Do you know what time it is? It’s “Who is” time!
I believe that the person I’m going to talk about this week is not as “public” as some of those who have already been featured, but I’m pretty sure he helped a lot of people who were just starting online and I really enjoy his style of writing. I am an avid reader of Yaro Starak’s blog.
Yaro Starak: Who is He?
Yaro is a 32 years old blogger and entrepreneur born in Brisbane, Australia, on the 19th of July 1979. He has created, managed and sold several Internet-based businesses since 1998. These days, he teaches people how to make a living from blogging through his Blog Mastermind coaching program and how to launch online membership sites through his Membership Site Mastermind course.
Yaro Starak: The Early Days
Being a shy kid, Yaro didn’t have many friends growing up. The fact that his mom was some kind of a hippy, he started school in an unconventional way through independent schools. During his first 5 years or schooling, he enjoyed an unstructured relaxed system with the freedom of doing what he wanted, when he wanted.
After sixth grade, Yaro entered the state schooling system, which was quite a shock compared to what he knew up to that point. These years were not happy years, but they made him grow stronger and develop.
Yaro Starak: 1998-2001, University
Yaro joined the University of Queensland in 1998 to get a Business Management Degree. Like most people of his age, he left high school not really knowing what he wanted to do, but at least knowing that he didn’t want to work for someone else.
When he joined the University, Yaro discovered the Internet. As a student, he was provided with a free internet access: it was the beginning of a long love story.
Yaro Starak: The First Website, Magic The Gathering
In his early university years, Yaro was involved with a card game called Magic: The Gathering. It was only normal that his very first website was a fan-page on Geocities.com devoted to this game.
He was soon to discover that the tools provided by Geocities were quite limited and didn’t allow him to grow his website how he wanted to, so he started learning HTML. For a weird reason, he learned that a lot faster that his university lessons… Passion maybe? ;)
He went ahead onto the next step and expanded his Magic TG website to target the whole Australia and moved to a properly hosted website MTGParadise.com. This website was never intended to be a money site, but it is clearly the foundation of all the things to come because it helped Yaro learn both the technical part of websites and the online marketing skills that he used to make his website grow.
After he installed a discussion forum as part of his website, it really took off. Magic players from all around Australia were coming to his website to discuss teh game and trade cards, he quickly became an authority in his niche.
Yaro Starak: From Webmaster to Web Journalist
Strong of his experience as the webmaster of MTGParadise.com, Yaro had the connections that opened him a position as a web journalist to cover tournaments of the game Magic for the whole Asia/Pacific area. He was offered a decent compensation and the expenses were paid. It appeared to be an interesting experience for him but managing this position and the university at the same time quickly became too complicated.
Yaro Starak: The First Online Money
When he was developing MTGParadise.com, Yaro also worked on getting some advertisers to join him. He was able to monetize the website and make up to $1000 per month from it. At some point, internet became used a lot for everything Magic related. Yaro used these new opportunities to develop a mail order and a full-featured ecommerce store for game cards.
Yaro Starak: Hard Lesson, Credit Card Fraud
As he was working to grow his mail order service, Yaro was contacted by some Thai customer to make some big purchases. Being really excited by the margin he could make through this sale, he went ahead. The customer quickly grew to order more and more cards. At some point, Yaro received a notice saying that the very first payment had bounced, the nightmare began. Almost all the transactions from this Thai client were charged back and he lost 5 figures due to this fraud.
Credit Card Fraud being a very negative experience, Yaro decided to close his mail order service and focus on advertising again until a few years later, in 2004, he decided to sell the website for $13,000 to get some cashflow to invest in some other projects.
Yaro Starak: Second Project, BetterEdit.com
Inspired by a paper he did read in Yahoo! print magazine about an entrepreneur at Harvard that was running a successful essay editing service from his dorm room, Yaro decided to develop this kind of service in Australia with BetterEdit.com. He knew exactly the market since he was still studying at the university with some international students from non-English speaking backgrounds.
He started the project with his mother and her partner, but it eventually died by itself because they were lacking true motivation to develop it.
This project came to a renewal a few years later when Yaro decided to open an English school in Australia. On overall this school experience seemed really interesting but he eventually dropped the school project to keep only the BetterEdit.com part alive, and moved to Canada for a few months.
Another couple of years passed and Yaro managed to develop BetterEdit into a very big project. He ended up selling it for six figures!
Yaro Starak: The Canada Experience
Most of Yaro’s time in Canada was used to advertise his BetterEdit service in universities. When going from university to university to put some posters for his website, he ran into poster advertising companies. When he discovered this business he really liked the idea of being able to keep advertising through posters even after leaving Canada.
Back when he was in Australia, he was only able to advertise through posters in universities that were within his reach… Taking the poster advertising company idea back to Australia seemed like a good move.
Yaro Starak: Community is His Key to Success
A month before going back to Australia, reading the book “The Perfect Store – Inside eBay” by Adam Cohen became the seed of an epiphany. After a lot of thinking about his past businesses, Yaro realized that the life-stream of his biggest success to date, MTGParadise.com, was all based on the community he developed, an idea that was highlighted in the eBay book.
Yaro “Yaz!” Starak: Community Developer
Yaro decided to develop a student community back in Australia and to make some cross promotion for his essay service (Better Edit) as well as his upcoming student poster advertising service. This community would be named Yaz! but it wouldn’t last long as he dropped the project in 2005 along with the poster advertising company.
Yaro Starak: Entrepreneur’s Journey
A blog was installed on BetterEdit.com since November 2004 but it was barely active. As it was focused on BetterEdit target, most articles were about writing essays and academic education, and Yaro was clearly not passionate about the subject.
It is in early 2005 that Yaro decided to focus the blog on a subject he knew way better: Internet Business. This was exactly what he needed to get his motivation up and he quickly invested a lot of time and effort into it. The blog eventually became a separate project and needed it’s own domain: entrepreneurs-journey.com was born!
The pros of this blog are huge for Yaro: It allowed him to work from home and to network with like-minded people from all around the world at the same time.
According to Yaro, launching his blog was the most life-changing experience he ever had. During the years he has been working on his blog, he changed for the better. Yaro has launched several online products such as: Blog Mastermind, Become A Blogger, Membership Site Mastermind, 2 Hour Work Day, Cranky Ads and Million Dollar Blogging Secrets.
If you haven’t already, I invite you to read the post Yaro made for his 30th birthday, this is a highly inspiring post about what really matters: How To Become Comfortable With Yourself.