5 Things Blogging Doesn’t Teach You About Running a Real Online Business

If you’ve been into blogging for any amount of time, you know that blogging alone doesn’t guarantee an income stream.

You may have all the comments and community in the world, but it doesn’t automatically translate into a real online business.

It just means you have a blog.

This is a guest post by Henri Junttila from Wake Up Cloud.

This is a great post from Henri that I think every blogger who truly wants to go full-time with blogging needs to understand and apply. These 5 lessons speak right to the core mindset which marks the line between hobby bloggers and pro bloggers. With that, I’ll leave you in Henri’s hands…

Lessons Learned

If you’ve been into blogging for any amount of time, you know that blogging alone doesn’t guarantee an income stream.

You may have all the comments and community in the world, but it doesn’t automatically translate into a real online business.

It just means you have a blog.

And if you want to make a living online, starting a blog is not enough. In short, you have to avoid the blogger cycle of stupid.

Let’s fill the gaps and look at what blogging doesn’t teach you, but what can help you turn your blog into a solid business.

1. Who Do You Help?

It all starts with who you help. Most blogger’s never determine who they help.

In fact, it’s something most businesses fail to do. They communicate to a mass of people. It’s bland, boring, and unremarkable.

How do you figure out who you help?

You pick a specific target market. But you also pick one specific person within that target market.

And it should be a real person, a client you enjoy working with.

Why one person?

And why real?

Because you can’t interview personas or pen portraits you’ve conjured up in your mind.

You can’t ask them for feedback, but with a real person you can.

With the internet, you reach a global audience. Even when you focus on one person’s problems, you’ll still be able to reach millions of people like that all around the globe.

And they’ll love you for it, because they’ll land on your blog and think, “this is EXACTLY what I’ve been looking for.”

But knowing who you help is not enough, you also have to know what you help them with.

2. What Do You Help Them With?

When you have one person, you know exactly how to talk to him, what to offer, and what not to offer.

Now, does this mean that you only cater to this person?

No, you can be in contact with several different people, but the journey starts with ONE person.

When you know who you help, you can figure out what you help them with.

Most blogger’s are all over the place. I was, too, when I started my blog. So it is to be expected.

You have to zoom in on what you do for your people. What problem are you solving? It cannot be a vague statement like, “I help people live more positive lives.” There’s no specificity in that, and it doesn’t grab anyone’s interest.

Figuring this out can be tough, so how do you figure it out?

That’s where the problem comes in.

3. The Art of the Problem

When you’ve picked one person, you interview them.

Yes, you get on the phone with them and you ask questions until you understand what’s going on.

You can ask them what they are struggling with. Often people will give you a whole list, which will give you amazing insight into their world. But, you want to get this down into the biggest problem.

And how do you get to one problem?

You work with them and you ask questions. You have to be willing to keep asking questions until you know what it’s like to be in their shoes.

When you have a real person to talk to, you get laser-focused feedback that will allow you to create laser-focused products, and services.

And if you want to run an online business, you cannot be up in the clouds with vague solutions, you have to deliver transformations, which means providing solutions to problems.

4. Selling the Transformation

Let’s take a quick example.

If someone wants to sell me on a trip to Australia, they’re not going to do it by selling me on the planet ticket.

They’re going to do it by describing what awaits me in Australia.

I don’t enjoy sitting in an airplane for hours, but I do like having fun, relaxing at the beach, and exploring a country I’ve never been to before.

If you help new moms lose their baby weight, you don’t sell them a fitness solution, you sell them the destination, the transformation, which is what they’ll look like when they get there.

You sell their life without the problem. What will it look like, feel like, and sound like?

And it doesn’t have to be a big problem. It could be as simple as a course on how to create your first ebook without the overwhelm.

Obviously, there’s much more to selling than this, but this is a big part I see people leaving out.

5. The Business Boogie Man (i.e. Your Mind)

Last, but not least, running an online business is scary.

It means you have to put yourself out there, and it means you have to be willing to get out of your comfort zone.

You can stay in the comfort zone, which is writing blog post after blog post and never selling anything, but it does not a business make.

I’m not going to lie. This isn’t easy, but it’s worth it. You can create an amazing lifestyle business through blogging if you do it right.

And it all starts with who you help and what you help them with.

Always remember that.

Henri writes over at Wake Up Cloud, where he shows you how to build a lifestyle business around your passion. If you’re interested, check out his free report: 7 Steps to Building a Lifestyle Business Around Your Passion.


  1. Hello David! Running an online business is really scary but I have to earn it the hard way. The problem with my online business is I realized that I am prone to procrastination because i am my own Boss. Luckily I have my partner with me that always reminds me not to slack. I experimented in my own slacking method and behold my profits are down by 50%. Now I always bear in mind that every minute wasted is dollars gone in seconds. 

  2. Great points Henri, I think the general mindset of most new bloggers with no online background is to write new posts, comment on other blogs and participate on social media sites. I haven’t earned a dime this way.

    Adsense is passive for me but everything else I have to work for. Even though my blog is primarily about personal growth I have made the most money from HostGatar sales.

    By reaching out to my readers I also earn from product reviews, my eBook for new bloggers and personal coaching. I believe David says that your blog is not you business and I agree.

    take care.

  3. Like Mike, it’s only recently that I’ve figured who I’m helping and that has made me more successful than before when I was taking stabs in the dark. I think I will try and take it a step further and try and pick one person and see how that works, thanks Henri for sharing.

    1. A good way to pick one person is to pick someone in your audience (preferrably a client/customer) and interview them on why they like you, what you could improve, what their problems are, and so on.

      The insights you’ll get are tremendous!

  4. I have to say this is one heck of an awesome post. I’ve been struggling with who target for my coffee blog for literally years. After reading this, I realized I should be looking for who I should target, but who I could help. Now, I realized who my real average joe is, the one I can write for and help. Thank you! 

    1. Good stuff, Mike!

      Sometimes it just takes time to find your who. The awesome part is that when you know who it is, you can go even deeper and pick ONE person.

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