Posts Tagged ‘Full Time Blogger’

Becoming a Pro Blogger – You Can Do It

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

I just read this inspiring post over on ProBlogger about one man’s journey to become a professional blogger.

I absolutely loved the story, loved the twist in the middle, and loved the guy’s passion for blogging. If it doesn’t inspire you to blog more, then you should just stop blogging now.

However, I disagree with some of the things he says. Here’s the comment I left on the post with a few additions:

Great story and thanks for sharing. I agree that people can do it. I quit my job about a year ago and I feel like it was the best decision I’ve made in my career. Although, I’m not quite as brave as you are and I’m sure many others aren’t either. I prefer to encourage a slow and steady form of blogging that steadily grows into something powerful and wonderful.

To me, it’s more about the choice each night between watching another TV show or building your blog (although, I have a network of TV blogs, so in that case I needed to do both). That’s the hard choice you have to make day in and day out. The problem for most is that they choose the TV over the blog. It’s their life and their choice, but don’t expect a blog to grow without sacrifices.

Plus, you can’t just work long hours. You have to work smart too. If you do that, as you say, you can make it! I know some incredibly passionate bloggers who spend hours and hours committed to their craft. However, for them it was a craft and not a business. To me, that’s working hard, but not smart. If that’s what makes you happy, by all means do it. However, if you want to be a professional blogger, I think you have to treat it like a business. My blogs are as much entrepreneurship as they are journalism.

Also, thankfully my slow and steady approach to blogging has made it so I haven’t even had the cry in the pillow days either.

The Effect of Making Money Blogging

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

Blogging is absolutely fantastic. It has opened up so many doors for me to do cool things. Not to mention, it’s liberated me from working for someone else. I can’t tell you how fantastic that’s been for me and for my family. I love my life.

With that said, it’s important for people to realize how blogging changes over time. Most people start blogging just for fun. That’s how I started. I was just playing around with the blogging software. I had no clue what to publish and I definitely didn’t intend to become a full time blogger.

What makes blogging so much fun? There are a ton of reasons. One of the best is that it’s therapeutic and incredibly satisfying to produce some content. Not to mention, it’s pretty cool to think that you could make some money blogging. Whether you actually make much or not doesn’t change the fact that the dream of making money is awesome too.

Blogging is also a great way to show your knowledge and expertise. Plus, you get a great chance to learn from other people. If you get involved with one of the various community of bloggers, it’s amazing how cool it is to be apart of a community. It’s incredibly satisfying.

Once you start getting some readers of the content you created, the blogging satisfaction REALLY kicks in. Seeing a spike in traffic to your blog is an absolutely fantastic sensation. In fact, 5 years into blogging and it’s still satisfying. It’s like an adrenaline rush. Don’t ask me why it is this way. It just is.

At some point if your blog becomes popular, you’re going to have opportunities to make money blogging. In my case, I had people emailing me about advertising on the site. I hadn’t really considered the idea, and so I just pulled some number out of my hat and told them I’d be happy to have them advertise. I must admit that’s pretty cool. Think about it. You’re now getting paid to do something you were already doing for free. That’s not half bad.

The challenge comes when you continue to grow your blogs and start making a bunch of money. I’m talking about when you start relying on that income for all or part of your livelihood. Once this happens, your outlook on blogging changes. I think that Brad Feld described it well in his blog post about his Paid Content Experiment.

His first point really hit home for me, “Strange Pressure to Produce”

It’s hard to describe why this happens, but I tell you it does. My situation is a bit different from his. He had readers pay for content. In my case, it’s my advertisers that expect me to produce a great product. My product is the great content on my blogs. Not to mention that they likely expect consistent great content.

The difference from those first advertisers is that if they advertisers chose not to renew, it didn’t matter because I wasn’t necessarily relying on that income. Even my PPC ads aren’t as big a deal. If I don’t do as much I don’t make as much from my PPC ads (although even that has some pressure if I start relying on it too much). However, with advertisers paying you each month there’s a self imposed expectation that your blogs will continue to deliver what they’re paying you for.

Honestly, I might be making it sound like more than it is. I have confidence in my ability to deliver great content consistently. Plus, it’s pretty satisfying when traffic and what you provide advertisers continues to grow. Not to mention the incredible satisfaction you get when an advertiser on your site continues to renew month after month.

The only problem when this happens is that then you’ll slowly get more and more advertisers. Yes, the more advertisers you get, the more pressure there is to deliver a great product and thus the cycle goes. I guess this is why it’s so important to try and diversify your revenue streams as much as possible. That helps at least partially alleviate the pressure. My other goal is to reach 150% of our “family burn rate.” Having that extra 50% I imagine will really provide that extra leeway in case something happens with your blog revenue. Not to mention then we can start saving more and more for those rainy days as well.

I’m not writing this as a sort of “pity me.” Like I said at the beginning blogging full time is GREAT! I love it and I can’t imagine not blogging. I’m just hoping to share how blogging changes as you start to make and rely on the money your blog makes.

I think that’s also why I blog on this site. I’m not trying to make money on this blog. So, I can enjoy blogging the same way I did when I first started.

From Hobby to Full Time Blogger: Lessons Learned from 5 Years of Blogging

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

Today I did a presentation at Las Vegas WordCamp called “From Hobby to Full Time Blogger: Lessons Learned from 5 Years of Blogging.” Looking at people’s comments on Twitter, it seems like people generally liked my presentation. I’m not sure how much you will get from the slides below, because as one person mentioned on Twitter: I do presentations the right way where the slides just hit the main points. I don’t ever just read the slides off to people. Either way, check it out. I had a lot of fun presenting my story.

Monetizing My Blogs

Friday, September 10th, 2010

On a forum I recently started participating in, someone asked me a question about how I monetize my blogs such that I can be a full time blogger. Here’s the question in it’s full form and my response:

“Mind telling us what you blog about and what your revenue stream is
(advertising, affiliates, etc.)? I’d be interested in hearing about
it.

Aaron”

I mostly blog about 2 main topic areas: Electronic Medical Record (EMR) and TV Shows. You can see my full list of blogs: http://www.crashutah.com/about/

I have 3 main revenue streams:

  1. Direct Sale Ads – I have 20-30 ads for my blogs that I’ve sold directly to advertisers. My first ads came from people interested in getting some SEO value of having an ad on my site. Over time my traffic has increased that they get a number of benefits including SEO and click throughs. I haven’t really solicited too many advertisers. I just posted an image on my site that said “Advertise Here” and that linked to a page with some details. Although, I do occasionally find an advertiser from someone I’ve met.
  2. PayPerClick (PPC) – My strongest source of revenue for this is Google Ads. It took me a month to get my first $100 check. 3 years to get my second $100 check. Then, I found the right niche and how to scale up traffic and it’s done very well for me. I also do some text link ads which provide some revenue, but not a significant amount. I’ve also been trying to diversify this revenue stream by trying adbrite and others. Can anyone get me into the Microsoft ad network?
  3. Affiliate – This is an interesting part since my EMR sites sale $1000 scanners which make a nice commission, but obviously I don’t sell that many of them. My TV sites have a niche around the music from TV shows and so I sell iTunes music like hot cakes, but at $1 a song it takes the volume to really add up. I also do pretty well with Ticketmaster tickets that are kind of the middle of the road between those 2 extremes. Amazon affiliate has been decent for me too. I was sad that eBay partnered with another site for tour/concert ticket sales and killed that revenue stream for me.

I do a couple other minor things with a job board and other affiliate things, but those are my major sources of blog revenue which let me work for myself full time.

I have a different focus than many other people who make money through advertising/affiliate. Many people that do it create a zillion websites about things they know nothing about and just drive the traffic like crazy to these things and make a commission on the traffic. Often they’re paying for lower cost Google Adwords in order to convert either higher paying Google Adsense or higher paying affiliates. Personally I don’t feel comfortable doing that.

Instead, I build a website that’s chock full of content that provides value to the readers (at least that’s the goal). I spend $0 on marketing (so far) and instead use free online marketing methods and great content to build the traffic and community. Then, I monetize that traffic using the above methods.

Anyway, this is probably more than you wanted, but take it for what it’s worth. I’ll be telling more of my experience becoming a full time blogger at WordCamp Las Vegas.