Many of us start blogs with the aim of turning them into professional businesses and earning a full-time living from them. You might even have dreams of becoming famous, being on TV, writing books and hobnobbing with the rich and famous. We’ve seen our favourite bloggers and vloggers on chat shows, on reality TV, in the top seller’s charts and even in our favourite stores, on the packages of all kinds of merchandise. It’s certainly possible.
Even if you’ve got no desire to become famous or rich, you might dream of turning your blog into a business. Or being able to quit your job and blog professionally. This is also possible.
But, both futures are going to take hard work. A lot of us make money from our blogs. But, for most people, it’s a little extra pocket money around their other incomes. It’s certainly not enough to live on, but, could it be a start?
With more bloggers starting up every day and most of them quitting within the first year because they aren’t getting the views and attention that they want, they aren’t making money, and they just don’t want to put in the amount of effort need to take it further, is it still possible? Here are some of the skills that you need if you want to take your blog pro in such an oversaturated market.
Lots of Patience
You’re not going to start a blog and make a fortune straight away. In fact, unless you are very talented and have previous experience, you early blogging efforts probably won’t be very good. It’s a steep learning curve, and even the best bloggers look back over their early posts and designs and cringe.
Even if you start well, you are unlikely to make more than a little pocket money for a long time. You need to build up your online presence and your reputation first. This takes a lot of time and hard work. If you want to do well, you need to be patient and not give up at the first hurdle.
Plenty of Commitment
Blogging professionally is harder than you might think. Most bloggers that earn well spend at least 50 hours a week working on their blogs. Often around other jobs and responsibilities, at least in the beginning, before they can afford to quit work. You need to be committed to your blog, and genuinely love working on it, or you won’t be willing to put the hours in.
The Ability to Sell Yourself
New bloggers assume that brands will come to them with offers of work. But, in most cases, it’s the other way around. If you want to work, you need to pitch for it. You need to be able to sell your blog, and yourself, and make other people believe in you.
This isn’t something that comes naturally to all of us. But, you need to be willing to put yourself out there. It is something that you will get used to, and better at, in time.
Being Able to Cope with Rejection
With all of that selling yourself, unfortunately, comes a lot of rejection. Some people won’t reply. Others will be harsh. Some will offer feedback, and some won’t be willing to pay you what you think that you deserve. All bloggers, even those that seem to have it all, get more rejection than acceptance. If you want to keep going, you can’t let this get you down.
You’ll also face rejection in the form of no one reading that post that you’ve spent hours on and put your heart and soul into.
Writing is probably the one skills that you know you need. But, while you do need to be able to write, and some basic grammar skills help, you might not need to be as good as you think that you do.
Blogs aren’t novels. People aren’t expecting Dickins. Most bloggers write as they speak. They chat with their audience. It’s a more informal and friendly relationship. It’s one of the reasons that blogs are so popular. So, you don’t need to be the world’s best writer. But you do need to find your own voice. Keep writing, and it will come.
Photography and Videography
Photos and videos are a huge part of the internet. They break up text, give your readers something extra and help to make you look like a pro. You don’t need fancy cameras to get started, but try to hone your skills and keep practising with composition and lighting.
Most of blogging is marketing. Sharing your posts on social media, working with advertisers and other bloggers, engaging with your audience and promoting your content as much as you can. You don’t need a marketing degree, but you do need to get stuck in and try things. Marketing never ends, even posts that you wrote a long time ago need to be shared and repurposed to get noticed long term.
If you want to run your blog as a business, making money, building a reputation and getting noticed, while growing your audience and building relationships with your readers, you need to treat it as a business. A business management distance learning programme can help to hone these skills. You’ll also need to learn how to manage your time, keep your motivation up and work through home distractions.
Most bloggers neglect accounting. They fail to realise that as soon as they earn a penny, they need to be registered as self-employed and declare their income when tax return time comes. Even if it’s not enough to pay tax, if you’ve got another income you may be taxed on these earnings, and it still needs to be declared if your total revenue is below the threshold.
Accounting for bloggers doesn’t need to be complicated. You need to register as self-employed, which you can do online. You can then use a simple accounting spreadsheet to record your income – remembering that products received for reviews count towards your earnings- and any expenses you incur for your business. Then, before January 31st you need to file a tax return declaring your income and expenses and pay your Tax bill. Keep on top of it, and it can be very straightforward.