I want to make this advice as practical as possible. Lots of people want to start a blog and make money. Very few have the time. Very few have the conviction. Very few have the confidence that it can work for them.
I've built many successful blogs over the years, but I was a bit lucky in how it happened. Of course “luck” is a funny thing, but I was lucky in the sense that I had a lot of time to waste and was happy to waste it.
I was working in China in 2010, and my class schedule was only in the evenings. I had 2 classes per evening, Monday to Friday, then a full schedule Sat/Sun from 8AM to 8PM. Then I had a full month off during Chinese New Year. So I had plenty of time.
I was also sick and tired of my job, so I had a huge motivator to sit in front of the screen all day and kick my own ass to get work done.
Ultimately, I have these two elements as, at least in part, to thank for my current success as an affiliate blogger. Those two years were pretty intense, but I was able to make a ton of progress and basically jumpstart my business.
If you have a family and a job right now, you might not have the same kind of time and motivation to get the work done.
Practically speaking, you just have less time. You get up at 6, leave to work at 7, and get home at 5 or 6. After dinner, you're tired, and maybe you have family obligations, or you might just want to actually enjoy being with your family rather than working all the time.
That second part, the “enjoying your family” is the other part of the equation. It's possible that your job is okay and pays the bills. When it's 11PM and you've been at work all day, then you helped your kids with their homework, and you're exhausted and just want to get a good nights sleep, that can be a real killer to your motivation to start another job essentially before going to bed.
I do think it's possible though. I can't say I did it exactly like this myself, but having blogged for a decade now, I know what are the most essential parts of creating a successful blog. You don't have to make my same mistakes. Though I mentioned spending hours and hours initially to build my first websites, a lot of that time was wasted trying various shortcuts and schemes that never panned out. It wasn't like I was working 100% efficiently.
So in this blog post you can learn from my mistakes, benefit from my insights, and distill your time down to only the most powerful tasks that need to be done to get your blog off the ground and producing income.
Table of Contents
Easy Schedule For A Successful Blog In 2 Years
Two years may seem like a long time, but let's get real for a second. How many other types of companies in the world do you think are profitable in a shorter time frame? Do you think someone tries to start a restaurant and say, “Well, if it's not profitable in 3 weeks, then I quit!”
People start businesses with conviction. They have a long time horizon. They realize that they will have to make some sacrifices, and that they may actually lose money for a while before they make money. They will definitely be front-loading their time, and they may never get it back.
This is the reality of starting a business. There are risks involved.
The good news is that it's very likely that you'll be profitable in less than the two year time frame, and in fact, you could be wildly profitable within a year or less. It happens. There are a lot of variables, and it's the exception, not the rule, but it does happen. If you have an incredible work ethic, a good idea, and consistent execution, you could be earning some good money pretty quickly.
How much money? $25k/month isn't unreasonable in a couple years. THat's more than a doctor in less than half the time, and with much fewer prerequisites. This isn't brain surgery. It's writing articles about cool stuff you like. Pretty easy.
OK, so let's look at a schedule for success in the two-year time frame.
- Monday: Research, Outline, 500 words (2 hours)
- Tuesday: 1000 words, Finalize, Publish (2 hours)
- Wednesday: Research, Outline, 500 words (2 hours)
- Thursday: 1000 words, Finalize, Publish (2 hours)
- Friday: Education, Updates, Keyword Research (2 Hours)
- Saturday: Keyword Research, Education, Misc (4 Hours)
- Sunday: Catch up, Rest
The basic gist here is that you are publishing articles 2x per week. No social media. No link schemes. No extra nothing. Just focusing on publishing high quality articles on keywords you find.
Two articles per week is 100 per year, and 200 per two years. You articles should be a mix of product reviews, listicles, tutorials, and Q&A. 1500-2000 word count should be your goal for each article, and they should target low-competition keywords. This is all covered here.
You might struggle with the word count a bit. I can't remember exactly how fast I was writing articles back in the day, but I don't think it's too hard to knock out 500-1000 words per day on a topic.
Also, notice that I only marked 2 hours per day dedicated to your business. That's a pretty cushy amount of time to build a six-figure affiliate blog. If you really want to knock it out of the park, 4-5 hours per night is possible, depending on your family situation. Maybe dad just has to work in his office from 8-12PM every night. That still leaves you 6-8 to socialize with the family.
I mean, some families have it way worse, and you're still “available” in the office. It's not like you're out mining coal.
Working WITH Your Job, Not Against It
One bit of mindset advice I have is to consider what benefits you can gain from your job while you're building your online business. The more you “hate” your job, the more stress it's going to bring you, and conflict clouds the mind.
Instead, I recommend to try to gain something from your job even if you plan on leaving it.
If you're working retail, can you gain some insight into how customer influences buyer habits? If you're working in an office, will your data analytics skills come in handy for blog traffic? If you're working outdoors doing physical labor, can you see what types of products the “everyman” is using day to day so you can then review and market them on your blog?
There are business ideas everywhere, all the time, so start paying attention and you might be surprised what you come up with. I come up with random business ideas all the time just by analyzing my own problems. I had a great one the other day: how about a scented face mask? Those medical ones have a real stink to them!
You don't necessarily have to take action on every insight or business idea you have, but the mindset is what matters.
Are You Stealing Time From Your Family?
Having worked with a ton of people over the past decade, the one thing that folks generally don't want to sacrifice is time with the family. It's hammered into our heads over and over again that family is the most important thing in the world and every moment is precious.
OK. I get it. That's true. But there's also a lot of responsibilities to take care of, and the temporary pain of spending time locked in your office will pay off later. Two years of busy time will give you decades of free time. That's how I look at it.
A compromise could be that you only work Thursday to Sunday, which gives you four days a week, and you could pack 4 hours per night on Thursday/Friday, then 8 hours on Saturday/Sunday. That's still a hefty schedule, and it leaves Monday-Wednesday totally free, with no business activities at all.
Alternatively, you can leave weekends totally free, then just work like a maniac Monday to Friday, clocking six hours from 6PM to 12PM every day. That's still 36 hours (almost full time) to your side hustle.
The point is, you are going to have to sacrifice something, somewhere. The investment of time now is going to pay off later. The most you delay your time investment now, the longer you delay your results. That's fine if this is your goal, but you won't be making $10k/month in 2 years with just a couple hours per week dedicated to your blog.
Everything You Do Is A Decision To Build Your Business Or Not
Once you start your business, everything you do, or do not do, is reflected in the growth of your business. Want to watch Neflix? That's an hour taken from your business. Want to go out to dinner? That's 2 hours taken from your business. Sitting on Twitter for 20 minutes? That could have been 200 words on your blog…and so on and so on. You get it.
Even from a monetary standpoint, wasting money on frivolous things is money you could have spent outsourcing articles or upgrading your site to Premium tools like paid plugins and themes.
If you can't tell, I'm a bit obsessive about things, and maybe that's why I've seen such great results with my blogs. I work and work and work and work until things do what I want them to do. Is it unhealthy? Maybe. It works for me though, and it's the only mindset I know.
Having your business floating around in your brain 24/7 is a lifestyle. I didn't get here overnight though. It took years of cultivating this mindset, and really wanting things to work out. It's never worked for me to turn things on, then off, then on again. I just go go go all the time.
You may need to cultivate a different mindset that works for you, but for me, I have always seen my free time now as a choice. I can have fun doing something I really want to do, or I can be working on my business.