How many times have you heard something like this:
“Don’t worry about the money”
“Don’t monetize your site if you want people to respect you”
“Work for free now and profit later.”
…Are you kidding me?
These types of people are selling you feel-good lies and playing on your morals to make themselves look good. Worst of all, they are part of the reason you’re not making more money.
So let me set one thing straight – THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH CHARGING MONEY FOR YOUR WORK!
Now let me explain a bit. I’m not saying you shouldn’t give value to your audience. You absolutely should. I’m not saying you shouldn’t put your audience first, and do what you can to make your audience happy. You absolutely should. What I’m saying is that there comes a time when you have to make money as well. After all, your web hosting and other business expenditures do not pay for themselves.
I’m not going to lie to you and pretend that I don’t aim to get some sort of monetary reward out of all of this. I give out content for free knowing that it will result in some people paying me money for more. If I wasn’t making money from all of this there is no way you’d be reading this right now. It’s quite likely this website wouldn’t exist at all.
Think about it. Why should you work for free? Why should you spend a period of your finite life providing stuff to other people if you’re not going to get any reward out of it?
It doesn’t make any sense.
Passion is important. Enjoying your work is important. However, your passion isn’t going to pay the bills.
Here’s the thing about the real world: it is driven by money and the free market. The system works. In the free market, businesses put out products with the aim of creating a profit.
In a brilliant post by Joy Healey on a similar subject to this one, I mentioned in a comment that people love to complain about pharmaceutical companies charging money for their life saving drugs. What people do not realize is that if they weren’t making money, these companies would not have any reason to develop further cures.
Likewise, if you’re not making money from your blog, why bother to work hard to build it up further, right? You’d be wasting your time. Don’t let people take advantage of you, charge them fairly.
I know this is different to what a lot of people have probably told you. When you compare me to what I call ‘feel-good’ bloggers, I look like a real jerk. I’m not. What I am is honest. A hell of a lot more honest than the bloggers playing on your emotions and morals to make you feel like you’re “doing the right thing” so you can wonder at the end of the month why you’re not making a dime.
Here’s the thing about business. It does not care about your emotions, and your emotion should not get in the way of business.
Burn this into your head – the primary goal of a business is to make money, and that’s it! Unfortunately, many people get blinded by their emotions, and put them before logic or facts when making decisions. That is a real problem.
You are very fortunate as a blogger. You are in the type of business where you make more money by being nice and making friends with other people. When you give a ton of upfront value to your audience, you make more money than if you hide behind a curtain and try to hard-sell every person that visits your site.
However, there comes a time where you’ve got to draw the line and start charging for more. This is true with both your content and your services.
I do a lot for my email subscribers. I go above and beyond most marketers to really make sure they’re happy. Not only do I answer all of their emails in detail, I don’t mind working with them one on one on a project or to help them make an important decision. This takes up a lot of my time, but I know that the money I make from these people will be worth the time spent.
And I’ll be honest – there is a huge part of me that genuinely enjoys working with and helping people. It truly brings me happiness that I do not get elsewhere.
Every once in a while though there’s someone who wants me to run their entire business for them. Not only are they emailing me every time they have a tiny question (which could easily be solved with a Google search) but they want me to fix their screw-ups and do their work. I’m not joking, I once had a guy that expected me to write his content for him!
Screw that. Don’t let clients and customers treat you like this. Make them pay you. If you’re going to take away the most important resource in your life, your time – you should certainly be getting something out of it!
Anyway, I pointed this guy to my services page where my rates for freelance writing / content creation were at. He was honestly appalled that I would dare charge him for my services. He let me know right away that I “wasn’t who he thought I was” (clearly a pushover) and that he would be “unsubscribing and unfollowing me.”
Great! That action saved me a countless number of future headaches. You must be willing to ‘fire’ your worst subscribers, and celebrate you two parting ways. Let’s hope those kind of people leave your site and never come back, because they certainly aren’t worth your time either!
Prioritize Your Buyers Over Your Freebie Seekers
Some people deserve more of your free time than others. Put those people first.
Everybody should be segmenting their list. At the bare minimum, keep your group of buyers separate from the rest of your email list. It’s important to know who on your list trusted you enough to spend money on your products, because they are the people most likely to send you money again.
As mentioned earlier, in this business you make money by helping other people. However, not every person is going to end up buying something from you. That’s fine and to be expected. This means however that some people are more important to you than others – your buyers.
Help out everyone on your list to the best of your ability, but always give priority to the people that are giving you money (if you want them to keep giving you money). Reply to their emails first. Do more for them. Make them feel special – because they are.
If you’re not blogging to make money, you’re not running a business. You’re pursuing a hobby.
While it’s always a good idea to provide a ton of value to your audience, do not ever be afraid to charge for further services. Always remember that the primary goal of a business is profit.
How you work with your visitors to convert them into buyers is up to you. Just make sure it actually ends up happening.
You’ll thank me later!