Dear Entrepreneur, Don’t Start a Blog

Dear Entrepreneur, Don’t Start a Blog post image

Unless you are utterly compelled to start a blog or podcast, I wouldn’t do it.

Blogs are dangerous for the aspiring entrepreneur or start-up. Here’s why:

  • They take TONS of time. TONS.
  • They have an incredible power to make you feel like you are making real progress towards profits and freedom when you aren’t.
  • The types of feedback they offer best are seductive, addictive, and relatively low value to a start-up business. Examples are comments, emails from readers, opt-ins, and hits.
  • The type of networking most people are looking to get started by blogging could be accomplished with a personal landing page that includes an engaging biography, a short mission statement, and your social media profiles.
  • Blogging creates a broad range of lose connections. At the beginning of a business you’ll need more focused, high-octane relationships to get things moving. Think partnerships, JVs, investors, customers.

I’ve often called lifestyle design blogs the “water cooler” niche. Internet marketers stop by the water cooler to talk to each other about general principles, our backpacks, traveling around, etc. The problem is– and it’s well documented– that most of us are still hanging out by REAL water coolers.

If your goal is increased freedom and control over your personal income, I’d suggest the following: business first, blog later.

I started working on my business 1 month after the 4 Hour Work Week came out. That was May 2007. I didn’t start publicly blogging until late 2009. By that time I had already lived overseas for over 1 year, helped generate over 250K+ in revenues, and hired a few employees.

My first serious blog post launched an internship in November 2009, which was also a business move. That led to my company hiring Sean Ogle (talk about targeted networking!).

By that time I had a few podcasts under my belt and I finally got a little bit more serious about making my business podcast a helpful show for established and aspiring lifestyle entrepreneurs.

I’ve been a blog reading fan-boy for many years now, and in general I can sniff out two types of content creators:

  1. People that would create content if there were no audience.
  2. People that create content specifically because there is an audience, they sense a need in a potential audience, or they have a desire to connect with others via blogging.

If you are in the first group, rock on. Creating art is a wonderful way to spend time.

If you are in the second group, there is a good chance you’ll be wasting your time blogging seriously during the first few years of your business. I see people putting out content who are in this group and there is always a little part of me that thinks “she just spent 4 hours creating this…”

If you feel that you are in this category, my suggestion is that you create content that is part of of a paid product, program, or service. If your desire is to connect, consider expressing yourself through your products and business. In general, it’s not a good strategy to dump your best content out the back door to develop an “audience.” Plenty of people have done that for you, and they are always looking for great content to promote.

A few key partnerships with publishers, or one JV with a blogger could easily outmatch the results you could achieve by blogging your heart out for a year. To give you an idea, I’ll post the stats I’ve achieved in my first year or so of blogging. I had a blast, but the truth is a few phone calls and an incredible product likely would have achieved more revenue and followers.

Assets/Revenues of my blogs:

  • 847 Mailing List Subscribers (Awesome!)
  • 1,128 RSS Subscibers (Sweeeeet)
  • 8,410 – Twitter Followers (Ahem, a bit gamed, so, okay…)
  • $650 – Revenue (Ouch)

Expenses of my blogs:

  • $2500 – Virtual Assistants
  • $350 – Mailing List Software
  • $112 – Hosting

Bottom Line:

  • -2,312

Okay, technically doing nothing would have produced more revenue!

Keep in mind that customers gained through a JVs are instantly “your audience.” And the paying kind! Booyah!

If you write anyway, you write anyway. Sean Ogle writes anyway. He doesn’t give a damn about this advice, and he shouldn’t.

He loves to share himself through his writing and it shows. His journey to location independence was one of the great stories on the web last year.

If you still want to write a blog, you probably should. It’s damn fun. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you. :D

Cheers,

Dan
PS, if you’d like to receive emails from me, here’s where you can sign up:

Published on 01.19.11

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