The thought of quitting a job and making it on their own terrifies some people. Whether or not you have a mortgage to pay or a family to support a job that produces a steady income is difficult to give up.
But what if I tell you that you can start money making blog with minimal investment of time and money. Everything alongside your stable job. Then are you willing to try this?
Yes, that's true. In this information age, many people have done this. If I start interviewing people who have done it, the list is endless. Even you may have seen at least ten persons in your life who start their online business as a side hustle but later transitioned it into their full-time careers.
However, there are many roadblocks in this journey. But I am determined to start this journey with you and report everything in this blog.
I will tell you my small and big success and failures in my business blog, document them here. I will make this blog a resource for all those who are just starting their side hustles.
Since I launch this blog in 60 days, I will tell you every step I took, how I planned my launch and where I lagged. It could take you even less than 60 days to build and start a blog that makes money with strong foundations and correct fundamentals.
So if you want to build a side hustle from home with solid foundations with me, keep on reading further.
Disclaimer: *This post contains affiliate links. It means I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you if you purchase through one of my links. If you do, thank you for supporting me!
Table of Contents
Who is this guide for?
This is focused on females because I am well aware of female customers and platforms to find them. If you are a male but your target customers are females, then this guide is for you too.
In the coming sections, you will find the exact plan to launch your online side hustle from home and make money blogging from the comfort of your home only.
Is it worth starting a blog in 2021?
It is worth starting any business, not only blog. The benefit with blogging is this is much easier than starting any other brick and mortar business. However, it is not worth starting blog the wrong way. Treat your blog as a seed which will eventually become a tree after you nurture it properly.
We all have heard this saying from our parents that "Money doesn't grow on trees." But that was a long time ago. That time this saying was right.
But now, this saying is only half right. What if I tell you that money does grow on trees.
All the details are in this post only but first, you need to know this right now:
How can you start blogging as a beginner?
$1.7M capital raise funds beauty tech startup’s pivot to skincare products
I am sure you are used to these headlines. And you are overwhelmed as to how can you raise capital this amount. It would take so much to raise capital, seed money, VCs, board of directors and whatnot.
You don't know how to do it. Worse you don't even know what it means. I also don't know how to raise capital. I even don't know what these startups are building to raise this much capital.
If you want to build a funded startup, sure you can do that. But side hustles are not like that. What I am talking about is a simple business blog.
What is a business blog?
A business is where there is a market and there is a burning desire for that market. You came in between to fulfill its burning desire. When you build a business on top of your blog, that whats make a money making blog.
If your business is not on internet, you are planning to go out of business. - Bill Gates
My advice will be starting a digital business with digital products. They are easier to make with less investment on the ease of your home only.
Marie's Business model
Marie is a designer. She is very good with creative designs and currently working for a company in the same industry. After her job, she has some time left in which she thinks she can design things for some specific clients too.
So she started a small website with a bare minimum framework. She offered her first designs free of cost initially to gain testimonials and reviews for herself. She decides her target audience as investment bloggers. She also starts writing blog posts about graphic designs and design tools.
How do bloggers get paid?
Marie found where investment bloggers hang out online. She presents her offer to them with free trial templates. Out of 30 bloggers who took her trial templates, 10 decided to go for her full time one to one paid service. She charges them $40 per hour.
Slowly after this small success, she started to scale up. But one to one service can't be feasible in scaling. So she started building template bundles and selling them to bloggers directly. Pricing is according to the template bundle they subscribe to. Template bundles are low-cost for $10, mid-cost for $30 and high-cost bundles for $50+ for all types of investment bloggers. One on one service then becomes premium, let's say $100 per hour.
Can you see the success? Do you see any upper limit for this? There is no limit to her growth and her income.
She can target other bloggers as well and make bundles for them. Bloggers who have no idea of designing or the ones who want to outsource this work will readily buy her templates.
Big bloggers could even go for one on one premium service, paying her on per hour basis.
As long as she has a good marketing strategy for free templates, subscribers will come and she will convert them into buyers.
What to learn from Marie's blogging business plan?
Here are the points you can learn from Mary's business plan and how she planned to scale her side business along with her job.
A business plan that can't be written on a single piece of paper is a trash.
The Eight week launch plan
So, you have decided to launch your online business in the next 60 days. I have prepared this plan for launching my website. I successfully launched this blog in 60 days of preparation by following this plan. You can also launch your online business by following this plan.
Always remember, you have to focus on sowing the right seeds for your money tree to flourish. In this one month, we are focusing on quality of seeds.
I divided this plan into 8 weeks and 4 stages. Each stage focuses on a particular theme you can plan for your blog. Don't get hung up over how long any particular step would take. Some can be completed in lesser time, while others can take a longer time. The focus is on the completion of every step in sequence. However you can give each stage 2 weeks on average.
Find Profitable Product/Market Fit
This is one of the most important step in building your online business around your blog. It is equivalent to choose right seeds for your money tree to grow.
Brainstorm all the niche ideas.
You need a topic to write a blog on it. Now here comes the tricky part. You can't blog about anything. You can't write anything and expect it to grow and make money for you.
Think yourself, how would your article make money. Is it solving any problem of your audience? If the answer is no, then sorry your blog is a waste. It won't make money, as you haven't given it a proper thought for the seeds to grow.
Why affiliate marketing and Google AdSense is not a proper business?
Many marketing gurus tell that affiliate marketing and Google AdSense can make you $$$. But they won't show you the behind picture.
You have seen that I never said above that only blogging will make you loads of money. No it won't. When you have a target market with a problem that you can solve, that's called a business model. That's what makes money.
A blog post won't make you money. When you have a target market craving for their problem to be solved, and you solve their problem, that's what makes you money.
How to choose a main topic to blog about?
It's hard to choose a topic. Let's make it easier for you.
Since you are building an online business with digital products, you should have a broader idea about the topic you are writing about and find a perfect product/market fit.
You can see this pyramid. Now have a look at it. Ideally, your blog topic should be from lower segments of pyramids. These are the basic needs every human has.
If you are solving the problems from lower segments of pyramids, chances are your blogging business won't take forever to generate profits.
You have to find the intersection between your interests and how badly would people want to buy things on this topic.
For example, finances come in the second level of this pyramid. It is one of the most basic needs. So if you are going to make your blog around "Making money" or "Investing Money", it is going to be profitable. Because finances come under safety needs.
Health comes under safety needs. Everyone wants to be fit. Hence your blog and products around the fitness niche will have a good market.
That doesn't mean you shouldn't go high up. You can do that. But make sure their is a market for that need.
I advise you to select your topic based on Maslow's Hierarchy of needs pyramid. It will be easier to find a market for the lower steps of the pyramid.
Plan your next month in advance
Planning is important when your schedule is tight. You should carefully plan your weeks and months. Have a clear idea of what you want to achieve with your blog without affecting your job and your family time.
Research Market with competitors offers
Before you start building your business, I want you to research and find other people who already are selling to your target audience. If you are unable to find any competitors, then it's a sign it is probably not a good idea to move further.
See, competition is a healthy thing. It means your idea has a market. The market is buying the products you are thinking to sell. Hence there is no need to be afraid of competition. Sometimes, it's this community that can help you to find your first customers.
The secret to bring traffic to your website
Internet is full of gurus teaching hundreds of different ways to generate traffic. But now traffic is not a problem anymore. I tell you a secret behind finding your market. Only one real strategy that could work wonders in your beginning.
Find out a place where your traffic already exists, squeeze yourself inside it and extract some of it to your site. How you can do it? Just by observing your competitors source of traffic.
That's it no more no less. You just need to understand what your competitors are doing, where their traffic coming from and how to transform their traffic into yours.
Reverse Engineering competitors
You need to reverse engineer your competitor's successful campaigns. It is always smart to build a campaign that is already working out there. No time to waste building a unique one. You never know as a beginner what will work or what will not.
I will tell you how to reverse engineer your successful competitor now.
Where are your competitor's customers?
Your customers are where your competitor's customers are. So you must look where they are.
There are two types of competitors:
Studying indirect competitors is very beneficial. It will open new sources of traffic. It is important to spend time on both as it will increase your traffic in a short time.
Make a list of your direct and indirect competitors, their website pages and their URLs. If you have no idea about your competitors, just google your search phrases, and go to the top searches.
Look on paid ads and start clicking on those ads. This will give you a good idea of who your competitors are and what are they doing.
Forecast your profits on a sheet
From day 1 of starting your side business blog, you should be able to forecast your profits. You should be very clear about monetizing your blog.
There should be a small offer in your mind to test your audience for their preparedness for spending money on your products. It could be anything.
I am not saying that you should launch your offer on day 1. But having a clear idea about your monetizing strategy is a must.
Learn from your competitors how they are monetizing their blogs. You can have so many ideas from them. Many bloggers write how they are making profits from their blog. Read them and try to reverse engineer it. However, stay away from copying.
Also, you should be clear about your expenses as well. Since blogging is inexpensive to set up, you can minimize your expense and have a good profit margin.
Have a clear excel sheet about your profits estimation from your small offers.
What about unexpected things?
Many times your analysis won't be straightforward. It is highly dependent on various factors like traffic, your content and your offer.
In these cases, you have to make multiple projections. I suggest you make two projections:
- Optimistic: The highest you think you can make profits.
- Conservative: The lowest you think you can make.
Let's say you organize a webinar. You don't know how much you should charge for the masterclass. But you are considering it something in between $49 and $89. You have already calculated all your expenses.
To figure out the profit potential of this masterclass, you need to consider the cost of this class and the number of signups. The formula looks like this:
(Price *No. of signups) - Expenses = Projected profit
The pricing decision is yours. Hence the unknown, in this case, is signups. Take a general guess. Make a minimum and maximum guess. Project how many people can you attract to your offer. Project optimistic and conservative profits.
If No. of signups metric is not working, you will know which part of your offer needs tweaking. Is it your traffic strategy or your promotion strategy that is not bringing traffic? Or your offer is not appealing to the audience.
Here also your competitors offers will help you to frame a good offer to your audience.
Setup your Blog and Marketing channels
Now comes the technical part of setting up your blog. Your marketing channels, where you will attract your ideal audience, also needs to be set up. Since you are a newbie, and you don't know about setting up your blog, I will guide you step by step in setting up your blog.
Setup your blog
Setting up your blog is not a tedious process. You need to set up the three most important tools for your blog. This is where your expenses will come in.
But trust me these are the minimum investment needed. You won't need anything else in your beginning. As you will grow, your set of tools will grow with you. Do not fall prey to Shiny object syndrome. Also don't be a miser.
If you need a more detailed guide with individual tool on setting up the blog, let me know in the comment section.
Setup Social media channels for marketing
Social media strategy is an important part of business now. Gone are the days of newspapers and television commercials. Hence your social media strategy should be very good.
My advice is to focus on only one social media channel in beginning.
You can set up multiple social media accounts specific to your blog. You can share your content there too. But focus on only one social media account in the beginning.
Once you start getting profits from your blog, become proficient in one, then focus on the other.
Many beginners are tempted to focus on all social media channels for their traffic and blog promotion, but this is not the right strategy. Focus on one, be successful in that channel marketing and promotional tactics, and then go for the other.
How to choose your social media channels to focus on?
This is tricky. You need a lot of research and time to see which social media channel you should focus on.
But we need a quick solution that works. Simple, see where your competitors are. What is their number one social media channel where they interact with their audience. Is it Pinterest or Facebook? It could be LinkedIn for career focused blogs.
Prepare content for your blog and Email List
In this week you will prepare your content for your blog and emails for your email list. Do not underestimate the power of email marketing. Devote equal time for your email content and your blog content. Both will act as a marketing channel for your future products and your credibility as well.
Prepare content for Blog
You need a good content strategy for starting your blog and building a loyal audience. Whether it is Blog content or Email marketing content, you need to plan it accordingly. Remember, your Emails are as important as your blog. Your content strategy will drive traffic to your blog.
Your content strategy should bring you traffic both long term and short term.
That means you need to write awesome content for your visitors.
But how will you create it? How to come with a unique value proposition for your blog?
For that answer these questions:
- Which specific market or target group do you want to help?
- In what area do you want to help them?
Once you know the answer to these questions, now your whole content strategy is easier to make.
How to write blog posts strategically?
The most common mistake beginners make is not planning for their content in the blog. Just writing whatever comes to mind, is not a good strategy for a monetized blog.
Remember, your blog is a marketing channel for your services and products. You must have a link between the content pieces you are going to publish.
Always define small subcategories for your blog. I call them content buckets.
Start from 3 subcategories. You have a broad niche with a specific target market. Divide your broad niche into 3 subcategories.
Now start writing content focused on these 3 subcategories. You can write a variety of content regarding your subcategories.
This is for the initial stage. You can make more subcategories for your niche when you are past the beginner stage.
Keep your content strategy simple and focused. Your blog post should have a goal. It can be anything, taking testimonials, making subscribers, engagement with your subscribers, making subscribers comment on your posts, or your product awareness.
Brainstorm Freebie ideas
This is one of the most important parts of your online business. Building an engaging email list is important. It helps you to make relationship with your subscribers, who may be your future buyers.
But to convert your visitors, you need to have a good freebie. A freebie is a resource, in any format, which you offer to your visitors in exchange for their email address.
When you are deciding on freebie ideas, you need to make sure of following
Brainstorm Welcome Email Series content
Welcome Email are a series of emails you will send to your new subscribers.
You should nurture your email list from the day you will launch your website. But for a beginner, It is very important to send an engaging welcome email series to welcome your new subscribers.
However you should plan to send emails after welcome series too. Beginners face the problem of not having enough content to send their list.
Confused what to send your Email list when you have nothing to send?
Apply this strategy and make your emails engaging .
Your Welcome Series email content strategy
Email 1 - Explaining who you are and what you do
In this email, give your intro to them. How your past experience has influenced you to start this business? What are you currently doing in your life? And most important, how all this experience is going to help them in their journey.
Email 2 - Describe what type of content they can expect from you
Describe them your expertise and type of content they can expect from you in future. Write everything you are going to help them in. Ask for their suggestions for future blog posts. Ask for problems they are currently facing.
Email 3 - Ask them to follow you on 1-2 social media platforms, if you have a business page on them
Always encourage them to take action. it could be as small as possible like following on social media channel. This way, your subscribers will be aware. They will know you expect small commitments from them.
Email 4 - Promote your small inexpensive offer (if any) according to the freebie they downloaded
If you already have an offer, show it to them. Always start with a small inexpensive offer. It is easier to make small commitment to new person. Also it doesn't require much persuasion too. The offer should align to the freebie they downloaded in exchange of their email.
Email 5 - Asked a specific question and encourage reply
Tell them a story and as an ending, ask them a compelling question. It should be related to your business niche. Encourage them to reply to your question. This will engage your subscribers and build a bond.
Email 6 - Redirect them to your useful blog posts
Let them know your content quality by sending them to your best blog posts. This way they will get to know you more . They will know how knowledgeable you are in your niche.
Brainstorm small offer idea
Everything is set up now except your first offer.
Always make a small tripwire product for your new audience. But be careful. Don't end up making something nobody wants. Hence I won't suggest you should make a product before your launch.
You don't need to make a bulky online course as your first product. Your first product should be small to make for you and quick for your subscribers to consume.
When you start driving traffic to your website after the launch, try to interact with your subscribers through emails. Find out what they are struggling with. Find out what is their current state. How can you help them achieve their desired state?
Beginners think about the format of the product they are offering. But the audience doesn't care about whether you are offering a small PDF or an online course. What they want is the transformation from their current state to the desired state.
Launch your idea to your audience and test
Now is the time to launch your prototype you have prepared. Start driving traffic to your website and test the results. Let's get to point and know how to do that.
Drive Traffic to your Blog
Here we will learn about driving traffic to your website. Finding your target market is hard. But you already have figured it out through your competitor analysis.
Most females use Pinterest as their search engine. As a beginner, it can explode your blog with visitors. It's because it is a visual search engine for people looking for blog posts.
More visual your niche is, the more useful Pinterest becomes for your blog.
So how it works? Let me give you step by step reference for it:
- Create a Pinterest Business account (Free).
- Setup your profile and boards for your niche.
- Create 1-2 pin images for each of your blog posts and freebies.
- Pin those images to your Pinterest board regularly.
- To pin your images on Pinterest you can use:
- You can also join Tailwind Communities to get your pins seen by more people and increase engagement.
For beginners, a free Tailwind account is good. It allows you to join 5 communities. It is more than enough for beginners.
Let me know in comments if you want a full guide on Pinterest traffic strategy.
Test what worked and what didn't
The analysis is very important. Divide your analysis into categories to know what strategy you applied. What worked and what didn't work.
These tests will show you the way to what is not working. If you detect something is not working, then tweak it first and test again. If it still not works, then change your strategy altogether.
After some tweaks and tests, you will know what works for your audience and subscribers.
Test how your small product performed
If you are launching your product along with your blog, then test how it performed.
Since your blog is new and you don't have dedicated fans, making sales will be hard.
But if you have an excellent idea and are ready to test it, you should run a Facebook ad to test its performance. Facebook Ads are targeted and good for A/B testing.
Run a Facebook ad for as small as $5-$10 per day and try to measure how your small product performs. How many people see it and buy it.
I know it sounds hard, but it is not. Facebook Ads can test your products, freebies and conversions easily. It's because Facebook ads help you target your niche down the audience. Since your ad will be directly in front of them, you will be able to test how your offer performs.
Ads are good for testing purposes. However, I strongly suggest not to invest too much time making a big product which no one buys. Always question subscribers and try to figure out through conversations what they want.
Try to collect testimonials from subscribers
Even your subscriber's list is small, try to collect testimonials from them.
I know what you are thinking. You don't have a product then how you can collect testimonials?
You can help them in unique ways without any product to sell. Help them when they ask questions from you. Give your honest opinion if they ask you for a tool review.
If they are stuck somewhere, help them overcome their roadblock.
If you help them honestly, they will give you good word of mouth. Help people without expecting anything in return. You can feel the joy it gives you when you help someone selflessly.
Now you have foundational knowledge to get started in your online business journey. You are good to go and start your blog now.
One thing I want to mention is, Start now. If you don't, procrastination can make you miserable. You won't be able to start if you keep thinking. Hence go and start now. Start brainstorming niche for your blog.
You can always help people around you, especially at things you are good at. And if it comes with financial freedom, there is nothing much left to achieve afterwards.
People gained freedom after starting their side business, by scaling them into their full-time income.
I started this blog to help people struggling with beginning their journey towards side business. Also I want to focus more on spiritual path. For that I need freedom of time. Blogging sounds the best way I can accomplish both.
Comment below why you want to start your side hustle. Let's ride the same boat and learn on this journey.