I’ve become a student of entrepreneurship lately, spending much of my free time watching interviews with entrepreneurs and reading about their strategies, and even picking their brains at work. After all, many of us are entrepreneurs in our own right, figuring out how to cobble together a living doing what we love. (Self-publishing, by the way, falls into this category.)
This topic is a good fit for me because my brain is always bursting with ideas, which is, of course, one of the main requirements of being an entrepreneur. I come up with an idea for a new project almost daily, and I’m constantly reminding myself that I need to focus on what I’m already working on, lest I spread myself too thin. So rather than act on every plan I hatch, I file most of them away in an idea file. (I use Evernote for that.)
But I’m dying to put some of these ideas to use. So I’ve decided to try my hand at monetizing this blog, almost as an experiment. Not in a major way; I certainly don’t blog for the money. And not in a way that jeopardizes the content or look of this blog; I can’t stand Google ads, text ads or even sponsored posts. But now that this blog is a success, now that we’ve created a community, I want to take it one step further and see what we can do with that readership.
Which turns this into a bit of a challenge, requires a bit of creativity. How can I monetize in a way that adds value for you? Since I’m not trying to make a lot of money here, and certainly not trying to make a living, the stakes are low.
Here are a few of the ideas I’ve come up with:
Affiliate advertising. I’m already an affiliate with Thesis, which means if you buy the WordPress theme through that link, I benefit. But I’ve been brainstorming other affiliate opportunities that make sense for this blog, ones that are actually relevant.
I signed up with my web hosting company DreamHost (use promo code “alexisgrant,” and you’ll get $10 off), as well as a few interesting travel e-books: The Art of Solo Travel (I interviewed the author, Stephanie Lee, a while back) and Negotiating Your Sabbatical, a product I wish I’d come across before taking my career break. But I’m still trying to figure out where to display these opportunities without compromising the clean look of this site.
I tried Amazon affiliates for a short time, but quite frankly, the small return I got for each sale — especially books, which are relatively inexpensive — wasn’t worth cluttering up my sidebar.
Anyone have suggestions for other quality travel, social media or writing-related affiliate products?
E-books. I’m absolutely fascinated with the idea of selling knowledge-based e-books, and I’ve got a few ideas up my sleeve. But I’d also like to hear from you: Of the topics I write about — writing, journalism, travel and social media — is there anything in particular you’d like to learn about more about?
Video tutorials. Along those same lines, it would be cool to expand on some of the ideas I write about here in video format, mainly showing you a few of my social media tricks. This would be a great opportunity to experiment with Pay with a Tweet.
Relevant advertising/sponsorship. I’d like to offer ad space in my sidebar to a writing coach, manuscript editor, or individual who teaches writing classes — services my readers would actually want. Only one ad at a time, at least to start, and super affordable prices. Contact me if you’re interested, and we can work out the details.
Which of these ideas do you think will work best? What creative monetization strategies have you seen work for bloggers with medium-sized audiences?
Photo credit: Flickr’s br1dotcom