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The #1 Reason My Blogging Grew Into a Business

Have you ever had a moment in your life where everything changed?

You might not have known it at the time - but the moment was defining, it changed the course of some area of your life in a way that turned things upside down.

I had one of those course changing moments early in my blogging. It was a moment that resulted in my blogging moving from being a hobby that generated a nice bit of secondary income into a full time business.

It was a moment that at the time didn't feel life changing - but it was.

The funny thing about this moment is that it wasn't a discovery of some secret way to make money blogging, it wasn't the day I started one of my blogs… in fact it was a moment that didn't immediately lead to any particular change on my blogs - because it was largely something that happened in my mind - a paradigm shifting moment.

It all started with 9 words from my wife - Vanessa


'You've got 6 months to make blogging full time.'

Vanessa then told me that if I didn't get it to this kind of level I'd have to get a 'real job'.

This sounds like a rather harsh kind of ultimatum but it actually emerged from an ongoing conversation we'd been having about my dream of becoming a full time blogger.

Up until this point I'd been talking about how blogging could one day provide us with a full time income. I'd been showing her the growth of the earnings from the blogs so far and projecting forward to what they might be in the future if things kept going.

I'd been on about it for months and things were going OK - the earnings graphs I kept showing her were trending up - I could see the possibility of one day being a full time blogger.

But I'd been talking a lot…. dreaming a lot…. creating a lot of pretty graphs…. and not really DOING a lot.

Vanessa had very graciously supported my dream for quite some time but realised that to achieve it things needed to change.

I didn't really see it (I was too close and too caught up in my dreams) but Vanessa knew it and so she set me the 'ultimatum' - a deadline that changed my thinking and more importantly led to me changing the way I went about my blogging.

In the moments after Vanessa's ultimatum I had a realization that while I dreamed that one day my blogging would become a business that I'd been treating my blogging like a hobby.

I knew that if I were to succeed in going full time in the next six months that that had to change. I needed to start looking at my blogging as a business now - even though it was only earning a day or two a week's income.

That moment changed everything.

That was the day I....

  • started putting serious time aside for blogging
  • became more focused upon my core tasks of creating content
  • wasted less time on distractions
  • became more strategic in my thinking and set myself goals to work towards
  • began to look for new income streams - beyond AdSense
  • started hustling for advertisers - ringing up businesses in my niche and pitching my blog to them
  • began to seek out guest writing opportunities on other blogs and even in main stream media
  • started setting myself deadlines for posting a certain number of posts a day and developed an editorial calendar
  • I started networking more with other bloggers
  • began to invest more time and even money into my learning of different aspects of blogging
  • started to look for a business coach who could teach me how to look at what I do as a business instead of a hobby

That day began the process for me of looking at what I do as a business.

While not a lot changed on my blogs that day - the impact over the last 4-5 years has been significant. I've not looked back and many of the things I changed back then have become patterns and a natural part of my blogging work flow.

The #1 reason my blogging grew into a business was that I began to treat it as one.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. Darren, you continue to be a total inspiration, thanks!

    But how will I be able to eat or sleep until tomorrow’s mindset shift reveal?!

  2. Its inspiring to know that you can make a living from the Blog itself. I always thought of the Blog as Content = traffic = list then earn from the list, but in reality you have to do a bit of each.

    Nice post anyway

    Take Care


  3. one of the most interesting blog posts I`ve read recently. so procreative! thanks for this inspiration.

  4. Now, that’s a good example of how to build some excitement and anticipation for something. Need to re-read it again and again. You got me interested.

    It would be interesting to know what the product was that your now not going to promote.


  5. Thank you for the biographical inside to your blog. It is very encouraging. I have blogged only a few months but adopted a similar mindset. Income this year is not a necessity this year, but blogging is. I cannot explain that, but other bloggers reading this will understand.

    Its inspiring to know that you can make a living from the Blog itself. I always thought of the Blog as Content = traffic = list then earn from the list, but in reality you have to do a bit of each.

    Every body plz visit my site http://electronic-home.co.cc

  6. We’ve always been a niche blog, but that has been our advantage, despite the very niche topic that we cover.

    We suffered with our mindset and the way we thought. It’s the thinking shift that we changed. And definitely, we DID it, we asked, we took action. We were astonished at first. This is what was always lurking in our minds: “Are you sure you want to sponsor on our blog?”

    It was a great feeling, after taking the first sponsor!

  7. Denise says: 10/15/2009 at 8:39 am

    Appreciate the inspiration you delivered to us once again. I too am bound and determined to make blogging my full-time business; I also need to be more in the ‘doing’ area rather than reading, researching, visiting other blogs along with all the other distractions. Thanks again Darren, for the lift up!

  8. Definitely a good article. It is always hard get started, but you have to be confident to what you are doing and to your product. You have to believe and learn from your mistakes. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, but you have to learn from it quick and don’t make it again.

    Good work fellows!

  9. Deadlines are necessary for change to occur.

  10. Fantastic article… Why do I love Problogger.net…let me count the whys…

    Okay my poetry skills need work but I am sincerely in love with this blog. This blog speaks from the heart, share insightful info and I really feel like I can get all of my blogging tips from this one site. Thank you so much for your generosity…it is truly inspiring and I wish you 100 times the success than you have obtained.

  11. I think the most important thing to take away from this post is the importance of setting goals. Until your wife gave you the 6 months ultimatum you didn’t have any clear goals defined.

  12. Darren, thanks for keeping the sincerity who of who you promote. I like that you have good quality control.

  13. Darren,

    You have found your place…… TO be happy with what yoru doing, earn an honest living, and being real good at what you do is rewarding….. and a happy wife keeps the world going round!!

  14. The preliminary step is aim to maintain the site simple, understandable and translucent to attract visitors going in to your page and so bringing them closer to buying a product.

  15. Wow, your wife actually told you to make blogging full time by 6 months?! That is lots of pressure out there.

    But everything turned out big time for you…

    I think I need to give myself a time table too on my blogging and set clear goals.

  16. Outstanding advice. I found the same to be true when I started my consulting firm. You’re more willing to do the hard thing when you’re working without a safety net.

  17. I did not have any moment like this yet! Probably that’s the reason I am not that concentrated! I will try to set a deadline myself and see how it goes!

  18. Wow that is ambition you have- 6 months!! Wow! I think all of us have what it takes to be successful, we just need to figure out how to do it. I learned by reading “What You Don’t Know You Know: Our Hidden Motives in Life, Business, and Everything Else,” written by Kenneth Eisold that there are so many things that we already know in order to become successful, we just need to learn how to manipulate ourselves enough to find it.

  19. I know the feeling. I get new ideas weekly and don’t know where to start or what to focus on first! I have many blogs set up but cant seem to find the time, focus or commitment to run them all. I need help! I am looking for a local partner and also a life or success coach to keep me on track.

    Awesome post. Too bad you pulled the followup. Sometimes is best NOT to do something than it is to do it especially when ethics are involved.

  20. Darren, isn’t it amazing how you become so focused on getting results (ie money to put food on the table!!) when your family depends on you.

    I have to feed a family of 8.

    Come on, Gerry, you have got to pull your finger out!!!

  21. It is inspiring to know that you can make a living from the Blog itself. I always thought of the Blog as Content = traffic = list then earn from the list, but in reality you have to do a bit of each.

  22. thanks for such a motivating article darren! i really appreciate how you handled the pressure and actually used it as a catalyst for your success.

  23. I REALLY like this post. For me it encapsulates everything you’ve ever said on your blog into one concise blog post. Anyone wanting to take their blog to the next level just has to read this post and follow the list of tasks that you went through to get yourself making the income you needed.

    I have saved this to my favorites!

  24. Darren, thanks for keeping the sincerity who of who you promote.

  25. Darren,

    As always, thanks for the good post. I’m sure my wife is working on one of those 6-word phrases herself, although she is a very good and patient woman.

    I work a full time job plus blog, so the blogging digs into family time occasionally, but not to frequently. Thank goodness for laptops you can use in your family room!

  26. Sometimes threatening theory works. But not every time. It is up to us to realize our potential and decide whether to take blogging as a business or not.
    If you want to earn 10 millions a year then you must think to do doing things like Ship Stevedeoring, Chain of Bar and restaurants, Hotel networks, milk industries, factories or lucrative industries like Rich mill, oil, and etc.

    And if your dream is to just earn six figure income then blogging business is the best for you. And when it come to blogging arena credit goes to your Darren for your infinite contribution towards blogging motivation.

  27. Darren:

    What I really appreciate about this post is the list of what you did to take yourself from a hobby to a career. It’s a powerful reminder, especially for those of us who have built our own “brands”.

    Thank you!

    Julie Taylor

  28. What a heartfelt and useful post, Darren. There simply ain’t anything else around like your stuff. I love it long time. Many thanks! P. :)

  29. Great Post Darren. Your points go beyond blogging and would apply to anyone aspiring to build something that realises the potential they can see in it.

  30. I read this post and I thought that you wrote it just for me! Then I seen that was not the case with 76 comments.HAHA!
    I was literally thinking about this in my dreams last night.
    I thoroughly enjoyed this post Darren.
    Really doesn’t always come back down to women! What would you men do without us a seriously! She deserves her own personal lingerie consultant does she not! ;-)

  31. Women usually are the biggest motivators for men :)

  32. Nothing better than the wrath of the “mrs” to get you working. Nice to see it has paid off.

    My difficulty is prioritising the ultimatums my wife gives me…make money or else, put out the garbage or else. :-)

  33. Nice way of getting back on track but one question. where you unemployed at that time? and living at your parents house? 6 Month? or something like that?
    Anyway your wife must be a saint to be willing to wait for you that long to get a “Real Job”.
    For one thing is Sure “One Need to treat any kind of activity if you are going to benefit from it as a business, if not anything else is just a hobby”

  34. I online-love your wife. You know, in a never-met yet non-creepy sort of way. *smile*

  35. Hey Darren,

    This blog is an eyeopener for me. I have been thinking about taking my blogging seriously and making money out of it. But there is no “V” to say “You’ve got 6 months to make blogging full time.” :P.

    After reading your blog..now I’m sure of what should I be doing. Thanks for sharing this.


  36. Hi Darren as a Problogger owner I think you have work too hard for your blog. I subscribed to your blog and get daily mail from your blog updates. I like the way of your blogging and so I am going big fan of your blog.

    All of we new blogger are really thankful to you.

  37. This was very inspirational. It indeed confirms yet again that deadlines is very useful for strategy conception and implementation, motivation and getting REALLY serious about doing what we are talking and dreaming since ages.
    There is a HBO documentary about a rich jewish businessman (which I have yet to watch, but saw the trailer). I liked what the dude’s money making philosophy.
    He say, “Any one can be a millionaire, or a billionaire. Just go out and get it done”.

    Free Automatic eMail Processor

  38. Darren,
    Your awesome post prompted me to copy the bullet points onto a Word document, put them into command form and post them on the wall for myself as my own 6 month plan. I really needed that!
    Just one question though: could you go into more detail or write a post about the point which talks about being “strategic?” Would love to know what strategies you were talking about there…

  39. You made it as a blogger because you had to work with a sense of URGENCY.

    Maybe finances were tight and that’s why V gave you the ultimatum.

    But whatever it was, you either had to succeed – or find a “real job.” I take the job option was not appealing to you.

    Google “Hernan Cortez” and “burning the ships” for the most famous example of this.

  40. Long time reader, first time poster.

    All I can say is WOW! This post certainly makes me relook how I’ve approached my website, even if I did just start it. It’s amazing to have these resources available to us at the start of our sites. I wonder what you would have done to hae a “Problogger” to learn from when you started :)

    -Edvard D

  41. the important thing is that your hobby changed into your business.. and so you had sucess.

  42. I’m new to the blogging industry but I have a professional writing background. Unlike most blogs that I have read so far, I find your information helpful and thoughtful. The content carries weight.

    Thank you for offering advice and tips on how to get started. I look forward to expanding my writing practices.


  43. This is a helpful post. I needed a little nudge. I have been wasting a lot of time surfing.

  44. Darren, this is great timing for me!

    I am in the process of setting my goals SERIOUSLY as I’m tired of being “sick and tired”!

    I have been reading Brian Tracy’s writings, which are pnenomenal as far as goals go.

    One Tracy quote: “Only 3% of adults have written goals, and everyone else works for them.” (!)

    Thanks for the continued education and inspiration!

  45. Yes, it is very much important to take actions to turn our dreams into reality. You made it out.

  46. Nothing like a sense of urgency to actually push you to reaching those goals, huh. And yeah, like they say, behind every great man is a great woman LOL

  47. I have only been blogging for less than six months…and yes, I have made some money…and find myself always learning more and more.
    This is the first blog post of yours that I’ve read, and I’m really looking forward to learning more!
    JODY in Beautiful BC

  48. What are your thoughts about user generated content sites that share revenue with uploaders like this?


  49. Thanks for the inspirational post. Blogging is fun on many levels and difficult on many others. I’m a journalist so the writing and photography parts were fun to learn and carry out. The monetizing more difficult.

    That said, I’ve figured out how to put ads on my TypePad blog. I’m an REI affiliate, and as a consumer writer it’s nice to be associated with the largest co-op in the world.

    You made helpful points in the post about thinking about your blogs in a number of ways to be successful. Also as Wayne Dyer says use intentions to draw what you want into your life.

    I’m going to add Amazon next, maybe with my own list of consumer books for my readers.

    Rita Blogging at The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide.

  50. thanks for this little kick-in-the-butt. very much needed. I think this applies to every facet of life…including starting other types of small businesses. Thanks for helping me to focus, gain some confidence, and outlining some next-steps! I need to start stepping! Great post…

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