This is the first chapter in my The Essential Habits of Six-Figure Bloggers Book.
In 2017, Ramsay of Blog Tyrant surveyed 350 bloggers. He found that just eight percent of people interviewed were making more than $10,000 from their blog. Of the remaining 92 percent, the majority (69 percent of people interviewed) were earning zero.
Another survey by ConvertKit revealed a similar picture. Their survey reported that 15 percent of bloggers earned more money than the median United States household income. Whereas, the average profit for the remaining 85 percent was $9,497.
The message is clear. Most bloggers don’t make a living from their blog.
Yet, some earn six- or even seven-figure incomes. Online entrepreneurs like Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income and Michelle Schroeder-Gardner of Making Sense of Cents (who is featured in this book) regularly report six-figure months.
Which leads to an important question. Why do some bloggers earn six figures, yet most do not? What strategies, habits, or systems have led to their success?
To answer these questions, I studied bloggers across various niches. I examined their business strategies. I looked for common themes. I researched their backgrounds, habits, and characteristics.
And while some ideas kept reappearing, I couldn’t find a single blueprint for success. Each person followed a unique path.
Of course, this isn’t surprising. If success was the result of following a simple formula, then we’d all achieve everything we set our minds to. But this isn’t the case.
I persisted. I’m stubborn that way. When I get an idea, I can’t let it go. And I was convinced a formula for success did exist. Not only in the blogging world, but in every discipline.
I turned to books like the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and The Success Principles. These books helped, and I recommend you read them. They both lay out the common principles of success. However, there was still a problem. Few top performers practiced all the ideas in these books.
Then I noticed something interesting. Some ideas were interchangeable and they led to identical outcomes. I started to organize habits and principles into groups. Then I combined groups. I moved things around. I was working toward a framework for success.
Eventually, three types of success habits emerged. At that point, I knew I was on to something. This was a concept everyone needed to know. But first I had to test out my theory. I wanted to be sure the three habits worked.
I returned to the blogging world. Online business was an obvious place to start. Due to the low barriers to entry, there are many examples of successful bloggers—and many more examples of failed ones.
I interviewed 17 successful bloggers. Then I reviewed their answers and cross-checked them against the three habits. An exciting picture emerged: All the bloggers I met did practice the three habits.
What to Expect from This Book
This book is a collection of real-life stories. It’s also a success manual for bloggers. It captures the accounts of people who have overcome the challenges of blogging and built their dream business.
The people in this book openly share their fears and struggles. They explain what worked for them and what didn’t. They hold nothing back. In these pages, you’ll discover that building a six-figure blog is not easy. It takes knowledge and determination. Each person I interviewed has a unique business, one that fits them and their vision.
You’ll discover the tactics and strategies of successful bloggers. You’ll also find that there’s no one magic bullet that guarantees success. While some people offer a personalized service, others make money through advertising or affiliate sales. One blogger may swear by product creation. Another will tell you sponsored posts and advertising are the fastest path to success. While most of the people in this book acknowledge the importance of an engaged email list, their opinions on social media differ. Some say it’s a waste of time. Others built their blogs by leveraging Pinterest traffic.
What are you to do with all this information? Well, here’s the good news. Every blogger in this book practices the three success habits.
These habits are not about specific tactics (though we will cover these). They go deeper. In fact, you can apply these three habits to anything. Not just blogging. Want to lose weight? Pay off your debt? Build a retirement fund? Run a marathon?
Practice the three habits and you can do all these things.
The ideas in these pages aren’t new. Instead, this book provides a framework so that you can sort through the mass of information, tools, and techniques and create your own version of success. You’ll learn the three habits and how to apply them to your blog, or any other situation.
There are thousands of ways to apply each habit. Success for you won’t look the same as it does for me or anyone else. The key is to master each of the three habits by leveraging your unique strengths, experience, and values. This book will give you the steps to do exactly that.
By reading this book you will learn from successful bloggers, master the three success habits, and create a six-figure blog that leverages your unique talents and values.
The rest of this book is divided into three sections, one for each habit. In each part, you will learn how successful bloggers apply the habit and the specific action steps you can take to build your six-figure blog.
But first you need to understand the three habits and how they fit together.
Habit 1: Act With Purpose
The first habit is Act With Purpose. Here’s what it means:
Successful people have a mission and take strategic action to fulfill their vision.
This habit is about setting meaningful goals and creating a plan to achieve them. It’s about being strategic.
I first learned about strategic planning in my corporate job. I worked 18 years for financial institutions like Merrill Lynch, Barclays, BlackRock, and Silicon Valley Bank.
These organizations have a company mission and strategic plan. Each layer of management is responsible for furthering the company mission. New projects or activities must fit the organization’s overall vision. This is how complex businesses stay true to their purpose and achieve their end goals.
Now, you don’t need to be a large organization to adopt a strategic plan. You can define your mission and set meaningful goals. Then, when you know where you want to go, you can create a plan to achieve your goal(s).
Acting with purpose means you know where you want to go and have a proven plan to get there.
It’s important to set goals that align with your strengths and values. This is what is meant by meaningful goals. Once you have your goal, you then implement a strategy to fulfill it. We discuss how to set goals and create a plan for your blog in the next chapter.
Of course, creating an effective strategy takes experimentation. Few people hit it out of the ballpark on their first attempt. Which is one reason why the second habit is important.
Habit 2: Create Systems For Success
You can have a solid strategy and still fail. You can take courses, learn from experts in your field, and map out a path to success, but fail to meet your goals. Maybe life gets in the way or you don’t see results fast enough. This is when many of us throw in the towel.
However, successful people don’t give up. They keep going in the face of obstacles. And here’s their secret: They don’t rely on willpower alone. Here’s the definition of habit two:
Successful people create systems so that essential tasks always get done.
Systems are not limited to the computer or software kind. They include daily rituals, outsourcing certain tasks if necessary, content planning, batching related tasks, and more. A system is anything that automates strategic activities.
In section two of this book, we will discuss the systems used by six-figure bloggers. You don’t need to adopt all these strategies. In fact, doing so would be overwhelming and almost certainly lead to failure. Instead, select the systems that fit you and your goals.
The bottom line is this:
Unless you’re superhuman, you need systems to stay consistent and succeed. Don’t rely on willpower alone to achieve your goals.
Habit 3: Believe in Yourself
Thanks to my corporate career, I had a head start with habits one and two. I have plenty of experience implementing strategies and systems. Yet, for the longest time, I wasn’t seeing the results I wanted in my business.
This is because I hadn’t mastered the third habit. I was letting my beliefs about money, my abilities, and other people’s opinions limit my achievements. Here’s what habit three means:
Successful people accept responsibility for their results and believe in their power to achieve the desired outcome, no matter what happens.
Habit three differentiates the six-figure bloggers from the hobby bloggers. It’s easy to understand, yet difficult to master. However, actively working on this habit will transform your results.
Let’s unpack the definition, so you can truly grasp how habit three works. It has three parts:
1. “Successful people accept responsibility for their results” means adopting a no excuses mindset. When something unexpected happens—which it will—you get to decide how to respond. You can blame outside events or you can change what you’re doing. Top performers know that they, and they alone, are responsible for their results.
2. Successful people “believe in their power to achieve the desired outcome.” We all carry a set of fears and beliefs. Some of our beliefs hold us back. Habit three means not letting negative thoughts and recurring stories limit your achievement. Instead, you must believe in yourself and your mission.
3. Finally, “no matter what happens” means doing it scared. We’re all afraid and we all encounter obstacles. To find success you must lean into your fear and keep moving forward, even when faced with seemingly insurmountable setbacks.
Of the three habits, the third is the most overlooked. It’s also the hardest to conquer. Many people focus on strategy and tactics. Adopting new tools or following the latest trend. But, strategy and tactics only get you so far.
Fortunately, there are many ways to strengthen your belief. For example: practicing gratitude, saying affirmations, creating a vision board, surrounding yourself with successful people and meditating. In section three of this book, you’ll learn more about the mindset tools used by six-figure bloggers.
Do You Have What It Takes?
Now that you know the habits, which of the three do you most need to work on? Do you have a mission and strategy for your blog? Do you need systems to help you follow through? Are your fears holding you back?
Most people benefit from working on all three habits. In fact, this work never ends. What helps you achieve one goal, won’t take you to the next level. You must dig deeper, adopt new systems, and overcome fresh obstacles.
Are you ready for your first challenge? Do you have what it takes to build a six- or seven-figure blog? Let’s find out.
If you’d like to read the rest of my The Essential Habits of Six-Figure Bloggers book, click below to check it out on Amazon.