One of the coolest trends emerging online, particularly in the personal finance sphere, is more and more bloggers are creating and selling their own products and services.
Despite the general approval of using blogs to make money, reactions to bloggers selling their own products has been mixed. In the personal finance sphere where most readers are extremely money-conscious, asking them to open their wallet for you is probably a bigger hurdle than it would be in any other space — but it’s still worth doing. I believe all bloggers should make and sell products and services, because it’s a great way to benefit both you and your readers.
Firstly, it gives your readers a way to support you
Blogging is hard work. It takes a ludicrous amount of time and practice, often without any compensation at all. You have to really love writing, because passion is the only thing that will outlast the hope and desire you’ll to earn money online. Those dreams burn out fast, and then all you’ll be left with is how much you enjoy hearing the sound of your own voice inside your head as you compose yet another 1,000 words on a topic maybe no one else but you cares about.
Type on, blogger, type on.
If you are making money on your website through advertising or affiliate links, your readers are already supporting you by showing up, but this is passive and distracting. Instead of directing your readers to your best work, you’re sending them outside your site to an advertiser. If they buy, they benefit the advertiser first, and you second. Even though this is still a perk, it robs your fans of the opportunity to support you directly.
When you create a service or product, you’re not only providing more value to your readers, you’re also giving them the opportunity to reciprocate by paying you for it. For example, I love the Being Boss podcast, which is an incredible free resource that delivers a ton of value to me every week. I love the hosts, Kathleen Shannon and Emily Thompson, and was more than thrilled to fork over $70 USD for their Being Boss Bundle. The email course is cool, but what I really loved was being able to give them cash to say thanks for everything they bring to the market and encourage them to keep doing what their doing. I would pay for their podcast, but since I can’t, this is the next best thing!
It gives you the opportunity to support the people who help you
I think a lot of people imagine all the money goes directly into the bloggers pockets, but more likely than not, a huge chunk of it goes to a team of talented creatives that support them.
The money I’ve made online has flowed into my hands and then into those of web developers, copywriters, business coaches, and app developers that I have hired or purchased products from to run my business.
When readers buy from their favorite bloggers, they’re also buying from all the cool and talented creatives that work behind the scenes to make a website great. By selling a product or service, you will have more money at your disposal to hire people with skills you don’t have yourself. As a result, running an online business doesn’t only help your financial goals, it also allows you to help others reach theirs.
It will help you deliver even more value to your readers
Money always gives you choices, and that’s even more true in business. Being able to earn money through an online business means I can purchase more tools which deliver even more value to my readers. Social media apps let me find share better content online, GetResponse lets me reach readers directly in their inbox, Thinkific allows me to deliver a seamless and beautiful education experience to my customers, Stripe lets me keep their financial information safe and secure, and the list goes on. I’ve seen websites try to push products on shaky platforms (or none at all — just asking you to PayPal and then hoping you receive what you paid for) and it doesn’t go well. The tools you use are as much part of your customer service as how you take care of your clients, so don’t scrimp.
It lets you share your talents and skills with the world.
I’m not very good at many things, but I am good at investing in the stock market. Except that is not a special skill, plenty of people are good at investing.
What I am good at that very few others are, is making complex investing strategies accessible, easy to understand, and fun for the average young investor.
I became interested in the stock market in my early 20’s, but I couldn’t get in because I didn’t know how and no one was there to teach me. It took me years before I was ballsy enough to put money into stocks, and even then I spent years agonizing that I wasn’t doing things right because I was certain there was so much I didn’t know. My MBA in Finance filled the gaps in my technical knowledge, and taught me even more advanced investing strategies. As a result, I graduated not only with another fancy degree on my wall, but with the confidence to tackle the stock market and help other millennials do so as well. I’ve now created the resource I wish I had when I was just starting out and I LOVE being able to deliver my skills and talents to others.
It’s a non-sleazy income with no ceiling.
Selling advertising space or affiliate links on your blog isn’t always awesome. At worst, you feel gross selling less-than-perfect products to your readers. At best, you collect a few pennies or dollars to direct them off your site. This is the opposite of selling your own product or service, which you feel totally STOKED to offer your fans and can earn even more money from.
When I was earning money through advertisements on my blog and freelance writing, I felt totally hopeless about ever becoming an online entrepreneur. The first year of my MBA program when I supported myself with my online income while I was in school usually left me barely breaking even and stressed about finances constantly. My eCourse has been a game changer, because I’m no longer scrambling for scraps of other people’s profits, and am finally 100% in control of my income. But the best part? I know I’m not ripping anyone off or selling a bad product. The quality of my course is in my control, and I make a point to over-deliver to every customer.
Bloggers who are sharing INCREDIBLE resources you should check out:
Cait of Blonde on a Budget provides the Mindful Budgeting Program, which is a fantastic tool to not only track your spending, but evaluate if you’re really putting your money in the right place. Using the Mindful Budgeting Program is actually what inspired me to go on a 90-day shopping ban, because I identified how detached and mindless my spending had become!
Sarah of Unsettle offers the Unsettle Challenge, which will help to inspire you and bolster your productivity. I’m halfway through the course and it’s one gem after another. Sarah also offers business coaching services, so if you’re an online entrepreneur (or want to become one!), she’s here to help you achieve your dreams.
Jillian of Debt Detective is an uber-talented web developer that just launched branding and design services. Her packages provide great value, and she will help you with everything from site design to cultivating your brand identity as a blogger. All her packages come with brand and media kits, too!
And yours truly sells the Master Class Money investing program, a 12-module eCourse designed to help millennials get started investing in ETFs and stocks. If you ever wanted Finance MBA investment strategies in your favorite step-by-step no-nonsense approach, it’s all right here.
If you or your favorite blogger is selling a cool product or service, let me know in the comments below!