The $10K Challenge: Building a Profitable Authority Site From Scratch

10k challenge

Last year in September, I announced a public case study on the blog with the goal of creating a successful authority site to show you what it really takes to build a profitable online business from the ground up.

Well, I failed to follow through with it.

But in July, after acknowledging my recent failures, I decided to continue with the project again and was fully committed to make it a success.

What’s The $10K Challenge?


In one sentence:

The goal of this challenge is to build a site making $10K a month net from scratch.

That seems like a big hairy goal for many people especially beginners so I’ll break it down into 2 smaller milestones:

Milestone 1: From $0 to $2,000 a Month

Time Estimated: 6 - 8 months

Initial Budget: $5,000

This phrase is all about getting traction. This is the hardest and I have to hustle hard to get it going.

I’m also willing to set aside a good amount of money to invest in the site. While $5k seems high for some people, I’d say it’s very reasonable if you remember that you can always flip your site on Empire Flippers for at least 20x.

That means in worst case, you only need to make $250 a month to flip it for $5k and get back your initial investments. Not too hard right?

Milestone 2: From $2,000 to $10,000+ a Month

Time Estimated:  16 - 18 months

Once the site is profitable, it’s when the real growth starts. I’ll keep reinvesting the profit back into the site and expect not to take any money out for at least 12 months.

I still have savings and incomes from other sources, so waiting a year or two for the site to take off is not a big problem.

Building a profitable authority site takes time and includes risk too, so if you want to start a site, make sure you have a job or enough freelance gigs to pay the bills. Don’t quit your job yet!

Introducing My Authority Site

I’m not going to hold anything back this time. I don’t like the feeling of not being able to talk about your site with people.

In fact, I want to leverage my existing assets and connections to grow the site.

For example, I already secured a few guest posts on high DA sites owned by my friends. That would help a lot to kick it off!

Ok, so the site is

It’s in the skincare and cosmetics niche. Something both me and my girlfriend are passionate about.

No, I don’t wear makeups if you’re wondering :P. But I spent a few years learning to deal with my acne and it’s a huge advantage to work on a  niche I know well.

In addition, we also have a fast-growing skincare site in Viet Nam too. So a lot of resources can be shared between 2 projects.

What Have I Done So Far?

  • Setting up the site with good branding. It looks very nice now!​
  • Creating a master keyword list with 75,000+ keywords (I’ll write about this in another post.)
  • Creating some initial content. Textbroker has been working really well for me for fast and scalable content creation. I’ll use them mostly for this project.
  • Getting a few high DA guest posts.

What’s My Plan To Grow The Site From Scratch?

At this point, I will just focus on what I’m good at which are:

  • ​Finding low competition keywords with high commercial intent.
  • Creating well-researched buying guides and reviews to be monetized with Amazon affiliate programs.

For this project, I’m also focusing only on white hat promotion strategies, such as:

  • Networking and manual outreach to other bloggers.
  • Guestographics and the infamous Skyscraper technique by Brian Dean.
  • Guest Posting
  • There are a lot more but I like to stay focused.

Social media is also important to build brand credibility and gain more trust from Google. I noticed that every high growth site has a good social media marketing strategy in place.

For this niche, I know Pinterest is huge so I’ll just focus on it. Other networks like Facebook, Twitter or Reddit can wait 🙂

Want To Join Me?

If you’re building an authority site or if this post inspires you to start one, I’d love for you to join with me on this $10K challenge too.

Feel free to leave a comment below or email me, then we could figure out the details.

Challenge Updates:

  1. $10k Challenge Update #1
  2. ​$10k Challenge Update #2
  3. $10k Challenge Update #3
  4. $10k Challenge Update #4
  5. $10k Challenge Update #5
  6. $10k Challenge Update #6
  7. $10k Challenge Update #7
  8. $10k Challenge Update #8

Tung Tran

I’ve built and sold a bunch of highly profitable internet businesses since 2010. After selling my last one in November 2020, I decided to go all... [Read full bio]