When I first started this blog it was just a fun outlet. I literally started it because my college boyfriend broke up with me, with no aspirations for anything other than spilling all of my relationship angst on the internet. I’ve grown up a lot in the past eleven years and so has this space, becoming the launching pad for my first published book and replacing my day job to allow me to stay home with my kids. What was once a hobby is now my job and this week we’re taking a peek behind-the-scenes at what it’s like to blog as a business.
About 40% of what I do is what you see on your side of the screen – writing, creating content, sending fun emails, and chatting on social media. The other 60% of my time is spent on the business side of blogging, which involves things like creating graphics, pitching brands, submitting writing to various publications, creating and implementing marketing plans, and…dun dun dun…accounting for taxes.
The great news is that the digital landscape is incredibly welcoming to anyone wanting to give starting their own thing a go. Whether it’s writing, blogging, coaching, or selling a product, you’ll want to have a dedicated space online for people to visit and it’s super easy to set that up and get started on pursuing your dream.
Here are the 5 essential investments you need to have a successful blogging business:
If you really want to take your run an online business then you have to be passionate about your topic or product. Being genuinely excited about what you are doing is important because people connect with sincerity and on the internet you can see insincerity a mile away. Passion is key not because only does it provide your motivation but it what helps you to best serve others. When you are passionate about what you are offering you’re better positioned to help other people.
Everyone experiences a bit of burnout at some point and it can be tough to be your own boss. It also takes some time to get something off the ground and so you’ll need to commit to investing the time an sweat equity into creating your online space. Commitment and follow-through are definitely needed when you’re the one doing all the work but the reward is fantastic.
The great thing about about starting an online business these days is that your startup costs are low. The two most important pieces of technology that you will need to invest in are a website and an email list. It’s super budget friendly to grab your own domain and hosting and put up a website. I have step-by-step instructions with screenshots on how to setup your own website in under an hour right here. I use ConvertKit* for my email service provider after trying several different ones over the years and they are a great low-cost way to get the features of big platforms. Everything else is gravy and there are a few more tech things that you’ll want to eventually add as you scale up but these two things are essential.
You’ll also want to have a presence on a social media platform. Social media is a fantastic way to market your business that is completely free. In The Must-Have Guide to Blogging I go into detail about how to choose which ones are right for you and strategies to leverage them for your business.
This is a delicate balance because sometimes you can get so caught up in the learning that you miss out on the actual doing. But when I first needed to make an income from blogging I had no idea where to start. It was after attending a blogging retreat and sitting in sessions about exactly how to cold pitch brands and DFP advertising and email lists that I began to turn from making a little bit of extra income from my blog to blogging as a business.
I have been doing this for eleven years and I still invest in education a few times a year because it makes a difference to my bottom line. This is also why I teach others about blogging, because not only am I passionate about it but I want to give other people the tools they need to be successful.
I’m currently working my way through The Genius Blogger’s Toolkit*, which is a resource library of 62 ebooks, ecourses & printable. I KNOW. My own ebook, The Must-Have Guide to Blogging is included and I was thrilled to have it in there alongside some of the people I admire most in the online space, such as The Nester, Jeff Goins, Amy Lynn Andrews, Brilliant Business Moms, and ProBlogger.
So far I’ve taken eight of the courses offered and read a handful of the ebooks and have absolutely loved them. The collective cost of all of the resources is valued at $3,665.40 and for one week only it is just $97. I used the Facebook Ads course and The Nester’s Instavalue Instagram course to help promote my book, Anchored, when it was on sale last week and saw a return on investment immediately. Those two courses are each $97 on their own so it was a great buy for me.
I highly, highly recommend it because having a collection of business resources across a wide variety of topics that you can refer to as you grow is such a helpful thing to have on hand. You’d spend so much collecting the information individually so grabbing them bundled into the flash sale is a great investment. (Oh, and check out the bonuses in The Genius Blogger’s Toolkit for 2 free months of ConvertKit and other great tech bonuses.)
This one is twofold. You need audience community because you want to have people interested in your blog or business and you need a peer community to network and mastermind with. One of the big things that people tell me they need help with is growing their blog audience. When you’re just starting out, you have to know how to attract people to read your words or check out your product! I put together a free video workshop that will give you some helpful ideas and tangible strategies to grow your audience and cultivate community that I’d love for you to watch here! But the peer community? THAT is the big secret to success.
One of the biggest keys to success, and the number one thing that I think is most important is: networking and mentorship. I had been going it on my own for a few years when a friend invited me to join a mastermind business group. Confession: I did not even know what that was. It is a small group of women who all work in the blogging space who meet online (and sometimes in person) to mentor and support one another. We have sessions where we each bring our goals and issues to the table and then we all brainstorm together to help one another meet our goals and solve our problems. We also network together, share contacts, and pass on work to one another. My income tripled the year that I joined that mastermind group. Not only did I gain new contacts, I learned so much about the inner workings of the blogging business world and I had people championing me on and holding me accountable to my goals. It’s kind of like having virtual co-workers, except that it’s always happy hour while we work.
As part of The Genius Blogger’s Toolkit I am hosting their 12-week VIP mastermind group with some top bloggers (like, I am geeked to get to hang out with them) where you can network, build community and work towards your goals with the help of your peers. We are like, 80+ bloggers/business owners strong right now and it is an amazing jumpstart for anyone needing that boost. (You can learn more about that too in the video above.)
The Master’s edition of the bundle includes everything in The Genius Blogger’s Toolkit as well as the VIP mastermind group and live interviews with some amazing bloggers on great topics, like monetization, time management, marketing, etc. But TODAY is the last day of the early bird special where you can get it for $50 off. I would love to have you join us!
Shew! That was a LOT, I know. I love what I do. I find it so rewarding and I’m thrilled to be a part of something that will help others be able to chase their dream, or build well on what they’ve already begun. I hope you love it, too!
*disclosure: some links are affiliates