Hi, my name is Karol. If you’re giving away free content with no plan to build a business, but an expectation to make a lot of money “somewhere down the line,” you’re being an idiot.
Repeat after me:
Free is not a business model.
Last week Nick and I were talking about this at Sarah’s kitchen table. Free can be a lead generator, or as Nick calls it “penetration strategy.” Free can get you in front of a lot of people. Free can build goodwill with your audience. But free is free. No dollar signs. No profits. No business.
Herein lies the problem with most wannabe bloggers-cum-“business owners.” They expect to build an audience and then someday figure out how to make money and quit their day jobs. It doesn’t (usually) work like that. While it can happen, it’s a pie-in-the-sky approach that most likely will not work for you. Sorry to burst your bubble, but somebody needed to tell it to you straight.
In addition to that, far too many bloggers I meet don’t fit the following criteria for building a successful blog:
1) A joy of writing.
If you don’t enjoy writing you’re in for a hellish time trying to build a blog into a business. Your time would be better spent eating Doritos and watching American Idol like the rest of America.
2) Unforgettable writing.
Your writing doesn’t have to be unforgettable to all people, of course. It does, however, have to be unforgettable to a sizable audience.
How Can You Fix This?
Assuming you enjoy writing and can write regular content that is unforgettable, you’re off to a pretty good start.
But you’re still in the “free is not a business model” boat. And that bitch is sinking fast.
The truth is if I wanted to maximize the money I made online I would quit blogging. I do this because I thoroughly enjoy it. If I put all of my writing time into product creation and promotion I would likely quadruple my income in the next 6 months. As you probably know, my life is not about making the maximum amount of money. If I’m reaching my current enough point (I talk about this in the Freedom Fighters course) I’m happy living life and having fun. (Doing that got me on USA Today.)
So what do you do?
Do you quit blogging and instead work on creating something valuable to sell? Or do you continue blogging, continue slaving away writing content that nobody reads, and hope to someday have a large enough audience to sell something to?
It’s honestly your choice, but …
If you truly want to build a business I say fuck blogging.
Do this instead:
1) Create something powerful. I don’t care who you are, you know something or can create something that other people would be willing to pay for. Be that a physical product, a digital product, a piece of software, or some kind of consulting. You have it in you even if you may not know it yet. It’s not my job to find out what that thing is. Just know it’s there. I promise you that.
2) Write a handful of phenomenal guest posts for popular blogs like ZenHabits and CopyBlogger or any big site that’s relevant to your market. It’s intimidating to reach out to huge websites like this, but whatever. Do it. Pick the fucking weight up off the floor or drop it. The choice is yours.
3) Include a link to your product in the author byline to those guest posts. Easy enough. Most guest post authors include links to their blogs. That’s cool. You’re going to link to a website too. But you’re doing it to …
4) Profit. That means you have to sell. Quit whining. Selling is not dirty. Whoever you are, whatever you do, you are selling. Whether that’s trying to get a job, trying to get laid, or trying to build a business, you are selling. Might as well embrace it and learn to do it well.
This, in and of itself, won’t be enough to build a business. It will get the ball rolling for you and lay a foundation.
Once you’ve made some contacts and money it’s time to leverage that to build more contacts and make more money. Eventually you’ll hit a tipping point and you’ll have built a business with real customers, real friends, and a real ability to quit your day job.
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