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

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'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, Google+ and LinkedIn.
Comments
  1. Thats a great inspiring story!

  2. I agree the moment that you do start looking at it like something real and not just some toy. Then you begin to take your business seriously and also your self.

    I came a to that realization not to long ago and it really does and can make a difference.

    Awesome post.

  3. Spencer Robinson says: 11/04/2009 at 12:23 pm

    I am interested in learning more about websites and blogging. Is this information on WordPress software? Is there some software you recommend or others you would want to stay clear of? I understand that if you built this kind of business up, the issue of proprietary software vs. free license might become an issue.

  4. Lol its amazing what the wrath of a wife can do to get us lads moving ;)

    It all comes down to treating it like a business

  5. I just wanted to give you a shoutout Darren. You are a remarkable blogger and a role model to me! Thanks so much!

  6. Everyone comes across a changing time in life, when things strike like lightening. I wish you all the luck and hope the best for you.

  7. This is one of the greatiest story i’ve read …
    I’m still at the beggining of bloggin :S

  8. Wow! This is the first blogging as business post I’ve read where it isn’t full of ways to promote one’s blog! It’s a nice and light read, definitely pleasant!

    I write good stuff at my blog A Journey to Independence myself. But I haven’t had a post as light yet as relevant as this.

    So… how do you earn?

  9. Ha!

    Reminds me of that old quote: “Behind every successful man is a surprised wife.” ;)

  10. Sheldon says: 11/05/2009 at 2:12 am

    After, your wife gave you six months, how soon were you making enough money to support your family ? And what were your last job before you succeeded online business ?

  11. Nice Piece!

    Success usually follows some ‘eureka’ moment where reality has to be applied to the dream. Great story!

  12. Great inspiration buddy. I will quote this post one day if I become a full time blogger :)

  13. liveman says: 11/05/2009 at 6:29 am

    people use free blogger sites for there efforts and quality contents.
    I think best way is to go for paid hosting and have your own domain
    if you are serious in blogging. number of cheap web host out there to help you than free blogging sites.
    blogshost.net is one of such host similarly shopaserver.com offer unique cheap prices as well

  14. thanks for the personal success story.

  15. Nice post. This is proof, you reap what you sow. You put in the hard work and it paid off. Great lesson.

    Mike Locke
    ML Web Consulting

  16. It was a real interesting post !! Thanx for sharing

  17. Very interesting article, and fun to read. The information provided by you is very good.The information provided by you is very excellent. I got good knowledge from your summery.

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

  19. Thanks for a great post Darren. I’m taking my first real stab at blogging, funny I always want to do things big!! huh? Anyways I took an approach just to see where this would go by using a multiuser platform with a social media twist if you will. Essentially WordPress multiuser and buddy press. I absolutely love it. This enables any user to create their own blog for free (with sub domain), it’s hosted through my provider and if anyone wanted to buy a marketable name through a domain provider I encourage them, then simply forward the name, or just use the name they choose in my network.

    The platform has a very nice directory for blogs as well as members and contains groups and forums. I built it for my partnership network so they would have a place to “play” 2 weeks 100 users no advertising, we’re doing pretty darn good. Check it out D, and let me know what you think. http://iJangoSocial.com

  20. Peter Orange says: 11/06/2009 at 1:52 am

    That was very insightful and honest. There is a steep learning curve …

    Self employment (managing a business)
    Marketing
    Time-management
    Web techie coding stuff
    Writing skills
    Research
    Design skills
    Web media – general knowledge

    I’m still very low down the ladder. Thanks for sharing.

  21. Great post. Sometimes all it really takes is a shift in thought to make something more important. That really lets you focus in and start to make things happen.

  22. I hope your blog will increase visits so that you’ll be able to realize all your needs!

  23. Darren,

    Thanks for taking the time for writing this. I really do believe in the power of the human mind and once someone makes that decisions and “burns all bridges” behind them, then many can and will achieve great things as you have done.

    You must be so lucky to have an awesome partner, that both pushes and encourages and will not accept anything but the best of you. :)

  24. I am working hard so that my blogging life convert to my blog business. Well I think I have success little bit, as my blog PR increase from 1 to 3. But I have to work more.

  25. Hey Darren, I am impressed with your post here. I learnt a lot by reading your blog post. Specially, I like the points which you mentioned. After reading those points, I have decided to make some changes in my daily schedule to dedicate more time for blogging so that; I can generate some solid income from blogging.

  26. To me it was when I was laid-off last November..Minutes before the layoff happened, I was kinda cool that even if I were laid off, I will start my own business..But when I was actually pulled up, I realized I was not ready at all..

    Then, I soon moved into another job, all the while preparing to start my own stuff, and three months back, I quit job and now, though I am not making much, have been giving my own websites 100% of my time..

  27. Thank you for this article, I think it is great that your lady gave you the kick you needed. I think mine does the same everyday, but not quite as straight forward.
    I am just starting out on the blog trail so articles like this really help me push on and keep focused.

    Many thanks
    Trevor

  28. Wow cool…inspiring story

  29. A very nice post. One that captures your audiences attention. It goes to show that when determined, and the right focus is there, anything is possible…not to mention V :)

    Thank you for that inspiring story.

  30. Thanks for sharing your experience. I do drop in here off and on and in fact used to a lot early on in my blogging days. Now I have started another blog after gaining confidence from the success of my first blog (no, my intention was never to monetize) and now I feel I am a beginner again! :)
    I checked your post on Twitter and could not find an answer to one question. Is it worth starting an account with Twitter in the name of the blog? Or on facebook for that matter? I never bothered with my first blog as I was never interested in promoting it, and never cared as much as you did when it started doing well. In fact In fact I did not promote my first blog at all, just wanted to know the technical stuff so that readers found it easy. However with my new blog I want to promote it and as I said I feel like a newborn!
    Will appreciate the answer to the twitter question, but if it has been answered before, I apologize. I checked your post on twitter but it doesn’t mention this aspect.
    Thanks.

  31. Thanks Darren for this post a very good eye opener on what it takes sometimes . . . Matt

  32. I am sure my blog would do better if I were a better writer or at least a little smarter

  33. Lol its amazing what the wrath of a wife can do to get us lads moving ;)
    its cool, inspiring….

  34. General George S. Patton said: “A good plan violently executed today is far and away better than a perfect plan tomorrow.”

    That’s the quote that made me get off my butt and lose 40lbs in 2 months. And that has allowed me to document my journey on my blog.

    Great post, Darren!

  35. That reminds me of what the book, Think and Grow Rich, says. I’m right still having one leg at the hobby stage and one leg at the business stage of blogging. Hope to get both feet into business stage of blogging soon.

  36. Great post the only way to succeed online rather it be blogging, or an online business in general, is to treat it as such. If you really want to create a full time income online, you actually need to work for it nothing comes without hard work in this world. Unless your born with a silver spoon in your mouth.

    If people wouldn’t give up on there dreams to work online, and actually work there would be a lot more work at home people out there making money. So don’t give up on your dreams, keep moving forward, that’s what helps me with my online business.

    Great blog!

  37. Thanks for posting this inspiring story. My partner and I make our living with our web business. Blogging is my favorite part of the job. We created eBooks that teach people how to start small businesses, because we had both done that successfully prior to starting our internet business. More people are looking for meaningful ways to become financially independent. In this economy, it’s smart.

  38. Thanks Darren. As a part-time blogger, it’s easy to get distracted and I do quite often. Putting your organizational ideas into practice is a good way to stay focused and on track!

  39. Blog campaign seems to be the most popular medium in traffic generation to websites, I’ve been doing a lot of blogging too including article submissions that I also feed to my social websites.

  40. I am a beginner in blog writing and written this blog on call center. Request the author of this site or any other person to please review my blog and suggest ways to improve.

  41. more or less now a days ppl were more attracted to blogs in order to earn money..

  42. Though I don’t see myself going full time in blogging this artilce will surely help me in improving my 2 month old blog. I’m bookmarking it for reference.

  43. Thank you for speaking some sense into my mind, i ve been telling my girlfriend about blogging. How it can help us interms of growing our business and that we can invest time in bloging. I just start with my first post at my blog, i would realy appreciate if you would link my blog and mentor me on how to grow it. I believe that as a newcomer I should be mentor by profesional bloger like you because you inspired me alot. Thank You God bless.

  44. Yes. I thought I was working a business too, but it was a hobbie until a deadline appeared.

    I thought I was serious too, until the deadline appeared.

    I hate deadlines, but this one is changing my life.

    Great post.

  45. I have been blogging for 5 years now, and yet I feel I have not understood what it takes. I continue just because it is very fun to write. But I do not want to write things that people would want easy to read (I write on stock markets but i will not give trading tips). So my blog remains at bottom of the heap. This just happens to be a very crowded area, tough to bubble up

  46. Amazing story. Heart-warming.

  47. I am at that point!

    I have printed up your list, highlighted it, stuck it on my wall and keep reading it for direction.

    I am now referring to my site as a business not a hobby, so lets see if this results in the shift that you had (in my own special way!).

    Amelia

  48. Thanks for sharing it, its true that we have the passion beyond all

    happy blogging

  49. What a nice story, but it’s not so funny when you start to do it. Can you tell me from what is structure your income?

    Thank you!

  50. I just start with my first post at my blog, i would realy appreciate about your useful info !