There is not a week that goes by without the Fizzle team hearing some version of a seemingly simple question: “How do I monetize my blog?”
This question comes from would-be entrepreneurs making an honest effort to follow advice they find around the web. That advice goes something like this:
Like the ambitious entrepreneur you are, you build a website, write a few posts, and get a couple email subscribers. Rinse, wash, repeat. Then, you wake up one day and realize, “Hey, I’ve been at this a while. When does the monetize part happen?”
And who better to email than your friends at Fizzle? So our inboxes fill up with a common question that has a relatively simple answer.
But wait, how did we end up here to begin with?
We ended up here because of what we like to call the “audience-first” approach to building a business.
Many online entrepreneurs believe audience first is the way to go. The reasoning goes like this: if you pick a good topic and then blog or podcast about it, a few things will happen:
The audience-first approach is great in theory, but it can be a bit like the Silicon Valley mentality of “build something popular, then figure out how to make money later.” If that sounds a little bit like, “shoot first ask questions later,” it’s because it is. (Thankfully, some startups actually have real missions.)
That is the problem with audience-first, especially when you miss a key step right in the beginning. It leads to a big ol’ question mark: “How am I supposed to make money again?”
This is the part many online entrepreneurs skip when you’re eager to leave your job, earn more money, and give your family more freedom. Gotta love the irony!
Instead of deciding how your business will make money, you build a website, start a blog and hope for the best. “I’ll figure the money part out later,” you say. I did the same thing when I started my first company. It’s more fun to get started and not worry about the hard part.
Unfortunately, skipping the hard part is a bit short-sighted. Like many Silicon Valley startups, there always comes a day when you have to figure out how to make money. That often leads to failed businesses, but it doesn’t have to. That’s why we encourage entrepreneurs to think about how they’ll eventually make money right up front.
Here’s how that process from the beginning of this post should actually look:
In other words, why wait until you’ve put in hundreds of hours of work and everything is on the line to ask, “How can I monetize my blog?” It’s too risky to leave it for later when you can tackle the problem head on right now.
So, what did we learn?
How do you monetize a blog? By selling a thing to people who want it. Here’s the kicker: that doesn’t necessarily require a blog, now does it?
If you’re an entrepreneur, the goal is not to start a blog. It’s to build a successful business. The two are not necessarily the same. I’ll bet you’d rather have a thriving business than a popular blog that makes no money.
So, how will you make money in your business? Tell us about it in the comments!
At Fizzle, we’ve worked with thousands of creative entrepreneurs, helping them find customers and get paid.
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