Starting a blog is the easy part – anyone can do it!
The hard part is keeping it going and making it a smashing success over the long term.
For most bloggers, there isn’t a high expectation of making a full-time income from their blog, but what if I told you that you could turn your blog into a money-making machine?
If you want to make a full-time income, you’ll need to treat your blog like a business, not a hobby.
In this blog post, we’re going to discuss things like setting business hours, having a dedicated office space, setting specific goals, along with planning how you’re going to make an income from your blog.
These are just a few of the things that are going to put you on the right track to having a successful online business.
Let’s get started!
Here are 17 Must-Do’s That Will Help with Your Business!
1. Develop a Business Mindset from the Beginning
If you’re serious about making your blog into a business, you need to have the right mindset from the get-go!
You can’t treat your blog like a hobby if you want to make money from it. You’ll need to think of it as a business and be willing to put in the work.
It’s not going to be easy, but if you’re committed, you can make it happen.
In the following sections, we’re going to cover a few things you need to do to get into the right mindset, so read on!
2. Set Specific Goals for Your Business
If you’re going to run a successful business, setting goals to reach is going to be a requirement.
Businesses increase their chance for success when they set concrete goals as part of their business plan and strategy.
Think about what you want to achieve and create a plan to make it happen.
Below are some specific examples to help get your creative juices flowing when goal setting for various aspects of your business:
- How much money do you want to make with your blog within the next 6 months?
- How many pageviews or unique visitors would you like to see within the next 6 months?
- What’s your target number for your email list within the next 6 months?
- How many followers do you want for your social media accounts?
- How many guest blog posts would you like to have written within the next 6 months?
For every goal you set, it’s crucial to establish a deadline or time frame for when you want to achieve it.
Outline each step you’ll need to take to meet your goal, along with whatever you choose for your timeline.
For instance, if you want to earn $1000 per month from blogging within the next 6 months, what blogging-related tasks will you need to complete each day or week? Write them down!
If you want to start making an income from blogging, your first step is researching ways to do so. Once you’ve found a few options that work, pick one and get started.
3. Have Set Business Hours for Your Blogging Business
You need to treat your blog like a job, which means setting regular hours and sticking to them. This will help you stay focused and on track.
To ensure blogging success, you’ll have to treat your blog like any other job, you know, the type of work where you’ve had to punch a time clock.
It’s going to be different for everybody, whether you already work 40+ hours at a job you hate, have childcare responsibilities, etc.; whatever your circumstance may be, you’ll need to figure out what works best for your particular situation.
It may be that you can only work on your blog at night after the kids are in bed or in the early morning hours before you go to work. Or maybe you can only dedicate time to it on weekends.
The most crucial thing is not WHICH hours you select but that you COMMIT TO THEM, just as you would commit to your work hours in any other job.
For me, prior to being self-employed, I was up at 5 am (by alarm), doing my blogging as a business until I had to get ready to go to work a couple of hours later.
Arriving home after work, I’d eat dinner, then at 6 pm, I’d put in a couple more hours (using a timer).
To keep myself from getting burned out, I would work on my blog for 2 hours, then reward myself with a little TV before bed.
Like any other job, you must stick to a work schedule, not allowing yourself to be distracted unless it’s a true emergency.
4. Have a Dedicated Space for Your Blogging Business
Just as you wouldn’t try to run a brick-and-mortar business from your bedroom, you shouldn’t try to run your blog from there, either.
It’s important to have a dedicated space for the work you’ll do on your blog. It doesn’t have to be a separate room, but it should be an area where you can work without distractions.
This dedicated space will help you stay focused and on task. It will also make it easier to keep track of your blogging information (I recommend folders if it’s not digital), so you’re not constantly searching for that one thing you need.
If you don’t have extra room to dedicate to your business, try setting up a small area in a quiet corner of your home.
Make sure it has everything you need, including a comfortable chair, good lighting, and a surface on which to spread out your work.
If you have the space, consider adding a few personal touches, like photos of your kids or other items that inspire you. Having things like photographs of your kids could help inspire you to why you’re working so hard to break free from your 9-5 job.
Doing this will help you trick your brain into thinking that blogging is your job, which will help you remain organized and tidy as all of your blogging materials will be in one place.
So far, I’ve discussed obtaining a business mentality, now, let’s shift gears and discuss the nuts and bolts…
5. Keep Yourself from Making Useless Mistakes
Running a successful blog requires dedicating many hours to it. One thing that you don’t want to do is to dedicate time to things that won’t help you reach your long-term goals.
I’ve wasted hundreds of hours doing things that didn’t move me toward my end goal. And yes, they were things that I was excited about doing, thinking they were important, yet these things had no practical use for my audience.
What’s the moral of the story? Only take action if it will help you achieve your objectives. Also, remember that each step you take needs to have the goal of helping your target audience in some way.
6. Focus on Building Your Brand
Anyone can produce content on the internet, but if you want to make a real impact (and I know you do), then focus on creating and maintaining a consistent brand.
Your brand is the personality of your blog. It’s how your readers talk about you and what they expect when they interact with you.
Your goal should be to create a strong, consistent brand that accurately represents who you are as a blogger.
It’s the way you speak through your content (casual, funny, etc.), and the way you sign your emails, among other things.
Having a strong brand for your blog is crucial, you can’t show who you are if you’re constantly changing things.
Maintain a focus on developing a brand that will allow you to connect with your target audience on a more personal level.
Just remember this, people are more inclined to become lifelong fans and customers if they have a strong brand.
7. Build Your Email List
One of the most important elements of any online business strategy is to build an email list.
You can think of a person’s email inbox like it’s their personal online home.
When someone allows you to email them, it’s comparable to inviting you into their home, how cool is that?
Not to mention that your list is usually filled with individuals who are most likely to buy your products or services in the future.
Here are a few things you can do to get people to opt into your mailing list:
- Create a lead magnet that is easily digestible by the person – Have it be interesting and relatable to your blog’s content, as well as any potential products you plan on selling. A lead magnet is something valuable that you offer for free in exchange for collecting someone’s contact information. Keep it simple – a one-page PDF will be more than adequate. Your lead magnet should align with your business goals to help you attract more qualifying leads.
- Consider adding content upgrades to your blog posts – These upgrades will help increase the growth of your email subscribers. A content upgrade is a freebie given in your blog post related to the post itself. In other words, it’s a method to “upgrade” the content of the post by adding things like checklists, worksheets, infographics, or printables that your target audience can download for more information or use.
- Mention your email list on social media – You can create a call to action on your social media accounts, informing potential followers about your lead magnet and a link directing them to the opt-in form or landing page.
8. Offer Value to Your Readers
There’s one thing that all successful companies have in common: consumers and clients.
They provide valuable products and services that people are more than willing to pay for because they see the value.
Your blog is no different.
As a blogger, your readers are your future or current customers. Your information has to be beneficial to them by answering their questions and solving their problems so they’ll continue to read your content.
If you don’t have content that helps your audience, they won’t be sticking around very long.
Creating great content isn’t always easy, but it’s important to take the time to ensure that your posts are well-written and offer value to your readers.
It’s not enough to simply identify “who” your target audience is. You must produce material that they are interested in reading (or watching).
In a nutshell, give your readers as much value as you can. Solve their problems and make their lives simpler!
The best approach to being a successful blogger is to stop thinking about yourself and put your audience first. It may sound harsh, but it’s true.
Put yourself in your readers’ shoes to make sure your material is helpful and of high quality. Find their pain points, then write about what will help them solve their problem.
It’s also a crucial component in your business to be aware of your competition.
Take a look at other blogs within your niche to see what they’re doing right (and wrong). Make use of this knowledge to produce even better content.
One of the things you’ll discover is that your blog has the potential to earn an income once you start treating it like a business.
Last but not least. Enjoy the journey, and have fun! If you’re not having fun, it’s going to show in your work.
9. Consistency is Key for a Successful Business
Above, we discussed offering value to your audience. Now, let’s discuss how important it is to have a content strategy that you can stick to.
Can you imagine a coffee shop that didn’t stick to its regular business hours?
How would you react if you went for your daily 6 am cup of coffee to find out they aren’t open?
And, you only set enough time aside to go to your normal coffee shop, knowing you’ll be late for work if you attempt to go somewhere else.
Going to work without coffee – isn’t that a sin in some cultures?
The secret behind any successful business is consistency. When customers know what they can get and when they can get it, they start trusting the business.
One of the most important things, above anything else, for your content strategy is CONSISTENCY – they go hand-in-hand.
It would serve you much better to publish 2 articles per month consistently than to post 8 articles in one month, then not publish any more content for a couple of months.
If you want your readers to remain loyal and keep them coming back for more, aim for consistency. Consistency is a must for search engines too!
Choose a schedule that you can stick with and that is workable for you.
No matter if you’re a working parent or a stay-at-home mom or dad, keep in mind your hectic schedule when planning anything.
Don’t get yourself into a situation, by overwhelming yourself where you’ll end up wanting to give up.
Think realistically for a minute; how often can you publish a minimum 1500-word blog post that includes: images, references, internal links to other related content on your site, along with external links to outside sources, etc.?
Whatever quantity of blog posts you’ve come up with that you believe you can publish in a week or month’s time, a good starting point would be to cut that number in half.
Example: Rather than overwhelming yourself and risk falling behind, like I’ve done many times, commit to writing half as much material as you originally said you could.
Now, that (for now) will be your new publishing schedule.
You can always add more blog posts later once you’ve proven that you can keep up with the routine, but take it slow.
10. Put a Plan in Motion to Make Money with Your Blog
Plan how you are going to make money: Don’t wait until your blog is a success to start thinking about ways to monetize it.
You need to have a plan from the beginning so you can earn money from your blog as soon as possible.
A key step that separates successful businesses from unsuccessful ones is planning HOW they are going to make money. Many bloggers choose to ignore this!
Here is a normal way to earn money for bloggers – 5 different ways to earn money with their blog.
In a nutshell, these 5 ways are:
- Affiliate Marketing
- Selling Products
- Selling Services
- Sponsored Posts
11. Track Your Money-Making Strategies
As a business owner, you must constantly assess your business practices and make tweaks when something isn’t working.
Whether it’s the placement of affiliate links or opt-in boxes to collect email sign-ups – monitor the progress of your money-making strategies.
You’ll always want to strive to do better, but be sure when you update something that doesn’t seem to be working well, be sure to make one (1) small improvement or tweak at a time.
When something isn’t working, and there’s a possibility that one small tweak might make the difference, go with that idea and wait a week or two to see if it makes a difference.
If you completely trash your failed effort, you’ll never know what the problem was. One small tweak might make a world of difference.
Example: Let’s talk about Opt-In Boxes. Let’s say you have an opt-in box to collect email sign-ups, instead of having only 1 sign-up box, create 2 different pop-ups and do an A/B split test.
When one of the Optin boxes receives more sign-ups, keep that one, but don’t touch it, then update the one that isn’t working with one (1) small tweak.
After you’ve made your one little tweak, run the A/B split test again for a week or so to see the results. Rinse and repeat, you get the idea!
12. Reinvest Back into Your Business
If you’re already earning some money from your blog, I suggest reinvesting it back into your site rather than spending the extra money on frivolous things.
By reinvesting a percentage of your earnings back into your blog, you’ll be sure to come across new tools or ideas to improve your productivity and increase your bottom line.
Though it’s tough to let go of the income in the beginning, it will be so worth it in the long term. Another upside to investing in your blog is that you’ll start to see your business differently.
Blogging has become so much more than a “hobby,” it’s something many people have decided is worth the time and money.
13. Prepare for Uncle Sam
Like any other business that pays taxes on the sale of goods and services, you’ll have to pay taxes on the money you make with your blog.
In reality, if you’re earning money from your blog, you must make sure that you’re reporting your income properly.
Don’t be a fool thinking that the IRS isn’t going to go after Little Ol’ You, just because you aren’t making that much yet.
The reality is, practicing good business sense from day 1 will pay off once you start bringing in buckets of cash.
And, if you get audited and they find that you haven’t been reporting your income (or paying taxes on it), you’ll be in for a world of hurt, because now you’re on their radar for your future income.
The IRS has a special section on its website for small business owners, which includes bloggers. Be sure to check it out and learn more about your tax obligations.
14. Don’t Let Imposter Syndrome Ruin Your Success
If you’re not familiar with Imposter Syndrome – it’s a term used by psychologists to describe the uncomfortable sensation of feeling unqualified or incompetent.
When you take a look around, it may seem like everyone else, but you know what they’re doing.
I’m sure you’ve heard of the term, ‘fake it until you make it.’ All this means is that you’re not going to know literally everything about your craft.
Everything has a learning curve, so as long as you stay 1 chapter ahead of your audience, that should be enough until you become the expert you’re striving for.
So, carry yourself with confidence and act like your blog has the same validity as any other business.
You might even consider coming up with an Elevator Pitch if you feel that you’ll need to let a person know what you do, here’s mine: “I help ambitious individuals navigate the exciting world of blogging… to, start, grow & build a profitable blogging business… even if they’re working full time!“
If people ask you how much money you make, it is truly none of their business. If they ask you how blogs make money, fill them in if you choose.
If you feel like it, let them know your goals and how you’ll be able to help your followers. Get them excited about what you’re doing!
Remember, the reason many people are pessimistic about blogging is that they simply don’t understand it.
15. Join a Mastermind Group
One of the best ways to continue your education and never stop learning is to join a mastermind group.
A mastermind group is a collection of like-minded individuals that meet regularly to discuss business, blogging, ideas, and more.
The benefits of joining a mastermind group are:
- New perspectives on old problems
- Feedback and advice from others in the group
- Making new connections and friends
- Getting motivated and staying accountable to your goals
If you decide you’d like to involve yourself in a mastermind group, there are a couple of ways you can go about doing this.
1. You can start your own mastermind group with like-minded bloggers who have the goal of making their blog a full-time business and see if they’d like to exchange ideas and feedback.
If you decide to go this route, make a list of a few bloggers or business owners that you believe might have an interest in starting or joining your mastermind group.
Send them an email to see if they’d want to be a part of your weekly or biweekly mastermind group.
2. If you decide that starting your own mastermind group is a little too much for you right now, visit social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn, then run a search for “Mastermind Groups.”
Masterminds are incredible tools for expanding your blog business and forming real friendships since they will allow you to tap into the experience of others on a similar path who may both inspire you and give you feedback for improvement.
If you’re serious about blogging and developing it into a money-making business, I highly encourage you to join a mastermind group or two.
16. Choose a Mentor to Follow
Whether you follow a successful blogger within the same niche as you or you choose to follow an educational course and the people behind it, either way, find a mentor and stick with him/her.
- A mentor can help you grow as a blogger and business owner
- A mentor can give you guidance on how to be successful
- A mentor can help hold you accountable to your goals
- A mentor can introduce you to new opportunities and resources
- A mentor can be a sounding board for your ideas
- A mentor can provide encouragement and motivation
17: Never Stop Educating Yourself
Did you know that wealthy and successful entrepreneurs have this one thing in common?
When you first started blogging, you may not have realized it, but you signed yourself up for a long-term, never-ending journey.
Hopefully, you’ve chosen a topic that you can talk about for many years to come. A topic that you’re passionate enough about that learning more about it comes easily to you.
If you want to be successful with your blog, you’re going to need to commit to learning everything you possibly can about business, marketing, and your chosen niche.
Did you know that the wealthiest people in the world READ? And they read a lot.
Research shows that 88% of the wealthy will read for at least 30 minutes each day.
Self-made, wealthy entrepreneurs have dreams and work hard to succeed, so they continue to educate themselves.
The best thing you can do for your journey to wealth is to start reading as much as possible.
When you read and self-educate, you can make an immediate impact on your life.
Whether you choose to read, sign up for educational courses, or listen to podcasts for ways to improve, just get out there and never stop educating yourself to be the best blogger in your niche.
While blogging may not be the conventional business, if you want to make money from it then you have to start treating it like one.
That means creating goals and strategies, being consistent with both content and promotion, formulating a plan for monetization, and continuously assessing what is and isn’t working.
It takes dedication and effort to turn a profit after you start a blog, but it is definitely possible as long as you go about it in the right way.
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