How To Turn Hobbyist Blogging Into a Rewarding Vocation
3 steps to go from amateur blogger to entrepreneur writer
Remember roughly ten years ago, when someone introduced themselves to you as a full-time blogger?
And do you remember what type of reaction you had?
Many people balked at the idea of being a blogger. They thought it was a pipe dream with no foundation to actually build a career.
Many people had no idea what the word "blog" even meant (if you still don't know, it's the combining of the two words "web" and "log").
Now, what emotions arise when you meet someone who is a full-time blogger by trade?
A lot of people feel jealousy — How did this person get out of the rigmarole of the 9–5, and what have I been doing wrong?
A lot of people feel impressed — this person took a bet on themselves and found entrepreneurialism in an era of strong economic opportunity.
A lot of people feel opportunity — it seems like that laughing I did was short-sighted; what can I do now to make this life of entrepreneurialism my own reality?
Full-time blogger now equates with entrepreneur.
That last emotion is the emotion that I want to tackle in this article. What are the steps one can take today and what are the strategies associated with going from hopeless 9–5er to liberated blogger?
Let's take a look…
The Blogging Economy From a Bird’s Eye View
According to Statista, the number of bloggers in 2014 was 27.4 million. Furthermore, the number of bloggers is expected to grow to 31.7 million (a 14% growth over 6 years).
It's an industry that has a positive forecast for growth.
Not convinced just yet that blogging is a gold rush opportunity in the coming years? Here are a few more important statistics that might help convince you otherwise:
- Blogs have been rated as the fifth most trusted source for accurate online information.
- Marketers who have prioritized blogging (this prioritization is related to the quality of content) are 13 times more likely to experience positive ROI.
- The blogging industry grew from 14 million blogs in 2005 to roughly 152 million in 2013.
- Small businesses with blogs associated with their brand experience a 126% increase in lead generation.
- The more an individual visits a specific blog (which very well could be yours), the more likely they are to take action or purchase.
It is to be noted that most blogs are started as a hobby. This should be seen as an opportunity, however. The act of starting a blog catalyzes and leverages the opportunity to turn that hobby into a business.
According to the IRS Statistics of Income Division, owning a business is the real way of attaining wealth in your life.
Ownership of an enterprise is how you can generate accelerated wealth that helps you find the freedom you've always been searching for — and the means to help support your family and give back to your community.
How to Go From Hobbyist to Entrepreneur
As stated above, most blogs are started out of a hobby.
This is due to the underlying need for all human being to find a creative outlet and share it with the people around them.
Many people will take a cynical approach to what is going follow here…
Many people are going to talk about their specific situations and how the results aren't typical and that they won't be able to find the time and yadda yadda yadda.
And you know what?
Those people are right!
The cynicism will always exist. There will always be an unfair rolling of the dice when it comes to certain areas of your life. Someone will always be smarter than you, someone will always be better looking, someone will always be more successful.
But what if you silenced that voice for a change?
"I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which is that you can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.”
— Jim Carrey
Often, we only take a look at the immediate results of our actions. We think:
"what's in it for me, right now?"
Thinking in the short term can be paralyzing when it comes to building something into a fulfilling and self-sustaining vocation.
I've written before about what can come as a result of what putting aside just a few hours a week can bring you to turn a hobby-inspired work into an entrepreneurial side-hustle.
To put it succinctly, if you were to set aside just 16 hours a week (slightly more than 2 hours a day), you can accumulate over a month's worth of time — 34 days — of meaningful and productive work towards building your business.
The point here is you don't have to make this paradigm shift in your life from 9–5 over to entrepreneur overnight.
In fact, it's inadvisable to do so nowadays.
The people who are willing to roll up their sleeves and get busy doing the hard work are the people who are going to be able to reap the rewards of a quickly growing industry.
How to Build a Profitable Blog: The 3 Essential Steps
The case has been built that the possibility of building a profitable and vocational blog is real. But how do we actually do that? What tangible and actionable steps are needed in order to make the idea a reality?
Step 1: Choose a blogging niche you can write about (over the long haul)
I know — many of you are going to balk at this step. You clicked this article because you want the "juicy" details of how you're going to cash in on your share of this pot of gold.
Hold onto your britches for just a moment…
This part of the equation is necessary for a few reasons.
- Like noted earlier, this is a marathon, not a sprint. If you think that this transformation is going to happen overnight, you probably should have stopped reading by now and gone to a different article that will sell you some more of the generic lies we see every day.
- An audience is looking for guidance. Through your guidance, while you may not know it, you are going to be building trust. When you build trust within your audience, that's when you'll be able to make an enterprise out of your blog. Trust isn't built overnight. It takes showing up over and over again for an audience member to know you're "for real" and someone you can trust.
- The more you write about a specific niche, the more you are going to learn. This is very important because, in a day and age where things are constantly changing, you're going to need to be able to educate and relay those changes to an audience. For example, think about the changes that have been made in health and food in the last three years.
Having the will and discipline to write over the long haul of your blog's life is the cornerstone to the whole project. Without it, nothing will be built because the desire to wake up every morning and share your gifts is nonexistent.
Step 2: The niche you choose to write about needs to be something that people care about
I have to offer you a dose of reality here real quick…
Okay, here's the pill.
And now the glass of water.
Throw it down the hatch.
Swallow, and now, are you ready?
Not as many people care about your personal life as you think.
I know that comes off as callous.
And if this whole endeavor of yours is to have a creative release from the rigmarole of being a human — then, by all means, have that release.
If, however, you are still reading this because you wish to blend something that you have a legitimate interest in with the strategies involved in making it enterprising, you're going to have to focus more on what other people are interested in, rather than what you're interested in.
People are constantly thinking to themselves, "what's in it for me?"
I don't think that's selfish of people to think. I think it's completely reasonable.
So write about what problems people are trying to solve rather than the thoughts you're wrestling with.
When you solve someone's problem, you can associate a cost with it. Think about all the things you buy. Why do you buy those things? It could be anything:
- You buy a bottle of water to quench your thirst
- You buy a cell phone to connect you to the world and the entirety of human information
- You buy a t-shirt for either protection from the elements or a feeling of status
Whether it be either large or small, our purchases are in order to solve a problem.
Think about this when formulating your plan to build your enterprising blog.
Step 3: Create products to sell to your audience
People are probably going to argue with me that there are more ways to make money with a blog than just building and selling your products.
"Uh, haven't you ever heard of affiliate marketing?"
"Dude, sponsored posts can make you a killing!"
"Advertising revenue is where the real money is at"
Sure, you can make money through the three listed mediums, but the ceiling just isn't as high.
Remember when we noted that the best way to generate great wealth is through entrepreneurial ownership?
Well, let's dissect the three options above and see if they match the "Ownership Stress Test."
- Affiliate marketing: The act of taking someone else's product or service and selling it through distribution channels. No ownership of the product.
- Sponsored post: Being paid by a company to write a review about a product or service. No ownership of the product or service.
- Advertising revenue: An exchange of payment for placing another company's advertisements on your blog. You can lose the advertiser and the associated revenue without any warning. No ownership of the ability to retain the advertisements.
All three don't pass the test.
On the other hand, when you create your own product or service, you are in charge of the price, the means of distribution, how many can be sold, if it's taken off the shelves, if it's updated, etc.
The most efficient means of creation and sale of your own proprietary products is through e-learning. E-learning is an industry that is breaking down the walls that higher education used to keep an exclusive club.
Today, anyone who is an expert on a subject can take that information and package it into an actionable sequence of learning modules that cost tens of thousands of dollars less than what it would at a higher education institution.
Market research firm Global Industry Analysts projected e-learning would reach $107 Billion in 2015 and it did, in fact, it outpaced those projections. Currently, research indicates that the industry will triple in size compared to 2015 with an expected value of $325 billion by 2025.
What other industries can proudly state tripled growth in a 10-year span? Not that many to boot.
And so all of this beg the questions:
What are you going to build?
What niche are you passionate enough to write about over the long haul?
What expertise do you hold that can help the various communities of the world solve the problems that plague them on a daily basis?
There has never been a better time to start your journey to become a 21st-century entrepreneur.
The barriers to entry have never been lower to start a business.
What's important is to understand that the idea of "entrepreneur" has taken on a different meaning in the past decade or so. We used to laugh and balk at full-time bloggers. We used to think they were nearsighted and that the model wasn't sustainable over time.
Now, when we hear about a full-time blogger, we equate him or her with an entrepreneur and with the overall idea of freedom.
It all starts with a mind shift
“The scariest moment is always just before you start.”
— Stephen King
Becoming a full-time blogger and entrepreneur isn't going to happen overnight. In fact, it might take a few years…
But what other choice do you have? You can stay in your situation and let cynicism rule your life. That's always an option.
But what if you took a chance on yourself for once? Great things could come as a result.
The 3 essential steps of building a profitable blog
- Make sure you can write about it over the long haul: This is going to be a long journey. Change isn’t going to happen overnight. You’re going to need to be able to wake up and work towards the goal every day — even on the days you don’t feel like it. So you better choose something you have a fond interest in.
- Write about things other people care about: Building this business isn't about you, it's about the audience. So like any good performer — give the people what they want! People are looking to solve their problems and you are going to be the catalyst in doing so!
- Take ownership and sell your problem-solving devices to the audience: When you show up every day and illustrate that you can help out your audience, you build trust. When you build trust, people will start to open up their wallets to you. There has never been a better time to sell proprietary information. This is your opportunity to build the products you know you can deliver to your audience and have that audience pay for it!
The only thing really that can hold you back from discovering your true entrepreneurial potential is you.
So stop getting in your own way!
The doors are open and new ones will keep opening.
Picture the next time the meeting of a full-time blogger happens in your life. Only this time, it will be you who is the full-time blogger — and the eyes of the person sitting across from you will light up!