Part 2: Diversify your income streams by adding additional products or services
In the first post on this topic, we talked about leveraging your content to generate income with your blog. Today we're going to take a look at some of the ways bloggers can expand upon their business and brand by offering a service or a product to their readers.
You might be thinking: why should I add another project to my plate?
Offering a product or service is a great strategy for generating more income. Your blog and business and whatever you're selling can work in tandem--your community of readers is of course interested in you, your voice, and your brand. They trust you. You in turn, have listened to them and are offering a service or product they need. It's a win-win.
Bloggers who are successful at making money know that it's smart (and more lucrative) to diversify--that is, they know it's important to not rely on just one method for getting paid. Depending on your unique skill set, interests, and brand, it won't be a huge stretch to figure out how to sell something you're already making or charging fees for something you're good at.
Let's take a look at some specific examples of products and services that are an organic extension to blogging:
Maybe you're a blogger who has a knack for photography and sells limited-edition prints. Or a crafter who releases one-of-a-kind pieces as she makes them. Perhaps you run a lifestyle blog and sell a curated selection of goods that appeals to a niche audience. The possibilities here vary widely--and so does the amount of risk that entrepreneurs take on with their initial investments in running this type of business. (Think: the difference between selling a handmade scarf on Etsy and managing e-commerce for product lines you design and manufacture). Another thing to consider when going this route is the amount of time that you'll spend on things like shipping and customer service.
Hudson + Daughter (my shop)
Writing a book
Ah, the dream of getting that book deal from a real actual publisher that prints real actual books. We're all writers, and we've all thought about it. The blog-to-book path may be trickier to navigate than, say, self-publishing an e-book, but it's often THE logical next step once you've had success with your blog.
The idea of passive income is really appealing: you create a compelling digital product like an e-book, a digital printable, an e-course, or a sewing pattern, to name a few examples. You write it once, you design it once, you film it once and you sell it over and over again without any further action necessary, apart from paying transaction fees or other e-commerce overhead. It's like free money.
You are an expert in something (or more likely, many things). Why not share your knowledge base with your community and get paid for it? Perhaps it's the specialized thing that you're blogging about (origami tutorials, creating a capsule wardrobe, your life as an illustrator--you fill in the blank here.) Or, it's the technical skills like mastering the Adobe creative suite photo styling that make you a pro at your work. With so many fantastic online education portals now on the scene (such as Skillshare, Creative Live, Atly, and Craftsy, to name a few) I have a feeling that teaching will be a huge area of expansion, especially as it overlaps with digital products. Some courses are filmed once and released as a digital product (hello passive income again!), others may require your ongoing participation in a live chat as online "office hours". And of course, there's always the kind that requires chalk, face-to-face.
Mentoring & Coaching
Mentoring is a way to share your expertise on a one-on-one basis. You can offer real value to someone who isn't as far along in their career as you, as you're offering your dedicated time and complete focus on an individual client. If you're sought after as an expert, you can charge real money with your clients. If mentoring remains a side project for you, you may need to be very deliberate with the number of clients you take on as this sort of work can involve a huge time commitment. Think of it as the opposite of passive income. It's about as active as you can get.
Braid Creative (again!)
Events & Conferences
You are all about your community and dream up ways of getting everyone together. Can you imagine throwing a fabulous party that doubles as a conference or a networking event and getting paid for it? Bloggers who are successful at generating income from community events have a knack for design and styling, are outgoing and friendly (you want to make people feel welcome and valued) and of course must have some serious skills when it comes to project management.
Collaborating with a huge, well known brand to design a product or collection--sign me up, right? Working on a project like this might seem out of reach but keep in mind: most bloggers who have caught the eye of a major brand aren't overnight successes, but have instead consistently created high quality content with a unique and singular voice. Oh, and they probably have a ton of followers. If you're not there yet, consider alternative ways of partnering with smaller brands you can stand behind.
Have you tried any of these strategies or side projects, or would you? What's worked well? Anything we've missed?
This post is the second of two that discusses blog monetisation. If you missed the last one, you can check it out here.
Rebecca Pitts is the founder and owner of Hudson + Daughter, an online shop that sells commissioned, handmade family treasures made of eco-friendly bamboo. She writes about running a creative business, making art for and with her daughter, and living in the Hudson Valley on her blog.
Photo credits: Unsplash