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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. What a valuable information. Really help, I’m a new comer in blogging. You have write a very useful tips. These are very essential tips since time is very important. Thank you.

  2. Thanks for this great post as it provides me with the daily food for thought!
    I am seriously committed to this because making money or not, it’s what I love and will be doing regardless.
    I will be visiting more often as you have done a good job, keep going..

  3. That’s a great lesson. I have recently started using deadlines in order to become more effective and less distracted.

    Deadlines is the only thing that really works for me.

    – jens –

  4. I love this blog. It took something from someone else to be said to get the kick start but once you’d made the decision you made the plan and just got moving.

    It’s the same with life really – you need that catalyst and the realisation that you might have to do the same as everyone else was too hard to take.

    A lot od us need to take a look at ourselves and decide what we really want out of our lives.

  5. Thanks Darren, such an inspirational post as ever. I love the quote from your wife. Regrettably, I sometimes forget the indirect support and encouragement my love ones have given me. It would be interesting to read a post about how your love ones have helped you become so successful, because as a lot of us have found out, achieving success a lone can be a very difficult task.

  6. I know about deadlines. I’ve had to put em’ on myself. These are good tips, and should make anyone prosper in blogging.

  7. Thank you,Derren for this nice inspiring post.
    It’s a great lesson, that if you would like to do something right you have to take it seriously and learn from the best.

  8. that was cool. I hope i also can do that in short time.

  9. You mean I cannot just wander around the internet aimlessly if I want to make a living off the internet? What and make the internet like a real job? Great, I too had that thought and it has paid off handsomely.

  10. The realization that I get to make a living while having fun on the internet is great. It just needs to be a little more structured than my normal wandering around. Great post by the way.

  11. Hi Darren,

    Yes, I’ve had several moments in life where everything changed.

    Most of them didn’t lead to being a resounding success as in your story you are sharing.

    But it is true that seemingly small events can lead to a revolutionary change in the long run.

    Making a full time business out of blogging is a remarkable feat that very few achieve.

    It is great that you are sharing the points you had to cover to get where you are.

    Thank you for that.


  12. yup, now i prefer work at home with blogging. there are many opportunity give to us, start with PPC (google adsense, etc), pay per review (buyblogreviews, smorty, etc). So, it would be a great business deal with just a blog.

  13. I remember stumbling across this blog a while ago…not for blogging info…just in my regular web surfing…i didnt know what adsense was and i didnt know there was money to be made blogging…i believe i was looking for passive income opportunities…nonetheless i am glad to see u are still here and are going strong…i have since discovered what blogging is and what it can do for ur bank account and now i return in search of tips and tricks…thanx for remaining vigilant and keep the good info flowing…like many…my main problem was finding out how to get started…but u provide an excellent blueprint…peace

  14. Happy with what you are achieving. Your wife is a great help for you :-)

  15. My woman has given me the same type of ultimatum. I am doing and saying the same exact things that you were telling your wife. My wife doesn’t think it’s even possible to make a living blogging, but I know it can be done. Thanks for you post it was real inspirational.

  16. Kenny says: 10/27/2009 at 7:44 am

    I just finished reading your book (in 2 sittings), and I throughly enjoyed your insight.

    Although I am motivated by profit (although that would be nice), your book has helped me put into context of what it takes to put together a community of readers and the level of effort that is required.

    Thanks for sharing your insights with the rest of us.

  17. It sounds like your wife is a smart partner.

  18. I think your post really rings true to most businesses. Once you make that initial decision to make your online ventures a business, it certainly does help your motivation, and the quality of your work.

    There’s so much that others are missing out on because they can’t make that change in their thinking.

  19. Wow! This is my ongoing issue. I always find excuses (I work full-time, it’s just me writing/promoting, other blogs out there have a handful of writers and better blog design, etc..etc..) but yet I don’t sit down and draft out a task list nor become more disciplined.

    Thank you so much for your list which I will print as a daily reminder of the things I need to be doing.

    Any bloggers out there who work full-time (not related to blog) how you do organize your time or plan out your writing content?

    I’m thinking I should write my content on the weekends and focus on promoting the blog during the weekdays.


  20. I like coming back to read your blog post. The information your provide is very educational. I will surely be checking back here as often as possible. Nice blog post by the way.

  21. Thanks for the pep talk. It’s so true, and I know it. It’s hard to step away from the hobby mindset once it’s ingrained. But we all know the potential of blogging, and it does need to be treated as a business for it to work that way.

  22. I’ve been blogging for 3 years now, and it was around 1.5 years ago when I took the leap to full time blogging. I believe that made all the difference: that’s when I began treating my blog like a true business and my attitude about it changed. Suffice it to say, it’ll be a while before I return to the 9 to 5… :)

  23. I am fan of problogger.net. I really impressed the way you managing this blog. Even I wanted to start a blog like yours. This problooger.net would be my inspiration and motivation. Thanks Darren.

  24. Hey Darren,

    When you treat your passion like a business, you not only can generate income from doing what you love, you kick yourself in the butt with your craft and actually end up making better stuff and enjoying it more.

    Assuming you’re genuinely enjoying what you’re already doing, then all you’re doing when treating it like a business is approaching it with an organized and effective mindset.

    You don’t change the actual activity of creation, and by kicking yourself in the butt you focus on the most important elements that’ll give you maximum results, while ruthlessly ignoring the rest. You create more, you do it more often, you improve, you make better stuff. Not only will you give people more value, you enjoy it more. Who doesn’t like getting better faster and making awesome-er stuff?

    Thanks for the simple but important reminder to treat our website (or other creative endeavor) like a business to turn it into one, and actually end up making better stuff and enjoying it more too,

  25. Hey Darren,

    I want to thank you for such an inspirational post. I found it a little ironic that the first blog post I read has a lot to do with the type of blogs I write.

    Congratulations on your many successes.

    I hope to read more from you in the near future. Keep up the good work. Although this is my first time visiting your blog, I’ve seen enough to make me want to stay.

    Thank you,


  26. Brilliant artilce and very self about your success. I like reading your articles and it inspires me a lot when I am in the same field as yours thinking to make my blogs become a full time income. I want to leave the current 9-5 job that I have, but only when my blogs make 10-15 times more than I make from my current job.

    I like the way you expressed your income dreams in graphs and worked towards it. What I believe is that to genereate a decent income from blog you need to be confident and ready to learn and give time towards it. There are thousands of products to sell and promote that could make you millions.

    Look forward for your next artilce.


  27. Love this post Darren. I think I might have hit this moment, but I’ll know for sure here in a few months :)

    I too had a similar experience, which I blogged about at Copyblogger today. Thanks for the insight into yours.

  28. Great story! I have a year to make my online business grow and quit my job :-)

  29. Darren:

    Someone said, behind every successful man there’s a good woman. Darren, you have an understanding wife. Both of you sat down and decide together what the next move should be. You agreed to the ultimatum and prevailed.

    I’m also impressed with your work here; I purchased your book yesterday, “Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income,” and left a review on my blog.

    Keep up the great writing. You’re an inspiration to many!


    Peter A. Brown
    Website Publisher

  30. Thank you very much for your post. Absolutely excellent information and very useful….

  31. Hey friends my blog PR increase to 3 from 1, I am so much happy with this google reward. Have you such experience?

  32. WOW Darrren very interesting story and very right, what really stands infront of most of the bloggers is thinking, planning, dreaming and reading instead of DOING!! Just do it rather than keeep it as a plan.

  33. Great story. Very inspiring for budding bloggers like me .. who dream to make a business out of it.

  34. This was a very inspiring post. Thanks so much for being honest and letting us know how you took your business to the next level.

    I’ve been having trouble doing that myself and now I know it starts with a mindset. Thanks!

  35. I am starting to make blogging almost fulltime now.I just need to learn more how to become better at it. That’s a good effort you have put on the network through your blog. I appriciate your work.

  36. Wow! That is inspiring. My main problem is that I cannot concentrate on one task. I know I have to do something about it but I keep getting sidetracked. Anyway, I’ll be putting up a blog soon and I’ll make sure to stick to it this time. I don’t know how many blogs I’ve set up and forgot already :)

    dropship business guide.

  37. Excellent post. I am in dire need of a serious sit down with myself and a few hours of organization, planning, and setting goals. I think this is what I need to take me to the next level or professionality in my blogging.

    I could not have read this post at a better time! Thanks!

  38. Hmmmm… Let me see how far I go with my new business..

  39. What if your blog isn’t about blogging?

    It’s awfully hard to make real money with a regular blog.

    For most people, a real website is the answer.

  40. Quite an interesting and informative post Darren.

    Keep writing!

  41. “She then told me that if I didn’t get it to this kind of level I’d have to get a ‘real job’.” I laughed out loud reading that :)

    You have my fullest respect for following your dream despite your wife’s doubts.

  42. Good post. Wish you alot of luck years from now :D

  43. sometimes you are at a point where one single decision really turns your whole life. One starting point may be such an ultimatum like the one of your wife. But if you start to work serious and in a planned way there is a good chance to succeed.

  44. as it goes…..behind every successful man, there is a man

  45. Darren,

    First time commenting on one of your blog posts. I follow you on Twitter and immediately read your posts.

    Your posts are always filled with a lot of meat and enable the rest of us to peek inside a successful blog.

    Anyone that is married can relate to this post…All of us get that look from the corner of our wife’s eye and the comment “So when is this playing on the internet, actually going to make money?”

    I know you really hit a nerve with a lot us!


  46. Wonderful post. I have about 6 months I am going to put my everything to see if this blogging thing works. It’s good to hear from someone who actually did it the hard way to make blogging income.

    I do also beleive time management is very important in Blogging. Set aside a time to connect with other bloggers, write your content, and learn new blogging tips from others.

    Learning is the second most important.. because if you don’t learn – you probally won’t make it.

    Thanks for the insight,
    Author of:Web Designs by APW: Resource for Bloggers

  47. Thanks for this post. The first time I see your blog I start to see things around the web in a different way. I am a designer with not to much clients. But, I am really thinking in start blogging things related to some interests I have in art and design. Stop doing graphics, websites and other things I do expecting to much from the people who use my services and don’t bring me any coffee via paypal donations.

    This post is a clear call to something I have to change in my life, jejeje. Starting now my new decisions are ticking.

    Thanks again

  48. Nice of you to share your success, I’ve tried blogging myself but haven’t really find time to maintain it. I have lot of ideas to share, lot of things to write about but don’t really know yet how to make money out of it or maybe I do but I guess what I luck is inspiration to see actual people who benefited from blogging..and now there’s you.

    Thanks for sharing.

  49. “When you treat your passion like a business, you not only can generate income from doing what you love, you kick yourself in the butt with your craft and actually end up making better stuff and enjoying it more.” I love blogging as it generates much more revenue than other internet based businesses. I appreciate your work.

  50. I agree with it. Blogging is one kind of business. I also start blogs many times, but eveytime I will give it up.. hmm. I need work more about it. And thanks for your posting. I loving your articles.

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