A peek into my inbox would reveal a similar thread running through many of the emails.
They usually go something like this:
“I started this blog to help other people, and never really thought about it as a source of income. I don’t make any money yet but I feel like I’m selling out by monetizing my blog.”
The exact story is different for everyone but there is a common narrative at work here:
Your blog was started for reasons rooted in help, community, giving or gratitude and earning an income from that ideal feels like selling out or taking advantage of people. Money feels at odds with the reason the blog was started in the first place.
I think this is why earning a blogging income feels so different than earning a pay check from a more traditional job.
Have you ever felt bad about earning money from your day job? Do you tell your boss that you really enjoy helping the company so let’s just nix the salary from now on?
That would be kinda crazy, won’t it? Since our jobs are often first and foremost about earning money we don’t have this internal struggle with them. Blogging is often started from a deeply personal place and is likely something you love to do.
I don’t know about you, but I wasn’t raised with any “love what you do for a living” talks at the dinner table so even the idea that you could adore your work, and earn a nice living seemed like a foreign concept for a long time.
For example, when I first started Blog Genie it was to build a business while helping people create better blogs. I had no idea that it would be so hard to charge for “little things.” An email here and there, quick feedback on something or help with a blog tech issue seemed like no big deal.
What started to happen was that these freebies were eating up the time and mental energy I needed for paying clients and my personal life. But no matter how hard I tried, it just seemed wrong to charge for a task that took maybe a minute of my time.
In the past 5 years, I’ve had to work hard at owning my value and not feeling bad about saying no or asking for payment in return. I’m far from perfect in this area but these are the 7 steps I’ve found helpful in my own journey and share them in hopes that they might be helpful in yours.
7 Ways to Get Comfortable With a Blogging Pay Check
1. Acknowledge that earning an income is a goal. I know this sounds obvious but you’d be amazed at the amount of people who mention wanting to earn an income with their blogs and then immediately add in an apology or diminish the goal in some way.
Step into your goals and own them. Write down them down or tell a trusted friend. Seeing them in black and white or hearing you say them out loud can help it feel real.
2. Visit a blog you love that earns an income.
How do you feel about that blogger?
- Do you feel embarrassed for them?
- Are you ashamed that you enjoy their blog even though they earn an income?
- Do you think of them as “slimy” or a sell out?
Likely none of those adjectives spring to mind if it’s someone you feel warmly towards, yet, we whip out all the nastiest words for ourselves.
If you hired a blogging or business coach to help you with this, what do you think they would say about how you treat yourself vs others?
Looking at ourselves from a third party perspective can shed light the unrealistic expectations we hold ourselves to.
3. Stop apologizing for the value you bring to the world. Just because you started your blog to help people doesn’t mean you can’t earn an income with it.
Plans change, you’ve grown and no doubt your skill at helping people, your writing and your blog has improved a lot over the course of your blogging career.
Earning money is simply an exchange of value between 2 people. You won’t think twice about paying your hair salon for a cut and color, that’s them providing value to you in exchange for something else of value (your money.)
The information, skills or expertise you have is just as valuable to the people who need it as a traditional service or product.
4. Realize that there’s more than enough to go around. When you see another blogger doing the same thing as you and rockin’ it yet you’re still struggling it can feel like maybe it’s just you.
It’s easy to think that they’ve tapped the market already so why bother trying? These thoughts fester in our minds and undermine everything we try and accomplish.
While there may be people doing similar things in the world, no one does it quite like you and your unique flavor can set you apart in a crowded niche.
5. Embracing failure and skepticism. Are you downplaying your financial goals out of fear of what others might say? If you say it out loud and then fail, what will other people think?
The fear of failure can be paralyzing. Initially, it’s so much easier to do nothing than to risk. But I’ve never found it easier long term. Not taking a chance and risking failure eats away at a future you might have built and there’s nothing easy about regret.
Every successful person I know has a list of “failures” as long as their arm but they view them as learning opportunities, times of intense growth or the jumping off point for their biggest successes. Take a cue from the successful people you know and take a chance on yourself.
6. Change your story around money. Maybe you’ve always thought of yourself as “bad with money” or that you’ll never get out of debt. These stories play like never ending tapes in our heads and we end up looking for every opportunity to validate these limiting beliefs.
For example, I grew up in a pretty lean household when it came to finances.
My mom raised 2 children by herself earning a wage below the poverty line. It’s really easy to believe that things will always be tight when your life experience has involved the threat of being homeless (so much so, we had a family plan for when the bank might lock us out of our home.)
It’s hard to believe that there is another way to live when all you know about money is that there’s never enough. Everywhere I looked in my early 20’s as cash strapped university student in low paying entry level jobs reinforced my beliefs that I would never have enough money to feel “safe.”
It has taken years to reframe that story for myself and to feel deserving and in control of our financial situation.
Those types of stories hide in the backs of our minds and can wreak havoc when left unacknowledged.
Do you have a limiting money story in your head that’s holding you back from embracing the real possibility of a blogging income? How can you reframe that story to make it more of a positive lesson in your life rather than a hardship?
7. Give First. Whether you’re selling a digital product, service or earning income off ad revenue, employing a give first strategy can make the charging part feel a lot better.
You are likely already giving a ton of value away for free through your blog posts, free opt-ins offers and other content.
When you look at how much time and care you spend creating all of that material you’ll see that you already provide immense value for people free of charge and that people don’t have to pay anything at all to benefit from your site and expertise.
Question: Do you see yourself in any of the 7 points above? I’d love to hear how you overcame your blogging income block or what you’re struggling with in the comments below.