Running a blogging business is personal. The money you used to purchase your domain and hosting is right next to your diaper budget and grocery budget, right? That's how it was for me!
Blogging happens in your home and it isn't just a random job. You want to see it succeed for yourself and your family.
I've been running my blog and selling products for a couple of years now and there is something really important that I've noticed and used throughout the years. The formula I use to create goals helps me to become even more successful. And when I use this method I have better product sells and have a better revenue period for my blogging business.
Here are the steps I follow in the formula I use to sell more products blogging:
Determine a personal financial goal.
Set a deadline for achieving that goal.
Divide the amount I need by the time I have to achieve the goal.
Divide the answer from step 3 by the net dollar amount of one product sale.
Those are the simple steps, but they are a lot easier to understand within the context of how I use them. So, keep reading and we'll dive right in.
Disclaimer: I'm about to get personal
If you've followed me at all, you know I'm a pretty private person when it comes to personal matters. I've shared a few income reports to help inspire others because I loved looking at other bloggers reports when I was starting out.
My husband and I are definitely a team and I have an incredible amount of respect for him. Before I share these personal details, I did run the idea by him to make sure he would be comfortable with me sharing the information in this post because we are pretty private people. I wanted you to know that he gave me the A-OK and I wasn't just sharing our personal information without him knowing about it. :)
This is personal. I'm talking about my personal finances and how they affect or have a relationship with the sales of product in my blogging business. This may not work for you, but it definitely works for me. I love sharing my real life experience of running my blogging business. So, here's what I’ve learned.
It's not really about the money
A desire to increase sales is not about greed or being money hungry. It's important that if you are putting all of your time and energy into a blogging business that you see continuous growth month after month. You don't want to make the same thing five years from now that you're making today. You want growth and that's not greed, it's savvy business.
We're talking about product sales because selling products on your blog is a huge asset to your business if you manage it correctly and really put your energy and effort into it. Like any type of sales, there are ebbs and flows. When I look over the history of my sales there are highs and lows. And that's just normal in sales.
There are a lot of different factors that play into these ebbs and flows. It could be that I was sick for a while and not getting as much done. Or, maybe it's a season when my target audience was really interested in buying. Or maybe I had a really great product compared to when I tried to sell a dud product that I needed to say good-bye to.
You know me, I'm a self-proclaimed nerd and a numbers person. I'm very scientific and I have no shame about it. I get really specific in my analyzing efforts and look at as many different causes as I possibly can because I want to understand the reason behind what's happening in my blogging business.
Am I performing really well because of a strategy? Because of an outside influence? What's happening that's causing me to have an increase in product sales or a decrease in product sales.
And, after analyzing this, I've noticed something really interesting. If I notice a boost in blog product sales at a certain time of year, I'm simultaneously doing something very specific in my personal finances.
What I found out about my blogging sales
There's a direct correlation between the intentionality of our personal finances and the performance of my product sales.
If there's something specific that my husband and I are trying to save for or a big goal or expense that we know is coming up, we get really intentional with our finances. We start cutting back on the grocery budget, stop going out to eat as often or spending as much on new clothes and things like that.
When that happens and we start saving more money, I also experience a boost in product sales. Initially, I was super confused by this because it was a consistent pattern.
The more we saved the more I made in product sales. Initially, I didn't think it made sense because if I'm making more in product sales wouldn't that mean I'm spending more too?
But, I kept analyzing it. After looking at bank statements I could see the months we were spending less and stashing money away, were the same months my product sales increased. The more I looked at it, the more I realized I was having an instinctual reaction to my business.
The more intentional you are with your finances, and have an actual goal in your mind that you're trying to reach and save for, the more it's going to light the fire under your tush and make you work harder so you can reach your personal finance goals.
How the formulas were created
I like to have a very actionable plan for myself. I like to have step 1, step 2, and step 3 so I can easily follow it.
A few years ago when I first started selling products on my blog, I started connecting my blogging goals to my personal goals. I would look at my personal financial goal and then set a blogging business goal that would help me reach my personal goal.
In the end, I created an easy formula that helps me get from point A to point B.
Product Sales Helped Us Save for…
Before I walk you through the formulas that I created, I thought it'd be fun to share with you some of the ways that my husband and I have utilized the blogging business sales to help us reach a couple of personal financial goals. And, if you're comfortable I'd love to hear about some of your goals. Leave a comment below or in the comment section of this video on my YouTube channel with how your blog has helped you or is helping you reach some of your goals.
Running a blog has helped us reach some different forms of freedom in our personal finances. Here are some ways we've used product sales, in particular, to help us reach those goals.
We saved for a car
When I started selling products my husband and I had an old Jeep from our college days. It undoubtedly had the worst transmission! It was on its last leg and close to completely dying.
We figured we could squeeze life out of it for another 6 to 9 months. And, we knew how much we needed to save in order to purchase another vehicle.
Me and baby boy standing in front of the Jeep that was destined to die a harsh transmission death.
We saved for a down payment
The next example is the down payment of the house we're living in right now. We knew we were going to be moving from Houston to the Kansas City area. We even had a rough idea, within a month or two, of when it was going to happen. And, we also knew the purchase price of the houses that we were looking at.
We had lofty goals and we hit them because I was working overtime and trying to push product sales as hard as I could to hit those goals! My husband and I were thrilled to get the down payment that we needed.
The living room in our newly purchased home (!), ready to be painted by my handsome husband.
We’re paying off our mortgage early
Our current financial goal, and the way we're using any product sales right now, is paying off our mortgage early. #DaveRamsey
By the time we are 35 years old we don't want to have a house payment. We know down to the penny how much is left and we (obviously) know when our birthdays are going to happen, which gives us a countdown of days.
This lets me know exactly how many products I need to sell every single month for us to make those extra payments on the mortgage so we can completely pay off the mortgage by the time we hit 35.
There are two different formulas that I use to create really concrete goals within my personal finances and also for my blogging business. It's really important that you create a marriage between the two and that both are working together so you can reach your goals even faster and more efficiently.
First formula: Finding out how much money you need
There are two things you need in order to work the first formula:
Your personal financial goal
Number of months left till your "due date"
Let's say you want to save up for your Christmas fund. Your due date would be December 25th (or earlier so you have some time to by those gifts before Christmas). Then you would also need to determine how much money you need in order to buy all the presents for the year.
Personal Financial Goal / # of months left till your due date = amount needed each month to reach your personal financial goal
This formula lets you know how much you need to make in your product sales every month to get to that personal financial goal. I always think things are easier with an example, so let's break it down.
Let's say you are trying to build up $1,000 for your emergency fund (comment below if you follow Dave Ramsey's too!). Let's say your goal is to do that within 5 months. Here's what your formula would look like:
$1,000 emergency fund / 5 months = Around $200/month
That's the first formula I like to use so I can know how much I need to bring home every month to hit my personal financial goal.
Second formula: Finding out how many products you need to sell
The next step I like to take is figuring out how many units of a product that I need to sell every single month to reach my goal. The reason this is important is sometimes it's not enough to have that dollar amount in our minds. We need to know exactly how many products we're supposed to be selling.
Having another number helps light that fire under my toosh. So if I'm on day 15 of the month and haven't made any product sales with a certain product yet, I really kick things into gear.
With my formula, I can immediately tell how many number of sales I still have left to reach that personal financial goal for the month.
Amount needed each month to reach personal financial goal / Net income for 1 product sale = # of product sales needed each month
Take the number you arrived at from the first formula and divide that by your net income (more on that in a minute) for one product sale. That lets you know how many products you need to sell every single month in order to reach your blogger financial goals.
Why you need to use your net income
This is a very important part of the formula that you don't want to skip. As a blogging business owner we don't get to keep everything we make. There are expenses that come along with having a blogging business and selling products. The money you spend in these areas cannot go towards your financial goals.
The numbers below are just an example because I was trying to come up with easy round numbers to use. If you sell a product then there's going to be some kind of transaction fee that comes along with it. And, never forget to set aside money for taxes!
You never want to be in a tight place when tax time rolls around! If you owe taxes and don't have money saved up for them you could find yourself in a place you don't want to be.
$15 workbook - $1 transaction credit card fee - $4 taxes = $10 net income for 1 product sale
So, using this example if we sell one workbook we only get to keep $10 of it in our bank account to use however we want. Here's how we would take all these different figures and plug them into our second formula.
$200 (amount needed to reach goal) / $10 (net income from 1 product sale) = 20 (product sales needed each month)
Now we know that to build our emergency fund in just 5 months we need to sell $200 of products each month. That means we need to sell at least 20 of our $15 workbooks each month.
Putting it all together
It's so important to have very specific numbers. You want to know how much exactly you need to bring home and how many products that means you need to sell in order to reach your personal financial goal that you've set.
This may not work for everybody. But, in my personal finances there really is a relationship between the intentionality of our personal finances and the sales of my products.
If I know that I have a certain amount that I really need to hit my goal, I know exactly what I need to sell to make it happen. That's how I reach my personal financial goals.
Keep your numbers in front of you
You can't just run the numbers and use the formulas once and leave it at that. The most important thing is what you do with those numbers after you have them.
If you only run the numbers in your head, then you might find it's not something you're really focused on anymore after a few days have gone by. You may have even forgotten what the numbers were that you are trying to work towards!
An important step to goal setting is getting your goals written down and keeping them in front of you. This helps you know how you are coming in reaching your goal.
If we take our example above, how successful are you going to be at building your emergency fund if you determine that you need to sell 20 products a month and then don't track how many you are actually selling?
What if you end up selling more or fewer workbooks during your first month? You might need to readjust your goal but you won't know that if you aren't tracking the numbers and keeping them in front of you. If you only sell 5 workbooks the first month you're going to need to sell more in the remaining 4 months to make up for it.
This is where "intentionality" comes into play. You aren't going to hit your goals by simply wishing that it will happen. You need to know your numbers from the formulas above and then have a way to track your progress. It could be on an excel sheet, an app, or even just with pen and paper.
What should I sell on my blog?
You may find yourself thinking something like, "Sure, all of this information is great, but I'm not even selling products right now." I've seen a lot of bloggers get stuck when trying to decide what to sell on their blogs. When it comes down to it, the options are really endless.
Think about what type of product would really help your audience. Ask yourself what type of product you would want. Your audience is following you because you have valuable information they are benefiting from. So you're the best person to think about what product would help them the most.
Here are some ideas to get you thinking:
eBooks - This is a relatively easy transition because it's still writing. You can think of each chapter as a separate blog post.
Membership sites - This is a great option if you have followers that are looking to go a step further. In the Blogging Business Club, my members receive a roadmap to building a successful blogging business, in-depth training that goes deeper than my free blog posts and YouTube videos, as well as access to a community of other bloggers.
Digital products/Design Goods - If you enjoy designing things like digital images, logos, websites, or anything like that you could use your blog as a platform for selling digital products on your blog.
Photography - If you are a skilled photographer you can sell your images. Many bloggers struggle when it comes to photography and would rather pay for images than have to take their own.
Online courses - This is my #1 source of income in my blogging business. If you can teach people how to do something, consider turning it into an online course.
These are just a few ideas on products you could sell. I've also seen bloggers selling things like branded t-shirts, printables, or apps. The options are endless if you just focus on thinking about what would add value and help your audience.
Validating your product ideas
Once you have your ideas for what you want to sell on your blog you will benefit from spending a little time validating them. You don't want to spend time creating something that you're audience is not going to want to buy. Here are a few ways to do that:
Check your competitors - This helps you get an idea for what's already out there and what your audience may be interested in. Now, this doesn't mean find out what your competitors are doing and copy it. You are simply doing market research to see what's out there, what's working, and what's not.
Analyze your blog- Spend some time looking over your blog and seeing what content is performing well. Look for what your audience really interacts with, shares, and comments on the most.
Ask your audience - There's no better way to know what your target audience wants then just asking them. You can create a simple poll to get their feedback and what they would want to see you create.
Why are you only talking about selling products on your blog?
I understand that there are more ways to make income from a blogging business than selling products on your blog. I believe in diversifying income streams when it comes to growing your business income.
You can see in my income reports that I also make money from affiliate sales and ad revenue. However, selling your own products is the most effective way to monetize your blog.
Your blog allows you to show that you are an expert in your industry. This naturally opens the door for you to create and sell products that will help your audience and that's what running a blogging business is all about, providing valuable content and resources to help your audience.
As I mentioned above, I'm a numbers person, so I've run the numbers on what income revenue looks like from ads vs selling products. You can see the details of that at my blog post: Do Most Bloggers Sell Products? But to give you a sneak peek - you can really make more money online by selling products compared with other avenues.
What goals do you have?
Do you want to take your family to Disney World? Pay off your mortgage early? Pay off a credit card?
There are amazing financial goals out there and your blogging business can help you reach them. Setting intentional personal financial goals can help you set goals for your blogging business. And, your blogging business can help you reach financial freedom and independence in many ways.
The best part is, it's 100% in your hands!