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From Consultant to $21,000 per Month Blogging Business in 5 Years (as a Side Business)

We’ve started several successful online businesses over the last 12 years. Now, we share all our learnings for free, so you can do the same.


Welcome to FounderJar, where we help people turn their skills and passion into blogging businesses earning them at least $10,000 per month.

We aim at empowering 10,000 readers and guiding them through the stages of building their online businesses.

Why You Should Start an Online Business

Starting an online business provides you with benefits you can never get from your 9-5 job.

Consider the below situations. Can you relate to any of them?

  • You feel like you’re selling your life for a monthly fee
  • You know that you’re helping someone else realize his dreams at the expense of your own
  • You work hard for 5 long years without a raise and when you get it, you’re told that you’re lucky
  • You feel like you’re just a tool (someone’s means to an end)
  • You wish you had more time to spend with your family and friends
  • You’re struggling with debt (even student debt years after graduating)
  • You only have 2 weeks of vacation in a whole year and not even enough money for it (this is ridiculous)

These are some of the horrible experiences you’ll go through in the 9-5 grind. We’ve been there and we didn’t like it at all.

If you’ve been through this (or are still going through it), then consider what online business offer:

  • You can design the life you believe is worth living
  • You can work on the things that truly matter to you
  • You have unlimited income potential (with unlimited vacations)
  • You can easily scale your business and grow it as much as you want (make more money and have more time for fun activities)
  • Lower costs of running your online business and higher margins
  • Build a global audience and have customers from all over the world
  • Freedom to work from anywhere

If you only dreamed of such possibilities, we’re here to show you how you can achieve them.

From Traditional Careers to Online Businesses

Like many, we grew up knowing that we needed to study hard, get a job, earn a salary and get kids, all while saving and looking forward to retirement.

We believed it. And we worked hard to achieve it.

Now we know better. Life can definitely be more meaningful than that.

Whereas many people are content with being employed and some actually love their jobs, employment is not for everyone.

There’s a breed of people called entrepreneurs who often get dissatisfied with their jobs. They become restless because there’s a desire in them to do something bigger than what they do when constrained in an office everyday from 9-5.

Maybe you feel frustrated with the limitations of employment. You want time and space to do what you’re really good at and what you enjoy doing. You want to start and grow your own business, pick your own team, have a positive impact and work from anywhere you want.

If this is you, then you’re the kind of person we want to help start a side business parallel to your current job. This arrangement will greatly reduce your risks (we don’t believe in going all-in before you see it working).

Once you see your audience start to grow and you validate your revenue, then you scale it to a point where it earns you similar amounts to your full-time job. When you hit this milestone, it’s time to fire your boss, hire yourself as your own boss and focus on growing your online business.

Having seen our parents struggle and going through struggles ourselves, we made up our minds to live a different kind of life.

It was not easy. It didn’t take a day or week or month.

It took time. Because it’s a journey and we’ve learned through it.

If we had someone to guide us, it wouldn’t have taken that long. Having someone to guide you and help you navigate obstacles is priceless.

This is why we give the advice we give and we make it as practical as possible. We know that being simple and practical is being helpful. You understand what you need to do and are able to easily take action.

In our blogging bootcamp (free email course), we teach you everything you need to start and succeed in your online business. You learn everything from the basics of online businesses to marketing strategies and how best to scale your startup for maximum growth.

We also teach you how to monetize your blog in a way that you’ll start making money in the shortest time possible. This is important because you need to start making money as soon as possible in order to stay motivated and pursue growth.

The Experts Behind FounderJar

My name is Martin, a data-driven business innovator, startup expert and serial entrepreneur. I run this blog alongside my wife Ana.

We’ve gone through the process of establishing a successful online business. Now it’s time to show you how to do it too.

Read our story to understand why we’re doing this.

Martin Luenendonk (co-founder)

Born in 1983 in Rostock, Germany, I was raised in a very kind and loving lower middle class family.

I went through school like other kids and later on did an apprenticeship at a bank. It wasn’t a bad job but I didn’t see any growth potential in it. I decided to continue with my studies at Frankfurt University where I got my Bachelor’s degree in accounting.

Then the 2008 financial crisis struck.

Getting a job was difficult so I opted to keep studying. In any case, aren’t we told that studying more and passing exams will give us good careers?

I registered for a Master’s degree in Philosophy and Economics at Bayreuth University. I later went to Stellenbosch University in South Africa and afterwards to Harvard where I researched on social venture capital.

After all this studying, I finally got a job (Phew). It was time to utilize what I had learned.

I started doing M&A deals and transaction support at EY. However, this didn’t last long. I quickly realized that I wasn’t having as much impact as I wanted.

I was hungry for more.

So I quit.

I decided to shift my focus to the Finance Club which Anastasia and I had started in 2009.

This was the precursor to blogging.

Anastasia Belyh (co-founder)

Anastasia was born in 1986 in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

Despite coming from a poor family, Anastasia had big dreams. Her parents supported those dreams mentally, but less financially.

Determined to have a better future, Anastasia convinced her family that Germany was where she needed to go to study. She borrowed the money for plane tickets plus 50 Euros and flew into Germany to become an au pair.

During her au pair program, Anastasia cared for two little boys, one of whom had a severe heart disease. Sticking to her plan to learn German and join university during her au pair program, Anastasia managed to enroll for a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting at Frankfurt University.

As it was the case with me, the 2008 financial crisis made it impossible for her to get a job. She continued studying by enrolling for a Master’s degree in Philosophy and Economics at Bayreuth University.

She later attended Stellenbosch University then did a fellowship program at Harvard University where she researched social entrepreneurship.

After her Master’s degree, Anastasia got a job at Oliver & Wyman where she worked as a management consultant. Advising top financial institutions and banks in Europe, she was thrilled by the experience. She also had great colleagues who she enjoyed working with.

But there was a problem. The job required working crazy 90-105 hours per week. This was weighing down on her health and so she called it quits.

She then decided to focus on launching her own online businesses.

How Anastasia and I Met

Did you notice that Anastasia and I attended the same universities and enrolled for the same programs?

The only difference is the research we did at Harvard. I researched social venture capital while Anastasia researched social entrepreneurship.

Well, it wasn’t pure coincidence 🙂

We met at Frankfurt University where we were both enrolled for a Bachelor of Accounting program.

Anastasia stood out and I couldn’t help getting drawn to her (she had both brains and beauty—she still has). And after some interactions, we clicked and started spending more time together. Then I noticed that she was also very kind and caring (what else would a man want in a woman?)

Our First Business Idea and How We Implemented It

Being a natural entrepreneur and Anastasia having grand dreams, we quickly started brainstorming business ideas. And as the business ideas developed, so did love. The strong connection on every front made it easy for us to move fast in the same direction.

Right in the middle of the financial crisis, we started the Finance Club. Since finding a job was difficult, we figured that building connections with the right people would help us secure good jobs.

So we started connecting with professionals from industries like accounting, banking, investment management and private equity, and organized networking events. Soon, we saw an opportunity to make money (the entrepreneur bug was taking over).

We built an exclusive network to 4,000+ C-level executives in German-speaking countries (talk of targeting the right audience). We then expanded our reach and organized events for C-level executives in New York, London and Frankfurt, making money through ticket sales and corporate sponsorships.

Seeing these results, we shifted our focus to growing the Finance Club and today, it’s the largest finance-related group on LinkedIn with almost 1.2 million members.

This success is what motivated us to start Cleverism.

The Start and Growth of Cleverism

We started our career blog, Cleverism, in 2014. We bootstrapped it from zero in our spare time (while working full-time jobs). We often worked during the night and over the weekends to build it.

Our efforts paid off and we’ve been seeing tremendous growth over the years.

Today, the Cleverism blog receives around 1.1 million job seekers every month.

Cleverism.com - google analytics - 2019-2020

From those numbers, we make $20,000+ per month from the blog. The revenue comes from selling online courses and resume building services while running ads through Monumetric.

When we see such numbers and the continued growth, we can’t help but share with our readers how to achieve similar (and even greater) success.

Ever since we started Cleverism and got it growing, we’ve had more time for each other, more peace of mind defining our own schedules plus time and energy for our super cute new startup (our beloved daughter). She gives us the extra kick to develop our online business and help her develop her full potential in whatever she aspires to be.

Our Guiding Principles

We have some principles which guide us in the way we view, interact with and even help you achieve your financial goals. These are the beliefs which inspire us to teach you how to break free from the 9-5 slavery and build a better future for yourself.

We believe that:

  • People are enslaved by the traditional career path which takes them through years of expensive studies, rewards them with thousands of dollars in student loans then leaves them looking for a job whose pay will be taxed at 50%+. The cost of living is going high and out of 52 weeks in a year, only 2 are available for vacation. Life doesn’t have to be like this.
  • There are tons of opportunities for hardworking people with an average IQ of 100 (yeah, you don’t need to be Einstein to build a successful business) and the right attitude towards learning and    failure. Such people don’t need an Ivy League education; they just    need some practical advice and the right systems and tools (exactly what we provide at FounderJar) to help them build a 6-figure or 7-figure online business.
  • Everybody can develop the necessary skills and mindset to build a successful online business (with startup costs of less than $500 to see first traction).
  • Most people are held back from living the life they’ve always wanted, developing their full potential and making an impact by helping others due to their belief system inherited from their parents, society, media, and yes, education.

We have broken through these barriers and you can do it too.

At FounderJar, we want to provide practical and helpful advice to over 10,000 people to enable them build successful online businesses. When they succeed, they will also help others do the same thing.

Together, we will make a positive impact in the world by helping people live more meaningful lives.

If you would like to start and grow your own online business, then sign up for our blogging bootcamp today. It will get you from reading about other people’s successes to sharing your own and inspiring others to succeed.

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Written by
Martin Luenendonk