Blogger To Business Owner – The Long And Winding Road
When I started out blogging back in 2013, I never thought I would call myself a business owner.
In fact, I am sure this has happened to many of you too.
You dip your toe in the water, and before you know it, you are swimming with sharks!
This is the story of someone who started a blog and ended up with an online business…
I Started Off As A Blogger
I started Mad Lemmings back in 2013. I just wanted to see what this blogging and online marketing stuff was all about.
The easiest way to learn, I figured, was to dive right in and start a blog. Maybe you have one too?
Right off the bat, I realized that blogging is a little bit like an iceberg in the Antarctic. At first glance, it appears to be a small one floating on the ocean surface. But, once I dug a little deeper, it was bigger than I thought.
Then you have to learn to come up with topics and start writing.
So far so good. Or so I thought.
I Needed To Learn A Lot More
In essence, when you are running a blog or website, you really need to learn digital marketing. You can start out with basics of digital marketing, and then later once you have a good grasp, figure out what kinds of strategies you need (SEO, Ads, Social Media etc) to get results.
That is how I started out. But you soon realize you need to learn a lot more, so you have to start diving into the more advanced guides:
- like Advanced Content Marketing from Neil Patel
- or The Definitive Guide To Link Building from Brian Dean
These types of guides will certainly bring your basic skills to the next level, especially when you are starting out. After that, you need to go even deeper (More on that later).
Keep in mind you will also need to learn all the digital marketing skills in order to be a great blogger, including:
- Social media
- Content Writing
- WordPress Website Maintenance
- Email Marketing
- Relationship building
This list is kind of endless, but once you get going you will start to see the results come rolling in. And when you have not figured out the business part yet, that means
- social shares
- email sign ups
A big change then arrives (in your mind at least) when you realize that those are really just vanity metrics (aka. things that don’t really matter).
Turning It Into A Business
Eventually, you come to understand that it is not enough to just “have a blog”. If you want to make a living from it that is. What you actually need is a business. One that uses a blog.
Sure, you could take your hard-earned marketing skills and get paid a reasonable wage working for someone (£31k+ in the UK , or $60-100k in the USA ). I know many a blogger who has gone this route after realizing their blog was not a money machine. We all have mouths to feed, bills to pay and have to make a living.
But honestly, for me, there is no going back to the 9-5 world. Making this way of life work means you have to turn your new-found love of blogging and online marketing into a business.
I have become so passionate about helping people taking this path that I wrote a comprehensive list of 100 business ideas last year. So, if you are looking for ways and means to monetize your website, it’s a great place to start.
Personally, I started with web design and then later branched into SEO (once I got the skills and confidence to sell what I knew).
You might face similar challenges to me as well.
Lack of skills? Easily solvable. Just learn more.
Lack of confidence? Takes a bit longer, but you can work through it.
All you have to realize is that you need to know more than your customer. And be able to offer them a service that helps them. You don’t need to be the best in your field or an “expert” yet.
In the end, it is really a matter of “where there’s a will there’s a way”.
You will figure it out. Trust me.
Continuing To Grow And Learn
When you are working as an entrepreneur, especially in the fast-paced online world, you can never sit still and wait to see what happens. Things change, and you have to keep ahead of the pack.
So, I am always on the lookout for new things to implement. New skills to learn. And new ways of doing things. Hopefully with better results.
The trick, as you get more experienced and knowledgeable, is to start to pick the right sources for your cutting-edge information.
Blog posts are ok when you are starting out, but once you have “seen it all”, more or less, you have to look to more trusted and in-depth sources of information.
I started out going to conferences but also found that most of them were not teaching me anything of value. I eventually realized that it was the relationships that I developed there that were most helpful, but that took a while too.
Conferences And Beyond
At SXSW in 2014, I started out running around like a headless chicken trying to get to absolutely every presentation. I no longer do that, if and when I go to a conference.
Instead, today, I like to get together with like-minded and driven individuals who are on my wavelength. People who question what I do and push me to grow.
You can do this online through things like masterminds, which Pat Flynn did a talk on at SMMW15 when I was there. Worth checking out. If you want to get to the origin of the concept, you have to read Napolean Hill’s book – Think and Grow Rich. Another way is to go to local Meetups, something I try to do at least once a week.
Which leads me to my next point…
Books are often the best place to get wisdom and learning you won’t get online. People spend far more time and effort putting their best work into them. So make sure you read.
That and online courses have been my savior of late! They have helped me take my course creation to the next level, as well as my SEO. And the things I have learned in them were not available in any other place.
If you want to get access to the top people in your industry, there is no better way than taking their course.
Summing It All Up
Making a living online is all about running a business. That could mean a blog that makes you money through various channels, or a service based business, or even an e-commerce store. It does not matter.
If you are heading down this path, my single biggest piece of advice is this. Understand how you are going to earn a living and then work backwards (creating a path to your goal). There is no point in aimlessly running around (like I did) hoping it will all work out. Not only is failure far more likely, but you will lose a lot of time and money in the process.
Having said all that, it is worth the effort. Freedom, rewards, excitement and amazing relationships with your fellow online entrepreneurs!
Go for it.
Featured image: Copyright: ‘https://www.123rf.com/profile_pixelbliss‘ / 123RF Stock Photo
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