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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. Thank you so much Darren for assuring us that if we put more time and effort into blogging, and keep tweaking it, eventually we would hit success.

    Although I have not reached the big money making level yet, my blog has started getting attention after I almost abandoned it prematurely for not making any money from it. I’m encouraging everyone reading this not to lose hope on their blogs, but continue to find out how to make it work, and very importantly apply what you learn.

    Once again Darren, thanks for the article, it’s been a great motivation for me as I work towards reaching your level of success.

  2. Great idea, except for one thing.

    Despite having a website any maybe even an ecommerce store, very few of us know what its like to own a business. We have no reference point for this analogy.

    A better analogy would be to treat your blog like its your JOB.

    Most of us have a dreaded job that we work full time. We go there and do whatever people tell us what to do.

    THIS is a reference point that your average reader can connect to.

    Personally, after I read your post, I began to think this way. I made a list of things that I wanted to do and imagined my boss telling me that they needed to get done.

    It still didn’t work. LOL.

    I work for a company that sells eyeglasses online. To them, internet marketing is mostly affiliate marketing and high ranking SEO articles. Its paying someone to sit in a cubicle for hours a day to boost the site’s ranking.

    For us, I would imagine, there needs to be more of a fun element to it. Otherwise we won’t be motivated to get anything done.

    Still working on this one myself…

  3. Thanks for the encouragement. It can be pretty daunting to keep working on my blog when the success is minimal.

  4. Darren, the point by which I was most impressed is about getting down to core activity: content creation and uploading, both quality and quantity.

    Over the last couple of months, I have been taking my blogging a bit more seriously, like registering with feedster and other blog-related sites. Using Google Analytics, I found that list posts work really well. My 2 Top posts right noe are both list posts! Tha nks for the 31DBBB.

    Keep doing your good work.


  5. Darren, the point by which I was most impressed is about getting down to your core activity: content creation and uploading, both in terms of quality and quantity.

    Over the last couple of months, I have been taking my blogging a bit more seriously, like registering with Feedster and other blog-related sites. Using Google Analytics, I found that list posts work really well. My 2 Top posts right now are both list posts! Thanks for the 31DBBB.

    Keep doing your good work.


  6. I think Darren is right you have to be commited to it being a business if your going to make any money from it, i;m a regular del boy when it comes to making money i have tried everything from filling out surveys to selling crappy ebooks, none of them I stuck at and I lost interest. I have recently started blogging with the goal of doing it full time simply because I love the topics i write about and earning an income from doing so is a fantastic opportunity, but you got to have goals set! heres mine:

    1. Financial independancy
    2. To blog full time
    3. To have a specially designed blog
    4. To have 100,000 subscribers
    5. To be able to live a happy and fulfilling life where I can spend more time with my family

    You see it doesnt have to be just about blogging, you need to think about your own needs as well as your blogs, be selfish once in a while.

  7. Wow, this is quite an eye-opener. Thank you very much for this post, and that list in particular! I’d like to take my blogging hobby to the next level.

  8. It is kinda the same for most of us. We gotta make it work or we go back to work….

    Steve R.

  9. cool and clean brother.. You’re RIGHT !!

  10. Blogging is just like any other business. One has to be committed to become successful. There are lot of bloggers, but there are few who are pros.


    Santosh Puthran

  11. I am expecting huge growth of my blog in next six month. I expecting full time income from my blog and going to work like that. No small targets.

  12. Putting yourself under pressure is a great way to get something done – as long as the pressure is not too great nor presents other problems in your life.

    Thanks for the continuing inspiration.

  13. I knew this, and still I have never committed to being diligent to growing my blog. I have tried every trick in the book except actually working on the writing. I am asking myself this week if it is something I want to do full time or not. If not then I need to find a job and stop pretending. Thanks for a great post Darren. I needed this.

  14. You know what thisakes me think. If i want my blog to be a success then I would need to treat it as one, i would need to act as one and I need to plan as one!

  15. Good to know that you became successful after 6 months. I’ll take that point about business in mind.

  16. As someone who works from home I know how easy it is to get distracted and put off starting work. As you say it’s all got to be organised and treated as ‘real work’.

    Thanks for reminding me.

  17. For me I think there are two disconnects.
    I think the first is not the fear of failure, it’s the fear of success. If I were to become completely successful on my blog, what would happen if something goes terribly wrong or I get burnt out writing everyday or find I am no longer passionate about the subject matter?
    The other is that it’s a dream. There is a shift in thinking that must occur before one realizes that the dream is attainable. Maybe it is those words from your wife that “you’ve got six months…” but what is the ultimatum that will motivate you to hang a sign on your laptop that says “blog or bust” and truly go for it?

  18. Very timely post. I’ve been been dreaming and thinking a lot about how to make blogging a full-time career but up to now I have been hovering too long on the thinking stage and never really getting anything done.

    Now that I am just married I know I have to take this more seriously if I want to be good at this.

  19. I’m only getting started in the blogosphere and it amazes me how people have made a business out of blogging. Congrats Darren .. a brilliant site and informative article as always..

  20. Remarkable post, a very good read. Action is more important than only thinking.

  21. Thank you very much for this post, and that list in particular! I’d like to take my blogging hobby to the next level.

  22. Great post. Many bloggers like to tell their close ones that they just want to “try” and “give blogging a shot”. They are giving themselves and out — an predetermined excuse to fail.

    You have to treat your blog like a business to have a chance to succeed.

  23. I have a similar story Darren :) especially the part when you said that your wife gave you six months. Well in my case it was my mom telling me how i should get a “physical job” because they really dont understand what i do, eh!

  24. Finding that balance has been difficult,Thanks

  25. Fantastic, I needed this. I copied the Url so I can come back and read it again.

  26. Great of you to share this. Epiphanies may indeed come in various ways. The extra kick your wife was able to provide made you turn a “hobby” (to some) into a real job that pays off. I can see from your initial efforts how you have indeed planned to get your blog on the map. I believe you will be going a long way with your zeal and determination, and oh yes, your wife’s encouraging words.

  27. Darren,
    I can see how an ultimatum from your wife would make you pursue your goals with renewed vigor. My wife only has to look at me sometimes and it’s enough to scare the bejazus outta me.;)

    Mal Keenan

  28. This post really resonated with me, Darren. I’ve noticed that there’s nothing like a hard deadline to set major activity in motion – and financial pressure doesn’t hurt either. I bet your wife is pretty pleased now!


    Alexandra Levit
    Columnist, Wall Street Journal
    Author, MillennialTweet

  29. Thanks Darren, for all this time I was lack of discipline and can’t escape from distractions. The kids and friends sometimes make me confuse how to set the right time for blogging, I think I have to review my blogging schedule again :)

  30. It is really very hard work. this a commercial work. I hope my wife can do like that.

  31. Wow, this really struck a cord with me. I eventually want to move into blogging full time and was unsure as to how to make this happen. Thanks for sharing your process with the rest of us.

  32. Behind every successful man there is a woman who gave him an ultimatum.

  33. Thank you for sharing this great post. It is amazing what we can accomplice when someone give us this extra little push we need.


  34. I agree with Hanne. It’s so much about the simple things, isn’t it?

    Thanks for the confidence booster. :)

  35. i guess, this is the right time for us to think to not waste our time.

  36. Thank you for your post, look forward to more information.
    By the way, I started to write my own blog about one year ago, in February of this year, my blog joined google adsense, but my blog has brougnt no more than $100 until now.

  37. So true. i guess it’s decision time: hobby or business?

  38. Darren, great article! Honestly. What i like about it, is that it’s very honest and not that usual “How to make 5 figures from your blog in 3 days!” nonsense that you read.

    I’ve only just started blogging recently, so come check me out. Here’s my most popular post so far: http://www.freelancestudents.co.uk/690/make-money-from-your-hobbies-online/

    See ya

  39. The reason I chucked my television into the rubbish bin was not only because there are too many crap programmes, but because it can be an evil distraction at times. Now I seem to be more focussed on moving forward….

  40. True. Most of the time I also do the same…dreaming rather than acting :( I have to put some genuine efforts & make it happen! Point taken. Thanks.

  41. this is a great post! it really open my mind about what I should do with my blog.. which means I have to blog more often…
    ok now, back to blogging, hehe..

  42. yes, i agree, we need 6 months to make our blog grow, i have been around 3 months, my traffic is still far from the hope

  43. Ah, aren’t wives the best?

  44. I hope my wife lets me do blogging. I spend only 2 hours on my blog and she wants to kill me for not spending enough time talking to her. Give you wife’s email id to my wife.

  45. The words you have wrote carry much weight anare true to the core..thanks for all this nice and useful info.

  46. Congratulations on being named one of the 50 Most Influential Bloggers of 2009!


  47. I think the most important thing is being focused and really concentrating on writing catchy content an audience will want to read.

  48. This post is really heartfelt and honest. It made me think of the future when I too can make a full time living out of blogging. Thank you Darren. I’m a young kid who’s just new to blogging. I’m learning a lot everyday and it’s people like you who inspire other bloggers to dream big.

  49. Great post, I think I’m at exactly the same point at which you were right now…..its all about the targets….set them and stick to them…..

  50. It’s great if we can make money with blogging.

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