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Your blog is a business and not just a hobby. How to treat it right?

Your blog is a business and not just a hobby. How to treat it right?

You know those success stories you’ve heard about people who have sold their blogs for millions?

Well, I’m willing to bet that none of those people treated their blogs as a hobby.  And neither should you.

Beginner bloggers take blogging too lightly. They see that as something that they can do on the side.

Most bloggers neglect things like a marketing plan, structured environment for working, and clear objectives to reach.

It is not often looked at as a potentially life-changing, income generating, machine.  And that’s a problem.

Why blogs fail?

About 50% of startup businesses fail within their few 2 years.

There are many reasons why businesses fail.  Incidentally, many of the reasons promising young businesses fail are the same reasons promising young blogs fail.

A 2011 survey by Technorati stated that 61% of bloggers are hobbyists.  Meaning they blog for personal expression and personal satisfaction; not for income.

That’s fine and good, but there are many people who want to make money from their blog but operate their blogs the same way hobbyists do.

A survey of 1,500 ProBlogger readers who said they’re trying to make money by blogging, found that only 9% make between $1,000 and $10,000 a month and 4% make over $10,000 a month.

The vast majority makes less than $3.50 per day.  Yikes!  What’s that all about?

The problem is that blogging has a low barrier of entry. Meaning it is very easy to start.

Great if you want to start a business on a budget, but terrible if you want to take it seriously stick with it until the blog reaches the promise land.

Another reason why many bloggers fail to reach their potential is due to the lack of consistency. There are a ton of benefits to publishing content consistently.

Yet so many bloggers post when they can or when they feel inspired. Could you imagine a company like Apple producing a new iPhone whenever they are inspired to do so?

If you have a hobby of creating crafts, it’s wonderful that you do it when it is convenient.

This is the way many bloggers operate their blogs as well which will never create a sustainable income.

This is the way many bloggers operate their blogs as well which will never create a sustainable income.

For these reasons and much more, many bloggers abandon their dreams of generating income from their blogs.

But I believe that many of them don’t have to bail on their blogging dreams.

With some tweaking of your mindset and an adjustment of how you run your blog, you can gain some traction towards success.

How to treat your blog like a business and not just a hobby

Schedule specific work hours

How to treat your blog like a business and not just a hobby

One of the most common mistakes bloggers make when it comes to operating their blog is the level of importance they put into their blogs.

Most first time bloggers work on their craft in between other events in their lives.

Unfortunately, some of those events are bingeing on  Netflix and spending hours on Youtube.

But doing that doesn’t make you a better blogger.

At its peak, my personal blog was receiving 100,000+ visits per month.  I did this while I was still working a corporate job in finance.

One of the major reasons why I was able to pull this off was due to scheduling my blogging work hours.

Because I had a 9-5 job, I decided mornings were going to be the best time for me to work on my blog. I taught myself how to wake up early and focus immediately.

I started my day at 3 am and worked until 6:30 am then I would begin to get ready for my job.  That’s right; 3 am.

To really succeed at blogging (and most things in life) you must make it a priority and not something you do when it is convenient.

I found that I work better first thing in the morning but you may be a person who is more productive late at night.

It is important to learn when you are at your best so that you can schedule your blogging activities during those hours.

You must treat those hours as work hours, however.

Remove distractions, let the family know that you should not be interrupted, and learn to monitor your activities to ensure that you are completing tasks in an efficient manner.

Track all Income and Expenses (Yes, ALL)

Are you using free images from Pixabay or Pexels or are you purchasing them?  Do you have your own domain or are you using Blogger?

It’s easy to disregard the $5.95 you’re paying for hosting your blog as a small expense, but when you’re running a business every penny counts.

The sooner you understand this, the quicker you will be fiscally aware of just how well your blog is doing.

This also goes for the revenue you are making from your blog.

You may only make $1.56 in affiliate sales this month but it is important to track it so you can have a clear picture of how your cash flows.

You really want to get into this habit while your blog is growing because later on, you may need to be clear on your profitability if you decide to increase your expenses to market your blog using Facebook Ads, Adwords, or even Youtube.

There are a few ways to do this.

Excel Spreadsheet – You can Google a simple profit and loss statement and fill it out every month.

Doing this by hand will help you understand the cash flow of your blog.

Waveapp – Waveapp is a free application that tracks your expenses and income. It’s a good accounting app if you are new to accounting.

This will do the trick but it works best when you have a separate bank account for business activities.

Self-employed by Quickbooks-Self-employed by Quickbooks is an another app that tracks income and expenses.

I would not recommend this unless your blog is already generating revenue since their pricing plans start at about $10 a month.

Post with a purpose

This concept took a little time for me to understand but once I did, it changed the effectiveness of my blog.

When we first start blogging, we tend to put out things we are thinking, feeling, or think may help others.

Most bloggers who are treating their blog as a hobby never have a larger objective other than visits, page views, and possibly signups.

And when they do want those results, their content doesn’t necessarily reflect that objective.

For example, if you have a blog on the topic of finance and you want people to signup for your affiliate partner.

Before you produce a post, you have to ask yourself “is this going to encourage them to visit the affiliate mentioned”?

That goes for all types of purposes as well.

Here are some examples:

  • Social Shares – Do you want your post to be shared on Pinterest?  Did you use attention-getting graphics?  Do you want the article to get 50 retweets?  Ask yourself if you wrote enough quotable lines to warrant retweets.  If you want to go viral on any social media platform, you need to make sure that your post is the positioned to do so.
  • Product Purchases – Have you mentioned your ebook within your post?  Does the content highlight your product without being salesy?  Have you positioned your product on the page in a way that it does not distract from the content, but it is still visible to the reader?
  • Webinar signups – Have you referenced past webinars?  Does the post show your personality?  Does the topic give information that cannot be easily found somewhere else?  Have you written the post in a way that is easy to understand and clear for the reader?  If not, why would they join you on a webinar?

There are a lot of important things to think about before you hit the publish button.

Take a good look a good look at your post and evaluate if it is optimized to fulfil the intention you want it to.

With these few simple tips, you can begin to transform yourself from a part-time blogger to an entrepreneur.

It will take a little practice but I know you can do it.  I believe in you!

Ralph Jean-Paul is a former Financial Advisor and is now the founder a digital media startup centered around entrepreneurship. At its height, his personal blog  Potential 2 Success was receiving 130,000 visits a month.   You can follow Ralph on Twitter @RalphJP.

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Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 5 comments
Sanjeev - July 27, 2017

HI Paul,

I can resonate with what you are saying. I have done this mistake in past with my older blogs, no structured way of approaching the work, no accounting and they all ended after some time. Most of the success they received was random. We need to be very cautious and mindful to treat it like a business rather than hobby.

Reply
Lisa Sicard - July 28, 2017

OMY God Paul when you said you got up at 3 a.m I could so relate. I do the same! Then go to work and come home and start again on the blog for a short while. I try to take weekends mostly off but it’s been hard to pull away lately with things growing 🙂
You really do have to treat it as a business and not a hobby. Of course you have to love it to continue to do it and get up at 3 a.m. ready to write and go!
I have to be sure to make time for family and friends as that is such an important part of my life.
Thanks for sharing some of your tips – I liked the ones about keeping track of spending and earning the most. Take care and have a great day!
You are not alone at 3 a.m. in this!

Reply
Shantanu Sinha - July 29, 2017

Hello Jane and Paul,

Great shout here 🙂

Blogging is a business rather than a hobby. Yeah its a passion that we put in our words. But we are here to make our stand
in the crowded market. If we want to be better than the rest, then we all need to work hard and stay focused towards our goals.

We are running a business and a business always comes with a structural frame work. Whole management work and skills are
required to run a business, whether it is online or off line.

WOW! 3:am thats great. Yeah morning time is the best to capitalize our works. The state of mind is fresh this time and hence
we can be more productive this time.

Thnaks for the share

Shantanu.

Reply
Mathenge Maina - July 31, 2017

I believe that blogging is entrepreneurship in it’s own special kind of way. As an entrepreneur, you will need to show up every single freaking time. As a blogger you will need to focus your energy in blogging if you need to get something out of it.

You talked about scheduling a specific time for your blogging activities. I support that 100% and nothing less. If you don’t have any specific time to focus on your blogging activities, I believe that as a blogger you will always tend to be too busy which will lead to neglecting your blog.

Great read.

Reply
Jack - August 8, 2017

Working ɑs a contгact paгalegal has factors in its favor, аnd
components which can Ьe detrimental to some peoplе.
If a way of advеnture and excitement in your work life is what would sᥙit you one of the best, freelancing
may very well be a terrifiⅽ possibility
for you!

Reply

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