We know that blogging as a business endeavor has merit. We also know that if you are a blogger or if you’re blogging regularly on your website, you’re doing something even more powerful — you’re setting yourself up as the expert in your chosen business niche.
Some entrepreneurs do make a living as bloggers, but they typically enhance their bank account by blogging for others — many of them blog for entrepreneurs like you! If you’re an entreprenuer who isn’t a writer and doesn’t want to write, hire a copywriter to perform that task for you so you can focus on your core expertise.
Blogging As A Business Endeavor
If you want to focus your entrepreneurial efforts on blogging or writing, here are some ways to make it potentially profitable.
Position yourself as the expert. If you want to blog for others, show that you can blog, that you know how to blog and that you’re sharing valuable information on your blog.
Use Adwords to bring in some income. If you have a powerful niche and a following of readers, adding ads to your site may make financial sense and may fatten your wallet.
Become an affiliate. You can be an Amazon affiliate. You can find entrepreneurs who sell affiliate programs or services and partner with them. When you promote items or programs as an affiliate, you will earn a commission on sales made with your unique code.
Offer a sponsored blog opportunity. If your blog has a large enough audience you could bring in money by offering a sponsored blog opportunity; this means someone would pay you to post on your site. If you do this, make certain you’re offering those coveted spots to businesses whose values align with your own. For example, if you’re strictly vegan, would it make sense to offer a sponsored post to a beef producer? Probably not.
Position your blog in such a way that people know they can hire you. More importantly, they will WANT to hire you because of all of the valuable content you’ve been sharing that has positioned you as the expert (see number 1)
Are you a blogger, content strategist or writer looking to enhance your portfolio and grow your writing business? What steps are you taking toward that goal?
If you’re in start-up mode you need all of the help you can get and you also need tools that will help your start-up be successful. “Success” is different for each entrepreneur, but if you want to be a success you need to lay the groundwork and build a strong foundation. Here are the tools that I share with my clients as a way to get their entrepreneurial endeavors off to the best start possible.
Here are tools I recommend:
You should have a business plan in place. The business plan will guide your business growth from start up to selling. You also need to know the ins and outs of your business, what the goals are, what services you offer, what products you will make and have a plan in place for the growth of the business as it relates to potentially having to hire employees.
Work with a banker from the beginning of your business endeavor. You should have a business bank account and even a business credit card. Building a relationship with a banker will be of help when you look for capital for expansion.
What can you outsource? There are items that are likely outside of your area of expertise — social media, accounting, legal, etc. — and you might be better served to outsource these tasks to an expert in that field. Determine what you make hourly and if it’s a good use of your time to focus on areas that are outside of your area of expertise.
Establish an online presence. This could be one of those items that you outsource, but if you do, you need to determine where your ideal clients gather and have your social presence in those areas. If you jump onto specific social media platforms, make certain your profiles are complete and that you are being active on those platforms.
Make sure you know how to accept payments electronically. Today’s online world means that you should be able to accept payments online from your clients through your website. If you’re onsite at a conference, for example, you will want to be able to process payments on the spot.
Talk with your business coach or a colleague if you have any questions or concerns about whether your start-up is on the road to success.
Life and business is ever-increasingly being conducted online. In my business, my team is scattered across the globe and we communicate virtually, via video calls and share documents across multiple Internet platforms. Because of this and because of the importance of keeping our company and our client information protected, we have cyber-security measures in place. You simply don’t want to have a weak password lead to a security breach in your website or even having your website hacked.
Here are our top cyber-security tips:
Make certain your websites are up to date and that you have security measures in place to back up and keep the sites secure. Because cyber threats are continually changing, the method you used this week to protect your site could likely be obsolete next week.
Install antivirus software and update it regularly.
Make certain your employees are educated on your cyber-security practices. They need to use extremely strong passwords as a way to not allow a “back-door” entry into any of your sites or servers.
Don’t store essential or sensitive documents in areas that could be easily accessed by a hacker. If necessary, print sensitive documents to keep on site. At the very least sensitive documents should be password protected and only those who truly need access should have the password.
Don’t forget to encrypt and protect your mobile devices — smart phones and tablets included. All devices should be password protected.
If you’re not certain your sites and your servers are protected against cyber attacks you will want to work with a qualified, experienced IT firm to assure your security and the integrity of your information.
It’s sometimes hard to get motivated especially in the triple digit heat of an Arizona summer. Keep in mind though that chances are your competition isn’t taking the summer off. They are moving forward with business plans and business growth.
If summer has traditionally been a time for you where you kick back and take time off, I urge you to at least do undertake these five summer business strategies:
Make certain your website is mobile friendly. Having a mobile friendly website is critical to business success and that isn’t something you want to let go until autumn arrives.
Make note of your top prospects and then reach out and contact them. If you’re in a lull — whether self imposed or actual — they may be as well and might welcome a call from you.
Look at your marketing materials and start now to think about what you might offer or change up for the upcoming holidays. If you need new peripheral materials, now is the time to look at that so you can get the designing and printing underway before the rush of the season is upon you.
Update and review your business plan. We’re now more than through the half way point of the year and you should be making certain you’re on target with the goals you set at the beginning of the year.
Take on a project you’ve been dreading. We all have them and they aren’t going to miraculously go away. Work on it in bite sized chunks and get it taken care of this summer.
Enewsletters, used wisely, can help grow your business simply by helping you stay front of mind and in their inboxes on a regular basis. It’s not enough to be in their inboxes, but you need to be providing quality information as a way to build your relationships with them.
How can you be relevant and provide value to your clients with your enewsletter? Here are a few options:
Know the purpose for your enewsletter. Yes, you want to stay in front of your clients, but you need to bring them something of value. Know the purpose for your enewsletter before you start.
Keep the content relevant. If you have a wide client base, you may want to segregate your enewsletters and send them to the target audience that would benefit the most.
Keep it brief. Your clients don’t have the time to read a lengthy enewsletter. Put in brief points and then direct them back to your website with links and photos. Remember, many of them are reading your correspondence on a smartphone — make it readable.
Show your expertise. Make your enewsletters a resource that they keep and refer to when they need the answer to a question. Stay on top of your field and become the go-to person when there are changes afoot.
Speak to them. If the enewsletter program you’re using allows you to embed a video, then share your message via video. Keep it short, snappy and fun. Use video once or twice a month as a way to keep your clients/readers engaged.
Make sure your enewsletters have a clear call to action in every one and be consistent in sending them out. We provide enewsletter services and can assist you in determining how or if an enewsletter would benefit your marketing efforts.
Unless you’re a fast food restaurant, chances are you cannot be, nor do you want to be, everything to everyone. You can’t mix and match all of your products (sandwiches) and add or subtract other items (condiments) until you are everything to everyone. You will make more money and be more productive and well-respected if you focus on a particular niche. Claim your expertise and focus on a particular client or market segment. Be the gourmet restaurant, not the fast food drive through.
Who is your ideal client? When you’re just starting out you may not truly know nor will you find it easy to turn away potential clients who might not be just right for your goods or services. You don’t want to fall into the trap of changing your offerings to feed the market. Let the market come to you because you are specialized and exclusive.
Here are steps to work through when developing the persona of your ideal client:
If you’ve built the better mousetrap, who would be best served by it? Consider your client’s pain points and the solution your product or service offers and focus on that as your potential market.
If you know that your goods or services address XYZ issue in the market place, then go to the marketplace and demonstrate how you can help them do their XYZ even better.
If you have a client base, take some time to look at them and note all of the common traits they share. If you have turned away potential clients, make note of why and what they did, or did not, possess that made you think that your goods or services weren’t ideal for them. Your current client base is your best source for building a client persona.
Target a specific market. Make sure that your goods or services fit their needs then focus on making what you offer the best it can be.