How to Start a Blog as a Business
You will know what it takes to start a blog as a business because I will show you the real side of blogging. I have been at it for about a year now and have found some key points that differentiate a successful blog from a not-so-successful one.
Yes, you can make a lot of money – I will show you examples of people making money from blogging, people that I know. And no, it does not matter if they are from the first world countries or third world. You will see the example of a blogger from the US, and a blogger from Pakistan, both making significant income from their blogs.
And let’s start from my favorite question, the why.
Why Start a Blog as a Business
Blogging is still hard to explain to people who do not get it. For most people, the Internet is composed of Facebook, period. I have been blogging as a hobby since forever (!!) but I started taking it seriously about a year ago. By God’s Grace, it has worked out beautifully for me.
There were a couple of reasons for me to start taking blogging seriously.
- Unbelievable Potential. It was an opportunity that begged. I had to wrap a business around it. What that means is that as I realized the unprecedented potential of the Internet, I had to check it out. Call it an adventure, call it a serious try, but I call it an experiment. I felt that the Internet and blogging offered that 20% that can yield massive results.
- Community and Influence. I had something to say and I felt that there were others who agreed to what I had to say. This is the essence of a community, and I wanted to influence that community with my own rationale. Of course, I do not mean that I own the community or anything. It is just that I knew that I can provide a platform for likeminded, half-crazy, unconventional, creative folks. 🙂
- Focus. This blog here really helps me in streamlining my own creative adventures. I am trying hard, very hard to live a wholesome life. I know this blog helps me find that focus. Some call this a lifestyle business where the business supports your lifestyle, rather than the other way around. I deliberately picked a generic topic on creative self employment. I did not want to close myself off yet I knew that I needed focus. Now when I plan to do new projects (a new venture, a new hobby etc), I ask myself, “will this fit in my blog?”
Warning: Know this before you start blogging
A lot of people are earning money while helping people out. They are pretty transparent about it and the people buy from them because they trust them. It is that simple. Sure, I want to earn money by helping people out as well (my for-profit philanthropy bit if you recall).
But the question a lot of people ask is, “How much can one expect to earn from blogging?”
How Much Can You Earn With A Blog?
That is possibly the number-one asked question. On one end is the hobby blogger, who writes a post here and there and be done with it. On the other end are the hype-everything marketers who will make you believe that everyone can earn millions.
Then there is the middle-ground. That’s where I want to be. That’s where any ethical blogger who plans to earn income automatically is.
So let’s see some actual figures, shall we?
Well, here are just a very few, hand-picked examples of bloggers who make significant amounts through blogging:
Corbett is a blogger who runs ThinkTraffic.net, CorbettBarr.com and recently started ExpertEnough.com.
In his awesome report titled “18 months, 2 blogs, six figures”, he tells us how he earned almost US $ 128,000 from online work. Click here to read the report, it is free.
Corbett held a corporate job which was, in his own words, “high-paying but mind-numbingly-boring”. He now travels and works on his business from a place where we all want to work from; any-freakin’-where. (The thing with Internet / blogging business is that it’s much easier to work from pretty much anywhere)
Pat earns more than US $ 30,000 per month.
His blog at SmartPassiveIncome.com is not only a source of actionable information, but is a must-read for ethical inspiration.
He has numerous income streams (the kind that I like) and he talks all about them on his blog.
The cool thing about Pat is that he reports his monthly income on his blog, and is very transparent with his affiliate commissions etc. You get to learn what not to do by reading about his mistakes that he so plainly explains. An inspiring, thorough starta, definitely check him out.
If you are considering to start blogging, and you haven’t read his free ebook 297 days to overnight success, I don’t know what you’re doing right now but Read. It. Immediately!
He earned upwards of US $ 40,000 in less than a year from his blog. And this was before his best-selling book. He writes about unconventional ways to earn money (tell me ’bout it 🙂 ) and he writes about his mission to travel each country in the world!
A wonderful writer and storyteller (yes, there is a difference), Chris has been a big inspiration. Not only for me, but countless others (including Corbett).
Is that a decent enough income? For many, it probably is. This is the kind of money I would want to earn doing something I love i.e. write, create, help people etc etc.
Special note for third-worlders: you do know what will happen if you give examples like the above don’t you? “But blogging works for them because they are in first world countries and their examples don’t apply to you because you are from [insert third world country name]”
First world Vs Third world
I have been following these three bloggers for some time now. It is very clear that their business models, their blogging has nothing to do with the fact that they are in first world countries.
That’s the beauty of blogging and social media. The typical rules of geography do not apply. You do not have to wait for technology transfer. This delay is present in many other businesses (we are still using decades-old printing presses for example, we are still stuck on 80’s and 90’s model agriculture equipment etc – and I know this from personal experience).
With blogging, all strategies and all tactics are as easily accessible to someone in the States as they are to someone in Pakistan (or anywhere else where there is decent Internet).
Do you know what that means? You can easily use the currency arbitrage to your advantage. Earning a thousand dollars is not that difficult, but the value of a thousand dollars in a country like Pakistan is pretty significant.
Maybe an example would help? Meet Aamir Atta, the remarkable blogger behind ProPakistani.
Aamir runs the ProPakistani.pk blog. I talked to him over the phone for a quick interview.
He takes blogging seriously. It is the only thing he does. He works 8 to 10 hours per day on his blog. He has a small team of employees for comment moderation etc, and has a string of contributing writers.
His revenue is averaging at US $ 5,000 per month, and only recently the ProPakistani.pk blog crossed the magical 1 Million pageviews/month mark.
Aamir’s approach is to focus solely on the Pakistani market (the argument for blogging works only in first world countries goes out the window, doesn’t it?). His blog covers Pakistani telecom and IT news only.
Do you see the potential here? I don’t know how else to show you, the budding entrepreneur, that the Pakistani market is ready for blogging as a business.
Blogging Takes Money & Time
Of course, all businesses take money and time. But people starting an online business deserve a special reminder.
Here’s the kind of money you would need to ease into blogging as a business:
- About US$ 100 / year on hosting
- About US$ 15 / year on domain name (you need your own domain if you are taking this seriously – it’s cheap by any standards so no excuses please)
- About US$ 45 one time on a professional theme (this can be skipped if you find a free theme that is really good or you are a designer yourself!)
That’s a total of US$ 160 that you would need. And after that, you will be spending about US$ 115 per year on your infrastructure cost. By any standard, that is not a big investment.
You may want to consider adding in the costs of learning though. I have bought courses from Yaro, from Shoemoney, from Adam Short, from Chris Gullebeau just to name a few. So you keep learning new tactics from the people you trust.
You will also need to invest time.
But if you are smart about it (or lazy 🙂 ), then you can pull it off without the 80 hour work week. I loved how Chris breaks it down in his ebook 297 days (you have read it by now, right?).
I know from experience that many entrepreneurs do not consider blogging as a serious business because they think that something that requires so little upfront capital can not generate the kind of income that one hears about.
But that’s their excuse for not paying attention, and that’s OK. Are you willing to pay attention?
If you do want to take blogging seriously, then do subscribe to my blog for updates on creative self employment. I will be interviewing professional bloggers and posting the insights here, God willing.
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