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I started blogging in May 2011.
At the time I had barely even read a blog before, let alone created one. While I did have some history with websites (I had created a couple when I was much younger), I had been well away from the realm of online content creation for close to a decade.
My draw to blogging was predicated on a desire to quit my job. I figured that blogging might be a good way of making money, one way or another.
Fortunately, I was right (although not in the manner that I initially assumed!). Fast forward three years and I am what you might call a ‘professional blogger’ – I make money from blogs, both directly and indirectly.
This is my story.
When I first started blogging, like many people, I had the ‘passive income’ dream fixed firmly in my mind.
I figured that I could throw some content up online, get ranked in Google, then make money through ad clicks. While I was right (I did make a paltry amount of money), it wasn’t long before my somewhat overenthusiastic marketing efforts led Google to dump my site from their rankings. I had been making $2-3 per day (big bucks!), but that disappeared overnight.
Lesson #1 learned: Focus on creating quality content, not on attempting to ‘game’ the system for short term gains.
That first site died a death, and I decided to move on. I already had my first ‘proper’ blog, Leaving Work Behind, and that was going pretty well. I continued to work on that as an online accountability journal more than anything, while I sought to make money from other projects.
My second ‘niche site’ (as they are called) also took up a great deal of my time without making any notable amount of money. It was at this point – in September 2011 – that I was starting to get more than a little frustrated. I had been working at making money online for four months, and in terms of my return on investment, I had gone backwards rather than forwards.
A New Direction
Fortunately, I used that frustration to my benefit.
Out of nothing more than sheer stubbornness and a desire to try just about anything to make some money, I submitted a few pitches via the ProBlogger Jobs Board (an online jobs board primarily for freelance bloggers). I had no writing qualifications and no experience – in fact, I’d nearly failed English at school. But I had nothing to lose.
Lesson #2 learned: Real failure is only brought about by giving up. As long as you keep trying, the possibility of success remains very real.
Much to my surprise, my first batch of pitches resulted in a trial with a popular WordPress blog WPMU (now WPMU DEV). I ended up working with them for 18 months before moving on.
My second client, ManageWP, came a couple of months later. I still work with them today, as the editor of their blog. I was on a roll, and I was ready to make my big move.
On December 31st 2011, I quit my job. I never looked back – blogging was my future.
I spent much of 2012 acquiring new clients for my burgeoning freelance blogging business. This proved to be remarkably easy – after my first two clients (who I sought out), all future clients came to me through Leaving Work Behind. I had a little Hire Me page up, and it seemed to do the trick.
Lesson #3 learned: If you create quality content, people will want to work with you.
But I didn’t want to do freelance blogging for the rest of my life. I started plotting a means to generating additional income streams.
Given my success to date, I decided to write a guide to freelance blogging. After a lot of hard work and a great deal of self-doubt, I launched that guide (which is now Paid to Blog) in November 2012. It has made well over $15,000 for me since; largely through Leaving Work Behind.
With that done, it was time to figure out the next stage of my blogging business’ growth.
In summer 2013 I was beginning to feel a little burnt out from freelance blogging. While I was making as much as $6,000+ per month while working just 2-3 hours per day, I was doing work that I was passionate about. I decided it was time to move on.
So, I started outsourcing my freelance work. I used Leaving Work Behind to source writers, and soon had a team working with me. My income did of course go down, but I was far more free to focus on other projects.
Unfortunately, I did not utilise my free time particularly well. In mid to late 2013, I launched and eventually shut down yet another failed blogging project.
Lesson #4 learned: Success usually requires multiple failures. You’ve got to roll with the punches.
By the end of 2013 I was pretty happy, but I knew I had a lot more work to do.
2014 has so far been a year of big change for me – both in terms of my blogging career and my own personal growth.
I attended my first conference in May – Alive in Berlin – and that opened my eyes to a world of possibilities that I had previously not spotted. I followed that up with the World Domination Summit in July, which gave me even greater insight into what I could be doing with my blogging skills.
Lesson #5 learned: Surround yourself with likeminded people to attain the greatest clarity on your potential.
I launched an ambitious new project called Paid to Blog Jobs – a membership site for freelance bloggers that searches for and filters all available freelance blogging opportunities from across the web, then publishes only the worthwhile opportunities in one centralised and easy-to-navigate interface. At around the same time, I also launched this site.
But I was only getting started. At that point – in early August – I had five ‘live’ projects on the go:
In a nutshell, it was too much. I was being pulled in too many directions.
In reality, it was a happy problem. To look back at my journey over the past 3+ years, I’m amazed at the opportunities that blogging has afforded me. I have been able to create a passive service-based business, a successful blog, an online course, a membership site, and a completely free resource for beginner bloggers. It’s been hugely rewarding.
Lesson #6 learned: Blogging offers a huge number of opportunities, but try to pursue just one at a time!
I’m just getting started.
I am standing on the cusp of what I think will be a huge period of growth for me. Beginner Blogging is part of that, and I’m excited that you’re here.
Right now, you can benefit from our completely free blog installation and setup service – something I am incredibly proud to offer at no cost. But that’s just the beginning. We will be publishing many more resources for you as time goes on, and Beginner Blogging will ultimately become the number one destination for anyone who wants to create their own blog.
So what are you waiting for? Get started now!