Blogging Without A Business 2 - The Fringe Benefits

September 3, 2008


I could talk all day about the benefits of blogging if you have a business. But there’s also some wonderful fringe benefits you receive on a personal level too. And if you’re going to start blogging before you start a business, you might want to know about these.


Amazing People

Blogging enables you to build a community of amazing people. And this is a great benefit as you get to know people who are also blogging with future plans to build a business. This also gives you many networking opportunities. Plus, you’re surrounding yourself with positive people, which has huge benefits.

Enhanced Learning

If you’re blogging on a topic you’re passionate about for a year or two before you start your business, you’ll get to learn even more about your topic. You’ll also get to know more about your potential customers, from the comments section and through visiting their own blogs. And from the search strings that people use to find you on the search engines.

Plus, if you’re visiting the blogs of your community members, you’ll learn a whole heap of other useful stuff too. And all this learning will help you, when it’s time to start your business.

Knowing Yourself And What You Want

I’ve heard a lot of people say they’ve got to know themselves more since they began blogging. And they’ve changed because of this. That certainly applies to me too. In fact, blogging has helped me make some life changing decisions. For instance, it helped me liquidate a business that wasn’t right for me, so I could concentrate on the things I really want to do.

And it made me realise that it’s important to live the life you want now, instead of working 80 hours a week to enjoy a life that may never come.

What fringe benefits have you received since you began blogging? And if you’re thinking of beginning a blog before you start a business, do you have any questions you’d like to ask?

This is a series of posts on blogging for business. You can read part 1 here: The Power Of Blogging For Business Without A Business
And you can subscribe to this blog and make sure you don’t miss the rest of the series by clicking here.

Image Credit: Joe Shlabotnik

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32 Responses to “Blogging Without A Business 2 - The Fringe Benefits”

  1. Scott McIntyre on September 3rd, 2008 3:10 pm

    This is very interesting, Cath.

    I hadn’t actually thought of having a blog as a pre-cursor to setting up a business.

    Could I ask you what basic factors someone should consider when working out whether their skills, knowledge etc. and their blog could both form the basis of a business?

    Thank you in advance.

  2. Mark Dykeman on September 3rd, 2008 4:02 pm

    Without a doubt, the most important things that I’ve gotten out of my own blog are:

    a) exposure to new ideas
    b) contacts with interesting and helpful people

    And I don’t have an online business, either!

    Oh, and I got linked to by a British Member of Parliament. Still trying to figure out what to do about that… :)
    Mark Dykeman’s last blog post..Social media magicians give away their best tricks

  3. John Hoff - eVentureBiz on September 3rd, 2008 4:15 pm

    @ Cath - This is a great article. I’ve recently told a friend who wants to start his own business in a year or two that he needs to start blogging now for all the reasons you mentioned above.

    For me, I started blogging about 2 or 3 months before I stared our company. What I’ve really gotten out of it, probably most of all, is a deeper understanding of what I already know and learning new aspects of these things (things I didn’t already know) which in turn has helped me form new creative connections.

    How?

    By learning from others like you.

    @ Mark - hey that’s pretty cool they linked to you. Nice avatar, too.

    John Hoff - eVentureBiz’s last blog post..Securing Your WordPress Blog: Post 6 - Protecting The wp-config.php File

  4. Mark Dykeman on September 3rd, 2008 5:06 pm

    @John - thanks. Sometimes people say the avatar frightens small children (and older ladies), but no one ever forgets it. ;)
    Mark Dykeman’s last blog post..Social media magicians give away their best tricks

  5. cathlawson on September 3rd, 2008 5:39 pm

    Hi Scott - interesting question and a big one too. I think it would depend on the person. Obviously starting a business isn’t for everyone.

    Being passionate about their topic would be important, because that should help them to develop some of the skills and knowledge needed to start their business.

    It’s far easier to learn something you’re passionate about. But, I’d also encourage them to learn more about business in general before they actually started. I know you learn a lot more while you’re running one, but there’s many things I wished I’d learned more about beforehand.

    There’s a lot of unknowns to consider too - before they begin blogging, they will probably have no idea what type of business they’ll start - they should listen to what they’re customers need, as I mentioned in part 1. I’m going to go into that a bit later in the series.

    Start up costs etc are another thing to consider. But if they’re planning a couple of years ahead there’s quite a things they could do to raise that cash.

    I think, before they actually begin blogging - they should consider their target market too. Their topic shouldn’t be so broad that it appeals to almost everyone, or so narrow that it appeals to barely anyone either.

    And of course - do they like writing? If they do & they’re not good at it - they can always improve it. But if they don’t, there’s probably better ways to start a business.

    I’m not promising this could work for everyone though. But I do think it’s a safe way to test the water, if they’re willing to put in the time.

    Hi Mark - Exposure to new ideas is a huge benefit isn’t it? I must admit - I’ve learned about things I’d not even thought about before.

    Re - the MP link - you should put it in the spam folder, he’ll probably try to tax you on it. Just kidding - which MP linked to you?

    Hi John - you obviously had a really deep knowledge of business and your own business in general before you began blogging. I can tell by the quality of your posts. But it’s nice that you’ve learned even more from other people in the blogosphere too.

    Mark your Avatar is great - it’s totally different to anything I’ve seen before. Did you make it yourself?

  6. Vered - MomGrind on September 3rd, 2008 5:47 pm

    Just looking at my Facebook network - it doubled itself since I started blogging. So I completely agree about the networking aspect.

    Vered - MomGrind’s last blog post..How To Lose 100 Subscribers in 4 Days

  7. cathlawson on September 3rd, 2008 6:16 pm

    Hi Vered - that is brilliant that you’ve connected with so many new people in a short space of time through blogging.

  8. Barbara Swafford on September 3rd, 2008 6:41 pm

    Hi Catherine,

    For me, blogging has helped me revive my passion for writing plus helping others on a broader scale. It’s been a good fit as I can blog and work in the home office at the same time. In the past, I would just be surfing the net or playing games on my computer. Now I can write, teach, connect with others, and learn even more. It’s a win-win-win.

    I don’t know if my blog will lead to a business venture, however, I do think blogs can open doors for us that may lead to other life changing events.

    Barbara Swafford’s last blog post..Charity Starts At Home

  9. cathlawson on September 3rd, 2008 7:15 pm

    Hi Barbara - that is a good point that nobody has brought up yet - writing passion. And it really does push you to write every day doesn’t it?

    I guess a business isn’t the only thing a blog could lead you into. I was reading an article on Problogger and he mentioned folk getting “discovered” and asked to write magazine columns, or offered great jobs. I guess anything can happen.

  10. Marelisa on September 3rd, 2008 7:50 pm

    Hi Cath: Blogging makes me strain my brain for topics to write about (good mental stimulation), I’ve learned tons of stuff since I do a lot of research for most of my blog posts, I’m creating a business plan so I can earn side-income from my blog, and I’ve “met” some amazing people online. Oh, and it’s a lot of fun!

    Marelisa’s last blog post..25 More Ways to Celebrate Life

  11. cathlawson on September 3rd, 2008 8:00 pm

    Hi Mare - I can tell a lot of research is put into your posts. You write on some amazing topics - I’ve certainly learned a lot from them.

    It’s great that you’re already putting together a business plan - hopefully it will bring you in a decent side income.

  12. Ian Denny on September 3rd, 2008 9:18 pm

    Cath,

    Blogging is totally inspiring. Whether you have a business, recovering from a failed one like me, or aspiring to start one.

    And you’re so right. Whatever you choose to do, it needs to reflect you as a person.

    Or to be really blunt, you shouldn’t bother.

    I’ve been really lucky. But the hours are long too! At least I’m enjoying what I do. If I lacked the passion for what I’d chosen, I’d be miserable.

    And blogging itself becomes a passion I believe which transcends the selfish need for remuneration. The funny thing is, I feel incomplete! Mainly because try as I do, I can’t tune in as often as I want to now.

    I haven’t made a penny from blogging directly. At one time I wanted to. Mainly because I love blogging. But a blog has become a part of what I do.

    It;s less frequent on the personal blog. And the same too on the business blog.

    But I must say that the business blg has caused the “problem”. In other words, more business coming in than we can cope with.

    Within a year, we’ve trebled our workforce. And I must say that you’ve inspired me to be brave where I was fearful. And your advice was right.

    Long live Cath!

    Ian Denny’s last blog post..Turning Enquiries Into Sales

  13. cathlawson on September 3rd, 2008 9:26 pm

    Hi Ian - I know you don’t get time to blog a lot. But it’s fantastic that your business blog has taken off and brought you in lots of work. I knew you could do it.

    Having the passion makes all the difference That’s the main reason I liquidated my last business - it wasn’t right for me. And a few folk on here, including you, made me realise that passion is really important.

  14. Scott McIntyre on September 3rd, 2008 9:37 pm

    Thank you, Cath, for taking the time to give me such a comprehensive answer. It gives me much to ponder.

  15. cathlawson on September 3rd, 2008 9:53 pm

    You’re welcome Scott - me too. I guess there’s lots of things to thing about before starting a blog or a business. Probably enough to fill several blog posts.

  16. Valerie on September 3rd, 2008 10:44 pm

    Cath, enjoyed this post about the fringe benefits of blogging without a business. I am just getting started but desire to turn this into a business one day. Thanks for the info. I think I’ll subscribe.

    (found you via remarkablogger)

    Valerie’s last blog post..A Look at Adult Day Care - Youtube Video

  17. Wendi Kelly-Life's Littlw Inspirations on September 3rd, 2008 10:53 pm

    Hi Cath,

    I have seen you everywhere and decided to come and say hello!

    Writing is a passion of mine and so that is how I got involved in blogging in the first place but as I have become more involved I can completly see where this can evolve into a career and now plan to use my website as part- not all- of my long term plan. I’m not in a big hurry and I am enjoying meeting people and building friendships in a more natural and organic way though, rather then just as part of a marketing strategy.

    Your site is very nice! I will be back, I have subscribed.

    Wendi Kelly-Life’s Littlw Inspirations’s last blog post..Changing Colors

  18. Mark Dykeman on September 4th, 2008 12:20 am

    All: the British MP in question is Tom Watson.

    Mark Dykeman’s last blog post..Social media magicians give away their best tricks

  19. chris on September 4th, 2008 2:03 am

    I’ve definitely learned a lot about myself since I started blogging and it also allowed my children to get to know a lot more about their crazy dad…The friendship that I’ve developed since I started blogging also is also immeasurable.

    chris’s last blog post..A Ray Of Light, Part 7

  20. Alex Fayle on September 4th, 2008 2:23 am

    I have just spent two years blogging and am now just launching the business side of it. Having taken the two years first, I now have something worth selling.

    @Wendi
    Cath’s site is wonderful - I look forward to her posts every day.

    Alex Fayle’s last blog post..Practicing Flexibility to Remain Steady

  21. Ellen Wilson on September 4th, 2008 3:46 pm

    Hi Cath,

    I wish I would have started blogging BEFORE I started up and running my writing and photo biz. It would have been a lot less stressful.

    I guess I’ve taken a step back and realized I can’t do everything. LIve and learn, I guess.

    Very good post, Cath. I like your insights.

    Ellen Wilson’s last blog post..And the Winner is…California!

  22. Lance on September 4th, 2008 6:09 pm

    Blogging has been a powerful experience for me. What I’ve found, is that deep down, it touches my soul. The journey has been one that began with some fear - fear of what others would think about what I wrote. But the truth is, the journey has been just what I needed to re-think my life and goals. And the thing that really touches me is the amazing people I’ve “met” through blogging. To connect and share with others really has enhanced the experience for me so much.

    Lance’s last blog post..Lost In This Great Big World

  23. cathlawson on September 4th, 2008 7:04 pm

    Hi Valerie - Thanks for coming by and for subscribing. It would be brilliant if you could start a business from your blog.

    Hi Wendi - thank you. Blogging really helps to commit us to writing every day doesn’t it? And it’s great that it can become part of your long term plan.

    Hi Mark - I checked him out. I didn’t realise so many UK MP’s were blogging too.

    Hi Chris - It really does help doesn’t it? And it’s brilliant that your kids read your blog. Mine read sometimes, but only if they think I’ve written something amusing, like the Barbie Blogger, or the Shit post.

    Hi Alex - thank you. Your someday syndrome is brilliant too. It was definitely worth you waiting two years - gives you time to know what people want and I think you’ve tapped into a huge market.

    Hi Ellen - I can imagine that it is stressful doing it all at once. But you’ll get there. I think you’ve just got to try not to overwhelm yourself and not grow too fast.

    Hi Lance - That is wonderful. I think we all set out with that fear, which is probably why it’s a good thing that we have fewer readers in the first few months.

    It’s wonderful that blogging has been able to help you re-think your goals. And you meet so many amazing people that you wouldn’t meet otherwise don’t you?

  24. Robin on September 5th, 2008 1:54 am

    Actually - a fringe benefit I’ve got from doing my blog is that for the first time ever I see myself as a writer. I came from a science background, and became a science teacher, and I really struggled to write anything (e.g. kids school reports).

    Then I wrote books and other educational materials - but they were EDUCATIONAL, if you know what i mean. Now I am writing for an adult audience and I am really enjoying it - and, as I said, I feel like I am a real writer now (sort of).

    Robin’s last blog post..Think And It Shall Be So

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  26. cathlawson on September 5th, 2008 4:12 am

    Hi Robin - that is weird that you didn’t see yourself as a writer when you wrote all those books.

    You know, I would never have guessed that you were a science teacher. Most folk I meet who are into science, tend to discount anything that hasn’t been proven by science. But you are just the opposite. I find your blog unique and interesting.

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