This episode of The Blog to Profit show was driven by you (as always!) but more specifically by the reaction and feedback from last week’s podcast.
Episode #4 is how to go From Blog to Profit in Five Hours a Week (or less).
Last week, I wrote about the #1 secret to successful online entrepreneurs being that they work harder than you think in the early stages of their business (like the ice-berg that sunk the Titanic type of thing) and that they persevere when they’re in the ‘Dip’- that place where it all sucks and feels like it’s going uphill and everything is too hard and nothing is working that they simply keep going!
I mentioned that personally, I was putting in minimum eight hour days even with a newborn and toddler so I could get stuff done, that I was making no money but I was flogging myself stupid.
You know, I never expected you to do the same (work 8 hours a day with a baby and a toddler and your other corporate job or other job) and my goal is that I want to coach you from my mistakes. Because you see, I did so much dead work I was ragged and only when I started to focus on profit generating activities and leaving the rest behind did my business become successful.
AND, many of you feel you’re already doing everything you can, putting in so many hours that you’re nearly burned out and I know you’re frustrated at the thought that this Blog to Profit stuff could possibly get any harder or that you might have to persevere any bloody longer. Because really?
Which, like I was Carrie Bradshaw, kinda’ got me to thinking.
You see, now that I know what I know after three years of blogging for profit – I asked myself – what would I focus on in my Blog to Profit Strategy if I only had five hours per week to work on my blog.
I thought about it, broke those five hours down and wanted to share with you the general outline of the work which will help you get to where you need to be without putting your fledgling blog six feet under.
My goal is that at the end of this podcast, you’ll recognise areas of your own Blog to Profit strategy you could improve on to make a bigger dint in your dream, PLUS you’ll also be able to release some dead work from your current slog that is simply not serving you.
It’s a pretty big episode so stick with me because there’s gold in them thar words. As always, if you like this podcast, I’d love for you to share it with your own peeps. Let’s change the world together okay? (Thanks so much, I greatly appreciate you).
I’ve got a wee little disclaimer type thing for you here okay?:
I’m going to set some ground rules for the five hours, because if you get off track you may think that fitting this work in is impossible in five hours, when in actual fact, you’ve led yourself off track.
Let me tell you what I mean by that as an example. If I recommend that you spend 20 minutes on Facebook helping out other people and then you end up lost in the Facebook vortex for an extra 30 minutes going through all your old primary school pics of boys you had crushes on, that 30 minutes you’ve lost is on your time!
I’d go as far as saying that it’s this type of activity that is making many of us feel like we’re working really hard on our blog to Profit strategy, when really we’re wasting time in zombie land and losing hours we can’t account for. And I’m not in a glass house throwing stones though, I used to be there too. I did!
I know. Believe me, I know. You have to cut that shit out.
This five hour time frame consists of the most important parts of growing your new online business so that you are in the best place to welcome opportunities as they arise and are created by you.
If you can’t find five hours a week to work on your Blog to Profit strategy, then you might want to re-think whether or not this is really a dream and curiosity of yours or not.
I am learning (slowly) to not apologise for my somewhat blunt and transparent attitude towards business, so I will go as far as to say that the vast majority of those who have created profitable online businesses (ALL that I know personally in fact) said NO to a lot of things they may have kinda’ wanted to do so that they could instead work on their business and get it off the ground.
Creating an online business is like a woman who is a party-animal and then she goes and has a baby. She might want to hit the clubs every night and sink champagne with her besties in the sun all day long on a weekend, but the baby needs milk and cuddles and nappy changes. And you’ve got to do that. Sometimes, as with babies, quite literally, the shit comes with the golden package, you know?
But it’s not all poo.
Distraction has caused us to believe that time is shorter than it is. However when you truly focus on a single task for a shorter period of time, it’s amazing what can be achieved. Have you ever surprised yourself on a deadline? When other people want you’re attention you’ve swatted them away with a ‘I can’t now, I’m busy’, Or ‘I wish I could go with you but I’ve simply GOT to get this work done or my boss will lose his noodle’.
You can do more work in less time if you get out of your own way!
So here’s the breakdown of the five hour plan. Obviously within each of these time frames there are a number of things you can do which are relevant to the topic and could each be episodes each of this podcast in itself. I will reference a few important ones though to get you started.
When you work on your Blog madly without a plan, you are doing yourself and your audience an injustice. Seriously. Eventually you’ll be working like the majority of bloggers out there. Hard and with no return. Literally ‘flinging everything at the walls and hoping it sticks’.
The best way of making sure that you don’t have this condition of throwing everything out there and hoping it sticks, is to create a business plan which includes the following:
- A Business mission
- A Business vision
- A niche (eg: Cooking for corporate Mamma’s, Guitar Lessons for Teenagers, Fitness for Back Pain, Cooking for Kids with Allergies, Marketing for New Bloggers etc). It is much easier to create a profitable online business from a niche if you actually love your area of genius (niche) so choose it wisely.
- A product or service idea – or something already existing to sell that matches EXACTLY with the people within this niche.
- An understanding of the pain, struggle or problem that the target audience in this niche have. (I cannot be clearer about how important this is to know if you want to optimise your time on your Blog to Profit strategy.)
- A calendar of action-oriented steps that will take you closer to profit
Watch out for:
Getting distracted by shiny things. It’s really easy when you start blogging to choose an idea or a niche and get distracted from it the minute you see someone else doing something cool online. Stop. This will hold you back.
I did this myself and I would have cost myself and my business a year at least in changing directions. I fully believe… I KNOW… that if I had of simply chosen something and stuck with it without distraction that I would have doubled my profit success in the last 2 years. Big calls, but I’m making them.
Keep bringing yourself back to your plan.
If in doubt or you’re questioning yourself or you’ve been hit by comparison and distraction, go back to your Mission and Vision. Does the distraction or other it match your ultimate goal?
No? Then it’s a no. Don’t go there.
Your 3o minutes should start with a review of your mission, vision and goals as well as a re-remembering of your target audience’s pain.
Do a sweep across your Marketing Plan and review your yearly plan backwards.
Make sure that you are in line with time-frames.
Listen to eye of the tiger to get you pumped.
No, you are not turning into a waiter as part of your Blog to Profit Strategy. You are giving value to your audience where they need it most.
You don’t need to serve for an hour all at once. I know that most of us can find 10 minutes of a morning to help people, EVEN if it means getting up that little bit earlier with the sole purpose of adding your ‘Serve’ to the day.
If you use Facebook, then find out where your target audience are and then interact with them in there. Is this in foodie groups, allergy groups, music groups, etc. There are hundreds of groups for every topic. Some better than others, so do your due diligence and find the right one for you.
I know multiple women in Facebook business groups online who have made their fortune simply through offering such substantial value to members in the groups. They will serve, and serve and serve some more, this builds value and then either other group members will refer them or to them in regards to products or services (a third party referral is EXCELLENT for sales) or they will serve, serve and serve some more and only then will they place some information on a product or service they sell and lead people to that. Typically using the ‘story-telling’ approach.
You don’t have to spend hours counselling people.
Be there. Like posts. Say ‘Congratulations’.
If you see an article that you enjoy, share it. Tag it. Love it. LOOOOVE it.
OR, how about…
Send an email to your newsletter list and simply say ‘I know I usually send an email with information from me to you, but today I simply want to ask you, what do you need help with when it comes to X topic?’.
And then help. Lock in your 10 minutes a day or your one hour a week to respond to these emails.
This strategy is not instant, which is why most of us don’t do it, but if you focus on serving – offering value for nothing – as a priority in your business then it will come back to you.
This is where you will write a blog post for your own blog, also consider writing for other people AND you will create THAT THING that you plan to sell and make money from.
When it comes to creating content that works for you, listen to this podcast where I talk about reverse marketing your content and helping it work for you whether you have a product to sell yet or not. Make your content work double-time for you.
Now, I know that blog posts can take hours for some of us to start and finish. This exact podcast episode was worked on for over a week because of a trip away for a hens weekend and school holidays, so I’m not working my typical work days, and I already hear reasons why you can’t write a blog post each week, so understand that you do not need to create a longform blog post each week.
- Do a numbered post sharing value from other people that your target audience would find useful
- Share a thought of the week
- Write a post under 400 words
- Share a post of quotes in images that match your branding
- Create a post that links to all of your best posts on you subject of genius (that reverse markets to THAT THING – marketing mayhem madness x 100000!)
No more delays.
You are going to need to be disciplined. Once again, watch out for shiny objects. Distractions and comparison. Put your blinkers on, allot 5 x30 min or a smaller amount of longer sessions per week and do nothing during that time but work on your THING. (It’s a good idea to work out when you feel most creative is this time. I know I create best at 5am when the house sleeps, it’s getting up that’s the problem, but when I do it’s 5am when my mind is clear and thoughts just flow and I’m unburdened by all the things I’ve burdened myself with during the day).
Watch out for: Your constant strive for perfection.
Your constant desire to have no-one dislike your work.
Your constant fear that when that person who doesn’t like your work let’s you or the rest of the world know that they don’t like your work you will die from humiliation or your work will be doomed forever.
Do not wait until your work is perfect to release it. It never will be.
The disciplined half-arse will beat you every time. What does this mean? I’m listening to this amazing book at the moment called Big Magic by Liz Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love).
As Liz Gilbert says: “You do what you can do as competently as possible within a reasonable time frame and then you let it go”.
You release it, you ask for feedback, and then you communicate with those people giving you feedback, building a relationship with them and you then make it better. You continue to do this throughout your career.
Liz says: “A good plan, violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week. Or to paraphrase: A good-enough novel written now is better than a perfect novel, meticulously written never.”
You know, I see a difference in the masculine and feminine ways of doing business and in this area, men are streets ahead of us in general. They release less than perfect all the time while we are worried that one person will not like our work (which they won’t), they ask and expect results and feel deserved of their time in the sun because they are 52% ready for it, while we wait in the wings until we’re 100% sure that we are 100% right and ready.
Which can never happen.
Done, is better than perfect. The disciplined half-arse will beat you every time otherwise.
So, be disciplined. Lock in your two hours and simply create during those two hours.
As I have learned, some of the worlds best-known novels have been written in an hour a day.
What will tend to happen is that when you create the discipline to… create, that you will all of a sudden find more time to do so, and therefore this five hour plan may be in jeopardy, but if this plan becomes obsolete because you have inspired yourself then I am proud.
It may work in your favour to keep your early working on place cards/note cards. This way you can write topics, ideas, chapters, etc, whatever format your ‘THING’ is in, and then you can review them and place the work down in a document. I have personally found that when I type everything in my mind into a document, it gets too long and I lose my thoughts and place in a cacophony of words and letters. I like to be able to look at my cards and see each inspiration point and put these into a flow and then add it to the document when it works a little better.
When you are creating, remember to remember the struggle, problem and the pain of your target audience. Is what you are creating valuable for them? Will it solve their struggle, pain or problem? When you are creating, forget about marketing, or design, or social media.
(also goes under the banner of lead generation activity and traffic generation activity)
This simply must be done. There’s no getting around it, but there is a way to stop your brain exploding while you do it.
Firstly, if you’er using the technique of reverse marketing your blog posts to THAT THING you’re creating, such as directed in episode #2 of The Blog to Profit show (here), then you will already be content marketing. However, there is even more you can do with the blog posts you create and work that you do to market yourself and your value to your target audience.
I want you to tick these things off your marketing plan:
- Use your blog posts to reverse content marketing.
- Tee up your posts to drop across ALL social media platforms multiple times each year.
For Instagram, collate a group of images that will help you tell your visual marketing ‘story’ (and that matches your branding) and save them in your phone.
Email yourself the message that goes underneath the Instagram pic so you can simply cut and paste it into your post. Add a link to the SALES page of your blog in your Instagram profile.
Do these when you have gotten adept at scheduling, sharing and singing the message of your work loud and proud. These next steps are for when you are ready to go pro.
Set up landing pages (use Leadpages or Unbounce) to capture email addresses and deliver free content in an optimised fashion. (landing pages operate as a standalone Optin page where you will typically give away something for free in exchange of an email address. You can use landing pages to deliver PDF’s, webinars deets, video training, guides or any other online value-add).
Then… set these up in all of your social media posts on a recurring basis. Remember also to consistently ASK people to join your mailing list so they don’t miss out on opportunities.
Create a powerful Facebook Ad (or have a professional set one up for you) that leads people to your landing pages and therefore your list. Your return for the investment into this ad should be greater than what it costs… the caveat around this is that of course, you must eventually have something to sell.
So many people I know work madly on their blogs until they’re burned out and exhausted and as an afterthought they go ‘oh, and I do have to create something to sell…‘. EEK.
Contacting/networking partnerships/opportunities for sharing work and ideas.
It’s true that I haven’t always been the best networker. I’m more introverted than any person may realise upon meeting me.
Mostly because my nerves mean that a barrage of banter springs forth from my lips like an unstoppable geyser. If you get me talking about business I can be almost evangelical in my excitement about the unlimited possibility and potential that I see for us all, and of course, because inappropriate jokes.
However, I am working on networking closer with those in my industry and in sister industries and I am seeing outstanding results. I’m also spending time each week thinking about how I can partner with other people in my industry and sister industries to present real value to our target audiences, together.
With a motivated group of business owners comes an abundance of opportunities! There are always lots of opportunities that come from networking and in fact this is where the benefits of business networking are huge.
Opportunities like joint ventures, client leads, partnerships, speaking and writing opportunities, business or asset sales… the list goes on, and the opportunities within networking are really endless.
Just make sure you are jumping on board with the right opportunities and don’t go jumping into every opportunity that comes your way. The opportunities that you get involved in should align with your business goals/vision, otherwise you might find that you are spinning your wheels chasing after opportunity after opportunity and getting nowhere. OR that you’re working on opportunities that are for somebody else and not for you.
Remember also to keep your target audience’s pain, problem or struggle front of mind. Is your joint venture, opportunity or partnership helping solve a problem for them?
Lastly, this one is more personal related rather than business related, but is a big benefit none-the-less. Many friendships form as a result of networking because (mostly) you are all like-minded business owners that want to grow your businesses, and you meet and help each other regularly, so naturally strong friendships tend to form.
Some ideas for networking:
- Go to business events in your local area that you know would be of interest to other people who have the SAME target audience as you. (Such as MeetUps, TedX events, seminars, business courses)
- Head away on a retreat that you know would also have people going who share your interest in either online business or your target niche.
- Personally thank speakers at events in person or via REAL SNAIL MAIL (blow their minds!)
- Start a conversation in the Facebook groups you’re in with people you recognise as thought leaders in your field, or who have your target audience and who’re great at what they do.
Keep you eyes open for opportunities to meet and greet with people who live the life that you want to live! It rubs off, I promise you!
Any spare minutes and hours
As you can imagine, I haven’t included every single thing that you could possibly do to grow your Blog to Profit in here. Within each of these segments there are so many things you could add, however what is just super-duper important to recognise here is this: You are probably working on tasks that do nothing for your business growth and missing areas that, in the long run, will see you and your business as a much player in the market and you personally as a much more recognised VALUE contributor to your target audience.
I can’t recommend the benefits enough of you being rock solid on your business plan as a way of not getting distracted by shiny things, comparison and fear.
If it doesn’t fit into your plan, say no.
An added recommendation:
Educate. In every spare moment that you can, gain knowledge. Please.
There is nothing more powerful in this world than the person who seeks knowledge freely. You are going to need to invest into your education. Whether it’s reading business books, listening to amazing podcasts (like ‘Start-Up School’ by Seth Godin or the Tim Ferriss Show).
The best in the biz never (ever) stop learning.
Education is going to include emotional education.
The biggest block to the success of women in online business is not their lack of business acumen, it is their direct relationship to coping with uncertainty, their anxiety over not being deemed worthy, and their overall sense of wellbeing. You can’t fix this at Harvard Business School. You MUST be willing to do The Emotional Work.
The Emotional Work is going to change your life, break you and make you again. The Emotional Work involves learning about yourself, which means you’re going to need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable for a while.
For those of you struggling with your creativity, fear, shame or vulnerability in business I recommend you download these books:
Big Magic – Liz Gilbert
Daring Greatly – Brene Brown
Rising Strong – Brene Brown
(In audio format through iTunes is great if you can get them or afford them – all are all also available through iTunes for iBooks).
And, finally, start.
And that’s it from me for another episode of The Blog to Profit show. I hope you enjoyed it and I would love to hear any feedback from you in the comments section below the post transcript.
You’re my family in this blogging, online business world so let’s go out and ignite our work okay?
Signing out, Alice Nicholls.
Listen to the entire playlist here