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How I Got Two Job Offers and a $200-an-Hour Consulting Gig from Blogging

This guest post was written by Joe Bunting of The Write Practice.

So you started blogging to make some money. Adsense, advertising, and affiliate sales looked like a pretty good way to make a living. You thought you could make money while you slept at night.

Sounded good at the time, right?

But where’s the money?

You set up your Adsense account but you’ve only got pennies trickling in. No one wants to buy your banner ads. And the only affiliate sales you’ve landed are a few Amazon books that earned you $1.13. You’ve slaved on your blog for months, years even, working for a pittance. You thought it was going to be easy making money online.

Now you’re wondering if you wasted your time.

This is where I was a few months ago. And then something happened that changed my blogging strategy forever. Someone offered me a job.

Your blog is your resume

Pretend you’re an employer, a marketing firm with 100 employees, and you’re looking to hire the 101st.

Who are you going to choose? All the candidates look the same: similar educationa; backgrounds, similar experience. But one of them has a blog with 500 subscribers, a Twitter account with 1,000 followers, and is already an expert with Google+. The other candidates don’t. Who are you going to hire?

Here is a strange but true thing I heard an actual employer say:

“The blog is the new resume.”

Resumes are outdated and growing irrelevant to today’s employers. Your blog gives a much fuller picture of your identity and your expertise. Nowhere else can you so quickly get a sense of a person’s skill, experience, and ability to engage others around what they know.

The other model for making money online

In only six months, I got two job offers, three requests for consulting work (one for over $200 an hour), and was asked to work on three paid projects. On top of that, I generated hundreds of leads for high-priced, hourly work.

How?

Just by blogging to a group of people who needed services, in my case, to creative writers. The best part is that you can do this, too. Anyone can. It’s very simple.

1. Who: Define your audience

Who is your audience? You need to know who your audience is because you need to figure out what services they need. Define their:

  • career
  • hobbies and interests
  • age
  • demographics
  • annual income.

If you’ve been blogging long with any success, you probably have a fairly good idea of this already. I didn’t need to do a survey to realize most of my readers were over 30, well educated, and wrote novels and creative non-fiction as a hobby.

If you don’t know this yet, make it your top priority. If you can figure out how they think, you can sell to them (and in this business model, what you are selling is yourself).

The best way to define your audience, in my opinion, is simply by meeting them. When someone begins to comment regularly, email him. Ask to chat over the phone; if you live nearby, meet for coffee. By interacting with your fans you solve two problems at once, you get to know your audience and you turn them into friends. Once they become your friends, you get the opportunity to make them into your customers.

2. What: Identify what they need

If you don’t know your audience, you won’t understand what they need.

My audience is creative writers, so I developed a site that I thought would interest them. Slowly, as I began to understand who was reading my blog, I realized there was a huge need for editing. My readers liked to write, but they didn’t like to edit. I found my opportunity.

As you get to know your audience, identify what they like to do and what they hate. What are they good at? What are they terrible at? And how can you help them be better?

As you do this, you’ll begin to spot opportunities for your services. They might need:

  • Education: You could develop a course teaching them what they don’t know.
  • Consulting: You could sell your time and expertise helping them solve their problems.
  • Complimentary services: You could sell services that your audience needs.

Let’s break down the complimentary services section a bit more because I think this is where this blogging model becomes really interesting. For example, I realized my audience—creative writers—needed editing services. So I began to pitch this to some of my friends and they loved it. Some of them even approached me!

If marketers are your audience, on the other hand, offer design or copywriting services. If homebuyers are your audience, offer listing services. If your audience needs a lawyer, then offer your legal services. If your audience blogs, you could offer ghost-blogging, design, editing, or copywriting services.

3. How: What if you don’t have any skills to offer?

Now, let’s say you’re writing to people who want to get better at internet marketing. You think your audience needs help writing copy, but you don’t have any experience in copywriting.

I had this problem. I knew my readers needed editing help. I had some expertise with editing, but I didn’t feel comfortable selling my services to the guy who comments on my blog every day. What if I do a bad job and he gets upset and leaves?

So I started reaching out to editors, asking their advice on how to be a better editor. I emailed, called, and met face to face with them. This is when the most surprising thing happened.

One of them, an editor who has worked with bestselling authors, offered me a job. So not only did I get some practical knowledge to help (and sell to) my readers, I had his name to back me up. And one of the reasons he hired me was because my blog was my resume. He saw I was already passionate and talented. It was an easy decision.

After that, selling my services became much easier. And a much better way to earn money with my blog than selling Adsense.

This is a very quick overview. Do you have any questions about how to sell your services and use your blog as a resume? Have you done this with your own business?

Joe Bunting is a professional writer, fiction editor, and platform consultant. You can follow Joe on Twitter and download a copy of his eBook, 14 Prompts, for free.

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Comments

  1. Justin Mazza says:

    Hi Joe,
    I agree with you here. There are many other benefits to blogging then just money gratification. Your blog is a representation of you/me whoever and if I were going to hire someone I would like it if they had a blog so I could see first hand how they handle themselves.

    • Drewry says:

      Justin,

      when you said “so I could see firsthand how they handle themselves”, that was very interesting. Why? Because sometimes, you have to throw certain things at bloggers,to see how they will react in a blog post and what exactly they would say. This is how you can measure the character of a genuine blogger :-)

    • Joe Bunting says:

      Very true, Justin. It’s amazing how much “professional personality” you can see through people’s blog. Even whether they’re flaky or not!

      • Drewry says:

        Joe,

        I agree with you on “professional personality”, when it comes to a person’s blog, and their “blogging character”. You and I see eye to eye on that :-)

  2. Drewry says:

    This is very true, about your website or blog being your online working resume. People look at things like that, when a grade the professionalism and the seriousness of your online presence.

  3. This is great advice Joe and is one I consistently put into practice in my blog. My target audience is those who want to earn an income online but don’t know where to start from. So I listen in on their conversations so that I can meet their needs. To blog that way I guess one would have to be passionate about helping people and serving them; money cannot be the first priority. It should be people.
    About not having skills to offer? I am not earning six figures. But I figure we can all learn together. If you are willing to go the extra mile to answer your own questions, blog about it and help others in the process. Thanks for sharing.

    • Joe Bunting says:

      Yep, absolutely.

      Money comes as your presence and expertise grow. It takes a really long time to get to a place where you’re making real money. But, maybe this change in thinking can help you get there faster.

  4. Chris Deals says:

    Joe, this summer a good friend of my got a job as an assistant professor because the work he did on this blog in that field.

    I do like the idea of offering services to your blog audience. It’s a lot easier when you are already giving away good content in that area, some people would prefer just to hire you to do it for them rather than do it themselves.

  5. Michael says:

    I totally agree with the blog being a better representation of who we are as individuals rather than trying to use the standard (and often times, generic) resume that might not accurately demonstrate the knowledge that we have acquired. Perhaps employers will start looking at the two different pieces of information to be able to start assessing the skill sets that these potential candidates have.

  6. Trung Nguyen says:

    Thanks Joe for a great article awakening for those who think that blogging is a way to get rich overnight.

  7. Hi Joe,

    I feel you prospered because you matched a need with your skill. Be confident that what you have to offer is worthy, and be willing to match up your offering with the needs of your audience.

    Dig deep looking for the problems, needs and desires of your audience. Meet face to face, online, chat over the phone….however you can better connect with your audience. Some bloggers make the mistake of blogging with figuring out if what they are writing about resonates with their audience. You became adept at not only writing for your readers, but providing paid services for your readers too.

    Helpful tips here Joe which will motivate me to dig a little deeper. I just switched up 1 of my blog’s themes today based on the patterns I am seeing in my new team members…always fun to connect the dots, right? ;)

    Thanks for sharing your insight with us.

    RB

  8. Rania says:

    Thank you for sharing this. It really opened my eyes, especially to see our blog from readers’ point of view and from what they need.

  9. Taline says:

    I’m very happy that blogging gave you the opportunity to expand and make money outside of your blog. Don’t give up hope on making the income through your blog also. I think that the most important thing you can do (which you already are doing) is diversify your income streams. Good luck! :)

  10. Hooker says:

    I think the first rule of getting paid gigs is the same as making any sale….the customer first has to like you. No one hires people or buys products and then says, “Yeah the guy was a jerk but I really liked what he was selling.”

    A blog says much more about you than just what you write.

    Which might not be a great thing in my case lol.

    Thanks for a great article.

  11. alex says:

    200 per hour thats pretty cool. Actually my audience is a community of russian young web designers. Blogging, offering tips and free web designs is a source of clients for me. That tactics work well for me. Soon planning to add new content to the blog.

  12. James V says:

    Thought provoking! Thanks for the insight!

  13. Tony Clingan says:

    Hi Joe

    Some great insights in your post, I wonder just how many people really take the trouble to drill down and find out exactly what their audience wants rather than just pitching to them what we think they want

    I suspect a lot of us have learned an important lesson after reading this today

    Thanks for sharing

    Tony

  14. So true Joe. Congrats on your awesome consulting gig. Wish I could make that kind of money with my company Carpet Cleaning Orange County. You are lucky and obviously very talented at what you do. I am going to follow your suggestion. Thanks

  15. Dwayne says:

    Awesome article, Joe. I made the mistake of not identifying my target audience when I first started my blog and it cost me. I focused more on what I wanted to write instead of what they wanted to read. Rookie mistake. But you live and you learn. Keep up the great work.

    • Joe Bunting says:

      I mean you have to like what you write or you won’t do it for very long (and it takes a long time to get paid for a blog–you might as well enjoy it since you’re going to be working for free). But you’re right, you have to target someone. Which is just marketing speak for, someone else has to like what you’re writing.

  16. Saqib says:

    What You are saying is exactly what blogging is all about. I’ve a blog but I never had first comment on my blog. Know I’m looking to concentrate on this part of bussiness.

    • Joe Bunting says:

      You’ll get there, Saqib. It took me four years of blogging to get to a place where I really understood this side of blogging.

  17. Tom says:

    Well I’m have just begun a blog project. It’s daunting and reading this post spooks me even more than I already have been. At the same time it’s inspiring because it could lead onto something else as well.

    I have joined up thinktraffic.net’s Million Dollar Blog Project so here’s hoping for success.

    Thanks for you insight Joe.

    • Joe Bunting says:

      Good luck Tom. One step at a time. Don’t get ahead of yourself. You probably just need to focus on writing quality content people will want to read (and guest posting a lot). Thanks Tom.

  18. Shon says:

    This is eye opening. I just recently lost my job right before Christmas. That really hurt us. I filed for unemployment ans because they fired me for a reason that was not good, I got the unemployment. It isn’t enough though, only $288 a week. I never thought about my blog being a resume. I have over 38 blogs that serve different purposes. I need to find a way to turn them into career opportunities.

    • Joe Bunting says:

      Sorry to hear that, Shon.

      Both blogging and getting a job are all about relationship, right? Resumes don’t work because they’re not relational. So how can you leverage the relationships you’ve made through blogging to get work? And if you haven’t started building those relationships, it’s time to start.

  19. dalia says:

    Thanks, Joe,
    this post was so important to me at this point.
    Now I have really to rethink my working/blogging strategies, maybe even separate 1 blog into two.

    Thanks a lot and keep them coming!

  20. Avinash says:

    Wow great and Thanks for sharing your insight with us.

  21. Wan Lin says:

    I do agree with what you say that blogging can be seen as a resume. Thanks for your reminder.

  22. Dmitry says:

    Also you can take interview from well-known people in your common area and post them on your blog. Profit – additional traffic and interest from your readers.

  23. madmilker says:

    I made $1.37 one time taking letters off two teleprompters and I didn’t have to point either.

  24. Very good points. As a fairly recent grad, I’m sure simply having a blog has contributed to some of the interviews I have gotten. It’s been brought up during several of them. Still no offers, but using my blog to show off some of my skills has definitely given me a leg up.

  25. Very good primer on what real blogging for business is all about.

  26. Ava says:

    “The blog is the new resume.”

    Er, not where I live. You walk into an interview with a blog URL and well, one of the other six people competing for the position who has a resume will probably land the job. They *might* look at your blog, but not without that resume! So…it’s a nice thought, but I don’t think we’re there just yet.

    Let’s face it, your post is fluff…at least the title. Joe, you happen to be a lucky guy…$200+/hour gigs are extremely rare out here in the blogosphere. Keep it real…don’t give readers a false hope that these things are a dime a dozen. The ‘net bubble burst a long time ago. Nowadays, there’s nothing out there that you don’t carve out yourself and have bleeding, swollen knuckles when you’re done. Get to work, Bloggers!

    • Joe Bunting says:

      Hey Ava. Great thoughts here. You’re right. The title would be misleading if someone were to think they didn’t have to work to get paid money on their blog.

  27. Josh Liu says:

    Loved this blog-post. This is something I truly believe in: All the bloggers should leverage our reputation, and sell our expertise to the people who trust us. Actually, that is the vision driving our startup, MinuteBox (we offer tools (blog widget) for bloggers to sell advice via video chat) .

    Knowledge is valuable. We all love to share our passion on our blogs. Blogging is the best form for generic knowledge sharing. We need another form (paid one) for intimate discussion/consultation.

    Hopefully there are much more ways for bloggers to generate revenues, apart from ads, ebooks.

  28. Jessica Zirbes says:

    Very encouraging article. Thank you!