Money and blogging, the opportunity and the dilemma

May 5, 2008 by

You may have noticed in my last post; Reason-4-Smile got its first sponsored review. That means a paid review, and that is the real first opportunity of monetization (besides earning from Adsense that I can’t even cashed it yet).

It was a surprise to me. Denise Adams contacted me in the middle of April. She prompted that she enjoyed my article and how I write. She commented on my About page, and she is interested in a paid review for her website. I hope you do not take it as if I’m boasting. The money is not much worth boasting for, but the lesson is much more worthy. It is what I wanted to share with you, the opportunity and the dilemma that comes with this offer.

The opportunity

The start of a business
To start a business, you need to have a businessman mindset instead of employee mindset. Employee mindset is activity mindset, doing what they are being asked for, working 9 to 5 as specified in the contract. On the other hand, businessmen mindset is about profit and responsibility. He values thing on the result that he brings. He gives more than what is expected. Business requires investor, even if he is the only investor.

Blogging is an investment
What is the difference between an investor and a trader? John Maxwell shared in his book, Winning with People, the difference between an investor and trader. Traders receive and then give. Investors are different; they give first, and receive later.

Do you give out your best?
Is investing giving? Maybe not exactly, but giving is the first step you need to take. Investing is risky, as you may need to give. If you take blogging as an investment, you need to remember to give out our best article again and again.

Skelliewag, shared before about trump card post idea. Write as if the article you write is your trump card. Write as if it’s the last article you’re going to write. Do not hold the best of you in writing!

Scarcity and abundance
Again, I see this as a practical example of the value that I have shared on giving, The Secret of Giving. It’s about the scarcity versus abundance mindset. When you think that your inspiration is scarce, you won’t give out your best, you will reserve some not to share it now. Reserve so that you will have to share it on the later time. That might be the principle you need to have in any business or occupation you have. Are you giving all out of yourself or do you reserve your best?

Will it return?
Just like any other investment, there is one two important point that determines the return.

The first one is the place where you invest. We all have limitation, and we simply cannot afford to invest into every opportunity we have. We cannot invest into every place or people we find, we meet or we relate with. We all need a process of discernment, where and whom to invest to, when we need to say YES, and when we need to say NO.

Another component that is necessary in investment is time. We all need persistence and patience to reap the benefit of investment. This opportunity comes only after 6 months of blogging, and this is only a start. More importantly, the personal character growth that I experienced really make my investment in blogging worth the money, energy and time. Here is one article that summarizes that: 7 benefits of blogging to my personal growth.

The opportunity and the profit will come
Similarly, are you expecting more money? You will need to invest more. Invest more on yourself so that you can invest more to others. T. Harv Eker in his Millionaire Mind Intensive Seminar taught me one concept that opens my eyes about generating money…

The amount of money and profit you make are reflected from the problem you solve and the value you bring to people.
~T. Harv Eker

The dilemma

Scholarship Moment 2.0 | Money Fan
Creative Commons License photo credit: 2493™

That opportunity comes with dilemma. “Should I accept the offer?”, “Will it hurt my readership?”, “Am I comfortable promoting the product?”, “Is it appropriate to put the review in this blog?” Those are some of the questions that troubled me before accepting the opportunity.

The opportunity to learn
“I wanted to learn from the experience!” There is whole bunch of lesson that I expected to experience from this opportunity. In fact, I think I will have much to share about them and I’m going to post an article on them.

Success does not only come from giving, success also comes from receiving. This might be a lesson of success that I need to take. It’s risky and some of my readers may not like it. I do get notifications that some have unsubscribed. I am not too sure if it’s related with the review, but I learned a lot from the experience that I am thankful not to miss the chance of reviewing Denise’s product.

A “gray” product
The product Denise is offering in her website is something that I consider as “gray” area product. I am not a huge fan of self improvement with subliminal audio message. In fact, actually I do not have much information about it. I have to put some thought whether to promote them or not. I do not want to waste the opportunity, yet I do not want to act against my belief and conscience. I posted a question in Blog Mastermind Forum, and Blaine Moore shared with me a question, “Will I still make the review even if I’m not paid?” And that gets me thinking…

The dots are connected
I was very fortunate. After some conversation, Denise verified that her request is not a review on her products. That will be very hard for me to do. The review she wanted me to review is her website. In another words, I am going to review her marketing via her website.

I am very excited to know that. Somehow, the dots are connected. As I blog, I read a lot about many marketing stuffs, such as Dosh-Dosh and SlyMarketing. More than that, losing out on the “Tell me your story” contest held by Derrick Kwa, gets me curious about the book prize, Meatball Sundae by Seth Godin. That makes me buying the book, and I really enjoy the book. This information inspired me with a number of ideas that is applicable to Denise’s marketing through her website.

Helping to promote “gray” product?
Still it goes to another dilemma, “Should I help her to promote her product?” That question comes down to a principle that I bought into eventually. A principle that says, “Everyone deserves a chance.

What do I mean by that? In a way, people may talk a lot about negative comments on the product, but she deserves a chance to prove her product. That’s free enterprise world, isn’t it? That is also how I review her website and marketing. I take look into the challenge she is in, and from there I work out on some ideas or efforts that I think she need to take to enlarge her influence in the market.

Challenge does not mean impossible.
I found out the challenge she is in, the trust tax on the industry. Great portion of community have doubt on the product effectiveness. Even more, she is dealing with a product whose effectiveness lies beyond consciousness. People need to trust her and her product very much before they are willing to start using them. How my review continues is in the various ways she can get help and look into to gain trust edge against her competitors. It’s a challenge, and it’s not impossible. Serving is one key to reach the unreachable, and that’s what I pointed to her.

Everyone deserves a chance.
Back to my principle again, I’m paid to do the review, so I would like to give my best advice based on my knowledge and understanding to her. The implementation is of course will not be as easy as the analysis. But, hopefully it does open her eyes on the various possibilities to improve her business.

I admire her intent of helping people to improve themselves through her product. To be much more successful, she needs to make the people believe that her product is worth the money and able to bring about the change, particularly in self-improvement. The business may not perfect right now, but she as every one of us deserves a chance to help others and be successful.

Will it hurt my readership?
The last dilemma: “will it be appropriate to put the review in my blog?” Back to Blaine’s question, “will I still review even if I’m not paid?” The answer now I have is YES. It may not very obvious, but there is an important point that I want to bring to my readers through the review, “You deserve a chance!” People may have bad opinion on you, they critique you, but you know what, “You deserve a chance to be successful!” Take the review as a case study for you, from a point that people doubt you to a point that people can reward you.

And that is not against the vision I carry through my blog at all, that is “Helping you to be successful“, because “You deserve to be successful!

For your success,

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  1. i agree that blogging is also an investment. We invest in articles and we’ll receive the return later.

    Investment Tools last blog post..Fixed Income Investment as Invest Tool

  2. Robert A.

    Hi, thanks for sharing your comment. Yup, I do think so! Partly, it’s also a part of article marketing.

  3. Hi Robert,

    Blogging certainly is an investment.

    I got my first email this week asking if I took advertisements on my blog. I said I did but that I wanted to know a bit more – especially what they’d be advertising. I haven’t heard back yet (so I do wonder if it was a dodgy product or if they just went with someone else who said yes immediately).

    The other difference with the business person is that (at first anyway) they do everything, while employees usually only work in one part of the business. For me this means doing marketing – which I’m not much good at. So I do it the way that is comfortable to me – providing (hopefully) value to others through comments on blogs, participating in carnivals and so forth. When I have a bit more time to write I’d like to do some article marketing. This way too (as long as the articles are good) it is a way of marketing by providing value.

    Wishing you every possible business (and other) success.

    Evans last blog post..How to Divorce Your Parents

  4. I agree with you Robert, it is a dilemma.

    I am not sure how long ago I did my first paid review, but I remember I had to talk to a lot of people about it before I actually published it. What most people told me was that it was ok to do it as long as you write that it is a paid review.

    … and of course, don’t let the money have any effect on your writing. I try to stay focused on what I want to learn and what I find interesting, not what will make me more money.

    Jens P. Bergets last blog post..Trackboost and Utility Poster by Jack Humphrey

  5. Don

    Robert Im not a big fan of paid reviews and recently turned down a substantial amount of money to do one. You say its a gray area, if I know you at all , it sounds as though you may be trying to talk yourself into it, but perhaps I misunderstood. Straying to gray may take you straight to black the next go round. Stay the course young man

    Dons last blog post..Emabracing Adversity in Your Business or Your Life

  6. I have to say I agree with Don in so much as it does sound like you are trying to convince yourself Robert 😉

    I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong in what you did anymore than it was right. Do what you believe in and don’t feel like you have to justify your actions to anybody. In the long run your readers will decide what they want to read.

    Tim Brownsons last blog post..It’s My Party & I’ll Laugh If I Want To

  7. I haven’t gotten any monetization offers yet, but I have gotten a lot of public relations contacts looking for coverage or interviews. I’ve posted a couple, but only the ones that I found extremely relevant to the rest of my blog’s content.

    I agree there are a lot of gray areas in the blogging world. The only thing we can do is stay true to our readership and purpose as bloggers.

  8. Robert, I say go for it. I think the most important this is that you remain authentic. Only post reviews that you yourself would be interested or you think can offer value to others. That’s what matters the most.

    Good luck!


    Jonathan Meads last blog post..5 Signs You’ve Married Your Problems (and how to divorce them)

  9. Hi Robert,

    Thanks for sharing your perspective. I always see promoting or review a product on my blog as an action to add value to my readers.

    But, I have to make sure that I have tested or read the product first before I recommend it.

    I believe that my honest review will help my readers to buy only quality product. 🙂

    I have bought some lousy products too and I never recommend those to my readers just to earn some commission from it. There are abundance of great products out there which I can happily promote without feeling guilty.

    Raymond Chuas last blog post..The Sequence of The Law of Attraction

  10. Robert A.

    @Don, Tim
    Thanks for the input, I’m sending you email to share more about this post to you. Thanks a lot for the warning, I really need to take note of that.

    Thanks for your comment, do you mind sharing the articles you wrote on the review?

    Thanks for your input. I agree with what you said, be excited about our readers and not our partners. Seth Godin shared that statement that helps me to change my perspective on the relationship with our affiliate partner.

    Thanks, you seemed to be an expert in reviewing. Will look forward to your knowledge too =) Thanks for the perspective that reviewing is actually helping as well.

    For all your great comments,
    thank you very much…


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