It’s so strange to me that many of the people I know who blog about making your own way in life (some who even have large blog followings) still work a 9 to 5 jobs. I am not saying this as a put down in any way, but I am a business owner first, then a blogger and because of that I’ve been able to create online/offline streams of income that support me and allow me to continue to blog freely here on Escapingthe9to5.com. This is simple to do and once you’ve overcome the hurdle of starting to treat you blog or networks of blogs like a business and not a hobby you’ll see a whole new world open up to you and experience freedom like you never imagined.
Business minded vs. blog minded
Note: if you only use blogs as a means of self expression and have no thoughts of monetizing it this isn’t for you… I suggest you go check out Start Up School so you can escape the 9 to 5 via another business.
To be business minded you first need to ask yourself, is this blog business or personal? If its personal, like I said in the warning above, go fly a kite or something (get outdoors!)… you don’t have to read this nor do you have to worry about being a business owner first and a blogger second. You can just be you whenever, however you like. But if you have aspirations of leaving the rat race, of internet business or of entrepreneurship in any form you need to start thinking of the biz side of blogging.
Often business owners blog, but rarely do bloggers focus on their ‘business’. This used to not be important, but in today’s attention economy and especially if you want to escape the 9 to 5 for good you need to think of your blog as your branding platform and and have it operate like a flagship between all your endeavors online. You can’t just throw up a blog, pump out content and get thousands of visitors a day. It isn’t that easy because there are myriads of other people trying to do just that same thing. You need an edge and you need to to plan ahead.
An article on blog statistics said the average blog has a lifespan of a fruit fly and an article on Problogger states that the top 100 blogs are 33.8 months old… which is NOTHING in business terms. The average lifespan of a company today is around 13 years, and this isn’t the top 100 companies in the world by any means. This is your average dry cleaners, nail place or beer joint. So why are blogs so fickle? And how can the fact that so many fade fast help you? Well if you are at ALL determined and patient you can immediately gain a leg up even if you start blogging today. Then if you pair that with some good business sense you can really dominate your niche and start escaping the 9 to 5 fast by making your blog a business.
How to make your blog a business
The basic concepts in business are these (according to me at least):
- You’ve got to have a plan: not a business plan necessarily but at least a somewhat understandable strategy on your why, what and how… i.e. I want to offer the best deserts anyone has ever eaten and have them take you back to Grandma’s house with every bite (why) we’ll be producing cookies, cakes and pies (what) we’ll produce 2 tons of cookie dough that will last us each month and then take out a batch or two as we need them and bake them fresh to order (how). So a your blog business could do this too: I want to create a place that inspires people to become extraordinary entrepreneurs, that destroys the status quo of a ‘work’ and that creates a community to nurture the escaping the 9 to 5 mindset (my why) I’ll provide lots of valuable content to my readers and give away free bonuses via my mailing list (my what) I’ll dedicate 1 hour a day to my blog and constantly brainstorm new ways to help my readers escape the 9 to 5 for good (my how).
- Does your blog business have to monetize? The flagship doesn’t but you want the network to monetize for sure… i.e. I am about to launch three campaigns on 3 different URLs with the primary goal of making money. That is not the goal of Escapingthe9to5.com but if it happened I wouldn’t cry. But these three sites are all off shoots of my “Escape the 9 to 5” persona and I’ll be documenting their success or failure as well as explaining to my readership how they can do the same. Other bonus of these three sites? If they actually make the kind of money I want them to they’ll become three lifelong sources of passive income for me, meaning I have to rely less of my ‘offline business’ and can have more freedom.
- Be the captain of your flagship. Ship captains always keep the eyes pealed for danger and for fortuitous events. You need to be this same way with your ‘flagship blog’ (i.e. the one that bears your personal brand). Keep a look out for ways you could make money that would ALSO help your community, but don’t ignore ways that will not bring you money but will help build your brand/expertise on line. I.e. guest posting won’t bring you money, but it’ll help you get the word out about your brand, responding to each email you get from readers doesn’t give me a cent more but it engenders loyalty and it helps me connect with my readership to know what the want.
- Set goals. No business starts with the idea of ‘lets make lots of money’ but OFTEN blogs begin with that thought in mind, this will lead a slow death unless you nip this useless thinking in the bud. Instead focus on goals, like get 500 RSS readers or make $5,000 a month in affiliate income or replace my job income with income from selling X on my website. Then check those goals daily, tell yourself you will make those goals and go for them with guns blazing.
- A business that isn’t making money is just an expensive hobby. If you spend $150 a month on things related to your blog and it is a for profit yet it isn’t making a profit you just have an expensive hobby. Now there is nothing wrong with expensive hobbies but don’t kid yourself, if you need to break even then lock yourself in a room until you find a way to make your site make some money. Ideas: affiliates, selling products, selling info products, ads, consulting, etc.
My point in this post is simple when you boil it down, I want you to approach your blog business as a BUSINESS first and a blog second. Time yourself, count your expenses in and out and your profits… don’t just blog blindly hoping to make a profit.
Check out this list of bloggers who have actually escaped the 9 to 5 (or almost) and are killing it in the quality they put out and the quantity of people who love their sites:
exilelifestyle.com Colin is a great writer, which makes his stuff fascinating to read and he is also living the dream, traveling the world supporting himself online and telling you how to do the same!
incomediary.com at just 20 years old Michael makes a full time living online and shares his secrets on how he does it here, he walks the walk not just talks the talk.
smartpassiveincome.com Pat is another great example of someone who escaped the 9 to 5 and found an even better lifestyle by making a full time living online.
erinblaskie.com though I don’t know her personally, Erin inspires me to do more because she is a young woman who has rocked it in the online/entrepreneurial space. I love her fire and the fact that she has started several businesses and made successes of each.
socialtriggers.com Derek is another online entrepreneur who blogs about how he reached success, he provides lots of great free info on this site and has a whole network of others which he makes a solid living off of while having the freedom to live and learn wherever he wants!