Why I Have Decided To Monetize Leaving Work Behind

Why I Have Decided To Monetize Leaving Work BehindIt seems like a long time ago that I wrote Why I Am NOT Trying To Make Money From This Blog. It was in fact the third post I wrote for Leaving Work Behind, back in June 2011.

It was written that early on with deliberate intent – I wanted to make it perfectly clear to my readers, that I was (and am) the “real deal”. I wanted you to know that I am not in this to make a quick buck, and that my opinions and recommendations can be trusted. Over the last eight months, I hope that has become clear.

This is the 97th post to be published on Leaving Work Behind. Say it takes me two hours on average to write each post. That’s 194 hours spent writing posts. If I value my time at $50, I have lost out on $9,700 of potential income. And that is not to mention the time spent designing, marketing, networking and communicating.

That is of course a very cold way to look at blogging, and I am not one to be cold if I can at all avoid it. I absolutely love this blog – I love getting to know people like you better, and I love the idea of being able to help others. I hope that Leaving Work Behind will be a useful resource for many years, and I am really excited about its future.

…But I Cannot Ignore Reality

When you quit your job and dedicate yourself full time to your online business, an element of practicality has to come into play. I would be foolish to ignore the fact that this blog takes up a lot of my time. Time that could be spent, to be frank, making money. This blog won’t be of much use to anyone if I run out of money and have to close it down!

Money Games

I'm not playing games any more - this is my livelihood.

I first started considering monetizing this blog when my good friend, Steve Scott, emailed me a couple of months ago. He basically insisted that I send him an affiliate link for a product I endorsed, so that I would receive a commission. Steve went out of way to help me, which demonstrated two things:

  1. Steve is a legend
  2. At least one person values my recommendations!

And so I have spent the past several weeks agonizing over whether or not I should monetize this blog. I have spoken to other bloggers behind the scenes, and I asked you for your opinion in my last income report. The response has been overwhelmingly positive.

One thing is for sure – if my readers were against me monetizing, I wouldn’t do it. It’s that simple. My number one priority is to maintain the integrity of this blog. With that in mind, your encouragement and endorsement has meant a great deal to me, and played an integral part in my decision to monetize.

What Does This Mean For You?

In real terms, absolutely nothing. I will continue to try my hardest to offer you the best possible advice that I can. I will continue to endorse products that I use. There is just one difference – if you now purchase a product that I endorse by clicking on one of my links, I will receive a commission. It will cost you nothing more.

It is extremely important that I am very clear with all of my readers regarding my monetization method. Any post I publish that contains affiliate links will feature this disclaimer:

There are affiliate links in this post. If you purchase a product through one of them, I will receive a commission. It will cost you nothing extra. I only ever endorse products that I have personally used and tested extensively. Thank you!

Am I Going To Make Any Money?

I imagine that my earnings will be extremely modest for the foreseeable future. As you will know if you read my monthly income reports, traffic to this blog is not anything to write home about. For instance, of the last seven days, the blog has received an average of just 200 visitors per day. The more traffic I receive (and the more people trust my opinion), the higher my affiliate earnings will be. It doesn’t take a genius to calculate that 200 visitors per day will not generate a great deal of affiliate income.

Pennies

I'm thinking pennies, rather than pounds!

But it allows me to go full steam ahead with this blog in the knowledge that the framework is set so that I can be compensated for the considerable amount of time I put into it. The level of compensation is completely down to how effectively I market this blog, and the quality of the advice and guidance that I offer. I am very happy to be held accountable to myself in such a way.

Business As Usual

So that’s it! As I have already said, nothing is really going to change around here, but putting affiliate links in place allows me to pour everything into this blog without getting preoccupied in such silly notions as, you know, making money.

I would appreciate your thoughts on this matter. Are you happy for me to monetize the blog in this way? Are you happy about the way in which I am going about it? Please let me know in the comments section!

Creative Commons images courtesy of Andres RuedaMariano Kamp and Mukumbura

Comments

  1. says

    Finally, you’re letting us feel like we’re not mooching off you.

    People who want to leave work behind are probably over achievers. Which means that they want to help others. When you help us and we can’t do squat for you, it’s kind of annoying.

    Thank you for making some money off this. It’s exciting that your work is getting the reward it deserves.

    • says

      Sorry for annoying you ;)

      Seriously though, that means a lot. As for making money – you’re perhaps being too presumptuous! :) Let’s see if I actually make anything first…

  2. says

    I think all the other blogers, myself included, will tell you to go for it while the normal readers will probably be a bit disappointed.

    No matter what assurances you give as soon as you go commercial a little something is lost. Like when they privatise the NHS and you can no longer be sure your doctor isn’t stringing you along the for extra payments for each visit, or you go to the garage and they give you a quote for fixing your car, or… you get the picture.

    I doubt the feeling is enough to lose readers but I’m sure something is lost.

    But we’re not communists so milk the cow!

    200 a day is pretty good my blog only gets about 70 a day. Any tips on expanding its readership?

    • says

      Hey Joe,

      I think you’re right, generally speaking, but I do hope that not all normal readers feel negatively about it.

      Growing your blog is really simple – it just takes a lot of work. Guest post (you should download my guide for that). Be active on social media. Connect with other bloggers and grow relationships. Build a list and setup a good auto-responder. And of course, produce great content. In time, your blog will grow.

      Cheers,

      Tom

        • says

          Hmm I’m not sure I recommend digg digg – it adds javascript to the posts/pages content, when it should be in the header. It also deregisters standard wordpress jquery and reregisters it’s own older version of the script, so it’s gonna conflict with things, esp. if you minify things.

          Visually good, but that’s where it ends.

  3. says

    Great Post tom,

    I agree with the monetization because if your helping others and doing it genuinely then there is noting wrong with providing them with an affiliate link. It sort of goes hand in hand in my opinion. As long as your recommendation are of value unlike some of these blogger out here.

    They just push product hoping someone would buy and I cant tell you the time I received 3 or 4 identical emails trying to push the same product. I like sharing and helping others as well as my goal is to help at least 1000 people by December 31, 2012.

    Thanks
    Akil

  4. Justice Wordlaw IV says

    Tom,

    Monetizing your blog will be an everlasting process that won’t ever end but if you stay consistent with your marketing strategy for your blog and offer great content I doubt that any of your readers will be going anywhere anytime soon. Your doing a great job and excited to see what various monetizing ideas that you come up with.

  5. Duy says

    That is a sound decision Tom :) You have one vote from me!

    I understand your thoughts and I appreciate the fact that you want to let us know that it’s possible to make a living online without “telling” people how to do so. Because I want to learn from real teachers like you and Steve not from some wannabe bloggers (preachers) who are trying to make some quick bucks.

    You’ve done a great work in helping people out. You practice what you teach. That’s a big trust factor ;) And you know it, people, including me, like to buy from the ones they trust. That’s why I think it’s time to reap some rewards of your hard work Tom.

    All the best!

  6. says

    I don’t even view this as monetizing. You are providing an honest review of something you use. Now, if I start to see a different product endorsement each week, then I’d be concerned.

    BTW, I value my time at $100 per hour and I spent 5 minutes reading and commenting here. I just lost out on $8. I’m joking, of course, but the “I value my time” statements do drive me absolutely crazy. Not so much from you as you’re not selling a course or product. Sorry for the rant.

    • says

      No problem – I get that. But when I could be spending time earning $50 per hour, but am working on this blog instead, it would be silly not to at least consider the theoretical loss.

  7. says

    Sounds great to me! As long as you’re not flogging something every 5 seconds and sending piles of email about it. Why shouldn’t you get a small payment each time someone buys something you use and recommend?? Hope to see your income rivaling Pat Flynn someday!! You’re writing is very genuine and certainly builds trust that you are the real deal! I’ve learnt a lot!

    • says

      I promise I will not be flogging something every 5 seconds. I will wait at least 10 minutes between each hard sell ;)

      Only kidding – nothing is going to change around here. As for rivaling Pat Flynn – don’t tell anyone, but I am rather ambitious. Let’s see how it goes…

      Thanks for your kind words :)

  8. says

    You are absolutely on the right track my friend!
    If i could quote you on this one, it would be totally foolish to ignore this aspect, because you are investing a lot of your time into it and time IS money !!
    cheers..

  9. says

    Sounds good and if you’re mentioning a product then I think you should include an affiliate link. That’s how people like Pat at SPI get the majority of their income but they do it by providing value first and people reward them by using their links.

  10. says

    Thanks Tom! I didn’t know i was a legend! ;) I appreciate the kind words, and I am glad to see you are taking some small steps to monetizing this site. Your time should be worth something!

    You will still likely be doing this site at a loss for what your time is “worth” for a long while, but at least it is nice that you might get -something- back for all the time and effort you pour into here.

    Glad to see that you made the decision and that the majority of your readers agree and understand.

    • says

      Hi Steve,

      My pleasure :)

      Yep – I doubt that I will recoup my “time investment” for some time yet, but I love working on the blog, so that isn’t a disaster.

      Cheers,

      Tom

  11. says

    Totally support this decision, Tom. In my case, I’m happy to reward those who let me know about a great product by giving them an affiliate commission. I definitely trust your judgement, too, so I have no reservations about this at all.

  12. says

    Hi Tom,

    thanks for your post !

    First time for me here …

    You genuinely inspire confidence and initiative.

    I think that there is always the “right time” to decide monetize your blog,
    and you only know how to do it.

    There are so many ways, that each of us can decide which one works best.

    My sincere wishes for success with your blog !

  13. says

    Hey Tom,

    I’ve been seeing you pop up here and there on blogs that I visit and decided to give you a thumbs up here for what you’re trying to do. Situations get difficult when it comes to money and it’s hard to make ends meet sometimes. Kudos to you for doing what you can.

    I’m in the same situation as you (more or less). I left my job at the end of November last year and decided to earn a living via online methods. Niche sites are the first step for me, as it’s the path of least resistance. Well, at least for me, it was the easiest to learn.

    200 visitors per day is pretty amazing. I get way less than that, as I haven’t concentrated on making much out of my personal blog yet. I aspire to one day achieve what you’re doing here, and work on that as I become established.

    What I’ve realized since quitting my job is that if you’re passionate about something, you’ll make it work. Somehow. It’s definitely a leap of faith, for sure. My buddy told me that I’m in the middle of a motorcycle jump, and that all I need to do is just land it. Still trying to figure that one out, and having fun so far. Not making the money that I used to is disappointing, and I’m having a hard time being patient, but… I believe that I’m on the right path. I think you are too.

    Anyway, just wanted to drop you a note. I’ll be keeping an eye on this blog for new things that you put out. Keep it up!

    Andre

    • says

      Hi Andre,

      I appreciate you stopping by! I’m sure your blog will grow over time – I like what you’re doing over there. You’ve just got your newest RSS subscriber :)

      Your outlook on the journey we’re sharing is spot on. Sure, you need to be effective in what you do, but passion can take you far.

      Cheers,

      Tom

  14. says

    Hi Tom,

    I have just discovered your blog and really rate it, well done mate.

    I think you are making the correct decision in trying to earn from your blog, I’d much rather see some affiliate links here and there and continue to receive great content from you rather than have no affiliate links and run the possibility of the content stopping because you had to dedicate more time to paid endeavours elsewhere.

    I hope it works out for you.

    Darren

  15. says

    Tom

    I think it’s great that you can earn a living off of this blog. It’s very clear that a lot of work went into this site. It’s got a nice layout, good advice for noobies like myself, great content and an excellent blogger behind it all.

    Did you code this website yourself Tom? You have got a really good layout. I am in the market for a good theme myself but have yet to find one. Any recommendations?

    • says

      Hey William,

      You’re very kind to say those things; thank you :)

      This site is based upon the Canvas theme, although I have made a few custom alterations. I would heartily recommend anything by WooThemes.

      Cheers,

      Tom

  16. Leaving Work Behind says

    Thanks guys, I appreciate it. And like I say in the post, I will only ever endorse things that I have used and tested myself.

  17. says

    Tom,
    You’re right about Steve he IS a legend:) I love what you are doing here as we’ll, thank you for sharing your experiences, I’m looking forward to digging into all of your archives.
    Best,
    Tim

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