This guest post is by Tim Brownson of A Daring Adventure.
I suspect that all the technical information you could ever need to be a successful blogger is out there in the public domain. If that is the case, why do the vast majority of blogs fail when it comes to providing the owner an income they can live comfortably on?
Firstly, I think many bloggers grossly underestimate the psychological side of blogging and what is needed to get their heads right in the first place.
Secondly, few bloggers that I speak to start off with any real plan or goal to keep them on track if and when things don’t go according to expectations. They simply dive into the process with no real idea of where it will take them.
Today I want to show you a seven-step process for goal setting that will exponentially improve your chances of succeeding with your blog.
You may well be familiar with the SMART method of goal setting because it’s been around for decades. Bear with me though as I expand on that process and make it way cooler and more useful for you—and far more likely to help you succeed.
Just in case you aren’t familiar with SMART, let me give it a quick run through.
Is your goal specific enough that somebody else could read it and know exactly what you mean? A goal of having a popular blog misses this aspect because it’s too vague and subjective.
I have a popular blog, but if I gave my readers to Darren and took his in return he’d be pretty unhappy with the deal—he has about 40 times more than I do.
“Owning a blog with at least 5,000 subscribers that earns $500 per month from AdSense” is the kind of goal that nails this element.
Using the last example, you can see at any point in time where you are in your plan. If you have 2,500 subscribers, you are half-way there. If you are earning $400 per month, then you’re 80% of the way toward that goal. Having a measurable goal is important to keep your motivation going and for you to know whether things are working or not.
Any goal, if it’s to be a real goal, requires input in some form from you. In other words, you have to act and actually do something to make it happen. Lying in bed hoping people are buying your ebook that you haven’t promoted properly isn’t a goal—it’s wish or a dream, and it’s almost certain to fail miserably.
I’m not big on this aspect of the SMART method, because unless something is physically or scientifically impossible, then to me it’s still realistic.
If Darren had told people eight years ago that he intended starting a blog called ProBlogger and by 2011 he’d have 150,000 subscribers and be one of the top 2,000 websites in the world according to Alexa, people would have been lining up to tell him he was being unrealistic.
He wasn’t, so don’t worry too much about being realistic. Understand there is a huge difference between something being very difficult and being impossible. Landing on the moon was very difficult; landing on the sun is impossible (unless you go at night!).
This is probably the most under-appreciated element of SMART goals. Without a timeframe, goals have a habit of slipping.
Most people are busy and, as such, are responding and reacting to events. Therefore, without an end game in sight there will always be more pressing issues for you to attend to.
There is a great reason why people work more efficiently up to deadlines. It’s because the brain kicks off a mini fight-or-flight response, which allows them to focus more efficiently.
Okay, so that’s the traditional model and it’s all well and good, but I want to help you make your goals even more effective by turning SMART into SMARTER.
When you’re setting goals you have to be aware of the effect they will have on you and those close to you. So you want to be a problogger and intend spending as many hours as necessary to achieve that?
How will that affect relationships with your loved ones? How will it impact your social life and your health? How will you pay the bills as you build up your following?
The answers aren’t reasons not to try, or to quit before you start. But they are things that need to be taken into consideration now, so they don’t trip you up further down the road.
This is the really big one as far as I’m concerned, and it’s the thing that so many people miss out on or just don’t get.
What is your reward for having a successful blog?
I’m not talking about money here: I’m at a deeper level than that. We are talking about values and what is fundamentally important to you at the level of your identity.
What really drives you? If you think that’s money, what does that money give you? Maybe it’s freedom, peace, security, significance, or maybe you want to leave a legacy.
It doesn’t really matter what it is, as long as you know. This is what’s going to motivate you if and when things get tough.
If you can’t come up with a reason that will get you out of bed at 5.00am enthusiastic about the day ahead, then there’s a high probability you will burn out sooner rather than later.
As an example, I am a Life Coach because I love helping people. I don’t earn as much money as I did when I worked in sales, but I’m way happier and, more importantly, I know why I’m doing what I’m doing. Do you?
Tim Brownson is a Professional Life Coach, NLP Master Practitioner and published author. He runs the A Daring Adventure blog where he writes about self development. If you would like a free copy of his book How Do I Set Goals That Work? Click the link.