How to Monetize your Blog Without Selling Advertising, Affiliates or any Product : Under30CEO How to Monetize your Blog Without Selling Advertising, Affiliates or any Product : Under30CEO
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How to Monetize your Blog Without Advertising, Affiliates or any Product

| February 5, 2010 | 22 Comments

If you read the advice of almost any A-list blogger who actually makes a reasonable living through his or her blogging efforts, they will all tell you to “run it like a business.” Even in my recent interview with Jared, one of the founders here at Under30CEO, he emphasized the importance of treating your blog as a real business.

If you treat it as a hobby it will remain just that, a hobby. I encourage everybody to create a marketing plan and if you don’t have any idea how, feel free to steal my Q1 marketing plan and adapt accordingly. This exercise alone made me realize that I was not limited to the traditional methods of blog monetization (advertising, affiliate products, or selling my own products).

Conduct a Skills Inventory:

If you are in even your third month of blogging, have experienced slightly reasonable growth, and have good content, then you have already developed skills that can be added to your skills inventory. The other thing you should do is go back to your resume. In each position you had, you developed certain skills. For example, in my position in client services at Nielsen Netratings I conducted numerous trainings both online and in person. So, now I can add public speaking/presentations to my inventory. Don’t rule out anything. Just make a laundry list of all of your skills. If you are struggling, then conduct an inventory of your greatest strengths and that will eventually help you identify your skills.

Identify Skills That People Would Pay For

This is where the fun really begins. All of a sudden you will start to realize that you have a ton of skills that people will actually pay for. After all those are the same skills that got you hired at many of your jobs. Just to give you an example, my former roommate was excellent at accounting and finance. But because he was from abroad and getting hired at any financial firm was difficult, he converted his skills into a part time tutoring business. Soon he had to start turning away business because he couldn’t handle the volume. Your blog (not your resume)is now the platform for selling your skills. Welcome to working for yourself and not for somebody else.

Identify What You are Best At

While it might be tempting to try to sell every one of your skills, I encourage you to use the 80/20 rule. 20 percent of your skills will result in 80 percent of your business. That 20 percent of your skills should be the things you are truly good at. Figure out what projects you had the biggest impact on at your job or previous roles, and identify the skills that were required. Those are usually the things that you are really good at.

Develop Your Pitch/Put it on Craigslist

Once you’ve done all of the above, it’s time to create a pitch. I would highly recommend you stay away from many of the template-based sales letters for the purposes of this because it will make you seem inauthentic. You want people that contact you to feel like they are connecting with a human being. Below are just a few guidelines that I’ve used:

  • Don’t exaggerate your skill set
  • Put your real name in the ad
  • Give people some background on you (previous work history, education, etc).
  • Be clear about what you are capable of and what you are not capable of
  • Stick to your local market (at least in the beginning)

By following the above formula, I’ve landed my first freelance client. I get a few emails every week from potential clients who are interested in my services. All it takes is 5 minutes to post an ad on craigslist. I don’t have to sell any products and I’m not dependent on traffic to my blog, and I make money from the skills I’ve developed because of my blog.

Srinivas Rao is a personal development blogger at The Skool of Life where he writes about self help, spirituality and personal development through his love for the sport of surfing. He’s a recent graduate of the Pepperdine MBA program and has a bachelors degree in economics from UC-Berkeley. He is currently working as a social media strategist for online travel site Cheapair.com

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  • http://under30ceo.com MattWilsontv

    Hey Srinivas, I had a blast doing our interview the other day. I really like the idea of putting your pitch up on Craig's List and seeing the response. Even if you don't live in a major metropolitan area, find NYC or LA and throw it on there. You never know what kind of response you'll get. This kinda reminds of me Tim Ferriss talking about split testing your ideas on google adsense.

  • http://twitter.com/vanialex vanialex

    I like it! I've been doing part of these, but do need to step it up and focus on one part of my skill set! Thanks for re-inforcing my thoughts!

  • http://www.theskooloflife.com/ Srinivas Rao

    Hey Matt,

    It was great to chat with you as well. One thing I wanted to add to this which I guess didn't get added when I commented from home was something I got from Robert Granholm at the LifeDesignProject.com. He told me that he uses a virtual assistant to get on craigslist to find the work for him. This is something I haven't done yet, but plan to incorporate in the next few weeks. If you think about it searching for the jobs, posting the services, etc are non-revenue generating activities. Ideally you spend 100% of your time doing things that generate revenue and outsource the things that don't.

  • http://www.ryanhanley.com/about Ryan Hanley

    I like the Craigslist idea too. However I have found that you get a TON of spam doing anything on Craigslist… There most be ways to work around that, but it was a huge turn off the first two times I tried it.

    Thoughts?

    Ryan H.

  • http://www.theskooloflife.com/ Srinivas Rao

    Hey Ryan,

    I think Craigslist gives you an option to not be contacted by other offers or something like that. The other thing is really the quality of your ad. If your ad comes across like sales copy, then it will probably result in spam. I think it's gotta be written up like an email you are sending to a friend, telling that person what you've been working on.

  • http://twitter.com/ClintonSkakun Clinton Skakun

    What pays my bills right now is web development. I want tons more work and have been considering using my blog to better market my skills. Not quite sure how to make it effective. So far, I have had only one lead from my blog. Other than that I find work via sub-contracting.

    I'd love to try on Craigslist, even though I've been removed from there and other ad sites. Maybe because I wasn't following your steps above :D

    This month I set a goal of 4K income so it makes sense to spend sufficient time finding as many projects as I can. Better to turn business away(or spread it to friends) than to go broke because of not being known.

    Great post:)

    I'll bookmark it and use it.

    Cheers,
    Clinton Skakun

  • Tony Ruiz

    Great way to think outside the box Srinivas. I like the approach.

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  • http://www.ryanhanley.com/about Ryan Hanley

    I like that. I definitely set it up real “Ad” like. The email idea is good. I will try that.

    Thanks!

  • http://www.theskooloflife.com/ Srinivas Rao

    @Clinton. Keep me posted on how it goes and as you learn more things that improve on what I've outlined here, let me know. I've found that by talking to more people I've gotten much better at refining the process.

  • http://twitter.com/ClintonSkakun Clinton Skakun

    I took a bit of time this morning and wrote up a kijiji ad. Haven't had any results from it yet but I used a few ideas I've heard from sales CDs. For instance, handling objections before they happen, using sensory language etc.

    I found a good site here: http://changingminds.org/techniques/language/pe… for persuasive language and using NLP.

    You really need to believe in yourself and commit to doing your best. Selling yourself is sometimes harder than selling a product you believe in :)

  • http://twitter.com/mike_key Michael Key

    Pretty solid advice right there. I tried CL once before but there are to many competing spamers who repost their ad non stop all day booting yours to the bottom.

  • http://twitter.com/ClintonSkakun Clinton Skakun

    I took a bit of time this morning and wrote up a kijiji ad. Haven't had any results from it yet but I used a few ideas I've heard from sales CDs. For instance, handling objections before they happen, using sensory language etc.

    I found a good site here: http://changingminds.org/techniques/language/pe… for persuasive language and using NLP.

    You really need to believe in yourself and commit to doing your best. Selling yourself is sometimes harder than selling a product you believe in :)

  • http://twitter.com/mike_key Michael Key

    Pretty solid advice right there. I tried CL once before but there are to many competing spamers who repost their ad non stop all day booting yours to the bottom.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Watts-Resume/100001574288142 Watts Resume

    Craigslist advertising though it is free is just full of spam. I mean it’s a plus because it’s free!

  • http://www.chuckbartok.com Chuck Bartok

    So much fun seeing the energy and enthusiasm from the generation we need to continue to Succeed.
    Us old farts need your Tax base to keep going..~~smile~~

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