A Guest Post By Deb Ng – Deb Ng is a freelance writer, professional blogger, social media consultant and founder of the Freelance Writing Jobs network of blogs.
Four and a half years ago I started a blog filled with nothing but leads to available freelance writing opportunities. As I studied blogging and the various ways to generate traffic and revenue, the blog began to grow beyond my wildest dreams. After two years I was able to hire someone to help find leads and we branched out to also offering daily tips and advice. After three years, I added two more bloggers to the roster and today, it’s a flourishing blog network for freelance writers complete with 8 blogs. It’s now the number one online community for freelance writers. At some point in the past couple of years, it occurred to me I didn’t have merely have a blog. I had a business. In addition to paying other bloggers, I can now draw my own salary and don’t even have to take on clients if I don’t want to.
Someone once suggested it was luck that brought me to this place, but I respectfully disagree. Luck had nothing to do with it. Building FWJ from a blog to a network to a business took a lot more than luck. It took hard work, dedication and a thick skin. When I stopped treating my blog like a hobby and began working at it full time, it became a place that was both profitable and popular.
How did I get here?
- I put in more than an hour or two each day – My blog became a full time job. If I wasn’t blogging, I was planning the next day’s posts, analyzing traffic patterns, and networking with others. It’s a day job, it’s a night job, and it’s a weekend and holiday job.
- I read everything I could about traffic, community, monetization and other strategies needed to become a successful blogger. Keeping apprised of the latest tips and techniques helped me to achieve new levels of blogginess.
- I networked within – and outside of – the freelance writing community – Yes, I participated in discussions at other freelance writing blogs and forums, but I also visited with other communities. Freelance writers participate in various niches and genres, it only makes sense to branch out beyond the obvious.
- I networked offline – I attended professional meetings, meetups and conferences, and met potential advertisers, potential readers, and community members and people with whom I could share ideas and learn from.
- I attended classes – I attended sessions at conferences and at the local community college. I invested in online courses and seminars.
- I aligned myself with some influential people – Being a part of other networks increased awareness of my own community and generated interest in my blog network.
- I learned I have to spend money to make money – While blogging may be an inexpensive startup, the truth is, if I didn’t invest in design, bloggers for hire, technical assistance, classes and conferences, I may not have achieved this level of success.
- Did I mention I put a lot of time and effort into my blog?
- I didn’t wait until advertisers came to me – I sought out sponsors, played with affiliates and yes, even rocked the Adsense. Now though, I sell many private ads to businesses and individuals who approach me instead of the other way around.
- I didn’t let negativity stand in my way – People can be mean – they still are. If I let it get to me I wouldn’t be writing this today.
That doesn’t sound like a whole lot of luck, does it?
The truth is, there were times I questioned my ability. I was also getting a little tired of moderating snarky comments by a few community members who like to bicker about wages and jobs. It was hard seeing people write out and out lies about me on their blogs or suggest I’m only here by luck and not talent . There were plenty of times I wanted to throw in the towel.
Last month when a major online brand inquired about acquiring FWJ, I realized I built something very important and I was very proud. Proud enough not to want to sell.
If I can take my little freelance writing job blog to new heights in only four and a half years, what can I do in another five? I’m looking forward to finding out.
Sure, you can have a blog. You can post once a day and have a few hundred visitors. Or you can treat your blog like you would a job. You can put your passion behind it and give it your all. You can work for someone else or you can do everything possible to grow your own business. With blogging, you get what you give.
What do you want, a blog or a business?