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How to Turn Your Hobby Blog into a Business
So you have a blog but it is more of a hobby than a business right? Or maybe you have a business blog but you treat it like a hobby? (Raising hand) I know exactly what you are talking about. In the summer of 2017, I started a blog and my goal was to just have it ready to launch in the fall.
On September 1, 2017, I reached my goal and launched my blog. I was so excited! I finally reached one of my long-time goals to have a blog. Well then, the holidays came in like a whirlwind and the next thing I knew it was the end of December!
Between all the holidays and all of our family’s birthdays that fall in October, November, and December, it just flew by! So, here I was with my new blog that was now four months old and hadn’t changed much in those four months.
Over the summer I had poured my heart into it but I let it go over the fall. I jumped back in at the beginning of the year in January 2018. I added a new opt-in and implemented Tailwind and Pinterest. The traffic came ROLLING in! I couldn’t believe it! It almost felt too easy! I later learned I was right. It was too easy. I couldn’t replicate it again… because I wasn’t treating my blog like a business.
I was offered a job at the Church Preschool and they badly needed help so I decided to take it and I worked from February to May as a Lead Teacher. It was a wonderful time, but I bet you can guess what happened to my blog.
Yep, it was pushed off and the traffic went with it.
I told myself “Okay, I am going to work on it all summer and get it back up and going”. Well, being home with my daughter over the summer was great but trying to entertain an 8-year-old who doesn’t play pretend by herself anymore was a struggle.
It was either let her sit in front of a device all day or let friends come over and then it was loud and crazy. We would go to the pool, go out on the boat, do all kinds of summer fun things, but once more my blog got pushed back.
I felt like I had to focus on her and since I was home I tried hard to keep all the housework taken care of so my husband who works long hard hours didn’t have to worry about anything when he got home. At the end of the summer, my husband and I decided that I would stay home once she started school back up and I could work full time on my blog. (I know isn’t he the best!)
I do help out some of the neighborhood parents and get their kids on and off the bus to make a little extra money. I also watch one little girl twice a week. Plus, I have all my house chores. Which since my husband is being so sweet to let me chase my dreams, I do make those a priority, so he doesn’t have to stress about a messy house after a stressful day at work.
BUT I now have technically all the time I need to work on my blog! So how can I turn my clear hobby blog into a business? And how can you? With these 4 Super Simple Steps!
Make it more of a priority. Make time for your blog.
If you want to turn your hobby blog into a business, then you need to treat it like a business. Like it is your job (because it is).
You may not need to work on it 8 hours a day like a real job and thank goodness for that! But you do need to make progress on it daily!
Here is a post I wrote on how to easily find time to blog!
And here is a post on how to stay focused and create more content.
This post walks you through how to not waste time on your blog but actually make progress on your blog (aka writing blog posts not just post on social media).
I love to learn so I could spend all day every day watching videos on how to blog but then when it comes down to actually putting those steps into action I seem to always struggle to finish.
I have shiny objective syndrome or bunny hole syndrome. Maybe it’s a fear of rejection. “What if someone doesn’t like it? I know! I just won’t put it out there and then no one can hate it!” But that’s obviously a bad idea.
So, whether you want to or not, whether you feel like it or not. Make it a priority that you work on it every day. If it is only 30 minutes a day then that’s fine! At least you are working on it!
The more you put into it the more you will get out!
Maybe you aren’t like me and you don’t struggle with that part. Maybe you have a successful blog, but it just doesn’t make any money yet.
So, you want to turn your successful hobby blog into a successful business blog. Well, I can still help!
See I am knowledgeable about this all (remember I love to learn and take courses on all this) so I can help walk you through what you need to do to monetize your blog.
I think that’s the frustrating part for me. I know all this stuff I just need to do it! (me kicking myself)
That is why I am drawing a line in the sand and I am saying no more. From now on I am going to treat it like a business!
I am going to work on writing blog posts and helping my readers reach their goals!
Get out of your comfort zone
I think that’s a major part of this too. We are still in our comfort zones and we like it that way.
But staying in our comfort zones isn’t going to get us very far though is it?
We need to push ourselves and get out of our comfort zones!
For me, I don’t like making videos.
It is easy for me to think all these things to say but the second I push record my mind goes blank!
I know videos are an important part of blogging, so it is something I have to push past!
I have seen other very successful bloggers do not so great videos and it just shows that they are human just like all of us but for some reason, it is a major hurdle for me.
What are your weaknesses?
Do you struggle with…
- time management?
- content creation?
- Creating images?
- Promoting your posts?
- Creating videos?
Find your weakness and do that one first. Focus solely on your weakness and work on it. Or maybe you have the funds and are able to outsource your weakness.
If you struggle with balancing housework and your blog, then hire someone to help you clean your house.
I am not to that point yet, but I want to be!
2. SOLVE A PROBLEM
To turn your hobby blog into a business you need to be helpful for your readers. They are looking for an answer to their problem.
Help them find a solution to their problem.
Whether that be a course you created to solve it, an affiliate product that will solve it, or maybe you just provide the answer and that traffic to your blog brings in ad revenue.
Solving their problem will also create trust between you and your readers. They will come back for more. Knowing you helped them last time they will trust you can help them again.
Also, they are more likely to share your blog with their friends that have the same problem you solved.
There are several ways you can monetize your blog. If your blog is a hobby blog and you aren’t monetizing your blog yet, but you have consistent traffic then all you have to do is add the following to capitalize off of your traffic:
- Affiliate links
- Sponsored Posts
Ads or advertisements can be placed on your blog and the advertiser will pay you for it. You get paid based off of the amount of traffic that sees the ad and by how many people click on that ad.
For more information on ads on your blog, I suggest this eBook by Victoria Pruett called Make Money Blogging at any level.
She has successfully grown her blog about life on her homestead to making over $8,000 a month!
She has updated her income several times so I have noticed that it says a different number depending on where you look on her blog but the last email she sent me she told me $8,000 and that was months ago! So it is most likely more now.
A large portion of her income comes from ads! She goes into detail in her ebook.
Adding affiliate links are links that take your reader to a product by someone else and if they purchase that product you receive compensation for that sale.
So, for example, the eBook above that I mentioned is an affiliate link. I read that book and really found it helpful, so I signed up for Victoria’s affiliate program.
Now if anyone clicks on that link and purchases her eBook through my link, she will pay me for that sale.
I have heard of other affiliate programs that pay out differently and not only on purchases but that is definitely the main way to earn an affiliate commission.
Amazon is a great affiliate example. They were able to grow so big off of affiliate sales. Bloggers put links on their blogs to products off of Amazon and when a reader clicks on that link and makes a purchase then that blogger gets a cut of that sale.
Here is a great resource to learn some awesome tips for making money with Amazon! I had the pleasure of being a test reader for Dale for this ebook and I am so glad I had that opportunity! It seriously is packed with awesome tips and tricks to making the most of Amazon’s affiliate program.
She has some amazing insight and it is definitely worth the small investment for all of the time you will save and shortcuts she gives you to get right into making money with affiliate marketing.
I thought I knew it all and I have even purchased and taken Michelle Gardner’s Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing which is also a great course but it does come with a price tag.
Although since Michelle makes over $100,000 PER MONTH on her blog she does know what she is talking about!
But even after reading everything I have read over the years and taking many courses (course junkie remember) Dale’s ebook Amazon Affiliate Affluence was packed with new and helpful information!
A sponsored blog post is when you receive payment for posting a blog post on your blog. Either you or the sponsor can write the post that you will then put on your blog. I personally haven’t dabbled much in the sponsored posts area so I suggest checking out McKinzie’s post on How to Make Money Blogging with Sponsored Posts.
Adding your own products to your blog is another way to earn money off of your blog.
If your blog is all about baking cakes, then you could create a course or write an eBook that combines all your knowledge into one convenient place. People will pay to get the quickest answer.
Just like the affiliate ebooks I previously mentioned. I would rather pay $20-$50 bucks and get the answers right now that I know will work than search through all of their blog posts trying to piece it together myself.
Your readers could read all of your blog posts and try and put the pieces of the puzzles together on their own but if you offered an easy and convenient course or eBook that will walk them directly through it, most people would just pay the $10-$100 to get the answer now.
It depends on how in-depth you make your course or eBook as to the price you want to sell it for.
I have seen courses go for hundreds of dollars. If it is your first one, then I would suggest to not make it too big and not have it cost too much.
Just to test out your audience and see how they respond. You could even ask them what they think about some different course ideas and also how much they would be willing to pay for it.
Get some feedback and maybe offer them a discount or a free copy for their feedback!
Once you have gotten your feet wet with adding one or all of those options then you can focus on using your email list to your advantage and selling to them.
You can make sales sequences for them to go through to warm them up before trying to sell to them.
You can also create a sales funnel for them to go to. Those are all things you can focus on later once you have gotten the first step done.
Focus on adding ads, affiliate links, sponsored posts and/or products to your blog and start treating it like a job and before you know it, it will be a business bringing in an income for you!
Here is what will set your blog apart from Hobby Blog to Business Blog. Just like I have said before you have to make it a priority. Part of that is staying consistent.
It is important to not only stay consistent to show Google that you are a serious blogger but it is good for you to stay in a routine with your blog.
If you take a long break in between working on your blog you will come back to it and be completely lost where you left off. You will end up spending all of your time catching back up on where you left off.
Then if you go another long break again you are once more in the same boat of trying to remember what you were going to do next.
Stay consistent. Make a schedule and stick to it! This will improve your productivity and efficiency.
Those are the 4 super simple ways to turn your hobby blog into a business blog!
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