Wondering what it takes to run a successful blog? Due to current events, many individuals are being forced to rely heavily on their business website, social media, blog, or other online platform.
TBC alumnus Jonathan Milligan has achieved tremendous success with his blog-based business.
Whether you are in ministry, own a boutique store, or are exploring brand new ideas for yourself, our interview with Jonathan Milligan offers helpful advice and resources that will help you learn to run your own successful blog!
We start off this spotlight by telling Jonathan’s story and end with a few interview questions. Our hope is to provide the help and inspiration you need as you contemplate your next steps.
Jonathan Milligan (‘99) started his first blog as a creative outlet. Within three years he had successfully developed his hobby into a full-time business.
Of course, this didn’t happen by accident. In fact, he is the first to admit that once he discovered his niche it took hard work, planning, and more than a few mistakes to build a successful business. What did surprise him was the fact that what he started as a hobby could become a source of income! Now he runs his own company and employs his own staff. He is a full-time blogger, coach, speaker, and – most recently – published author!
What intrigued Jonathan the most about blogging in the first place was the idea that this platform gave him the opportunity to do ministry in an area he had never considered before.
He could influence, guide, and help people reach their potential regardless of their workplace. Jonathan loved to write but more importantly he loved to help other people discover their own passion and develop that passion into a life calling.
In fact, Jonathan’s life mission statement is: “To use my creativity and coaching to support and inspire others to reach their full potential for the glory of God.”
As a response to this defined mission, Jonathan dove right in to using his writing and speaking abilities to make an impact in the lives of others. He accomplishes this primarily through his two blogs BloggingYourPassion.com and JonathanMilligan.com, running a podcast, and offering in-person and online coaching and tutorials – all with the goal of enabling others to discover and develop their own passion.
Most recently, Jonathan published a book, Your Message Matters, where he addresses this concept in detail and compiles of much of what he has learned over the last 10 years.
We had the opportunity to interview Jonathan and ask him a few questions about his career and how he developed himself from novice to professional.
How did you get started as a blogger?
I took one creative writing class back in the day, but my teacher was tough – sort of discouraged me from writing, actually. I never took a typing class. So, I had a lot against me, but I had a passion for writing.
When the great recession hit in 2008, I was doing employment recruiting. We were overwhelmed with inquiries and people looking for leads due to so many individuals being laid off.
I thought, “man I need another outlet to share career advice because I’m on the phone all day”. So, I started a blog! I didn’t really know what I was doing; I just wrote blog posts to share career advice. Stuff like, how long should a resume be? How do I prepare for an interview? Stuff that I had learned through my job.
Then I started wondering if I could turn it into a side business. Between 2009 and 2011, I learned 12 different ways to earn income with that blog. Things like creating an online course, resume services, paid coaching, affiliate marketing, all these different ways.
In my case I just needed to figure out what my passion was and who I could serve and help. Everything started to fall into place.
What was one of your biggest challenges starting out?
Probably technology. There was so much out there, and I didn’t know how to do any of it! So, I guess I would say that being patient with the process of learning and figuring it out was the most difficult. Having that resolve that everything is figure-out-able.
You host ongoing workshops and training. What type of blogger would benefit most from your training?
What I do is ideal for aspiring teachers, writers, and coaches. I didn’t intentionally target a Christian audience, but I didn’t hide it either so many of our clients are Christians. Many individuals have a message to share and just need help figuring out how to make it happen. For example: Pastors searching for effective ways to broadcast sermons or use a website; small business owners who are interested in breaking into the online world; novice writers who just need a little nudge to get going; women who have important perspectives and want to write a book about their experiences; individuals who have useful skills and want to share those through podcasts or FB live videos. For those who are wanting to create a business, I try to figure out how to monetize whatever they’re passionate about.
You recently published a book! Would you share a little about your book and that experience?
I have self-published a book through Amazon before, but I always wanted a traditionally published book in a bookstore. With no connections and no target audience, I sent out my book proposal to 18 publishers. I received 17 “no’s”, including a “no” from Baker Books, the publisher that ended up publishing my book! Baker Books is the second-largest Christian publishing company behind Thomas-Nelson. Your Message Matters is not strictly a Christian book in the traditional sense, but I was super excited to be able to publish with a Christian bookseller.
What do you love most about your career?
I love that I get to see the impact I’m making by serving people, and at the same time I’m getting paid! And I’m still able to be around my family. It’s a triple win for me. I get to make impact, make income, and have the lifestyle I want – being with my family.
What is your next big goal?
One thing that my company is focusing on right now is helping 1000 online communicators go full time in five years. We have a large Christian following, so that is a real motivation. We get to influence the influencers! It’s really exciting to see this non-traditional method of spreading God’s message and purpose in the world through helping people who feel they have something in them that should be shared. There are so many men and women who really want an outlet through books, events, courses, etc. It’s an ambitious goal and challenging, but we are super excited.
Jonathan lives in Jacksonville, Florida and attends Trinity Baptist Church along with his wife, Charity, and his two children, Kayla and Jordan.
This October, you can purchase your copy of Your Message Matters in bookstores and online. Or pre-order now, through Amazon! https://www.amazon.com/Your-Message-Matters-above-Noise/dp/1540900339/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=your+message+matters&qid=1592836903&sr=8-1
Find dozens of helpful workshops designed to help you succeed at http://MarketYourMessage.com.