How to Make Money in Social Media

Category: Weekly Columns

Do you remember that great George Carlin line about wanting to become a millionaire? I’m paraphrasing him but he said something like, “So, you want to be a millionaire – pause – first thing, get a million dollars.” Don’t we all wish it were that simple! No, you will not get magic tips on how to monetize from this column. You will get some useful ideas that you can employ.

When I began writing and doing Social Media I set four goals for myself, in order of priority, with the first three tied for first place and the fourth, a distant fourth. They were and still are:

1. Make the world a better place. Tikkun Olam – Repair the World.
2. Have fun.
3. Model a working and successful dad to my boys, who had almost never known me as anything other than their dad.
4. Make money.

To one degree or another, I’m definitely on the road with the first three goals. Of course, there’s always room to improve and grow but I’m having a blast. I know my boys now know dad is really working, and occasionally I believe I’m making a positive impact on the world.

Given that I work almost literally EVERY day and put in as many or more hours than I used to in my showbiz career, I decided at the end of 2011, that it was time to pay attention to goal #4 and start doing the things I should do to monetize. I was clear that I would not compromise my primary goals, but why the heck not make some money if I could?

Attending BlogWorld LA last fall, I heard repeatedly from the mom bloggers how they were making money and how they were being aggressive about demanding to be paid for their services. Upon more serious discussion and investigation, I found that the income many received was from affiliations with brands. Others had very specific niches in travel, for instance, and made money in the form of relationships with travel-oriented companies. Many received great perks in the form of free stuff, aka swag and/or free trips.

My radio show station manager has repeatedly urged me to charge subscription fees to those that visit my website, citing so many others that do that. While I offer a lot of content, there’s been something that continues to bother me about going that route.

Finally, I decided I’d better get some help and hire a manager. I don’t know what the job title is, but I think of Savior-Genius-Person (SGP hereafter) – the woman who leads my “team” – as my manager/agent in much the way I knew of that role in my former showbiz career. The difference, however, is that I am paying her monthly fees for her services and for those of the “team,” as needed and used. I chose to invest in myself, as I believe what I do and offer does indeed have value.

Given that I began without much concern for income, I chose to play in as many areas of Social Media and media, in general, as I could and that I wanted to. They now include a weekly vlog (I’m NOT That Dad), #DadChat, a weekly comic strip (Because I Said So), a book (A Dad’s Point-of-View: We ARE Half the Equation), my weekly radio show (The Bruce Sallan Show: A Dad’s Point-of-View), speaking engagements at conferences, guest blogging for a variety of other sites (24 so far, for 12Most.com), and my weekly A Dad’s Point-of-View column, which is seen in approximately 100 newspapers and websites, worldwide.

How much money do I make from ALL these enterprises? Does a cup o’ Joe a day give you a hint? Am I in it “for the money?” No, but I’m also not averse to making some!

So, what are the plans going forward? The first step was re-designing my website which, it turns out, had been set up with about the worst possible SEO potential. We re-launched BruceSallan.com about two months ago. The numbers have been steadily increasing in a sustained and meaningful manner.

The second step was teaching me how to use WordPress. I’ve had several tutorials from one of the team members and now I am basically able to handle the majority of the publishing myself.

Moving forward, as we build up our analytics we will secure advertisers, sponsors for the website, #DadChat, and possible campaigns, syndication and merchandizing of the comic strip, paid speaking engagements, another book, re-invigorate the sales of the first one, and get the radio show on more stations to make it more profitable.

With SGP’s guidance, I am stopping my previous way of thinking, which was 100% about the material and 0% about making money. The majority of what I will do will continue to be about the material but I can apportion some of my thinking to organic brand/sponsor ideas that work for me, my radio show, #DadChat, and more. Why not?

There you have it. A comprehensive strategy that includes throwing spaghetti against the wall and hoping it sticks when it’s cooked! Stay tuned. I expect to have a positive progress report by the end of the year. That is part of the plan!

  • http://www.amberrisme.com Amberr Meadows

    I hope you find the money, too. I’m still building numbers for that myself. 

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      I look forward to both of us celebrating our mutual success – as far as monetizing – in the near future, Amberr…again, to be clear, it’s icing on the cake for me as I LOVE my life RIGHT NOW and all that I’m doing RIGHT NOW!

  • http://brianvickery.com Brian Vickery

    Good luck with the spaghetti against the wall, Bruce – and good luck monetizing. You are an outstanding resource w/DadChat, so I hope it really grows.

    I’m in that interesting predicament where I do *not* want to make money from my site directly. I want it to be a safe zone for readers to join in my passions (sports, leadership, family, education). If they choose to check out my business website as a result, great (since we offer social media monitoring). Otherwise, it is building a platform and occasionally writing a post to show I’m credible enough to do business with 😉 I guess I would not be opposed to speaking/teaching engagements. I do enjoy them, and I would not be opposed to making money for Mantis with them. I’ve kicked around the idea of having a “Social Media Fitness” engagement like some of the QuickStart programs we have for Business Intelligence/Data Warehousing.

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      BV, you are in essence still using your “platform” to steer people to your business while NOT compromising your personal site/leaderships. Meaning, I agree with you. Love what you do, and really do feel the same. I will NOT change much of anything for a buck. I didn’t leave showbiz to be a SAHD to now compromise…

  • http://chopperpapa.com Kyle Bradford

    I don’t know Bruce. As I see it right now. The moment I head down that path everything about why I do what I’m doing suddenly changes. Then, instead of writing based upon real life, from my own story, frame of mind I’m writing for the advertiser. 

    The first post I wrote I was convinced that every news station would be calling me the next morning. I realized then I had the wrong end in mind. 

    I want to be able to reach out and impact people and the way think about life, love, relationships and parenting. And if that never earns me a dime. OK then. 

    But should someone want to be a part of the fun then I’ll gladly talk with them. I did inquire several months ago if Harley Davidson would be interested in partnering….

    They haven’t responded. 

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      I couldn’t be more WITH YOU Kyle. I will NOT compromise my vision, my “point-of-view,” and my values for ANY amount of $$$$. Thank G*d, I don’t have to…

  • http://www.thejackb.com/ The JackB

    Many of the bloggers who say that they are making money aren’t really making as much as they claim to be making. If they figured out their real hourly rate it would be pennies or less.

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      Soooooo TRUE, JB…Yes, I know to take everyone’s claims with a grain of salt. But, frankly, I don’t care about them…I care that I live up to the standards I’ve set and taught my boys…that I don’t compromise my values. And, I won’t.

  • http://thisBEAST.com/ netster

    Bruce, this is awesome! I have a big dream of making money online. I see many successful people making money online and I am still working very hard to contribute more time and afford for my blog.

    I enjoy what I do but I can’t seem to really contribute more mainly due to financial and time. 

    But I’m hoping to be able to blog full time and earn my living this way because I enjoy doing it. I love meeting people in these social circle hahaha 🙂

    Good luck to you and I am pretty sure you will be very successful in your works 😀

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      Thanks much, Netster! I hesitated to publish this – sort of like airing my dirty laundry. Breaking the illusion that I’m making TONS of money online. But, I think this is the big elephant in the room and it needs outing. Most people have “day jobs” and “play” at their online income dreams. I hope my candor brings out a discussion and that more of us that actually work full-time online, can learn, share, and actually profit from doing what we love!

  • http://stanfaryna.wordpress.com Stan Faryna

    Make sure your online accomplishments feed your offline accomplishments. And vice versa. Kinda like what happens in I’m Not That Dad #3. How you make us aware of some of the other things you are doing through the conversation. Maybe, I don’t see you doing enough of that. 

    But, maybe, it’s just me who isn’t seeing that – I know that I’m not especially observant or bright. [grin]

    That said, it is obvious that you do a lot. Wow! You’re doing a lot of interesting things: radio show, syndicated column, #dadchat, book, vlog, comic, etc. The big money should be just around the corner for you.

    Of course, there’s nothing wrong with making money. Especially when you are driven and guided by more important things. As you are.

    From a quick and distant glance, the only thing I can imagine in powering up your game is getting more people on board. In other words, make your game more about the us than the you. 

    Maybe, you are doing that and I’m not seeing enough of it. Anyway, this is not a criticism. It’s more like a question.

    You rock, Bruce. And it means a lot to me that you take the time to visit my blog and comment.

    Recently on my blog: PSA- The girls in the windows: Amsterdam and sex tourism (video) http://wp.me/pbg0R-Lt

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      You know, you make a good point and it’s a GREAT reminder Stan…to speak/write more about others rather than myself. Now, my “brand” is me and my layman experiences, but mixing it up with more about others can never hurt it. I do that well on Twitter…and on Facebook…but with my own writing and vlogs, it tends to be self-centered, though I hope not in too much of an egotistic manner?

      • http://stanfaryna.wordpress.com Stan Faryna

        Weaving more about others into your story (writing and vlogs) shouldn’t be hard for a charming man of international mystery such as yourself.

        Again, I think you rock. You can count me as a fan.

        • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

          I like that…”a charming man of international mystery” – now, if I could only convince my wife!

  • http://pegfitzpatrick.com/ Peg Fitzpatrick

    Great post Bruce! There’s money? Geez!

    I have had many of the same thoughts as you. #MyBookClub is at the one year mark next month and you really have to think about the amount of time vs. whether it will make money. How long do you do something and to what extent if it is a passion project. We only have so many hours in a day.

    Definitely something to ponder. :DCongrats on all your successes along the way and I know that you will continue on to do each thing on your list! You know we love and appreciate you at 12 Most!!

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      The whole time is money idea is true. For me, it’s just so much fun and I love the people I meet virtually and IRL so much that – shhhh – I’d pay to do what I do! 

  • cutemonster

    Being that I’ve been laying the ground work for ushering out Disney to make way for CuteMonster World, I can relate to your dreams of Bruce Sallan Inc.  You’ve already hit the ground running and I look forward to what’s next.  See you at CuteMonster World in 2022?  🙂  

    Vincent | CuteMonster.com

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      I’ll be first in line, Vincent!

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  • http://twitter.com/dino_dogan Dino Dogan

    everyone wants to make money….I dont get it. 😉

    • http://thisBEAST.com/ netster

      Hi Dino — you’re so funny hehehe :p

  • http://www.8bitdad.com Zach Rosenberg

    Money. It’s a tough subject. You get into something for the love of it, then someone whispers in your ear that you’re already “giving it all away”, why not make some money off of it? And there’s something to be said for it. But, like you and others have said, you keep your clear vision of your own goals and work in opportunities as they come up.

    Bottom line, you should always be working as if you’re not making anything, or as if you don’t have a sponsor – that’s the only way to keep the honest edge. It’s funny that products these days go to bloggers because of their honest point of view, but then immediately harness the honesty and only allow them to say certain things about those products. Well, as long as they’d like to be part of the illustrious compensated bunch. So – you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

    The internet will follow honesty. And with your success, you know that. But they also smell a “sell-out”, so you’ve got to toe the line. Historically, no one’s paid anyone else for keeping a journal or a diary – but we’re at the point in time where someone can make money doing just that. We just need to make sure, as those diary-keepers, that we write as if no one’s reading it.

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      Lots of great feedback and wisdom in your comment, Zach…TYVM!

      • http://www.8bitdad.com Zach Rosenberg

        No problem! And hey, if you figure out how to make a pile of cash, 1) invite me over so I can smell it, and 2) invite me over so I can learn your secrets!

        • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

          WE still haven’t met though we live in the same area, Zach! How about coffee, FINALLY???? Hugo’s?

    • http://stanfaryna.wordpress.com Stan Faryna

      Beautiful insight, Zach!

      • http://www.8bitdad.com Zach Rosenberg

        Thanks Stan!

  • David Weber

    I can’t say much about social media, but I do know ’70s comedy. The millionaire comment was actually Steve Martin’s.  It went something like this, “I have a foolproof way to avoid paying taxes on a million dollars. First…get a million dollars. [pause] OK…next….” I think this was on the Wild and Crazy Guy album…my memory fails at this point.

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      Your memory is AWESOME DW…I’ve always counted on it and I appreciate the correction, though it sure feels like it could’ve been George Carlin!

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    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      @sisibebe:disqus – my experience in Social Media and LIFE is that there is NO FREE LUNCH. If it sounds to good to be true, it probably IS!

      • sisi bebe

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