Thursday, January 21, 2010

Blogging to Financial Freedom

One of those crazy dreams of mine is to be able to maintain a blog that will actually provide me with an income so that I could do the things that I want while blogging about all the wonderful things I get to do.

This would probably include things like month long trips to far away places and blogging about all the sights and sounds, trekking through the Amazon forest, climbing the Himalayas, sipping coffee at Venice, exploring caves and many more!

Of course, I am a dreamer and this is what dreamers do best =)

But I believe that someday, I might at least get to fulfill my dream in parts and share my joy with all my readers. I must afterall reward all of you for listening me rant into the infinite space called Cyberspace.

Is blogging to Financial Freedom possible?

I certainly do not think so. Financial Freedom occurs when one's passive income far exceeds his expenditure so that he choose the lifestyle that he wants.

Blogging definitely does not provide one with passive income. It can provide you with income but it is definitely not passive. I is not PASSIVE

After my two years of experience, I would say that most people are actually better off spending their time giving tuition and stuff. The monetary rewards you get from blogging is too little to compare with the income that you could get from doing other miscellaneous stuff like babysitting, tuition, coaching, etc.

The only benefit of blogging is that you get to do it anywhere you like and the idea of being able to make easy money online is of course the holy grail to most bloggers.

So my advice to those who are trying to be full time bloggers is this: Stop trying!

Your success at blogging will only occur if you put your heart and soul to it. If your motive is to make money, it is unlikely that you will succeed.

Some bloggers do make tons of money but you have to admit that they had the first mover advantage. If another girl tries to write like Xiaxue or Perez hilton, they are not going to be as famous.

Adding Value to Your Readers

The key to making money from your blog is perhaps this: To add VALUE to your readers.

How does one add VALUE to your readers?

- Entertain them

- Educate them

- Inform them

Those are the three things that I think are necessary to even earn a single cent from things like Adbrite, Adsense, Amazon Associates, etc

All bloggers at the end of the day entertain to a certain extent, educate to a certain extent and inform readers to a certain extent. It is not how much you are doing each of the three but whether you are better at others in these areas that will distinguish you as a blogger.

The word "blogger" is also misleading. Bloggers are in fact online journalist who work for themselves. Whether they put a price tag on their writing is another matter altogether.

Journalists write for newspapers to make money. Bloggers write for themselves. They could have written to the straits times and stuff but they chose to put it on their own website. This gives them creativity and room to explore various writing norms that the normal media does not allow.

A blogger can chose to write in short sentence, long sentences or in whatever way he deems fit. He is not constrained by topic or timeline. He is his own boss at the end of the day. It is this freedom that is also the downfall of many bloggers. With no deadlines, no agenda, no careful thought, no editing, the blogger is left to his own devices to write whatever he pleases. Whether it is a profitable business, he does not know.

View Your Blog as an E-Magazine

The best way perhaps to view your blog is to look at it as an E-Magazine or e-newspaper. What do people want to read? What are they interested in? Is your site updated regularly?

Because you are the editor, salesperson, marketing executive, and writer for the entire blog, you need to take care of various aspects of the blog at the same time. This can be draining and might require a lot more effort especially if you are holding a day job.

The result is that the blog is often lacking in certain aspects. It is thus good to get comments from readers on how you can further improve your blog.

Would you visit your own blog if you were a reader? Would you come back again and again?

A look at the Bloggers of STOMP

Most of you in Singapore will probably be familiar with STOMP which is a site where star bloggers are also involved in blogging. I do not know how much they are paid but it seems that they do not have the freedom to choose the topic.

The one thing that I realise is that majority of these star bloggers are female. Perhaps, a male audience is expected for this tabloidy kind of topics. Afterall, most New Paper buyers are male. So you can expect why females make a large number of these star bloggers.

So entertaining is best left to females. Mr Brown is an exception as he can be highly entertaining in a funny way too. So it seems like what is left for male bloggers is to be funny when it comes to entertaining. Female bloggers have it much easier. If they are good-looking, they can just post pics of themselves.

Learn from Others, Know Your Audience

This is my last tip for the day.

Learn from other bloggers. Find out how they write. Learn what makes them successful.

After that, try to apply it to your own audience. A blogger at the end of the day needs to know who his audience is. He cannot please the whole world. He has to target his blog to a specific group of people.

I hope you have found this lengthy post useful.


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