Can Anyone Start A Blog And Make A Living From It?

Are you nurturing the idea of starting a blog and wondering if you could live from it? If so, you’ve probably already heard or read that only a small percentage of bloggers succeed in making a full-time living.

Sure there are bloggers making millions per year, but the vast majority only make a few to a couple hundred bucks per month. I’ve been blogging since 2018 and making a full-time income from it (between $3k and $10k per month) since 2020.

Can anyone start a blog and make a decent living from it? If so, why doesn’t everyone who tries succeed? What does it take to live off your blog(s)? How do you know if you can succeed in blogging, or if you’re just going to be wasting time and effort?

While anyone can start blogging, not everyone can make a living from it. You’ll need lots of patience, determination, and training. You should have special skills your audience wants, and good marketing skills. You’ll also need financial and moral support to get you through the initial phases.

I’ll start with a quick overview of what starting a blog involves, then I’ll go over the things you need to (or should probably) have to have the greatest chances of success, based on my own experience.

What does a successful blog involve?

For a blog to be successful, it first needs to be in a “good” niche. A good niche is a domain you’re experienced and/or passionate with, that has many passionate people involved, and has enough spending in it to make it attractive for vendors and advertisers.

A successful blog needs to have lots of “great” content. Great content is content that truly helps readers solve problems in the niche. Answering critical questions, providing solutions or entertainment, or providing helpful training. The content needs to be in-depth, original, and based on expertise.

Finally, a successful blog will generally have long-lasting business partnerships with leading vendors and/or advertisers to generate income, or offer its own quality products or services to its readers or subscribers.

Now let’s look at the main qualities a blog owner should have in order to achieve the above goals.

Must-have: ability to learn

The ability and willingness to learn is an essential quality for a blogger. If you’re starting from scratch, blogging actually has a relatively steep learning curve. Most people come into blogging with preconceived ideas that are far from reality.

For example, wannabe bloggers think they are going to start writing about what they like and make money from it. In reality, you don’t always get to write about what you feel like writing, SEO will generally guide your choices.

There’s a lot to learn about when starting to blog. You’ll need to understand:

  • How to pick the right subject domain for you
  • How to set up a blog website
  • How to discover and assess blog topics
  • How to write posts that rank amidst competition
  • How to apply for ads and affiliate programs
  • How to build email lists
  • How to create and market digital products, etc.

Each of the above involves tons of details (and traps) to learn about, so it’s going to be an intense learning experience.

Make sure you enjoy learning and being exposed to lots of information, often a bit chaotic and messy.

Must-have: writing skills

You know that blogging at its core involves writing. Therefore, to be successful in blogging, you must know how to write well.

Some will argue that you can always outsource your writing to freelancers – or to AI. I’ve tried that and I can tell you it doesn’t work in the long run. Sure, some bloggers (including myself) have built full blogs by outsourcing articles by providing detailed guidelines to writers.

However, since the recent Google algorithm updates, things have changed a lot and many sites built in this manner have lost a lot of search traffic and revenue.

Sure, you can put together a team of experts and professional writers to do the writing for you, which may result in great quality content that can potentially dominate the SERPs.

Most newbie bloggers don’t have such a budget, though.

Thus, take this advice based on my experience: if you want to succeed in blogging, you need to know how to write.

This doesn’t just mean spelling and grammar (there’s Grammarly for this) but knowing how to research, plan, structure your ideas, and write clearly, cohesively, coherently, convincingly.

Some people are natural at writing, while others may need practice and/or training.

Must-have: hard work, patience, determination

To succeed in blogging, you’ll need hard work to build out massive amounts (at least in profitable niches) of quality content.

You’ll need PATIENCE as, depending on your niche and how much content you put out, it will generally take months before you see any decent traffic, and more months before you start making real money.

Of course, there are exceptions and you might strike gold. One of my sites started making over $4000 per month only 8 months after publishing the first article.

However, most sites will break the $1000/month bar only after 18 to 24 months – assuming you do everything right.

The “ghost town phase” is the first few months when you work hard to publish as much quality content as possible, but nothing seems to move, and you wonder if you’ve picked the right niche and topics.

To succeed, you must have relentless passion and drive to overcome not only the Ghost Town phase but also the setbacks you’ll encounter at later stages – e.g. getting turned down by Google’s ad network or an affiliate program (happened to me for my first site).

You need to keep going and NOT give up no matter what. The school of hard knocks!

Must-have: time and money for a few months

Since you won’t be making money for say 12 to 24 months, you’ll need to be able to sustain yourself and your family during that period of time.

If you have a job and start blogging as a side hustle, your financial situation may be more sustainable as you’ll have stable income to rely on until your blog takes off.

However, this may also limit the amount of time you have available for researching and creating content, which in turn can further delay the moment your blog will have enough traffic to start producing income.

You may have a partner that can provide for you and your family while you work hard to get the blog started. That’s an ideal situation provided you have the drive to work really hard for months without giving up (see next section).

As we always say, blogging is a marathon, not a sprint.

Must-have: self-motivation and self-drive

To succeed in blogging, you must have the ability to motivate yourself to create and publish new content day-in day-out, without anyone telling you to do the work. In other words, you have to be self-driven.

Writing the first couple of articles is hard for many people, but at first, it’s new and exciting. You get your hopes high, you feel like this is the start of something great, the first stone of a huge business.

After a few days or a few weeks, depending on the person, you might start to feel mental fatigue (even burnout) as writing turns into a daily routine, and you have nothing to show for it – no traffic or income, only doubts as you go through the Ghost phase.

This is where many new bloggers give up, either because they lose motivation, or because life constraints (money, kids, family, etc) force them to get a “real” job.

You might also hang in there for a year or two, but due to bad choice of niche and/or article topic selection, you may be forced to throw the sponge as you run out of savings – or your partner can no longer pay the bills by him/herself.

No matter how driven and prepared you are for the uphill battle, you will also need good mentorship and training so you make all the right blogging decisions, and the Ghost phase doesn’t last longer than it should.

Nice-to-have: have domain skills or experience

Gone are the days when you could write on any random topic you know nothing about and rank in Google – AI can now do this in seconds, so Google no longer likes generic content.

You have a much greatest chance of success in blogging if you have real skills or experience in the domain you blog about.

E.g. you’re a successful fitness coach, physio, nutritionist, technician, you’ve been traveling for years, or you live in a popular geographic area. Or, you’ve been involved in a sport or a popular hobby for years, and people come to you for advice.

Bloggers with insider knowledge and business relationships related to activities or problems that many people are concerned about have the best chance of success – assuming they do everything right.

It may also be seemingly common or ordinary skills, like raising children, cleaning a house, mowing a lawn, grooming hair, etc – for which you may have your own special way of doing things, that others may be interested in hearing about.

Of course, not everyone has special skills or life experience. An alternative is if you’re very attracted to an activity – e.g. sailing, horses, psychology, accounting, dating, travel, sales … and you’re determined to get into it.

Sharing your passion and learning journey can lead to a successful blog down the road, though you may have to work harder.

Nice-to-have: targeting first-world English speakers

The North American market is the most active and lucrative market for bloggers. Writing for readers from the U.S and Canada – as well as other well-off English-speaking countries like the U.K., Australia, and The Netherlands, will generally give you the best chance of success.

This means you must be able to write and communicate in English well. Your skills and life experience (including activities and products) should also be applicable to a North American audience.

Obviously, there are bloggers in every country and language, so if English and the U.S. lifestyle are not your things, you can also choose to blog in your language. Just be aware it’s a whole different ball game – different interests, audience sizes, products, monetization options, etc.

Some may choose to create a blog for the North American market even though they are based elsewhere and/or come from a different culture. It certainly can be done (I have) but some aspects of the journey can be trickier.

Besides understanding what the U.S. public is really interested in and creating content they’ll want to read, there are practical obstacles to being based abroad – things like authority and trust, payments, real-life networking, monetization platforms, etc.

There’s a lot to say on this topic, and I plan to have a full post on it.

Nice-to-have: good sales & marketing skills

The best bloggers are good marketers – after all, blogging is internet marketing.

When I started on my blogging journey, I thought “cool, I won’t have to do any selling or real marketing, all I have to do is focus on creating good content”. I was wrong, writing is only one part of blogging.

There’s a lot of marketing involved in blogging. From the choice of your niche to topic research and monetization. If you want your blog to succeed, you can’t just publish content and wait for the money to come in – although monetizing through ads gives you a bit of that.

To make a decent living, you’ll need to get out there and create relationships and deals with partners, then actively market their offerings on your blog.

This may include more than just affiliate links but also offer promotion, sales funnels, and possibly creating your own products, which requires solid marketing skills.

The good news is, if you’re not a skilled marketer yet, you can learn as you go, as I did. Just be aware that it’s going to be more hard work and self-training, and it might take a bit longer before your blog starts making a real full-time income.

Nice-to-have: supporting family and community

As a new blogger, you may be faced with skepticism and a lack of support from your family.

That’s understandable since blogging is often perceived not as a real business but more as a nice hobby – and those who succeed are viewed as having hit the jackpot at the casino.

Blogging is hard and takes enormous amounts of work, patience, and perseverance – nowadays even more so due to increased competition and tougher ranking factors. You don’t need the additional hardship from your family.

I recommend you educate your spouse, partner, and family members about what blogging is – the kind of work it involves, the factors of success, your objectives and time frame, etc. This can help make them allies in your long-term endeavor.

You’ll also need daily support from a like-minded community where you can compare your experience and ask for advice, or simply find moral support. Project 24 is the community that got me started and supported me in my journey all these years.

Similar Posts