Guest post by Mike CJ.
“Treat your blog like a business” is something we’re told all the time. It’s solid advice, assuming you want or plan to make an income from your blog, and adopting it as a mindset often leads to the successful transition from a blog into a business.
But what does it actually mean?
Have a proper accounts system
Record income and expenses as they happen. Monitor cashflow – every day if things are tight. There are so many tools out there to help you do this, and many of them are free to use. Outright is one of the easiest.
The blogosphere is full of objective-setting posts at this time of year. Most of them revolve around traffic and subscribers. And that’s fine, but if you do want to blog professionally, you need to have financials behind those. You need to know what you’re going to earn over the next year.
Once you know what’s coming in, set yourself some spending budgets. How much of your income are you going to re invest in the business? For training? Software? Marketing? By setting budgets, it makes buying decisions so much easier. Do you want to advertise your new book here on Problogger? Don’t waste hours wringing your hands trying to decide. If it’s in budget do it, if it isn’t, don’t.
Seek opinions and advice
Most “real” businesses, even small ones, don’t run in a vacuum with the proprietor making every decision. And yet many blogs do just that! Get as much advice as you can, from your partner, your bank, your accountant and from other bloggers.
Monthly or quarterly, produce a report showing how the business is performing against the various targets. Examine what went well, and what didn’t. Use the findings to inform your planning for the next period. The act of producing the report itself is effective, but it’s even better if you have to present it to someone else – even if it’s your partner.
Enter into collaborations
Working with other bloggers can really accelerate your success, as well as theirs. Seek out opportunities with like minded people you see around the web.
Use professional tools
It’s too easy to let yourself down with poor design, a tatty invoice or by not having a business card. None of the accoutrements of being in business cost a fortune – they’re a small expense compared to the loss of image when they aren’t right.
Invest in training
Every business should have a training budget – choose the right books, courses and memberships and you’ll get a far greater return than the initial cost.
Treat your readers like customers
Typically only a very small percentage of blog readers will ever become customers by buying something from you – most will simply enjoy the mass of free content you put out there. And that’s fine. But treat every one of them as a potential paying client, and that percentage will slowly increase over time.
Those are my thoughts about treating your blog like a business. What would you add?
Mike CJ is a full time professional blogger and author. He lives in the idyllic Canary Islands, just off the coast of Africa. You can find out more about Mike on his blog Mike’s Life and catch up with him on Twitter @mikecj