As blogging becomes more entrenched over time, there has arisen a number of ways that people are going about doing things. Some people have gone into social media consulting. Others are doing freelancing for print publications. Some are are trying to make money selling courses and ebooks.
There are certainly many different ways to go about monetizing and working your blog as a business. However, as the options available increases it is becoming more important to know what you are not about as much as you know what you are going to do.
It is all a matter of focus.
There is nothing wrong with any of the options I listed above, but each one has an opportunity cost in terms of what you are NOT doing. You can’t do everything and even if you could, you’d still want to focus on whatever derived the biggest benefit and stop doing things which didn’t have a big payoff.
I’ve spent the last few months trying to focus and cut back on what I do. This exercise has been primarily one of figuring out what I’m not going to be doing. Here are some of the things I’ve decided to not focus on:
- I am not a consultant. I put a lot of thought into how I can use social media. I have no idea how a tourism board or a hotel should use social media. If you aren’t a photographer traveling around the world, I’m not sure if I can help you. Moreover, having run a consulting firm in the 90’s, it isn’t something I ever want to do again.
- I am not a social media/blogging/personal growth/entrepreneurship guru. Despite occasionally sharing things on this site, I don’t want to get into the business of telling people how to live their life. I’m not comfortable in that role and I don’t think I have the stomach for it. I tried helping some bloggers in the past, but most of my advice is ignored or they end up just copying what I do and trying to compete with me. Either way it isn’t worth my time. I also am not going to create an ebook or course telling people how to create a travel blog.
- I’m not a spokesman for travel blogging. I don’t want to be the guy who does presentations to the greater travel industry about blogging. I don’t want to serve in any sort of official capacity for any blogger/writer/photographer organization. I’ve quit all the travel blogging forums I was a member of in 2012 just so I could remove the distraction and focus.
- I am not a freelancer. There is nothing whatsoever wrong with freelancing. In fact, if you are starting out I think it is a great way to bring in money. However, I’m not sure that writing for other publications will do anything for me in terms of building my site. There are some benefits to strategic guest posting, but that isn’t really a moentization scheme. I would actually consider doing some selective freelance articles for magazines/newspapers, but it would be more to build social proof than it would be a career choice. It would basically be glorified guest posting. I’m also not going to go out of my way to get photography gigs either, but if someone wants to run a photo I’ve already taken, I’m open to it.
Once I’ve whittled away everything I don’t want to do, what I do want to do becomes much clearer. I want to focus on what got me into this business to begin with.
I want to focus on my readers and focus on creating content. Not just writing posts and taking photos but also expanding into other areas as well: books, video and podcasting.
For the record, there is nothing wrong with any of the things I’ve decided not to do. They just aren’t the things want I want to do.
No matter what you want to focus on, you have to explicitly know what business opportunities you are going to avoid in order to excel at what you choose.