Are you an entrepreneur or a hobbyist?
There is a big difference between the two, but we all love hearing romanticized stories of bloggers who merely started a hobby that turned out to be a lucrative online business over time.
These stories, and the success of the people who turned from hobbyist to entrepreneurs, are the exception, not the rule.
In most cases, a story like this is polluted—people just highlight the hobby part, but nobody talks about the daily grind of running an online business. Nobody talks about how long it takes to build traffic. Nobody talks about how long it takes to make a sale.
The truth is that these successful bloggers had the mindset of an entrepreneur right from the get-go, and this is why they succeeded.
You have to make a decision now. Hobbyists do not want to make money, entrepreneurs do. Should you decide to be a business person, the following tips or 5 ways to build your business should help you:
- Create a plan
- Stay focused
- Educate yourself
- Build, build, build
- Market relentlessly
We will review each one and by the end of this article, you should have a clear blueprint on how you can treat your blog as a business.
Create a Plan
You cannot run a business and make plans on the fly. There is a business plan and a contingency plan—the latter is used to address various situations where problems occur. You make the former before you launch your business.
The first step to running a successful business is to create a master plan, much like architects and engineers plan how to build a house. The architect is there to create the design, and the engineer has to figure out the materials and the building process.
For a blog business, the first thing you need is an editorial calendar. It is a plan of the topics you will write, their publication dates, their keywords, and how you would launch them on your marketing platforms.
The plan must also include a forward-looking situation—how do you want to monetize the blog and how will you execute it? What things do you need and how long will it take to work on these monetization schemes?
Without a plan, you will end up like a fish flailing outside the water. You will not know what you are doing, for what purpose, and whether the things you do are meaningful to your blog. A plan is a roadmap for your journey—a journey that will eventually take you to your goal.
If you have a plan, you can stay focused. Staying focused means sticking to your plan, and keeping your commitments.
Here are some tips to help you better understand what staying focused means:
- Executing your plan
- Not getting swayed by new and fancy methodologies
- Identifying problem areas and fixing them right away
- Not setting tasks aside unless it is justified
In business, you will find so many new things to do. This is called noise. This applies to your blog, too. You may be tempted to get a new blog theme, replace all your feature images, create new products, add new plug-ins, and so much more.
All these are noises that will do little to help you achieve your goal. In blogging, what matters most is your content and how you market it. While it is perfectly alright to change your blog design, activities like this should not take you off-road.
Stay true to the course, or your plan, and avoid distractions at all costs. You can never get back wasted time, and time is a precious resource you should use wisely.
One reason a lot of businesspersons succeed is they read a lot. Bill Gates reads 50 books per year. Elon Musk used to read two books a day.
Reading is one of the pillars of business success. Without reading, you are not introducing new concepts into your head. If you do not read, you squeeze your mind of its juice, but it does not get replenished with new knowledge.
The internet made it easy to access information. Use this to your advantage and find materials that you can read to improve your business acumen.
Here are some topics that you can read about blogging:
- Site security
- Search engine optimization
- Making yourself an influencer
As you can see, there are tons of articles, forums, and books that you can read. As an alternative, you can also watch videos to learn from other people’s experiences. If you can afford it, you can take online courses to improve your skills.
Build, Build, Build
What exactly do you have to build?
As a blogger, these are the things you need to build:
- Credibility – you have to make yourself credible in the eyes of people. You can only do this by making yourself visible on many social media channels.
- Content – you have to consistently build content for your consumers and for search engines. Blogging is an active and passive income source combined into one. If you do not publish content, it is likely that your rankings will go down over the years.
- Value – value refers to the products you provide to your followers—this can be content or digital tools. It includes courses, too. As you know, it takes a long while to build.
- Infrastructure – your blog requires a fast and dependable WebHost, a secure environment, a payment processing system, a membership plugin, etc.
As you can see, there are so many things that you have to build. You cannot build these all at once. You need to take it one step at a time, and then build all these things to a certain degree that makes your business a formidable one.
Any business that does not market itself is going to fall apart. Even if you have the best product, word of mouth is not enough, most especially so in the online world.
You have to market your blog consistently and relentlessly. Marketing itself requires a different plan, as it is a pillar of any business.
As a blogger, you can market your content on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and other social media channels. This marketing effort, however, is a basic expectation.
You need a plan for how you can market your products to a wider scale. Are you reaching out to other bloggers? Do you advertise? How are you building your credibility on other platforms like youtube?
While it is true that you have to focus your marketing efforts on one channel at a time, the time will come when you have to expand and reach out to potential audiences on other platforms.
Marketing is a never-ending process and activity. You need to keep up with the times, do A/B testing, analyze the returns, and go back to the drawing board if your marketing strategies are not working.
Stop treating your online business as a hobby. A hobby has no real goals. Hobbies are there to feed your interests and give you pleasure. Businesses do not work this way. A business will only succeed if everything you do is for a reason—making the business profitable.