No, it’s not what it looks like. Stick around. I’m still writing, I’m growing this blog, and I’ll still be posting here. But I want to spend more time on the book– and less time on maintaining the infrastructure.
I want some help, and some of you want money. I think we can figure out a deal.
Next month I’m attending FINCON12. It’s growing into the nation’s biggest personal-finance blogger gathering, and it’s filled with rock-star entrepreneurs who blog about their endeavors. Many of them earn a living from affiliate marketing, smartphone applications development, and public speaking. Blogging and social media are the channels they use to spread the word about their plans & projects. But a substantial minority of personal-finance bloggers earn a side-hustle income from their blogs– advertising revenue from the blog itself, or from social media directing customers to their full-time business. I’ve learned a lot from these people, and I’m looking forward to chatting with them. I think most of FINCON12 is going to take place in the hallways & lobbies, not the conference rooms.
Hey, you other 349 FINCON attendees– know someone who wants to earn money from growing a blog?
I’ve learned from these rock stars that I’m doing it backwards. I started a blog to market a book and to bring in more royalties. What I really should have done is started a career as a public speaker at military transition seminars and employment fairs. Then I should have written the book and given it away as a marketing tool. Only then should I have started a blog to announce my worldwide schedule of speaking engagements at military bases– and to raise my profile by giving away more copies of the book. I’d go on book tours, talk on AFRTS, be profiled on Stars & Stripes, and maybe even get interviewed on CNN.
If the public-speaking career didn’t take off, then I should have started blogging about the “niche” topic of military financial independence. (Go ahead: Google <military financial independence> in any word order.) After a few months of posting I’d start selling short eBooks on that topic. After a year or two I’d have enough buzz to pitch a book proposal to a publisher– or to mash up the eBooks and self-publish my hardcopy book (with a Kindle edition). I’d post updates about the book sales and the blog revenue. Then I’d deliver presentations and panel discussions at military financial independence conferences, and maybe even contract a smartphone app to help servicemembers track their progress.
After five or ten years of dedication (and hard work) I’d be another rock-star entrepreneur. I’d have multiple streams of passive income from the blog advertising and the affiliate sales and the eBooks. I’d have speaking gigs and coaching clients and consulting contracts. Why, I’d make enough money to be financially independent!
I wrote the book because my spouse and I are already financially independent. I want to explain how servicemembers and their families can achieve their own financial independence. I’m paying it forward for all the people who’ve helped me over the decades. I inspired other servicemembers & veterans to share their stories– not by enriching myself from selling their advice, but by donating the royalties to military charities. My credibility rests on my own assets, not on earning writing & speaking income from readers.
Two years ago, it made sense to start a blog on WordPress because they handle all the infrastructure. There’s a tremendous amount of support behind their blank writing screen, and I appreciate it. I have plenty to write about, I’m getting pretty good at it, and I enjoy it. However I still spend at least an hour per post on all the things that don’t actually put words on a screen: formatting, linking, proofing, scheduling, and coordinating with social media. I’m getting pretty good at that stuff, too, but I don’t enjoy it.
Today, I feel that I’ve learned enough about blogging and social media. I can get better at it, but it’ll take more of my time. The scary fact is that it can take over your life: tweaking themes, cleaning the spam filters, adding more links to the sidebar, coordinating with Facebook and Linkedin and Twitter, and developing more channels. Podcasts? YouTube. Interviews. How do I test different techniques and figure out what works? When you’re receiving royalty checks exactly two times per year, it’s very difficult to analyze what specific efforts are leading to more book sales. I appreciate all you Twitter followers and Facebook likes and blog readers, and I’ll respond to each & every one of your comments and e-mails– but I can’t determine what boosts book sales. When I’m posting a progress report to my 10th Linkedin group, it’s difficult to tell whether I’m about to sell 40 books in a day or whether I’m just spreading the word.
I’ve written pages of notes on blogging techniques & tools over the last couple years, and next month I’m going to learn a lot more from the other FINCON bloggers. They’ll answer my last few questions about hosting, ad revenue, affiliate sales, and eBooks. I’ll tweak my plans, and in October I’ll put them into action. By November the blog will be spiffed up with the Thesis theme. It’ll be showing ads and selling books directly from the sidebar and revving up the affiliate sales for other products that helped us reach financial independence. You’ll be politely nudged to sign up for an e-mail subscription, and there might even be a free Military Guide newsletter. It’s not rocket science– mostly labor & persistence. Maybe I’ll do it all on my own, or maybe I can contract the ads to other rock stars like Crystal Stemberger.
But I’d rather let a partner do all of that. I just want to write a post a week and start cranking out the eBooks.
So here’s the deal. As of today, the blog is officially for sale. Let’s figure out how much it’s worth. Make me an offer. It’s not very valuable right now because you’d have to do all the heavy lifting that I’ll be doing in October anyway. However if there’s a specific configuration that has value to you, or if you’d pay more for me to make the self-hosting decisions in a certain way, then let’s start our negotiations now. In six months the blog will be earning a revenue stream that has a higher value. In a year it’ll be worth even more. It’ll keep getting better every month, but you’ll pay more for it. It’s an online auction, and someone could snipe it out from under you.
Your purchase price is not going to enrich me. In fact, I don’t even want your money– I’d prefer that you donate the purchase price directly to the Wounded Warrior Project and Fisher House. (You might even get a tax deduction for the charity donation.) We can figure out how to make that work, and I can pass the money through my hands if it’s legally necessary.
Here’s what you’re buying:
- The URL The-Military-Guide.com and the right to republish all its content.
- The Twitter handle @TheMilitaryGuid and all of its tweets.
- The Facebook fan page.
- The Pinterest and MANteresting pages for “The Military Guide”.
- All the advertising revenue you can drum up.
- All the affiliate sales revenue you can drum up.
- A free surfing lesson on Oahu!
Here’s the fine print:
- You maintain the site– including backups and all the other infrastructure.
- You pay all the fees, taxes, and expenses. I don’t contribute any money.
- You keep all the money from the blog ads and the social media. I don’t share any.
- You let me sell eBooks through the site.
- All of the eBook revenue goes to military charities.
- If you want, I’ll contribute my weekly post for at least a year.
You run the site as you see fit (you own it!) but everything associated with my name should honor and respect the U.S. military. The ads shouldn’t prey on innocent servicemembers, so that probably means no payday lenders or rent-to-own electronics.
Of course you’re free to sell the blog to someone else, and I might stop guest posting after my first year. I might even stop the eBooks after the 2nd edition of “The Military Guide” comes out– I won’t know about that until we see how eBook sales look.
Do you readers know anyone who wants to make money from a blog that already has an audience? Please spread the word!
My situation is different than the usual “succeed or die” blogger mentality. I don’t need to make money from the blog, but I’d hate to just shut it down and walk away.
You don’t have to be a veteran to handle your end of the deal, and you don’t even have to know anything about the military. I’ll teach you all of that. (It’s what I do.) The blog is a niche that perhaps only another veteran would appreciate, and it’d probably be a lifestyle business as part of a collection of blogs. But if I contributed a post a week then any blogger could ramp up the revenue stream while freeing me for other projects. I’d do my part by setting up affiliate sales for the recommended books & products, and by writing more eBook chapters of “The Military Guide” to sell through the blog.
For me, the best part of selling the blog (besides more money to military charities) will be gaining time to work on eBooks and the next hardcopy edition. The weekly guest post could be done as text, a podcast, a video, or whatever else I haven’t tried yet. I’m never going to pour 30-70 hours a week into blogging like Jeff Rose or Pat Flynn. I’d rather offload the revenue part to someone who’s motivated to optimize that for their own profit, leaving me to focus on content.
And I’ll focus on other book projects.
And surfing. I want to spend more time surfing.
I know that some of you readers have no interest in buying a blog, but you’re great business mentors. Please let us know how I can make this offer more attractive to a buyer.
Taking the blog to its own host for more money to military charities
“So Nords, why are you still blogging?” (part 3)
How do we handle the blog revenue?
Should we make money from this blog?
“So, Nords, how did you start blogging?”
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