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Q&A: Do you have to teach blogging to make money from blogging?

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.

Make money from blogging

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.

is-the-only-way-to-make-money-blogging-to-teach-blogging-q

What do you think? Seen any great creative examples of bloggers making money doing something other than teaching blogging?? Share it below

COMMENTs:

  1. Jan at retiringNotshy!

    March 2nd, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    A great question indeed. I haven’t actually ever asked myself that question but I do wonder at the enormous number of people who are ‘teaching’ about blogging. I put that in single quotes because I don’t know that many of them actually know that much (I’m not including you in that).
    There are undoubtedly other ways to earn money blogging but as you say it comes back to purpose and value.

  2. Kate McKibbin

    March 2nd, 2016 at 1:12 pm

    Definitely. I think there are many, many easier ways to make money than blogging. But if it’s what you love to do then it can be an amazingly rewarding career too x

  3. Kelly

    March 2nd, 2016 at 1:02 pm

    yup…kinda awkward but, me! I LOVE blogging & I am making $$ at it. Don’t be afraid to pitch yourself!

  4. Kate McKibbin

    March 2nd, 2016 at 1:09 pm

    Not awkward at all, that is awesome and you should be damn proud! xx

  5. Evie

    March 2nd, 2016 at 1:08 pm

    Literally today this thought ran through my mind. A few years ago I was a professional portrait photographer and it seemed like all the photographers who were actually making money were the ones who were also selling e-books and workshops to other, newer photographers. I have seen the same trend in the blogging world. While some definitely offer value, there are a few I have come across where I felt like I didn’t get what was promised and certainly not the value they claimed. I have seen other bloggers making money by helping readers get organized, or offering craft kits (a la posie gets cozy’s blog), or technical know-how and hope they don’t get overshadowed by the ones who aren’t offering a true value.

  6. Kate McKibbin

    March 2nd, 2016 at 1:11 pm

    Isn’t it weird how that happens! You think about something and suddenly it’s everywhere. And I hadn’t seen the Posie gets Cozy blog before, love it adding it to my bookmarks now x

  7. Evie

    March 2nd, 2016 at 1:14 pm

    Oh man, you will love her blog. Her kits are fantastic. I have ordered several things from her site and have loved each and every one! When you get time, I definitely recommend going back and reading from the beginning. Her writing is beautiful and her story is amazing.

  8. Janne

    March 2nd, 2016 at 1:50 pm

    Oh yes, alike the “Online business coaches” whose first successful online business was the one selling business coaching, and it certainly is that they are the only ones making real money. I guess Business to business just has a higher going rate than business to consumer. Hence, it’s easier to make significant dollars.

    Loved that you were so honest about your answer!

  9. Kate McKibbin

    March 3rd, 2016 at 10:46 am

    Thanks Janne. I think there is a place for all of it, but you just have to actually offer some value if you’re going to do it! x

  10. Chloe

    March 2nd, 2016 at 2:01 pm

    So good Kate! Thanks for sharing. Events and e-Products are a great way to monetize your blog if you unsure of how to go down the ads and sponsored content road. I’m currently working on an eBook and planning/creating some events and workshops related to my blogging content so they can experience greater and deeper value from what I’m sharing. At least, that’s the plan! 😉 x

  11. Kate McKibbin

    March 3rd, 2016 at 10:46 am

    Sounds awesome, make sure you let us know when you’re book is ready 🙂 x

  12. Angela

    March 2nd, 2016 at 4:27 pm

    Hi Kate, thank you for exploring this question – it has been on my mind for quite a while! I’m so glad that you support those of us not on-selling our skills in a course format. I’m quite the introvert and am just happy blogging and securing work from time to time. Hoping to monetise via sponsored posts and ads in the future as well. Oh and I love Jen Bishop of Interiors Addict – I think she’s built a wonderful platform and has a super loyal audience. Thanks for all the endless advice you provide!! xx

  13. Kate McKibbin

    March 3rd, 2016 at 10:47 am

    She is so awesome isn’t she, and she did it so fast too, very clever cookie (and super hard worker too I’m sure). 🙂 x

  14. Kristine

    March 2nd, 2016 at 7:06 pm

    Hi Kate,
    Thank you for a great post 🙂

    I just wanted to share that you are totally right; you don’t have to teach blogging to make a living from your blog.

    I have been a full-time blogger since 2013 with my blog The Gluten Free Lifesaver. My main income comes from sponsored posts and social media marketing for brands, through my blogging channels. My next step will be e-products, which I am looking forward to creating.

    For me, it took a while before I worked out what kind of income stream suited my brand and worked for my audience. It was a learning curve, seeing as I had no experience with blogging when I started. All the while, it was important to me to remain true to my concept and my readers, and at the same time be mindful of not overextending myself. Because of this, I turned down many alternative ways to make money from my blog along the way. Eventually I found what worked for me, and now I put my effort into creating long-term partnerships with brands that I love.

    I have found that long-term collaborations secures an income over time, so that I don’t have to look for sponsors all the time. It gives me security in an otherwise challenging industry. I am happy I kept my focus, as I have created a good base for myself which enables me to keep blogging for a living.

    So, Kate is right: you don’t have to blog about blogging to make money. You just have to find your niche and provide a great service to those who follow you.

    The money will follow!

    Thanks again Kate 🙂

    -Kristine

  15. Kate McKibbin

    March 3rd, 2016 at 10:49 am

    Woo hoo, well done! And I couldn’t agree more. Long running relationships are so much better, easier and more enjoyable than lots and lots of one-hit wonders xx
    Also I just checked out your site (I am GF too), and it looks amazing, I will be making a few of those recipes for sure! x

  16. Lisa

    March 2nd, 2016 at 9:16 pm

    I TOTALLY agree… When I was first introduced to the internet marketing / blogging world I was almost put off by the amount of this I saw! But happy to say that my blog (www.theballetblog.com) is now a self sufficient and essential part of my business! It provides a well needed volume of quality information to those who need it most, and is a platform for marketing my more in depth products and workshops to those who can’t come and see me in person. Everyone wins! Thanks for talking about the elephant in the room tho!!!

  17. Kate McKibbin

    March 3rd, 2016 at 10:49 am

    Everyone wins, exactly. Love that, and well done, sounds live you’ve built a great blogging business. x

  18. Liz

    March 3rd, 2016 at 7:22 am

    This is an old chestnut of a question regarding blogging livelihoods, rather like the question: ‘is it possible to make money from ecourses / ebooks when there’s so much free stuff out there’. Of course one can monetize; I’ve made some cash – not a total income but enough on the side – from a destination blog. My heart wasn’t in it so I didn’t push to make more. I am now working on another blog in health and wellness which is my passion and quite sure the related eproducts and real products will be monetizable. The question was covered by your compatriot – Darren Rowse of Problogger – a couple of years ago. He has a great mind map and video covering off various ways to make money. He also runs a photography blog which he says actually makes him way more than Problogger (hard to imagine, but true!). Darren shows that where there’s real passion and drive, and some market research and sense, one can monetize in a huge variety of ways from old school style to premium membership sites and webinars. If you’re hungry enough and blogging about a passion, I believe it’s possible.

  19. Kate McKibbin

    March 3rd, 2016 at 10:50 am

    Love Darren, he definitely pioneered this space (and just one of the nicest humans too!)

    And I definitely agree, if you are hungry enough anything is possible x

  20. Lauren

    March 3rd, 2016 at 7:26 am

    This was a great post and is absolutely something that I have thought of! People make money telling people how to make money…it’s kind of funny, lol! Ultimately, people want to know how to make money doing something that they love so that they can ideally leave their 9-5. That’s why these courses and coaching packages sell like hotcakes. I think the key factor is that everyone is different and their approach to making money blogging is going to be different, so the reason that blogging courses sell so well is because the way that the coach/course creator delivers the content is going to be in their own unique voice. Some course creators use lots of profanity and that appeals to a certain audience while others don’t prefer it. That’s the beauty of the internet…there are so many options out there and though the subject matter may be the same, the delivery will always be unique!

  21. Kate McKibbin

    March 3rd, 2016 at 10:52 am

    Definitely. I know everyone needs to learn different things, and will get benefit from being taught in different ways. So it is fantastic that there are such a great range of voices and options out there.

    My only gripe is when you get copycats (because they’ve seen someone who has been really successful doing something in a certain way), because that really doesn’t help anyone. It’s so much better to just embrace who you are, and share that authentically, and the right people will resonate with it. x

  22. Lauren

    March 4th, 2016 at 2:56 am

    So true! Copycats are the WORST! If everyone would just be their true selves things would be so much better 🙂

  23. Charlie

    March 3rd, 2016 at 10:21 am

    Haha I love this question – because I have SOO thought this question before! I like the way you put it Kate – how is this any different from progressing to being a teacher, advisor, consultant etc. Or even just helping someone out because they ask you a question – it’s not like you would turn your back on them.

    Maybe our inner-conflict about teaching blogging arises from the fact that we are used to a school of thought or other domains where you must practise something for decades before you are proficient to be considered an expert or know enough to teach like art, math, science etc. But I think what goes hand-in-hand with this thought is that we are referring to things that have a slower rate of change.

    Whereas with blogging, first it’s a new area so it is amazing that we keep sharing all that we know and learn with one another and the other thing is that it exists in the digital domain (and there is always a different, new or improved way to do things so I guess there is more knowledge to share).

    So Kate I love the fact that you have moved beyond the ickyness. You’ve overcome your bad inner-self talk, your “inner-mean girl” (as Melissa Ambrosini refers to her). I think this is really inspiring not to allow ourselves to get in the way of ourselves.

    I really like this post – I think it’s motivated me to share more about what I’m learning as I am establishing my blog – I think I’m going to create a blog post series on tips from what I learn. If what you have learnt through trial and error (and pain!) provides value to someone else and helps them avoid the time delay of going through this themselves then why does that have to be a bad thing. I just chuckled to myself – why is it that we drive a car to a destination 30 mins away rather than walk like we used to in ancient times? Well, we appreciate the benefit of reaching that destination in 30 mins rather than 2 hours and you know what we are okay with paying for that time gained.

  24. Kate McKibbin

    March 3rd, 2016 at 10:55 am

    Yes, exactly, love how you put it. I wish there were more (ok any) people doing blogging courses back when I started 8 years ago, because imagine how much faster everyone would have been able to grow?
    It was the wild wild west back then, and I would have definitely been glad to pay for any shortcuts out of there 🙂 x

  25. Charlie

    March 3rd, 2016 at 11:18 am

    Haha ye insert {tumbleweed blowing across the landscape} image here

  26. Icy Sedgwick

    March 3rd, 2016 at 7:44 pm

    I’ve been blogging since 2009 to support my fiction writing and I think the thing I’ve seen change the most is that people don’t leave comments any more. When I started out, people would comment on each others’ blogs, and they’d go and visit new blogs based on the comments someone had left somewhere else, and it was a supportive community. Now everyone is bombarded with so many blog posts that it’s difficult to secure returning readers, and people seem to think simply retweeting a link is showing enough engagement, and it doesn’t. It’s really demoralising.

  27. Kate McKibbin

    March 4th, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    Have you ever thought about starting up a Facebook group for your readers? A lot of bloggers / brands etc.. do that now, it’s just a different way of creating a space for conversation.
    You normally have to theme it around something, so maybe other writers? Just an idea 🙂 x

  28. Manja

    March 11th, 2016 at 1:33 pm

    Hi there! I was wondering…Does anyone have any insight on the blogcademy course? I am a documentary photographer and I have wanted to start a blog for some time now, but have been crippled by the fear of taking the plunge. Largely because I still don’t have a clear vision of what my content would be. Anyway, I was thinking that I should take a course like blogcademy as an in depth guide on how to start my blog, but I’m not entirely sure if it’s necessary to dish out $500 for a blogging course given all the free information already out there. Any advice? Thanks!

  29. Kate McKibbin

    March 12th, 2016 at 11:47 am

    Hi Manja,

    I can’t speak for the Blogcademy course, but I actually offer my own course, the Blogger’s MBA which is an online course and I have seen it get amazing results for so many bloggers (and yes, we spend a lot of time helping you get crystal clear on what you offer and what direction and strategies will work best for the kind of blog you want to create). You can check it all out here – http://katemckibbins.wpengine.com/enroll-now x

  30. Nisha

    September 18th, 2016 at 5:55 am

    As I scrolled through my daily Pinterest feed. Pinning several “beginner blog pins” only to realize I’ve already pinned and read basically the same things over and over.Some days I feel like all my work is pointless and I’ll never financially gain anything from my blog. I read and watch blog after blog of people making thousands a month. Most of which are trying to sign me up for a course. Leaving me pondering this very question.I’m trying so hard to understand all the ins and outs to monetizing my blog. I’m a very analytical person not always a good quality but I’ve accepted it lol! So this is a good to see. Makes a little more sense.

  31. Fiona

    December 6th, 2017 at 9:15 pm

    Sometimes the thought runs through my head. But I do know a guy who shows women in Mexico how to land themselves a man. He does E-books and courses and is just now becoming really successful at what he does.

31

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