If you read the advice of almost any A-list blogger who actually makes a reasonable living through his or her blogging efforts, they will all tell you to “run it like a business.” Even in my recent interview with Jared, one of the founders here at Under30CEO, he emphasized the importance of treating your blog as a real business.
If you treat it as a hobby it will remain just that, a hobby. I encourage everybody to create a marketing plan and if you don’t have any idea how, feel free to steal my Q1 marketing plan and adapt accordingly. This exercise alone made me realize that I was not limited to the traditional methods of blog monetization (advertising, affiliate products, or selling my own products).
Conduct a Skills Inventory:
If you are in even your third month of blogging, have experienced slightly reasonable growth, and have good content, then you have already developed skills that can be added to your skills inventory. The other thing you should do is go back to your resume. In each position you had, you developed certain skills. For example, in my position in client services at Nielsen Netratings I conducted numerous trainings both online and in person. So, now I can add public speaking/presentations to my inventory. Don’t rule out anything. Just make a laundry list of all of your skills. If you are struggling, then conduct an inventory of your greatest strengths and that will eventually help you identify your skills.
Identify Skills That People Would Pay For
This is where the fun really begins. All of a sudden you will start to realize that you have a ton of skills that people will actually pay for. After all those are the same skills that got you hired at many of your jobs. Just to give you an example, my former roommate was excellent at accounting and finance. But because he was from abroad and getting hired at any financial firm was difficult, he converted his skills into a part time tutoring business. Soon he had to start turning away business because he couldn’t handle the volume. Your blog (not your resume)is now the platform for selling your skills. Welcome to working for yourself and not for somebody else.
Identify What You are Best At
While it might be tempting to try to sell every one of your skills, I encourage you to use the 80/20 rule. 20 percent of your skills will result in 80 percent of your business. That 20 percent of your skills should be the things you are truly good at. Figure out what projects you had the biggest impact on at your job or previous roles, and identify the skills that were required. Those are usually the things that you are really good at.
Develop Your Pitch/Put it on Craigslist
Once you’ve done all of the above, it’s time to create a pitch. I would highly recommend you stay away from many of the template-based sales letters for the purposes of this because it will make you seem inauthentic. You want people that contact you to feel like they are connecting with a human being. Below are just a few guidelines that I’ve used:
- Don’t exaggerate your skill set
- Put your real name in the ad
- Give people some background on you (previous work history, education, etc).
- Be clear about what you are capable of and what you are not capable of
- Stick to your local market (at least in the beginning)
By following the above formula, I’ve landed my first freelance client. I get a few emails every week from potential clients who are interested in my services. All it takes is 5 minutes to post an ad on craigslist. I don’t have to sell any products and I’m not dependent on traffic to my blog, and I make money from the skills I’ve developed because of my blog.
Srinivas Rao is a personal development blogger at The Skool of Life where he writes about self help, spirituality and personal development through his love for the sport of surfing. He’s a recent graduate of the Pepperdine MBA program and has a bachelors degree in economics from UC-Berkeley.