What This Wounded Coal Miner Did to Be Happy & Free [EP 22 The Blog Chronicles]
On this episode of The Blog Chronicles a longtime blogger and social media expert is sharing his personal story for the first time.
If you think a coal miner has no shot at finding blog success, meet Wade Harman.
Wade was a fifth-generation coal miner in Virgina for ten years.
Growing up, that’s the only lifestyle he knew. He describes the coal mines as “calling to me” when he was young. So like his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, Wade began working for a coal mining company soon after high school.
But a tragic and unexpected accident crushed his well-paying job. Physically, Wade was forced to work from home.
The “new economy”, or online lifestyle, was the next career to call his name.
Wade tells his amazing story of conquering self doubt, fear, and the bill collectors closing in on his family.
Here are some of the personal details you will find out in this interview…
–How Wade began his blogging career without any previous experience online
–What it’s like growing up in “coal country”
–What it’s like to work in a coal mine
–Were there any signs of his blogging potential from his childhood?
–How his injury changed his mindset
–How he transitioned from coal miner to the internet business lifestyle
–His likes and dislikes working from home
–How blogging changed his life
What do you think about Wade’s journey? Can you relate to his story? Leave a comment or question for Wade belowWhat This Wounded Coal Miner Did to Be Happy & Free
Wade Harman Interview Transcript
( For those who like to read.)
Matthew Loomis: Hi Wade.
Welcome back to The Blog Chronicles!
Wade Harman: Hi Matthew.
So nice of you to ask me to come back again.
I really had fun last time looking forward to it!
Matthew Loomis: This one should be a lot of fun too.
Wade, you were my guest on Episode 7 of The Blog Chronicles and that’s when we talked about social media psychology.
We briefly spoke about your personal background on that episode but I didn’t go into it that much as we didn’t have that much time.
So I made a note to have you back on and dive into your personal story.
I think it will be inspiring for many bloggers out there no matter what experience level they are.
They are going to enjoy hearing your story.
So I’d like to dive right in. Are you ready?
Wade Harman: I believe so.
How Long Have You Been Blogging?
Matthew Loomis: Alright.
Wade, tell us, how long have you been blogging.
Wade Harman: I’ve been blogging roughly five years.
I tell people five years.
I’m right at the tail end of the fourth year so into the new year will start the fifth year.
I started blogging five years ago and I didn’t really know what I was doing.
(I know we’ll get into that later.)
When I started I had no clue about content writing.
About SEO or about building relationships.
Even socially I’d never even heard of Google + and it had been around a little while. So there were a lot of new things that I jumped into when I started blogging five years ago.
It was a very interesting journey and so I’ve been blogging five years now.
What Was It Like For You When You Created Your First Blog?
Matthew Loomis: Tell us about your very first blog.
Wade Harman: Oh man!
When I got started in this industry.
Again, I didn’t have any clue what I was doing. I knew I wanted to blog and I knew I wanted to make money doing it. I knew I needed a URL and the main name.
I really didn’t know how to get that but once I figured all of that and I kept through the weeds of how to do all this. And set up WordPress and things like that.
Like I said, I knew I wanted to blog and I knew I wanted to make money. So I just shaped those words together and I put a dot com behind it and my first blog was Bloggers Make Money dot com
Matthew Loomis: Interesting.
Wade Harman: Yeah.
It was pretty interesting.
Looking back now I can laugh at it.
You could see I didn’t know what I was doing.
I began to write on that blog because I was looking at different people’s blogs.
One good blog that I always went to was Basic Blog Tips dot com – Ileane Smith
I really looked up to her and watching what she was doing.
She was always friendly and courteous to me and always helpful and so I began to understand how to get content on this thing. So what am I going to write about? Back then getting three hundred and fifty words out of me was like pulling teeth.
So I began to struggle and write and it got easier.
The first five I did was a train wreck I don’t even remember what I wrote about. What I remember was how painful those five articles were.
After I began to congregate on social media and rub shoulders with people like you and people like Ileane. I didn’t meet the more popular people until later but I did meet some kind helpful bloggers that would show me.
I would go to their sites and read their blogs and my blog started to develop a little. You could see the growth in my blog and I began to write more in-depth articles.
I just figured it out as I went along.
Bloggers Make Money dot come was actually my very first WordPress blog that started to make a little money. About the eighth month in I made $62.00 I believe.
Once I figured out what was going on and what the people wanted I began to latch onto that concept. So I became an affiliate marketer. I slipped into that affiliate marketing niche in selling products that I recommended and products that I used.
One product that I really liked (I don’t think it’s even on the market anymore) and that was TweetAdder.
It helped with things like Twitter and that.
I made a good amount of money selling that product. I had that blog for two years and someone came along (I think it was a competitor) and offered to buy the blog from me.
He just wanted to pull it off the market.
I checked because Bloggers Make Money dot com isn’t out there anymore not to my knowledge. So I made some money from that blog then sold it and started my second blog which is what I have now – Wade Harman dot com
Yeah, it’s pretty interesting.
What Was Your Driving Force Those First Two Years of Blogging?
Matthew Loomis: Wade what kept you going.
Those first two years?
It took you eight months to see $62.00.
It sounded like you were growing but what kept you motivated?
Wade Harman: Well, I know it was.
When you love doing something, it’s not work!
As I developed as a writer and a blogger I began to have a love for this industry and this type of business. I began to love social media and I began to love writing for my audience and building relationships with my audience.
And start to find out what they needed.
I began to figure it out on my own that I needed to produce something valuable to these people that were looking up to me.
People that were telling me ”Hey! I’m putting my trust in you” I began to take that and cultivate a content marketing strategy.
What kept me going was the fact (I can’t say that I made a lot of money the first couple of months) that wasn’t what kept me going but the love of doing it.
When you love what you’re doing that’s not work
It was more like I had a hobby at the beginning than that I had a job because I definitely didn’t make a ton of money the first year.
It probably wasn’t until fourteen months into it that I started making something decent out of it.
So when you can piggyback something and stay with it for that long and not be paid for it, it’s got to be love, right!
How Has Your Blogging Evolved Over the Years?
Matthew Loomis: Absolutely!
So here you are today a little over four years later.
What have you been blogging lately?
Wade Harman: Mostly social media psychology.
Basically how to induce psychological triggers.
Rather using social media in helping people find out trigger words for their audience. Emotional trigger words for their audience what kind of content works for their audience.
Basically, what I’m doing is helping my audience.
It’s the same thing that I was doing back then with the old blog, just on a deeper scale. I like to think that it’s on a deeper scale than what it was except I’m not writing about TweetAdder now.
I’m building value and that’s what I basically try to do.
I feel like the name of the game is to build value and your listeners already know that. That’s why they’re listening. They already know that you create great content and that’s what I was doing.
Because when you create great content you create great trust and when trust happens sooner or later there’s going to come a day when your audience will need something from you that they won’t be able to get themselves.
Then they’ll come back to you and say ”Hey, can you help me with this?”
And how much would you charge for this for helping me?
That’s where I am at right now, more like a consultant type blogger.
Can You Give Us More Info About Your Podcast?
Matthew Loomis: Wade.
Speaking of great content.
You’ve got a podcast out now.
Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Wade Harman: That is the social brain podcast.
I’ve actually put that on hold but that is still out there. You can check that out I believe I have about ten or eleven episodes on there.
It talks about emotional triggers. How to use social media and psychology coupled together to build traffic and convert your audience.
It’s a lot of cool stuff. It’s really fun to do and I’m planning on picking that up again.
Matthew Loomis: It looked good.
I was looking at it here before the show and I thought I saw maybe eighteen episodes.
But yeah it looked really good.
Wade Harman: Okay.
How Did You Discover Your Niche When You Were Starting Out?
Matthew Loomis: I hope you get back to that.
You are one of my favorite sources of information when it comes to social media psychology.
What led you to this internet lifestyle or even considering this internet lifestyle? Because it’s my understanding that you didn’t come from a technical background.
You weren’t a web developer designer writer or anything like that.
So how did you end up turning to the internet as a business source?
Wade Harman: That’s a story that!
I’ve never told the whole story before and your audience is going to hear it first.
Matthew Loomis: Cool!
Wade Harman: Let me say this right.
I was thrown into the internet industry.
I used to work in the coal mines.
And as you said I didn’t have any technical or writing background. I was an electrician in the coal mines (you guy’s can Google this) at Consol Energy.
There was a little mine about twenty minutes away from here. I live in the mountains and most of the coal in the country comes from this area.
So that’s what my dad did and his dad and his dad… So I come from a long line of coal miners. It was a vicious cycle when I came out of school.
I tried to do something else but it just called to me it’s in my blood.
So when I worked in the coal mines basically I worked ten years in the mines and eventually done the normal social things that one would do as they grow up.
I got married and had kids living life really good I was making good money. Back then I think I was making $26.00 an hour $28.00 something like that.
Doing pretty good and getting to work a lot and then all of a sudden one day my whole career just got crushed.
We were moving cable underground and I was in the middle of these miner cables. For those of you, that don’t know a miner is a big machine about sixteen tons and has a head on it.
On that head, there are teeth and those teeth cut into the coal wall and they pull the coal our of the mountain.
We were moving the cables for that thing because everything is all electric. We were moving the cables and I was in the middle of the cables and one of the guys was on the scoop which is like this little short forklift. (That’s the best way I can explain it.)
He was pulling the miner cable and it got stuck. So I jumped into the middle of the miner cable to try to untwist it. If you’re thinking about a long extension cord you’re half way right.
Because that’s just what it is it’s just an extension cord but you’ve got to think about an extension cord about as big as a wrestler’s arm it’s really thick and very heavy. So I jumped in the middle there and was trying to untwist.
Of course, when you’re in the coal mines you have your headlamp.
When you are a far distance from somebody else it’s so loud there you can’t yell out to him and say ”Okay, I’m ready!” You have to shake your head at him to shake your light. And the light moving up and down say’s ”Yes, I’m ready!” ”Go ahead!”
So I was jerking and tugging on that thing and I guess my headlamp was going up and down and so the guy took off with the miner cable and me in it.
It just twisted my leg. Twisted my knee and just popped it completely out!
So there I was laying on the coal mines on my back looking up at the ceiling and I was watching the little specks of coal dust floating through the air and wondering ”What am I going to do now?
I don’t have anything, I don’t have anything to fall back on. What am I going to do? I’ve got a family of two kids got a wife got people who are depending on me to bring in money for food.
So there I lay and I knew I wasn’t going back in it was just one of those things, you felt it.
They pulled me out took me to the hospital and did all the necessary things. And of course, I was not going back into the coal mines.
So here I am laid up on the couch with my leg up and no money coming in.
I knew you could make money online.
Back then there was a social media site called Bebo dot com (Do you remember that site called Bebo, it was kind of like Facebook?)
Matthew Loomis: Yeah.
That’s right I do remember Bebo.
Wade Harman: That was a long time ago.
My wife had a Bebo account.
One day I was scrolling through that thing and there was this little ad and it said ”Make $5000.00 in a month!”
I can’t remember what it said but it was tempting me to click on the ad to get rich. I saw a lot of those ad’s and I knew you could do it because these guy’s were making money…. And so I began to research the thing off and I said ”Okay, this is what I need to do.”
In between, me looking at this first ad and Bloggers Make Money dot com in that period of time in that little phase of time between when I actually figured it out and when I was trying to figure it out.
I spent so much money on squeeze pages.
What is a Squeeze Page?
I had this hope and this belief that I could click on this guy’s product and it would make me money. I don’t know if you’ve ever been that desperate to earn money?
I spent $47.00 here. I would go into the back end of their site and guess what? It was a PDF file showing me that I had to have a million social media followers or I had to have this or I had to have that.
I started to say ”Well, I don’t have this so how do I get this?” So I started to build this thing up.
Get a Facebook page, okay, I’d need that and get a YouTube Channel, okay, I need to go get that. So every dollar I spent was a learning experience for me because I didn’t know anything about I had no idea how to make money online.
Finally, I got it together and that’s where Bloggers Make Money dot com came in. And the squeeze pages, well, I did spend a lot of money on those squeeze pages.
I kind of do a facepalm every time I think about that.
But when I do think about it, it was a learning experience.
I didn’t have $5000.00 for somebody to teach me how to do this but I could afford $47.00 to make a mistake and learn and that’s what I did.
I began Bloggers Make Money dot com and started to write the content and that in itself was I made a lot of mistakes and I had failures and it was a big learning curve for that too and so I had to start all over again.
In all reality between when I first saw the ad and when I first started Bloggers Make Money dot com all those mistakes before Bloggers were all null and void.
Because when I got to Bloggers Make Money dot com that was my starting point. That was how much I didn’t know about this industry.
I made so many mistakes just to start it, just to learn it.
Then from my launching point from Bloggers Make Money dot com, then I started at square one and then I started to make the regular mistakes and failures that you see people write about. You know the generic stuff.
But so what it was a learning curve and you know what? Maybe there’s somebody in your audience that doesn’t have the background that doesn’t have the experience.
Maybe they’re not the best writer or the best SEO expert… But if you have the desire and you keep pushing at it, you will do it.
You will do that desire and whatever you think in your mind you are.
I really believe that and that’s one of the things that I have always felt in my life. They told me that I would never be an electrician in the coal mines. It was almost a ten-dollar an hour pay-jump. And I got it into my head ”You know, I’m gonna do that!”
I went to mine classes got my electrician papers took the test failed it a couple of times when back and retook it and finally passed and I got the job.
I had a determination that I was going to get that electrician degree.
So if you have a determination inside your heart that you are going to be successful at this. If this is something that you love to do? Nobody can pry that away from your cold dead hands once that day comes you will succeed!
Maybe not today and maybe not next year. The path to success is filled with potholes and failures and learning experiences and twists and turns.
Believe me, if anybody knows it’s me.
There have been so many things that I’ve learned and when I get a chance to tell people about my mistakes I do. In this business so many people neither make it or so many people give up so quickly.
They go three months and then they get discouraged and they say ”I’m not making any money I’ve got to do something else!”
You can’t stop in three months!
You have to understand that a targeted audience and a blog, trust that none of that stuff happens in a short amount of time.
So that’s my little sermon for today, so don’t give up.
Sometimes Bad Things That Happen To Us Are a Blessing in Disguise, Do You Agree?
Matthew Loomis: That is such good stuff, Wade!
Do you see your injury as a blessing now?
Wade Harman: Yeah I do.
A lot of my friends that were in the coal mines have black lung.
My Grandfather actually died from black lung.
What is Black Lung?
And they hurt all over. Working in the coal mines is back-breaking work. It’s rough work.
It’s comparable to being a football player.
There are so many injuries and tears and so much clutter that happens to your body on a physical level that when I got home before I got hurt I would just sit on the couch and my wife would have my dinner ready.
I would sit on the couch and watch T.V eat my dinner and fall asleep and spill the plate, I just didn’t have a life!
I didn’t like that my kids were growing up and I wouldn’t get to see them.
I was sleeping when I was home and working when I was there at work.
Most definitely it is a blessing!
I didn’t see it as a blessing at the time because all I saw was my bank account went bye-bye. But now it’s like one of my kid’s cousins told me actually yesterday, he looked at me and he’s only like eleven-years-old and he looked at me and said ”You get to work anytime you want.” I said ”Yeah” and he said ”I wish my dad could do that.” ”He could play with me anytime he wanted to.”
His dad’s a coal miner.
Matthew Loomis: Wow.
Wade Harman: So not only did it help me and my career.
But it helped my family.
It’s just this job is more than just a job it’s a blessing it really is.
What Other Advantages Are There For a Family Man Working From Home?
Matthew Loomis: Aside from the better quality time.
And the more quality time with your family.
What else do you like about the work-from-home-lifestyle?
Wade Harman: I like the fact that I can set my own hours.
I can set my own rate.
If I don’t want to work with a company I don’t have to.
I’m my own boss just like you’re your own boss!
And your audience they boss themselves.
That’s one of the things I like it’s the leisure of making my own choices and making my own decisions about work. Most of the time because I love this job so much I don’t hardly turn anybody down.
But I don’t go over work time either.
When 6’OClock comes I’m off that’s family time. Work will still be there in the morning and that’s the way that I look at it.
Is There Any Reason You’d Not Want To Work From Home?
Matthew Loomis: I’m sure it’s not all necessarily unicorns and rainbows.
As far as the whole work-from-home-internet-lifestyle.
Is there anything that you don’t like working from home?
Wade Harman: Sure.
Sometimes it’s the not knowing.
When I first started there was a lot of guess work involved.
Am I doing this the right way?
Why are people not coming to me?
Why am I not making the money that I need to be making?
And those are legitimate questions I think that everybody has in this business. What can I do better? And so the nagging feeling of why am I not making the money that I need to make?
When I first started that was always there the feeling of what can I do to make this better. How can I adapt to my target audience?
You have to understand what is fear and what is something that really gets you motivated.
It’s not all fear you have to dissect the fear from the motivation and learn how to control your own thought processes during this time and say ”Okay, worrying about money is fear.” That is a fear that affects my business and my job and my writing and the way that I talk to clients and customers.
It makes me look desperate and I don’t think about fear from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm now at 6:01 pm I’m going to worry about it. But during the time that I’m working, I’m not going to be fearful and I’m not going to worry about it after that, I can.
But how can I make myself better? What can I do? That’s motivation, it’s not the fear it’s the motivation.
First, learn how to decipher between the two and then go to people’s sites. Go to social sites that will help you on social media.
Go visit Moz dot com and learn how to do SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Go and read and learn what people are doing.
If you’re not doing it why aren’t you doing it?
Is it because you’re just different?
Or is it because you haven’t heard of that before?
Sometimes there’s a difference between you paving the way and you following somebody. There are some things that you need to do and you need to follow in the steps of people to get to that certain point where you can break off from the pack and be your own thing.
What I mean is for example – Everybody needs to engage on social media.
You can’t be different if you don’t engage and so engagement means communication and conversation with your followers.
You can’t ignore these people.
Just because everybody’s doing it that’s in this business, and you’re wanting to be different doesn’t mean that you need to stop doing that.
There are things that you have to do, it’s requirement. That’s the way that I look at it anyway.
How Has Blogging Changed Your Life?
Matthew Loomis: Excellent.
Looking back, Wade, to where you are today.
How has blogging changed your life?
Wade Harman: Oh. it just gave me freedom.
Just so much freedom!
It’s allowed me to open up creative areas in my brain that were being suppressed for so many years.
I have always had a love for writing but I have never been able to act upon it until I came into the blogging world.
You know there are going to be things that will suppress you.
Suppress your mood.
Suppress your business.
You have to understand how to rise above that stuff. That’s one of the things that I like to think about.
I love the creativity of this position I can use what’s in my head.
To help brands all across the country.
They never thought of it before. This one lady said ”I love your writing style it feels like your talking directly to me.” ”It’s so easy to follow even on topics people know nothing about.”
And that’s the creativity that I personally have.
What is your creativity button?
Your listeners can go home take a pen and paper and write down five things that you can give to your audience through your creativity.
And follow those five things –
What do they do?
What do they want?
Taylor it around those people and then figure out how you can give it to them in a creative way. It’s all psychological (I don’t mean to fall back on the psychology thing again) but it’s all psychological.
Once you learn those trigger patterns of your audience and learn how to use your personal creativity in a way that will say ”Hey, they perk up and take notice.” And they say ”Hey, this person is awesome!”
I do know that I could think about something in that way. Let me follow them that’s the way you get attention in this industry.
Matthew Loomis: To all The Blog Chronicle readers out there!
Wade and I would Love to Hear Your Five Creative Things That You Have to Offer.
If you want to share those on the Blog Comments or on YouTube or on social media. We’d love to hear those five creative things that you have to offer.
Wade, Do You Have Anything New That’s Going On Right Now?
Wade Harman: Oh yeah.
Something very exciting is happening!
I’ve been really opening the doors to my creative mind and allowing a lot of individual bloggers to come on board with me.
I have a freelance writing company that I’ve started. A lot of people don’t have the time to write content or create content of any kind and I understand it.
There’s a lot of things happening in your business.
*You’ve got to stay on social media.
*You’ve got to build relationships.
*You’ve got to get to know your audience.
And then you forget and sometimes the writing falls through the cracks.
So I’m offering freelance writing services over at my blog.
You can go to – Wade Harman dot com
You can click the ”About” button up there on the top and contact me if you would like to hire me for your writing services.
Matthew Loomis: That’s great sounds exciting!
You just told me this before we started the show that you were opening up this new business, and I think that sounds really great.
Wade Harman: It’s been fun.
So far people have been really receptive to it and I’m really looking forward to seeing where it goes.
Where Can We Connect With You Online?
Matthew Loomis: Fantastic!
Wade, where can people follow you online?
Wade Harman: They can follow me on Twitter@wadeharman
On Pinterest I’m Blogger 32, that was another thing I did way back in the day 🙂 (I never did change the name so…)
Also, let me give a discount to you listeners.
If you listen to this podcast and you hear this, I want to give you a 25% discount on your first month of writing services.
Just because you listened to this podcast.
So hopefully that will help your listeners out a little bit.
Do You Want To Create More Traffic to Your Blog?
Matthew Loomis: Fantastic!
If you’re a small business owner that wants to generate traffic through your blog and you don’t have time to create all the content, then give Wade Harman a look and see what he can offer you.
Wade Harman: That’s right.
Matthew Loomis: The Coal Miners Blogger.
That’s the title for this.
I was going to ask you if your dad was a coal miner and as soon as you said he was that made it official.
The Coal Miners Blogger!
Wade Harman: Yeah. Who would have thought?
You know I never got a picture of myself in a coal mine. That would have been so awesome to show, I think there is one maybe I think I do have one.
It’s a huge leap from the coal mines to the blogging industry.
If I could say this in closing it doesn’t matter who you are what type of niche or industry that you’re in.
You can do this if you have the fortitude and the motivation and the determination to do it if I can do this you can definitely do it!
Matthew Loomis: I love it!
I really appreciate you coming on The Blog Chronicles today and sharing your personal story with us.
This has been really really inspiring.
Wade Harman: Awesome Matt.
Thank you so much for having me.
The Show Notes