You’ve been blogging for awhile now, maybe even had a sponsored post or two, but are you ready to take your blog from a fun side project to your full time gig? If you’re a creative babe and have been using blogging as your expressive outlet, this could be the perfect opportunity for you to ditch the 9-5 and really pursue your passion.
But before you hand in your notice, there are a few things you need to do to solidify yourself as a credible source in the blogging world. Let’s face it, there are a lot of bloggers out there on a million different subjects, so it’s not going to be easy to make the switch from hobby to business. But, if you’re a hard-working boss babe (which I know you are!) and are ready to put in the work, you’ll be stepping out from that cubicle and living your dream in no time.
To get you started, here are 6 essential steps you need to take with your blog in order to make it business-ready:
1. Stop Working for Free
Well, this is a little obvious. If you’ve been doing “sponsored” posts in exchange for free goods other than monetary compensation, it might be time to stop. Especially if you’ve been doing free promotions or posts for the sake of building up that “portfolio”. You know your value, if you truly believe you can make your blog your business, it’s time others recognized and acknowledge that value as well. It’s not to say that everything you do has to be paid, but it’s time to start getting picky about what you post and who you work with.
2. Define Who Your Audience Is
As a blogger, it’s incredibly important that you know what you stand for and what the purpose of your blog is. The biggest part of this is defining who your audience is and understanding your ideal client. If you don’t have a clear vision of who this person is, it’s going to be awfully hard to create content with them in mind. Your blog can’t possibly serve everybody, so it’s important to understand who your business will be benefitting in order to be successful. If you haven’t figured out who your ideal audience is yet, no worries! Check out our online course that will help you Empower Your Brand + Define Your Audience.
3. Get Comfortable with Your Branding
If you haven’t yet, it’s time to lock in that brand style guide! Before you can become a credible source, you’ll need to be recognizable. By defining your brand vision and a consistent visual story, you establish trust and recognition with your audience. Think about some of your favorite successful bloggers - they all have their branding nailed down and everything they post is consistent with that style. See four reasons why you absolutely need a cohesive brand in this blog post and starting locking it in! Once you’ve got this dialed in, it will make creating content so much easier, as well as pitching yourself to brands and companies you want to collaborate with.
4. Schedule Content Like You Mean It
In a true business, you set long term and short term goals and implement milestones that help you achieve those along the way. If you’re serious about turning your blog into your business, it’s time to start treating it like one. Think of your blog content like a magazine - start scheduling months in advance and prep your content for seasons, holidays, trends, etc. A business doesn’t make decisions on a whim as it goes along, and neither should you! The easiest way to do this? Get your hands on an editorial and content calendar and get yourself organized!
5. Create Your Business Plan
I’m a bit of a nerd and I love helping creative entrepreneurs build out their business plans. While creatives are brilliant at what they do, a lot of us don’t necessarily enjoy setting concrete plans and deadlines because it can mess with the “creative process”. Well, it’s time to get over that and set a real plan in motion. It’s time to set out long term goals, short term goals, what you have to offer, and a financial plan in order to truly set yourself up for success.
6. Implement a financial system
If you’re going to start a business, you’ll need to track your finances. After you’ve created your business plan and set financial goals, you’ll need to implement a system to track how it’s going. You don’t want to wake up one morning and see a giant red negative balance in your account because you weren’t paying attention to your new business expenses. Having a good handle on your business’ finances will also help when you’re working with potential clients or businesses and they want to have a better understanding of your monetization process.
Turning your blog from your side hustle into your full time gig doesn’t mean just slapping a bunch of paid ads on the side of your website. While you certainly can consider paid advertisers, sponsored posts and affiliate programs as monetary compensation, you’ll be much more likely to be successful if you have an established vision and fully thought-out plan for your business.