The other day I sent out an e-mail to my regular subscribers (if you aren’t one, I’d love you to join us). I wanted to share some personal information about myself and my experiences as a coach and blogger.
Several people wrote back asking me how to start a successful online business and whether it is really possible to make money blogging. The short answer is yes. For me it is creative and tremendously fulfilling, but it does take time and effort.
I’ll start by telling you that a couple of years ago, I didn’t even know what a blog was, nor did I have any technical computer knowledge. I am a right-brained intuitive type who used to run screaming from any kind of technology, especially related to the inner workings of a computer. I’ve learned a lot in the last year, and I am no longer afraid of technology.
So if I can do it, you can do it!
Here are a few things you should know about blogging right off the bat if you are considering creating a blog, and you want to make some income from it:
- There is a right way to create and develop a blog in order to generate income from it. You can’t just slap something up without a lot of knowledge and planning. If you do, you will waste a lot of time.
- You always need to serve your reader first in most of the decisions you make about your blog. If you want to make money online, you need a following. You build a following by consistently giving them something valuable that meets a need or addresses a concern.
- A blog is a platform for making money. A blog helps you establish credibility in your particular niche and build a loyal following of readers. You make money from a variety of income streams that you can promote on your blog and to your readers.
- You will need to give away a lot of information for free before you ever ask your followers to pay for it. This establishes trust and loyalty.
- It will cost you some money to start a blog, but not a lot. You will pay for hosting services and a domain name, and maybe some other fees like design help, photos, and e-mail marketing software (to capture e-mail addresses). The yearly cost could be from $50-$800 (the higher end if you need design help).
- It takes time to create and grow a blog. It might be six months to year before you start seeing any real income.
I started my blog one year ago. I didn’t start making any money until four months later, and then only a few hundred dollars.
In the last 6 months, I’ve made:
$5500 from my Discover Your Passion course
$3400 from selling other people’s product
$4000 from consulting work generated as a blogger
$2000 from coaching clients who found me on my blog
That’s around $15,000 or the equivalent of $30,000 a year. Not a huge salary — but not bad for a start-up business. I have since started another blog with my partners, The Daily Brainstorm, and I’m in the process of creating two other blogs, Superpreneurs and Best Keyword Tools, with one of my partners. These blogs also will be additional sources of income in the future.
The goal with blogging is to eventually have multiple streams of income that you develop as offshoots from your blog. These could be consulting, freelancing, coaching, selling products you create, selling other people’s products (affiliate marketing), advertising, and donations.
Eventually some of these streams of income become passive, meaning you create them, set them up, and they continue to make money for you without any additional time or work from you.
There are many bloggers out there making a sustainable five figure salary, and many who are making well into the six figures. But there are more who aren’t making anything, because they haven’t put in the time or taken advantage of the myriad of resources out there for successful blogging.
If you think you want to create a blog and make money from blogging, here are some considerations that you must evaluate about yourself.
- You must be self-disciplined and willing to work on your own at the computer for long stretches.
- You must be somewhat tech savvy or, like me, willing to learn and/or ask for help.
- You must write fairly well with decent spelling and grammatical skills. You don’t have to be an amazing writer, but you do need to be able to communicate ideas cohesively.
- You must be able to put a few hours a day, every day initially, into creating and growing your blog. If you have another job, you’ll need to fit this in before or after work.
- You must be willing to reach out to other people, join blogging communities, and seek out experts for advice and ideas. The blogging world thrives on connections.
- You must find what you are passionate about, and then create your blog around that. You must love what you are writing about; otherwise, it will be hard to sustain the effort and enthusiasm.
- You must see the inherent benefit of blogging as a service to others. This is a way to share what you are passionate about in order to help people. It’s fine to make money from it, but service and passion need to motivate you in order to put your readers first.
- You need to accept the inevitability of some mistakes. With any new venture, you are going to make good and bad decisions. That’s how you learn.
- You need to be willing to learn from people who are much younger than you are. You may have wisdom, experience, and skills in a lot of areas, but many great bloggers are twenty-somethings. They are the trend-makers, so keep your eye on them.
- You need to have patience. Look at the first 4-6 months as blog building time before you start working on generating income. You have to build a following first.
The other great thing about blogging is that it’s just plain fun. It is creative and stimulating, and it requires you to learn so much from all of the research you must do for your articles and for growing your blog. You are giving back to people and helping them, which is so rewarding.
I have met some amazing people from countries all over the world. I can travel just about anywhere now and be able to connect with a blogging friend. I’m going to San Francisco in April, and I’m meeting up with Leo Babauta of Zen Habits. If I’m ever in New Zealand, I have an invitation to stay with Mary Jaksch of Goodlife Zen; or in Canada, I can stay with my friend Katie Tallo of Momentum Gathering. You get the picture. It has opened so many doors for me. If I didn’t need to earn a living, I wouldn’t mind doing it for free.
So if you think you want to start a blog, I’m going to leave you with three specific actions you can take right now to get the ball rolling toward creating a successful, income-generating blog.
1. Pinpoint some niche ideas. Write down everything you are passionate about or interested in — particularly areas where you have some experience and skills. Narrow that list down to your top five.
2. Determine future income potential for each niche. Look at these five areas. Are there ways of creating informational products (ebooks, courses, guides, workbooks, etc) around this topic? Are there other products related to this topic that could be reviewed and sold on your blog? Do you offer consulting services around this topic or could you?
3. Is there a large enough audience for this niche? Do some research to see if there are plenty of people interested in this topic. You want enough people to allow you to grow, but not such a broad topic that you are lost in the masses. A great free tool for beginning your research is Google Adwords Keyword Tool. Enter the words or phrase and look at the number of monthly searches and the competition. The best tool for keyword research is Market Samurai. They are offering a 7-day Free Trial which is more than enough time to test your niche words. You can do in minutes what would take days with Google Adwords tool.
If you want to learn all of the details of getting your blog off to a successful start, I’ve listed some resources below. Also, my partner, Geri Langlois, and I can help you design and set up a blog and get off to great start with one-on-one blog coaching.
A-List Blogging Bootcamps and Blogger Club - This is where I learned about blogging. It is run by Leo Babauta (Zen Habits) and Mary Jaksch (Goodlife Zen). I can only say stellar things about this program if you want to learn about blogging.
Problogger – This is THE blog about blogging. Darren Rowse who runs the blog is one of those high six figure (maybe even 7 figure) bloggers. His blog has more information than you could possibly digest, but start by looking at his book 31 Days to Build A Better Blog. Darren is one of the contributors to my other blog, The Daily Brainstorm.
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