Most bloggers start a blog with the notion that “it’s a creative outlet to express myself”.
While I’m sure this is true to some degree, we eventually want more. We want to be seen, heard, and recognized for the effort we put into this “creative outlet” day in and day out. There is nothing wrong with wanting to get free things, exposure, and money for your work. Nothing! There is something wrong if that’s all you want.
Greed will not get you very far in the blogging game.
If you want to truly monetize your blog, you need to get strategic about it. There is power in numbers, so the more people you have on your side, the better. What I mean is you need to create a product or service with a business partner (preferably a blogger) to take your blog from photo diary to business.
Step 1: Pick a partner
Picking a partner to go into business with is risky business. At first, there’s excitement, then when you’re actually in the beginning stages, you realize you don’t see eye to eye on everything. It is so important to choose someone who complements you, meaning their strengths are what you lack and your strengths are what they lack. Almost every successful blogger that I know is in a business partnership. A prime example is our very own Zanita and Gustav.
You need to understand when you have a business partner that there are two people to consider, so you may have to sacrifice that pretty header for something they want instead. That’s the case for any relationship if you think about it.
Having a biz partner means there will be more ways to be creative, solve problems, and grow, but there is also the potential for creative clashing. Don’t let the risk outweigh the fear though because if you make it work, you could build something far bigger than you ever imagined.
Step 2: Create a product or service
Once you’ve decided on a reliable, self-motivating partner, you can create ideas for a product or service. Remember, your product or service will cater to a problem people in your niche are having. A partner really comes in handy here because they have an entirely different audience that may experience the same difficulties as your audience making your idea for a product or service easy to figure out.
Or just the opposite can happen and your partner’s followers have a whole set of other problems they need resolved, in which case now you’re faced with two potential offerings, which is even more amazing! Usually, it takes bloggers a while to create one idea so it’s great if you have two to start with. #bizgoals
If that is the case, I do recommend promoting each product/service separately… like months apart otherwise, the products will get lost and your followers will be confused. This shouldn’t be too hard to do with two set of hands.
Next time you see a blogger with a product or service, look around because I bet there’s another person involved. There’s no denying that two heads are better than one.
Step 3: Give a portion back
Some of the most notable brands give a portion of their sales to a cause greater than themselves. Patagonia, Toms, Warby Parker, and Newman’s are all companies that give back to the community. In fact, on Black Friday, Patagonia donated 100% of their sales to grassroots environmental groups!
I wish I could say there are bloggers out there who do the same, but I can only think of one, Aimee Song, (if you know of others, please tell me in the comments). And if there are bloggers who give back out there, they should make it known so they can set an example for the rest of us!
It’s one thing to have a kickass product with a kickass partner, but it’s another thing to have money that could be in your pocket go to a kickass organization. People won’t forget it, plus it’s just a really nice thing to do. Be a good blogger and give back.