Have a financial blog and tired of getting paid to push products or ads? It may be time to consider a new career path.
As a financial blogger, you’re either educating people on money through your writing or you’re hoping to inspire them to take their finances to the next level. But if you’re looking to make money with blogging, you may run into some serious challenges
Paid advertising and affiliate links are a dime a dozen these days. Every blog has them, and it’s hard to compete when you don’t have hundreds of thousands of visitors to your blog every day.
And if you feel uncomfortable with the idea of driving people to make clicks or purchases, you're not alone. It's not always a fun -- or reliable -- way to earn a living.
(If you don't want to rely on affiliate links and pay-per-click ads, we understand. XYPN advisors are fee-only for a reason; we don't like conflicts of interests inherent with receiving commissions.)
If you’ve found yourself wondering if there’s a better way to earn a living from your blog and continue to provide value to your audience, good news. There is!
Igniting at FinCon
XY Planning Network co-founder Alan Moore presented to a group of financial bloggers at an Ignite meetup at FinCon14, an event that took place as part of the opening night festivities. You can check out his presentation below on how financial bloggers (and writers, and other media members) can explore new careers as financial planners -- then we'll dive more into step-by-step detail with this post.
Become a Financial Planner
You can take your blog to the next level by transitioning from being “just a blogger” to a financial planner.
By doing so, you’ll be able to turn your blog into a recurring source of income and provide meaningful financial services to others. That’s what you’re already doing on your blog, you might as well get paid for it!
As a bonus, you can do financial planning from anywhere, so you’ll also be able to have a location independent business.
Financial planning can be more rewarding than blogging because you’ll get to work with clients one-on-one. You’ll get to see the results of your advice directly help your clients (rather than write to an audience and be left to wonder if anyone is taking action).
Now, you might be think that becoming a financial planner is difficult. That you need to have a degree, pass tons of tests, and have a fancy title, right?
Here’s why, as a financial blogger, you’re fully capable of stepping up to be a financial planner.
Legal Requirements and Services Provided
You actually aren’t required to be a CFP® in order to call yourself a financial planner, though XYPN strongly recommends getting certified.
The first step is to take and pass the Series 65 exam. Passing enables you to become a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA), which you’re legally required to have in order to give others advice concerning investments (and get paid for that advice).
It’s worth noting that you don’t have to give investment advice as a financial planner. You can even outsource it to firms such as Betterment. And you don’t have to focus solely on topics such as estate planning, insurance, or retirement. Financial planning is not just for boomers -- needs to be for Gen X and Gen Y, too.
Several of our own member advisors are changing the field by offering different services to their clients, such as helping them to create more sources of income, manage travel rewards, and plan their career.
If you're hesitant because financial planning sounds "boring," just talk with one of XYPN's advisors about the great lives they lead while helping their Gen X and Gen Y clients do the same.
The Income Potential
What you make from financial planning will vary on your target market, experience, and specific services you offer.
Many financial planners start by charging a new client a $1,000 initial planning fee to get them set up and started, and then $100 to $200 per month for ongoing financial planning services.
As you gain more clients (and/or more experience), you’ll be able to raise your rates.
You can also scale your business by providing financial products to your audience, such as courses and ebooks. These products don’t require your physical presence, which means they’ll free up your time so you can take on other work.
This can also be a great way of bringing clients in, by the way, just like it serves as a good driver of traffic to blogs. If someone reads your ebook they may decide they want to pay you for personalized, one-on-one service and become an ongoing client.
Can I Really Transition from Being a Blogger to a Professional Expert?
Yes, of course! Bloggers are experts in what they write on -- there just aren't the same kinds of certification (and consumer protections) in place for this role.
People are already reading your opinions and suggestions, why not take it to the next level by getting paid for them?
If you don’t think people will pay you for solid financial advice, think again. $100/month is actually very affordable - that’s about what some people pay monthly for their phone service, gym membership, or dining out. And financial planning is an investment to grow your wealth, not just a monthly distraction or luxury.
The best part is, your blog already serves as a platform to reach your target audience. You already have the attention of your clients. If you begin offering paid services, there will be people willing to buy to get advice tailored specifically to their individual situation.
What Are the Start-Up Costs?
Starting a financial planning firm doesn't have to be cost-prohibitive or so costly that you need some sort of financial backers or investors like other businesses. You can get started for under $10,000. That includes the cost of website development, technology, and of course, compliance.
The costs for you are even less since you already have a blog/website to build off of, and much of the cost depends on individual decisions; you can get started for much less than ten grand.
And hey, you're already ahead of the curve when it comes to looking at competitor presences online. Most of the financial planning industry has been slow to come around to new technology, setting up strong digital brands, and working virtually, which leaves you a huge gap in the market to fill if you want to serve Gen X and Gen Y clients -- and we assume you do, since that's probably your current blog readership.
That means you probably already know your ideal market. You have the perfect clients in mind, and you’re already writing to them. Many other financial planners don’t understand the value of having a niche, and they end up trying to market to a broad audience and failing.You know better (you smart cookie, you).
What’s Holding You Back?
As you can see, making the transition from blogger to financial planner does need to be difficult. You're actually in a great position to make this change!
Being a blogger means you have many advantages, and the process will actually be easier than if you were coming into the field brand new. XYPN would love to help you make the transition if you want to explore the possibilities of adding more value to the financial lives of your current blog readers by helping them directly and one-on-one.