After 4+ years of owning this blog, I am finally treating it like a business…and it’s paying dividends. When I first started my blog, I was basically in it for the money. Sure, I liked to write about personal finance, but I really just wanted to make some bank through advertisements like everyone else out there on the world wide web.
The Greedy History of Life And My Finances
After about a year of blogging, it actually worked. I was earning upwards of $2,000-$3,000 a month with my website! But, with the methods I was using, my site was doomed to fail. Advertisers were coming out of the woodwork to pay for sponsored posts, text links, banner ads, and social media shout-outs. I accepted them all without regard. Casino ads, cash advance ads, payday loans – they all made it on my site for the right price. I’m obviously ashamed to say that, but don’t worry, I was punished for my greedy behavior. The Google giants decided they didn’t like the way I was running my site, and they downgraded my rank to zero (for those of you that don’t know website lingo, that’s extremely bad…). My $2,000-$3,000 per month suddenly shrunk to $200 each month at best.
My cash flow was down, my visitor numbers were cut in half, and my most loyal readers were hanging on by a thread. You know the saying, “The perfect time to restart is when you’re at the bottom”? Well these chain of events created the absolute perfect time to retool, revamp, and restructure this website. It was time to actually do good with the gifts I was given.
This realization came about six months ago, and this site has been growing ever since.
Do you know what the number one impact has been for my site growth? The six inch space between my ears – my mind. For the first 4 years of my blog’s existence, I was treating it as a little hobby on the side. You know, something that was moderately fun and put some extra money into my bank account, but certainly not anything worth mentioning to others.
When people would mention my site, I somewhat sheepishly said, “Oh…yeah…I have a website about personal finance. It’s decent – just a hobby.” Since I thought of it as a hobby, that’s the way I portrayed it to others. And, since I was totally not excited to tell them about it, they just figured it another piece of crap website (which it kind of was). I was not proud of my site and did not believe it to be valuable for others to read. This is absolutely the main reason it never grew.
Today, things are different. When I write an article now, I write it to the best of my ability and have a hope that it will get picked up by Yahoo Finance or the Wall Street Journal. This is my mentality for every single one of my articles, and this makes them dang good! So, with these high-quality articles, do you think I am sheepish when I talk about my site? Heck no! I tell everyone I can think of and send them to the best personal finance site that I know of, MINE!
The Results of My Business Mentality
In just the last week, things have really been booming for my site, and I can tell that this is just the beginning. Here are a few examples of what’s been happening.
1) I’m earning affiliate income again
In the past, I never mentioned my site to my work friends. They knew I was a financial analyst by day, and that was all. Since I have recently turned my site into a powerhouse of information however, I have really started to talk about it and promote it. At the very least, I figured this would end up helping a few people and provide me with a few new readers each month, but I didn’t really expect it to increase my affiliate earnings.
At this moment, I promote a two affiliates, iPage (a web-host that I use for this awesome site you’re reading now) and Personal Capital. I believe in both very strongly and don’t think twice about giving them my full seal of approval. Little did I know that one of my friends was thinking about starting a website and used my page, “Start Your Own Blog” as a resource to do so. In the end, my simple action of telling my friends about my site netted me $105 through affiliate income. And, it seems that many others intend to start their own sites soon as well, which will only continue to bring in more revenue yet!
The absolute best part of this story is that it’s a win-win. I earn a commission for their sign-up, and they will likely earn some decent money with their website ideas (they’re pretty awesome – wish I would have thought of them!) that cost them only $30 for their entire first year of operations. Beautiful!
2) My site numbers are skyrocketing
Since I have begun putting quality articles on my site, I’m sharing it with everyone I possibly can! I reached out to a number of my Facebook friends and have asked them to Like my page, and I am getting serious about my Twitter followers as well.
In an effort to increase my followers, I started by dusting off my account. Instead of only sending out automated tweets when a new article went live on my site, I began to tweet out other personal finance messages like, “You see that TV? It’s off. That’s how I earn my money.” and “If you really want to have control over your life, you first need to take control of your finances.” As I began to get followers from these awesome statements, I personally thanked them for following and left them a link to my site. To my surprise, many of them began to retweet and favorite my messages, which only brought me more followers (who I of course thanked as well)! Take a look at what has happened to my Twitter account in the last week alone:
I went from 1,789 followers to 1,823 in just 7 days! It’s crazy what can happen when you start treating your hobby like a business!
3) My articles are getting noticed by big-shots
It definitely didn’t happen overnight, but my articles are finally starting to make a splash with the bigger names of finance. While I haven’t yet gotten published on any of the huge finance sites, there have been some moderately large sites that have picked up my work. Have a look for yourself:
- Take Financial Advice From Trusted Sources, Rather Than Friends
- Living on Only $460 a Month, Really?
- 25 Examples of my Extreme Cheapness
Treat That Hobby Like a Business!
The act of transforming my website has been an extremely fun road so far, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for me and this site. If you currently have a side business that you are treating like an embarrassing side hobby, throw down your pitiful thoughts and start taking action on your business today! Chances are that your business is amazing and could earn you an impressive following if you would just get your mind out of the way!
Will you treat your side work like a business or a hobby? I’m choosing business!
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.