You know how some bloggers share screenshots of how they tripled their traffic in one month or went from 100 to 10,000 Pinterest followers in a year or added 500 people to their email list last week?
Well, this is not one of those posts. And I am not one of those bloggers.
The truth is, my blog is small. My email list is small. My growth is slow. Let me show you some screenshots. 😉
I have yet to break 5,000 page views in a month.
I have only JUST reached 1,000 email subscribers.
Why am I showing you all this? Because I know I’m not alone in the small blog camp. If you’re here, then I want you to know that I’m here too. 🙂 You can grow your business without working all the time. You just need to be strategic. Ready to take action? Download the Small Blog Profit Plan for free and get started now.
If you want to make money blogging, you need to be strategic
If you blog full-time and you don’t have kids, then you can experiment. You can try things that don’t scale. You can promote the heck out of every blog post on every social media platform. You can throw ideas on the wall like spaghetti and see what sticks.
If, on the other hand, you have to squeeze blogging into the margins of an already full day, you need to be strategic. It’s the only way you’ll see results.
Here’s how I know:
I’ve got two kids under the age of 5, a husband who has been gone more than 12 weeks this year for work, and I live in a developing country. Things like going to the bank or the doctor can take me hours, or even days. (Not joking…when I was pregnant in Mozambique I had to FLY on an AIRPLANE to go to the obstetrician.) The nearest family support is a continent away, and somebody in my house is always teething, or sick with intestinal parasites, or has a staph infection. Basically, my life is an exciting hot mess.
As you can see, I don’t have a lot of extra time on my hands for blogging. So, of course, my traffic and email list have grown slowly.
BUT, I’ve made more than $2,000 in passive income this year. That might not sound like a lot, but compared to my income as a stay-at-home mom ($0), it’s fantastic! I’m not trying to earn a full-time income because I don’t work full-time. If I weren’t blogging, I wouldn’t have a full-time job, either. In fact, with the chaos of our family life, I wouldn’t have a job at all.
So, step one of making money when you don’t have time to blog: be realistic. The people who shout from the rooftops that they make 6 figures a year? They are working their butts off. And they’ve probably been working their butts off for years.
You can make money when your email list is tiny and your traffic is limited. You can make money when you work very part-time and take weeks off at a time.
You just need to be strategic.
Want the strategy shortcut? Download my Small Blog Profit Plan right here:
How to make money blogging when you have no time
If your time is limited, it’s extremely important that you use it effectively. To begin, you need to be very clear on your goals, your audience and your priorities. The best way to do this is to focus on just one thing.
You should have one goal. You should have one target audience. And you need to offer one solution.
My friend Kris is a great example of how focusing on one thing will help you make the most of your time. Her goal is to run a profitable business. Her target readers are female entrepreneurs who want to learn how to use Instagram. And her solution is a suite of products at three different price points. She’s got an Instagram strategy ebook, an Instagram strategy course, and she does one-on-one consulting for brands that want to grow on Instagram.
Focusing on one thing saves Kris a ton of time. She doesn’t look all over the Internet to find her audience. She sees them struggling on Instagram. And she doesn’t waste time creating random, unrelated products that her audience doesn’t want. Her ebook is aimed at beginners, who can then graduate to her course to expand their knowledge.
It’s a lot harder to get distracted and waste time when you know your goal, your audience, and what you’ll sell to your audience.
A profit plan for small blogs
If you can only work on your blog a few hours a day or a few hours a week, then you should only work on tasks that get you to your goal fast. To identify those tasks, you need to work backwards.
Begin with your ideal customer. Find them, talk to them and understand what they’re struggling with. Of course, this can be harder than it sounds, so be patient with yourself. Try looking in Facebook groups or online forums. You’ll often find people discussing their challenges there.
Then, create a product or find an affiliate product that will help them. About half of my income has come from promoting affiliate products, so don’t feel like you need to create your own product in order to make money.
Next, get your ideal customers on your email list. Create an amazing freebie that your ideal audience can’t resist. For me, it’s this swipe file of simple social media routines to save people time with their social media marketing.
I can’t emphasize this enough. If you want to make money blogging, you need an email list. Growing your list should always be one of your top priorities.
Focus on your email list
In my experience, 90% of my income comes from people on my email list. I’m not alone. There are plenty of statistics that show that email marketing is the best way to reach people. The people who invite you into their inbox want to hear from you. They want to buy from you, especially if you have a great solution for them.
Don’t be afraid to start selling even when your list is small. I sent my first promotional email when I had 142 people on my email list. In case you’re wondering, I made zero sales, but the exercise was still useful. I learned that the world doesn’t end if nobody buys. Plus, I realized that I needed to send more emails to educate people about a product and show its value before I asked for the sale. My audience learned to expect both valuable free information from me and also promotional emails.
When I launched my course 6 months later, it was so much easier to send sales emails because I had already tried it on a smaller audience.
Want more advice on how to write sales emails that…ahem…actually sell? You’ll love this post where I show you how I write my sales funnel emails.
Eliminate non-essential tasks
Guess what? I suck at this. The FOMO and shiny object syndrome are real! I want to do what everybody else is doing. And because I have such limited time to work on my business, I’m always worried that I’m missing out on some shortcut that will get me results sooner.
The truth is, there is no shortcut. Every strategy takes work. So, if you want to stay sane and see actual results, you have to say no to a lot of things. If you don’t say no, you won’t have time to say yes to the things that matter.
Right now, I’m saying no to Twitter and Instagram. I have an account on both platforms, but I haven’t updated either one in months.
I also say no to coaching (it’s too hard to coordinate across time zones). When life gets really crazy, I even say no to blogging. In August, I made more than $800, and I only posted 1 blog post. But I emailed my subscribers 5 or 6 times because that’s where the money is.
The secret to making money from a small blog
Here’s your recipe for success.
- Set a clear goal for your business.
- Define your audience.
- Find or create a product that helps your audience solve one problem.
- Create an awesome freebie so you can grow your email list with your target audience.
- Sell to your email list, even if you’re scared and you fail the first few times.
- Stop trying to do all the things. Say no more often.
This recipe probably sounds so simple. And it is! The hard part is sticking with it. It’s easier to jump from tactic to tactic then to stay focused on just one audience and one goal. Focus requires sacrifice. It requires discipline. It requires patience. But if you can stick with it, it will pay off!
If this all feels overwhelming to you, download The Small Blog Profit Plan. This free checklist will help you use your time more effectively so you can make more money.
Get your Small Blog Profit Plan here!