8 Keys to Making My Blog a Successful Business
Starting a hobby blog that turned into a business was one of the best decisions of my life.
I’ve shared my complete story in 6 parts on my blog already, so I won’t repeat all of that here. It’s a good read if you missed it and goes into much more detail than I’ll share on this post, but that’s how it all began. For fun. A hobby to keep me busy and an outlet for my decorating passion, which has been around for a long, long time.
I discovered the internet while working in the corporate world in the late ‘90s. Once I found decorating forums full of other people who shared my passion for things like paint colors, renovation projects, and kitchens they wanted to remodel, I jumped right in too, asking and answering questions. Before I knew it, six years had passed. We had seen homes transformed in front of our eyes, and the forums were a big part of my life. I discovered the home blogging community in 2006, and started my own the next year. I managed to make a header and learned enough html to change my background. Blogger was free, and easy to work with.
“I can do this,” I thought! I became obsessed with learning as much as I could that first year to make my blog pretty. I was constantly changing it up.
I embraced blogging and began sharing what I was doing to my home at the time. I found more blogs in the home and crafting niche, and over time, my blog, and community, grew. I joined the BlogHer ad network in 2008, and began to make a little extra money. The BlogHer founders foresaw a huge opportunity for women to have a voice online, and they also could see the potential for growth that brands would partner with these bloggers. It was very part-time, but so exciting to get paid for writing about my home projects, painting, thrifting, and showing my house.
These were my eight keys to turning my blog into a business:
1. Starting a blog early in the game:
Getting into blogging and the home niche early helped. I’m so grateful for all the readers that have been with me from the beginning.
2. Writing about what I’m passionate about:
My love for home design, decorating, and DIY brought me into the forums and online community in the first place. I brought my passion for these things to my blog. It continues to energize my work today.
3. Lots of hard work:
Being self-employed is a wonderful thing (except for the paperwork and tax thing.) I love being my own boss and not having to report into an office anymore, but I am also responsible for everything, from my blog design to my own content. I love what I do! I spend a lot of time behind the computer (definitely as much as a 40 hour work week), but it’s still fun to me.
4. Trying new income streams:
Learning how to work with ad networks, brands, and sponsors is a key part of making it all work together and making a living doing this.
5. Learning as much as I could along the way about blogging and technical stuff:
I’ve come a long way since I made that first header. I still don’t know a lot about coding, but I can change out ad tags in my widgets and play around with my sidebars without breaking anything.
6. Taking on new projects and trying new things:
I pulled together a group of women in my niche who were also passionate about starting our own blogging event, to start the Haven conference last year. We had no idea how to do it, but all the key players came together and we made it happen. This year is even bigger and better, with some fantastic sponsors and vendors.
7. Building my community
The success has not all been financial or even tangible. The friendships and camaraderie I’ve found in blogging, and offline at conferences like BlogHer and Blissdom, and now Haven, has been amazing to me. I have friends from all over the country now and it has opened up a completely new world.
8. Last but not least, blessings from above have brought me on this journey:
I have worked hard, no doubt about it, but the blessings have come from God above and I don’t ever want to forget that. He knew that I would need a career to sustain me again and He gave me the best gift I could ask for.
I tell people I really do have a dream job and I truly believe that. Something that I love to do is also my way of making a living. I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else at this stage of my life, so I hope it lasts and lasts. So far, so good!