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The Key Resource For A Sustainable Blogging Business

By Yaro Starak
13 Comments

Welcome to the next article in my series on blogging as a sustainable business model. In part one of this series you learned about the staple monetization strategy that most probloggers use – creating content to bring in traffic and increase income.

Using the example of Darren Rowse in article two, I concluded that despite the fact that a few top bloggers earn a full time income blogging, and even more money in the case of Darren and bloggers like him, it is still not a sustainable business model when so much responsibility for output rests on one person. In the previous article before this one I listed some of the advantages that many top bloggers enjoy, which the average person does not.

If you have not read the first three parts in this series please do so before continuing with this article.

Points of Leverage

The problem with the current model for professional blogging is the lack of a strategy that actually leverages the content = traffic = money equation in a non-linear way. Most professional bloggers apply the time = money formula directly to the content = traffic = money formula, placing a big limitation on the total output possible. This as I mentioned is self employment applied to blogging. Blogging is not a bad job, but it is still a job – and you may not want a job forever if you share my belief that happiness comes from freedom.

What we need to do is create a model that doesn’t restrict content = traffic = money, but instead exponentially multiplies it, and to do this we need to finds way to leverage our resources.

Leverage is all about creating systems that multiply a monetization strategy. We have a proven way to make money via blogs by publishing content that people love, which is rewarded with traffic that we can monetize by showing advertisements or affiliate programs or AdSense clicks etc. This is a monetization strategy that works, now we need to multiply it.

The most crucial leveragable resource for all organizations is people. It is no different for blogging.

If there is a way to create new and original content that doesn’t involve people who write the content, I have yet to find it. When it comes to something creative – like writing – only human beings suffice.

What Would You Do Given This Situation?

I was once offered $2000 USD per month to take over a new blog and help it grow.

My immediate gut response was no thanks because I didn’t need to write for another blog – I was struggling with the two blogs I had at the time. I thought about it some more and came up with a good idea, which was inline with my philosophy of creating sustainable business systems.

I could take 50% of the income and use the other 50% to hire 2-4 bloggers who would do the writing for the blog, leaving me $1000 a month to make sure the employed bloggers do a good job and oversee the management of everything. Using this model more content is produced than just what I could do myself and I walk away with a nice slice of the pay for less work. Plenty of bloggers are looking for paid writing gigs and with time invested hiring good writers, it should work.

I work less, yet the blog grows quicker with four writers contributing instead of one. That’s leveraging money and people resources for greater growth.

Even after coming up with this model I thought I was stretching my responsibilities too far – I just had too much on my plate to take on anything extra. The idea of having to recruit top bloggers and make sure they did a good job was too much of a time commitment.

Then I had another idea – why not hire a blog manager as well!

I could pay the manager to write to the blog and also screen, hire and train the other blog writers. In this case I only have to hire one person – the blog manager – and leave him or her to manage the blog and oversee the other bloggers. I would still need to check in and ensure everything is running smoothly, but this model reduces my responsibility and involvement even further.

To fund this new position the pay would have to be higher than just a standard blog writer wage, because of the greater responsibility – perhaps $500-$750 per month. Add $500 for two more blog writers still leaving me with $750 per month minimum. I’m pretty sure given the current rates bloggers work for that it would be possible to structure a better deal than this, but it shows what is possible even if you pay top dollar.

In the end the deal never eventuated, but you can see the thought process I went through to create an income stream and not a job, and build points of leverage.

Not Everyone Has The Same Motivations

Early on as a business owner you may feel uncomfortable employing people and wonder why they wouldn’t want to run their own business and become independent as well. Why would a person be willing to work for me at X dollars an hour or month knowing that I may earn significantly more as a result of their labor? Doesn’t this article series argue against working hard by yourself for a fixed income – why subject anyone else to it?

Take the example scenario above. Why would a person agree to manage and write for my blog knowing that their salary is fixed and yet I may earn as much or many times more than they do off the back of their labor?

One of the lessons I have had to accept is that everyone is in a different place in their lives and has a different personality. Some people will never be able to take the ambiguity or responsibility of being in charge and prefer the “stability” of a job with a regular paycheck. I could argue that the “stability” aspect of employment is a mental illusion, but let’s leave that discussion alone and assume some people will always look at employment as more secure, stable, safer and desirable.

Some bloggers are like this too and look at a paid writing gig as an ideal way to earn money from blogging. At this point in their life they just want to write and if they can get paid a steady income for it, without worrying about anything else, that’s awesome.

Others may have the awareness and corresponding desire to realize that a paid salary or even volunteer blogging for someone else may not be an ideal situation – they want to be in charge of their own destiny eventually – but the current circumstance dictates that they accept the situation as a stepping stone to get where they want to go.

If a person has a knowledge or experience gap then the possibility of filling that gap working under someone else performing a job, is payback enough – for the time being. Other benefits include building contacts with experienced people in the industry and enhanced exposure for your personal brand and expertise.

Whatever the reason, there are many people willing to work for money or for experience or for exposure, so always assume the talent is out there and happy to work with you, providing you can locate and attract it with a motivating proposition. Never feel you are cheating someone if they feel they are adequately rewarded for their work.

Cashflow

There is one other very common reason why a person looking to work their way up to a sustainable blogging model may consider employment early in their career – a lack of cashflow.

Just as a young entrepreneur needs to work a day job to produce cashflow to fund their start-up business, a new blogger may need to work as an employed blogger, either independently as a professional blogger or by writing for someone else’s blog in exchange for money. This is one of the advantages that top bloggers have that you don’t – they have cashflow from another source, leaving ample time to blog.

I suspect nearly every person interested in this article who considers themself a professional blogger in progress has a cashflow problem. You may have already inferred that one of my recommendations coming up in order to build a sustainable business model using blogs is to hire people to write for you – many of the current blog networks use this model – but you can’t yet afford to pay anyone to write for you, so you have to do it all by yourself.

If you have a cashflow problem it’s perfectly fine for you to blog for money by yourself. There are ways to start with zero funding and still bring on people to blog for you – take on partners with equity in the business, offer your services in other areas in exchange for blogging, inspire people with your cause (might be better for non-profit blogging), hire interns and offer them training in exchange for blogging – but the easiest and quickest way is almost always with money.

You could shoot for funding from other people, but if you are just starting and you have no blogs or no audience it will be very hard to convince anyone of your future potential and inspire them enough to hand over some cash. The most likely scenario from day one, if you don’t have your own money, is to work with what you do have – your time and energy.

What is important, if you have no cashflow right now, is that you realize long term self employment is not what you want and you structure your blogs as a business from day one. This may mean using a generic/brand as the name for your blog and not your own name so in the future you can bring in new writers without disrupting audience expectations or changing the current blog design. You have to accept that every dollar you earn early on goes to building your business, hiring bloggers and other talented people – you can’t go shopping for fun with your first AdSense check if you want to create a sustainable business eventually.

Coming up in the final (I think!) article in this series is what you have all been waiting for – suggestions and examples of sustainable business models that use blogs.

Click here to continue and read part five of this series…

Yaro Starak
Blogging For Business

About Yaro Starak

Yaro Starak is the author of the Blog Profits Blueprint, a report you can download instantly to learn how to make $10,000 a month, from only blogging 2 hours per day. You can find Yaro on Facebook, Twitter and .

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13 Comments

  • I recently partnered with another writer who is taking over one of my blogs. We are going to split the revenue.

  • WMA

    Hello,

    I was wondering when you were going to publish your next post… And was really looking forward to it.

    What can I say? Very interesting approach… However, I feel that hiring people to do the writing for you could have some down sides.

    One of them, would be that even people that are looking for a stable income and don’t want to venture on their own would eventually come to the conclusion (after the illusion of stability -nicely put, btw- fades away) that they could also do it on their own, since they are already attracting traffic with their content. They will probably start doing it while still working for you, but within a period of time, they will put more and more energy into their personal project and pay less attention to your blog.

    You may say that you can always hire another one to take his place, but as you know, everybody has a unique style, and the style of the person that you hired may have attracted your audience in the first place, so hiring another blogger could have a negative impact on your audience.

    Another thing that started to ring my bells is that I belive what you said above is basically outsourcing. I am not saying that I have something against it, but I don’t feel that blogging is really a domain where outsourcing could work, unless the topic of the blog in question is strongly related to tech stuff, were less creativity will be involved. Even in this case, people that really know their stuff and are also fluent in English may charge you more than you can afford. However, this may turn out all right if you already have successful blog on that topic (like Darren’s photo blog, for example), and you want to concentrate on starting another project.

    If I think more and more about it, if you are very popular blogger you can obtain a lot better results from people that are willing to write on your blog as guests, because they will earn than you could pay them… they will earn exposure, and on the long run they can benefit from it a lot; This would probably motivate them a lot more than money. But you should not over do it, because again, the blog will loose your personal touch.

    The idea, in my opinion of course, is that blogging is all about sharing your personal take on things, and the success of the blog depends a lot on your style (the most sucesfull blogs I know, -Steve Pavlina’s, Techcrunch, Problogger, and your’s- are based on this principle) so passing ALL your duties to someone else, may be a risky thing to do.

  • I’m also in the process of hiring two more paid bloggers to try and branch out from only one blog to two or three.

    Allen.H

  • This is something that I considered very early on in my blogging writing days – the eventual possiblity of hiring another blogger and boosting my content and having to be less reliable.

    But Im glad you answered my other question which is “Why would that person be willing to work for a standard wage when I could be earning way more than him?”

    I now realise that not everyone has the site potential – thanks a lot Yaro for reaffirming certain goals that I’ve set for myself.

    I see you’ve already taken advantage of this with SBB and I don’t doubt that you’ll be using that in your example!

  • Your idea is excellent, and I am thinking a lot about it these days.

    I don’t see myself as a professional blogger although I make a nice income from affiliate programs, but I am afraid that someone else write on my blog!

    I don’t know why. I think I am not the only blogger in this case.

    I will have to do partner as well since I have too many blogs and I can’t post regularly on most of them now.

    Darren is always talking about this on his blog. I am waiting for your last article. Your serie is a goldmine.

    Can you provide us with some good places when we can hire bloggers?

    It would be a good resource for our future projects.

  • Hey Yaro
    great idea,
    but where do you find someone to write blogs for you? I’ve looked and tried hard, but its very hard to find someone who is willing to contribute on a semi daily basis unless ur paying them lots of money to the point where it becomes inviable.

  • Here’s my reason for looking for regularly paying blog gigs: I’m a writer and am looking for an income that will allow me to do what I want to do (i.e., write fiction).

    I can take a skill I have (writing) and get paid for it. But at the same time, I can avoid all the time and energy munching tasks of managing a business (or multiple blogs).

    My blog exists to explore my thoughts around leading an easier (and less cluttered) life, and to improve my writing skills/reputation. It’s not there for income. I’ll let someone else deal with that and just get paid for writing.

    I like your model Yaro of paying the writers a set amount. I am really reluctant to work for the blog networks that pay only based on ad-clicks. If I wanted to do that I’d add advertising on my own site.

    Thanks for the series – has snapped me out of the insular blogging habit I’d fallen into.

    Alex

  • I was slightly amazed how many comments said they were having trouble finding bloggers who will hire out. I am a contract writer for our local Business to Business paper and do freelance press releases plus write two blogs. I often look for “help wanted” in the writing area, but it always seems to be the people who want you to write a blog, host it through them and share the AdSense.
    In other words, I’m willing to write per post if anyone needs someone.

  • Hi Yaro – Thanks for the interesting series. I think the only people who won’t want to turn their blogs into business are writers who love writing just for the sake of it, or those who just love being in the spotlight.

    There is also the problem of those bloggers who have become celebrity bloggers – eg. Shoemoney. How would readers react to others writing in his place? Of course, he could pretend that it was still himself writing, but that would be a bit unethical, and also, it may be difficult for someone else to copy his writing style. Would people even keep reading if others were writing the blog?

    I think this depends on the type of blog. I think that on an internet marketing type blog, many people are only reading/commenting to get backlinks and traffic, so they may carry on visiting a high traffic blog, regardless of whether the celebrity blogger is still writing.

    Take the John Chow blog, for example. He often gets people to write for him in his absence. Some of the posts are complete garbage, yet they still get truckloads of comments. So maybe Darren Rowse could develop his blogging as an actual business. The question is, will he want to, or be able to give up being the technician, in order to run a successful business? Not everyone can.

  • Loved the idea of creating a blog Manager position. Do you think (or know for sure) that 500$ – 750$ per month is realistic kind of money for that sort of job? Where would you look for such person?

    • It depends entirely on what they have to do. Define the role, consider how much skill is required an how much time, and then place a job ad. The only way to know for sure is to find people and see what they are willing to do.

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