I get asked this question all the time, so I thought I’d share what I did to become a professional blogger.
1. Start a blog. This is a must, of course. If you don’t have your own blog, how will you convince potential clients that you know what you’re doing when it comes to blogging? It can be a personal blog or a professional blog, or a mix of both – doesn’t matter. But you must have your own blog.
2. Learn about SEO – search engine optimization – and make sure your blog is optimized so that potential clients can find you through search.
3. Blog at least once a week.
4. Create social media accounts – Facebook and Twitter are still the gold standard although Google+ is an option too, and so is LinkedIn, especially for finding B2B clients. Be active on those accounts, and be social! Don’t just push your own stuff – read what others are saying and respond to them.
5. During the first months, until you start getting traffic – and hopefully clients – from search engines and social networking sites – you’ll need to actively look for jobs. One way to do that is to visit sites that offer writing gigs. I used Craigslist, Problogger, and Online Writing Jobs. Be aware of possible scams and protect yourself. Always ask for half the payment in advance, before you deliver your work. (You will need a Paypal account).
6. Consider advertising on Adsense, Facebook and LinkedIn.
7. Work hard and be the best that you can. During the first year, when you have to accept lower prices for your work (but don’t go too low!), you must still provide high-quality work. This is how you build a business – any business – you start low, and if you’re good, you’ll be able to slowly raise your prices.
Becoming a professional blogger with a good client base can take 1-2 years, and of course, nothing is guaranteed, especially in this tough economy. But the good news is, this is a business that requires very little initial investment, and you can (and should) start part-time, while holding on to your day job.