• Scott Herring

Keep Your Day Job, Pal

I appreciate how Michael regularly reminds us about ways to make money with your blog. His last post about coaching set me up for what I planned to write about: keep your day job. I say this because building a blog audience (especially from scratch) takes time and resources. Along the way, you'll need an income stream to support your renegade bloggin' habits. The goal, and this is where Michael's post fits in so well, is to increase your blogging skills and related revenue to the point that you may no longer need your day job...

But First, Why You Need Your Day Job

Look, you need regular work to provide a living wage. Unless you're a trust funder or a retiree, most likely you need to have funding for life habits (you know, luxuries like eating). But more importantly (heh!), your day job probably provides a platform for you to grow your area of expertise. Every day you're a stock broker, teacher, pastry chef, digital marketer (ahem...), or touring musician helps you learn about your craft and become more and more credible. Who do you trust more, a teacher with almost 30 years of experience teaching K-12 or a recent college graduate?

In addition to building expertise, you'll also experience more real-world problems, which are a powerful source for blogging ideas. I can write intelligently about SEO because I practice it every day. Michael can expound for days about problems in the education system because he's solving them year round. One of the reasons I have problems with Seth Godin now is that he left the trenches a long time ago. I prefer reading posts from the soldiers bleeding in the trenches, not the advisors observing the rest of us from their cushy ivory towers.

And finally, keeping your day job helps you build and sustain a professional network. These folks are amplifiers for your message -- if you're promoting your blog within an audience, your respected colleagues underscore your value when they retweet, link, mention, or share your posts.

Develop Your Side Hustle

If building revenue from your blog is the goal, how do you get there?

First, treat blogging as an investment in yourself. You're not just killing time, you're investing time in a future version of your life. Michael and I have this discussion from time to time. Are we on track? Are we happy with the results? How can we improve? We're tracking our investment.

Then we decide where to dedicate (or invest) our time. We plan ahead as well as we can. Typically we're focused on ensuring we're on message and choosing topics of interest to our audience. We're dedicated to making sure we don't waste your time too.

Building an audience is a lengthy, organic process. It starts with writing, then it continues with promoting, and most importantly, the cycle is restarted by listening. What worked? What failed? What needs tweaking? The audience signal is your guide.

As mentioned earlier, your long-term goal is to find revenue streams. Aside from Michael's coaching idea, we've written about many ways to make money from blogging. It's worth trying different ideas to see what turns into income -- whether it's coaching, books, subscriptions, or something else. One size doesn't fit anyone.

Throughout the blogging process, you must build momentum. Write better articles, get more subscribers, develop audience engagement. Push boundaries. Challenge the status quo. Be renegade.

Invest in yourself, develop your audience, find ways to monetize, and build income. That's how you truly develop your side hustle.

Keep Your Day Job, Pal

Usually when people use the expression "keep your day job, pal," it's derogatory. In our context, it's quite the opposite. Your day job is an enabler while you develop your blog. You get better at your regular work at the same time that you expand your writing skills. Trust the process...


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