In May I ran a series of one question interviews here on ProBlogger that asked a number of successful bloggers what their blog’s Tipping Points were.
During the series a number of readers asked me what my own blog’s tipping points were. It is a good question to ponder but not always an easy one to come up with something definitive to write about as most blogs have a series of tipping points (as many of those who participated in the series pointed out).
However from the many smaller tipping points there has been one fairly significant one on ProBlogger.
Revealing that I was Earning Six Figures from Blogging
The day I mentioned that I was earning a six figure income from blogging all hell broke loose here on ProBlogger (and around the blogosphere).
To that point (this was back early in 2005) I’d been steadily building a good readership however the day that news broke things really took off. I was linked to from Slashdot and many other blogs and suddenly found myself with an immediate rise in readers. Why the extra readers?
1. Controversy – back in 2005 when this story broke there was quite a bit of controversy around the idea of making money from blogs. Some believed that it was wrong to try to make money blogging, others believed it wasn’t possible and others were beginning to do it. So when a story broke that some guy Down Under was actually making over $100k a year blogging there was a lot of debate.
2. Credibility – writing about how to do something is one thing, but actually showing that you have done it yourself brings a certain level of credibility and perceived expertise. While I’ve never presented myself as the ultimate source of information and knowledge on the topic (there is so much that I don’t know) having some ‘runs on the board’ certainly doesn’t hurt.
3. A Gathering Point for Like Minded Bloggers was born – at the point that this story broke there was a scattered number of bloggers who were experimenting with making money from blogs – but there was no place that they really gathered to learn and share what they were doing. There were many people making money online in other mediums (and forums and discussion groups for them) but nothing with a make money blogging focus.
So when this story broke one of the things that happened was that ProBlogger became a gathering point for other bloggers who had been quietly doing what I was doing. By no means was I the first blogger to make money blogging (or even to make six figures). The day that story broke on Slashdot I heard from 10-20 others who were also doing similar things. A community began to emerge – something that added to the credibility of ProBlogger as a site.
4. A Niche was born – In the wider blogosphere there was a general lack of awareness among bloggers that it was even possible to make money blogging. While there were millions of blogs the vast majority of them had never considered that they could become an income stream – so when the story broke a switch was flicked that triggered many thousands of bloggers to ask whether they might also be able to make money blogging
Luck or Strategy?
As much as I’d like to claim credit for thinking this all through strategically it wasn’t the case. I started ProBlogger more out of a desire to record my journey and to attempt to connect with other bloggers like me rather than for it to be a niche leader – there was definitely an element (a big one) of being in the right place at the right time.
Having said that – once my lucky break happened – I moved quickly to use it as a springboard (writing more content on the topic of how I did it, promoting ways to stay in touch with me, starting Six Figure Blogging etc). I believe that this is a key characteristic of many successful entrepreneurs. The lucky breaks do come most people’s ways at different times (to different degrees) but many simply enjoy the ride and then find that things return to normal.