Two bloggers, Martins and Smith were walking on the road and the following dialogue ensued:
Martins: Smith, how do you consider blogging?
Smith: Well, I think blogging is a big business
Martins: Blogging, a big business? How?
Smith: Because it is run like any other business
Martins: Don’t you think other businesses are different from blogging?
Smith: How do you mean?
Martins: Other businesses are operated by real businessmen while blogging is operated by bloggers
Smith: Oh! I see! But what makes a business?
Martins: Businesses involve investment and they generate profits too
Smith: Don’t you invest time, money and intellectuality into blogging?
Martins: Yes, we do
Smith: Don’t blogs generate incomes from AdSense, advertisement, affiliate sales, sponsored posts and links, flipping, membership, etc?
Martins: They do
Smith: Then how are blogs different from other businesses?
Martins: Hmmmmmmm! I never considered these questions before. I thought only those businesses with a tag are qualified to be called a business.
Smith: Anything that involves investment of any kind and then yields profits is a business
Martins: Oh, I see! Thanks for the clarification. I will start taking my blog as a business from now henceforth.
Are you still in doubt?
Do you still wonder if your blog is a business? Did you start your blog as a past time? Did you build your blog because you just wanted to share your thoughts with the world? A lot of people started for one reason or the other – share thoughts, update the personal album, promote a business brand, sell products, solve people’s problems, provide tutorials, etc. So everybody actually started with a dream, and each person’s dream could be different from the next person’s.
However, some of these dreams get modified as time goes by. New ideas crop up and get integrated into the dreams. Those who started with the purpose of sharing their thoughts, updating their albums, providing tutorials or solving problems begin to see why they should add a little way of making money so as to keep maintaining their blogs or take care of other personal needs.
What makes blogging a business?
The following characteristics make blogging a business; and if your blog has any of them, then you should consider it for what it is – business:
Generates Income: Businesses generally generate incomes for their owners. Income could come from selling products on your site (profits), earnings from advertisements, membership fees, consultancy, etc. So if your blog gets money from any of these channels, your blog is a business.
It’s an investment: Business involves financial investment in order to get make profit or interest. Wikipedia defines investment this way, investment is putting money into an asset with the expectation of capital appreciation, dividends, and/or interest earning
In other words, your blog is an investment because you are paying for web hosting, website design/development, templates, plugins, special scripts, webmaster services, etc, with the intent to make some gains either in the immediate or in future. Apart from investing money, you are also investing your time on a very serious note. Hope you agree with me on this?
Employment generation: Employment generated by blogs is a two-fold thing. The blog owner is gainfully employed, and secondly, he employs writers or maintenance engineers to keep things moving smoothly on the blog. To be able to create employment, you are either a businessman or government.
Retirement plan: A good business helps to secure the future of the owner. Good businesses are assets for the owners to lean on during their pension years. Blogging also provides that security if it is well handled and given the necessary attention it requires.
Similarities between blogging and other businesses
When it comes to business, there are a few distinguishable types of businesses that readily come to mind, and they include the following:
1. Sole proprietorship: This is the type of business that is owned and managed by one person. Decisions making is done alone, and the death of the owner could also mean the death of the business. Most blogs are similar to the sole proprietorship kind of business in that the blogger runs his blog alone. He takes decisions alone, expands slowly and he’s a jack of all trade.
2. Partnership: Partnership business involves two or more persons coming together to do business. While conventional businesses can operate on a partnership level, blogging can also be a partnership investment. A good example of partnership blog is the LeapZone Strategies where Isabelle Mercier Turcotte and Margarita Romano have been working together since 1996. Of course, they both invest their money and also share profits and loses together.
Other forms of business exist but we are okay with just these two. At least they have helped us to make our similarities. Now that we have seen the different types of businesses, that takes us to the next point.
Why then do blogging businesses fail?
Before now, some of us were not seeing blogging as a business. But now that we know, it is good to understand why a lot of blogging businesses fail. Don’t you know some blogs fail? Well, they do, really! The nagging question that needs an urgent answer is why do blogging businesses fail?
1. Failure to invest: One of the things I talked about earlier concerning business is that business requires investment (both finance, time, intellectuality, etc). Unfortunately, a lot of bloggers who are hoping to make money with their blogs are not investing real money to raise the standard of their blogs in order to make them marketable. Relying on freebies to run your blog in all aspects would at best make your blog a dumping ground for substandard materials.
2. Lack of focus: Failing to focus on one’s dream or niche is one of the greatest reasons why a lot of bloggers fail to make it in their businesses. It has happened to me in the past. When I started my blog in 2009, it was pulling traffic and growing by the day. Suddenly I lost focus and began to pursue other dreams. That blog eventually paid the price of my loss of focus.
3. Not driven by ambition: If you are not ambitious enough as a blogger, it would be difficult for you to succeed in your blogging business.
“There’s no luck in business. There’s only drive, determination, and more drive.” -Sophie Kinsella, Shopaholic Takes Manhattan
“To become successful, one must put themselves in the paths of giants!” – Lillian Cauldwell
The moment some bloggers attain a particular height, they feel they have arrived and there is no more need to improve or grow. The zeal to add more flavor, innovation and new features is simply not there anymore.
4. Neglecting your customers: Customers are the real gem of every business and they must be treated with care and love. Unfortunately, a lot of business owners do not realize that their sustenance is ensured by the patronage of their customers. They simply treat their customers with disdain.
“It is not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It is the customer who pays the wages.” – Henry Ford
“If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful.” – Jeff Bezos, CEO Amazon.com
“Quality in a service or product is not what you put into it. It is what the client or customer gets out of it.” – Peter Drucker
My word of advice
We live in a world of intense competition, and only those who are willing to go the extra mile to do what others are not willing to do actually make it. As a blogger and a businessman, for you to succeed in your niche, you need to add the following to your portfolio:
Invest in your business: Stop depending on freebies to run your business. The fact there are freebies and still, there are paid versions of the same product is enough to convince you that freebies and paid products are never the same. In as much as you would need some freebies, you need also to invest real more to add some cutting edge to your business.
Remain focused: If you chase two rats at the same time, you are going to end up getting none. Once you have a dream, make sure to pursue it to a logical end. Don’t get unnecessarily distracted along the way. Distraction and lack of focus are dream killers, and so they must be eliminated at all cost.
Be driven by ambition: Don’t just go into any business because others are there. You must have the ambition and enough hunger to succeed in your chosen niche. If the ambition is strong enough, adequate energy would be released to help accomplish your dream.
Treat your customers like gold: Yes, you heard me well! Your customers don’t deserve anything less. They pay the bills, and if they withdraw their patronage, you are nowhere. One satisfied customer brings 20 more, but one dissatisfied customer chases away 100 more. Do you agree with me?
Blogging is a business and needs to be treated as such. Stop treating it with levity because your future could largely depend on it. If you want your blogging business to prosper, you must be willing to invest money, time and intellectuality into it. Freebies alone can never give you the best in your business. Remember that you don’t pay the bills, the customers do. So never treat your customers shabbily because they are the reason you are still in business.