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Today I want to help those of you who are struggling to make money blogging, be it for their small business or their blog as a business in and of itself.

4 mistakes you make tha tkeep you from earning an income with your blog or small biz  - PeppercornCreative.com | website design agency and blog & business mentor in Vancouver BCI spend countless hours each week cultivating my community through blogging-focused Facebook Groups, entrepreneurial discussion forums and small business brainstorming sessions. Not to mention the time I invest getting into the nitty-gritty of my coaching client’s businesses. Time and time again – not even joking – this tragic scenario comes up:

I’ve been blogging for X months/years now and I’ve not made a huge amount of money doing so. My partner has been really super indulgent and supportive and I would SO LOVE to be able to actually see some real return for all the effort I’ve put in. How can I make money blogging?

The answer? You can’t.

That sounds a bit harsh but hang with me.

There’s probably a good reason why you’ve struggled to bring in a real income thus far. Something you’ve been doing hasn’t quite aligned to leverage your blog into a full-time gig.

So let’s hash that out.

Today I’ll highlight 4 of the most common mistakes you’re making on your blog or small business blog and provide you with solutions for how you can fix them and start earning the income you deserve!


1. You Think Like A Blogger


There’s nothing wrong with being a blogger. But thinking like one could be costing you serious revenue. It can cost you your success.

By hiding behind the “blogger” label, you’ve devalued your skill-set from the get go. Clients will often tell me they’re bloggers, not real writers. Or they’re bloggers, not social media gurus. Or they’re bloggers, not professional photographers.

Have you ever heard yourself think:

  • I can’t afford a proper website design.
  • There isn’t enough light to take good pictures.
  • I’m too busy to spend time styling the shot.
  • I don’t have anything new or interesting to say.
  • I don’t have time to be on social media.
  • Those 6 or 7 figure bloggers can stay home and do it all day, I can’t.
  • I’m not ready – I have to plan everything out first.

Bitch please. These are excuses.

Excuses to not try, to not fail, to not succeed. And by using these excuses as a “Blogger”, you don’t have to call yourself what you truly are: A writer, a social media wiz, a fashionista, a photographer, or what have you. And you don’t have to act like one.

I’m a firm believer in the power of attraction (especially when Chris Pratt is involved).

But in all seriousness, you attract that which you put out. You hide behind “blogger” and thus get treated like one. You manifest your excuse. You remain stagnant. You don’t grow and you don’t increase your income.

But try this: Call yourself what you really are. If you were a professional, what would your title be? Say it out loud. Now how does someone of that particular title behave?

Does a writer not send out query letters to publications? Does a photographer use their iPhone for client work? Does a marketer fling out content willy nilly or does she plan, work the plan and take more targeted actions?

If you want to get taken seriously by other peers in your field, brand partners and clients, it’s time to pull up your big girl pants and start thinking more smarter (that’s good grammar right?) When you think like a blogger, you make a blogger’s salary.

When you think like a business owner, entrepreneur, publisher, editor, marketer, photographer, industry leader, and/or writer, you act like one. And thus, make that salary.

They own it. The tools, skills, direction and commitment. And you should too.

Blogger. Writer. Entrepreneur. Performing Circus Monkey. Doesn't matter; Own what you do. Click To Tweet


2. You Believe The Beauty Content Myth


The content myth has served to convince us that creating content in and of itself will make us rich. Or popular. Or famous. Or awesome. Reality check: It doesn’t.

You might love what you’re creating but creating content isn’t enough. That content must solve a problem, be entertaining and/or informative. Essentially, you must provide unique value for your audience. Because the physics of business – what motivates people, be it readers, followers, companies, brand partners or clients, has never changed and likely never will. Yaro Starak says in his brilliant article about blogging for money:

Money, status, sex, power, health, security, pain avoidance, the pursuit of pleasure – these are things that motivate us.

Thus, if you don’t offer readers, clients or brand partners something they dearly want, you’re not going to make money blogging.

And you can only offer that value if you know WHO your ideal reader or client is and speak directly to them. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve coached clients through this process and how many of them resist it.

We think that by throwing out a wider net we’ll catch more fish. Not, so. You have to get specific here. Really specific. Painstakingly specific.

Because by appealing to everyone, we appeal to no one.

By appealing to everyone, we appeal to no one. #Bloggers #SmallBiz Click To Tweet

And then, once you get super duper specific about who you’re writing for and what value you’re offering them, you can bring in the benjamins!


3. You’re Chasing Numbers


Forget waterfalls, too many of us are chasing numbers. Metrics. Followers. Viral shares. And it isn’t turning into income or notoriety. So why are you doing it?

Stop chasing the numbers.

There’s a terrible idea plaguing most bloggers and small business owners that I talk to. And that is this: We need huge numbers to pull in revenue from our blogs and businesses.

I call bullshit.

If you remember nothing else from this post, remember this: You do not need a massive following to get high caliber clients, fantastic brand partners or lucrative product deals.

Now if you’re looking to monetize your blog or business, ads and click-banners can = quick income IF you have 100,000 hits a day in traffic. Most sites don’t. Our blogs are not traditional media (TV, radio, etc…), so why are we making our websites into one giant billboard?

When it comes to earning real, long term income, it’s more important to generate a loyal following for your brand. And you do this by nurturing your community. Fo’ realz. This is how you make the money! And it’s the best kept secret in the industry.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had clients say to me “I spend so much time on social media but no one comes to my website or responds.”

My answer each and every time is this: When it comes to nurturing your community, it’s about quality, more than it’s about quantity. It’s not about you. Invest in your ideal reader or client. Show up. Give at least 80% more than you ask for. Treat them like you would your best friend. I cherish the people around me who care enough to stop and take time out of their day to connect with me. It’s only good manners – and good business sense – to return the favour.

Get involved, stop networking (seriously), and get creative about how you interact with and get in front of your ideal reader, brand partner or client!

This is a long term strategy and ultimately results in more conversions. And conversions are worth more than traffic. Literally – you can’t bank traffic. But you can bank dollar billz.


4. You Aren’t Working Hard Enough, Smart Enough, For Long Enough


There is no such thing as an overnight success. Let’s pop that bubble-gum sugar-shit right now.

You will not – can not – make money with your blog or business the moment you launch it. Full stop. That’s never been a thing. Every overnight success story has a decade or more of hard work behind it. Guaranteed.

…With the exception of my bulging biceps. Those babies are legit, yo.

So if you think you can capitalize on a trend and get rich quick or suddenly be making a 4 or 5 figure income because you’ve started a blog, you’ll be sorry. Trends don’t last my friend and frankly, neither do most bloggers.

Let’s be honest: Running a blog or small business is hard work. It takes a shit ton of energy, work and time. And time is money. It’s also limited.

So choose your battles – revenue streams, social media platforms, service offerings, etc… – carefully and spend your energies where they see the most return on your investment (see points 1-3 above).

Ultimately if you’re going to make money blogging, either for your small business or your blog as a business in and of itself, you have to have a plan! And then you have to execute that plan. For a long fucking time.

Stick with it. Be clever. Figure it out.

Because when you do, you will make money blogging. I guaran-fucking-tee-it.

Do you make money blogging or in your small business? Do you have a content strategy? What do you struggle with the most? What works for you? Got any tips for us? What else would you add?  Leave a comment below or please shoot me an email and tell me! I wanna hear from you.

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10 Comments on Why You Won’t Make Money Blogging (and how to fix that!)

  1. Rebecca
    February 26, 2016 at 12:24 pm (2 years ago)

    One, I love your writing style. You are hilarious. Two, this is the best advice for blogging and small business I have seen to date. Thank you for your wisdom.

  2. LoudPen
    March 2, 2016 at 8:06 am (2 years ago)

    This post was fuckin dope! I’ve been blogging for 8 years now and I finally figured out what I was doing wrong as far as making money. This post definitely helped with that! First, I was spending too much time writing blog posts so by the time I finished writing I didn’t even feel like promoting it. That of course hurt my traffic and it meant I had less time to pitch to brands for sponsorship. Also, I didn’t have anything to sell to my audience. For 2016, I’m working on fixing all these issues. I created a blogging schedule so I don’t spend too much time writing, I also cut back on pitching to brands for sponsorship since that doesn’t seem to be getting me anywhere, and I wrote & published my first book called #MakeUrPenLOUD: How To Be A Lifestyle Blogger. I’m still not eactly where I want to be but I am definitely getting there. Thanks for writing this post, great advice & definitely inspirational!

    • Kristy Gardner
      March 8, 2016 at 3:47 pm (2 years ago)

      haha – I’m glad you liked it!

      You’re right – creating content without promotion or investment in your community is the quickest way to run aground. That and not being clear on what you’re offering.

      It sounds like you’re well on your way to success my friend – congrats!! And of course, let me know how it all works out for you.

      Best of luck! (I accidentally typed lunch. Clearly I need to eat)
      Kristy Gardner recently posted…A Day in the Life of A Creative Entrepreneur | My Morning RoutineMy Profile

      • LoudPen
        March 8, 2016 at 4:26 pm (2 years ago)

        Thank you! I definitely feel like I’m growing with each day. And it’s funny because your comment has me thinking about what I’m offering. I think I’m going to give that more thought as far as clarifying. And no worries food is good! I am a self proclaimed #skintyfatgirl. Lol!

  3. Lisa Lewis, MD
    March 16, 2016 at 5:46 pm (2 years ago)

    Great post! I like your point that no blogger makes money overnight. You have such a fun writing style. I feel like we just had a chat.

    • Kristy Gardner
      March 29, 2016 at 8:16 am (2 years ago)

      Aw thanks Lisa! It’s great to hear from you 🙂

      It’s true – to make money blogging (to make money at ANYTHING – especially anything creative) takes a lot of focus, hard work, revision and commitment which is why it’s so important that you do what you love. I’m glad that resonated with you.

      Have a wonderful day!
      Kristy Gardner recently posted…A Day in the Life of A Creative Entrepreneur | My Morning RoutineMy Profile

  4. Amy
    March 16, 2016 at 11:35 pm (2 years ago)

    This blog post was Awesome!! Really great advice.. I subscribed to your email.. can’t wait to hear more from you!!! Love your writing style..

  5. Brenda Smith
    April 11, 2016 at 7:33 am (2 years ago)

    Indeed a great post about making money online.

    Nowadays people are getting very much creative and wants to make some extra money from home.

    The topic ” Make money from home ” is very much interesting and people get very much excited when they get to know about it. But people should understand, this isn’t that much easy as they are thinking.

    According to me, Making money through Blogging and affiliate marketing is the best ways among all others explained here.

    But to earn through blogging and affiliate marketing, You must need to work hard with lots of dedication.

    You must have to follow these important steps.

    1. You have to choose a profitable niche from which you can earn by promoting affiliate products.
    2. Build a blog on that niche and provide helpful content to others.
    3. Promote your content among potential readers
    4. Drive traffic to your site and make money through it.

    These are the basic steps you need to take to earn through blogging.

    BTW Thanks for sharing such a wonderful post with us. 😀
    Brenda Smith recently posted…Top 5 Best Yamaha Digital Pianos You Should BuyMy Profile