How to make money blogging. It’s one of the most popular questions I get asked.
Blog monetization can look different from blogger to blogger, genre to genre. Everyone has a slightly different revenue mix, depending on what monetization strategies they have put in place.
There are 4 main streams of income generation as a blogger:
#1 // Display advertising
#2 // Sponsored work
#3 // Affiliate marketing
#4 // Selling products and services
Streams 1-3 are the more “traditional” forms of direct blog monetization, but if you want to have an income stream that YOU are in control of, has the potential for large growth and major financial reward, then #4 is where it’s at.
The most successful bloggers know that the keys to really making money blogging is diversity and selling your own product or service.
Selling your own stuff is all about using your blog as a vehicle to highlight your product or service and sell to your readership. This is the “secret sauce” to making the dolla dolla bills, you guys.
You need to think of yourself as an overall brand – not “just a blog”. If you look at the most successful bloggers out there in the DIY and design space, they pretty much all sell something. Even the blogs that get insanely high traffic aren’t just relying on display ads and sponsored work – they want in on a piece of that selling action themselves! From apps, planners, eBooks, interior design services, coaching, prints, pillows, mugs, whatever – most are selling something.
Here’s the thing. As a DIY + design blogger, you are a creative person by nature. I can pretty much bank on that. And because you have started a blog and are thinking about monetizing, that also tells me that you are entrepreneurial. I know… it’s like I know you, right? Ha.
Well, this combo is epic. Creative + Entrepreneur = BOSS.
In case you haven’t already guessed it, you have so much opportunity with this stream! It can be easily the most rewarding and exciting part about your blogging biz. If you really want to make a full-time income, then you NEED to think about this stream of revenue. With the other 3 streams you are relying on other brands and companies to pay you, whereas here you are paying yourself. YESSSSS.
The biggest pro’s:
Highest Income Potential
You are selling your own stuff, so the sky is the limit here. Figure out the right product or service, hustle hard, and this could be hugely rewarding financially!
You are in Control
No relying on other brands for sponsored work or ad agencies for campaigns, this is ALL YOU. You decide each biz move you want to make.
Major Creative Opportunity
I can safely bet that part of the reason you started blogging was because you wanted a creative outlet. Take that one step further with a product line or service. You’re going to love it!
Better able to rely on Income
Sure you still can’t rely on this revenue stream as you would with a 9-5 paycheque, but once you are selling, you will be able to get a good sense of what you can expect month over month. Plus, if it’s a service that you are offering, you can book yourself ahead of time with clients and have a clear idea of what your pay will look like.
THINGS TO THINK ABOUT:
If you haven’t already guessed it, this stream is also going to be the most time consuming and daunting. Figuring out what products or services to sell, manufacturing, liaising with customers, marketing, and all of the elements that go into operating a successful business are going to be hard work.
Some of the con’s?
Obviously developing, manufacturing, shipping a product line or offering a service, plus all the marketing and other elements that come with those, is a big time investment. Are there things you are currently doing in your blog biz that aren’t seeing a good return on investment? If so, I would try to eliminate those tasks so that you can free up your time to focus on this. Are there other tasks you can streamline better (like for example, scheduling social media or writing your blog posts in batches)? Get those systems in place.
Potential Start-Up Cost
Whether it’s materials, website development, software, courses, whatever … there is likely going to be some level of start up cost associated with developing this new arm of your biz. I suggest trying to bite off only small chunks at a time so that you aren’t going in way deep right from the get go. It can take a few try’s to figure out what is and isn’t going to work.
Higher level of Risk
Both in terms of money and time. But highest potential pay-off, too.
It’s hard enough to put yourself out there on a blog, let alone trying to sell something that you created. It feels all kinds of personal and scary. But you know what? You just need to put it aside and get out there. You’ll never know until you try.
Yep, I went and created a free eBook on the topic! Scroll to the bottom of the post to snag it.
WHAT COULD YOU SELL?
I listed a whole bunch of ideas in this blog post, but there are generally 3 categories of things you might sell as a blogger: Physical Products, Digital Products, and Services.
1 // Physical Products
I would recommend starting with a base product line of 10 stellar items. These can be the same general item, but with variations (for instance – a pillow line with 10 designs).
One of the great things about physical products is that you can sell online through your existing blogging biz and potentially a third party site (like Etsy), but then also move some of those sales offline and sell at craft shows / trade fairs and wholesale to boutiques. This is what I have done with my own shop and it has been a good way of testing different avenues of selling, and building up a solid income.
Think back to some of your fave projects. Are any of them things you could potentially make, sell, and ship? Are the cost margins good? Could you scale up and make many at once (or hire parts of it out) if you got big order volume? Is the product easy enough to ship? Could you develop a base product line of 10 items and then potentially introduce seasonal product lines a few times a year? These are all questions you’ll want to consider as you decide on a product.
2 // Digital Products
Digital products are items that are virtual – there is nothing physical about them. The product is sold and delivered online to the customer. The best thing about digital products is how passive they are. The time commitment upfront can be huge in terms of prepping the product, but once you’ve completed it and have it for sale, there is usually almost no activity required on your part. Just listening to those cha-ching’s, as the cash hits your bank account. YESSSS.
3 // Services
Like with products, the sky is the limit here on what you could offer. Here are some key questions to consider:
- What are you especially skilled at?
- What do you love doing?
- What is it that your readers are always asking for your help on?
- Are there other folks offering the same or similar services? If so, what would your unique slant be?
- Do you want to offer your services solely online, or are you interested in in-person services as well?
If you’re really stumped, or want some feedback on a few ideas, I suggest surveying your readers. They are your target audience and you want to be sure that whatever you offer would appeal to them and answer a problem they might have.
Obviously there is a cap in service-based biz in terms of how much you can do. If you have a clear idea though of the number of clients or hours of work you need per month to make the income that you are shooting for, then this will be your goal. Down the road you could always look at hiring parts of your services out to an employee in order to expand and take on more clients.
FREE DOWNLOAD TO HELP GET YOU STARTED:
I know all of this can seem daunting at first, but it is going to be so worth the time investment if you really want to grow your biz and make money blogging.
Grab the eBook I have created below — it’s got more info, case studies, and big ol’ lists of product and service ideas. Plus we do a deeper dive into how to actually start manufacturing products for your line… super useful stuff!