Really quickly, guys… What do these three blogs have in common?
If you guessed topic, you're wrong. Ha. The right answer is that all of the bloggers behind these websites used their blogs to launch a lucrative career in their topic of interest. They're not alone, either. There are thousands of others who have left corporate careers and work they don't love to pursue blogging full time (or have found amazing work because of their blogs). Right now is a fascinating time in the career landscape. It's never been more possible to design the lifestyle you want to lead, earn money online in an honest and useful way, and feel fulfilled and challenged by the work you do. And if you're watching this all go down online from the sidelines, it may be time to get on the field before you end up on the losing team.
I Challenge You… (Yes, You)
We're still early enough in the year to make some seriously cool shit happen.
That's me when the best day of the week lands on the first day of the best month. Anyhow… I'm giving you a challenge. Yes, you. I'm challenging you to start a blog. Blogging is the one thing that has made the biggest impact on my career, life, health, happiness and even relationships in the past five years. My split decision to start a blog back in 2010 led to more growth, personal development, friendships, opportunities and yes, money, than I ever thought was possible from one small thing. This is the first of a series of guides to help you start your blog. You don't have to start it today – we'll get to exactly how to do that by the end of the week – but remember… It all starts with an audience. And the best way to create an audience is still blogging.
Who Is Blogging For?
Professional blogging is the dream, but it may seem like something for “other” people… The people born with a pen in their hands, a natural aptitude for Twitter, and a lot of friends to cheer them on. But blogging is arguably the single best way to build your own career, and it's not just for those people described above. It's for everybody and anybody. Think back to how many hours you spent in school studying to earn your degree or diploma. Imagine how much you could learn about blogging you spent eight hours per day, five days per week for four years on a blog? You'd have created your own amazing career. Even aside from the ability to work from anywhere, on your own schedule, and being connected to the entire world – there isn't a single career out there that provides the sheer volume of benefits that blogging does. Benefits like…
Benefit #1: Blogging to Give You a Platform
As you create content on your topic, you begin to build an audience. The elusive audience is the most effective and desirable thing for any entrepreneur out there, online or off, for several reasons:
- Your audience is your client and customer base – they are the ones who end up paying you for the things you make
- An audience makes a product a lot easier to successfully launch
- Having an established audience gives you credibility, which rakes in the dough (or the job offers, if that's what you are after).
A blog is one of the best ways to develop an audience around a topic that you love (or even just one you're interested in).
Benefit #2: Blogging for Authority
If you go about your career in blogging and social media in the right way, there is no better way to establish yourself as an authority on a subject than through blogging. Sharing your voice and your knowledge on a particular topic, and putting it out there for the world to see is an incredible authority building tool. How awesome would it be to be known as “Tom the DIY design guy”? (Well, not so cool if you're not Tom and you aren't into DIY design… but you catch my drift).
Benefit #3: Blogging for Expertise
If you weren't an expert in your topic when you began blogging, you'll be one after you've been blogging about it for awhile. When you create content on a regular basis on one central theme or topic, it's difficult to not become an expert. Naturally, you'll be spending a lot more time thinking about, researching, and reading up on the topic. I don't believe in the 10,000 hours to become an expert rule, but if 10,000 hours comes very quickly as a blogger. You might be thinking…
What comes first? The expertise or the blog? You don't need to be an expert in your topic to start a successful blog in it. You can be a leading learner. We'll get into that in the next guide in this series.
Benefit #4: Blogging for Impact
Good blogs provide value to others – whether the value comes from entertainment, inspiration, or information.
- If you are entertaining your audience, you're giving them something to unwind with. Entertainment is a great form of stress relief.
- If you are inspiring your audience, they can use the inspiration to do something meaningful in their own lives.
- If you are informing your audience, you can help people get from where they are, to where they want to be.
If you do blogging properly, you're making an impact. The world needs your voice. It's selfish to keep it to yourself. Share your ideas, knowledge, and self with the world.
Benefit #5: Blogging for Opportunities
Blogging can lead to opportunity, even if you don't want to build your own business from your blog. Seth Godin introduces the concept of a career being a series of projects, as opposed to a series of jobs or one main job that takes you through to retirement. A blog (or series of blogs) can naturally unfold into the next project. Whether you want to get paid to travel, work with amazing brands you believe in, get a bunch of free stuff or just get paid to do what you love on the side, bloggers have a ton of opportunity.
Benefit #6: Blogging for Income
We've already talked about how so many people are launching careers and businesses from their blogs. A business isn't a business without revenue. So another huge benefit of becoming a blogger is the money. I put this last for a reason: blogging, despite what you may have heard, is not passive income. We'll get into just how not passive it is in just a moment, but blogging can absolutely be a lucrative business to be in. Bloggers make millions upon millions of dollars per year.
- Huffington Post, a massively popular multi-authored blog, earns over 2.3 million dollars per month.
- Perez Hilton's celebrity gossip blog earns over $450,000 monthly.
- Even smaller blogs like Pinch of Yum earn over $30,000 per month through one revenue stream alone.
We'll get into exactly how blogs can earn money in another guide in this series, but another question that might be on your mind is…
How Long Does It Take to Become a Pro Blogger?
If I had a dollar for every time somebody said something like…
“I wish I could just quit my job and blog. It would be so much easier!” Well, I'd be doing the exact same thing as I'm doing right now but maybe from a penthouse in Dubai or something. Newsflash: Nothing good comes easy, and that's the same with a blog that actually earns money. Are you willing to put your nose down and consistently work on your blog and growing your audience in all of your spare time? You can probably build a profitable blog in under a year (depending on your niche). This will take around 20 hours per week of hard, focused work. Not the type of work where you're refreshing your email and checking Instagram every five minutes. Actual work, where you're blocking out all distractions and grinding. You may have read that and thought:
“There's no way I have an extra 20 hours in my week!” That's not true. You do. So does your busiest friend, and so do I (even with my work with Sumo, Unsettle, the group coaching program, my individual coaching clients, the podcast, Power Sessions, travel, and EtsyHowTo). If you want it badly enough, you have far more than 20 hours per week.
- You have your lunch breaks at work
- You have the ability to wake up an hour earlier each day
- You have every single minute you spend checking Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
- You have the time you spend watching Netflix
- You have your commute
- You have the time you'd spend sipping cocktails and eating mac n' cheese balls with your friends on Friday night
I could go on, but I don't want to keep beating a dead issue of how much free time you truly do have. I replaced my day job income and then some in just six months with Unsettle alone (and before that, my other online businesses carried me). But I did things a bit differently. First of all, I had four years worth of knowledge of blogging under my belt. I invested heavily in my education about writing, social media, and marketing, mostly in time but in courses, coaching, and conferences. Secondly, I invested heavily in tools, like LeadPages to create easy to use landing pages, Aweber to collect emails and grow my audience and even some productivity tools. Finally, I looked at Unsettle like a business or another career I'd try to build. I realized that I spent tens of thousands of dollars and five years in school to earn my degree to (hopefully) land a job I didn't even know I'd like. I'd be crazy not to spend a few thousand dollars and a relatively small portion of my time to build a career I knew I'd love. So if you sort of want this, but you don't want to invest as much time and effort as I did, you can still have it. It will just take you a lot longer. Take action, be consistent, and when you are working on your blog, focus. And if you're thinking “what about work/life balance?!”, just remember that balance can never truly be achieved, and striving always for balance is like striving always for mediocrity. There is naturally always tension in some areas of your life and to truly succeed in anything, you need to do it at the peril of others.
I hope you accept my challenge to start a blog. And if you have, I've written a 6-step tutorial on how to do just that. And remember… Blogging is not easy, and it's certainly not passive. But if you want to take your life to the next level, work on a project that is your own, build an audience around a topic you love and get paid to do so, it's so worth it. Challenge accepted? Let me know by popping into the Facebook group and letting us know.