Blogging As A Business

by derek on September 24, 2008 · 41 comments

Over the last couple of days, I’ve shared a few of my experiences from BlogWorld and have been giving a good deal of thought to a particular topic that was covered at the conference – the idea of taking your blog from the stage of being a hobby and turning it into an actual business.
As a matter of fact, this has been a topic that has been on my mind for quite some time. While I have been fortunate that my blogs have been earning income on a fairly consistent basis for awhile now, I cannot really say that my blogs are a legitimate business at this point.
After attending the session My Blog is A Business? Building a Foundation that Can Help You Grow Your Blog Past the Hobby Stage, which featured Chris Brogan, Rob McNealy, Jeremy Wright, and Nina Yablok on the panel, I have to say that I have been giving this some serious consideration.
Can I build my blogs into a business?
Do I have the knowledge, time, and determination to do it?
Will my wife survive with me spending so many hours on the computer?
There is no doubt that the time commitment is a serious challenge, as maintaining a full-time job and an active family life is difficult to do while also trying to build a blog(s) into a business. That doesn’t mean it cannot be done, but it does require a significant sacrifice – not just on the part of the blogger but also people close to the blogger.
At this point in my blogging journey, I have built up to the point that the blogs are earning approximately $500-700 per month. While that is nothing to sneeze at, unfortunately it is not enough to pay the mortgage and provide for my family.
So what are the next steps?
Is it possible to squeeze more money out of the existing blogs? Are more (or different) blogs needed to earn more money? What is the best way to maximize the value of time?
Should I give up the blogs entirely?
There have been a lot of thoughts on my mind, including the idea of giving up the blogs entirely and refocusing my efforts. That thought didn’t last long however, as even though writing might not always be my favorite thing to do, I do enjoy it and I cherish the opportunity to connect with all of you.
After all, had I not been writing a blog, I would not have met some of the people that I did at BlogWorld08. Not only did I meet really cool people, but I even had an opportunity to talk to a few people about potential working relationships where I would offer my technical services.
Coding is what I enjoy, it is my passion – particularly with Interweb technologies.
With a void at my current day job due to a transition into project management, I am jonesing to be writing code again. With the time that I spend writing for my various blogs, I don’t get nearly enough time to be writing code. When I began my recent keyword sniping experiment, I wrote some code to manage the data feeds of affiliate programs and that made me feel alive.
I can sit down and code for hours and hours without ever even feeling like I am doing work.
I miss that.
So what does all of this mean?
Basically, as I sit back and digest the lessons learned in the BlogWorld session coupled with a few conversations, I am giving consideration to the idea that my business should focus more on the technical aspects of blogging. Whether that be doing work with people as a consultant, entering into partnerships, or just writing with more of a technical flavor, I am not quite sure yet.
But if I want to reach the point where my work on the Interweb can replace my full-time income, I need to seriously think about how I can move beyond the stage of having a hobby and turn this into an actual business.
What do you think?
Are you blogging as a hobby or do you view it as your business?
Lets discuss this in more detail and explore the possibilities.

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{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

@Stephen September 24, 2008 at 10:00 pm

Derek, we need to talk sometime soon. This post is what SOBCon was – and IS all about. I need to pick your brain and we can collaborate on some killah stuff.
DM me on twitter hdbb_stephen

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derek September 26, 2008 at 12:41 pm

Absolutely, I shot you a note via Twitter and look forward to talking to you soon.

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Ling@Triphow September 25, 2008 at 12:25 am

First, you hafta do what you love. You can’t escape that if you want to be successful, and look at it from a long term point of view. Doing something you don’t like is just not sustainable.
Maybe you write code and instead of focusing on your own blog, you could also get a paying gig as a tech blogger on some tech site. Works out to about what you’re getting from your blogs here, and you’ll love everything you do.
Lings last blog post..US Travel 2.0 Report & AH&LA Lodging Industry Profile

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derek September 26, 2008 at 12:43 pm

That is very true, I’ve been doing something that I don’t truly love for some time now and it is exhausting. It makes it hard to get up every morning and make the trip into work, which is why I have been trying to build up an alternate source of income.

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Kelvin Kao@Puppet Kaos September 25, 2008 at 12:54 am

My blogging is a hobby, not a business. That part is clear. However, if someone wants to pay me for what I do, I wouldn’t mind considering the possibility. Anyone that starts a business probably need to go through some trial-and-error before they nail it (if they ever do). Some people do that during their day job and use the experience for the business they create, and some people just launch a new business and then learn from the mistakes during the process. The way I look it… I’m still doing my trial and errors. Need more of that before I even consider turning a hobby into business.
Kelvin Kaos last blog post..Josh Groban’s TV Theme Song Medley on 60th Emmy

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derek September 26, 2008 at 12:48 pm

Right, I consider my blogs to be a hobby as well. While I am making money via this hobby, I haven’t approached it like a formal business with a business plan, marketing plan, etc.
It has provided a wealth of experience though and that will certainly help as I continue to move forward.

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Nick@romandock dot com September 29, 2008 at 8:38 pm

Ever wonder if it will be less fun or at the very least more stressful if you were to try and make it a business and primary source of income….might turn into an unhealthy obsession to always be trying to work on your sites, make them better, and check your stats….
I think some things are better left as they are, and for most people (maybe not you but most) blogging is best left as a hobby.
Nicks last blog post..Cycling 4 A Cure & Running America

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Terry @ SEO Blog September 25, 2008 at 7:36 am

I view blogging as a hobby business hybrid. Its a very fun way to make money online. Even if my blog doesn’t directly feed my wallet it still builds SEO consulting leads.

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derek September 26, 2008 at 12:49 pm

It sounds like your blog is an extension of your business, as it assists you with finding clients. That is certainly one way to leverage a blog.

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Jon@Custom T-Shirts September 25, 2008 at 7:57 am

I blog/code as a hobby. I really don’t think I’d enjoy it as much if it became my full time job..

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derek September 26, 2008 at 12:50 pm

It is good that you have recognized that and have found a balance that works well for you.

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Nicole Price September 25, 2008 at 8:41 am

My blog is a support to my business.
This is however about you. My take on you from what I have observed in this blog is as follows.
Your passion is coding, your strengths are effective written communication skills, openness and you are skilled at networking and capable of long sustained work. You can of course add some more items on this list.
The trick is in combining all these elements of your personality and choose a course of action that will enable you to achieve your goals, while keeping you happy doing it.

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derek September 26, 2008 at 12:51 pm

I could not have said it any better myself, thanks Nicole!

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Terry @ SEO Blog September 25, 2008 at 8:46 am

Well said Nicole : )

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Andrew September 25, 2008 at 3:13 pm

Yes you can make blogging a business if you do it lika a real job
Andrews last blog post..How Can I Change The Way Windows Mobile 6.1 Looks

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olly@cheap computer parts September 26, 2008 at 1:59 am

I totally appreciate where you are coming from. Whilst I do not try and make money from blogging – I am trying to make it on the web with several projects and juggling it all with a full time job is really hard.
The way I see it though, it this hard work should pay off, and once things get going, without a full time job and dedicating as much time to your projects as needed, you should end up having more free time – I view it as an investment.
If I were in your shoes I would certainly try and make some cash with coding as well as blogging. Build up some customers for small coding projects and continue to blog. Give it a few months, maybe a year, quit your day job and enjoy the extra time and money from your hard efforts.
perhaps I am dreaming but it’s the way I like to think of it.

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derek September 26, 2008 at 12:52 pm

I like the way you think and that is the type of plan that I am thinking about right now.

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The Lion September 26, 2008 at 10:03 pm

I do not blog as a business as I have few product sites which gives me more than enough to maintain and improve my life style. But still I make $200- $ 300 from my blog which I enjoy as a part time income and no complains about it.
And as you said, the time we have to put in to blogging is a great opportunity cost that we should highly consider if we are blogging as a business. It will have higher benifits if the blog started doing well. Otherwise you will be losing lot of valuable time.
I do not work more than 30 minutes a day on all my other sites together. But for blogging we have to devote at least 90 minutes a day if we are serious. Not only content building, there comes seo, social book marking, active in networks, commenting on other blogs, helping out other bloggers in social sites..Thats a lot of work.
But i am still enjoying it. That’s what keep me going…
Keep up the good work at your blog..I gave a thumbs up just now. 🙂
The Lions last blog post..English Tutor flees the country after swindling 5 billion.

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Damien September 27, 2008 at 12:57 pm

I’m moving back toward hobby. It’s peas I am making compared to the time I put in. I plan to cut the 3 or so hours a day into 1-2. Google knocked me back to one so I am sure the opps will be slowing down anayway. It’s probably for the best. I love blogging and networking, the paid opps and ad stuff isn’t as gratifying as people have made it seem for me. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still do blog work but not as much.
Damiens last blog post..Pink Floyd

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pauletet September 27, 2008 at 8:54 pm

We can make money in blogging yet we really must be focus.
Derek. Have you heard about the toxic milk of china?
pauletets last blog post..Scare on China Milk

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Nick@romandock dot com September 28, 2008 at 3:06 pm

Right now, I’m definitely at the hobby stage, but I think I would be quite content to have it be my primary source of income…as far as the coding goes, let me know if you get any big projects as I would be more than willing to help because I enjoy that as well.
Nicks last blog post..Google’s cell phone to be released!

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wilhb81 September 29, 2008 at 5:40 am

Well, it’s totally depends on one’s thought, as we can treat blogging as a business or even as a leisure to kill our free times…
wilhb81s last blog post..Quit Smoking and Gaining Back a Healthier Lifestyle!

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Justin@Airsoft Guns September 29, 2008 at 6:32 am

There are some blogs that can’t be converted in to this one. I don’t see what more you can do with this blog besides changing advertising. If you want to make more money from blogs, the best thing to do would be to start a network of blogs in different fields. If you like coding so much, you should become a freelance programmer. There’s a lot of money in that industry.

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kouji@haiku poems examples September 30, 2008 at 2:54 am

i blog more as a hobby really. while i do try to monetize, i’m still in the process of learning what i can. perhaps my next blog will be more focused on revenue generation (my current one’s a poetry blog). 🙂
koujis last blog post..haiku poem: others (about me)

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James Anthony October 1, 2008 at 12:47 pm

i m working on my blog cuz of just earn some money..

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Scott@The Passive Dad October 2, 2008 at 11:34 pm

When you ask “Will my wife survive with me spending so many hours on the computer?”, this one really hits home. I struggle with the hobby aspect of my blog and have a hard time explaining the many hours I work online. I guess if we can learn to work smarter and create posts quicker, without getting distracted by emails and pings, that would be helpful.
The Passive Dads last blog post..$50 Costco Or American Express Gift Card Blog Contest and Share Your First Bank Account Story

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James@System Speed October 3, 2008 at 10:17 am

Blogging does eat allot of time. For me and most it’s only a hobby. Though I suppose we can dream about making it big and becoming professional bloggers.
Jamess last blog post..RAM Speed

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Dawn October 3, 2008 at 4:23 pm

I think it’s great that your able to do something that you enjoy and make some income from it even though blogging may not be your primary job. However, to have a career that you’re passionate about, I completely understand.
It looks as though blogging will definitely lead you into the right direct, as far as writing in code, so don’t give up. If it’s meant to be it will be, as long as you put all that you have into achieving it. Good luck!

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Tracy Benungski - Internet business make money online October 8, 2008 at 2:21 am

You may not be able to take up blogging as a full-fledged profession as it may not fetch you the money you are in need of to take care of your family. Keep this as yet another way of earning and have coding as your main profession (if you can!!)
Tracy Benungski – Internet business make money onlines last blog post..What Passive Promotions Can Do To Your Business (In A Good Way)

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heather December 12, 2008 at 7:19 pm

you’re absolutely right, it does eat up a lot of time… but it gives me something to do when my hubby and i aren’t spending time together. when he’s off on business, or when he’s off with his buddies, that’s when i do my research. the site should never come between you and your family 🙂

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Don@Make Cash Online March 4, 2009 at 9:29 pm

I think blogging can be a good business model, but you need the passion in the beginning. That’s because it’s not easy to succeed in blogging and you need the passion to keep you moving forward.
Dons last blog post..Basic Business Models to Make Cash Online

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Carla@Work from home jobs April 2, 2010 at 11:48 am

Derek,
we need to talk sometime soon. I need to pick your brain and we can collaborate on some killah stuff.

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derek April 7, 2010 at 5:36 pm

Carla, you can always reach me via the contact form here or you can find me on twitter @dereksemmler if you want to follow-up. Thanks for stopping by!

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Kyle@SEO Kansas City June 30, 2011 at 11:08 am

If you stay with it, provide quality discussion and have a pretty good niche blog, I think blogging as a business can be fruitful.

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Leadership July 14, 2011 at 2:37 am

I agree, blogging would be a great business since internet has been widely used nowadays and one great source of income. However, you will need a huge understanding on how to start it. It’s not hard to start this business as long as you know the right strategies…

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Thomas July 20, 2011 at 6:56 am

Business is one of the important things in our life…We have to always bring it to the next level to be successful…

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Fog Lamps July 20, 2011 at 7:26 am

Hi…this is my first time to visit your site..I like your site and also like all comments.

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Markus August 13, 2011 at 7:08 am

I’m setting up blogs to create an income as well. I found the most imporant step is doing keyword research. I take a keyword I think may decent and see what sites are ranking in Google in the top ten positions. If they’re not authorative sites and are not optimized for that keyword phrase I go for it.

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