#BlissDom08 - I spent the weekend with a group of women that refer to themselves as Mommy Bloggers. Unfamiliar with the term (even though I am a mother who blogs), or what it means exactly, I decided to look it up. In an article on BlogHER, which has a tag devoted to mommyblogging, one of the readers summed it up like this:
"I blog to remind myself that I am not alone in my daily struggles of Mommy-hood. I blog to vent. I blog to share my amazing kids with the world. I blog to keep my sanity. I blog for free therapy. I blog because I LOVE it!" -source
The one thing you dont hear there at all is "I blog to make money online". And that is the exact sentiment that I picked up from the women I met at the BlissDom '08 event. But over dinner, after the event, the conversation quickly turned to how can I make money blogging...
Interesting to note is that no one at this event knew who I was before yesterday, or that I've been making money online since 1997. Much less that it is my sole source of income, and that I make a pretty decent living at it. Said tongue in cheek of course. Those of you that read along here have a good idea of how well I do online.
I spoke at the very end of the day, and decided to ditch my hardcore "make 5-figures per month in the next 90 days!" for a more subtle approach. Instead I shared my personal story with them, talked about the options and opportunities... and encouraged them to define their objective.
Being a parent defines many of us in a big way, especially when the children are young. But we are also individuals with outside interests. This really stood out to me as I met and talked to some of the women who invested their time to attend this event. I met women with amazing professional backgrounds, skills, hobbies and personal interests.
Some of these women confessed that they work full-time hours (or more) maintaining their personal blogs, but none of them were even earning as little as $10 an hour for their time. I have to applaud them the passion they obviously have for their personal blogs. But at the same time I knew that they were there for a reason. Right? Surely.
Did they travel, some with baby in tow, just to meet each other in person... or did they have an underlying objective, and a desire to take their blogs to the next level?
Some were very adamant about the topic, about "not pimping their kids" or "destroying their personal brand". Apparently there is a negative connotation about making money on Mommy Blogs.
Looking at it as a niche, its obvious that it is short term. Mommies turn into mothers, and mothers turn into grandmothers. Diapers and strollers are only going to be the hot topic for a certain number of years.
I'm speaking from experience - my own children are now 12 & 17 years old and I cant even recall the last time "poop" came up in conversation at my house (which was a hot topic yesterday, btw).
It seems obvious to me that being a Mommy Blogger is about having a personal blog, an outlet and a journal. And nothing more. But these women are starting to see numbers - visitors, comments... even dollars - and it piques their interest.
"Can I really make money at this?"
Over dinner is when the conversation really shifted, and I talked openly about how to make money blogging - and how to make money online in general. They shared what they had tried, what hadnt worked for them on their "mommy blogs" and we talked about why - and how to turn it around.
I shared two links with them, which were:
These women had mastered the basic skills of setting up blogs, managing communities, getting traffic from social networks, registering domain names, etc - everything except niche marketing. While most of them said they would love to earn $500/month to compensate them for their time & expenses... I could easily see some of them earning $5,000 per month or higher.
This was a real eye-opener for me, and I found it interesting to say the least. I work with people every single day that are struggling with all of those basic skills for setting up a blog, but that are starting out with the intent to make money at it. On the flip side, this group was blogging because they loved it... period.
Listening to them talk over dinner, I was hearing niche opportunity left and right. They have a college education, impressive career experience, and a huge variety of talents & personal interests. If I can make money blogging... then I know that some of the amazing women I met yesterday can achieve the same success that I have, if not more.
The main problem that I see (from my perspective) is that they are trying to identify themselves, thus the need for the term Mommy Blogger. A positive shift would be to instead define their blog and the readership that they want to attract, ie carving out a niche and becoming a "Niche Blogger".
That doesnt mean they should ditch their personal blogs. They have some very cool blogs out there. But it means that they can branch out and use what they have learned to start earning a very substantial income in the same amount of time they are already investing online.
I decided to follow-up with a free webinar series for this group, specifically for those that do want to go from personal blogger to professional blogger. The series will run for 4 weeks, one live webinar per week, and there are only 100 lines. If there is space left, I will open this up to anyone outside of the BlissDom group that would like to learn more about how to make money blogging.
If you want to get notification about this free online event, be sure to register for my free webinars at the SSWT site. This series will run on a different day & time, but I'll put out the details through that list.
I topped off my trip by meeting with Lizzie Keiper, one of my own favorite 'personal bloggers' who happens to live in the Nashville area. She has been blogging for 5 years now, and doesnt do it for pay - but rather for passion. We had an intense conversation about this, and I managed to capture some of it in an interview with Lizzie after lunch:
Lizzie told me that she would love to earn money with her work online... but says that there is a fine balance between doing it for passion and doing it for pay. "Its all about staying true to yourself, and to your vision."
Well said! Some of the most successful blogs (in terms of both profit & exposure) are written by people who have a genuine passion for their topic, and truly enjoy blogging. I could relate to that of course, as I absolutely love writing here at ClickNewz - and on the other blogs that I own. But like Lizzie said, if you can stay true to that passion and earn money doing it too... why not?!
If you have a personal blog, or consider yourself a "Mommy Blogger", I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Do you want to make money blogging, or what are your general thoughts on the 'title' of Mommy Blogger and making money online?
p.s. Remember to register for the free webinar series, and feel free to post any questions you have about how to make money blogging below. Any questions/thoughts you have will prove helpful as I put together the upcoming series. Thx!