There comes a time for most bloggers when you know in your gut whether your online space is just a hobby or something that you can build on to monetise, create a career from, and maybe even a business. I’m a big believer in thinking big with our blogs, and whenever anyone tells me their big ambitious plans for their online space I’m always cheering them on and rooting for them to make it happen. I’m not saying it’s easy, and there’s the overwhelming risk that it may not work out and that you’ll fail along the way, but if you’ve got that drive inside you to create something bigger than what you have now and the innovative ideas to go with it, I think it can be a risk worth taking.
If you have a crazy big idea and you want to take your blog from a hobby to a game changer, today I’m sharing five steps you can take to make it happen. This post is for you if:
You know it’s going to be a lot of hard work: Transitioning your blog from a hobby to a game changer can change everything. Your whole approach to blogging and your online space will become a lot more intense and your workload will mostly likely double.
You’re under no illusions that everything will just fall into place: There are no guarantees in life, especially within the world of blogging and online businesses. It's such a young industry and a good idea and motivation aren't enough alone to make it happen. You need to be savvy enough to not put all your eggs in one basket, driven enough to put in the hours, innovative enough to stay flexible and evolve along the way, and brave enough to try even though you know there are no guarantees.
You’re doing it for the right reasons: There are so many different motivations behind wanting to take your blog from a hobby to a game changer. Making money from your online presence isn't something to be shunned or be ashamed of, though I'm a big believer in doing it in an authentic and honest way and building income streams that are full of integrity. If you're doing this because you want a quick and easy way to make money, this probably isn't the post for you, but if you're passionate about your creative endeavours and driven to change not just your own life but bring value to your readers and customers/clients lives too, then hopefully this can be a great jumping off point for you.
1. Be professional: If you're starting to think big with your blog, whether as an extension of your side hustle, a full blown business, or maybe as a bigger platform to share yourself and your voice with the world, taking a professional approach to your online presence is a must. Being professional doesn't have to take the fun out of your process though, but stepping things up and taking it seriously is the first step to taking your blog from a hobby to a game changer.
So what does being professional look like? I break it down into two areas - your outer layer, and your inner layer.
Outer layer: Think of this as your blogs digital storefront. From your domain, to your social media channels, to your visuals and your copy, maintaining a high standard and taking a professional approach shows that you really are taking yourself and your work seriously. Some specific things this can include are:
- A custom URL & email address
- Cohesive and mobile responsive website
- Clear visual branding
- Proofread blog posts, social media updates, and email marketing
Inner layer: How professional we are is just as much defined by what we do as it is by what we say. How we treat others, our business, and our work can define who we are and what our online presence stands for. Having integrity, creating work that is original to us, and treating others with respect is just as important as the online appearance we craft for the world to see.
Once you decide to take things seriously with your blog and work towards a larger long term goal, being professional can make all the difference. It's good to remember though that it's up to you to define what professional looks like to you - this episode of Being Boss is a great discussion on the topic.
2. Know your purpose: Once your online presence starts to evolve into something bigger, knowing your purpose is how you stay on track and make the best decisions for you and your work along the way. You'll probably have a brain full of exciting ideas for things you want to create moving forward, but before you run full steam head it's a good idea to really figure out what it is that is driving your work.
Last year I shared a post on Finding Your Blogging Purpose & Building A Manifesto, but more than that if you're starting to take your online presence seriously in terms of monetising and business ideas, creating from a place of purpose is what can help to keep you going as you push forward on making those goals really happen. How do you know your purpose? It's something to explore in depth but your answers to these four questions may help as jumping off points:
- What am I passionate about?
- What do I want to create?
- Who do I want to help?
- What is my overall goal and vision for my online presence?
3. Write a business plan: If you really want to take things seriously and push yourself and your online space, writing a business plan is one of the best ways to really focus yourself and your ideas. It doesn't have to be as intense as it sounds though, and when building my own I personally found it a really exciting process where I honed in on what I really want to be doing and working towards.
Some things to consider when writing your business plan are:
- Your Idea: What is your online presence about? What ideas and insights are you bringing to the table? What's your niche, your purpose, and your overall values and intentions?
- Your Audience: Who are you creating for? What problems do you solve for them? How does your blog/business offer them value?
- Your Income Streams: If you plan on monetising, what income streams will be the foundation of your business? Will you be creating your own products and/or services? Will you be monetising via advertising streams and sponsored opportunities? How do they help your audience?
- Your Content: What content are you creating for your audience? What are your categories and topics? What's your content marketing plan?
- Your Goals: What metrics will you be assessing your business by? What are your goals for in 3 months? 6 months? What are the essential areas you need to focus on for growth?
- Your Marketing Plan: How do you plan on promoting your blog/business? Social media marketing? Content marketing? SEO? Advertising?
4. Build a content plan: Your blog is the best free marketing you have available to you. Not only is it a great place to share helpful, engaging, and interesting posts for your audience, but also a space to share your brand message, your work, and your knowledge and experience. A strategic content plan can connect you with your ideal audience and clients and do most of the hard work for you for you and your business.
5. Do the work: Here's the thing, taking your blog from a hobby to a game changer is hard work. You can have the best idea in the world but without hard work and grit and determination to push through even when it's tough you'll struggle to make progress. So be professional, know your purpose, write your business plan, create awesome content, and keep on doing the work. Make time every day to work towards those long term goals, don't allow yourself to be distracted from the work that really matters to you, and push yourself to keep raising the bar.
Are you working on taking your blog from a hobby to a game changer? I'd love to know your experience so far?
If you want to work together one-on-one to take your blog from a hobby to a game changer, check out my Make It Happen Four Week Blog Coaching for bloggers & creatives.
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