur:

You see, I don't think I would. Because I'm not sure I could work for a guy like Elon. I'll be honest, I don't think I could work for him.

Rob HopeRob:

Yeah, a maniac.

OliurOliur:

Like, I love Elon Musk and what he does, and stuff. But I think when it comes to any person, you can't...there are things that they do that I also disagree with. Like, Elon Musk obviously has some crazy work hours, and he expects his employees to do the same, which I just wouldn't be able to do. I couldn't do that, personally. And I think that just goes for anyone you look up to, or anyone that you sort of idolize, you should always just take away the best things, and not everything.

Rob HopeRob:

Is that sort of like kill your idols? Not really... I mean, Elon, if you really got to know him, you'd probably...I wonder if he'd be, like, a real soft, great guy, or just super hard?

OliurOliur:

Yeah, you just don't know with someone like that. Yeah, Elon Musk is an interesting person. I think he would really sort of blow my mind in how much information he can consume, and seem to sort of regurgitate into his businesses, which is just insane.

Rob HopeRob:

Just quickly going back to, minimalism, as a common theme across your full network, all your content seems to always go back to that term, you know? What does the term minimalism mean to you? And would you consider yourself a minimalist?

OliurOliur:

I actually do not consider myself a minimalist at all, but I like the...I like some aspects about minimalism. I think it also goes back to...so like, religion, you know? I don't think you have to follow any sort of religion or anything. Like, I like Buddhism quite a lot. I like that religion quite a lot. I wouldn't consider myself a Buddhist though, but I like some of the aspects of Buddhism. Same with, like, maybe Islam or Christianity, or all these other religions, I think it's just taking specific aspects that you like, and applying it to your life. Because when it comes to my photos, when it comes to my work and things like that, everything might look really clean and minimalist, but I feel like my brain is an absolute mess. And I've noticed that when I talk, when I talk about stuff, I can definitely go off on, like, a tangent, I can go off into all these different avenues when someone asks me a question...which is completely unrelated to the question in the first place, which is what happens to me so often. And this is why I think minimalism and a minimalist sort of style, I really like it because it just gives me focus, helps me focus. And when I don't have all this sort of stuff around me, distracting me, it can really help me just focus on whatever it is I want to focus on at that time.

Rob HopeRob:

So you're attracted to the concept of minimalism, but your actions don't exactly match that.

OliurOliur:

Yes, exactly. Because if I was a true minimalist, I'd only have, like, one t-shirt or whatever, I'd only have, like, one car, or I'd only live in, like, a hut or something, or whatever, you know? But at the same time, I want to live comfortably. I want to enjoy some finer things in life, you know? This is why, I live in a, four-bedroom house, for example, even though it's just me and my partner, I have, like, two cars... Because if I can enjoy the finer things in life, why wouldn't I? But then at the same time, I do try not to overindulge.

Rob HopeRob:

Let's break into a second intermission I like to call True, False, Maybe. So you simply shoot back either true or false or maybe, no explanation needed at all.

OliurOliur:

Okay.

Rob HopeRob:

You ready?

OliurOliur:

Yep.

Rob HopeRob:

A £5 umbrella from Asda is perhaps more water-resistant than a Renault Clio.

OliurOliur:

True.

Rob HopeRob:

Surrey is the most wooded county in England.

OliurOliur:

I honestly don't know. I think maybe...yeah, maybe. I don't know.

Rob HopeRob:

If you have an iPhone 11 Pro, there's not enough reason to upgrade to an iPhone 12.

OliurOliur:

True.

Rob HopeRob:

Designers should learn to code.

OliurOliur:

False.

Rob HopeRob:

Minimalism has peaked.

OliurOliur:

False.

Rob HopeRob:

Everyone is born creative.

OliurOliur:

True.

Rob HopeRob:

You can store more in a jumbo popcorn than the boot of Jag F-TYPE.

OliurOliur:

Maybe?

Rob HopeRob:

Last question...last question, Justin Bieber once used one of your Tumblr themes.

OliurOliur:

True.

Rob HopeRob:

Back in 2011, I started a minimalist blog called "Minimal." That's minimal with three Ms. Your sites and brand, UltraLinx, was a big inspiration, and your Tumblr theme success heavily influenced my decision to get into WordPress themes. Why did you not get into WordPress themes? you had UltraGrid and Sharp, but they were quickly discontinued, if I'm not mistaken...

OliurOliur:

Yeah. So the reason I didn't get into WordPress themes is because I'm not a developer, and I wasn't sort of able to get a developer... Well, I did have a developer for a year, actually, now that I think back, and we launched a few themes, but they just didn't catch on as well as our Tumblr themes did. I ended up making a little bit of a loss, so I kind of just cut my losses and was like, hey, I'll just carry on making the Tumblr themes, I'll stop making the WordPress themes. Because the Tumblr themes were easier for me to make, because they required a lot less coding knowledge. With WordPress, obviously, I'd have to learn the whole WordPress base, and the PHP and everything...

Rob HopeRob:

Plugins...

OliurOliur:

Yeah, exactly. Tumblr things were mainly just HTML, CSS, and then Tumblrs own Syntax, which was really easy and really simple for me.

Rob HopeRob:

Brilliant. So, what's your current thoughts, on the state of the website template industry right now?

OliurOliur:

If you can make some interesting templates, and you have the audience, and you know how to market them, I think you can make a lot of money. I know people who are making lots of money still, especially with new platforms like Shopify and Webflow, and platforms like that. I think WordPress as well, WordPress is still great, I think. I know people love to hammer WordPress about how rubbish it is, but I still use WordPress. I'm still very familiar with it, I still use it for my own websites. And when you want to figure something out with WordPress, you can get a plugin for it, you know? There aren't many other platforms out there where you can do that.

Rob HopeRob:

I had a proper chuckle, I was inspecting your site code, and your WordPress theme folder was called Oliur version 23.

OliurOliur:

Yeah.

Rob HopeRob:

So you've done your time with WordPress for sure.

OliurOliur:

Yeah, that's...it's because I just keep changing the design of my website. It's probably actually over version 30 right now, I just haven't bothered to version them any more. I've given up, I'm just, like, making little edits here and there. Yeah, it's just, it's pretty...I'm one of those people, like I think any designer, I keep wanting to redesign my website all the time.

Rob HopeRob:

Is one ever happy with their personal website?

OliurOliur:

I don't think anyone ever is. You've sort of just got to design it and leave it there, you know? And just get on with your life. And I've started doing that, I'm like, I need to stop having so much of my time taken up by my own bloody website when I should be focusing on launching new stuff.

Rob HopeRob:

Yeah, and the best time to redesign your personal website is when you have a lot to do.

OliurOliur:

It's interesting... And I think the other funny thing with websites as well is some of the most successful designers and developers that I know don't even have personal portfolios or websites or anything, you know? So, I know some guys...yeah like, I know a guy, he lives quite close to me, actually, and we meet up quite often. He works at Facebook. I'm not going to say his name, just for privacy reasons, but he works at Facebook. He actually works on their...I think it's their AR team or something like that, and yeah, he doesn't even have a personal website, and I know he's doing very well. Very, very well. Even it shocks me how well he's doing as well, I'm just thinking, like, damn, dude, like, you could retire right now. Like, it's just incredible. The other funny thing with him as well is he's still living with parents, and that blows me away. It absolutely blows me away. He still lives...I ask him, like, why haven't you bought your own place? you could afford...you could literally afford a mansion off a cliff or something. And he's like, man, I don't need it. And I'm like, okay, fair play.

Rob HopeRob:

Good for him.

OliurOliur:

Fair play to you, my friend. Yeah, good for him. Exactly.

Rob HopeRob:

Yeah, it's interesting, like in South Africa as well, everyone's encouraged to move out. If you're still living with your parents, you're sort of not progressing in life, the same with England. But Europe's different, you know? A lot of good friends of mine still live with their parents, it's not frowned upon.

OliurOliur:

Yeah. I know in, like, Asia as well, it's the same. Like, living with your parents, growing up with your parents is completely normal. I don't know why in the UK and in Europe it's, like...you know? Well, I guess more in the UK, you want to move out as soon as possible. Because living with parents, you can save so much more money, and like, and just enjoy your life a bit more if you really want to. But, yeah.

Rob HopeRob:

You've got a side project selling minimal goods, and that's on ulxstore.com. How involved are you there each day?

OliurOliur:

I don't actually manage it day to day, I spend a few hours a week on it. I have another guy who works for me full-time, and he manages a lot of ULX Store. And I also have a marketing guy as well who works on a lot of the marketing stuff.

Rob HopeRob:

Is that your mate Charlie?

OliurOliur:

Yeah, Charlie. Yeah. And we've known each other for a long time, me and Charlie. We went to college together. But yeah, he's been working with me for over five years now, and yeah, he... It's the same with him, I'm like, hey, man, as long as the work is done, you don't have to...you don't have to work 9:00 'til 5:00. You choose your own hours, you do whatever you have to do as long as the stuff is done.

Rob HopeRob:

Yeah, I mean...okay, kind of parted out, it's that, you had a book you were writing titled "Six Figures". It was on presale, and now it's not there anymore.

OliurOliur:

Yes.

Rob HopeRob:

Are you planning on writing again? Are you maybe, perhaps going to rename it "Seven Figures"?

OliurOliur:

No. So with that, it's again, it's another one of those projects which I don't think it got the traction I wanted it to, and I also fell out of love of doing it. So, my next...so what I'm going to do is I'm sort of going to repackage that into a course at some point, in the next maybe 12 months or 18 months, something like that. Because I realized having just an ebook that I sell for $100, or $50 or whatever it is, isn't engaging enough for the people who are looking for that information. And I want to do a sort of course, or a live course or something, and one of my friends, Ali Abdaal, who's another YouTuber, he's doing a live course right now on how to become a part-time YouTuber, and his course is doing really well. And he's definitely one of the influences for me behind changing the "Six Figures" sort of thing into a course, because he was saying there's so much more value doing a live course than there is just doing an ebook and just selling it.

Rob HopeRob:

So is he saying live, like, webinar sessions.

OliurOliur:

Yes, sort of. Yeah, like you'd have maybe 10, 20, 30 people all in this course, all together at a specific time, you would have presentation, you'd go through whatever you want to share, whatever you're teaching these people, and then they would be able to ask you questions right there and then, and then you can also form your course around those questions too. So it's really, really good to be able to have your own information that you're sharing, but then maybe there's information you haven't thought of that your audience will ask you, and they will be able to extract it out of you, and that really sort of opened my mind up into doing a course, into doing a live course.

Rob HopeRob:

That's actually a great strategy. So I'm working on a landing page course, and I had previously, in my last ebook, opened up a presale a few months before. And just by people investing up front, I had access to them and asked them questions, and that refined my end product. So with your questions from your community, that can actually evolve into quite a refined product over time.

OliurOliur:

Yeah, exactly. And I think that's the biggest issue I have, so...and I think a lot of people who create stuff have, is that when it comes to sharing that knowledge, it's actually really hard. It's really, really hard. And you could hire a person to extract that knowledge from you, but they're only going to be able to ask you a limited number of questions. But when you have, like, 30, 40 people asking you all different types of questions, they can extract knowledge that you didn't even know that you had sort of within you. And I think that is incredibly valuable for you as the creator, and for the person who's wanting to learn from you.

Rob HopeRob:

That's brilliant. I mean, you've just surfaced some stuff that I'm dealing with now, and you're actually the perfect person to ask this. Because I feel our metric for success, with what we do, is a lot to do with freedom, okay? So take away our freedom, like, we will not do that, I don't care how much money. And when it comes to the course, a lot of people have asked for private access to community, or to be able to do support or ask questions for me for landing pages, with you for, your topic. And I am very wary of promising that in a presale or within a course, where someone has access to ask me questions all the time.

OliurOliur:

Yeah, for sure. I think, again, that goes back to doing a live course.

Rob HopeRob:

Yes.

OliurOliur:

you have all of these people all in this one place, and they're all ready just to share knowledge, just to share knowledge with each other. And we all have limited amount of time. I can't, make a Discord channel with, like, 100 people, and all these people asking me questions every single day. I would love to be able to do that, but I literally don't have enough time in the day. Like, it's just not possible.

Rob HopeRob:

Same.

OliurOliur:

So having a live course, where you set aside maybe two or three hours every week, you have a proper schedule, and everyone...and people can ask you whatever questions within those two or three hours I think can be absolutely invaluable.

Rob HopeRob:

You built up a wide funnel of sources, personal blog, UltraLinx blog, ULX Store, YouTube, Instagram that no doubt influence your new product launches. you can call it a funnel, if you will, would you recommend this diversified brand route to other makers, or rather, in hindsight, just double down on your personal brand?

OliurOliur:

The way I think you should start, and this is the way I started was you've got to start on social media, you've got to start to build an audience on social media. So, you sort of start backwards. You start building an audience on social media, you give away free information, you give away whatever it is you want to give away. you start building an audience, and then you funnel that audience to your personal blog and your personal assets that you have. Because a personal blog will never go away, social networks will always come and go. And I think from there, you can, use that audience to launch products or sell things, and whatever else it might be. At the same time, that sounds a bit dirty in a way, you could say, because it's like, you're building an audience and you're building this following just so you can sell stuff to them. But like, the reason these people are following in the first place is because they're interested in what you have to say and what you have to share, and I think you've got to start on social media, you've got to start building an audience there, and then start funnelling it back into your own things, like your blog or your email list and things like that, where you can have actual, tangible stuff.

Rob HopeRob:

Totally. I mean, I wouldn't feel too bad when all the content has integrity and it's authentic. It's just you...

OliurOliur:

That's another thing that I think is really, really important when it comes to building any sort of online following. You want to build a trust, you want the people who follow you to trust you, and you also don't want to rip them off, in a way. But yeah, I think just getting people to trust you is one of the most important things.

Rob HopeRob:

So, I also noticed on your network all the cross-promotion, you know? How strategic is your cross-promotion? even from Tumblr, you were linking to Instagram, Instagram you talk about YouTube... Do you freestyle, or was this quite strategic?

OliurOliur:

Yeah, it's definitely freestyle. Wherever I think is fair to do it, I do it. There is definitely no sort of proper strategy around it. Maybe there should be more of a strategy, but then at the same time, I don't want to...I don't want to alienate people, you know? I want to do whatever I think is comfortable. And yeah, I think that's another reason why, when it comes to...well, I'm sort of going off on a tangent now, but...

Rob HopeRob:

It's so unlike you.

OliurOliur:

When it comes to doing, like, sponsorships, for example, I get tons of emails for sponsorships for Instagram and YouTube, but you only actually see a select few, and they're usually from companies that I actually think are giving value to other people and for products that I think people can actually, get value from.

Rob HopeRob:

Yeah. So, your attention, you're thinking what's best for the audience?

OliurOliur:

Yeah, exactly.

Rob HopeRob:

Just with everything you've got cooking, we've just talked about, I'm wondering, with the income from the digital and tangible products, plus YouTube, why do you still freelance or consult?

OliurOliur:

Well, this is the thing, I don't, actually.

Rob HopeRob:

Have you stopped officially?

OliurOliur:

Pretty much, yeah. It's not that I've completely stopped, it's...the best way to describe it is I'm not taking on any and every project like I used to. So I will still do freelancing and consulting, but the project has to either be, like, ridiculous money so that it's really worth my time, or it has to be a really interesting project, something that, for me personally, it's just like, wow, I really want to work on this.

Rob HopeRob:

It's like Tobias doing the NASA logo on the rocket.

OliurOliur:

Yeah, exactly. If I got on a project for, like...yeah, I would do something like that for free, if I got it. So yeah, it's got to be either crazy money, where I can't even turn it down, or it's got to be something super, super interesting. Hopefully the latter, something really, really interesting that, will just look great and I will feel really proud of to make.

Rob HopeRob:

With the big following you've got online, and you've got lots to offer with what you produce, have you considered the Patreon model?

OliurOliur:

Yeah, I do have a Patreon profile, actually, and I have a few subscribers on there. But I'll be honest, I will...I didn't have the energy or the time to really keep on top of it. So there's like, five or six subscribers on there, and they're subscribed, but I haven't actually put out any content since, like, June or something like that.

Rob HopeRob:

I mean, understandable.

OliurOliur:

Yeah, the thing is, the guys who actually...or the people who are subscribed are actually people who still message me, because you can message the creator directly, and they'll ask me questions, they'll ask for this, they'll ask for that. And I'm happy to provide because there's only four...like, five or six of them, and yeah, whatever I can do for them, I do for them. But at some point I will shut that down, and I...yeah, I just won't keep it up to date because I don't want to take anyone's money when they're not getting anything in return.

Rob HopeRob:

I understand. So I mean, I've set up a profile, I haven't sent it to anyone. It just, for me, it feels like it's going to take away a lot of my freedom.

OliurOliur:

Yes. I think it's one of those things where you've really got to set yourself a schedule where maybe you, like, write an article every single week, or you make a video every single week. And that's really tough. Again, like you said, I like the freedom of doing stuff whenever I feel like doing it, and I don't want to just be on a rigid schedule.

Rob HopeRob:

It's not a chore.

OliurOliur:

Yeah, exactly.

Rob HopeRob:

Last question. During your chemo treatments, you tweeted this, "Turning something you enjoy doing into something that makes you money, to live comfortably is probably the greatest achievement you can have in life." this resonated so much with my journey. And I can only imagine that with this attitude, all the money you've made is just a byproduct of your passion.

OliurOliur:

Yeah, for sure. When I was 18, 19, I thought I was going to become an accountant, to be honest. I thought I was going to have a normal, sort of like, corporate office job...yeah. I'm just glad it didn't work out that way, and I sort of started doing design and making...or just using my computer to make stuff. And that's what I truly enjoy doing. I didn't even know I enjoyed doing it until I started doing it, to be honest, and it's really blown me away how my life is... I honestly still sometimes can't believe it, how comfortable of a life that I have, doing something that I love doing. I may not be, like, crazy rich or anything, but I'm definitely comfortable, I'm more than, more than comfortable. And that's always been the goal for me because I grew up really poor, I grew up without anything, and the goal in life for me has always just to be comfortable. And knowing that I can be comfortable doing what I also love doing is just...yeah, again, it's like the greatest achievement in life, I think.

Rob HopeRob:

That's so brilliant, and it just shows it is possible.

OliurOliur:

Yeah, for sure. I think in this sort of day and age, it's becoming more and more possible for everyone.

Rob HopeRob:

It's so interesting, your story, because I got a 96% for accounting in school, and everyone's parents were like, "Rob, when are you starting to be an accountant," and I'm like, there's just no way. And that's when I sort of dived into Yahoo! Geocities, and just started moving shapes around, and I was like, wow, this is it, here. This is the future. Okay, Oliur man, thanks so much for your time, man. We're ending this episode with this chilled hip hop track you chose called "Golden Crates" by Dusty Decks. Where can your listeners follow your work online?

OliurOliur:

Yeah, they can obviously go to my website oliur.com, they can find me on YouTube, /oliur on YouTube. On Instagram, I'm UltraLinx on Instagram...yeah, those are sort of the three main places that you can find me right now.

Rob HopeRob:

Brilliant. Take care, Oliur.

OliurOliur:

Yeah. Thanks for having me, Rob.