I got asked an awesome question in recent Live Chat I held with some of my Bloggers MBA students (OK it was this morning… ), and the reason it is such an awesome question is because it is what everyone is really thinking, and no one is actually saying. And I love shit like that.
The question was;
“I’m quite disillusioned, it seems that the only bloggers making any money from blogging are the ones teaching other bloggers how to make money from blogging“.
Told you it was awesome! Because I bet you’ve all thought that right?
No need to be awkward about it. I won’t be offended.
Hell, I even thought something along a similar line back when I was just running my first blog, and it’s one of the reasons I actually put off starting a blogging course for as long as I did, because it seemed like cheating (ever heard that saying about how the people who made the real money in the gold rush were the ones selling the shovels?).
So, is it true?? Well in my opinion anyway.
Well yes and no.
Firstly, I am not going to BS you. There are certain things that are a lot easier to sell, and one of these is definitely anything that helps people to make more money (the others are things that help people look better, feel better, lose weight, find love or improve their love lives, or to help ease the “mummy guilt” in some way).
But I personally (and yes, I am a little biased), don’t think there is anything wrong with a person passing on what they have learnt through their own experience and journey to help people with any of these topics. As long as they legitimately have something of value to share and what they share is going to help others (don’t even get me started on the number of people I see teaching how to do something when they’ve never really done it successfully themselves).
The way I see it, it’s no different than any other career path. If you do something really well for any amount of time, at some point you will probably progress to be some sort of consultant, advisor or teacher on that particular topic, and blogging is no different.
I mean, how boring would it be if there was no progression?
And how selfish would it be to not share that wisdom and value?
I personally never intended to create a course about blogging, as I mentioned before I thought it was a bit icky. But I just had so many people asking me about it (even bloggers who had been blogging longer than I had), and at the time there really weren’t any courses out there teaching what I did and knew, so I caved in and did it.
BUT do I think this is the ONLY way that bloggers are making money? No, absolutely not.
Take my first blog DDG for example, it made me and my employees a very nice living for many years, and I never once mentioned blogging. We did sponsored content, banner ads, sponsored emails, reader reviews, reader events and lots more.
And now that I spend most of my life obsessing over all things blogging and in particular blogger monetisation, I have seen that there definitely are many, many different ways for bloggers to make money from their blogs (I share my top 14 favourite ways for bloggers to make money in great detail in the Bloggers MBA).
And I’ve also started adding them in to my first blog too.
Some great examples of this are;
– Styling You – Nikki is a fashion blogger for the 35+ niche who has teamed up with her favourite stores and brands to run a seasonal online drop-shipping shop (and she bases her posts and styling advice around the items in that store).
– Mr Kate – Another fashion and lifestyle blogger (with a younger audience) who designed her own jewellery and body art range.
– A Pinch Of Yum – A food blogger who makes money the old school way from banner ads, sponsored content and speaking engagements (as well as her own eProducts and cookbooks)
– The Merry Maker Sisters – The published their own cook book (and just recently got their own book deal), plus they run a healthy living online course.
– The Design Files – This Aussie interiors blog actually created an annual event called “open house” where they took over a gorgeous house and completely kitted it out with gorgeous home wares from their favourite brands (and everything was available for sale of course!). They also now run art exhibitions around Australia.
And these are just some of the bloggers I follow.
So what does this mean for you & your blog?
To me it all comes down to this. The easiest way for you to monetise your blog is going to be to help your readers solve a problem of some kind using your own experience and expertise.
How you do that is up to you. Whether this is through coaching, selling templates and tools, ecourses and ebooks, physical products, artwork, apps, events or even promoting other’s products (and that’s just the tip of the iceberg really).
It really doesn’t matter. It just comes down to how you can best help your readers to solve a problem that they are feeling a bit of pain over right now.
Figure that out, and it suddenly becomes a lot, lot easier and quicker to monetise your blog. And you are doing it by helping people which is pretty awesome too.
Now sometimes what you are good at, and the problem you can best solve has nothing to do with your current blog or audience (like me and DDG). And sometimes it’s really obvious and fits together really nicely.
Just remember it’s your blog, your rules.