When you're excited and terrified at the same time, I call it the ‘happily-terrified feeling'.
Strange feeling, isn’t it?
This is exactly what it feels like to start your own successful business and make money blogging.
And it's tons better than being stuck in a dead-end job you hate knowing there's more to life.
Is it risky to make money blogging? Not really – to run all my online businesses only costs me $47 a month and I didn't quit my job and make the move from the UK to Thailand until my blogs were generating enough money for me to do so.
You can read my success story here.
But even though there's little financial risk at stake, I know it can still be a little nerve-wracking to step out into something new and unknown. That's why it's so important to get the right training and community support.
Starting a blog and making money from it isn't some quick and automated get rich quick program and you'll have to work at it before you'll reap any rewards. (I blogged everyday for 3 months before I even saw my first sale.)
You'll be learning new things almost every day at the beginning… some people think this it's scary – I just think it's exciting! The good thing is as you start your blog, work at it and stick at it, you'll pass enough milestones along the way to keep you motivated like:
- Making your first affiliate sale
And then something magical seems to happen at the 6 month mark… all of a sudden you'll find you're ranking number one in Google for certain keyword phrases, you'll see more daily visitors to your blog and what started out as a slow and unpredictable trickle will soon turn into a daily steady stream of sales.
And all these things push you to keep going; it helps to keep that passion and fire to be in control of your own life and become all you were created to be.
But passion alone won't pay those bills. You know it, I know it. In the end, at some point, your blog needs to start making money. You need a reliable and consistent income from your blog.
And honestly, we're at a great point in history to make money blogging!
The Blogging Revolution is here and people are just starting to wake up to the enormous potential of becoming a self-made, independent online business owner.
Just think, anyone with a laptop and internet connection can grow an online platform, build an audience, provide help and value through their content and make money in the process.
Blogging gives you a virtual store that's open 24/7 with a potential global customer base of 3 billion online daily users that's set to reach 4 billion by 2020.
And that’s something to get flippin' excited about!
But 81% of bloggers never earn more than $100 and crawl back to their day jobs
Why is it then that despite the huge opportunities and 81% of bloggers never make more than $100 blogging?
Let’s be honest, setting up a blog is more than choosing a fancy looking website theme and adding nice photos to your ‘About me‘ page.
Sometimes it can seem like there's just so much to learn about building and running a successful revenue-generating blog can be overwhelming even for the most strong of heart.
Getting started with this making money blogging malarkey feels like trying to jump through the window of a train that's running at 200 mph.
And that’s when the standing at the foot of a huge mountain reality threatens to steal the online income dreams and personal success goals right out of our very hands.
Isn't online entrepreneurship about being bold to take action, being consistent and learning by our mistakes along the way?
Because it's not just about having a goal and running passionately but blindly in any direction, but having a proven track to run on, taking your blog in the right direction with the bigger picture in mind.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. Blogging is changing all the time and no one can know exactly what steps they'll be taking in a year or 2 years from now. Entrepreneurship can never be a certain thing. And you’re right.
But in our passion to say goodbye to the pain-in-the-arse boss, to move our blogging businesses forward and get one step closer to achieving our online income goals we can easily forget or try to short cut important steps in the online business building process.
Ironically, it's sometimes our eagerness to create a passive income that will give our lives the freedom to be meaningful, that we miss the mark on the most important things and start to make mistakes that hurt us and our blogs.
We can easily overlook or misunderstand some of the vital pressure-bearing building blocks that we and our blogging businesses need to succeed in the long-term.
Well, the good news is that most of the common mistakes aspiring make money bloggers make are completely avoidable and you can avoid even the most common pitfalls, if you know what they are.
So here are 5 of the biggest mistakes I see aspiring bloggers make and how you can avoid them to start making money with your blog like a pro in no time!
Mistake #1: Bloggers who fail do so for lack of a clear vision
Building a successful blog doesn't happen in one giant leap, rather it's a series of small steps, each step taking you closer to your end goal.
I see many aspiring bloggers having a clear purpose (the why) but no clearly defined process (the how) on how to get there.
There's a huge difference between what people want and the actions they take.
[alert-note]”Direction, not intention is what determines our destination.
– Andy Stanley“[/alert-note]
The blogs that actually make money always have short and long term goals. The most successful bloggers don't just write blog posts, hit publish and hope for the best, instead they where each step they take fits into the overall strategy of their blog.
Each you put time aside to write a blog post you need to be surethat you're taking an action step that will get you closer to your online business goal: make every single blog post count.
In th short-term it might mean a pike in traffic, i the long-term this might mean higher Google rankings, more email subscribers and ultimately more affiliate commissions.
The problem with having no clear blogging action plan is that the temptation to get blown around by every revolutionary new system or tactic that comes out on a daily basis.
Here are just some of the irresistible emails that popped their way into my inbox this week:
- Get 100,000 more YouTube subscribers in the next 30 days
- Get 100,000 more email subscribers using Facebook ads
- Automate your social media postings
- Become a popular guest blogger
And there's more to come next week I'm sure…
So you get sidetracked, blown about here, there and everywhere. Instead of following one blogging strategy or business model, you take odds and ends from everywhere and thrown together and you're left trying to make sense of it.
Instead of creating a masterpiece, you create a dizzying mishmash that will disillusion and debilitate you, causing you to fall out of the race altogether.
Here's a few examples of what having an unclear blogging action plan ultimately looks like:
- You decide to focus on building your list of email subscribers by guest bloggers, but then you try to do it quicker by paying for a few Facebook ads. And for good measure, you try out a new strategy to get more Pinterest followers using some of the ‘latest techniques'.
- As you work on getting more traffic to your blog, you decide to try a little bit of everything: social media, random Google busting surefire systems and why not… just throw some solo swaps in there too.
- As you work on getting your eBook finished, you suddenly decide to try out weekly webinars with your Google+ circles and while you're at it, you launch a few Google Adsense campaigns into the mix.
You just need one track to run on, one direction you're taking your blog in. Grabbing bits and peices of this strategy here or that system there isn't a strategy at all – it's just a load of random ideas bunched together.
So avoid making this common blogging mistake of a ‘pick and mix' style business model, because it's not a blogging strategy at all.
Now at this stage, you might think:
Hey, it’s my blog, I can take it in whatever direction I want!
And yes of course you can.
But what if what if what you're doing is stopping you from taking your blogging business where you want it to go?
I know it’s not easy to hear. For me too. But it’s true.
So pick an online mentor and stick with them, or choose an affiliate marketing course and be consistent. For me, I started my make money blogging journey at Wealthy Affiliate, they teach you the full A-Z of affiliate marketing in an easy to digest, progressive order so I've never had any reason to look anywhere else.
Be consistent enough to give that one strategy a chance to shine on its own.
Mistake #2. Bloggers fail because they have to do everything themselves
We’ve all been there. Your car needs servicing, so you decide to train as a mechanic and do the work yourself.
Except, of course, you don’t.
But that’s exactly the approach many aspiring bloggers take with their blogs.
When we need a specialist skill so our blogs can breakthrough to the next level, instead of simply outsourcing to an expert and saving our time for the more important things, we'll waste hours and hours struggling in frustration or spend hundreds of dollars on courses and books.
But if I’ve learned anything in the past three years as an owner of three revenue generating blogs, it's this:
If you want to be a money making blogger, trying to do everything yourself will limit the growth of your business.
It just doesn't make sense. There's a limit on what you yourself can do and once your online business reaches a certain point, you should outsource the most painstaking tasks to someone else.
Are you guilty of making any of these common blogging mistakes?
- You drown yourself trying to learn html code, spending hours trying to tweak your WordPress theme when a simple WordPress plug or more user-friendly theme will do the job easier and quicker?
- You need a high quality landing sales page for your blog so instead of outsourcing it to a professional copywriter who could do it in 3 days at a small one-off cost, you decide to make $2,000 for a copywriting course, spend time going through the course only to come up with a landing page that isn't half as good.
- You waste time trying to get your head around Photoshop so you can make images for your blog posts and Pinterest boards instead of just hiring a designer on Fiverr.com who can make beautifully designed images for a small one off payment that will free up your time to concentrate on building your business.
- You waste time trying to learn video editing instead of simply sending your clips to someone who can edit quicker and get the result you're looking for so you can grow your channel quicker.
The list goes on and on…
I totally get it
When you're first starting a blogging business, you're not just a blogger – you're an online entrepreneur you might think a new entrepreneur has to wear all the hats. But remember, you’re only one person and how many hats can you wear before it damages your business or you burn out?
Most bloggers make the mistake of trying to assume the roles of CEO, marketing manager, SEO expert, content creator, website developer, customer service assistant, photographer, video editor and copywriter if they want to make serious money with their blog.
But if you think it's tough trying to do everything when you first start, I promise it it only gets worse as your online businesses take off.
There's the two major reasons bloggers insist on trying to do everything themselves:
1) “If a job's worth doing, it's worth doing myself – I'll do a better job anyway”
It's not that you want the job done in a good way, it's that you want it done your way.
It's a trust issue, some bloggers trying to build a successful blog don't like the feeling of losing control (which is an illusion, they're working for you and you get the final say after all)
Your blog will reach a point where it's making money and it's
no longer feasible impossible to do everything yourself.
Ad it's at this point smart bloggers will let go of some of the reins and outsource to others more able. If you can’t do this, you’ll never scale your business and your blog will never reach it's money making potential.
2) “I don't have the money right now to pay designers, software developers and social media experts”
I understand that when you first start a blog you might need to do everything yourself until you start getting paid.
But you need to outsource as soon as you can.
I did everything on my first blog; I spent days tweaking my WordPress theme trying to get the exact look I wanted. I obsessed over and wasted lots of time trying to make my own images for each post, the result? A low quality amateur result.
A year later I built my second blog outsourcing as many things as I could (with the exception of writing blog posts); I paid for a premium WordPress theme that was easier to customise, outsourced image creation and paid a designer to come up with a professional logo and paid a programming expert to make tweaks on my site if I wanted them.
If you're just starting a blog that's not making money you can re-invest yet, there are certain things you can do to make your budget stretch further.
For instance: use a free WordPress theme with basic customisations, use free social share plugins and use free sites like dafont.com to get a simple text-based logo up on your blog.
Mistake #3. Bloggers fail due to lack of support or the right know-how
Support is the difference between becoming a successful blogger or quitting
Most aspiring money-making bloggers start off strong then at some point they hit a brick wall. It could be they're not seeing results as quickly as they hoped, or they get overwhelmed with the task of running a blog.
They try to talk to friends and family but they just don't ‘get it', “Blogging is fine as a hobby” they'll say,”but making money with a blog? Really? Why not just get a proper job?”
The biggest mistake most beginner bloggers make is trying to figure out everything on their own, cooped up in their bedrooms hidden away from the world.
The truth is blogging was never meant to be a one man show and just as with almost anything else in life, there's going to be points in your blogging journey that you'll have questions, need mentors, advice and feedback.
For me, I was lucky. I started out on the path of online entrepreneurship in the biggest community of bloggers called Wealthy Affiliate.
(You can find out more in my 4,880 word Wealthy Affiliate review here)
After your FREE 7 day trial Wealthy Affiliate domain registration, hosting, training and community support can all be accessed for $19 for the first month and $49 per month (no minimum contract).
There have been many times when I felt stuck and instead of feeling disheartened and quitting the whole blogging thing altogether, instead I reached out to bloggers who were more experienced and more successful than me.
So if you're serious about building your blog into an online money making business, if you're ever not sure, have a question or just need some advice, simply send an email, reach out to someone who can help you get over this small hurdle.
The right know-how
The truth is, there's so many ways to make money with your blog but most bloggers never make any money because they simply don't have the right know-how.
If your passion, determination and work ethic is the engine that drives your blog forward, the right training and knowledge is what steers your blog in the right direction.
Without the right know-how, it's easy to make mistakes like:
- Choosing the wrong type of business model to monetise your blog
- Promote the wrong affiliate product that harms your blog's reputation
- Try to short-cut the make money blogging process
- Target the wrong type of people to your blog from the wrong sources
- Pick the wrong blogging niche to start with meaning it's hard to come up with fresh content ideas
The only affiliate marketing course I recommend for bloggers looking to make money from their blogs is Wealthy Affiliate.
Aside from being the largest online community of blogger and online entrepreneurs, it's got the best professional blogging training I've ever seen anywhere.
They guided me through the steps of never starting a blog before to getting my first blog up and running, getting my first Google rankings to making my first sale. Three years on I'm still very much an active member of the community.
Here's a snapshot of the first training course. Included are in-depth video tutorials, step by step guides and interactive question and answer areas.
Mistake #4. Bloggers fail trying to copycat somebody else
The fourth biggest mistake I see many aspiring full-time bloggers making is one any of us can fall into.
Let's say you visit a successful blog, you can see they get hundreds of comments on every post, they've got hundreds of thousands of YouTube subscribers and have lots of zeros on their monthly earnings reports.
It's easy to think if they are successful, all you need to do is copy what they're doing and you'll experience the same success – this couldn't be further from the truth.
There's absolutely nothing wrong with taking inspiration and ideas from others, but there’s a real danger in copying your role models too closely if you're not careful. If you copy your role models too closely, instead of building your own blog you'll just end up with a cheap copycat version of someone else's.
And the problem is – you won't become a successful blogger in the same way somebody else did, because you're not them, you're you.
I'm not saying you can't be as popular or build a similar level of income as them online, it's just that you're at your best when you're being you, not a second-rate version on someone else.
If you want your blog to be successful, you'll need to differentiate your blog from every other blog in your niche. You can do this by tackling topics from your own angle, by sharing your own experiences and letting your own personality shine through.
Next time you're tempted to copycat someone a little too much, ask yourself, what kind of money-making blogger do you want to be: the best version of yourself or a cheap imitation of somebody else?
Mistake #5. Bloggers fail to make money because they don't want it enough
Have you ever found yourself on a sales page for an online course and near the ‘buy it now‘ button you'll see something like:
“This isn't an automatic, guaranteed make money scheme – work is required. If you're not willing to take action on what you're about to learn, this course isn't for you.“
But here’s the thing…
Nobody tells you what “willing to take action” actually means…
You must be willing to make this a priority, you must want it enough make sacrifices to put the hours in.
Building a blogging business takes time, money and energy. If you’re seriously looking to make money online with this blogging thing, something's got to give.
No money making blogging pro got where they are without making a few sacrifices along the way. For me, since starting my blogging portfolio I've had to change a few things to get my blogs off the ground.
- Watching less films and TV (even the latest must-see Netflix series)
- Dropping some of the hobbies you used to do in your spare time
- Blogging in the evenings and weekends when you're tired and don't exactly feel inspired
- Declining some event invites from family and friends (and getting into trouble for it)
- Being less dedicated to your 9-5 which could effect your offline career
This doesn't mean you're not allowed to spend time with family or have fun. I'm not saying you have grow an allergy to sunlight to become a blogging bedroom hermit – I'm just saying, successful bloggers know how to organise their time and make building their business a priority.
For me, Saturday is usually my blogging day. It's the day I cut out the distractions and set time aside to grow my online businesses.
It might be a good idea to go through your weekly schedule, make a list of all the things you spend time doing. Set specific times for blogging and stick to them.
For each thing you've written down, ask yourself what is more important to you than making money blogging and if it's not, cut it.
I can’t tell you how you need to change your life or what you need to cut from your weekly schedule, it's totally up to you.
But I can tell you, if you're serious about becoming a money making blogging, even with the best support and know-how, if you don't make it a priority, it simply won't happen; you'll never build your online businesses to give you the freedom you need to life the life of your dreams.
On a more positive note…
My hope is that by sharing the biggest mistakes aspiring making money blogging pros make, you'll be able to recognise where the pits are early and avoid making the same mistakes yourself.
The truth is, starting and building my blogging portfolio is one of my proudest achievements. You can read my story here but briefly:
I joined Wealthy Affiliate in March 2013 when I was working shifts at a huge call centre in Leeds, England and living with my mum (31 years old). I started blogging and got to the point where in September of the same year I was earning the equivalent of a full-time income which meant I could finally quit the 9-5 and make the move to Thailand where I am today.
I live the life of my dreams and I will never take it for granted. I get to work as a volunteer working with kids in slums all because of the income my blogs give me.
Starting an online business is risky, no doubt about it. But you can be good at this and you can change your life.
Save yourself a fortune, a ton of time and emotional torment by avoiding these biggest mistakes and you're already well on your way to becoming a make money blogging pro!
Can I absolutely guarantee your success?
But when you've got the right support and know-how, mixed with huge dollops of stubbornness and determination you're almost unstoppable.
So dream big and do bigger. And if you do make a mistake or two along your blogging journey, stand yourself up, brush yourself off, learn something useful from it and keep on walking forward.
Because that’s what real blogging pros do.
What have I missed?
What are some of the biggest mistakes you've made as a blogger? Do you have a particular piece of advice for blogging just starting out? Would love to hear your experiences on this one.