You started your blog as a hobby, but now you are rethinking that decision. How do you transition from hobby blogger to running a blogging business? You take a few necessary steps. Freelance writer Beth Bauer (@JourneyofBethB) has been there and done that. Today, she details those steps so you can take them, too.
I started my blog in 2015 on a whim. I was on my way to India to live as an expat for a year, and I had such a wild experience on the airplane that I felt the need to share it with my friends back home. Blogging seemed the easiest way to do that. During my layover in Dubai, I set myself up with a WordPress account and published my first post. It wasn’t until years later that I decided to turn my hobby blog into a legitimate business.
What does it take to turn your hobby blog into a legitimate business? You start treating your blog like a business. That means you intend to make money from it, get a business license, pay taxes, set up bookkeeping, and do other business-related activities. Once you decide to become a bonafide business, your mindset changes and momentum usually follows.
First and foremost, unless you’re a nonprofit, the goal is to make money. The only way to do that is to sell something, either a product or service or maybe both. The obvious thing to sell is advertising or do affiliate marketing, but you also could sell products or services that compliment your blog. For example, if you have a travel blog, you might sell guide services or travel guides. Turning your blog into a book is another excellent way to generate immediate and passive income.
Get a Business License
To be a legitimate business, you need to register your business with the Department of Licensing. You also may need to register with your city or county. Generally, you can apply for a business license online in a matter of minutes. Once you receive your business license, you can open a business checking account. Shop around and find a bank that will best meet your specific needs.
Along with your business license, you’ll receive instructions on how and when to file your taxes. Once you start making money, you’ll have to begin paying income taxes. Even if you don’t make money, you’ll still have to report that, too. Along with income tax, you might also have to pay sales tax, personal property tax, B&O tax, and estimated taxes. The details depend on how much you make and where you live. If paying taxes seems overwhelming, hire a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) to guide you.
Set up Bookkeeping
It’s crucial to set up some bookkeeping systems, so you can track your revenue and expenses. It also will make paying taxes more manageable. QuickBooks is an easy, user-friendly application for small business bookkeeping. You can invoice, pay bills, and even pay your taxes using the app. It’s affordable and easy to use. Plus, it sure beats digging through a pile of receipts and bank statements at tax time. Instead, all you have to do is generate a few reports.
Develop a Marketing Strategy
One of the most important things you should do as an owner of a blogging business is to develop a strong marketing strategy. Start by identifying your target market. What do they have in common in terms of age, income, and location? Then, come up with a plan for how to get their attention and convert them to sales. Get yourself a professionally designed logo and come up with a catchy tagline. Develop a strategy for things like social media posts, networking, and advertising.
Hire a Coach
If any of the steps to turn your hobby blog into a business seem too hard, perhaps it’s time to hire a business coach. A business coach has already done these things and will be able to guide you through the process of successfully turning your hobby into a business. He or she also can help keep you motivated, identify your limiting beliefs, and make helpful suggestions when you get stuck. A great business coach also knows how to avoid common small business pitfalls, like burnout and imposter syndrome.
The transition from a hobby blog to a business isn’t an easy one, but it is rewarding. Being an authorpreneur and blogpreneur is exciting, and it will teach you a lot about yourself and the world. You’ll also meet new people and grow your business skills.
Have you turned your hobby blog into a business? If so, share your tips or results in a comment below. And if you found this post helpful, please share it on social media or with your blogging friends.
About the Author
Beth Bauer is a freelance writer, travel blogger, yoga instructor, and entrepreneur currently working on her third novel. She has traveled to over 20 countries in just the last two years and enjoys life as a digital nomad. She is originally from the Pacific Northwest of the U.S.A., and when she’s home lives on the Long Beach Peninsula with her dog, Ozzie.