This guest post is by Russ Henneberry of Tiny Business, Mighty Profits.
It’s every blogger’s dream: to take something you created and generate enough money to take care of your obligations.
But time is running out. The time bomb is ticking. Generate sales, or die.
With each second that ticks by, the pressure mounts. And it becomes tough to know where to spend your time as a blogger.
Should you study methods for getting more comments? Should you become an SEO ninja and analyze your traffic data on Google Analytics? Should you master the art of getting retweets or Facebook “likes?”
The answer? Yes and no.
Allow me to explain with a quick story about how I defused my own time bomb.
The time bomb starts ticking
I wasn’t ready for her, but she came anyway. She weighed 6 lbs 10ozs, and she was beautiful. She looked like a peanut and the name stuck.
Five weeks prior to her birth, I left my job with a pink slip and a prayer, laid off with little or no sympathy from my employer. Those five weeks went by in a blur:
- Contracts were created.
- Business cards were printed.
- A stapler and sticky notes were purchased.
And … I launched my blog.
The day Peanut came home from the hospital, we settled her into her crib. I tore open a pack of note cards. With a thick, black Sharpie, I wrote what would become my new mantra and pinned it to my office wall. It said:
“FEED THE PEANUT”
Then, I went to work defusing the time bomb.
I cut the red wire
For you, Feeding the Peanut may mean paying medical bills or mounting credit card debt. Or perhaps recovering from a bad stock or real estate investment. Maybe you need to supplement your retirement to lead the lifestyle you want.
For me, Feeding the Peanut is taking care of those that I love, including my newborn daughter. And I didn’t have much time, so I searched for shortcuts.
I worked 12-hour days while my wife took care of the kids. I toiled and toiled for more comments, more visits, and more social media connections. I spent my days (and nights):
- marketing my products and services to the masses using social media and email blasts
- writing blog post after blog post that I optimized for Google but not my readers
- checking my Google Analytics twice a day
- using tricks to get thousands of Twitter followers
- automating my Twitter and Facebook streams
- submitting articles full of keywords and gibberish to thousands of article directories
- using tools to bookmark articles on dozens of sites.
Wrong answer. The time bomb clock sped up. I was seeing no results.
Meanwhile, the Peanut was going through a pack of diapers and two cans of formula a week! Feeding the Peanut was becoming increasingly expensive. I wasn’t sleeping, and not just because we had a newborn. With each passing night, I felt like less and less oxygen was in my bedroom.
One day, however, I stopped and did a 180-degree turn because of something my four-year-old son said to me.
I cut the green wire
Ever had one of those head-smacking moments when someone simplifies something you have complicated?
Late one night my son came down to kiss me goodnight and he asked me what I was doing.
“I’m working on getting more people to read what Daddy is writing.” I said.
“Why do you want to do that?” he asked.
I nearly spit coffee on my keyboard.
Why did I want more traffic? Traffic isn’t sales. Google rankings, Facebook Likes, and Twitter retweets aren’t sales either.
Sales are sales.
So, I tried cutting the green wire. I began spending my days (and nights):
- selling my products and services one person at a time, meeting one on one
- going to in-person networking events
- meeting one on one with people that would be a good fit for my services
- shaking hands
- creating products and services that were laser-focused on the individuals I was meeting on and off-line
- handing out business cards
- having real conversations with people via social media
- posting answers to people’s questions on my blog
- burning educational video content to DVD and personally delivering it to people
- ignoring my Google Analytics.
Getting closer. The bomb clock slowed down, but it didn’t stop. I was landing sales and my savings account was not hemorrhaging like it was when I was using Red Wire tactics. Meanwhile, the Peanut started walking. Day care costs doubled as my wife went back to her teaching job and both my son and daughter needed care.
I was extremely busy, but I could see that I wasn’t going to make it. I was at my breaking point. I couldn’t possibly work any harder, yet I was merely delaying the inevitable. Until something happened.
I crossed the red wire with the green wire
Using only Green Wire tactics, I would die a slow death. Using only Red Wire tactics, my demise would be swift. So, I took the most effective Red Wire tactics and combined them with the best Green Wire tactics.
I spend my time today:
- selling high-dollar products and services in a personal one-on-one environment and low-dollar products via email and social media blasts
- writing high-quality, search engine optimized content
- working hard to increase my Twitter and Facebook connections by connecting with influential people and providing them value
- using data in my Google Analytics to make better decisions about my marketing, once per week
- attending off-line networking events that are consistent with my business objectives
- scheduling some of my Twitter and Facebook stream but always participating in conversations with others as well.
This combination of Red Wire and Green Wire tactics stopped the clock.
Today, I sleep through the night and work hard during the day. It’s not easy but I am able to Feed the Peanut better than I ever was working for someone else.
You can defuse your time bomb!
The time bomb is a morbid but accurate metaphor. The truth is that it is hard. The pressure can feel like it will crush you at times. After all, this is real life, not a game.
But don’t panic. You can do this! Remember that blogging is just like any other business. It’s about making sales. It’s about making enough money to stop the time bomb.
Marketing your products and services through your blog is about both volume (Red Wire tactics) and quality of interaction (Green Wire tactics). But either one alone is likely to explode in your face.
In hindsight, I could have avoided a lot of pain by beginning with Green Wire tactics and adding Red Wire tactics as my blog grew. Lesson learned: blog comments, traffic, retweets and Facebook Likes will feed your ego, but they won’t Feed the Peanut.
So get out there and make sales. Your Peanut is counting on you.
Russ Henneberry is the founder of the #1 resource for tiny business owners in the galaxy, Tiny Business, Mighty Profits. Find out how Russ learned to Feed the Peanut with his blog by watching these 10 free Internet marketing videos.