blog business tips I learnt the hard way

My blog is five years old this October. I think we need to have a party. Don’t you? Remind me to organise something, if you would. This time of reflection over the past few months had me thinking about what I’ve learnt, about blogs and business, and blogs as a business. Blog business. And since I was pondering, and you guys like blogging related posts, I thought I’d share what I came up with.

If you’re running a small business, they will work for you too even though they are blog business specific. We are going to talk about doing business, about how to cope when things gets too much and some tips of being diverse with your income. Want mooore? Read on.

1. When your blog becomes your business, you might not like it that much any more.

Not liking your blog any more happened to me. You heard all about it when I shared about the death of my blog. I read somewhere that a large percentage of small business owners enter the business they are in because they have a love for it or do it well. This won’t be enough. It will get you started but it won’t keep the fires burning for long.

Your blog was all sunshine, lollipops and rainbows, right? You are frolicking in a meadow of awesome. Then you have to answer emails, negotiate prices, contracts and timelines. Then someone is a jerk, business gets slow, or you have to hustle in a way you’ve never had to hustle before. It feels like work {because it is}.

And with the effort, failures and setbacks appear this thing called resentment. You know the one. Good old resentment. Followed closely by his friend obligation and close relative sucking at time management. That will be the time you might not like your blog very much any more.

Don’t be afraid to make changes so that you feel good again. Remind yourself that having your own business is challenging and requires something unique from you but that it is worth it. Don’t give up learning the things you need to learn to make the whole process easier. That will chip away at the resentment, and you’ll be back in that honeymoon phase before you know it.

2. Do business; Keep records, know your product and learn to sell.

The best fashion designer in the world may have to shut their doors if they can’t manage the business side of things. And they do, it’s in the headlines all the time. Managing your record keeping, invoicing and general business activities will become key. The biggest blog out there might be entirely unsuccessful at turning it into a business.

If your blog is to become your business, aside from creating killer content, you need to treat it like a business. Set office hours and deadlines, keep your receipts, start a filing system {it could be as simple as a binder and a hole punch}, have standards for yourself and set goals that you want to deliver. You do business.

I assume by now that you know how to blog and that it’s all ticking over beautifully. It’s time to switch your self-education focus to learning about business. What makes a successful business, how to market yourself and your products and why it’s important to get over this idea that making money is somehow selfish and diminishing your ability to be you.

3. Not everyone is your friend to be your friend, know when to say enough is enough.

Unfortunately in business, as well as in life, there are people who will ask more of you than it is okay for you to give. You need to know what your line in the sand is and hold firm on that. As a blogger your inbox will start to fill with complimentary emails proclaiming opportunities for you to partner with this person or that brand.

Let me say this, you don’t owe any of those people anything. No matter how great their pitch is, how interested you may have been, when all is said and done you don’t know them any more than your professional courtesy. That’s it. It’s not your responsibility to sell their brand. That’s their job. And will you want to help them now and then, sure but always remember that no matter how nice you are, that’s not your problem.

4. Knowing what to charge is almost impossible.

For most bloggers and small businesses knowing what to charge is difficult. Too high and you might lose business, too low and you’ll be super busy but not getting anywhere. So you have to find a middle ground.

I offer two sponsored post spots on this blog a month. I set a price starting from $550 per post for those posts and while I’ve been told that’s high by people trying to secure those spots for free, I know it’s not. It’s what my time and reach is worth. There was a time when it was cheaper and I had more posts to do. Same amount of work each time but less reward.

So I changed and I became more selective and I’m happy with the results. My advice for price setting is to do your research, find out what others are charging and then set a price you’re happy with. The good news is, you can always change your mind. Be aware though that once you ‘discount’ a price it will be forever considered discounted. I still have one company that comes back to me time after time for a discounted rate. I’d caved once in the start and because the money was going to come in handy. They’ve used it as evidence ever since that I can and have done it for less. Don’t make this mistake. When it comes to money, some people are like elephants. They never forget.

5. Diversify your income or be prepared to suffer the financial big one.

The first stream of income I ever had from my blog was via advertising. It wasn’t much but it covered the costs of hosting a blog and some months would mean the blog was chipping in for the internet costs. But the thing no one tells you is that advertising fluctuates from month to month {especially in fashion based niche} so one month your spots are full and the next, you could have half of them empty.

It’s bad news for budgeting.

I took a look and employed some business savvy I’d been given by my parents and I diversified the ways I earn income from the blog. Ensuring there are a number of ways you make money on your blog is good practice whether we are talking $10, $100 or $100,000.

Diversified how? Well I also sell ad space, consult to local businesses on their social media, freelance posts/articles, build blogs and websites and sell my eBook {soon to be books plural – yay}. It all makes up an income stream that I call ‘blog income’. It’s not anything to write home about compared to some, but it keeps this girl in internet and ankle boots so that’s all that matters.

If your blog is your business, start to diversify the way it makes you money and give yourself some semblance of security of knowing that you if your ad sales drop you’ve still got other ways to pay the bills. Without diversification, you’re one of those all the eggs in the one basket kind of business owners. Make a change.

blog business tips I learnt the hard way square

And that my friends are a few tips from the business side of blogging that I thought I’d share. I know for some of you this post will mean nothing. You either don’t blog or have no intention of making money on your blog. Great. No problem at all. I’ll be back again tomorrow with an outfit post and all will be right in the world. Promise.