One of the most popular questions on IFB is “How do I make money from my blog?” Everyone wants to talk about monetization, and that makes sense. After all, money does important things like help keep you housed, clothed, and fed. There are dozens (if not hundreds) of articles on IFB about how to monetize your blog; it's a topic that's very well-covered. However, there are some more angles the monetization conversation that don't get discussed as much, and I thought it'd be a good idea to “air them out,” so to speak, and talk about them here. Like my post on “5 Things I Wish I'd Learned When I Started Blogging,” this post is about those things I wish I knew when I started monetizing.
First of all, monetizing your blog does not mean you've “sold out!” There are so many negative connotations to making money from your fashion blog, at least in America. People will ask why you're not doing it “for the love of blogging” anymore, or tell you over and over again how “blogging isn't a real job.” Those people are entitled to their opinions, of course, but doing what you love and making money from what you love should not be mutually exclusive. The very best jobs are ones you both enjoy doing and get paid for doing. And a job, loosely defined, is really just an exchange of your time, services, or expertise for money. Based on that, blogging absolutely qualifies. If you lose readers because of a couple of Google Adsense banners or because you're experimenting with sponsored posts, that's okay. Those people have done you the favor of letting you know they don't want to support your blog and that they're not your target audience.
Second, monetizing your blog doesn't mean you're going to become a multimillionaire or even make enough to be a full-time blogger…and that's okay. Both of those goals are kind of major, and they're pretty ambitious for any blogger, especially one who's just starting out. Your bar for success at monetization doesn't have to be that lofty or high. Your blog is successfully monetized if you make enough from it to pay for your own hosting or finance your daily latte habit. One of the most important things I heard when I began monetizing years ago is that the first $100 is always the hardest. It may sound trite, but it's true. Once you pass that first hump, you can start building on what you know through replication and experimentation and testing what works (and, of course, setting higher goals). Most people will not be full-time professional bloggers (and really, being a professional blogger is a lot like being a publisher, only it's all under one roof.), and that is totally all right. Set a monetization goal that works for you.
Third, shift your focus from “How can I make money?” to “How can I provide value?” The brutally honest truth is that almost no one cares about you making money from your blog, so don't make monetization an issue for your readers' to solve. They do not exist to keep your blog online or feed your latte habit; that's your responsibility. Asking people to keep your blog around out of the goodness of their hearts is not a long-term strategy. Especially when you're starting out, the focus should be on giving value to others, not on getting dollars. Monetizing your blog isn't just checking boxes on a list or hoping for the best. You have to innovate and strategize and take risks and push yourself and stand out from the rest of the fashion blogging pack. It's hard work, but the upside is that doing all that adds value to your blog. Care about what you're doing. Be different from everyone else. And then start thinking about monetization.
Finally, all the advice in the world is useless if you don't actually start doing things. After awhile, reading more articles about monetization is just a delaying tactic to actually monetizing. All the resources you need right now are literally are on this blog (and if you can't find them here, then there are dozens of other blogs about how to make money blogging), so the issue isn't a lack of information. You just have to get started. Set goals. Be willing to apply what you learned. Avoid getting trapped into the “I don't know enough yet”or “It's too difficult” bubbles. When it comes to goal setting, make sure your goal is a clear one so you both know what you're working towards and have a way to measure success or failure. “I want to make more money from my blog” isn't a goal. It's a wish. “I want to make $50 from my blog this month and $100 from my blog 3 months from now” is a goal. It's a specific statement to work towards. People rarely have a guarantee of success before they start, but the people who actually go on to be successful start anyway. Your ideas, no matter how awesome they are, are no good if they only stay in your head.
If you've monetized your blog successfully, what mental roadblocks have you had to overcome? If you've yet to monetize your blog, what do you think is holding you back and how do you plan to work on it? I want to hear from you in the comments.
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