Are you at that point in your journey where you’re ready to take your blog to a business? Are you ready to be your own boss, work anywhere you want, and have more time for what matters most to you? Just like with your blog, do you want your business to mean something?
Many of us start out blogging for fun with a passion. We’re sharing, helping, inspiring, or teaching. And it brings us joy.
Then we begin to get tons of questions from our readers. We quickly realize that there’s potential for something more: we can profit from our passion.
This post is going to outline the 7 steps you need to take to transition your hobby blog to a thriving, profitable, intentional business. If you’re in search of a get-rich-quick scheme you may exit the browser ’cause girl, you’re in the wrong place.
My aim for this post is to provide you with a framework for transitioning your blog to a business. When you finish reading, I created a fun little quiz that’s going to help you identify where you’re at in your blogging journey and give you action steps for what you need to be focusing on right now to start reaching your goals!
This post contains affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase by clicking on one of my links, I will receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you, that will help me continue to bring you valuable content. Thanks for supporting In Search of Sheila! 🙂
Why Should You Take Advice From Me?
For complete transparency: I do not blog full-time nor do I have a 6-figure blogging business…yet. It’s in the process. When I rebranded my blog I had a plan in place. I knew that I was going to transition to a business, but not until a year or so went by.
Then I started monetizing my blog a few months after. I was making some bomb affiliate sale commissions with my self-hosting company and through a program, I partnered up on with a fellow blogger babe.
I also launched my very own blog auditing services that turned out pretty well. Almost too well because I stopped offering them due to the demand being higher than the time I could put into them.
In August I enrolled in a Pinterest Management eCourse (highly recommend if you want to be a Pinterest manager) and was planning to launch my own Pinterest services at the end of September. I threw that endeavor out the window for a reason I will explain in just a sec.
I was close to already making the minimum amount of income I needed to claim for tax purposes, so I knew in my gut it was time to make the blog-business thing a reality.
Next thing I did was register my business! That made it legit.
And now I just opened up my very own blog coaching services. I’m working one-on-one with an amazing client helping her build her blog with intention and purpose. I’m currently working on officially launching my services and booking more clients by the end of this year!
As I type this post, I am very close to making my first $1,000 with my blog. Insane!
This is not an income report by any means
I’m sharing all this to show you guys that it IS possible to start making money sooner rather than later in your blogging journey.
I also got A LOT of questions about how I did it and if I could share more about my journey. I’m still in the beginning stages, but I’ve already learned a lot and am continually learning as I go.
One thing you should know about me is that I’m obsessed with sharing things as I learn them. I want this post to act as a stepping stone for all you blogging babes out there who want to monetize your blog, but maybe you’re lost and not sure what steps to take. Cause that was totally me!
7 STEPS TO TURN YOUR BLOG INTO AN INTENTIONAL BUSINESS7 Steps To Turn Your Blog Into an Intentional Business Click To Tweet
1. Make a Business Plan
The very first thing you need to do is to MAKE A PLAN. I can’t stress this enough. As a recovering procrastinator who gets very overwhelmed when there’s too much on my plate, planning and scheduling everything in my life is a form of self-care.
Just like your blog needs meaning behind it, your business DEFINITELY needs meaning behind it too. Why do you want to create a business? What’s going to keep you going when times are tough? Remember your why. Write it down, plaster it all over your home, and recite it to yourself every.damn.day.
Take 30 minutes to sit down and focus on where you want your blog to be a year from now. Then 6 months…3 months…1 month. Don’t just think, but visualize the big picture: what will your blog look like as a successful business?
Then ask yourself how much it would mean to you to create a successful business. I can bet that it’d feel pretty damn awesome.
When we can actually see ourselves where we want to be (cough cough where we WILL be) down the road, it makes the journey seem a lot less bumpy. You can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Smooth sailing. Knowing it’s near is the key to keep going.
With your vision in place, it’ll be easier for you to come up with actionable steps to reach your vision. Time to set goals, babe!
The only way you can make your dream a reality is if you write them down and take action. Putting ideas onto paper will make them more than just an ideas: it’ll make them happen.
Blog Content Plan
When moving towards the business direction, you need to create content that aligns with your vision and goals. This means your blog posts, email newsletters, social media posts, live streams, etc. ALL need to have one overarching goal that relates back to your business.
To build your business with intention you need to offer as much free and VALUABLE content as possible, then work you’re way up to paid offerings with time. There is no wrong or right time frame to do this. You’ll know when your readers begin to trust you and are willing to buy from you. Trust is key.
Always Show Off Your Expertise
Having a content plan is going to help you build up your expertise and get your readers ready to purchase from you. PLUS it’s going to ease your mind a lot because you know exactly what kind of content to create.
Because I just started working one-on-one with a coaching client, I’m in the beginner stages of creating my services. Since I want to start booking clients soon, my blog content plan involves showing my expertise as a coach.
Everything I publish has an intention behind it: to show you that I’m the girl you want to hire to help you build your blog with intention and purpose.If you want to turn your blog into a business you need a PLAN. Click To Tweet
2. Do Your Research
The next phase is to devote a lot of time researching and learning about blogging for business. Sure, you can choose to “go with the flow” and let everything happen, but I guarantee that this approach will only send you down the long, scenic route to reach your goals.
I mean that’s cool, but if you start complaining about why you’re not moving forward or if you get frustrated about something you didn’t see coming, remember if you did your research.
Here are some things you need to learn about blogging for business:
- disclosure policies (on your blog AND social media)
- taxes and other fun legal stuff
- registering yourself as a business (sole proprietorship vs. LLC)
- investing and budgeting your money
- what you’ll be selling
- marketing and sales strategies
Becoming a business owner means you need to step up your game and understand things inside and out…otherwise you might end up getting into some messy situations.
Research mode is my favorite thing ever because I love brewing up a cup of joe, grabbing a pen and notebook, and writing notes and notes about something new.Wanna start a business? Grab a cup of coffee and dive into research mode! Click To Tweet
3. Develop an Entrepreneurial Mindset
At the end of the day you need to be 100% focused. There are going to be some tough days ahead so having the right mindset will keep you on track with your goals.
Sacrifices WILL have to be made. If you aren’t willing to commit, you’re not ready to be an entrepreneur.
I know it can be hard to stay motivated some days, especially if you work a 9-5, then come home with zero energy to work on your side hustle. Same girl. SAME.
I get asked a lot on how to find time to blog and one thing I’ve been doing is getting up earlier every morning.
I know, I know…that sounds like pure death to some people. But I had to find a way to be more productive. I used to NOT be a morning person, but now I thrive in the wee hours before daylight hits. I’m obsessed.
- Related: How To Become a Morning Person
When my alarm clocks goes off every morning I remind myself of my dream and that lying in bed an extra half hour isn’t going to help me get there.
How To Stay Motivated as an Entrepreneur
- develop a morning and night routine
- listen to podcasts
- read business + entrepreneurship books
- get a mentor or coach
- develop healthy habits and set boundaries
- prioritize self-care
- journal and practice gratitude daily
- find a support squad of likeminded bloggers with the same goals
4. Invest In What Your Business Needs
Any business owner will tell you that you need to invest money to make money. There’s no way around that.
And frankly, if you’re willing to invest, that’s a sign to yourself, other entrepreneurs, brands you want to work with, and potential clients and customers that YOU MEAN BUSINESS.
What To Invest In For Your Blog Biz First
- self-hosted blog (I use SiteGround and 10/10 recommend!)
- education (eBooks and courses–check out this awesome eBook on turning your hobby blog into a business by my girl Krista Aoki!)
- a new web page template
- tools that align with your business
- blog or business coaching/consulting
- automation tools for social media such as HootSuite
- scheduling tools for Pinterest such as Tailwind and BoardBooster
- programs to sell your products/courses on if you go with this route (Digital Product Delivery, Teachable)
- affiliate programs
My biggest tip is to review your business plan, create a budget, and figure out what areas you need to spend money on at that present moment. Don’t put yourself into a hole because you want to buy EVERYTHING you think you need when in reality you can start out slow with the necessities.Girl bosses know they need to invest money to make money. Click To Tweet
5. Understand Your Ideal Customer
This is the fun part…figuring out what you’re going to sell! But remember honey…it’s more than just making money.
How are you going to help your ideal customer? What are their pain points? What can you provide for them to make their life easier? How can you add value to their life?
Your ideal customer needs to be willing to pay you for whatever you’re selling. Keep their income and lifestyle in mind, just as much as what they need help with. Why would they trust you enough to pay you for something?
Ways To Make Money as a Blogger:
- affiliate links
- sponsored posts
- online courses
- digital products (eBooks, workbooks, templates)
- physical products (coffee mugs, t-shirts, planners)
- services (consulting, coaching, virtual assisting, web design)
If you’re stuck for ideas, ask yourself these questions:
- have a strong mission statement?
- understand your audience’s interests and struggles?
- understand what your audience is willing to buy?
- get a lot of questions about the same topics over and over?
If you can’t answer some of these questions, you probably need to work on building up your blog foundation a little more.
Get specific with what your blog provides and who it helps. Identify their problems and answer them through your content.Pro-Tip: Diversify your income and don't put all your eggs in one basket Click To Tweet
Diversify your income
My biggest tip when it comes to the money-making part is don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Yup, another cheesy phrase with a hell of a lot of a truth to it.
Blogging for business is really awesome, but it does come with the downside of not having a consistent flow of income and the possibility for slow periods.
Have multiple ways you plan to make an income such as a combination of working with brands, affiliate marketing…or selling services and online courses.
6. Switch to a Self-Hosted Blog
This is a big one. If you’re already there, you’re one step ahead. If not, do research on it and pay attention to this section 🙂
Self-hosting is what’s going to set you apart from all the hobby bloggers out there: you have reached professional blogger status.
Self-hosting means that you pay a monthly fee to rent a home for your blog. It might be powered by WordPress.org, Blogger, or Squarespace, but it will live on a hosting site, such as SiteGround or BlueHost.
Self-hosting IS NOT the same as having a domain name. A domain name (yourblogname.com) is just your website’s address. You use a free hosting company such as WordPress.com or SquareSpace, but you have limited control and customization.
Self-hosting is when your blog sits on a server (like SiteGround) that you can control.
Benefits of self-hosting:
- your blog will never disappear or get deleted
- you have complete control over design customization
- if you’re a WordPress.com user, you legally CANNOT make money on your blog. You don’t have the capabilities. Going self-hosted means you will switch to WordPress.org and can make money by using affiliate links, sponsored posts, and ad space
- you’ll also be able to use Google Analytics if you’re a WordPress user which is one of my blogging commandments. You NEED to be reviewing your stats to see what strategies are working and what needs improvement to up your game
- you can become an affiliate and make GREAT commissions. I’ve already commissioned over $200 in just a few months with SiteGround!
Click here to get started with SiteGround starting at $3.95 a month!
If self-hosting still confuses the hell out of you, I totally get it. I had to do a lot of research before I completely understood it and it’s still hard for me to explain (hopefully I’m doing a good job here.)
That’s why you should go check out this blog post by Ana of The She Approach. She lays everything out about self-hosting in a way that makes sense and is easy to digest.
7. Build Up That Email List
Girl, you need to be building up that email list, ASAP. If you don’t have one yet and want to turn your blog into a business, I advise you to start one right after reading this blog post. It needs to be HIGH PRIORITY!
Growing your email list will take some time because you need to nurture your subscribers. Invite them in, give them some wine, and get to know them.
The best way to do this is having a welcome series of 3-5 emails that go out automatically over a week. Introduce yourself, show off your expertise, and get to know what your readers need help with.
My last tip is to create signature opt-in freebie to lure your potential future customers and clients in. And promote the heck out of it.
Make sure it’s 100% aligned with your mission, makes sense for your target audience, and is packed with value.If you want to turn your blog into a business you NEED an email list. No questions asked! Click To Tweet
Are you ready to blog for business? Take This Quiz to Find Out!
Now it’s time to REALLY find out if you’re ready for a new direction with your blog. I’m excited to share this awesome quiz I made in partnership with Interact. They reached out to me to try their software and I’M OBSESSED. I love quizzes and I know you guys are going to find this one I created really fun and helpful at the same time.Are you ready to blog for business? Take this fun quiz & find out! Click To Tweet
This quiz is going to help you identify where you are in your blogging journey. Are you still in the beginner stages, somewhere in the middle, or ready to start your biz?! Take the quiz and find it!
Once you complete it you’ll find out what steps you need to take and can sign up for a free blogging checklist I created to help you figure out what areas you should be focusing on that would help you build your blog towards an intentional business!