How to Turn Your Hobby Blog into a Real Career
If you landed here because you want to make money blogging … and you kinda want to make that money sooner than later … then you’re in the right place!
After all, everyone is talking about how to turn your hobby blog into a real career and make thousands of dollars every month, and I’m guessing you want a little piece of that pie (or a big piece).
Well, I put together this article to help you do just that!
This is the exact system that I personally used to turn my hobby blog into a real career.
After a few months of hard work, my small online business actually became profitable (meaning my income outweighed blogging expenses). After six months, I was making more than $1,000 from my blog every month.
And after just one year of strategic work, my little blogging biz was bringing in more money than I ever made working for an employer.
And the bright side of it all: I get to set my own schedule, spend more time at home with my babies, and live life on my own terms!
It’s not a pipe dream anymore. There are so many opportunities for you to earn an income from home…if that’s what you REALLY want.
BEFORE YOU GET STARTED
I’m all about transparency, so here’s the truth about turning your hobby blog into a career. It’s NOT all sunshine, beaches, and boozy drinks…although that is a fun part of my weekend routine!
Anyways … like I was saying:
Blogging for a living is HARD work. When I say that I spent that first six months working to turn my blog into a business, I mean it. Six months of ACTUAL HARD work. I woke up early, went to bed late, worked all weekend, focused on strategic action etc. I had a goal and a timeline, and I stuck with it, even though it was hard.
Aside from the hard work, I also had previous experience in the online business world (almost a DECADE of experience, to be specific)… and I’m confident that it helped me turn my hobby blog into a money-making machine.
If you thought you could just set up a free blog, write an article here and there, and make money from it, you’d be mistaken.
Consistency and strategy are important pieces of the puzzle. There is a right and a wrong way to BLOG (if you’re trying to turn your hobby blog into a real career, that is).
Don’t let that hold you back, though!
Just let it prepare you for the time, effort, and patience that comes before you actually turn your hobby blog into a profitable blog.
If you’re just getting started and need help setting up your blog, you can find a step-by-step guide in this free ‘Start a Money-Making Blog’ course.
HOW TO TURN YOUR HOBBY BLOG INTO A REAL CAREER
Here are the important things that worked for me when I first started trying to monetize my blog. Of course, you’ll have to find systems that work for you, but these are the general principles and tips that will help!
This post probably contains affiliate links. You can read my full disclosure here.
A confession shall come first, before we get into the nitty gritty: in this article, we discuss how to turn your blog into a career in 6-12 months. To be VERY CLEAR: by the six-month mark of actively and consistently monetizing MY blog, I was making enough money each month to assure me that this absolutely could be my career (and I was going to follow through with this no matter what).
And that bolstered my effort to go onto making a lot MORE money from my blog during that first year of monetizing. Although many bloggers DO turn their blogs into money-making businesses during the first 6-12 months, it is NOT easy and should not be viewed as a get-rich-quick opportunity.
FIRST, FIND YOUR FOCUS
The good thing about your typical 9-5 job is the direction you get from your boss and the help you get from your trainers and fellow employees.
You usually clock in, do your job, and clock out. Your boss tells you what to focus on, and ideally, your team reminds you and guides you along the way.
Of course, this is “best case scenario”.
There are less distractions when you’re working for someone else. In their office. On their clock. Following their rules (that are usually proven to make money already).
When you work for yourself, even more so when you work from home, you’re surrounded by distractions and uncertainties. You might have a spouse, kids, pets, dinner to make, Netflix episodes to catch up on, errands to run…
It’s hard to shut out the noise of day-to-day life and truly FOCUS on your blog or business. But if you want this thing to make money, that’s exactly what you have to do.
So, treat this like a real job, and find your focus.
For me personally, deleting all of the social media apps from my phone was extremely helpful! It’s hard to focus on work when you’re scrolling mindlessly through Facebook and watching funny videos of cats and yummy recipes being made.
My first suggestion: stop scrolling through social media for a bit.
Focus on your blog strategy, creating great content, and learning all you can about building an online business. You will need social media to help you grow, but it needs to be used carefully and strategically.
When you’re first getting started, you don’t need it as much…so brace yourself and delete all those apps today! It will improve your focus tremendously.
NEXT, KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
It’s true that you can ‘technically’ write about anything you want on your blog. The actual definition of a blog “is a discussion or informational website published on the World Wide Web consisting of…informal diary-style, text entries.”
And fun fact for you: the word “blog” is actually short for the term weblog, or web log.
Yes, most blogs are written in a conversational style, and they include informational content. So, why do most people say that you need to find a specific blogging niche to be successful?
Remember, we’re talking about turning your hobby blog into a real career. A real business, and a real business requires real customers.
If your business is selling baby hair bows, what kind of customers are you trying to reach? Probably mothers with small children. If you throw one of your adorable little hair bows into a crowd of 100,000 men in a motorcycle club, how many of them will want to spend money on that hair bow, take it home and use it?
Probably close to ZERO, if not absolutely ZERO.
On the other hand, if you throw that same hair bow into a crowd of 100,000 mommies with small children, how many of them will take it home, put it on their baby, and share the cute pictures on Instagram? Your chances are a lot better.
Moral of the story:
If you’re putting specific content in front of a specific audience and helping them with their specific problems, then you will find success SO MUCH FASTER.
People will start to look to you as the go-to person in the field that you’re writing about (motherhood, fitness, finance etc.) and that’s the best way to grow your audience and make money blogging.
When you’re known for helping your audience with their wants and needs, your words have more weight. The things that you sell, share, and recommend are much more likely to be purchased and/or used by your target market.
If you want some success stories of (9) bloggers in a variety of niche markets, you can find them here..
NEXT, BUILD YOUR BLOG ON THE RIGHT FOUNDATION
If you want to turn your hobby blog into a real career, you’ll need the right foundation. Your website needs to be optimized for your reader. Your web pages should load quickly, your site should be easy to navigate, your content should be easy to read, and your followers should be able to contact you or join your email list with very little effort.
I highly recommend setting up your blog on a self-hosted site using Siteground, which you can learn about here.
Here’s why: self-hosted websites allow you to customize, monetize, and grow your blog faster and easier than any free blogging platform. Self-hosted websites are the ONLY WAY for you to actually own your blog. On every other platform, the host owns your website and you can’t take it with you if you choose to change platforms.
It is such a small investment for such a huge benefit!
In fact, when you use my referral link, you can get hosting that starts at just $3.95/month. It’s an essential part of your blogging foundation.
If you want a step-by-step guide for setting up your blog the right way, follow this insanely detailed FREE blogging course. It has everything you need to know and more, including all that stuff we don’t think about until it’s too late (like setting up your permalink structure and Google Analytics).
NEXT, CREATE SOME KICK-BUTT CONTENT
Once you have your blog set up, you want to make sure that you start writing some great articles that are helpful to your audience and optimized for search engines. We talk a lot about writing great content and search engine optimization in my blogging course here.
Top secret tip: use code BLOGFAN for a huuuuuge discount on the course.
If you take nothing else away from this article, take this away: amazing, epic, kick-booty, highly optimized, helpful content is the ONLY THING that is going to make readers fall in love with you and your blog. It is the ONLY THING that is going to bring readers back and motivate them to spend their hard-earned money on YOU (which we’ll get into later).
ALSO, FOCUS ON BUSINESS STRATEGY
Always keep in mind that you’re running a business here. Who is your ideal customer/client/reader? Who are you helping and how are you helping them? How are you going to finance this business? What revenue streams are you going to focus on? What is your vision for a healthy business one year from now, five years from now, ten years from now?
Every business needs a strategic plan.
Do you have to run your business exactly like I do?
Of course not.
Do you have to “blog about blogging” to make money?
Nope. You don’t have to do that either!
All you need is a proper set up, a solid strategy, consistency, and something helpful that your readers want/need.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
When it’s all said and done, blogging is a fun, flexible, and rewarding career! I started monetizing my blog many years ago, and I’ve never regretted my decision.
You definitely have to do everything that we outlined here, and do it DAILY.
Quick recap: get focused, figure out who your audience is, set up your blog the right way, write awesome content, and be consistent and strategic in your work…but it’s all worth it!
If you need some personalized help jump starting your blog and turning it into a money-maker this year, just set up a strategy session with me right here.
And if you found this article helpful, be sure to pin it for later!