One of the many ways that people start making money from home is by freelancing. Freelancing basically means offering some sort of service, like writing or virtual assisting. These days the majority of freelancers conduct their business online, in whole or in part, which makes it even more convenient and ideal for the at-home arrangement.
Freelancing is a great way to work from home because you can be in control of your workload and your rates, which means that with enough effort, you can make your business as big or as small as you want it. At the same time, running any kind of online business will require time and effort from you.
One of the things that seems to be added to every online freelancer’s to-do list is running their own blog. But why? And is having a blog when you’re a freelance business owner really necessary?
Why Blogging Is On Every Freelancer’s To-Do List
These days, pretty much everyone has a blog. There’s almost a ubiquitous understanding among online entrepreneurs that a blog is an essential part of any — and every — online business. (If you listen to some freelance writers and marketers, they’ll tell you that every business needs a blog, whether they’re online or not!)
If you’re thinking about freelancing — or trying to run a freelance business already — the thing you need to understand about having a blog is that it needs to exist to serve a purpose.
Blogging gets tons and tons of hype right now because it has the potential to be a fantastic marketing tool. There are reasons people make a generous full-time income from blogging — when a blog is done well, it can be very profitable.
But there are big differences between a blogger, a freelancer, and a (more traditionally thought of) business owner. Let me explain.
Bloggers, Freelancers, and Business Owners
First, I want to be very clear that if you start a blog with the intent to make money, you’re a business owner, and your business is your blog.
Same goes for when you start freelancing. No matter what freelance service you’re offering, if you’re in it to make money then you’re a business owner.
There’s sometimes an overlap between bloggers and freelancers — some bloggers go into freelance writing or being a VA, for example, to develop another income stream. And some freelancers will also start their own blog with the intent to turn it into another income stream.
Then there’s the third category of business owners. These are people who aren’t primarily bloggers OR freelancers, but they’ve got a company selling some kind of product or service. Having a blog, in this case, is part of a broader marketing strategy. It’s a very deliberate approach to blogging that ropes in things like audience engagement and digital marketing to build awareness, nurture relationships with their audience, and (ultimately) generate revenue.
When you’re building a freelance business online, you need to adopt the mindset of the traditional business owner when it comes to having your own blog.
Blogging Is a Business Strategy
Have you ever heard of something called “content marketing”? It’s basically the idea that “content” (things like blog posts, Instagram stories, YouTube videos, podcasts, reports, and any other thing you might “consume”) should be part of a specific marketing strategy.
Businesses don’t slap up a blog and let their staff write posts just for the heck of it. No way! They’ve probably got a marketing strategy that maps out all kinds of blog-related goals for the month, quarter, and year. Maybe they’re looking for email subscribers. Maybe they’re looking for customer feedback. Maybe they just want to get their name out more. Whatever they’re doing with their blog, they’re doing with a specific goal in mind.
When you’re a freelancer, you need to approach the idea of having your own blog the exact same way.
Blogging needs to be seen as a marketing tool — a potential business strategy that you’d be doing solely to build your online freelance business. It’s not something you can just do in your spare time when you feel like it. If you decide to have a blog, you need to work it just as hard as you work the other aspects of your business.
But how do you decide whether it’s worth the time? And how do you know if you’re doing it the right way?
How to Know If a Blog Is Right for Your Freelance Business
No matter what anyone tells you, just know this: it’s absolutely, 100% possible to run a freelance business online with no blog.
There are times when having a blog makes sense and is a good business strategy, and there are times when it doesn’t make sense.
Having a blog for your freelance business does not make sense if:
- you don’t know who your ideal client is.
- you don’t have time to create new blog post at least once, if not twice, a month… every single month.
- you’re getting enough work already without one
- you hate the idea of blogging
Having a blog for your freelance business is a great idea if:
- you know exactly who your ideal client is and where they “hang out” online.
- you’re prepared to write or outsource the posts you need.
- you have a plan for marketing the blog posts you write (for example, on Pinterest or through Facebook ads).
When done well, a blog can do great things for your freelance business. Having engaging, insightful blog posts can set you up as a subject matter expert and impress the people who you want for clients (provided you know how to get in front of them).
If, for example, you’re a freelance web designer specializing in health and fitness companies, you would write blog posts giving website tips to fitness pros. Some people will read these tips and go implement them themselves, but (ideally) others will see that you’re an expert in their specific industry and decide to hire you instead of some “I do everything” web designer down the street. That’s a blog that supports the business by bringing great clients in the door.
You Get the Final Say
If you’re offering some kind of freelance service and you’re clear on who your best client is, having a blog where you post consistently (though not necessarily frequently — once or twice a month is usually good enough) can be a great marketing tool. When you write the type of blog posts that get your potential clients thinking “hmm… this person really knows their stuff, so I think I’ll give ‘em a call” then you’ve done something right.
That said, having a blog isn’t necessarily a requirement. There are definitely times in every freelancer’s life when there just isn’t time to mess around with a blog. It requires time and energy, and sometimes that time and energy will be better spent on going out and finding clients. You can always add a blog later.