This is a guest contribution from freelance writer, Ayelet Weisz.
A big part of the pro blogger dream is to be your own boss. No more office politics, competitions with colleagues or having to prove yourself to someone who reaps all the benefits of your hard work. You’ll set your own rules and live life your way.
Yet if you’ve never had to be accountable to yourself on a large-scale, long-term project, you might find yourself overwhelmed.
1. Unrealistic expectations. If you don’t know your own limitations, you could end up planning to invest too little time or leaving too little flexibility in your budget. You could also work yourself to exhaustion.
2. Getting lost. Being a full-time blogger leaves you plenty of opportunities to get lost – online, in sleep, in your own fears.
3. Missing tools and skills. There are lots of skills to master and tools to learn – not only in your chosen field of blogging, but in business management, time management, marketing – and the list goes on.
Do You Have The Skills?
Fortunately, tools and skills to be a successful full-time blogger are learnable. You need to incorporate the process of learning into your business plan, and don’t despair if you find yourself taking longer in one step or another. Instead, relish in your blogging journey and, as you challenge yourself, remember to give yourself a break.
Would You Hire You?
Few jobs will take you in without an interview – and your blogging business should be one of them. You must define the job before you can find out if you’ve got the right stuff.
You need to research what it means to run a full time blog and own a business, how to live on fluctuating income, what kind of marketing strategies are usually used, and where you could break the marketing rules to help your blog shine.
Read sites and magazines about your chosen niche, as well as general sites about professional blogging (like Problogger!), entrepreneurship and small businesses.
Once you have a vision of what your daily and annual life could look like, ask yourself the tough questions:
- Are you ready to get started on the job?
- Which areas require more learning, practise, tools or expertise?
- What could you do with the skills you have right now to start building your blog?
Just as importantly, put on the interviewee’s hat – and ask yourself if you even want the position.
Go on at least one good course
Getting educated is valuable in gaining a deeper understanding of what you’re getting yourself into, as well as to speed up the process. Your chosen course, or several courses, might be about getting certification or about improving through feedback you’d get from professionals on your creative work. It might be about writing, marketing, business management or creating more self confidence in your life.
You could choose to learn all these aspects or some. You could learn them one by one or mix them together. You could decide learning is another business task, like marketing – or you could set aside a concentrated learning time before you take your first practical step in building your blog.
While you’ll likely keep on learning as you develop your blogging business, it’s easy to get caught up in the learning and never take a step beyond that.
Give yourself a deadline for when you absolutely have to go register your business or pitch a guest post for the first time.
Importantly, remember that you need to save money in advance and put it aside to cover the cost of the course and the hours of paid work that you might miss.
Don’t forget to budget enough time for implementation either – homework tends to take longer than what you first expect.
Do You Need a Mentor?
At times, it’s recommended to hire a mentor even if you took a course or few. With a mentor, you’ll be able to ask questions you might not feel comfortable asking in a group, get a sense of direction and compile a list of actions it’s best to take for your specific blog and situation.
You might choose to keep this mentor on payroll for longer, yet sometimes even an appointment or several will do. Then, you could go on your merry way and sign up for another session when you feel one is needed.
Another option is to join a community of peers or top professionals, or one that’s combined of various levels of skills and successes. These can be paid or free, an online message board, meetings in your community or networking organisations’ gatherings.
Either way, that personalised attention will enable you to learn the inside world of launching and managing a blog, of marketing, of communicating with readers and of being the best blogger you can be.
Have you got more tips to test if you’re ready to start pro blogging? Share them with us in the comments!
Ayelet Weisz (www.AyeletWeisz.com) is an enthusiastic freelance writer, blogger and screenwriter, who focuses on business, technology, travel and women’s issues. Get her free report, 48 Must-Live Israeli Experiences, on her travel blog, and connect with her on Twitter.