You already know you’re working too much.
That little “hobby blog” turned into Gol-dang-zilla the moment you decided to make money from it.
The social media free-for-all.
…and that’s why you need to see what happened to Leslie.
About 15 months ago, Leslie made some powerful changes on her blog, and it wasn’t a total makeover. In fact, she changed just a few key things over just 8 weeks, and her income started to increase. See if you can spot where that happened:
The interesting thing isn’t that Leslie’s income went up. There are lots of ways to make that happen. But usually if you want to double your income, you have to double your work time…or at least really ramp things up, right?
Well in this case, Leslie started blogging less.
As in, she went from blogging 40+ hours per week to only 20.
And in this post, you’ll learn the 6 things Leslie did in that 8-week period that took her from burned-out blogger to Smart CEO…with enough momentum that now?
Her business is practically growing itself.
But before you can see exactly what Leslie did (I promise, that’s coming!) you need to understand where Leslie was, in the BEFORE.
When Leslie came to me, she had already been blogging for 7 years. She had made a handful of small products ($5-8 each) and was selling them on Etsy. She had ads on her site. She was using affiliate links to promote products. But she had tried all the going advice out there and was stuck. Leslie said,
Success for me would be an income that averages $5K/month AFTER expenses. But I’ve been stuck in my income and my page views for months. I’d love to move forward with my numbers even if it’s for a short period of time.
I haven’t been meeting my goals and I don’t know why. I have followed all of the steps from blogging courses. I’ve improved my photography, written pithy paragraphs beneath my Pinterest posts, chosen likable fonts, etc. So, why didn’t I meet my goals?
Now, $1500/month is nothing to sneeze at. But the problem was, Leslie was blogging full time (and had been for years). She had maxed out at making less than $10/hour blogging, and she was stuck.
So how did Leslie start making more money blogging while cutting her time in half?
Let’s start with the most important thing:
1. She narrowed down and focused her topic…to one with *LOTS* of competition.
You’ve heard the advice “choose a niche” before, and so had Leslie. But on the surface, it doesn’t make sense, does it? You write about fewer things, and expect to get MORE popular?
Leslie had been writing about anything and everything she loved – gardening, sewing, gluten free living, the challenge of moving your parents to assisted living…and while she did have a faithful reader base that was willing to read whatever she wrote (because they loved HER), the fact was, her blog just wasn’t growing. It’s like it had reached a certain level and just hit a plateau.
(Maybe yours is the same?)
The reason it’s usually so scary to “niche down” is because for most bloggers, it’s just a guess – a wild shot in the dark – and ZOMG WHAT IF YOU CHOOSE THE WRONG THING??
But Leslie had been blogging for awhile, so she was able to employ some actual research methods to figure out where to focus her energy.
And when she did? BOOM.
For so long I’ve felt like I was in a dark blogging room and couldn’t find the light switch. Occasionally, I’d get glimpses of light that would point me in a good-enough direction, but nothing has been as illuminating as this.”
Which was incredible, because she was expecting to hear about how much HARDER she’d have to work to ramp up her blog growth when in fact…
2. She started writing *LESS,* not more.
There’s a classic rule in economics, marketing, and business called the Pareto Principle, or the “80/20” rule. It says that 80 percent of the effects come from 20% of the causes.
Applied to blogging, it looks like this:
- Only 20% of the time you’re blogging leads to 80% of the results you’re getting…
- Only 20% of the products you’re promoting/brands you’re working with/courses you’re creating lead to 80% of the money you’re making…
- Only 20% of the posts you’re writing lead to 80% of your traffic (can I get a witness??)…
So once Leslie had learned how this principle applied to HER situation, she was confident that if she poured her energy into what – for her – was the 20% that was bringing all her results, she could blog LESS and get even greater results.
And take a look at what happened:
That means that for the last 6 months, while Leslie’s income has been climbing to over $5K/month? She has been posting less than once a week.
Did you get that? She wrote just 3 posts in February and made $6,751.91.
But it’s not just POSTING she was doing less of – even more miraculous,
3. She spent LESS time on social media.
Publish. Publish. Publish.
Promote. Promote. Promote.
Link. Share. SCREAMMMMM!!!!
That’s what all the “experts” tell you to do, right? Join that link swapping group. BE EVERYWHERE.
It’s like the fanatic standing on the corner, preaching at the top of his lungs to everyone within earshot. Do people hear him? Sure. Do they care about his message? …Usually, no.
The idea that the loudest blogger wins is B.S.
In fact, while you’re out there promoting yourself, screaming for attention, some savvy, business-minded blogger is quietly racking up the converts. Not because she’s better than you, but because she gives them a reason to care (See #5 below).
When Leslie stopped broadcasting anything and everything, running on that hamster wheel of social promotion, she started giving her people a REASON to care, and her level of engagement went UP…while she invested less time than ever. Leslie says,
I loathe, despise, and detest having to spend any time on social media. I had been spending about 5-10 hours a week Pinning [on Pinterest] at recommended times and participating in Linky parties.
But now I’ve reduced it to (at the most) 1.5 hours per week – which includes using a pinning scheduler. I only post to Instagram or Facebook as it suits me. Traffic is up.
And since I’ve honed my audience, yes, my page views are up, but it also represents a much more engaged audience who are interested in what I have to say. A more engaged audience = higher RPM = higher paying ads. Bottom Line: I work half as much for twice the money.
But the real reason that worked is because…
4. She created automated systems for building her email list.
In my guide, “5 Things You Can Fix On Your Blog NEXT WEEK to Get More Subscribers,” I recommend ditching your social media buttons. (Read more about that here.)
Well, Leslie had already taken that Blog Maven advice to heart three years ago and immediately started getting more email subscribers. (Woot!)
But while that did give Leslie a good boost, it wasn’t the “magic pill” she was hoping for. Because what she didn’t have was a system in place for capturing that fresh traffic – whether it’s coming in from Pinterest, Facebook, or somewhere else – and turning those people into subscribers.
So in a very intensive two-week period, Leslie focused on building a system for JUST on calling out to the right people visiting her blog, showing them why she was the blogger to follow, and holding their hand through the process of joining her inner circle. And then making sure they’d STAY subscribed once they were on board.
And her blog now does that automatically.
That means that for every new person that ever sees her site, FOREVER, they now have the greatest possible chance of putting in their email into her subscribe form and becoming loyal members of Leslie’s tribe. So any blog post Leslie writes (ever again!), she knows that when the RIGHT person sees it, they’ll subscribe.
Before that two-week period, she averaged 87 subscribers per week. After? 271 per week. And she was writing, promoting, and blogging LESS.
And not only is she getting more subscribers, she’s handing off the hard work of promotion to THEM…so she can spend more time doing things with a big payoff (like making mo-nay!) and letting her subscribers do the sharing.
But Leslie’s “subscriber engine” would be completely impossible if she hadn’t already done one thing well:
5. She focused on solidifying and expressing her unique brand.
…So she spent hundreds of dollars on a new logo, right?
…well then, what – a new website design, maybe?
With thousands of bloggers out there who blog about sewing (talk about competition!), Leslie knew she had to stand out. And it wasn’t through some flashy new design.
Instead, Leslie dug deep into the WHY.
…WHY her site was different from other people’s.
…WHY her perspective was different.
…WHY she was the person to teach what she teaches.
…WHY her readers should even care.
…WHY they should follow her instead of someone else.
…WHY they should “settle down” with ONE blogger, instead of bouncing right back to Pinterest and flirting with any and every blogger who has a pretty post.
Are you starting to get the picture?
Without changing a single design pixel on her site, Leslie got to the heart of her brand, and now that she can express that, new readers are sticking to her like Gorilla Glue.
But it’s not just knowing the WHYs – once she figured those out, it’s what she DID with them, like…
6. She sent 340 posts to the chopping block.
That’s right – unpublished. Deleted. Cut.
41% of what she had previously written on her site, gone.
Because Leslie realized that SO much of what she had previously written about just didn’t align with the brand she wanted to create…and therefore was a distraction. People were seeing certain only-relevant-for-a-week posts, and instantly leaving because – who cares?
But now that every single post is on-brand for her – and also evergreen – when people DO visit her site, they understand exactly what she’s about, and she’s converting visitors to subscribers like a BOSS.
It turns out that less actually *is* more.
So where do YOU go with all this?
A few tips to nudge you in the right direction:
First, YOU must understand your brand. If you don’t understand it, no one else will.
And second, take time AWAY from writing posts to get a bigger system ironed out. If you just keep churning out the content without a real strategy – without a plan in place – next year is going to look exactly like this one. And you’ll be a year older, a year tireder, but still staring at the same stats and the same dollars.
So stop what you’re doing. Do the research. Make tough decisions. And plow ahead so you can blog smarter and build a business that lasts.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to leave you hanging. Twice per year, I open my online Mastermind program for bloggers who want to become smart CEOs…with the confidence and clarity so that your next step? Is exactly the right one to grow your brand and business. Because blogging should make your life BETTER, not more insane. Here’s what another one of my students said:
“I was all over the place with my blogging – I was putting all my time into things that weren’t taking me anywhere financially. The Blog Smarter program gave me clarity and a specific path to make my blog a business, and I have the tools to get me there. This would have taken me three years to do on my own.” – Carla Sanchez-Anderson, Organic Life TV
The Blog Smarter program is an 8-week online mentorship program for bloggers who want to grow their business, blog less, and live more. It only opens twice per year, so if you want to walk step by step through the same process Leslie has used to multiply her income while slashing her blogging time in half, then visit our program page and put your name on the list to be notified when we’re opening enrollment again.
…and P.S. What do you think Leslie is doing with all the extra time she has on her hands now? She’s keeping that CEO cap on, using it to create her own higher-tier products and courses…so she’ll be helping MORE of her readers in a deeper way, and making even more money. Now that’s blogging smarter. 😉
P.P.S. Thanks to Leslie from the Seasoned Homemaker for graciously allowing me to publish her results. She’s doing amazing things.