OK, deep breath.
I have a question for you.
One that you might have been avoiding now for some time.
Is your blog actually a business (OR even, is your business actually a blog)
You see these are actually two very different things, and neither have anything to do with whether or not your “blog/website/whatever” is hosted on WordPress.
But knowing the difference could be the turning point between your little part of the Internet being a highly enjoyable and highly profitable place for you to grow, or a massively frustrating black hole for your wallet.
Not sure how to really tell the difference?
Click the video above and find out.
Welcome to this week’s SBB Live!
Today I want to talk to you about something that I think is really important for people to take a little bit of time to think about and to know this answer for yourself.
That is, are you a blogger, or are you a business owner?
Do you have a blog or do you have a business?
And while I know a lot of people probably think it’s pretty straightforward, they probably think that if you’re making money or you want to make money then it’s a business, right?
And a business isn’t a blog, and vice versa.
How to turn your blog into a business: The difference between a blog and a business
These days, things have changed so much from back in the good old days of blogging, and I think that so many people coming into blogging now are coming into it with a really different mindset and that is a business mindset.
And a lot of business owners may have a blog but they’ll call themselves a business.
Then there’s a lot of bloggers out there who might think that they have a business, but they totally have a blog.
There’s a real difference between the two, & there’s a really big difference about the stuff you want to focus on, the activities that are going to help you grow and show you how to turn your blog into a business.
It’s really good to get clear around what is it that you have and also what is it that you actually want? Because what you might have set up right now, might not be what you want, might not be the path that you want to go down.
If that’s the case, then there’s never been a better time than right now to make that pivot and make sure that you have the right model and that you’re pursuing the model that is going to make you happy and give you what you want. If you think you have a blog but want it to be a business then you might have to really think about how to turn your blog into a business.
There is a big difference between a blog and a businessClick To Tweet
How to turn your blog into a business: Do you have a blog or a business?
First things first, when you were thinking about this idea that you had to do something online, did you have a clear market in mind, a clear niche or topic or area of expertise that you really wanted to go in and share?
And did you have a clear way that you wanted to help them? Was your thought something along the lines of, “Hey, I really love this thing. I’d love to help other people with it.” Or, “I’d love to share that with other people.” Or, “I’d love to turn that into something that it’s going to benefit other people.” If that was your thought, then you have a business, congrats.
If your thought was more, “Hey, blogging sounds cool.” Or, “You know, I want to do something creative.” Or, “I think I’m pretty good at this thing, maybe I’ll write about it, see what happens.” Then you have a blog.
Another thing to look at is how is it that you’re actually treating this little area of the internet that you have?
Are you treating it like a business? Have you sat down and created even just a rough business plan? It can be on post-it notes, it doesn’t have to be spreadsheets and pivot tables and all kinds of crazy stuff. It can be still something quite basic.
But have you actually sat down and said, “All right, so how am I going to make money out of this? What’s that going to look like? What kind of tools do I need? What staff do I need? What upfront investment do I need? How long can I expect this to take? What marketing do I need to do? Are there any joint venture partners?”
If you’ve had any of these thoughts or preferably more than one, then you have a business. Even if that business, the crux of it is blogging, if it is creating content and sharing that content out with the world. That’s how to turn your blog into a business.
If the conversation has been more like, “Oh, I just kind of want to see what happens and I just want to kind of write about what I want to write about. I’ve got lots of passions so I want to just do all of them and see what happens, and I’m sure that it’ll just sort itself out.” Then you have a blog and turning your blog into a business can be difficult.
How to turn your blog into a business: Treat it like one
I have always treated my blogs like a business from day one, and there is definitely a difference between the people who are starting their online journey, online space with coming from the point of just feeling more of a personal need, a need that’s like the need to be creative, the need to connect with other people, the need to have a hobby, to create a community, all of that stuff.
All that stuff is super rad, but it means that you are pure blogger, which is fab. And it means that the way that you’re going to grow is going to be different, the kinds of traffic that you need is going to be different, and where you’re going to get that from is going to be different.
But also it means that actually your outcome may not be that it ends up being your full-time job or part-time job if it’s just something you’re doing purely because you love it and it’s going to enrich your soul in some way and make your life better.
How to turn your blog into a business: Money or Passion?
That’s great and you no longer need to then start trying to shoehorn some kind of monetisation method into it just because you think you should or because you’ve seen other people do it.
If you’ve come at it from the point of, “I’m super passionate about this thing and I would love to make a living doing something I’m really passionate about and helping people who are also passionate it, so helping people to get passionate or helping people to improve in some way, and I have the skills to help them do that.” Then that is a business and it’s easier for you to work out how to turn your blog into a business this way.
Again, you’re going to go down a very different path. You don’t probably need as much traffic as a pure blog does. What you really need is customers over traffic.
How to turn your blog into a business: Numbers aren’t everything
Whereas if you’re going down the blogger route, bloggers tend to get way more caught up in getting big numbers, it becomes almost like a bit of a vanity metric.
Again, not hating, but it’s true, people get so obsessed with like, “Oh, I’ve got to get a certain number of visitors, I’ve got to get a certain number of this and that means that my blog is good.”
Whereas, if it’s your business, you just need the right amount of customers to get you the amount of money that you need each month to pay your bills, pay yourself, and grow your business and have a little bit to spare. So that’s very, very different.
As I said, I’m not hating on either. But I just really want people to be honest with themselves about what it is that they have created, what it is that they want to create, and about taking the steps to make sure that if right now you have a blog and you want it to be a business, you find out how to turn your blog into a business.
How to turn your blog into a business
Now is the time to step back and I’m going to be controversial here, maybe that blog you’ve created so far isn’t going to be your business.
Maybe it stays your blog and you do something else as your business, but you take those lessons that you’ve learnt and you pour them into something new.
Secret Bloggers Business is actually my third online space. Drop Dead Gorgeous Daily was my first. And I have one which I don’t talk about very often because really I was just using it as a way to get a job in magazines.
Back in 2003 I had a website, WordPress didn’t even exist, or that I knew of. I built it in Publisher. It was called D&M, which stood for Deep And Meaningful, so lame.
I created that as an online magazine to showcase my writing skills to get freelance work and to get my first job in publishing, which I did. I got some ad offers and stuff at the time.
What I’m saying is, that didn’t become my main business but I learnt a lot from it and then when I wanted to start up DDG I already knew a bunch of stuff, I had a bit more of an idea around how to get up and running online, so I started that.
Then when I started Secret Bloggers Business I learnt again. And each one pivoted and each one was different, and each one kind of became easier and easier and helped me to hone in more on what it was that I really wanted to do, what was really going to make me happy, what was going to really give me the lifestyle that I wanted. Having a go and earning is a great way to work out how to turn your blog into a business.
Usually once you’re getting started it’s that you don’t know what you don’t know until you realise you don’t know it.
How to turn a blog into a business: Figure it out
You don’t realise that, particularly when people are starting out, and in any business or even any kind of blog, if you are trying to make a little bit of extra cash or you want it to be your full-time income, usually your focus at the start is going to be really on, “Okay, how do I get money through the door? I don’t care how I do it. I just need to get money in.” And that’s totally cool, because bills have to be paid but it’s not how to turn your blog into a business.
You can’t keep that mentality forever, you need to have a longer vision, you need to have sat down and taken the time to figure out, “Well, okay, what does success look like for me? What work do I want to be doing in this business? How much time do I want to be spending on it? Where do I want to be working? Do I want to have a team? Do I want to work by myself? Do I want to be able to work in a café? Do I want to be able to work part-time around your kids or family or other interests? Is this only going to be a side thing or a full-time thing?”
You need to sit down and figure this stuff out and make sure that, yes, if you are creating an online business, and that’s what you want, that you are actually heading towards it being the kind of business that you want as well, that’s going to give you the lifestyle that you want. You need to find out how to turn your blog into a business if you want that lifestyle & it might mean starting over.
The reason I wanted to tell you this is because I see so many people in my groups are going, “Oh, I’ve started doing this.” And it’s clear that their blog is a passion project or more of a creative outlet or something like that, and they start to get a bit of traffic, and they go, “Okay, now how do I make money from it?”
I just think that’s the wrong question. Because if you’re doing it because you love it, don’t try and break it by adding money to it, by adding sponsors and things like that.
Take it from anyone that’s ever gone down that path, that sponsorship and things like that, it’s not fun. You’ve got to spend most of your time chasing down advertisers, following up on invoices, tracking stats, boosting posts if they’re not working well, rather than doing the stuff that you love, the stuff that fills you up.
So if you’re wanting to create some way of making money online, making side income, and currently the blog that you have doesn’t have a clear monetisation method that’s going to allow you to monetise pretty much straightaway rather than when you’re getting tens of thousands of visitors every week, then maybe you have a blog and not a business, and maybe it’s time to have that kind of tough conversation with yourself about what it is that you really want and how to turn your blog into a business.
Is this thing that you have right now going to give it to you?
And, if you’re going to have to shoehorn stuff in and break things a bit and turn it into a bit of a Frankenstein’s monster, that’s no longer actually serving the fun soul-fuelled creative side that it was previously.
It is also probably not going to be super profitable, because it’s just a bit of a mish-mash and it doesn’t have a clear business direction, a clear focus, a clear market, a clear product or service.
Then it’s probably not a business, and if you want it to be a business, then maybe it’s time to step back and go, “Okay, how can I take what I’ve learnt here, how can I take what I’m good at, and turn that into a business?”. Really think about how you can turn your blog into a business and if it is a bit of a mish-mash, what can you do to make it clearer?
Nine times out of ten it will be faster, it will be more profitable, it will be more enjoyable, if you are having this realisation that perhaps you’ve started a blog and you really wanted to start a business, but you just didn’t realise at the start that there was a difference, it is easier to go, “All right, I’m going to allow this to just be a blog. Maybe I’ll put it on the back burner for a little bit or maybe I will try and automate it, or maybe I’ll shut it down completely and come back to it later. But I really want to have a business and a business is different, and I am going to go and take these learnings and take these skills and start creating a business instead.”
Trust me, it’s going to be easier, it’s going to take you further towards where you want to go, and you’re going to have much more success with it, and it’s going to be more fun.
It’s going to be more enjoyable to create that business, which is supposed to be a business, rather than trying to jam a bit of business stuff into something that’s just supposed to be a thing that you love doing and that allows you to play and to be creative and to change your mind whenever you want.
You have to be honest about this stuff with yourself. I think that people aren’t out there saying this stuff enough. I think there’s far too many people saying, “Oh, well, of course if you want to shove a business into your blog, sure, you should be able to.”
Then they just ignore the fact that people are going to be working really, really crazy hard for very little reward, when actually they could have before they went too far down that path and broke this lovely creative outlet they had, they could have pivoted and made some smarter business decisions.
I’d love to know if you consider yourself to have a blog or business? If you have a blog but want a business, how are you going to go from blog to business? Let me know in the comments below!
If you need some help on how to turn your blog into a business, head over to my free Facebook Group Secret Blogger’s Society.