An Interview with Karim Toulba

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Karim Toulba & Mariam Selim

Blog Name: GrowCheap

Karim & Mariam, the creators of GrowCheap, are a married couple from Hurghada, Egypt. They are interested in entrepreneurship, startups, and the internet, They share thoughts and insights about blogging and making money online.

They started up GrowCheap out of a passion for helping others to start their ‘online side hustling careers’. Their core message is that you don’t need to have a lot of money to get started; rather, all you need is hard work, persistence, and time.

What is your blog/web site niche?

GrowCheap is all about helping others to startup and grow their own blogging career on a budget. While we are working on inspiring and helping people from around the world, our main target is to grow the Egyptian bloggers community and help them realized the real power of blogging.

We’re spreading the knowledge around blogging as an industry and how can anyone just start his online career within few minutes. One more thing we focus on is to show the bloggers where the money is and how they can make money out of their online blog.

In order to apply what we’re talking about, we started publishing a monthly income report. Although we’re way behind reaching the six figures goal, money started rolling in. We dedicated this income reporting to let other bloggers get insights about what works.

Why did you decide to start a blog?

I – Karim – won’t say we started blogging to help others. I won’t say we started to deliver useful content for other bloggers to succeed and reach their goals. I won’t say any of these unrealistic words.

We started GrowCheap out of a strong inspirational spike back in August 2015. I stumbled upon many other blogs and was wondering how could those bloggers like Neil Patel, Pat Flynn, Harsh Agrawal, and John Chow make fortunes out of their little online blogs. I was wondering how could they dare to leave their day job to make living from a blog!

I read lots of guides on how to start a blog, and I had a feeling like money will start roll in initially after I start up an online blog. We started GrowCheap, and we were so excited about how much we can get into our pockets!

After like few weeks, things didn’t work out as expected and accordingly we left the blog abandoned. I believe what happened was that we didn’t get the real core of blogging just yet. We spent months learning, and getting to know more about this interesting world Blogging.

Recently since July 2016, we started blogging on GrowCheap out of a real passion to help others and get our blog as a hustling business empowering millions of bloggers around Egypt and the world.

What is your personal goal for your blog/website?

Like we said, our main goal behind GrowCheap is to help others start and grow their online blogging career on a budget. Blogging is one of the great businesses that could be started on a real budget which means you can just start it out of few or no pre-investment.

Many people don’t know about it, and they think like they need to spend lots of money to start their online career. We’re delivering information, and useful insights about how to start and grow a blog on little or no budget and start making money out of it.

How does your blog help your readers?

We started out GrowCheap out of a fake belief that we will be making lots of money just after starting out our blog. The reality turned out to be that by motivating others to start their blogs, more people will sign up for webhosting accounts. Accordingly, the motivator will earn small commission out of it.

It’s not all green. What we’re seriously looking after is to truely help our readers and not just try to selling them out to make the money. We still count on affiliate marketing as a monetization method for our blog; however, we are committed into delivering real valued information out of detailed in-depth personal experience.

So the answer is that we’re looking forward to help our readers be truly passionate about what they are doing. We’re also delivering a strong message that making money blogging is so real, however it’s not as easy and passive as most of the online bloggers are saying about it. It still requires hard work and strong commitment with long persistence.

How long did it take you from the time you decided to start a blog or website to launch?

We do not remember exactly how long did it take, but I think we spent like three to four months reading other bloggers insights, and then we got so motivated to start up our blog.

We got it started up, and after like few weeks we abandoned the blog for about close to a year. We spent this year learning more about the blogging world, and how things work. Back on 28th July 2016, we just thought about why not re-defining our blogging career via GrowCheap?

Was it harder or easier than you expected?

It wasn’t hard at all, neither easy. It wasn’t hard to start a blog since we spent 20+ years of combined experiences as website development and graphic design freelancers. We’ve worked for dozens of clients around the world to help them establish their online presence.

Our experiences surpassed what we actually needed to start a blog. So technical wise, it was so easy to launch a well-coded self-hosted blog in just a matter of hours. What was seriously hard at the beginning was writing content.

What was your proudest moment or biggest accomplishment along the way and why?

Our proudest moment is now answering your questions to be featured on your blog. I think we’ve got heard to some extent and I believe it’s our baby step in a long way called success.

Tell us about a specific moment when you wanted to pull your hair out or throw the towel in. Did you ever consider giving up, even for a moment?

We did already give up for a year until back in July 2016 when we decide to re-define our blogging career and restart GrowCheap. Since then we have been very committed, and passionate about what we’re doing there.

What was the biggest technical challenge you faced in launching your web site and how did you overcome it? What new tools did you have to learn?

The technical side for the blog was not the main concern, thus the tools we have to learn and master are more of personal skills than technical related. We had to learn about scheduling tasks, social media and writing skills.

Favorite tools or resources that you recommend to others just starting out?

Many! I would recommend WordPress, MailChimp, ViralTag, Feedly.

What was something you learned about yourself in the process?

We had to learn about marketing and social media managing. Since our main focus earlier was web development, graphic design, and web hosting, we were not paying any attention to the marketing and social media skills.

By launching our blog, we brought a discipline into our life to learn more about marketing and social media. We’re currently committed into mastering the social media marketing techniques and getting the most out of it.

What do you wish you would have known before you started?

I wish I got to know the power of channels like Pinterest and StumbleUpon. We’ve been passionately blogging for almost three months now, and I wish I got to know about Pinterest specifically three months ago.

We just started to give real attention to pinterest, and we’re so exciting to reach a moment where we’re driving over 100k monthly pageviews only from Pinterest!

To make it more clear, Pinterest is a great chance for newbie bloggers and startups to drive attentions to their website, we just got to know about that and we started putting real work into Pinterest.

What advice would you give someone just starting now?

If you’re thinking that you will be making six figures from blogging without moving a toe, you’re wrong! If you’re starting a blog just to gain what’s called passive income, you won’t gain any income.

Blogging is all about passion; it’s about monetizing your passion to make money. Make sure to choose a good niche which you’re seriously interested in and love. If you went with the wrong niche, believe me you will reach a certain point where you have nothing to write or tell your readers about.

Make it clear from the beginning, or it’s not the time yet.

How did being a part of the Blogging with a Smile community help you?

We’re seriously appreciative about what you’re doing, Chantel. Blogging with Smile is a great place where I see many bloggers are connecting and networking. We wouldn’t know you without this great community. We wouldn’t be interviewed here without Blogging with a Smile.

Thanks for the opportunity.

Who is another blogger (new or experienced) that you would like to see interviewed?

I don’t have someone specifically to recommend, however I would love to hear from anyone took the initiative and started his blog out of a real passion. Newbie Bloggers, I’m talking about you. I would love to hear from and about you.

What question do you think I should have asked but I didn’t?

Hmm, I think you should have asked about what is our favorite dish? We would have to say Mariam’s macaroni with white sauce.


Did you enjoy this interview? I hope so! What other questions would you have asked? 🙂

If you’re a new blogger and would like to be featured, leave a comment or contact me. I’d love to hear from you!


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4 Responses

  1. Thanks so much Chantel for the opportunity!
    We’re so excited about this interview because it simply is our first.
    Thanks again and All the best for you and your career.

    Mariam & Karim
    At Growcheap Blog

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