I’m trying something new today by offering an audio AND text version of this post. I know some of you would prefer to listen to my blog posts when you’re at the gym, on your way to work, or making breakfast, so I hope this audio feature helps. Let me know! 🙂
I started my blog about three years ago, back when I had no idea this entire online universe existed. At the time, my blog — this blog — was about self development and creativity and I had no plans to monetize it. Like most of you reading, I started my blog for the fun of it and because I loved the idea of creating an online community.
What started as a simple hobby quickly became my obsession. I loved writing blog posts. And I lived for the comments and interaction they received from the people I was helping.
Once you engulf yourself into the blogging world, you realize that being a ‘blogger’ means a lot more than writing blog posts.
Over time, I launched multiple businesses through my blog…
I sold ads, used affiliate links, and did sponsored posts.
I created a print shop through Etsy, where I sold art and greeting cards.
I ran a web design studio for two years.
I did one-on-one blog coaching and consultations.
And now, I sell online courses.
And all of this? It was made possible because of my blog — the one you’re reading right now. So, if you feel that spark of obsession for blogging like I used to (and still do), then consider this: your blog is not the end goal. Really, it’s only the beginning.
How I monetized my blog
I didn’t realize this when I first started my blog. It took awhile to see how powerful a website can be. When I started this blog, it was meant as a hobby and I had no idea that it was possible to earn money from it. But at the time, I was working at a day job that often left me feeling sad and stressed, so as soon as I saw how other bloggers were making money, I wanted to see if I could jump on the train myself.
My first foray into monetization was by selling ads and sponsorships. I realized quickly that making a full-time income from ads would be a ton of work for a small payoff, so I eventually moved on to other monetization methods.
The next one I tried was opening an online web design studio. At that time, my blog was about six months old. I wasn’t a professional designer, but I charged low rates to get my foot in the door and was a fast learner. Three months after opening my little web design business (while simultaneously working full time at my day job), I was earning enough money and had enough clients to be able to quit my day job and run my new business full time.
Without intending for it to be, my blog easily became my biggest asset.
Without my blog and the audience I had been cultivating, there’s no way I would have been able to launch a successful web design business in three months.
Your blog is the foundation for your empire
About two years after starting my web design business, I began to feel burnt out and needed a change. For most people in normal careers, this thought would probably freak them the heck out. Switching careers is not usually an easy feat.
At the time, I wanted to transition to selling e-courses as my main source of income. And because I had my blog, I was able to do it seamlessly. There were no in-between months where I was broke and hustling my butt off. There was no time wasted sending off my resume to hundreds of companies. In fact, in that first month of selling e-courses, I made more money than I had been making from web design. I just did it. And it worked.
And if one day I choose to transition to some other business model? I’m 100% confident that that will work, too. Not because I think I’m a special alien that always gets what she wants. 😉 Rather, because I’ve created a blog that allows me the freedom to choose.
Your blog is the foundation for your empire.
So, why then is this post called “How and Why You Should Think Beyond Your Blog”?
Because if you want to start your own business, blog full time, or even just make a little side income on top of your current job, then you need to expand beyond your blog.
Think of your blog as the tool to help you grow an audience, build authority, and get people to notice you. But in order to monetize your blog, I recommend adding something — in addition to your blog — as your money maker (i.e. not ads or sponsored posts).
That’s why I started a web design business.
It’s also why I now sell e-courses.
I tried the “ads and sponsored posts” route myself. And it wasn’t a complete failure. There were some months where I made close to $1,000. But now, I find the concept of ads a little bit baffling.
Why would I spend so much time creating a blog that people want to read, only to try and convince them to click away from my site? And also, why would I work so hard to promote other people’s products when I could be using the same amount of time to create and sell my own (and increase my revenue and authority at the same time)?
So, when I talk about “blogging full-time,” I’m not referring to blogging five days a week and littering my site with ads. I’m talking about using your blog as a way to create a community and business beyond your blog. And for me? My business is selling e-courses.
Should bloggers create e-courses?
Personally, I think bloggers are equipped to create the *best* e-courses. Here are a few reasons why:
- Bloggers naturally have authority and expertise because they are constantly producing and sharing useful content within their niche. Even if you don’t consider yourself an “expert,” there are still things you teach and share on your blog that help your audience. Remember, you don’t need to be an expert to be able to teach someone who is where you were 6 months ago.
- Creating an e-course is not all that different from creating blog posts, so it comes more naturally to bloggers. You’re still creating content, just in a different format. If you can create a killer blog post that helps your audience, then you, my friend, can create a killer e-course, too.
- Unlike other professions, bloggers have an “audience” of people who follows them and consumes their information (even if your audience is small!). This audience is the perfect group to launch your e-course to.
At the core of every successful blogger and e-course creator is just a person who helps others.
It could be that you help them conquer healthy eating and preparing paleo recipes. Or perhaps you share tips about parenting for new moms. Or maybe you talk about social media marketing.
So long as you’re helping people, the subject of your blog doesn’t really matter in order to create a profitable course.
So, dear blogger friend, I want to encourage you to think beyond your blog. Your blog is the gateway to an entire business. It’s the headquarters for your brand. The catalyst for growing an audience. And the medium that you will begin to change the world. But if you want to monetize your site successfully, consider that your blog is simply the foundation for a budding, beautiful business.