[Photo: Me and my friends at the BlogHer Conference 2012. Oh how I love a good conference!]
I started journaling when I was around 8 years old after someone gave me a journal as a gift. I loved writing in it and continued journaling throughout my childhood. So in 2006 when it was suggested to me that I should start a fitness blog as a means of educating people about the true science of health & fitness, in contrast to the media-hyped fads, I signed up for a TypePad account and was on my way.
I loved this medium because it was a way to share my knowledge with the world without having to get published, write a book, or even teach in a classroom. It was rewarding and came naturally to me. However, I never looked at it as a way to make money.
But then it was suggested to me that I get set up with advertisements on my site. For every click, I could make money. I didn’t like this idea. What if the ads were from companies I didn’t support? What if I didn’t want to endorse the products? My purpose was to “take on the establishment” and get people away from the crazy diets, the fad foods, and the sensationalism…not promote it!
Against my better judgement though, I tried it. It lasted all of about 3 days until I pulled the ads. The idea that advertisements on MY site without my prior approval didn’t feel right, and I didn’t want to make money this way. So I kept on writing for free, sans advertisements.
In 2012, I attended my first BlogHer Conference. 5000+ women (with a few men in there, too) all coming together to share their blogging experiences and learn how to turn their blogs into businesses (if this were the route they wanted to go). I loved this conference because of the amazing women I met. And while I did get an idea or two, most of the bloggers I met were making their money through advertisements. It got me thinking that there must be another way.
So the first question I asked myself is, what is it that these women really want to do, and how can they make money doing it? Is it writing that they love, or is there something else?
While I think some are simply wanting to be paid writers, I believe that most of them are really looking to make money doing, learning, sharing, educating around a topic they love. For example, I met someone who was really interested in vintage fashion from the 1950’s and 60’s. She had a blog where she highlighted her shopping finds and would assemble outfits she’d recommend.
I recently visited her site and it is still just a blog with advertisements. But I wonder if she realizes she could turn this into a real business focused on vintage fashion (after all, look what Nasty Gal founder, Sophia Amoruso built…who is now worth an estimated $250 million). This blogger could create a business selling vintage fashion, or better yet, develop a website that finds discount vintage from all over the world, or how about an app that creates vintage fashion outfits for particular occasions, or what about a website where people can purchase everything they need to host vintage parties for weddings, business, social events, etc… The point is, you need to think outside of the box and realize that writing is sometimes just an entry into a potentially profitable business, but not the business itself.
DO YOU WANT TO TURN YOUR BLOG INTO A BUSINESS?
HERE’S HOW TO GET STARTED. ASK YOURSELF…
1. What do I like writing about (area of interest)? Why do I like writing about it?
2. Can you name at least 5 different businesses that are in your area of interest? Can you create a business in any of these areas? Which ones?
3. Is there a NEW business idea that you can come up with in your area of interest? How do you see that business existing? How could you make money?
4. Looking at businesses that already exist, and your new idea, imagine yourself for a few minutes being a business owner in each of these companies. Which one are you most excited about?
5. What steps could you take to find out if this business model could work?
Take some time to think about these questions. Every entrepreneur starts with an interest that eventually leads them to the question, “how can I make money doing this?”. Chances are, your blogging interest is something that could lead you into a profitable business. You just need to explore the possibilities.