Imagine one day having a helpful blog where you share your tips and get consistent, high quality traffic.
Whenever you share your posts on social media, they go viral.
People just fall in love with your blog posts, emails and social media posts, not wanting to miss any bit.
All of a sudden, anything you sell, sells.
You maximize sales when you genuinely help your audience to succeed. I'll talk more about that in a minute.
I've blogged since April 2012 and I've loved every single minute of it.
It wasn't easy to start. I remember reading getting blogging lessons from multiple blogs. All these things sounded like Greek, until I found out that...
1. You'll never be very very ready, just start
"I'm not ready to start blogging yet. Yes, I've read about it. I feel like I can do it. I'm just not quite ready."
I always get that. And funny thing is that those excuses never end. I know because I had them once as well.
You're definitely not ready if you have absolutely no idea what a blog is or how it may benefit you. Learn first. Once you're convinced that you want to get started, go ahead and just start. Otherwise, you'll never be very very ready.
Two things pushed me to start this blog:
- I really wanted to help people to make money online like I was. Online work saved me from being extremely broke. Finally, I would be happy to help hundreds, thousands or even millions of people get to be successful online.
- Since I'd written for 1 year, I always wondered where my articles were going to. I later realized that my clients were posting content in blogs just like this one and earning so much more than what they were paying me.
Results? This blog has helped many to make over $1,000 per month as freelance writers, such as Johnson. What's more, I actually earn from it! I'll talk a little bit about some ways that I earn from the blog shortly.
To earn, you have to market, right? This leads us to the next point.
2. You'll need to attract and persuade people
Just because it's a good product, that doesn't mean people are going to buy it.
You may have a very beautiful blog. You may have an amazing product. But there are a few factors that may make it not sell.
In online marketing, one of the biggest mistakes that people make is not properly marketing.
Here are some of the marketing methods I use:
- Social media marketing: I post in most major social media platforms. However, I heavily capitalize on Facebook where I have big groups that I founded and manage, such as Remarkable Freelance Writers in Africa and Awesome Transcribers in Kenya.
- Search engine optimization: Search engine traffic is sweet. When I'm not posting on groups or email, 60% of my traffic comes from search engines. This means that I can take a break from work but still continue selling through that free search traffic.
- Email marketing: In this list, this is my favorite, especially when it comes to conversion. Email marketing gives you the power of automation. Use it to convert your subscribers to buyers and repeat buyers. Eventually, they refer you to all their friends.
- Advertising: I've done a couple of ads on Facebook and Google in the past. These give you instant, targeted traffic at a fee.
All this is possible if you keep implementing things fast.
Do you feel like you know what you do but you're constantly stuck? Well, let me tell you something:
3. An idea in your head is, well, just an idea
As you grow in your blogging career, you'll keep getting so many ideas.
You'll want to create a mailing list, reach out to other bloggers, launch awesome products, increase your income streams etc.
These sound great, right? The truth is they're only good if you implement them.
Implementation of great ideas is what separates winners from dreamers.
I remember how scared I was when I first thought of adding a mailing list to this blog. Since I usually go for the best, I needed a good tool, but that would cost me.
Would that cost give me a return on my investment? Would I have wasted money?
The results shocked me.
I've used AWeber for all these years and the returns I get always surpass what I put in. Yes, I was afraid of the cost at first, but I decided to just test drive it.
Test driving removed the idea from my head to seeing actual results!
Whenever you have a good idea, implement it fast. As you'll learn from Derek Halpern and Marie Forleo in this video:
Clarity comes in action, not in thought.
4. A successful blogger is as good as his tools (one of my favorite blogging lessons)
You need the right tools in every area of life.
Good farmers, technicians and doctors have their own tools of the trade. As a blogger, you should do the same as well.
When beginning, you may not be able to afford so many paid tools. So you're free to start with free ones.
I use both free and premium tools. Note that some of the links below are affiliate links. If you click on them and make a purchase, I may get a commission.
Either way, these are tools that I use and love. I'd have recommended them still, even without the commission.
OK. Below are my favorite tools:
Email marketing software: It helps you send both automated and broadcast emails to your subscribers.
Web host: This blog is currently hosted by HostGator. It ensures my site is accessed fast and is up 99.9% of the time.
Visual editor: This helps you to create tables like this one, sales pages, buttons and many other cool things in a few clicks. I used this to create this post.
Online course platform: That's where we're currently hosting all our courses. It's easy to use and has fantastic analytics/reporting tools.
Social media marketing tool: I use this to schedule social media updates. Sometimes I queue up my blog posts to be shared all over the social media space.
Search engine optimization plugin: A stroke of genuis. Whenever you write a post, it shows you how to optimize it for search engines. And free search traffic is sweeeeet!
Backup plugin: This is useful for automatically backing up your entire blog and saving it elsewhere e.g. in Dropbox or Google Drive. In case something happens and breaks your blog, you can restore it to the previous status using this plugin.
Security Plugin: Always take your security seriously. This plugin keeps your blog safe from web attacks. You still need to learn how to operate securely, though. Security begins with you.
Website traffic tools: Another stroke of genius. This plugin gives you access to a set of tools that you can use to grow your blog. You can use it to create subscription forms social sharing buttons, contact forms, heat maps etc.
There are many more tools I use but what the ones I've mentioned above are some of the best. It's always advisable to look out for the tools that will work in your space.
How do I know which tool to use? I simply visit my favorite sites, see something awesome and I'm like "How can I do that?" I then either ask the site owner or just Google for a tool that has the functionality I want.
Hehehe... now let me talk about something some people would not want to hear on a blogging lessons post...
5. You may have to do what you hate
There are some aspects of blogging that are so much fun; such as making money. Or reading great testimonials from your audience.
But to make that money, you may have to take care of some boring things that just have to be done.
Here's an example:
Nowadays, for you to earn some decent cash from your website, you need to get subscribers, nurture them then sell them stuff.
Jon Morrow once gave some good math, that you should aim to be earning $1 per subscriber. In short, if you have 10k subscribers, your goal should be to earn $10k per month.
Here's some of the work I've put into getting my subscribers:
- Creating free eBooks and free mini-courses to get people to subscribe (and help them succeed in specific areas)
- Setting up multiple sign up boxes
- Redoing my homepage to ensure it gives me constant subscribers
- Setting up landing pages and thank you pages
- Creating posts on social media that encourage people to subscribe
- Doing heavy launch campaigns whenever I'm selling something
...and all that's just a tip of the iceberg.
Some people would find all those things boring and hard. Sometimes I also feel the pinch. Imagine taking a whole day creating landing pages, offer pages and email sequences.
I've tried to persuade some of my closest friends to create the above so that they can increase their subscriber base. Many of them plainly tell me that it's hard or boring.
Those who actually do these hard things when necessary get excellent results. To be a top blogger, you'll sometimes have to do those things you hate because you think they're hard or boring.
As you do the hard work, think of all the people you'll be helping. Giving is such a beautiful thing. Why?
6. You gain by giving
Some of the most successful people I know tend to also be the most generous.
We're seeing a huge increase in this. Apart from just free eBooks, people out there are giving free software, free courses and even free coupons to help their audiences succeed.
As promised, I'm going to tell you more about why your audience should actually succeed.
When thinking about free stuff, some people ask this: "Well, isn't that just a way to woo people into buying?"
Let me explain:
In life, any good relationship is made by giving. The person closest to you is most likely the person who has given you the most.
Do they give you just to woo you to do something in return?
No. Your genuine friends always want the best for you. In the same way, a genuine blogger will always want their audience to succeed.
Therefore, yes, giving is a good method of building rapport with your audience.
And no, when a blogger gives you stuff, it's not just a way to woo you.
Let me use an example of what I do in this blog:
I give the following absolutely free of charge:
- Free blogging eBook (this has helped so many successful bloggers)
- Free mini-course for writers (I keep getting testimonials from people who've gained a lot from this free course)
- Free guides e.g. this blog post you're reading right now. Just imagine how long it took to write this 🙂
- Other random freebies that I may just give at the spur of the moment e.g. I once gave my entire audience free subscription to a US-based magazine and a premium eBook among other items.
I plan to keep giving more and more as I grow.
Now to the big question. Do all the people I give things to buy from me? No.
Here's the math:
Out of all the subscribers I have, averagely 25% buy stuff from me.
That means that 75% of my subscribers keep getting access to all these things for free, without ever paying me anything.
If I was to only focus on those who buy, then I'd not keep the 75% in my mailing list who may never ever buy! But I keep helping even those non-buyers.
Is 25% a bad number? It's actually amazing.
Think of a product you sell for Sh. 2,000.
Let's say you work so hard and manage to get 1,000 subscribers without selling anything.
After that, you launch your product and 25% of your subscribers buy. That means 250 people give you Sh. 2,000. How much is that? A whopping Sh. 500,000!
Remember that's just 25%. 75% of the people you give to may never ever buy from you.
You should still give them freely over and over again.
Whoa! Why should you keep giving to those who will never buy from you?
Because you should serve a higher purpose.
Mine here is to see as many freelancers as possible succeed.
To be specific, I'd want ALL who read from me to be earning a minimum of $1,000 a month as fast as beginners.
I'd want them to one day become billionaires and if not, millionaires. It doesn't matter whether or not they'll buy from me or give me anything in return.
As promised, I'll still give you more info on why your audience's success should be your major focus. For now, let me talk about collaboration...
7. Aquisition and partnership as marketing
What happens when you see your neighbor going down?
Should you let them keep going down? Absolutely not.
If something bad happens to your neighbor, then it's soon happening to you. It doesn't have to be the same thing, but we all face challenges of some sort.
If you help your neighbor up, and they help you up as well, you'll keep the neighborhood soaring.
This is a tough teaching I know. Trust me, it's one of the best things you'll ever learn anywhere.
If you're a blogger in a certain industry, don't be happy to see other bloggers going down.
Find a way to keep the industry soaring.
Two of the best ways are acquisition and partnership.
Acquisition means you actually buy out failing businesses that may serve your interests. They don't have to be failing businesses. However, you can still find ways to buy out businesses that will somehow serve your agenda.
That's why you see Facebook and Google buying other companies. They then grow their acquired companies to another level.
No no no, I've not bought out any business yet, but I've made a lot of useful partnerships. Look keenly at this ladder.
- I started as just a freelance writer, creating content for clients. I attained some decent level of success.
- Many writers approached me to help them, so I started training aspiring writers, mostly for free, back in 2011.
- The number increased, so I went ahead and created a blog in 2012 so that the information I share gets to even more people.
- Some of them wanted premium info, so I started selling eBooks in late 2012.
- I started my freelance writing course in 2013 to give even more information to those who wanted to be successful writers.
- Since trainees needed their content assessed even after the course, I partnered with Spike Wyatt to create PenStars in 2017.
- A growing number of people wanted to learn transcription, so I partnered with Nelly Mutua to offer a transcription course from late 2017.
- Trainees grew over the years and wanted to be bloggers like me, so in April 2018 I partnered with Samedi Amba to create Bloggaz, where we offer blog design and hosting services at an unbeatable fee.
Look at that.
From just one stream of income, writing, came many other streams. Each of those people I've partnered with also got a new source of income for themselves.
In short, here in FreelancerKenya, we've managed to grow a happy "neighborhood", made of mutually beneficial partnerships.
Use acquisitions and partnerships to boost your business.
I know what you're thinking:
When you do so many things at once like me, you're going to get burnt out. Not necessarily, you just need to do this:
8. Balance your energy; cut down on what's not working, improve on what's working and automate some stuff
As much as you love your profession, things change, and some things start becoming redundant. Do not waste your energy on something that's just not working.
I've done so many businesses in this internet of ours. Even in this blog, I've offered so many services in the past. I keep closely monitoring each.
When one stops giving me returns, I stop it and focus on what's working.
When one does extremely well, I start automating and delegating some tasks as I grow others. This way, I don't end up getting burnout.
Check this out:
- When I started out as a blogger in 2012, one of the best ways to get subscribers was to give out a free ebook. It worked great but started slowing down.
- I now give a free mini-course. This has given me more subscribers than anything else ever has.
- My first eBook was a basic guide on how to make money online. It sold like hotcakes. However, soon everyone knew those basics. Sales reduced.
- I stopped marketing the eBook and put more effort on my writing course, which has been doing great since inception.
I learnt all these from excellent mentors. And that's why I keep telling you to...
9. Choose your mentors wisely (I've seen painful things out there)
Lisen to me carefully:
You get what's in your mentors.
It's been very painful seeing people following the wrong advice out there. The worst thing is that once bad advice sticks into your mind, it's so hard to get it out.
I've seen so many saying wrong things on social media like:
- Don't pay anyone for any course
- You can't make money blogging
- People from a specific country/region are all scammers so don't do business with them
- Advertising is the only way to earn from a blog
- You can only earn as a writer through a certain freelance website or account, even if it doesn't accept people from your region
...and many more.
Feels so bad seeing so many people going with the bad advice they get. Many then end up in a very bad spot.
How do you choose the right mentors?
Here's exactly how what you do:
If you want to go to Point X, get advice from someone who's at Point X or beyond.
You should focus on getting blogging lessons from someone who's already made it in blogging.
Let me ask you:
If you wanted to learn how to play football, would you learn from a footbal fan or a successful football player?
Of course the football player will know more than the football fan.
Most of the people who give advice online are like football fans. They simply give you the info they've heard from someone else. Or what they think works.
Truth is they have no clear idea what's working today because they're not in the field.
What they give you may work to some extent, but will not take you to the place you want to be.
On the other hand, if you get advice from someone who is currently living and breathing what you want to become, you get real-time, practical, helpful tips that will take you to the next level.
Aaaand now to the point you've been waiting for all along...
10. Focus on your audience's success rate
Hahaha... you thought you should focus on your income?
Money is good and yes, it helps you do a few things.
However, if you just focus on money and forget your audience, your blog will soon fail.
Focus on making your audience succeed. Give them lots and lots of wins.
I want us to do something together real quick.
Of these three people, who would you believe?
John tells you he is the best trainer.
You read a review saying Eric is the best trainer.
Alice trains YOU for free and you make money.
You'll definitely believe that Alice is a great trainer. Why? She has actually trained you, and you've made money.
That clears all doubt whatsoever on Alice's training skills. She's demonstrated that she can do it. You've seen it with your own eyes.
If Alice has a premium, paid course, you'd quickly buy it, regardless of the fact that you've heard good things about Eric and John.
What's more, if Alice's free course helped you to earn $1,000, and her paid course helped you to earn $5,000, you'll be sold out to Alice, forever.
You'll refer all your friends and keep buying everything Alice pushes out. She'll be your mentor. Your star.
Make sure your audience keeps winning and you'll have won their hearts.
Let them not think of you as just a blogger, but as the person who changed their lives forever.
The person who came through for them when they really needed help.
The person who gave them a source of living.
This will make it easy for them to buy from you repeatedly. They'll recommend you to all their workmates, schoolmates, aunties, neighbors and even their cats and dogs ;).
Let's look at another quick example:
1. Selling something to Walter for $50
2. Jane not buying from you directly, but referring 10 people who buy from you for $50 each.
Of course Walter is valuable, he bought from you, right? You made $50 from him.
But Jane here has given you the most cash -- $500 from the 10 people she referred.
She believes in you so much that she keeps referring her friends to you over and over and over again.
Eventually when Jane is able to actually buy from you, she may buy just about every product you sell or promote! You're her hero. Her angel.
Make sure your audience keeps winning. Even if some won't buy from you, they'll become your product ambassadors. They'll refer all their friends and family to you over and over again.
Let your blog shine
Your blog is your platform. Your stage.
You can use it to change the world. To solve serious issues in your society that no one else seems to care about.
As it grows, you'll start becoming an authority in your niche. A force to reckon with.
If you do as above and monetize it, you'll first start getting some active income, but as time goes by you'll start enjoying the passive, repetitive income that everyone prays for.
Yes, it can happen to you. But only if you're committed to it.
Don't forget to always look for the right mentors.
Do the hard work, monetize your blog properly, market heavily and make sure your audience succeeds.
The more your audience succeeds, the more you'll succeed.