July 5, 2016 33 comments

The 6 Most Profitable Blogger Career Paths (and How to Get Started in One)

by Regina

The 6 Most Profitable Blogger Career Paths and Tips on Deciding How to Monetize Your Interests

Oh man. Listen. I 100% believe what I’m about to say and it IS big. I’m not even necessarily being the overly dramatic version of myself that I normally am.

Here it is.

There are six distinct blogger career paths, which if you understand and work on, can absolutely change your world.

I’ve been down each one of these paths in the past, and it is time to share them . . . and to change the careers that we consider, pursue, and build for ourselves.

P.S. Everything below and more is available as a podcast episode. And here is the flowchart I reference and show.

How do you make money as a blogger? What careers are there in blogging. Here's a resource to help.

For years, and years, and years society has been quick to teach us the traditional career paths of lawyers, and teachers, and plumbers, and even professional basketball players. We know which schools we need to go to, which judge to get an internship with, how to get certified during night school, which recruiters and game stats we should shoot for, etc.

We know that once we become a lawyer, we can look forward to either practicing law at a major firm and trying to make partner, or starting our own firm, or teaching law, or working as a public defender, or working for a major corporation as an attorney, or doing pro bono, or advising a non-profit, or getting into politics and perhaps running for president of our country one day.

Great.

But, what about career paths for bloggers? For content creators? For some of these positions and interests that are popping up, making money, and sticking around?

Just as becoming a lawyer doesn’t guarantee you money or clients, but it does provide many paths to monetize (explained above) and many specialties to focus on (family law, corporate issues, intellectual property, taxes, tort law, etc.) and is thus considered a legitimate career . . .

becoming a blogger doesn’t guarantee income or fame, but it does provide many paths (explained below and in the podcast episode) and practically endless specialties to focus on (food, business, travel, crafts, fitness, accounting, fashion, etc.) that make money and should thus be considered a legitimate career.

I hope they start teaching it in schools everywhere soon. But until then, may I please present my shiny new Blogger Career Paths flowchart with some explanations and notes (if you’re taking them) that I hope will blow your mind? Okay. Let’s get started.

The 6 Blogging Career Paths

The first thing to understand is what is happening in any career path, anywhere, at any time, on any day. You are learning something new in one of two ways. You are either:

  1. Acquiring a skill. or
  2. Acquiring information.

Right? And, depending on which one you are doing, there are quite a few ways that your career path can develop and morph. Plus, keep in mind that you can continually add new skills or information to the mix to tweak your path as new interests and desires come up.

So, let’s break down what the 6 most profitable career paths for bloggers are, and then, you can optionally decide to head over to the podcast where I break down these Blogger Career Paths into the two actions of acquiring a skill or acquiring information as a starting point.


​The 6 Most Profitable Career Paths for Bloggers

​​1. Becoming a freelancer.

“I like to do X, so I’m going to do it for you, in a customized way.”

Ex: A copywriter for your sales pages. A document designer for your book. An interior designer for your daughter’s room.

2. Becoming a coach or consultant.

“I like to show you how to do X successfully.”

Ex: A divorce + transition coach. A yoga coach. A brand or content coach. Like my girl over at JenCarrington.com.

3. Becoming a speaker.

“I want to talk about X to help make it better and advance the way we think about X.”

Ex: A speaker who raises awareness of the dangers of childhood obesity. A speaker who talks with corporations about how to motivate their team members.

4. Becoming a spokesperson.

“I like to do X and talk about X, so I partner with brands that allow me to do so.”

Ex: A food blogger who is an affiliate for products and gets food brands to pay them for special recipes. A fashion blogger who gets money, clothes, and accessories because they make brands look good. A travel blogger who becomes a brand ambassador for a boutique hotel chain (yes, I actually know someone who did this and their niche is not even travel). Me, when WD sponsored me to talk about their personal cloud device.

5. Making products.

“I want to create a way for people to do X better.”

Ex: A blogger who creates an editorial planner (haha, shameless—that’s my editorial planner for sale on Amazon.com). Or a fitness blogger who creates an app to help you track your fitness goals. Or a yoga-loving blogger who creates more versatile or sustainable yoga gear or bags. Or the blogger behind the food blog Inspiralized.com who made a popular kitchen tool and cookbook.

6. Becoming a publisher for profit.

“I want to teach a lot of people how to do X in a clear way.”

Ex: A course creator who teaches yoga for rehabilitating a weak back. Or my friend Heather who teaches how to style a bookcase. A blogger-author who sells books on financial planning and independence. A blogger who has published multiple books and now teaches a course called Zero to Self-Published Book. You get the point—there are a lot of ways to publish for profit.


​Soooo, when you learn by acquiring a new skill, what are the blogging career paths available to you? And what about when you learn by acquiring info?

I’m so glad you asked this question, ninja friend. I get to that in the podcast episode–I just have a few more tips for you here in this post.

But, let’s take a #secretbreak real quick. Which is, get this, a break in which I tell you a secret.

I’m desperately passionate about helping you find the blogging career that makes sense for you, your learning passions, and the people you like to talk to and help or entertain. I’m passionate about it because I have tested and seen many monetization methods in each career path (as in: there’s more than just one way to make money as a “spokesperson”), and at some point in the last few years, I’ve done each of these careers for full-time income. #CommitmentPhobe #Can’tMakeUpMyMind

No seriously, it was just about learning and growing.

And testing. And you know what?

It IS possible to pursue blogging as a career . . . it just needs to be approached wisely.

So, you will notice, especially as you listen to the episode and take a gander at the flowchart, one common theme that helps you monetize scalably is to figure out a process with what you do, and then figure out how to make it better (through products, or tools, or coaching/guidance), how to explain it better (through organized information), or how to present it better. These ALL deal with publishing information.

  • Visual information.
  • Written information.
  • Information as tutorials or videos.
  • Audio files.
  • There are a lot of options.

And I want to help you navigate them. I’m not gonna just leave you like “Yay. Blogging careers are real. Go find one.”

Here’s the deal. Carving a career for yourself out of this new industry requires (1) something you are passionately interested in—and p.s. you can test things out and binge-do the Internet to start finding out what that is if you don’t already know, and (2) being consistent about creating value out of what you’re passionately interested in. How to create content that wins will be a focus of the next few episodes of the #StayScrappy podcast and of the posts on this blog . . . but . . .

At the very least . . . you can start by taking my Free Blog School where you’ll get an overview, several training videos, a workbook, and more, that will ACTUALLY help you build a WordPress or Squarespace blog.

Then, if you’re feeling good about your setup and wanting to move forward, please feel free to check out ALL the free content here on the blog to see if that gives you what you need, or, if you’re ready to super duper pursue this, you can come join me in The Profitable Content Workshop where we expand on this episode and go through a five-step process to plan profitable content based on the blogging career path you choose.

The Profitable Content Workshop will guide you through a 5-step process for choosing your blogging career path and creating purposeful and profitable content.

It’s going to be epic. Know what I’m saying?!

Regina out.

33 responses to “The 6 Most Profitable Blogger Career Paths (and How to Get Started in One)”

  1. Thanks for the shoutout in this article! Great resource for aspiring freelancers/bloggers – pinning!

    • regina says:

      Heyyyy. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment. I love your blog—I’ve learned so much great food stuff from it and eat much better and happier now!

  2. This is a really helpful blog. Especially since I have stalled with my blogging and want to figure out how to monetize. Got some things in mind (speaking being one) and your info helps out tremendously.

    • regina says:

      Pamela, thank you so much for taking the time to say that. I hope you have fun with speaking. I used to be so terrified of it and didn’t want to do it, so the fact that you already have your mindset right is awesome.

  3. Janine says:

    Yayy! Speaks for me as I am just starting my personal coaching blog and freelancing website. Do you think I can manage 2 businesses but 1 skill?

    Thanks Regina!

  4. Elizabeth says:

    So freakin’ excited you’re talking about this Reggie! I just read the email you sent out and am listening to the podcast. I too wish they started teaching this in schools.

    What I did was essentially exactly what you talk about in the flow chart, albeit I do various things for different blogs. Freelance writing and digital strategy/coaching being my main two career paths. I wish I had realized earlier that I had acquired skills ( travel, wellness, social media, blogging) and had recognized I could make them my way of living. Nonetheless I’m glad in 2013 I finally made the leap to offering freelance writing and coaching!

  5. Abbie says:

    Thanks for sharing, I think most of us can incorporate two or three things on the list into our business plan.

    There are so many facets to blogging nowadays and it seems the most prudent thing to do is to create a mix that helps you market your product.

    It is all about getting people to know you are out there.

    Thanks for another great insightful post.

    Cheers.

  6. Melissa says:

    The blogging world is so lucky to have your wisdom. And oh my, you made a *flowchart.* I’m completely geeking out over that.

  7. Scrivs says:

    Hi Regina,

    Informative article as usual. I have a couple of questions though on some of the things:

    – You mention that becoming a spokesperson as being super scalable profiting, but how? Isn’t there a cap on how much a person will pay you along with how many products you can be a spokesperson for? For example, if Taco Bell is sponsoring me to talk about their salsa, cuz I’m fiery, are they really going to scale up the amount they pay me based on my traffic or reach?

    Being a spokesperson sounds great, but just like with sponsored posts or advertising I feel like there is a hard cap so I wouldn’t put it under the super scalable profiting label. Eventually, you’ll hit a point where they aren’t getting the return on investment they wanted and the deal is over.

    Of course, when you combine spokesperson with other paths like coaching, speaking, and product-making it changes the game.

    (If spokesperson = affiliate marketing then scratch everything I just said lol)

    – Same scenario with speaking. Only so many events you can speak at before falling apart and there is a hard cap that people will pay for a speaker. Very few of us will reach Clinton/Gore level for speaking fees, but that would be the dream.

    I think coaching/freelancing are great short-term ways to make money, but eventually, everybody turns to the product model as it is the only one that scales to the levels they want. Every successful freelancer I know that has an epiphany about the product model switches over to it. Freelancing is great when you have good clients, but as I’m sure you know there are a lot more headaches than people let on.

    Again, thanks for the read. I think a lot of people that want to go out on their own don’t know their options and so don’t plan accordingly. It’s nice that you’ve laid it out in a way that is easily understandable.

    • regina says:

      Yes. I actually agree with you 100%. The only reason I include “spokesperson” as a super scalable thing is because it can include affiliate marketing the way I describe it.

      And I definitely still agree with you on speaking (so I color coded it as only semi-scalable) and freelancing/coaching (which are categorized under “profitable with a cap”). I think you identified it and stated it perfectly—the product model is truly a winner for scalability.

      BUT. I do think that some people try to go the product route too soon or without building up the experience that would make their product truly epic. Plus, there are lots of people who actually get more fulfillment out of 1-on-1 work than anything else . . . at least for a time.

      I think that it’s helpful to be more aware of our options (as you said) and to have two-way conversations like this (thank you for your comment, by the way) so that we can all keep moving toward the place we want to go.

      I so appreciate that you took the time to read this and leave such a great comment. Thank you.

      • Scrivs says:

        Well said. I think the common denominator here is that these are all great options after you’ve established yourself with your blogging. No, not everyone needs to go this route, but as you said, some people jump into the money-making too fast.

        Does this mean you need to wait 6+ months or years to pursue any of these careers? Of course not, but if you know you want to pursue one definitely, then your blog will help to lay the groundwork for that.

        The important thing is to have some type of plan or roadmap that you’ve laid out. You don’t need to stick with it as things change, but at least you have some direction initially.

        If you know in the future that you want to do freelancing and might want to do coaching or speaking on giraffe training, then come up with a plan where your blog will present you as an authority on giraffes. I think most beginner bloggers come up with a topic they want to blog about and then just blindly come up with specific post ideas (10 funny pics of giraffes).

        You nailed it in the flowchart with publishing first and then pursue the other things. Life is much easier when you have taken the time to build up a tribe instead of blindly hoping that eventually, someone will pay you to do something.

        Finally (I’ve rambled too much on your blog, my apologies), get out there and network everybody! Don’t hide behind your blog. Amazing things happen when you open up new relationships. All of a sudden you’re getting referrals for your freelancing business and offers to speak. Sure eventually you get to a point where you don’t need to network at anybody because everyone is coming to you, but until then, build those relationships.

  8. A phenomenal post, as always Regina! When I think about it, I suppose I’d fall into both the “freelance” and the “coaching” career categories – which fits perfectly with my personality and my business goals. I love what you said about continual learning and always striving to produce better content/services/products. I’m looking forward to checking out your Podcast now!

    x Krista

  9. Oh my glob! I am so glad you are starting a Podcast. I’m an absolute junkie for Podcasts (usually listening for 5-6 hours a day). Not only THAT, but I’ve been needing to hear this for a while. I’m interested in coaching or selling information products eventually. Looking forward to more!

    P.S. When can I find you on iTunes? I’d love to give you a rating and review and help push you into New & Noteworthy!

  10. Allison says:

    YASSSS I love this. I am quite literally working on a presentation right now for a webinar that I’m doing next week about all of the different ways that you can make money with your blog (without using affiliate links and sponsors) and this is so on point!!! (As usual.) Seriously, I love your podcasts.

    And on a completely unrelated note- I’ve sent you a couple e-mails over the past couple of weeks because I’m unable to access the Creative Coaching from Scratch course that I purchased from you last summer and I wanted to go through it again. (Doh!)

    xoxo
    Allison

  11. Jay says:

    Very insightful post, I agree with how little knowledge is out there on how to monetize a blog. Because there are so many different ways for people to monetize their blogs, there really is place for everyone to make money in blogging. However, it’s important that your sole purpose of blogging isn’t to make money.

    Jay from http://EclecticElite.com

  12. Arlie says:

    Great post! Sometimes, the truth hurts. (Former teacher here: you’re right.) You’re really talented of laying it all out. And congrats on podcast 1.1!

  13. parag shah says:

    Awesome post thanks for sharing this. i’m newcomer to blogging and additionally extremely some nice tips you’ve got there, thanks for the informational article. extremely enjoyed reading it all.

  14. This is awesome! So great to see an overview of how we can earn an actual (read: real) income tied to our blogs. Took me years to figure out my own path. I think it’s probably that way for many of us. And that can actually be a good thing because through the trial and error (and there’ll be tons of error hahaha) we learn:
    *what we like
    *what we don’t like
    *what we’re good at
    *what people will pay us for

    Tough lessons if you’re struggling to, say, eat food and keep a roof over your head. But excellent lessons, still.

    Great resource, Regina! Sharing.

  15. Regina, another epic post in the books. This is EXTREMELY helpful on creating paths for your business.

    Thank you so much!

    Siobhan
    http://www.befreeproject.com

  16. I heart your flowchart and even though I’m awake in the middle of the night writing my PhD and my deadline is SOON (#denial?) I read the whole post and sent you “I’m impressed” vibes through the airwaves. Hope you caught them. I can’t wait till I have time to catch up on the podcasts. Thanks Regina, you’re so great at what you do!

  17. When I started my business blog, my intention was to show my proficiency so I would get more contracts and possibly speaking engagements (I’m a consultant). It worked early on as I got offers to speak in a lot of places. These days, the competition is great and the business blog doesn’t get as much attention anymore but I now use it as a resource to help me write more books.

    The best thing about blogging overall is that there are a lot of options on how to make money. I think you’ve highlighted a lot of the best ways here; good stuff! 🙂

  18. I really love, love, love this post. I will say that my career path now is creating products to offer in my blog shop(which I’m currently working on). Thanks for sharing this post Regina!

    God Bless!
    Jan Limark |Brotherly Creative

  19. alera forbes says:

    Very nice post… Thank you so much for sharing these information. 🙂

  20. Mayra says:

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  21. Prerna says:

    AHHHH-MAZZING!!! Yes, totally raving here but guuuurrrl, this is BRILLIANT!!

    I wish I had this when I was starting out 8 years ago…

    Funnily enough though, would it be totally crazy that I’ve actually followed all 6 paths… LOL!! I’ve gone from blogger-to-spokesperson-to-freelancer-to-info product creator-to-consultant-to-publisher for profit-to-speaker 😉

    Gotta LOVE this blogging thing, right?!! Thanks Regina for this!!

    P.S. LOVING your Ninja Sales School… I should show you the incredible workbook I “designed” using your template 😉

  22. Oto says:

    Very good article, it helped me a lot. I’m implementing some changes on my blog and I believe your content will help me a lot. Strong hug from brazil

  23. This has been encouraging to me. I find there is so much information about blogging and,making money doing it that it can be confusing at times. Right now I’m just trying to figure out the next step. Great post!

  24. uraku says:

    I love freelancing

  25. LH Louis says:

    HI Regina, listening to your soundtrack and definitely enjoying it.

  26. Michael Baker says:

    Nice Post.

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