Oh, the mythical and elusive term “full-time blogger.”
Let’s make it clear: blogging or “content creation” (in the form of written articles, YouTube videos, photography, or combination) is considered hard work, just like how people go to work at a 9-to-5 job, Monday through Friday. Therefore, we’re dispelling the notion that bloggers should not make an income. If bloggers shouldn’t make an income, then 9-to-5 employees shouldn’t make an income either, right? Same logic.
“Blogging” has been around for centuries. From the revolutionary rhetoric of history’s past to newspapers, journalists on TV, even big news websites of today (like the Huffington Post), all are forms of content, just in different delivery systems. Therefore, blogging is simply the modern term for using current technology to disseminate information of any kind, whether it’s a lone blogger on a laptop, or with 100 writers all over the world.
So if you’re a lone blogger who blogs as a hobby and wants to turn your passion into your professional career by becoming a full-time blogger, what’s the fastest path?
It’s this simple equation:
FULL-TIME = TRAFFIC + FUNNEL + PRODUCT SALES
Notice how this equation doesn’t have advertising, sponsorships, brand ambassador, or affiliate marketing in it? That’s because those are all just icing on the cake when your “cake” should be focused on the above equation. Now let’s break it down:
We talk about traffic a lot around here (see this post here on Traffic 101) because without traffic (or new people finding you somehow, every single day), then income will not be generated.
If you are a blogger or online business, chances are that you rely on online traffic as your main sources (brick-and-mortar storefronts can rely both on online and offline traffic). Therefore, go straight to social media and determine the 1-2 top social sites where your particular target audience hangs out. Start by mastering 1-2 social sites, then move on to others (to make sure you don’t spread yourself thin).
For TERIMIYAHIRA, our audience hangs out primarily on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and Pinterest. So those are the 4 we focus on (and I have an entire team of people dedicated to those 4 platforms, so don’t feel like you need to master this many social sites if you’re the only person working on your brand right now). We are not on Snapchat, iTunes, Periscope, Twitter or other social sites because our audience isn’t on there in large numbers.
Funnel refers to a “marketing funnel,” which is the strategy to obtain a person’s email address. We do this in multiple ways, from giving out free digital or physical products, our Waitlist for the TERI MIYAHIRA BEAUTY subscription box, or entering our giveaways.
Your funnel must always end with capturing emails because email is the highest converting to a sale (more on sales, and what to sell, below). Social followers are considered “vanity metrics,” meaning there are Instagrammers with 2 million followers who are broke. While other Instagrammers with 20,000 followers make $1 million per year. The difference here is that the brand with the large and engaged email list will always win in sales and revenue. We have an entire article dedicated to email marketing (including the tools we use and strategies we implement to make sales), click here to read.
Next is product sales, or what to actually sell in order to make income. We are not selling advertising, sponsorships, sponsored blog posts, or banner ads. We are referring to original products that you create, whether it’s an e-book, online course, or physical product. The point is that in order become a full-time blogger the quickest way possible, you must sell your own original product that you created.
It’s simple math. You can make anywhere from $10 for an e-book, $100 for a handmade product, to thousands of dollars selling coaching or putting on live events, whereas you may make $0.01 per click on a banner ad. This means that it will take a lot of those penny clicks to equate to selling a $100 handmade sweater (so 1 person buying that sweater, or 10,000 people clicking on ads to equate to $100 in ad revenue). Therefore, it’s much easier to sell 1 sweater to 1 person, versions getting 10,000 people to click on banner ads that are worth a penny.
Selling your own original products is also more predictive of future income, and you are not relying on another company to pay you (such as being sponsored by another brand, who can drop the sponsorship at any time). Being 100% in control of your income is key.
To note here, your email list should convert between 2%-10% to sales. So, if you have an email list of 1000 emails, approximately 20-100 people should buy your product (assuming the product fits your demographic and solves a legitimate problem that your audience is currently having). Here at TERI MIYAHIRA, we convert between 15% to 35% of our email list depending on the product or promotion.
This is why building your email list is so important, because you will have a very accurate estimate of sales based solely on the size of your email list. Then it’s doing the math backwards:
If you want a $10,000 product launch, and your product is $25, that means you need a 20,000 email list size in order to convert 2% (low end, which is 400 sales at $25/sale) of that email list into a sale, to get to your $10,000 sales goal.
Sales and revenues come down simple, basic math!
So when you put the formula together, you are generating traffic to get their email address, so you can email them about products you sell and therefore make sales revenue. It’s literally that “easy.”
The execution of each 3 parts to this formula will take development over time, but if you’re just starting to blog or are considering creating an online business (because the business formula to making sales is actually the same), then start with creating a reliable and predictable traffic strategy, then later down the line you start to craft your email marketing funnel strategy, then lastly create your original products and services to offer.
I notice that when people jump around and do this formula out of order (such as doing traffic first and then making a product to sell, and skipping the middle funnel part), their sales aren’t as high as they can be (because social traffic converts at 1% or less in sales compared to email sales conversions). Or people would create their product first, and then launch it into the abyss of no one because they don’t have an email list or even a substantial social media following.
Hence why people who say that “blogging isn’t work” is being said by those that don’t know how to make real money and feed their families from blogging. If you make money, you are legitimately working for that money. And making enough money to be able to quit your day job should be your ultimate goal if you want to turn your hobby into a career.