This post kicks off my new weekly posts on starting a home business. I will be offering a range of ideas for things you could do as a home business. No guarantees that any idea will be the right one for you or that it will earn any money at all. Sharing ideas is more about getting you thinking about what it is that you would like to do.
Blogging Your Hobby
Blogging is a pretty popular thing to do right now, and people are realizing that it can be a way to earn money. Not a guaranteed way at all; just take a look at this poll on blogger earnings done at Problogger. 29% of bloggers reported earning $10 or less per month. Only 30% made $500 or more per month from blogging.
But keep in mind that most home businesses fail in the first year. That most bloggers do not make a lot of money doesn’t mean you can’t try.
So why the heck am I suggesting it??
Blogs are an affordable way to start out in home business. Take it seriously and you may earn a respectable bit of money from it. You also have plenty of ways to monetize as things go along.
A hobby you’re good at and the ability to write about it in an interesting way.
Resources to Build Your Skills
There are two skills you need to build up for this. One would of course be the skills required in your hobby. Blogging what you do may help you with this. There’s something about explaining what you’re doing that can help you to improve.
But also read up on it. Follow other blogs, join forums, buy books or check them out at the library.
Note that you don’t have to pay for either if you really need to get a free start. You can get a free site from Blogger, for example. However, you have less control and look less professional when you go with a completely free source. For the low costs of a domain name and basic hosting, I strongly recommend paying. A small investment makes you look more professional and can help to remind you that you are trying to start a business, not just a new hobby.
Possible Income Streams
1. Affiliate product recommendations.
These can be worked into your posts. Talk about the products you are actually using in your hobby. Find companies that will pay you a commission to sell that product. Amazon.com’s Associate Program is an easy one, but you may get better commissions by searching for other companies too. Commission Junction and ShareASale are also good places to look. You may need a site to join these programs.
2. Sell your own products.
Blog about your hobby, maybe share how you create something, and put it up for sale. You’ll need a payment processor and shopping cart software to do this one well. Paypal is a way to test out the waters, so to speak, but there are advantages to other payment processors as you build your business.
3. Sell ads.
You can sell ads in your sidebar, in the footer of individual posts and even within posts. You will probably need some traffic to really earn anything worthwhile.
4. Paid posting.
Sites such as SocialSpark will pay you to write posts on particular topics. There are a lot of rules to consider with paid posting, particularly disclosure issues that you should be aware of. Many of them are things you should consider for any sort of advertising you do on your site. Transparency is a good thing for your site.
I have more paid blogging companies listed in my blogging work at home jobs section.
AdSense is one of the simplest ways to monetize, but in many niches you will not make much money from it. It’s not a bad choice as you research better options and just want to get going. In the long run, however, I recommend finding products you can recommend and link to, and ads you can be paid for more directly. More work, but more potential for earnings.
If you’re doing it all on your own, you are limiting your exposure to being scammed. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be taken advantage of.
If you post advertising on your site, you risk not getting paid at times. This can be particularly true with affiliate programs where you do not get paid until after an action is taken. Sometimes a company is dishonest, or maybe just has money flow issues.
Skip anything that talks about submitting your sites to the search engines for you for a fee. It’s not necessary.
You’re better off learning how to bring the search engines to your site. This is a business, and there’s more to it than just creating the content and waiting for the world to beat a path to your site.