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How to become a professional blogger & be your own boss (and go from hobby to professional blogger by learning about legal + business side of blogging)

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If you’re fairly new to blogging, hosting, domain names and all these terms might scare you.

Here’s an example of how it works from the back end when you have a self-hosted blog (the part you usually don’t see unless you have access to the blog to edit the design or blog posts).

There are a few types of blogs you can start, from free to very professional and a bit more costly.

The free blogs (for example Blogger and Tumblr) aren’t self-hosting and you can’t really customize the designs and often you’re not allowed to use the blog for commercial reasons. I don’t recommend you start a blog on one of these platforms if you’re looking to grow it beyond blogging because when you go for a self-hosted blog as I suggest, you are allowed to make money with your blog and put all sorts of advertising on your blog!

The only downside?

You have to invest before you can start, but only a few dollars a month and I’ve also arranged a very special deal for you so it’s only $3,95 a month, the same price as one of the monthly plans to WordPress.com

A tutorial on how to create your own self-hosted blog in just 4 simple steps here

 

So I bet this is you…

You want to make a living as a blogger

It just hasn’t worked out yet. Just another set of ad campaigns, another guest post or another blog post and that will be your big breakthrough…

You’re stuck with less than 10.000 followers on your social networks

…and barely even attract 10.000 visitors a month to your blog.

And (some more headaches)

You wish you had a big following so you can reach out to brands to work with you. Right now you don’t have the courage and you don’t know how to work with brands like Disney, Universal, Samsung or L’Oreal (I did work with them!).

You’re constantly switching your strategy and blog niche, trying new things by changing your direction. If you switch it up, the fame and money will come, right?

You feel like a fakepreneur: you work hard, 24/7 but don’t make any or enough money. You did not make any money the past few months… you need to refocus!

UHH DUH, you cannot wait to make money with your passion

Do you relate to this? Yeah, me too, 8 years back. I tried hard to make it work, and I did!

And I’m happy to help you with the strategies that I use today to work as a fulltime blogger!

Here’s the harsh truth: full-time blogging isn’t about living a creative life. It’s a well-known secret under professional bloggers that it’s 80% promoting and only 20% creating.

Bummer much? Yes. Because we all started to live that creative life. But I’ve created this video series for you to take actionable steps towards a profitable blog so you can live that creative life after you’ve built your foundation. Because once you’re up to speed, you will have more and more freedom to do whatever you want, but you have to have your systems in place and a foundation first.

Personally, I always knew what worked to run a profitable business, a skill I picked up from my marketing studies and curiosity, but I never implemented it.

I was overwhelmed, I needed an action plan. …. It took me years to get the hang of it and create a daily routine that helped me reach my goals while staying calm. That didn’t mean 80 hour work weeks. I now only work a couple of hours a day on my blog (some days I just take off completely) and as long as your actions are the right actions, it’s super doable to build a profitable blog in a couple of hours a week. All you need to do is use your time as productive as possible on the right kind of growth tasks and remember that if you’re in it for the long run, you don’t want to be an overnight success. I know this one is hard to realize, but many ‘overnight’ successes as you might see it, are years in the making. And they’re here to stay, which I’m sure we can’t say overall the actual ‘overnight success stories’.

After years of working hard, I couldn’t be happier now because I am living my dream and I love to help you live the same way.

Go from hobby to professional blogger

But I have to be realistic about it ok? Just between us, friends.

First of all, if you don’t have work right now, make sure you find freelance clients or an extra job to make some money. Deal with your reality while you chase your dreams. I don’t recommend quitting your job to go to full time blogging without making any or enough money yet. For me, it’s important that you have a source of income before putting your whole financial life’s fate in something that hasn’t worked out for you yet.

I can’t make any promises, I can only help you and show you the most realistic way it works for me. We’re all happier if you have some sort of income besides blogging if you’re just starting out.

There are more hours in a day than you realize, you’re just spending it on the wrong things. Let me tell you. If you want to become a full-time blogger but you’re working a full-time job and you’re wasting time on watching Netflix and ‘chilling with friends’, I’m not sure you want it bad enough. And that’s totally fine.

But realize, that you have to put in the work before things actually work if you want to build a long-lasting blog business. I’m telling you this as a friend ok? Don’t be mad haha this was the harsh part. Now we get super actionable.

Besides a self-hosted blog, make sure you have at least ≠30 useful blog posts online to increase traffic and bond with your readers if you want to go pro. I don’t trust a blog with only 3 posts published, do you?

Here are a few practices to write better blog posts.

Also, before you’re transitioning to a blog business, make sure you have A backup system and a reliable host. You won’t be the first blogger with a blog that shuts down after a post goes viral.

And it’s even worse if that post or your blog is your money maker. So also, beware of malware or a hacked site… I use Jetpack to automatically backup my site in the cloud and Vaultpress to keep hackers and malware out.

Now I hear you. You’re not making any money yet with increasing your traffic. Although most bloggers think that’s what it takes, it is not.

The last thing I want you to have in order before you start monetizing your blog to turn in into a business is the legal and business side of blogging.

I’m not a legal expert so I can’t tell you what to do and what not to do and it may vary per country, but I can help you realize with what kind of things you need to come up with when you start making money blogging.

To start with: your blog should definitely have a blog business plan or at least a one-page goal setting plan.

Your readers will be very confused if you don’t blog with a plan, you will be all over the place and without reaching a very specific audience, you’re blogging for nobody.

Come up with a plan, what does the big picture look like? How will you make it happen? Be as specific as possible.

I have added a one-page sheet to download here

You’ll also need a recognizable brand, both in visuals and text. This also means professional photos of you. Don’t be afraid to show your face and show who you are. The days of anonymous blogging are long gone. You’ll build trust if you show your face, so it’s very important to do so.

Register your blog as an actual business before making money with it. It’s probably illegal in most countries to earn money without declaring it, and you do need to pay taxes on everything you earn with your blog.

Don’t make this beginner mistake, get a separate bank account, register your business and pay your taxes. Registering your blog as a tax paying business will also add some urgency to making this work, and can be a good motivator if you’ve been putting it off or couldn’t come out of the ‘dreaming’ stage.

Make sure you’re familiar with Copyright issues. Make sure you don’t copy someone else’s work (I think this one is quite obvious) but also to never use images you find on places like Pinterest, Google Images etc. on your blog.

Make sure you use ‘stock photos’ if you don’t shoot your own content. I have a collection of awesome free stock photo sites collected here.

Disclaimers, terms and conditions and a privacy policy. A big one is the ‘affiliate disclaimer’ that needs to follow FTC’s endorsement guidelines. This is actually so important that affiliate companies don’t want to work with bloggers that don’t use this disclaimer or are too vague about the disclaimer. Make sure you do your research before you start monetizing your site! Have a privacy policy, you are required to have one of you collect information (as simple as an email address) by law. If you’re not familiar with affiliate marketing or other ways to monetize your site, no worries, we’ll get into it later in this video series.

Make sure you know everything about the legal side of email marketing, from providing your address to asking consent.

The newer gdpr policies for users from Europe. Install a cookies plugin and always ask consent when you add people (or have people from Europe) subscribe to your email list. Convertkit has an ‘option’ to add this to your forms…

Trademarks… make sure your blog’s name isn’t a trademark someone else owns

If any of these things don’t ring a bell, do your own research into the matters. Make sure you know all the things that can seriously hurt your new build business.

Once you have the legal part of blogging covered, come up with the ‘why’ and the ‘how’.

Why is the post useful and how can you help your reader by providing the next step. This is either a ‘read more’ suggestion, a content upgrade, a product or a service you offer. How can you monetize your blog posts? I’m getting into this in detail by sharing my strategies in this free training

If you’re a bit overwhelmed by now, don’t be. It takes a lot to become a professional blogger, but it’s so worth it! 

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