Deb’s note: I started writing this post on the plane to Las Vegas (and BlogWorld) last week. Since then I’ve seen Darren Rowse’s post at ProBlogger called, “The #1 One Reason My Blogging Grew into a Business.” Check it out if you can, it’s a must -read for anyone who wants to blog for a living.
FWJ began four years ago as a blog filled with leads for work at home moms like me. As you know, it’s evolved quite a bit over the past few years. Something happened this past spring that caused me to change my outlook about FWJ. Instead of a simple blog or network of blogs, I treated it like a business. Don’t get me wrong, I was always business-like in my dealings and accounting, but in June, I took it to a whole new level.
When I lost my full time job, I decided I wasn’t going to look for another. Instead, I wanted to work harder on making this network more profitable, and more beneficial to those reading it. Instead of looking for a job, I was going to make FWJ my full time job. It made a difference. Instead of simply posting and building traffic, I’ve also been:
- Meeting with accountants to find out my next course of action as a small business owner.
- Negotiating with advertisers
- Researching advertising, traffic, SEO and other blog building techniques
- Working hard on branding
- Working hard on FWJ’s (and Deb Ng’s) social media presence
- Forming lucrative partnerships which will enable this network to keep going
- Doing some heavy analysis into the demographics of this community and other freelance writing communities
- Networking, not only with other freelancers, but with other people and businesses to form mutually beneficial relationships
Some of the things I learned at this time:
- You can’t please everyone
- You have to spend money to make money
- Networking totally rocks
- If you focus on one thing, instead of multitasking, you’ll have better results
- Sometimes you just have to go for it
Some of the changes I noticed since devoting my full time attention to FWJ:
- Traffic has seen a significant increase
- Advertisers have been coming to FWJ, instead of the other way around
- Ad revenue beyond private sales (Adsense, etc.) has increased to the point where it’s a full time income
- A major online brand inquired about purchasing FWJ
- Lots of Tweets and ReTweets featuring FWJ links
- Community growth
- A whooooole lot of email
- More links to blog posts at FWJ
- Major brands have taken notice
This is only a few months worth of work and effort. Can you imagine if I had put this much time and energy into FWJ since day one? Of course, that wasn’t possible because I needed to help provide for my family. However, being patient and persistant and not giving up over 4 1/2 years enabled met build FWJ and see it to its potential.
Luck vs Hard Work
Someone once told me I was lucky. This has nothing to do with luck. I worked hard to build this network. It became a huge part of my life. I focus attention to it every day. It’s kept me up late, and caused me to rise very early. It’s been the subject of blog wars and forum spats. It’s my life, not luck. I have to tell you, it’s not easy to come up with content every single day for 4 1/2 years.
Is it Worth it?
You bet it’s worth it. I’m not going to claim to be some expert, guru, A-list problogger, but I managed to find something that I love – something that works. It’s been worth all the time and effort I put into it. As Darren Rowse begin_of_the_skype_highlighting end_of_the_skype_highlighting said in his post about blogging as a business, when I stopped treated my blog as a hobby and more as a business, it began to work for me.
If you want to make your blog work for you, know that it’s not easy. It’s not as simple as opening up a blog, stocking it with keywords and slapping on some ads. There’s a lot of research, promoting and networking involved.
Tell us the story of your blog. Is it a business? Can it become a business? What are you doing to ensure its success, and what are some of the results you’ve seen since beginning?