I’ve had the idea for this post sitting in the notes on my phone for literally months now but haven’t taken the plunge (plunge… isn’t that a brilliant word) to actually sit down and write it yet. Partly because there’s a lot of information involved and I’m a bit overwhelmed at where to start and secondly, I want it to be a good post (I mean obviously). I want it to be genuinely helpful and not just your average, “work hard and it’ll pay off the end xo” type rubbish. So I’ve taken quite a bit of time to think about what to include in this post, in a friendly and straight forward way. God, there’s nothing worse than clicking onto a “helpful” post only to not understand a word they’ve said, is there?
So today I’m going to talk about (in words that you’ll actually understand) turning your blog into a business. In case you don’t know, before we get going, I’m a self-employed blogger. I’ve been self-employed for a good 4 or so years now – not always with my blog, I also had a small online book promotion business which I sadly closed down this year for a number of reasons. One of those reasons being that my blog picked up quite considerably to the point where I needed to put all my focus and attention into it. So as of right now, my blog is my main source of income and I’ve worked so bloody hard, especially over the last year or so, to really turn my blog into a business. So here’s what I’ve learnt and how I done it with extra links to take you to more detailed and specific posts on certain topics.
Accept that it will take time
Even now, 6 years into blogging, I know that I’m not going to be a huge success overnight. It will ebb and flow, some months your blog will do better than others, some months will be better income wise than others. That’s just the way it goes. So getting out of the mindset that this is all going to be a quick road to success is a good thing to start doing right now.
Be prepared to work hard
Growing your blog into a brand and a business is hard. It takes a lot of grafting, a lot of learning, a lot of hustling and a lot of time, patience and work. I know there’s a huge taboo and naive outlook on bloggers who make a part-time or full-time income from their blogs, that it’s “not a real job” and that they don’t really do anything, which if you’re a blogger yourself, will know that’s a huge misconception. You really do need to be prepared to put the work in, in order to make it work for you.
Believe you can do it
Okay, I know some of you are rolling your eyes at this one and a few years ago, I probably would have been to but over the last year or so, my mindset really has changed (probably due to doing so much Yoga, meditation and leaning about manifestation which again, I know isn’t for everyone) and I know now that we need to believe in ourselves, even if nobody else does. If you want something that much, your first step is to believe with all your heart that you can achieve it.
Work on your DA, page views and SEO
Okay now the wishy-washy stuff is out of the way, I’m onto the actual practical things which will help. You’ll always hear that “numbers aren’t the be all and end all of blogging” and they’re not, for some people but at the end of the day, if you want to grow your blog into a business, you’re going to want your views to improve and reflect that. Also, I’m not going to beat around the bush but some brand opportunities will require you to have a certain DA score or certain about of followers / views. Whether it’s fair or not is another argument but that’s just the way it goes.
- Things to do before you hit publish
- A beginners guide to SEO for bloggers
- How I increased my following
- Tips to improve your daily page views
Know where to look and put yourself out there
When it comes to brand opportunities, you need to put yourself out there and not just wait for the work to trickle in. It can be scary, it can be daunting and you might think you’re not good enough (a very common thought, don’t worry!) but you really do need to.
- Great resources to improve blogger outreach
- Sponsored posts and earning money – tips and tricks
- Utilizing sponsored content and working with brands
Growing your blog means more work and more work means more “stuff” and that means you need to be organised with that “stuff”. I’m a huge advocate for organisation, a bit of a Monica Geller if you will. I know it’s a lot of work for one person but keeping organised will really help you in the long run.
Refine your USP
Each brand has their own unique selling points, their personalities, that “thing” that makes people sit up and pay attention. Think of brands like Lush, Innocent Smoothies, Liz Earle, Jo Malone etc. Blogs and bloggers need that too, especially in a time when there are thousands upon thousands of bloggers who are all trying to do the same thing. You don’t want to be like everyone else, you want to stand out but what makes you, you? What makes your blog unique? Is it your humor? Your photography? The topics you write about? Think very hard about what makes your blog unique, what people keep coming back for and utilize that.
Don’t forget the boring stuff
If you make money from blogging, you need to be registered as self-employed and declare any earnings – even if it’s not enough to pay tax on those earnings. You also need to keep a record of everything you earn if order to fill out your self assessment form at the end of each tax year. It’s really boring, let’s all agree it’s really bloody boring but it needs to be done. You can find out more information here.
Think like a business
If you want to turn your blog into a business, earn money from it and make a real good go of it, you need to alter your perception of your blog slightly. This is your baby after all, something you’ve worked so hard on for so long and it’s not just a hobby for you anymore (FYI, I’m not slating anyone who does just blog as a hobby but obviously this post is focused on those who don’t) so don’t look at it as one. Get your business mind cap on and start looking at your blog from a PR or a brands perspective.
Gain knowledge and advice from other bloggers
You don’t need to do it all by yourself and you’re never too late to learn something new about blogging, blogging as a business and earning money from blogging. Be open to accepting advice from other bloggers, read their posts, and follow their advice (if applicable to you). There’s plenty of bloggers who have already been through what you’re going through and already learnt what you’re trying to learn, so take positives from that.
Learn to accept rejection and failure
Ending on a right positive note here but it’s something that’s really important and something that anyone who works with brands needs to realise that rejection and failure are part of the package. Not all brands are going to want to work with you, not all pitches you send are going to get answered or accepted and sometimes you’re going to feel like you’re going backwards. I guarantee most bloggers have felt like this at some point or another (and if you haven’t, way to go!) but it’s a normal feeling and it sucks. But learning to accept rejection is something that will really benefit your mental state in this big scary blogging world. Remember how many bloggers there actually are, chances are any rejections won’t be personal.