Jonathon Silva: “Know your customer”

No amount of knowledge will help you in business if you can’t find your customers. After all, if you can’t find them, they can’t share with their friends about how great you are! The global health and wellness market is worth more than 1.5 trillion dollars. So many people are looking to improve their physical, mental, […]

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No amount of knowledge will help you in business if you can’t find your customers. After all, if you can’t find them, they can’t share with their friends about how great you are!


The global health and wellness market is worth more than 1.5 trillion dollars. So many people are looking to improve their physical, mental, and emotional wellness. At the same time, so many people are needed to help provide these services. What does it take to create a highly successful career in the health and wellness industry?

In this interview series called “5 Things You Need To Create A Highly Successful Career In The Health and Wellness Industry” we are talking to health and wellness professionals who can share insights and stories from their experiences.

In this particular interview, we had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Jonathon Silva.

Jonathan Silva is the primary writer and editor with the site Air Purifier Essentials, which reports on air purifiers and other gadgets that monitor and improve the quality of the air in homes and businesses. He has been writing on and working with air purifiers for all of his professional writing career, and is committed to spreading the word about air purifiers and the dangers of what can be in the air that we breathe.


Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you grew up?

I grew up in a suburb of Portland, Oregon, which isn’t a place that’s known for having dirty air. In fact, the Portland metro area is known to have amazing air quality.

So, why did my in terest in air purifiers come from?

Well, I had asthma growing up, so that was one driving force in my pursuit of knowledge into what I could do to clean the air. In addition to my asthma, my parents actually owned an air purifier which they seldom used. They actually got it from some salesman years ago who convinced them that ozone-generating air purifiers were the best thing ever — after learning more about air purifiers, I’ve learned that isn’t the case.

I’ve learned a lot of things about the common misconceptions and myths about air pollution and air cleaning machines. In addition to that, I’ve also learned a whole lot of unknown secrets about air purifiers that I think everyone should know — especially if they live in cities, in areas with certain toxic gasses like radon, or if they have asthma and allergies.

To be entirely honest, I never thought I’d be writing dozens if not hundreds of articles and posts on air purifiers and other such machines and gadgets, but here I am, years later, still writing on them. The more I learn about them, the more I appreciate them.

Was there a particular person or event that inspired you to live a wellness-focused lifestyle? Can you tell us about your main motivation to go all in?

Between my aforementioned asthma and also my time working in a factory that built semiconductors, I learned a whole lot about the importance of clean air and what dirty air could do.

For people with asthma, air that’s full of pollutants and other airborne particles can have an asthma attack get triggered, which can be dangerous. Because I knew from experience that such events were scary, I wanted to learn if there was a way to mitigate the risk of it. I’d later learn that air purifiers played a major role in lessening the risk of asthma attacks and they had lots of other benefits too.

While I first learned about air purifiers from the ozone-generating air purifier my parents had, I didn’t really begin learning about them until I worked in a semiconductor factory where I live. For those of you who don’t know, semiconductors are really small pieces of computers that go on microchips. And, since semiconductors are so small, they can be ruined with something as small as a piece of dust.

Just like with asthma, dust was a big problem for making semiconductor chips.

So, what did the factory I worked in do to combat dust?

Well, they built the place with huge air purifiers that removed the dust from the air of the entire factory. In addition to that, they had us wear “bunny suits” that covered our whole bodies to keep us from spreading dust that would ruin our semiconductors.

While I was at the factory, I learned more and more about air purifiers and what they could and couldn’t do. Fast forward a short while and I began my Air Purifier Essentials site where I shared what I had learned and then I started doing my own research, testing, and so much more. Now, every month, I get to share what I learned with thousands upon thousands of other people through my site.

Most people with a wellbeing centered lifestyle have a “go-to” activity, exercise, beverage, or food that is part of their routine. What is yours and can you tell us how it helps you?

I’ve always cared about my health, and I do a little bit of everything to keep up on things. I exercise (which is important for a blogger who sits all day!), I eat well, and I — obviously — make sure that the air I’m breathing is as clean and healthy as it can be.

How do I do that?

Well, I like to use my senses to tell if the air I’m breathing is healthy. I like to use the things I can easily observe. There are lots of air quality monitors out there that people can buy, but I like doing what my body tells me I need to do with my air. And, believe it or not, it’s super easy to figure out what you need to do with your air too!

Got a stuffy nose and wake up with that gooey or hard stuff in your eyes? Your home’s air is probably dirty and needs an air purifier. Got chapped lips and dry skin? You need a humidifier to up the humidity level in your home and stop your skin from drying out. Does the air in your home smell musty? Get a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture. Got stinky air? An air purifier with an activated carbon filter will help you out!

I actually laugh sometimes because I now walk into buildings and rooms and immediately gauge the healthiness of the air off what I can sense because I’ve spent so much time with air purifiers and other machines like them. As such, I spend a good amount of time at my own home figuring out the best thing I can do to improve my own air quality.

To live a wellness-focused life is one thing, but how did it become your career? How did it all start?

I started the Air Purifier Essentials site as a passion project in the very beginning and I knew that I’d be able to make it a career after several years. I knew it’d take time because that’s just how blogging works. Every website goes through a phase of being unknown, but it eventually takes off. Maybe it’s because of one hit article, maybe it’s because of three, maybe you got lucky and every article does well for you.

For me, I wasn’t planning on getting lucky, I just wanted to share what I had learned about air purifiers and I wanted to have my site take off slowly. I had time to wait for it to become a career.

Alas, that didn’t really happen. One of my articles took off in a massive way. In short order, I had to quit everything else I was doing to begin tending to my site and, before long, I realized it was my full-time job and provided my full-time income.

As time went on, I continued writing more articles, diversifying my stream of site visitors. I also began buying new air purifiers and other such machines to test and recommend to my viewers. This went from a passion project to a job I had a passion for and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Can you share a story about the biggest challenges you faced when you were first starting? How did you resolve that? What are the main lessons or takeaways from that story?

My greatest challenge when I first started was boredom, believe it or not. I like air purifiers back then, sure, but I wasn’t as big of a fan of them as I am now. For me, they were something I appreciated, but not something I’d want to spend hours upon hours writing about every week.

Despite that, I powered through and wrote several dozen articles in my first month to kickstart my site. A lot of blogging experts recommend you get at least 30 articles written for any niche that your blog is about before you even consider letting off, so that’s what I did. I powered through and gave it all I had.

And then: burnout.

I didn’t write anything beyond the occasional article here and there for a while. This is a big no-no when you’re a blogger and you want search engines to like you.

But, I was bored and I was tired. I also thought that I didn’t have anything else to write about, I thought I had covered all the bases. And then I started looking at what kind of questions people were asking about air purifiers online. I also kept note of what friends and family were asking about them. Before long, I had a massive list of things to write articles on. In addition to my list, I discovered that my passion had been rekindled as well. I had learned that there were still a lot of unanswered questions about air purifiers and that meant that my mission wasn’t over just yet.

In addition to that, I had also learned that my site was actually making me an income too. It was quickly becoming a larger and larger piece of my side-hustle income. If a desire to hep other people wasn’t enough to keep me writing, the thought that I could finally make a full-time income was.

All of that said, I learned a key lesson — one I’d later find out a lot of other entrepreneurs also learned: business can be a waiting game sometimes. Because it’s a waiting game, don’t quit your day job.

Suffering through a thankless day job can be enough to remind you to continue at it with your startup. In addition to that, your job is still needed to pay the bills. Let your employer pay you and help you keep the lights on while you toil every night or morning in an effort to start your own empire. In time, you’ll find that your pet project can actually take care of you!

On top of that, taking it slow will probably help you prevent burnout. No, I don’t recommend doing as little as you can, but don’t force yourself to go too hard or you might quit just before you strike gold.

Can you share with us how the work you are doing is helping to make a bigger impact in the world? Can you share a story that illustrates that?

As I’ve said before and I’ll continue saying forever, air purifiers are an absolute must for people who are worried about what they’re breathing. People with breathing problems in particular can benefit from air purifiers or other machines that improve the air quality of the room they’re in.

My mission is to help everyone know how an air purifier can help them.

My steadily increasing traffic, all of the countless times that my articles have been shared on social media, and all of my friends and family members who ask about air purifiers are all signs that I’m making some sort of impact on the world.

A little over two years ago, my mom, who is a teacher, had a student whose family was struggling. The family had just had a newborn and the poor kid had some serious breathing problems. He spent most of his first few months in the NICU. A lot of people thought he wouldn’t make it.

But, my mom and my whole family are the kind of people who hear about bad things happening to people and we try to help. So, how did we help here?

Well, in addition to babysitting the kids and doing other things for the family, we also lent them an air purifier. Our best air purifier, actually. I had just written a few articles on how air purifiers could help babies and I knew this was going to be our best call to help the family.

But, the family was low on cash, so I didn’t want them to buy an air purifier without seeing if it could help their kid first. It could end up wasting their money otherwise

So, we left the air purifier with them and we kept tabs on them daily. Before long, their baby, who they were about to take back to the hospital because he couldn’t breathe, was breathing normally. The air purifier managed to clean the home’s air to the point that the baby didn’t have to go back to the hospital for any more breathing emergencies. Before too long, the family returned our air purifier to us and they bought a few of their own to ensure their baby didn’t have to struggle to breathe again.

And the baby just celebrated his second birthday a few months ago, he’s stronger than ever!

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

Right now, I’m in the middle of the most difficult project I’ve taken up to date. It’s literally taken me months to write and I’m still going at it. This current project is all about radon, which is a toxic gas that’s present in most of our homes.

The thing about radon is that it’s invisible, has no scent, and it gets into our homes through the ground they’re built on. Radon, which is a radioactive gas, is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the US, following smoking.

So, you could say this is a life-saving mission I’m shooting for with this project.

But, my problem is that the US is sort of a big place. I’m going state by state sharing information on radon for each place and providing advice on a state level. On top of that, I’m also going down to a county level, which just means more work for me. This is literally going to be like a thousand-hour project.

But, I’m doing it to save lives. If I can help everyone know about the dangers of radon, I might be able to save a few more lives!

At the end of the day, I learned that air purifiers weren’t the only thing I needed to think about, I had to think about air quality holistically and I’m addressing each major issue with air as I can and I’m doing it as fast as I can.

You are a successful leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

If I had to narrow my success down to just three traits, I’d say they are perseverance, patience, and the willingness to learn. And, honestly, I’d say those are traits anyone who succeeds in anything will likely have!

I had to persevere through months and months of getting just about zero traffic to most of my site. I had my one article that did well, but the other articles were largely duds at the beginning. Despite that, I continued writing, even through my burnout. No, I didn’t write as many pieces as I wish I might have, but I didn’t give up. I knew that good would come in time.

…The only issue was that I knew that it’d likely take a whole lot of time.

But, I kept at it and now I’m making it and I’m helping people. I’m going to keep at it until Air Purifier Essentials is one of the best-known sites for air purifiers, too. No matter how much success I see, I know that there’s always another goalpost to reach, and I’ll have to strive and persevere to hit it.

Next up is patience. Just like with perseverance, you have to know that it’ll take time before you see success. Writing a blog article is just like planting a seed most of the time; it will take time before the piece starts showing results. Some blogging experts say it can take eight months or more before you see some traffic to your article.

And eight months is a pretty long time when you’re just starting out. I mean, think about it! You spend, say, 100 hours getting your site up and running and writing your first batch of content. You’ll probably want to see immediate results! But odds are you won’t. Odds are that it’ll take those eight months before you start seeing traffic. Even then, the odds are against that traffic getting you a full-time income.

That’s where patience comes in. Just like a farmer, you have to know that most every seed you plant will produce in time. You’ve got to give it the time to do so, though. You can’t uproot the seedling, you can’t till up the dirt it’s planted in. You have to tend to it and wait.

I got lucky with my one article that took off early on, but the rest of my work went more or less under the radar for well over a year. Despite that, I kept writing stuff here and there and I tended to what I already had.

And I’m still writing articles, in fact, I just wrote another 60-some over the course of two months! (No burnout this time.) Now that I’m certain that those articles will produce in time, it’s even easier to be patient.

And finally, a willingness to learn is an absolute must if you’re ever going to succeed long-term. There are no shortcuts to success that end up lasting. You have to sit down and learn new tricks, new tips, and you have to test things out to learn what works best for you and your business.

It’ll take time, lots and lots of time, but learning is your only way to ensure that no one ever knocks you out. The only businesses that fail are the ones that don’t adapt. Blockbuster video failed because they grew complacent. When Netflix came around, Blockbuster ignored them. Blockbuster didn’t want to learn, they didn’t want to change.

And they went bust.

If you want your business to succeed early on and if you want it to stay afloat, you’ve got to always be willing to learn. You’ve got to see what works and what doesn’t. It’s a journey.

For me, I’ve spent a big wad of cash buying training courses and books to hone my craft It isn’t always fun, but I know it needs to be done. I might not learn anything in one of those courses, it happens all the time. But I never swear off learning, I just continue trudging on ahead and I try the next course when I find one that seems like it could help take me to the next level.

And, every now and then, I hit a goldmine. I just went through one training course and saw an immediate increase in traffic. It was 10% at first, now it’s over 20%. I’m expecting my traffic to continue growing too! This one course really helped me level up.

And now I’m looking for the next course to help me take it up another notch!

OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview. Let’s begin with a basic definition of terms so that all of us are on the same page. Wellness is an incredibly broad topic. How would you define the term “Wellness”? Can you explain what you mean?

When I think about wellness, I think about health as a whole.

What I mean is that you can’t just focus on one aspect of healthy living and ignore everything else. You can’t work out and then go and eat absolute trash and think that you’re being healthy. You can’t eat healthily and then proceed to do nothing or you’ll suffer there as well. As such, I think that clean air is just another part of healthy living and wellness as a whole.

Why?

Well, let’s take radon for an extreme case. No matter how much exercise and how well you eat, radon exposure can still give you lung cancer. While the EPA notes that smoking further increases your risk of lung cancer on top of the preexisting risk of lung cancer from radon, even those who don’t smoke are at risk.

No amount of healthy living (other than not smoking) can really do much to reduce your risk of lung cancer because of radon. That’s why being mindful of the air you’re breathing is so desperately important. If you know that radon is a problem in your home, then you can take steps to address it. Once it’s addressed, you won’t have the same risk for lung cancer as you otherwise would.

As an expert, this might be intuitive to you, but it will be instructive to expressly articulate this. Can you please share a few reasons with our readers about why focusing on our wellness should be a priority in our lives?

If you don’t pay any heed to your health, then your odds of living a long and fulfilling life drops.

We’ve all seen obese parents who look like they’d kill for the chance to play with their kids. We’ve all seen friends die who we’re sure could have lived longer if they took better care of themselves. We all know the truth, we just like to avoid it because it’s easier to not care about our health right now.

But down the road, we all have to pay the piper. Down the road, every bad decision can catch up to us.

We can’t change the past, but we can take steps right now to improve our futures. That includes diet, exercise, and (of course) breathing clean air. Taking shortcuts only hurts you, in the end.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an increasingly growing understanding of the necessity for companies to be mindful of the wellness of their employees. For the sake of inspiring others, can you share steps or initiatives that companies have taken to help improve or optimize their employees’ mental and physical wellness?

Oddly enough, I actually just recommended air purifiers with built-in sanitizers to several family members and friends to help them reduce the risk of covid in their workplaces.

Why?

Well, air sanitizers can kill the coronavirus when it is cycled through the air purifier. Since covid can survive in the air for hours on end, an air sanitizer is just one of many steps that companies can take to reduce the risk of a covid outbreak in their workplaces.

I’ve heard stories of dozens of people who saw outbreaks at their workplaces and they ended up not getting sick. Why? They all say it was because of the air sanitizers they had. Knowing the science, I’m inclined to believe them there.

On top of those stories, I’ll add that hospitals already use air purifiers and air sanitizers when there are outbreaks. Those machines make it safe for the doctors and for everyone else in the hospital. On top of that, I even went to the dentist a month or so ago and they had just put in several air purifiers to protect themselves and their customers.

Long story short, it isn’t a novel idea to buy air sanitizers and air purifiers to protect yourself and your customers, people have been doing it for some time and it has been proven to work. In an age where fear of covid is about as prevalent as the virus itself, one of these machines can serve to give you, your employees, and your customers a sense of security.

Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 Things You Need To Create A Highly Successful Career In The Health and Wellness Industry”? If you can, please share a story or an example for each.

  1. Know your stuff.
  2. Know your customer.
  3. Know your business.
  4. Know your competition.
  5. Know your allies.

Honestly, I think it all boils down to these three points. While there are other things, I think these are the main five.

  1. Know your stuff

If you ever want to succeed in business, you need to know your stuff. You have to have a working knowledge at the bare minimum to even survive in business. I think this is even more important in the health and wellness industry — that’s why people like to go to doctors with tons of experience and not some neighbor who grows herbs that they swear can cure every disease known to man.

If you want to be taken seriously in the health and wellness niche, you have to know your subject matter through and through. Not only that, you need to be able to show your target customer that you’re practicing what you preach; no one is going to go to an obese workout trainer.

If your customer knows that you know what you’re talking about, they’ll be more apt to do what you recommend and, when it works, they’ll refer their friends and family to you. They’ll become your best marketers.

For me, I know air purifiers. I know them so well that I’ve actually been preparing to manufacture my own air purifiers down the road (I’ve got some rough plans prepared for a new kind of filter). But, that’s not what my customers know me for just yet, they just know me as the guy who wrote the article that got them to finally buy an air purifier. After they use it, they tell their friends and share my article. With every share of my website to new people, I get new traffic and traffic is what blogs thrive on.

When you know your stuff, people will line up to learn from you and to benefit from your knowledge.

2. Know your customer

No amount of knowledge will help you in business if you can’t find your customers. After all, if you can’t find them, they can’t share with their friends about how great you are!

That’s where knowing your customer comes into play. You have to know what they are looking for, what they want to learn, and what questions they might be asking.

For me, my entire business model depends on answering the questions that my customers are actually asking. It doesn’t matter what I think they should be asking, I have to know that they are actually looking up online.

When I hit the nail on the head, I see something like my first article that really got my site going. That one article brought in over 80% of my traffic early on. I expanded on it, wrote several more pieces on that particular sub-niche of my niche and my traffic has grown right alongside that. I figured out what people were looking for and I answered their questions.

Believe it or not, I’m still the only person online that’s answering those same questions, so those articles are ranked number one and are still growing in traffic.

But I couldn’t have seen this success if I didn’t spend hours researching exactly what my customers were looking for.

3. Know your business

Knowing your business is a very broad thing, but I think it boils down to knowing how to operate a business, how to keep your books, and how to adapt when you need to. You have to know how your business normally runs so you can see if something is going super wrong or so you can see if something could possibly go wrong some time in the future.

For me, that means I need to constantly check my website’s traffic and see where it’s coming from. I need to see how my affiliate sales are going. I need to continue writing articles to fill gaps that I know need filling.

Knowing my business inside in out is something that I spend hours on every month.

But, because I put in that time, I’m able to see my traffic growing steadily. Some articles may see a spike in traffic and then die off, but, because I pay attention, I don’t feel the pain of that article losing steam.

Because I know my business, I recognize warning signs and I can react before they become a problem.

4. Know your competition

While I’ve recently spent less time focusing on my competition, I still like to keep tabs on what they’re doing. I look at what they seem to be getting right and what they seem to be getting wrong. I also make sure to take care of things that I know they’re missing and that’s how I manage to snag some of their customers from them.

When I first started, I spent a lot of time trying to one-up my competition and that took tons of time. Sadly enough, it didn’t always yield good results.

Now that my site is established, I can just write what I want however I want it and Google (and other search engines) rank me very high. They know I know my stuff and they know that I’m a real player in the game now.

But that doesn’t mean that I always write whatever I want. I try to avoid what my competition is doing well at. Why? Because their customers will be happy with them. I’m not here to steal customers when the competition is doing everything right, I’m here to steal the customers when my competition is missing something.

Because I know my competition, I know where I can and can’t squeeze in and succeed.

5. Know your allies

In business, you’ll have a lot of allies. If you’re really good, your allies might just outnumber your enemies.

For me, I’ve made quite a few “alliances” in business. Since I’m a blogger, I am able to capitalize on something called affiliate commissions. That means that I get a kickback sometimes when people buy things through my site.

Those companies that pay me money will sometimes do some pretty cool things for me on top of that. They might give me info to help me write more, they might give me free machines, they might give me bonuses.

Because I spend time trying to find such partnerships, I’ve been able to really up my income.

To date, my best partnership is with a company that makes air quality detectors, they pay me 25% commissions and they offer my customers a discount. That’s incredible! Up until then, the most I was paid was something like 3% for sales. As you can likely expect, this new deal put a lot of money in my pocket.

If you know your allies, you will be able to profit a whole lot more and you’ll be able to help your customers even better too!

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would promote the most wellness to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Honestly, I think a valuable movement that I could start would be to convince people to buy air quality sensors, use them, and then pass them on to a friend who will do the same. As each person does it, they’d be able to see if the air in their home and workplace was killing them.

On top of that, it’d be pretty easy to convince someone to buy an air purifier after they knew how bad their air was, but that’s not why I’m writing Air Purifier Essentials, I’m writing my blog to tell people that they need to breathe clean and healthy air. Since some places have cleaner air than others, the need for air purifiers won’t be the same for everyone. The same is true for humidity, radon, and so many other things. My main focus isn’t to sell stuff, it’s to get the right air quality machines into the right homes so I can help the most people. Yes, I’ll collect money along the way, but I’ll change lives too!

We are blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.

You know, Elon Musk would be a pretty cool person to meet with. I’m sure he’d be on board with my plot to save the world with healthy air too!

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Readers can visit my site AirPurifierEssentials.com where I post several times a month at a minimum. I’m always writing new content, so there’s bound to be something cool for them to see!

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success and good health!

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