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This blog is a business.
At least, that’s what I want it to be. When I started it I had big ambitions of becoming a world-class personal finance blogger and living off the income that I knew this site would produce.
I had no intention of blogging because I’m a really nice guy (I am a nice guy though, promise!). My goal was to provide incredibly valuable, ass-kicking content that would attract visitors. Eventually, I knew I could somehow earn money via affiliate referrals.
I’m a year in now and as you probably have guessed, it hasn’t quite worked out that way.
Many bloggers start like me, with big plans and big expectations. Most of us think we have what it takes to be the next Pat Flynn, Michelle Schroeder-Gardner or Bjork and Lindsay Ostrom and few of us ever make it. Why is that? Why is it so tough for myself and thousands of other ambitious bloggers to get to that point where our blogs are producing income?
If you ask bloggers who have been successful with their business, many of them will tell you that success is not only simple, it’s formulaic. This post by Smart Blogger says in not-so-subtle terms that it’s a repeatable, 5-step process.
So why aren’t more of us making it? A quote from the Smart Blogger article mentioned above might give a hint.
“The moment you decide to use your blog to make money, you’re no longer just a blogger. At that moment, you also become an entrepreneur, and your blog becomes a small business.”
Jon Morrow – Smart Blogger
Most of us are giving our blogs the commitment of a hobby, and expecting the results of a business.
Do What The Pros Do
Most of us like to think we’ve started a “side hustle” when in fact, building a successful blog takes a mountain of work and quite a bit of time (and maybe even a bit of luck).
As I mentioned before though, there are many who have ‘cracked the code’ and built their blogs into income-generating businesses. Some have achieved astronomical levels of success. Me? Not so much.
What am I going to do about it?
A few weeks ago, I stumbled across a post by Jeff Proctor at Breaking The One Percent titled: [Blueprint for $1K] How to Get Your First $1,000 Month as a Blogger. I have followed Jeff and his business partner Ben for a while and know that they’re the real deal.
You can find them at the link above or at their personal finance blog, DollarSprout. They have managed to bring their personal finance blog from obscurity to profitability in a fairly short period of time. Naturally, I paid attention.
According to the post, making $1k from a blog is as simple as following 5 steps. Jon Morrow from Smart Blogger also indicates that it’s a 5-step process…see a pattern here?
I’m going to summarize the steps listed in the BTOP blog post below.
Step 1: Decide what you want your blog to be about
This one’s easy for me as my blog is live already. Ninja Budgeter is focused on personal finance for families. There are many profitable personal finance blogs out there so I know that this is a good space to be in.
Step 2: Set up your blog
Easy – already done! This blog is built on WordPress.org and hosted by Bluehost. My blog isn’t perfect aesthetically, but I’m fairly happy with it. I like a simple theme and simple design. This blog is built on the Generatepress theme. I chose Generatepress because of it’s clean, simple design and how easy it is to customize. The support is also really helpful and it’s more affordable than many ‘premium’ themes out there.
Step 3: Set up my first blog posts
Legit’ not a problem. I’ve got around 30 posts on this site already. This is starting to look like a piece of cake!
Step 4: Pick one social media network and own it.
Ok, so here’s where things start to fall apart for me. I don’t have a Facebook page, Google+ page (why bother anyways?) or Instagram account for this site. As for Twitter, I’ve built a modest following of around 3400 that brings in around 10-15 visits per day.
As you can see, though my traffic is growing, it certainly isn’t anything to write home about…
I have a business Pinterest account but have by no means mastered it. Currently, Pinterest is swamping my server with an overwhelming 2-5 visitors per day, and I suuuuuuck at designing pins. This is where I need to focus my time right now.
As of the time this post went live, I have a paltry 54 followers on Pinterest. Let’s be Pinterest friends!
Step 5: Begin monetizing my blog
Before reading the BTOP post mentioned above, I thought this was the point I’m at with my blog. Turns out I hadn’t really “owned a social network just yet. I’ve spent quite a bit of time on Twitter but as I said above, it doesn’t send much traffic my way yet. I need to get my Pinterest on before I get too carried away with monetization.
So there it is. According to the pros, that’s what it takes to make 1k from a blog.
But is it actually possible for a small-timer like me? Surely the guys over at BTOP wouldn’t have published this if they didn’t think it could actually be done. Shouldn’t somebody check over their work though? Shouldn’t somebody follow the steps to the smallest detail and prove that it’s possible to earn 1k blogging?
My $100 Challenge
After spending some time studying the steps necessary to make my first $1k from this blog, I decided to do a personal challenge to get there. This post is the first in a series that will document my journey to blogging profitability.
Right at this moment, $1000 seems a little lofty. But I need a goal. I need something to aim for.
I will continue this challenge until I’ve earned my first $100.
This right here, is the $100 challenge.
Like most of us, I don’t have the luxury of working on my site for 4-6 hours per day but I can do a heck of a lot more than I have done in the past. My goal is simple: I am going to follow along with the steps in the BTOP post until I’ve earned my first $100.
My goal is to prove that it can be done, and that it’s as simple as the pros say.
In order for anything to work in life, we need to put the hours in. I can chat all day about growing my site but if I don’t put the time and effort in, nothing is ever going to happen. Here are the things that I am committing to do in order to get to my first $100 in site income:
- I’m going to invest a minimum of 10 hours per week into into my blog
- I will follow the steps outlined the aforementioned BTOP blog post to the letter
- I will sign up for a Tailwind (or Boardbooster) account and start getting serious about Pinterest
I’m going to document the hours to be sure that I’m putting them in. As I work through this process, I’m going to share how I’m doing.
My goal here is to verify what the blogging greats claim, that there is very little (if any) luck in building a successful blogging business. They say it’s a repeatable formula; something that anybody can accomplish.
I hope to be able to show you all that small-time bloggers can ‘make it’ to the point of profitability.
That’s it! So will you join me on this journey? Will you follow my progress or maybe even work with me and try to get your own site to the point of profitability?
I’m going to post an update on the challenge weekly in addition to my regular content. There’s a link in the menu bar to all posts about the challenge.
Want to join me? Drop your email in the form below and I’ll make sure you get updated on how the challenge is going!