A Blog is Not a Fucking Business

*This is a guest post from Phil Hawksworth. Make sure to check out his site here and his YouTube channel here.

Want to work online, attain your freedom and travel the world?

Let me tell you what it takes to achieve that, after 2.5 years of non-stop traveling and working online I’ve seen a bunch of people come and go. They try to start a business and get their freedom, but it often doesn’t work out. I can only imagine how crushing it would be, to taste your freedom and then have to go back home, back to the cubicle.

Truth is, to become a “digital nomad” you just need to do 2 pretty simple things:

  1. Earn an income (business, freelance, job) online
  2. Travel around a bit

That’s really all there is to it. Simple, but it’s not easy. Online business is a tough world to get into. There’s so much snake oil out there, so many get rich quick schemes, it’s difficult to find legit instructions on what to do.

This is compounded by the speed that the world in the internet era changes. What worked for someone last year might be completely useless right now. Things like drop shipping businesses were all the rage a couple of years ago, but now that opportunity has mostly passed. The market is saturated.

Of course, you can still make money, but you need a really stand out product, strong brand, and great marketing. You can’t just chuck any old thing up and succeed because there’s a gap in the market.

Throughout all these evolutions of online business, the blog has been a staple. Partly because it’s where people disseminate the information about their lifestyle, travelling, business, etc.

We’re always going to read people’s opinions, so the blog will always be strong. But is it a good business?

This is how I think of things:

A blog is not a fucking business!

A business sells one or multiple products to a customer. A blog is simply a means of generating traffic and hosting content. It’s a small tool within a business, but not in itself a business.

The blog itself is only the business if you make money selling advertising – those clickbaity Buzzfeedesque listicle sites are themselves businesses. They make money just by getting an eyeball on the page.

For everyone else who ‘makes money from a blog’, they really make money selling products.

They’re selling info products, affiliate products, supplements, courses, coaching, etc. The blog is just where they post their content and generate traffic.

A blog is not a bad thing – it’s a perfectly valid place to store content and generate traffic – you just need to recognize what it is, and more importantly what it isn’t.

Learn more here.

Here’s the reality of a blog-based business…

If you’re not paying for traffic, it will take 3-4 years before you make any money. You might make a supplemental income from having some e-books or affiliate marketing, but probably not a liveable income.

The reality is, it takes time for Google to notice that you exist and trust you. That’s a heck of a lot of work, for no money. You must have some other form of income whilst building a blog. Whether a job or selling something else in another business/freelance gig.

Assuming you have the time, desire, and commitment to stick with it consistently for such a long time, you also need to have at least decent writing ability to engage readers.

Most importantly, you need valuable knowledge. Something that people haven’t heard before, which adds value to their life. Thus, my question is this:

If you can add value to people’s lives, which they’re willing to pay for, why not sell it now?

Why wait 4 years for SEO to start working for you?

If you have something people want, take it to market as quickly as you can. The landscape will change in 4 years anyway – you need to strike while the iron is hot.

If you’re a good writer you might still use the blog as your ‘homebase’, the place you store your content and run your business from. The difference is you will be driving traffic to it from other means (adverts, building an email list), and selling a product or service.

 Your Real Business Is _____

What I’m getting at is that your real business is selling the product or service that you sell.

It’s important to recognize this, to ensure you prioritize your time and effort properly. You generally want to focus your time and energy into whatever is generating the most sales, for least effort and cost. 99 times out of 100 that will not be a blog.

Once you’re past the early stages of your business then things change. You start looking for leverage, rather than just income. You have solid cash flow and now you want to tone down the ‘hustle’, to systemize as much as possible.

Now SEO based marketing will become useful, as it’s passive. But you need the cashflow to tide you over while that kicks in. Set that stuff up for the long term, but don’t try and rely on it in the short term.

Start a freelance business or sell a product via other channels for now. You want your business to turn a profit as quickly as possible. For the obvious reasons of market testing your business and the certainty that people want to buy what you’re selling.

Beyond that, it will allow you to gain your location independence and start traveling the world a lot sooner. If that’s what’s motivating you to start your own business, the freelance business or service business is definitely the quickest way to get things moving.

 You Should Still Have a Blog

Writing is a valuable skill. In today’s world, your blog (or YouTube, Podcast, etc.) is better than a resume. Especially if you’re positioning yourself as a freelancer, coach, etc.

It’s also a great way to organize your thoughts, get things out of your head and understand things for yourself. Writing is extremely valuable in that sense – why basically every great man in history has kept a diary. Something I think we don’t typically do nowadays, and it’s a loss. 

If you do build a blog big enough that you can monetize it a few years down the road, then you will have a great business. What you have built is not a product, but an audience. An audience will buy from you repeatedly. They will buy anything that you put out, and that can really set you up well for the future.

Just don’t rely on it as being an income source in the short term, unless you’re selling a service off the back of it.

Living the location independent lifestyle is awesome, as I’m sure you’ve figured out reading Jake’s site. It’s a truly great time to be alive when you can make money through the internet and travel to exotic locations, spend your time with exotic women. If you’re chasing this lifestyle, and you want to make sure you get all your ducks in a row and don’t fuck things up, check out my book;

How To Fail As A Digital Nomad on Amazon

It’s a checklist of what not to do. The mistakes I’ve made and seen a bunch of other people make, which leads to them going broke, having to go home, or not adapting to the location independent lifestyle.

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Jake D

Travel junkie turned blogger. Location independent. From the Midwest, but often based in Latin America. Big on beaches, rumba, and rum. Addicted to the gym. Committed to showing a different style of travel - one that involves actually interacting with locals and exploring different cultures.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Alex J - March 15, 2017

One of the best articles I’ve read in awhile, read it at a good time for myself as well.

Love the new theme btw, looking sharper than ever

Reply
    NomadicJake - March 15, 2017

    Yeah, Phil wrote a great piece. I’ve re-read it numerous times already. Thrilled he wanted to guest post here.

    And thanks! Sites Delight is the shit. Highly recommend, and A+ customer service.

    Reply
Josh Bar - April 13, 2017

“A business sells one or multiple products to a customer. A blog is simply a means of generating traffic and hosting content. It’s a small tool within a business, but not in itself a business.”
TRUTH !

Reply
    NomadicJake - April 13, 2017

    For sure. Phil crushed this post.

    Writing a few words isn’t going to make any money. You need to SELL to make money.

    Reply
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