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Every Blog is a Business. Here are the Top 10 Reasons to Start Minding Yours.

Submitted by on June 21, 2010 – 8:00 am18 Comments

Here is what it means to think of your blog as a business:

10. Taking yourself and your work seriously.

In any activity we undertake repeatedly (cooking, driving, yoga, knitting) there is the underlying assumption that hopefully some level of mastery will be achieved. Blogging is no different. By thinking of a blog as a business, you will get there more directly and you will be able to measure your progress along the way. Knowing where your site ranks with Google and Technorati, knowing how many visits and page views you have each month, having a clear “About” page on your site: these are examples of taking yourself and your blog seriously. When you begin to do this, those around you will naturally follow suit.

9. Factoring intangible expenses into the larger picture of your blog.

For instance, think of your work in terms of billable hours. If minimum wage is $7.25 an hour and you work 10? 20? 70? hours a week on your blog, that means each year you are giving away at least $3625, $7250 or $25375 of your time. But would you actually work for minimum wage? Probably not. When you factor in what you would realistically make at a paying job ($25, $35, $50 an hour?), the bottom line for your blog is sobering. By assigning a dollar value to your time, you can be clear about what you are donating to the foodie community. How long will you be willing to work for free?

8. Beginning to think of the bigger picture and your long term goals.

One great way to do this is to create a mission statement. This is invaluable for any blogger. You can read this article for an in-depth discussion of the whys and hows. Viewing your blog as a business from the outset will help you craft a more compelling mission statement. In turn, your mission statement helps you focus on what is important and strengthens your brand.

blogging as a business

7. Creating systems within your blogging

Instead of recreating the wheel every time you are asked for a marketing piece (bio, stat sheet, blog overview, writing history, recipe portfolio, etc), have all of your materials written out, polished and ready to go. This should carry over into your blog, as well. Have something written to cover an area where you will have repeated demand without having to rewrite or edit every time you respond. Another way to consolidate tasks is to pick one time of day to do certain things, like answer emails, and only do that during the allotted time. There are many other ways to streamline your processes if you just give it some thought.

6. Putting your blog to work for you

Thinking of your blog as a business will allow you to open up to new opportunities to develop your brand. You will become aware of and open to unique opportunities to market your site and make money with your blog. Writing for other blogs, consulting for other bloggers, reaching out to your local business community with your particular expertise (recipe development, event planning, social media integration, website design): these are all opportunities that will appeal and make sense when you are thinking about your blog as a business.

5. Making yourself more attractive to potential business partners

Sponsors, publishers, print media and PR agencies will want to work with you when they see that you know why you are a blogger and you are clear about what you can offer them. Business partners will know that you are worth investing in because: you have presented a unified, consistent message (because you have taken the time to craft and follow a mission statement); your marketing systems are streamlined (which makes you more efficient in responding to their inquiries); and you have a handle on the data they want to see (such as your stats and rankings).

4. Carrying yourself in a manner now that will positively impact your future

Imagine negotiating your salary at a new job. If you accept $50,000 a year instead of pushing for $70,000 the difference will impact your wallet multiple times over your stay in that position. When the yearly 3.5% cost-of-living raise rolls around you will lose $700. Compound that by the 5-7 years of working at that job and you have forfeited thousands of dollars. Even worse, imagine the cost of living raise is a 10% holiday bonus each year and now you have passed up tens of thousands of dollars by undervaluing yourself from the beginning. OUCH!

The sponsorship deals you make now, the rates you set for your advertising space today will all influence the deals and negotiations to come. Remember that when you are tempted to undervalue yourself and your work.

3. Making some money

While not everyone needs to make money working on their blog, it is still an important goal to have. It will help you clarify the worthwhile opportunities vs. those that are simply time and energy wasters. It will validate your hard work and create more flexibility for you. Right now your blog is potentially a pile of expenses (website design and development, hosting, internet service, etc.) Business and money go hand in hand. Turn your blog into an asset rather than a liability.

business of blogging

2. Realizing that your blog is NOT a hobby

The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines a hobby as: a pursuit outside one’s regular occupation engaged in especially for relaxation. Nothing about blogging matches that definition. Staring at a blank post screen is not relaxing. Capturing the perfect photo on your point and shoot is not relaxing. Repeated rejections from FoodGawker are NOT relaxing.

If you are lucky, you may enjoy working on your blog, it may even bring you happiness. When you start to make money with it you will be one of those rare individuals who gets paid to work at something s/he loves. Forget pretending to be a hobbyist. Be a role model.

1. Putting an end to denying or excusing bad behavior

Hobbies, being casual expressions of our creativity, have few boundaries imposed on them. It is probably not a big deal to knit at the dinner table while your kids and spouse finish their meal. But taking a business call or answering a corporate email on your iPhone during family dinner is a different story. Continuing to view blogging as a hobby is a subtle form of denial for many bloggers which allows their blogging to encroach on time that should be reserved for other things. Businesses need a general schedule, appropriate business hours, holidays, personal days; and non-business hours should be free of business deals, calls, emails, transactions, and other interruptions.

You will find as you view your blog as a business and not a hobby, you will set clearer boundaries about your time and resources. As a result, those you connect with through your blog will respect your time and value your work more. This brings you right back to number 10, creating a beneficial cycle that, if you let it, will help you continue to evolve your business.

This article has also been published by The Top 10 Blog.

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18 Comments »

  • [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Cat, tastestopping. tastestopping said: Every Blog is a Business. Here are the Top 10 Reasons to Start Minding Yours. http://bit.ly/afYMZH [...]

  • Joan Nova says:

    Very interesting on conceptual first read. I intend to read again. Thanks.
    Joan Nova´s last [type] ..Spicy + Savory Tomato Marmalade

  • Stephanie says:

    This really made me think – I’ve been viewing blogging more and more as a business, but never consciously defined it as that. I definitely need to work on setting boundaries, goals, and stop viewing it as a hobby, since that’s really not my end goal. A mission statement will help me with that. Thanks Casey!
    Stephanie´s last [type] ..Vote for Me and Enter to Win an OXO Prize Pack!

  • Thanks for this. Now summer is here, I am trying to establish a new routine where I set aside time for blogging and time for me. Imagine that last night I turned off the computer and read a book?!?! baby steps. But you are right. Blogging has turned into a business for me whether I meant it to or not. SO I can either ignore that or run with it.
    Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite´s last [type] ..Guu Izakaya (Toronto)

  • Kate says:

    Nice article, with plenty of helpful tips but blogging is not a business to everyone and shouldn’t be held in that regard. It’s multi-faceted at best, with an incredible amount of talented people, but also is full of hacks who can’t spell, take a photo or even find anything of interest to talk about. What kind of talent is a food blogger who opens a can of Campbells Cheddar cheese soup, pours it over a potato and microwaves it, then takes an unfocused photo of it from close range with a flash? The staggering number of mediocre food blogs out there boggles the mind.

    I do find the pursuit of my blog to be relaxing because I don’t stress out over creating the perfect post, or taking the perfect picture. If it happens, it’s great. If it doesn’t, I’m not concerned. There will be another post, another photo and another day. And I do not, under any circumstances, care about Foodgawker or Tastespotting or any of those sites that cause normal people to fall apart at the seams if they can’t get their pictures submitted. I don’t advertise and I don’t care to prostitute my content to make money and I don’t think it’s going to lead to a book deal. For me, it IS a hobby and an outlet for my craft of food and writing. Kudos to those who can soar with a simple web page, but don’t lump everyone who maintains a good blog into the same category.

  • thedabble says:

    Great article-I want to send it to everyone I know that has trouble viewing my blog as more than a hobby. I am someone that works hard on nearly every aspect every single day with posts every week day. When I started to think of it as a career, minus pay at the moment, I began accepting that I am not unemployed, I’m working towards a career. I realize not everyone wants to propel their work outside of a hobby but that doesn’t work for me because I am way too passionate about the food world and need to remain more confident that what I do means something in the grand scheme of things. It’s an individual choice. I would be content to make a small amount of money from this and stay honest/sincere/passionate about the intended interest. Having a written goal to maintain your ideal blogging situation is a must and continuous evaluation is needed also. I agree completely!
    thedabble´s last [type] ..Cooked Carrot Salad with Toasted Cumin Dressing

  • Gisele says:

    Great food for thought, Casey- no pun intended.
    Gisele´s last [type] ..Birthday Celebrations

  • Thanks so much for posting this very important 10 step evaluation. BIG difference between a pro blogger and hobby blogger. Mine has turned into a life changing career and I am enjoying the ride. One baby step at a time :) xo

  • Grazing Kate says:

    I have to say that although this article may be useful for some people, it doesn’t deal with the complexities of blogging. Overall I found it one-dimensional and not that useful. For some people it is a creative outlet and a valid place to communicate with a wide range of different people (often sharing similar interests). Let’s not underestimate these things!

    Life isn’t just about making money – life is for living and getting some sense of deep, personal enjoyment.

    I wholeheartedly agree with Kate above (yes, similar name, but not me!)

    I like her line, “Kudos to those who can soar with a simple web page, but don’t lump everyone who maintains a good blog into the same category.” Well done, Kate – perhaps the two Kates could have a ponder and write a riposte along the lines of: Every Blog is a Business. Here are the Top 10 Reasons to Start Minding Yours.

    Why Every Blog is not Necessarily a Business, but Valid Nevertheless.
    Grazing Kate´s last [type] ..Wimbledon and South Devon Strawberries

  • Alejandra says:

    This was great…so helpful!

    I think taking yourself seriously is underrated…and especially difficult for women. Having a healthy dose of confidence and direction and “I’m bad ass and you should pay attention to my blog” is important!

  • browneyedbaker says:

    Great article Casey!

    To the Kate’s – I think that although you may not view your blog as a business and see it as 100% hobby, it’s important to realize that marketers, brands, and PR folks view ALL blogs as potential promotional vehicles. From that standpoint, I do believe that it is helpful to at least be prepared to discuss your position on working on promotions, what you are willing to do/not do, what your time is worth, etc. should you be approached by someone in these fields. Knowing your blog’s mission and your goals (even if one of them is to remain 100% hobby and not make any money) will help you make choices, structure your content and interaction with readers, and prepare you for requests from those in the PR field. Just my two cents :)

  • Just today I was thinking I had to change the way I think about my blog.
    flouronmyface´s last [type] ..Watermelon Granita

  • Alex Allen says:

    Monetizing websites, blogs, etc is a good way to earn some passive income.-.’

  • laura says:

    Lots of good thoughts here Casey, I think the number 1 for me is develop a mission statement…I tend to drift and need to stay within a set of boundaries to help me focus…

    See you at BlogHer Food?
    laura´s last [type] ..Canning Rules- Putting Food By giveaway

  • monetizing a website is really a great way to earn money in a passive way just like real estate.`–

  • [...] For my first Friday without posting a recipe (sigh), I thought I’d share something inspiring. Here’s an article that I read a few days ago from Casey at Tastestopping “Every Blog is a Business. Here are the Top 10 Reasons to Start Minding Yours.” [...]

  • Kristen says:

    Such a great blog post, Casey and I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the comments and opinions of everyone else too! Thanks for putting this out there as something to ponder for all of us.
    Kristen´s last [type] ..Building a Blogging Community Recipe- Banana Bread

  • Tickled Red says:

    You have really given me food for thought Casey ;)
    Tickled Red´s last [type] ..Thank You Hurricane Danielle

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