About Jim Harmer

That's me! My main website teaches people how to do photography.

That’s me! My main website teaches people how to do photography.

I’m Jim.  I wake up every morning, hug my wife and two little boys, teach a Bible study class to a bunch of teenagers, and then I go to my home office and get ready for work.

I come to my office for one reason–to make money for my family by blogging.  When I walk in the door at 8:30AM, I sit down and ask myself one question: “How can I be surprisingly helpful to the readers of my blog?”  Then, I spend the day making video tutorials, writing blog posts, or doing whatever project would help my audience to learn.  I earn my living by selling online video courses, affiliate marketing, and selling eBooks through my blog.

Millions of people from around the world have read my articles, and over 450,000 of them follow me on social media.  That’s my job, and I feel blessed to have it.

It wasn’t always this way.  In 2009, I dragged my wife and one-month-old son across the country to Florida where I attended law school.  When we arrived, we had no money for food or an apartment.  We lived in a hotel for two weeks and ate cold fish sticks since there was no microwave in our room.  We had nothing, but we managed to be happy while I worked nights at the dollar store before law school started.

I was determined to provide better for my family, so I started a blog about photography after listening to Pat Flynn’s podcast when it was only a few weeks old.   First it was tens of people visiting my site, then hundreds, thousands, and now millions!

Fast forward three years and my business now earns hundreds of thousands of dollars in net profit each year.

I’m not a business genius or a marketing guru.  I’m a guy who was willing to work hard, learn everything I could about internet marketing, and set aside the fears that almost kept me from creating my blog.  I made plenty of mistakes along the way and learned most things the hard way.  If you are smart about it, and you work hard on your site, you can earn a living by blogging–and I’ll show you how.

If you really want to get to know me, click the button below for a 30-minute podcast episode with my wife and I where we share how we got started with a blog, built an audience, and now earn a living online.

How I Got Started Blogging

10 Things to Know About Jim Harmer

  1. I hold a world record in tiddlywinking.  No, not kidding.
  2. I ran a marathon with my wife in September 2013.  I’m running two half-marathons and another full marathon in 2014.
  3. I’m a very passionate photographer and have become well known in that arena for my blog, ImprovePhotography.com.  Check out my photos here.
  4. I have a “mild” obsession with the show Shark Tank and got a call from ABC to be on the show, but I got cut on the last stage of try-outs.
  5. My beautiful wife, Emily, works with me as my secretary.  I couldn’t run my business without her.
  6. I have a bucket list of 50 things to do before I die.  Check it out here.
  7. I’m a lawyer, but I don’t practice law because I love blogging too much.
  8. Sometimes when I’m traveling in other cities, people recognize me from reading my blog.  It’s totally fun.
  9. I’m an archery fanatic.  I go to the range and practice about twice a week.
  10. I’m tired of talking about me.  Let’s get started on YOUR blog.

About Ricky Kesler

This is me a few years ago.

This is me a few years ago.

I’m a husband and father to three terrific kids.  Unlike Jim, my day job takes me out of the home.  I spend my days working as a project manager for agile software development.  I get up every day because of my wonderful family and excitement for life, but I go to work every day to earn a paycheck.  But like many of you, my goal is for that to change.

I have a passion for business.  I graduated from the University of North Carolina with an MBA concentrating in Strategy and Entrepreneurship.  I have a knack for details and can get lost in the numbers, but my real passion is for strategy.  I keep my hands in several pots, working toward the goal of complete flexibility and financial freedom.

If there is one thing I have learned by blogging, it’s that it doesn’t take an MBA to build a successful niche site.  You don’t need an advanced degree to build your income.  What it does take is hard, deliberate work.  Put 100% of yourself into what you do, and focus your efforts on the things that matter most, and you can be successful—whatever that means to you.

10 Things to Know about Ricky Kesler

  1. I have known Jim since we started high school and now, years later, it’s exciting to be working together on this project.
  2. I actually graduated from college with a degree in Chemical Engineering and worked in that profession for about 3 years.
  3. I had a very short-lived modeling career, the result of which you can see in the photo above.
  4. Throughout my entire freshman year of college, Jim’s brother and I went rock climbing outdoors in a nearby canyon at least once per week.  I went to college in northern Utah so for several months we were climbing on frozen rock.
  5. I have a fantastic and extremely supportive family that is far more than I deserve.
  6. I have started numerous small businesses, most of which were locally-based, in areas from paintball to apparel and now websites.
  7. I’m a huge nerd and actually like math.
  8. I have become an avid reader and am usually in the middle of at least 5 books at any given time.  Most of those books are non-fiction.  I know, boring right?  Well, I actually love learning new things and improving myself so I truly enjoy it.
  9. My wife is about as big a nerd as I am which makes our lives SO FUN!
  10. I really want to help you build a successful business, so let’s get going!

Enough about us. Let’s get your website started

Jim created a very in-depth and detailed tutorial that will walk you EXACTLY through the steps I take to start and run my blog businesses.  Most internet marketing gurus only give out this kind of detailed information if you pay for a video course, but I want to make sure you get your site started for as little money as possible, so I made it all free.  Click the “Get Started” button below to access it.

Get Started

Contact Us and Word Directly With Us

Unfortunately, we have far too many thousands of people visiting this site to answer questions from everyone individually. However, if you’d like to work with me (Jim) and Ricky directly, we have a product called Niche Site School. It’s really inexpensive, and it gives you the chance to bounce your ideas for a niche site off of us, email us unlimited questions any time you’re wondering about something or need help, and we have a video for you almost every day for 60 days to help you create your site and make it awesome. This is the exact system we have used to earn millions of dollars in income from our blogs. Check it out here if you’d like to work with us directly.


  1. HI,
    I’ve just started a niche website and I wanted a consultation on ideas and methods to increase traffic, engagement and customer satisfaction. I cannot find an email address on your site. How do I get to communicate with you further?

  2. Hi Jim and Ricky.
    Can I ask if you guys are going to be doing any more podcasts?

    I really enjoyed them and listen to them at work and in my car but they are a couple of years old now.

    I really enjoy your videos as well.
    I have taken your advice and started a site last month and I am going to follow your advice and see where it gets me.
    Thanks again for all of your advice.

    1. Hi Tony,

      For the time being, Income School is both Jim and my second project. Which means we have to be pretty picky where we spend our time. The podcast was taking up most of our working time together, leaving a lot of other work undone. Now, we spend more of our joint work time making youtube videos.

      So the short answer is, in the short-term no. But I sincerely hope that in the next year or two we will be able to pick up the podcast and give it the time and attention it deserves. I enjoy listening to podcasts and want to be able to provide our content in that format again.

  3. Hey guys! Came to your site from one of your YouTube videos. I watched the Free Niche Site Tutorial, which talked about building niche sites but not necessarily blogs. My question is, is this site and the course mostly about building up a blog with an audience and monetizing in various ways and creating social media accounts, or is it about creating niche websites with articles and just using Amazon to monetize? I ask because the video talks about not needing to create social media or a big blog, just creating quality content.

    Great website!

    1. This course focuses on first, building the website (week 1) and then on creating the type of content that attracts a lot of good traffic over time. We teach how to monetize this, focusing first on Amazon. For those interested in moving beyond Amazon, we do touch on other monetization methods and we offer 60 days of email support where we answer your questions.

      As far as social media goes, we talk a bit about YouTube and even Pinterest, but we don’t recommend that people build large social media following for passive niche sites. Building a community creates a lot of work, which prevents the site from ever being passive.

  4. Hi Jim and Ricky,

    My wife and I are strongly considering joining the Niche Site School. Before we commit to the 60 day course we would like to know how much cash we will need in addition to the enrollment fee of your course. I’ve watch many of your videos and realize there’s a monthly hosting fee, stock photo subscription, etc., if we follow your course to a T what is the cost up front?

    Thanks guys,


    1. Hi Rob,

      Great question and something we should address for our audience. Here’s a pretty simple breakdown.

      Hosting: $80 per year paid at least a year at a time
      Domain Registration: $12 per year (included in first year of hosting)
      Stock Images: $100 per year if you use GraphicStock (not necessary if you’re on a budget)
      Logo: $130 (again, this can be put off for a while, content is more important)
      Theme: $60 if you use the theme we really like. One-time purchase, no ongoing cost

      So for the most important things, you’re looking at about $140. Add a logo and you’re in for $270. Add images to that and you’d need $370 up front. Again, the logo can be put off for a while and stock images definitely can too. Images you take are probably better for a niche site anyway, since it makes your site feel fore genuine so you can definitely forego that cost if you want.

  5. Hey Jim and Ricky, great stuff you guys are doing here! There’s a ton of great info, and I love (and appreciate!) the honesty in your videos and blog posts!

    I’ve been researching how to build Amazon affiliate sites properly now for several months, and believe me, there’s not only a TON of information out there, but there are also tons of “gurus” whose main objective is to upsell you on products they endorse without giving you a clear-cut process to follow. Very disheartening. So it’s nice to find genuine (and enjoyable) teachers like you for a change!!!

    If you don’t mind, I have two questions I hope you can answer…

    1) I’m out of work and I need to start generating money ASAP. I’m considering the niche site consulting + school (have several niche ideas), but wanted to see if:
    A) Can I go through your email courses quicker than 1 lesson/task per day (I have the time right now to get a lot more than that done each day)?
    B) Can I start bringing in money sooner than 3 three months?

    2) I was also looking into the Wealthy Affiliate program, and wondered if you guys had any opinion on them as to their validity and honesty.

    Thanks, and keep up the great work…we beginners really appreciate the guidance and help!


    1. Author

      A) Yes you can
      B) I doubt it. Niche sites are not for short-term income. It’s an investment today in something that can earn you good money for many many years passively.

  6. Just wanted to tell you guys that I have been reading your blog for some time as I am eager to jump into niche marketing myself (SO KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!) and that I was also pleasantly surprised to see that you guys are in my neck of the woods in Idaho! BRONCO NATION!! 🙂

  7. Hey guys,
    Is the course in videos? I already have some WordPress knowledge and would like to speed up the process if possible.

    I’ve tried other ways in affiliate marketing (not blogging). I also have tested/tried CPA and could see that you guys are promoting cpa offers even on this website. My problem was and still is to get the right traffic (#1) and to get support, because I purchased courses that didn’t have a good support (the people couldn’t even speak English well 🙁 – so this is one of the main reasons I got interested in your coaching).

    I’m not trying to get a lot of money I’m basically just trying to survive (and I’m 100% sure about the need and wish of having online businesses).

    1. Hi Becky,

      Our course is in videos. Our objective in this course is to give you the tools and information you need to get the right traffic and to convert that traffic into income. Throughout the 60-day course, we promise to reply to 100% of your questions. That’s the support you can expect from us. If online business is something you’re seriously considering, then I hope you’ll check out Niche Site School.

  8. Ok, I just finished making my decision. After reviewing your list of suggested niches I have picked one and purchased the domain name. I will get started at the “Start Here!” menu link and review everything there. Next I will sign up for the Consultation + School so we can really get things rocking. As a WordPress professional, building websites for clients I have that nailed. I will be using the Genesis WordPress theme as you have suggested. I don’t want to discuss the niche that I have selected yet in this setting until I have my website firmly in place. As a personal contract between both of you and myself, I promise to humbly submit myself to your training and mentoring (wax on, wax off). It is my goal to have a profitable website inside the next 6 to 9 months, not rich, just profitable. Thank you for making this education affordable.

  9. Hi guys,

    Is this offer open and is there advice applicable to people outside the USA?

    I am based in Australia and would like to get started but just want to make sure there is nothing US specific in the 60 day process (other than value being in USD).

    Cheers guys.

    1. We have had several Niche Site School students outside the US. They have found that the content is just as applicable. In fact, we’ve had at least a few people in Australia take the class and several in countries like Canada, UK, and a couple in Asia.

  10. Hello!

    My name is Ryan and I’m looking to work together to boost our website authority. To do this, Google requires sites to have whats called back links, or mentions of other peoples related websites. I represent a related website to yours called Pronto Profit, a company focused towards utilizing affiliate marketing to generate income online. We use SFI, Grandbux, and Clixsense.

    I believe it would be beneficial to both of us to share our sites URL, perhaps with a written article and help each other rank higher. I can even write both articles for us, or how ever you see this working out best.

    Kind regards,

    Ryan Marcum

  11. Hello,
    I was just wondering if I signed up for the income school to get feedback about my niche idea, how long does it usually take to hear back? I think this is a great idea you have of helping others figure out their niche, so I’m excited to hear back and get going on mine. Thanks!!

    1. Hi Cheryl,

      Once we receive your survey, we get your consultation back to you within 7 days. It’s usually more like 2-3. I see we received your survey a few days ago and I plan to make sure it is back to you by the end of the day on Monday.

      1. Awesome….thanks! Also, I just paid the $69.00 fee but I think I will do the upgrade. Is there a way to pay the difference or should I have done that when I first signed up?

        Thanks again,

        1. I can just send you an invoice through Paypal for the difference. I’ll do that once I get your consultation back to you later today.

  12. I want to know how you feel about someone NOT using WordPress. I would prefer to use a static site builder like 90 Second Website Builder for creating my sites. I’m new to that but learning. I just do not like the bloat an overkill of WordPress. If I sign up for your 60 day program will not using WP be an issue for you guys?

    1. It wouldn’t be a problem for us. The first 6 days of Niche Site School focus on building the site, which is pretty heavily WordPress focused. But the consultation and the rest of the 60 days are all about picking a great niche and creating the type of content that can generate a great income for you. So if you’re interested, I definitely don’t think it would be a problem if you decide to not use WordPress.

  13. HI, Guys,

    having visited your site i am compelled to contact regarding NICHE strategy, as you said having acquired training from you people our website definitely gain traffic and become prime source of earning for us.

    I am a husband and father of of little angle(my daughter) hence please guide me so that i could turn my dreams into reality,

    1. Author

      I’m sorry Mike. We simply have too many people visiting Income School to take questions individually from non-customers. However, if you’d like to work with us one-on-one, we’d encourage you to check out Niche Site School. In that program you can work directly with us to get feedback and help to create your site, get traffic, and monetize.

  14. Hey guys I love your sites! And your tips on niche websites were very appealing to me as I am a computer science major in college (specifically web development). I saw your page 50 niche website ideas and would like to talk to you about one of your ideas that I have been working on. If one of you could e-mail at rynebensont@gmail.com I would like to show you a little bit of work I have done and maybe get some feedback!

  15. Jim
    I’m not looking to make money. I’m looking to do a ministry on pod casting.
    I’m not into blogging can’t it still work?

  16. Hi,

    Great site. Have a question on the truck style idea (50 niche ideas page). Not sure this is the place for a question, but here goes…So I like the idea in general, but do you think it’s too close to a Pinterest thing to really work? Seems like truck personalizations are all wrapped up on Pinterest. Admittedly I’m new to making money online, so please excuse me if this is a dumb question. Thanks for your thoughts. 🙂

  17. Help guys! I am interested in your programs. I do have a question though: what if I already have a WordPress website up and running and write blogs weekly but want to increase traffic and/ or niche down? I don’t have affiliates yet, but would be interested . Would this be something you could help me with and if so, which “package” would be appropriate for me?
    Thank you!!

    1. Hi Nikki,

      If you wanted, you could go for just the consultation. In the consultation, we’ll give you ideas on how to niche down and our thoughts on your site so far. However, there’s still a lot that you would gain out of the Niche Site School package (the middle option).

      This option will spend about a week on setting up the site (which may still be valuable for you depending on your site) and quite a bit of time on creating content (posting, youtube videos). We’ll also talk about increasing traffic and get you setup with affiliate links. In basically every case, I’d recommend this option unless your site is really mature and earning you money and you’re just looking to take it up a level and want some one-off guidance for doing that.

      The cool thing about the Niche Site School package is that you get the consultation too. The cost difference is pretty minimal considering that you’ll also get our entire niche site model. So even if only half of it is beneficial to you, it’ll still be a great deal. That’s just my advice. Either way, I look forward to helping you with your site!


  18. Great video on Podcasting 101: From set up to Publish. I had a question. How did you recorded the video and how did you edit it. Well done.

  19. Jim. I’d like to talk to you too or email you. I’m a lawyer too and want to get out and enjoy my life.

  20. Hey Jim, regarding your Podcasting 101 tutorial; I really like the simplicity and clearly stated way that you go over how to set up your podcast studio. I put the Sound Cart on my smart phone, but I can’t figure out how I can load royality, free/free music/sound effect I create onto the Sound Cart. I was able to pull songs from my itunes account onto it and it played great, but what do I do when I make my own intro and outro effects and/or get free ones? Even if you can point me in the right direction for that that would be great. Thanks, and keep up the great work!

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  22. so glad a friend today told me about your website and then I see you are a photographer too! wow meant to be, I teach SEO for photographers but in a practical non techie way and feel my niche maybe too small or I am not growing it consistently, I also have two boys and struggle with the unstable income from photography and thus why I got into online stuff but I feel so overwhelmed by so much to be done, anyhow, look forward to read up and listen up thanks

  23. Hey Jim!
    I submitted a comment to one of your other posts the other day saying I stumbled over your podcast and loved it. Well since then I have devoured it! And wow how much I have learned! And I am proud to say, my site today got a new record in visits..500…!! My site is just 7 days old, so I am really happy with this! Posting everyday and working on marketing my site on regular basis!

    Thank you so much for your podcast as well as your site! Fantastic stuff!
    Regards from Norway!

  24. Hey Jim, I stumbled over your podcast the other day! And what a timing! Just started out with this online business! And luckily for me i found out from listening to you that I am doing something right! But I have learned so much more from your podcast!! Had my site up for about 4 days now, already getting about 100 visitors a day! My highest is 161! I know it`s peanuts, but nice to see traffic!

    Looking forward to learn more about the online business!
    And thanks again!!

  25. I just wanted to let you know that in your navigation menu that the HOME link links to another site called coldfishsticks.com

    I like your site btw.

  26. Been checking out your podcast. I too, started by listening to Pat, and I actually got to hear him speak at the world domination summit in portland. keep up the good work

  27. Hey Jim,

    I really appreciate everything do are doing for the community both here and on improve photography.

    I just wanted to say that I feel like my site is starting to look too much like yours using the Genesis theme. Especially after hearing your podcast about how people have stolen your content. Is it just going to happen when we use this theme?


  28. I have been listening to your podcasts where you take a business and walk them through ideas of how to improve, market etc. I wanted to find out how I could have that done for my business.

    thank you for the great information and look forward to hearing back


  29. Jim,

    Just saw your dirty camera post on FB, absolutely genius. Almost 7K likes and 300 comments, most I have seen for your posts.

    After listening to your podcasts and Pat Flynn’s, I am starting a website/video tutorials on repairing and maintaining vintage Apple computers. Still in the start up stages, but have the URL and working on the website (www.ThisOldApple.com). Your website has been an inspiration for me. I am a retired firefighter, so I have the time, would just like to have extra money for my photography and other interests.

    Thanks for starting Income School – Charles

  30. Hi Jim I came across one of your podcasts while browsing iTunes. I was really impressed with you presentation and your ‘keep it simple’ approach. I am a music teacher in a small town of Masterton located in the Wairarapa province of New Zealand. I teach piano and violin to around 30 students privately but also at a school nearby. I created a website using altervista which is ok but has some fundamental probs.

    My desire is take what I have learned over the past 40 years and make it available to the world, simply and effectively. I looked at some of the comments made by visitors to Khan Academy which is one of the best information resources around. I looked at the subject on music notation and despite the video presentation and its accuracy, considered its presentation too complex for a new user. I read the comments of users to the site and many had the same experience. My desire is to make things as simple as possible so I have started writing some material which should make it simpler to learn and apply.

    I’ve noted your comments about word press and how to get started. You mentioned something about a $100 cost I imagine thats a US dollar amount. How does this work and is such a website able to be created for both New Zealand users and the world.

    I look forward to hearing from you. You’ve inspired me anew !! Peter Caldwell marvelousmusic111@gmail.com

  31. Hi Jim

    Thanks for the great podcast. I was about to send you an email to let you know I’ve just given you a 5 star rating and have written a review on iTunes but, well, I couldn’t find your email address. You’re obviously practising what you preach in relation to being careful with sharing your email address. 🙂

    Anyway, thanks for the podcast. I hope the review comes online soon.

    All the best.


    P.S. Am posting this again as I’m not sure whether the previous one went through.

  32. Hi Jim

    Thanks for the great podcast. I was about to send you an email to let you know I’ve just given you a 5 star rating and have written a review on iTunes but, well, I couldn’t find your email address. You’re obviously practising what you preach in relation to being careful with sharing your email address. 🙂

    Anyway, thanks for the podcast. I hope the review comes online soon.

    All the best.


  33. 24 June 2014
    Why do you use WordPress?
    … how about InDesign
    or some other website
    Thanks in advance for your
    time and considerations.

  34. Jim,
    I’m loving all of the information. I’ve started my own google doc for blogpost ideas in an effort to corral seemingly unrelated themes on my *potential site. I have some nerves about entering a blogging topic field that is truly inundated with bloggers and information. I’m brainstorming on how to make my brand stand out and provide something that is not available as of yet. Thank you for sharing all of your knowledge. You truly are practicing what your preach of providing information, in an extraordinary way, that makes it impossible to ignore.
    Thanks for all of the work!

    1. Author

      @Julie – Glad you’re enjoying the site. Don’t worry about a crowded niche. Sometimes I think they’re the best ones. There may be a lot of competition, but I guarantee that some people who come to your site will just like the way YOU write or speak, they’ll like the way YOU organize your site or YOUR product.

  35. Hey Jim, I would like to talk to you about what you’re doing. I own several different online businesses.

    I have several concepts for website ideas, and would like to get your opinion.

    [link removed as violation of comment policy]



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