This is a guest contribution from freelance writer, Ayelet Weisz.
Blogging is hard work.
You need to come up with fresh, quality materials on a regular basis, promote them, connect with readers, network with peers and mentors – and that’s before you even see a single dollar for your effort.
I’ve put together some simple business tactics to help you set your blog for success, so you can live the pro blogger dream.
Set Inspiring (But Realistic) Goals
Now that you’re your own boss, you’ve got to set up internal motivation. The biggest success stories didn’t get there with someone telling them what to do every five minutes.
A great way to keep yourself motivated is to set up goals. Of course, I don’t just mean any goal. Making a million dollars by the end of your first year as a blogger might not be the most realistic goal you could think of.
The truth is, you have no way of knowing what will happen by the end of your first year, and you have no control over of others’ choices – Will they read your blog? Will they buy your products?
However, you can eliminate some of these unknown factors by conducting research about the possibilities your market contains – and you can increase the chances of realising your dreams by setting a different type of goal.
Focus on what kind of content you’ll write, how much content you’ll write, how you’ll promote it and when.
Focus on numeral items, like 8 posts a months on your blog and 8 guest posts that you’ll pitch to big blogs. Don’t set a goal of publishing 8 guest posts, only of submission. If someone says no, you’ll still have the confidence boost of reaching your goal. Then, you can exceed it by pitching that guest post to an additional blog.
Track Your Progress
The next step is to get the gold stars out track your progress. Write down what you are doing, what your productivity rate has been and notice what times a day or situations support you in getting more work done.
Set a meeting with yourself – be it once a week, once a month or once a quarter – to see how well you did, to discover your strong points. It’s important to be honest on where you need to be more accountable or get support.
Encourage yourself to ask questions, to say “I don’t know”, to ask for help. Sometimes, that help will come in the form of adjusting your expectations or re-shaping your schedule. Embrace your humanity as you embrace your new blogging journey.
Give yourself time, be gentle – and leverage your failures
Starting a new venture is never easy. Acquiring an abundance of new skills and tools takes determination, focus and accountability.
You will make mistakes.
Give yourself a time of grace and don’t be hard on yourself. People around you might pressure you. They could be your friends and family members, they could love you and want the best for you – and they might not believe your blog is what’s best for you. If it takes you time to monetize your blog, and it probably will, they’ll doubt it even more.
Don’t get carried away with that. It will take time. Embrace it as an opportunity to show yourself you can do the impossible.
Support yourself through this time. Join professional online and offline groups, share your challenges with people who understand rather than with people who don’t, and plan ahead financially.
It might work best for you to save a few months’ or a year’s worth of salary, then take that time off paid employment and market like there’s no tomorrow. Alternatively, it might be best for you to start building your blog slowly, as you keep a part time or full time job.
Expect to make mistakes.
These mistakes will be your guiding points to grow your blog even more as you go on. They could be transformed into guest posts on big blogs, case studies you can use to show your expertise (and how you turned failure to success) – and they can even turn you into a good mentor one day!
If nothing else, you’ll be able to look back one day and have a really good laugh. You’ll also be able to see how far you’ve come.
Starting out at the blogsphere can be intimidating.People already know each other and the job.Friendships and communities have already been formed. Relationships with influencers are being shaped and re-shaped every single day.
This experience becomes easier once you feel there’s someone you could turn to. You, of course, need to have communication tools and the courage to connect when entering a new environment.
If you’re fearful about connecting with industry members, start small. Post comments on their blogs, then connect with them on Twitter or Facebook. Join online communities and reach out to one person at a time in a personal message.
Ask for their help, or offer a solution to a challenge they brought up. If they happen to just start out as you are, perhaps you could be a force of empowering support to one another, sharing tips and encouraging each other when one loses sight of the light at the end of the tunnel.
Maybe you’ll even find you have additional interests in common!
Did you face any of these challenges when you were starting out? How did build your blog? Or perhaps you’re just starting out and picked up some great tips for the road ahead. Share your story!
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.