It doesn’t matter whether you started your blog recently or have been blogging for a while! It doesn’t even matter why you started blogging in the first place…was it as creative outlet to share your passion or as a means to make money online and quit your day job? Or were you looking for a stress-free-life or the flexibility to stay home with your kids? No matter what your motivation, treating your blog like a business is one of the first things you need to do.
Let’s start by understanding what it actually means to relate to your blog as a business and then we’ll discuss why it’s important.
Treating your personal blog as a money-making business impacts two main behavioral aspects: mind-set and actions.
1. Your mind-set – Your mind will determine the level of success your business can reach! If you treat your blog as a hobby or sideline, then that’s the most it will ever be. Making money from blogging is often treated as a means to an end and not the main goal, but, however you relate to it, means or ends, it should be a fundamental parameter not overlooked or postponed to a later stage. Early decisions on a niche, name, theme, infrastructure, and tools should all be supported and integrated into your business vision. Making money is not a second stage; it is not a coincidental result of your blogging journey. Even if that could have been the case years ago when blogging was a new activity, in the current ecosystem this is no longer a valid assumption. So, from the very outset, make up your mind!
2. Your Actions – Your actions should match your intentions, and results come from using methodologies that help to create successful businesses.
- Build a business plan. I know, that sounds scary… especially for new bloggers, who are still trying to figure out how to just start. But it doesn’t have to be this way. It simply means you should take the time to think your idea over from a business perspective: get specific about the details, do the research, and build your strategies. Let’s treat it at this point as a one-page cheat sheet with your answers to the following questions: What is your "why” or your mission? What is your product or the value you are offering? Who is your audience? Who are your competitors? For a comprehensive free business plan workbook, you can check Melyssa Griffin’s blog here.
- Create a monetization strategy. Your strategy includes how you are planning to make money from your blog and what your tactics are for promoting your content and reaching new audiences. If one of your monetization strategies is affiliate marketing, you can download our free Affiliate Marketing Strategy Cheat Sheetwhich covers some of the elements mentioned above and can serve as a mini business plan. You can also read about Why You Need a Strategy To Build a Profitable Blog.
- Master your skills and your productivity. First, learn from others; reading other bloggers’ experiences and taking a couple of courses can really make your journey shorter and easier. Below you can find a few courses I recommend; click each of the images to read my review. Second, improve your productivity; try not to spend endless time on things that will have poor or scarce results. Use a bullet journal, for example. It can include to-do lists, a detailed planner, a notebook, diagrams, and charts. There are many to-do lists and printables you can download to help you out.
GRAB OUR FREE AFFILIATE MARKETING STRATEGY CHEAT SHEET AND BUILD YOUR AFFILIATE MARKETING STRATEGY MAP
Now that we’ve sorted that out, let’s move on to the next step, namely, the reasons why it is so important to have both your mind and your actions set on treating your blog like a business.
1. Treating your blog like a business will build and maintain your motivation
Blogging, like any other initiative, is not a quick fix plan. You can find endless posts by bloggers sharing their experience about how it is hard work which requires time, dedication, and consistency. The more prepared and educated you are from the start, the higher your chances of achieving better and quicker results. But even then, it is not a given, as there are many factors involved. What I am saying is that starting with high motivation is not enough; in order to achieve your goals (whatever they may be), you have to be able to maintain those high levels of motivation long term.
As much as traffic and engagement are important elements for helping you stay motivated and in the game, these numbers will not necessarily be enough to sustain your motivation. If you are struggling to find the time to blog, in between a day job or a parenting role and other responsibilities, there is one reward which is the most likely to work as a booster and keep you on track – and that is money! The sooner you are paid for your efforts, the greater the chances that you will continue blogging. The monetization options vary, and you can read more about your options here. That doesn’t mean, of course, that you should only blog for money. But just that when you are blogging about something you are passionate about, make sure not to ignore or postpone the monetization part to a later stage, because you may have quit blogging by the time you get there! Earning a living is a necessity of our daily lives, and the moment you can earn money from your blog, the financial incentive will help you put in the necessary work to keep it rolling! It will help you through times of doubt and reduced creative energy. Money is a way of exchanging value. You give value and are being paid for helping your audience make better daily consumer choices.
But don’t focus only on numbers; concentrate on creating great content. Read this blog post for a great example of how you can make money blogging with very little traffic.
2. Treating your blog like a business will justify your efforts
When we work for someone else, it is always very clear to us that we should be paid for our time, services, or expertise. Yet, online, the value exchange is less obvious. According to a survey Melyssa Griffin conducted among her audience, only about 15% of bloggers make a living from their blogs, and about 75% say they would love to turn their blog into a full-time business (source). There are a few reasons why people don’t make money from their blogs. Maybe it’s because they treat it as a hobby or lack a monetization strategy. Maybe they don’t have good or appealing enough content, blog about a very competitive niche, or blog about something no one cares about. But there are also bloggers who have a solid audience and still do not make money from their blog.
The moment you start treating your blog like a business, you’ll wonder how you didn’t think this way from the start. Whatever the reason for starting this journey, you should have a clear plan; if not an immediate one at least one that sees how, in the near future, it turns into a money-making source. It’s nice to read old blog posts about how someone who started her blog as a hobby, and then, oops, before she knew it, she was leaving her job to blog full time. I doubt we can find these kind of stories nowadays, but it makes me happy to read an honest statement by a blogger saying: "I wanted to make money from my blog, because I was looking to leave my 9 to5.” One way to make sure you stop working for free is to start measuring your success. First, set measurable goals, then implement them, and check out the results.
3. Treating your blog like a business will encourage support from your surroundings
If you treat your blog as a business, it will not only justify your efforts to yourself but also to your family or loved ones. The support of your spouse, partner, children, and close friends is an important factor in keeping your stamina going. Your involvement, work, and aspirations may be very clear to you, but the people around you, who are supposed to help you either passively or actively, will find it difficult to grasp your commitment and hard work unless you can show results. And the result that encourages more support and involvement is financial success. Think of the satisfaction you’ll get from being able to help your family by improving your financial situation.
4. Treating your blog like a business will allow you to further invest in it
The big gets bigger, and as you grow, you will no longer be able to manage your blog with the tools that were good enough for beginners. Your hosting, design, email, social media scheduling, and other related tasks will require better handling and paid services. When you start making money from an early stage, you can use that money to grow and improve your blog. These days you don’t need to invest much to start a blog. With low-cost hosting services, numerous options for good platforms for your blog, and endless pre-designed themes, it can be affordable to all. But, once you start growing and with the mind-set of making your blog your business, you need to improve the images you use, upgrade your email subscription provider, attend courses, and more to make your blog more professional. And this ongoing growth involves certain expenses. There is nothing like a healthy cash flow to help you make expenditure decisions.
5. Treating your blog like a business will help you convey your goals better
More important than all the other reasons, however, is that if you treat your blog like a business, not only will you have a greater chance in achieving your goals but your readers will also treat it as a business. You will convey it in everything you write or put on your site. Whatever monetization method you choose for your site, if, rather than being apologetic, you see monetization as your duty as a business owner, you will convey this to your readers and they will appreciate it! If you find it hard to treat it this way, think of money as an exchange of energy, a give-and-take of valuable information. As long as you give something that others need to solve a problem, then you have all the necessary justification and no reason to apologize or be ashamed. Build up the confidence and own it!
If you are ready to treat your blog as a business, the next step is to take some time to build your strategy. Our "Affiliate Marketing Strategy Cheat Sheet” will take you through the steps from thinking about your "why,” through implementation of your affiliate marketing plan, to making it work by effective promotion. It will help you clear your mind and focus on your desired outcomes! It will help you start treating your blog like a business!
To read more about why you need a strategy read about Why You Need a Strategy To Build a Profitable Blog.