Freelance writing gives you the freedom to work as you see fit. You can write whatever you like, work with whoever you want, and take on projects that you enjoy instead of being forced to write for subjects you don’t care much about. This makes freelance writing a fantastic career choice. Sadly, being too selective with your assignments makes it a bad business choice and, before you know it, you might be getting fewer requests and jobs because you’ve fallen behind on recent trends.
If you’re currently enjoying some success with your blog or freelancing career, then you might be tempted to upgrade it from just a side job or a hobby into a fully-fledged business. Now, you might think that blogging as a business sounds like a silly idea, but when you take a look at major blogs such as TechCrunch and Kotaku, you’ll realise that there is potential in the idea.
If you want to capitalise on your audience, a niche or even a trend, then you need to take risks. One of the biggest risks in the world of blogging is to turn your personal blog into a business. This means you’ll need to look for affiliate programs and even hire other writers to work under your name. You’re going to be creating a brand off the back of your personal success and not all of your readers are going to be happy about you becoming a mainstream writer. Your blog will lose some personality, you will lose old readers and gain new ones, and you’ll be under constant criticism.
However, if those are things you can stomach, then let’s dive into a few considerations you’ll have to make before you announce that you’re going pro.
Rent an Office or Work From Home?
There are many advantages to working at home. You’ll get to be closer to your family, you get to pick and choose your own hours, and you can work in the comfort of your room instead of an office.
Sadly, once you start to grow, and hire employees, you'll need a separate office from your home. It will act as a space to recruit and interview employees, you can separate your work and personal life, and you’ll have an area to set up computers and other pieces of equipment so that you and your staff can share ideas and create content.
However, there are many components to renting an office and starting up a business that you might not have thought about. For instance, you’ll need to worry about the health and safety of your employees. An innocent office with just a few electronic devices and computers may not sound dangerous, but it’s essential that you learn how to take care of your future employees to avoid possible lawsuits and claims of neglect.
If you’re unsure how to proceed, then health and safety training courses, such as those provided by Croner, allows employers to provide whatever information, instruction, training and supervision necessary to ensure the health and safety at work of your employees.
Responding to Criticism
If you’ve been blogging for the love of it, then you’ve probably built up a relatively loyal fan base that praises you for your work. However, if you announce to them that you’re going mainstream and have decided to take your blog in a new direction, you might lose a couple of readers.
Not only that, but if you’re focusing on getting more views and exposing your blog to the masses, you will eventually attract trolls and individuals who make it their duty to trash talk your blog, spam you with nasty comments and incite arguments.
Unfortunately, not much can be done about these individuals, but it does raise some troubles. For starters, it can be hard to tell when someone is leaving legitimate criticism or if they’re subtly trying to make you feel bad. When you have a smaller audience, you probably see the same names and faces responding to your posts so you get to know them and you build a community. However, with an influx of new readers and commenters, it can be hard to discern if a comment is constructive criticism or a subtle attempt to troll you.
As a rule of thumb, ignore comments that don't offer constructive criticism.
Diversifying Your Content
Just writing content isn’t going to be enough to raise your view count and expose your content. You have to learn how to reach a wider audience. You can do this by diversifying your content, either with the mediums you use or the topics you talk about.
For instance, if you previously specialised in writing reviews for novels, then you could perhaps branch off into reporting on the latest book releases, interviewing authors, teaching others how to write fiction, or even previewing upcoming releases. You might also consider reaching out to other bloggers and industry figureheads to creative videos, podcasts, or even ask them to write guest posts for your blog in order to get more attention.
Similarly, if you used to write about something like video games, then you could branch off by creating a YouTube channel that is closely linked to your blog content. For instance, your YouTube channel could discuss current affairs and show preview videos of gameplay footage, while your blog tackles the heavier written content such as reviews, news and previews.
If you want to upgrade to a business with employees, an office and a very wide audience, you need to understand how to establish multiple streams of revenue.
For instance, affiliate programs might make up the bulk of your income if you review a lot of products as a team and have a wide audience. Your secondary income might come from advertising revenue on your blog or even your YouTube channel. Finally, you might also make money from sponsorship deals with various companies. If you review games, then a developer might pay you to review their content or feature their work on your blog—just remember that this information has to be disclosed!
The alternate option is to charge a monthly fee to read your blog, but this isn’t a very popular option unless your content is extremely high quality. You could also charge monthly fees in the form of donations and support on a website like Patreon. This is a much better option because the cost becomes optional, and you can set up incentives to convince others to donate money to your company.
Note: This post contains affiliate links.