Are you afraid to make money with your blog?
Might seem like a really weird question… one that you would think the answer to is pretty obvious. You’re thinking “no”, right?
Well, let me ask you this… Are you afraid to sell things on your blog because of a fear of selling out, pissing off your audience, or somehow sacrificing your integrity?
If you answered “yes” or “maybe”, then we need to look at that. Because that self-imposed barrier is keeping you from success and it needs to be demolished.
A Deep-Seated Fear, But Why?
I see this fear come up over and over again with bloggers. They worry about “selling out” in order to make money with their blogs. They worry about their audience revolting.
As I type this post, the feature post over on ProBlogger is 5 Ways to Monetize Your Blog Without Selling Out. While it is a very well-written post by Darren, the truth is that the entire premise of the post is unfortunate and false. It isn’t Darren’s fault as he is just responding to a large concern of his audience (as I am here), but the basic premise that making money is selling out is completely wrong.
It is easy for somebody like me to act dismissive about this fear. I’m not one who has ever had a problem asking my readers for money for something of value. This is a business. I take on fairly large expenses, actually, to bring what I do to the Internet. I pay writers, contractors, the hosting company, etc. I also have a family to feed and a mortgage. So, quite frankly, if somebody complains that I charge for one of my products, they can go screw themselves. I offer no apologies.
But, here’s the thing…
- The stuff I charge for is valuable.
- I’m confident in the value.
- The free stuff I produce is also valuable.
- I only promote other products if I’ve used/previewed it myself or am personally considering buying it.
- It helps people.
For those reasons, and the fact that this is a business, I have no problem “monetizing”.
If we flip it around, however, and look at somebody who DOES have a problem with the fear of selling out, I think the real issue lies a little deeper. Perhaps…
- Lack of confidence that what you’re providing is really valuable.
- Lack of confidence in your own personal value.
- Fear of failure.
- Assuming thoughts are going through other people’s heads that aren’t really there.
What I find is that people are often imagining problems that don’t really exist. As a result, they don’t take action. They don’t realize that it is all a big mirage that they’ve created.
The phrase “selling out” means that one is sacrificing their integrity or principles for money or success. So, where was it decided that one can’t stay true to themselves and make money at the same time? Do you believe in being paid for your work? Chances are, you do. So, what is “sell out” about seeking money for all the work you put into your blogging, as long as you offer value and maintain your integrity?
People are only going to react badly if their concept of exchange is thrown out of whack. See, people want an even trade for their attention and their hard-earned money. Better yet, they want more value than what they paid for. As long as you keep this balance in their favor, you’re not going to get any negative reaction from monetizing. This has to be backed up with your own confidence in the value of your offer. If you don’t value your own offer, your readers will detect that vibe and they won’t value it either.
Lastly, don’t grovel. When you are providing value to your readers’ lives, act like it. Marketers know that providing a “reason why” is important, but there is an important distinction between a “reason why” and a justification. You don’t need to justify a price tag to your prospects. You set the rules and they have the freedom to walk away. Ask yourself, “Who owns my blog?” I mean, really. You pay for the hosting? You do the work? You spend all those hours writing and providing great value for your audience? Then act like it and stop trying to justify your own existence as an entrepreneur looking to make money.
The Blogger Code Of Monetization
This is a potentially big topic I’ve touched on today and not one that I can solve in a blog post. Quite frankly, for some, this issue gets deep into one’s own sense of self-worth and I’m not really the guy to be putting you on my counseling couch.
That said, I thought I would propose a simple code of guidelines. I believe that, if you follow these simple guides, you’ll be completely in the clear when it comes to making money. Plus, you’ll have things in perspective.
- You have the right to do whatever you want with your own blog and you do not need to justify that to the world. You own it.
- Always strive to place more value into the lives of your readers than you extract. Help them with real-life problems or goals relevant to your niche.
- If you work very hard to provide a lot of value, you should be rewarded for it. The world is based on exchange and, when that is violated, negativity and complaints will result. With this in mind, you are usually doing yourself AND THEM a favor to charge a suitable price for something of real value.
- Never promote a product as an affiliate that you don’t fully believe in. Never promote just for the money.
- If you question the value of something, or some money-maker is giving you an uneasy feeling, don’t promote it.
- Never disparage yourself and your value. Not. Ever.
- Do not require that everybody like you. Realize that a small, but dependable percentage of people are routinely negative and will complain no matter what you do. You are better off to get them out of your space than to attend to their complaints. On the flip side, don’t be dismissive of all complaints! Some are valid, but you need to learn to tell the difference between a legit issue and a person just taking out their own unhappiness on you.
- If you would personally be annoyed by the number of ads on your blog, don’t run so many ads. Remember, it is about value to the reader.
- Respect your reader’s attention and their time.
- Always be helpful.
So, there you have it. If you agree with this code, then comment and let me know. Also, if you think I should add something, let me know that, too.
Now, go make some money.