The blogging world has changed so much over the years and it seems to be evolving on a daily basis. I started my first blog in 2010 as a form of self-expression. I would have never guessed that I would be working as a blogger and making a living after having gone from hobby to business.
Some may think that getting into the business side of blogging or making money from your blog can be an overnight success. Others seem to think that it can be an impossible feat. Neither camp is completely right or wrong and there is a middle ground and a formula for taking your blog from hobby to business.
Becoming a professional blogger means you have created your own small business. And that’s something to be proud of! You’re still blogging because you love to, but it’s also important to learn to adopt a business mindset, for example when you’re negotiating your rates and ensuring that you are paid in a timely manner.
We all read so much about SEO and how key it is to blogging success. SEO might seem a complex and murky world, but there is a lot out there that can really help, like SEO workshops.
Also important, however, is simply creating great content that engages your audience. And this is where your passion for what you write about and your intrinsic motivation really comes to the fore. All the better if you blog as a hobby and want to start monetizing what you already enjoy doing.
This isn’t an exhaustive list, but rather my top tips for those of you who are transitioning from hobby blogger to making money from your blog. I hope you find something here useful and look forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas!
Set out Your Goals
The first thing is to set our your blogging goals. Is your main goal to be a micro-influencer and gain more traction on Instagram? Is it to collaborate with the brands that you love and already talk about non-stop? Or is it to focus on your writing skills and to write content you are passionate about? Whatever your goals are, be sure to set them out.
In my case, aside from it taking many years, it really just evolved. I began blogging as a creative outlet and used to write stories about life and mental wellness. That then evolved into a relationship and dating blog. Which then turned into a personal and travel blog where I could share my experiences as an expat in the UK. Then there was a personal finance blog and then a beauty blog and finally, we have arrived at what you see now.
As soon as I identified what my blogging goal was and my niche would be I was able to focus solely on that instead of being a jack of all trades.
The most basic thing I can recommend when taking your blog from hobby to business is to get organised. As they say, if you fail to plan then you plan to fail. Getting organised can be as simple as picking up a blank notebook and jotting down your mission and plan. Or it can entail a little bit more. If like me you require a workspace, try and set it out. It doesn’t have to be a dedicated home office, though the thought is nice. But having a designated space where you can work is very mentally beneficial.
You really don’t need much, but I found that these essentials were perfect for me.
Weekly planner pad – A weekly planner pad is a perfect way for organising and dividing your time between tasks. There is a lot that running a blog business entails. So having a weekly overview of how you will divide your time is a very helpful way to stay on course.
Girl Boss Mug – Whether you’re powered by tea or powered by coffee or even just want a place to store your pens little motivational bits and bobs are perfect. They say you gotta fake it till you make it. Whilst it may sound a bit silly it is nice to be able to be surrounded by motivational items.
Ikea Magazine File – Magazine files aren’t only for magazines. Though I love keeping my favourite magazines on hand for anything from inspiration to flat lay props. I also keep products for review neatly organized in magazine files as well as any clippings of and ideas that I want to then add to my noticeboard/vision board.
Wood Decorative Push Pins – A must to get your thoughts up on your notice board to keep you inspired and your goals on track!
Sharpie Fine Permanent Marker – Any stationary fanatic will tell you that there’s something soothing about having Sharpies to hand. They help keep you organised and keep things bright and cheerful. I also love colour coding my work to be able to keep track of things at a glance, so these are brilliant for that.
Rainbow Felt Notice Boards – The notice board is the main attraction for my desk area. I change it weekly with my new weekly planner and easily post up all the goals and ideas I have for the week. I like the different colours of these specific felt notice boards as they are an easy way to brighten up the room and durable. And I prefer to invest in quality over quantity at any given moment. So office supplies that can see you through the years are a must have.
Happy Jackson Notebook – I tend to have a couple of notebooks on the go. One to jot down the inspiration for posts and social media and photos. Basically an inspiration book …
NPW Spiralbound Notebook – … and another notebook for the organisational aspect of it. It can be a simple lined notebook or a bullet journal or even a diary. It’s all about making your method of organisation work for you.
HNNHome White PU Leather Office Chair – As a blogger you spend so much time sitting down at your computer. So my last and certainly not least essential is a good office chair. Sitting in an uncomfortable position can have such a negative effect on your body and health. So this is a definite investment that will pay off both in the short term and the long term.
Find Ways to Monetise Your Blog
Monetising your blog has many facets. From creating your own products to partnering with other businesses, there are many ways that you can use to achieve your goals of taking your blog from hobby to business.
Joining an affiliate program is quite a straightforward thing. If you are an Amazon user you can join the Amazon affiliate program and link to some of your favourite products (as I have above) in a blog post. Using affiliate programs is a brilliant way to share your favourite products with your readers. It also makes shopping simpler for them.
There are many affiliate programs around and you need to always consider a few very important things. Firstly, the reputation of the affiliate network is extremely important. I use Amazon affiliates and Skimlinks as the main networks as they are well known in the blogging world.
Another thing to consider is the payout method and payment threshold you need to reach for payout. It would be a complete nightmare to spend your time working hard on promoting a product or service only to not get paid. Ensure that payment methods like PayPal are considered and that you can be paid by bank transfer even before you begin promoting for them.
The world of sponsored posts and PR collaborations is a unique one. It seems that everyone has a different barometer of what is acceptable to write about, what fees to charge, and how to go about disclosing your collaboration. There are legal guidelines that need to be followed of course. But anything that doesn’t fall under a legal guideline is down to you.
There’s no magic way to land your first collaboration. Mine came 6 years ago and landed in my inbox as if by magic. This was before I knew that blogging could be anything other than a hobby. It was for an online eyeglasses retailer and paid a whopping $10 via PayPal. Considering that I was still blogging on blogger.com and didn’t even have a vanity URL it was quite an achievement at the time.
Fast forward the years and you can now proactively join sites which help you collaborate with different brands and companies by pairing you up with campaigns that will be of interest to your audience.
Offer Your Own Products/Services
My first foray into really taking on blogging as a business was by offering blog design work for fellow bloggers. I decided that that would be the best service for me to offer as it was something I was passionate about and good at.
I worked with over 2 dozen bloggers easily and offered everything from full blog design to a header to social media buttons, etc. It was time-consuming work and quite tedious in hindsight. But it’s also a great way to make a side income if you are passionate about design.
So, there you have it. I know there are so many details that have been left out, not purposely, of course. I can go on and on about this topic. So if you would like for me to write more about it or have any questions don’t hesitate to leave a comment or send me an email. I’m glad to help!
What part of your blogging journey are you on? How do you plan to take your blog from hobby to business?