Happy New Year! Let’s get these sparkling new blogger business plans going!
Do you remember last year when we carried the same things over month to month and they didn’t seem to get done? Or how about those days before a post was due when we were scrambling to finish writing and insert images? Maybe we felt so flippin busy, but the big goals never seemed to get accomplished?
If you nailed your 2016 goals, bravo! It’s time to set some bigger ones this year and get moving.
If you didn’t quite get there (me too!), no worries. We’ll get a little more focused and clear about the time we’re spending on our business and celebrate our accomplishments next December.
The past 2-3 weeks have been for planning what will get accomplished on this blog in 2017. While some people can knock out their plans in a few hours, I love, love, love taking notes, brain dumping, and refining until I get something that’s comprehensive without being too long. A plan that is organized just right so there’s no doubt to what I’m doing when.
What I’m about to share may or may not be right for your blog, nor is it the only way, but feel free to take what you need to make 2017 your best year yet!
Phrase of the Year
To lead things off, I pick a feeling, word, or phrase that will help guide my choices and this year it is “uncomfortably bold“. Like many entrepreneurs and thinkers, I tend to be in my head a lot and my introverted-ness is getting worse as each year passes. As they say, you can’t build a business in a bubble. So I’m stepping way out of my comfort zone and putting myself out there more. “Uncomfortably bold” doesn’t mean I’ll have pink hair and start skydiving, although the hair sounds fun:0 It will be the first thing I think about before I write a post, shoot a video, or send an influencer email. Why not, right? #yolo
Perfect example: I worked with a guy named Chris. Every single day, Chris walked in wearing his black and white, patent leather wing tip shoes, a fedora hat, and and a long overcoat in the cooler months. The picture of a man straight from the 1930’s. He made me smile because he’s comfortable with who he is and what he likes. I need more of that- boldness unique to me. So I put the name “Chris” in front of my yearly goals to remind me of his uniqueness and to step out a little!
After my phrase which is how I want to conduct all business, I define the who, what, why, and how– also known as a mission statement, vision, values, and business model. These questions are always at the forefront:
- who am I
- who do I want to be
- why am I doing what I’m doing
- who am I doing this for
- what do they want
- what do I want
- why would they want to take this journey with me
- how both parties will profit
These are great questions to have answers to for when you get frustrated or bogged down with have-to’s. This list will calm you and remind you why you need to push through whatever obstacle is in your way!
A mission statement is a concise summary of what your business does.
To get an idea, here are examples of mission statements for 50 non-profit companies, many you’ve heard of.
If you’re wondering what ours is, the mission statement for JobtoBlog is:
“Provide assistance and actionable steps for those looking to start and grow their blog with the intention of creating a full-time business in the next 24 months.”
With your mission statement done, now you can add the why and how with a vision and values statement.
For JtB in 2017, this is exactly what’s in my business plan:
“My vision is to provide accurate, no-bs information to help people grow their passion into a business. For people who are “meant” to do more, sitting in traffic, a cubicle, and action-less meetings is not honoring their skills, experience, ability, and desire. I’m here to help give them confidence, a roadmap, a jumpstart and to organize those creatives to win their work life.
I want readers and customers to see me as
#1. Someone they trust.
#2. Someone who believes they can do it!
#3. An example of how to have fun and love what makes you money.
Awesome writing, growing facebook page, and ninja Instagram skills aren’t going to support you and your desired lifestyle without a plan. A business model is the specifics on how your company will make money and how much gets deposited into your account every month. Ensure your plan cover these main areas:
Generate revenue: How you are going to get money in the door. Be specific with courses, launch dates, affiliate plan, services, etc.
Monthly expenses: What are you going to spend money on every month- email service, G-suite fees, web integrations, virtual assistant payouts, etc.
Your investments: The money you put back in your company or yourself- courses, conferences, new webcam or microphone, design fees for launches, book editing, cash stash, IT help, etc.
Overview/ 2017 Business Plan
This is the 30k foot view into your business. Set benchmarks high enough, way out of your comfort zone, but achievable if you work your tail off.
To be accomplished by December 31, 2017:
For JtB, here are a few less-detailed versions of what’s on my plan for the year:
- Be bold out of your comfort zone
- Networking- X conferences, X go-to friends, X friends in process
- Traffic Target- X pageviews per month
- Email Subscribers- X
- Make $X per month by the end of 2017
- Consistently post EVERY single week- Tuesday’s post and Friday’s newsletter teaser
- More active in video- fb live Xx/mo, YT Xx/mo
- Social Media- focus on 1 platform per quarter
- Submit X guest posts
- Big projects: (services, launches, books, collaborations, etc.)
It’s time to back that thing up! No, I don’t mean your after-Christmas booty;)
Since you know who you are as a company and what you want to accomplish over the year, now we’re going to back into making those goals reality. This progression train will help your business keep moving forward instead of doing “web maintenance” every time you have a spare 20 minutes. #guilty
who you are > who you serve > yearly goals > quarterly goals > monthly targets> weekly tasks > daily to-do’s.
That is the secret sauce to meeting any quota you’ve set for yourself and keep you on point!
For JtB, I copy my yearly goal categories (above) and break them down to what’s achievable by quarter, taking into account holidays, seasons, and future launches.
Q1 2017 | January-March
- Bold & Different:
- Network: X new “friends” per week, at least X per month
- Traffic: Drive through (social media? fb ads? guest posts? pick where you’re targeting your traffic)
- Email Subscribers: Jan- X, Feb- X, March- X
- Course Selection & Outlines:
- Social: master X (pick a social platform that’s relevant to your avatar)
- Video’s: go live on insta x times, go live on fb x times, make x # of YouTube videos
- Blog post every Tuesday, Huddle teaser on Friday.
- Submit X guest posts- X/month
- Big Projects:
- Prepare for X
I do the same thing for the 2nd-4th quarters.
If you copy those bullets above and break them down further, your monthly targets almost create themselves. At this point, we’ve set our big yearly goals, broke them down by quarter, and filled in the details each month to hit those quarterly goals.
The #1 question I get and see around the blogging world from people starting out is, “How do you get everything done without working 24 hours a day?” I have two pieces of advice (and fail frequently myself!):
- There’s always more to do, but that doesn’t mean you should be doing “that” right now. Meaning, the graphic for that sidebar widget might be driving you crazy, but is spending the time on it right now moving your business forward? Stick to your plan!
- Carve out a routine for the routine. You probably need to write every day and need to schedule social media every week, right? Make it happen on the same day and time every week. Create a routine so you know every morning at 7:00am you will be writing (not editing) until you reach X words or X amount of time.
At JtB, I keep a list of things that need to happen every week. Next, I break those down to specific days taking into account my most productive times of day. For example, two of my days look like this:
Your daily schedule should be in conjunction with, not in addition to, your goals. Some areas to cover in a daily schedule might include epic writing, guest posts, social batching, opt-in/course creation, new “friends”, emails/newsletters, email/sequences, Pinterest, and web maintenance.
Also, we have to be aware of what works for us individually and ensure those quirks are factored in. For example, it takes my 3 days (or 3 separate sittings in fewer days) to write a good post. One time for letting it all out, no editing allowed. The second session is refining and the third sitting is for polishing, images, and SEO. I envy those people that can sit and pop out a post in a couple of hours, but I know that isn’t my best work. My posts need to marinate and bake:) Find what works for you and the most efficient way to get that quirk done!
Business Plan Extras
The rest of your business plan could be the less structured ideas with breakdowns that don’t fit in your concise plan above, or the items that need expanded upon.
For the rest of the JtB Business Plan, these headers are also included:
- Awesome Ideas: random, original ideas I may explore in the future
- Stand Out: possible ways to get attention for my business
- Email Growth: opt-in ideas and sequences you may need
- Networking: plan, influencer list, who’s on target now, who I’d like to contact in the future
- Traffic: how many articles I’ll submit and to which site
- Social Media: daily posting schedule by platform
- Site Structure: my ideal blog structure including pages, categories, layout
- Making Money: my top 7 course ideas, other income possibilities, how I do NOT want to make money
I’m expecting a high-five or fist bump on this btw… I have the entire years blog posts already on my calendar! I’ve learned over the past few years that my month by month (or day by day!) “winging it” does not work for me.
If you’d like to hit the content jackpot, here’s the process I just used a couple of weeks ago:
- Nail down your avatar (more on that below).
- In a notebook, write down each priority, shortcoming, and need of your avatar.
- Brain dump- for each of those points in #2, write as many article ideas as you can.
- In a spreadsheet, make 3-5 columns of your main blog categories.
- Start fitting your avatar’s needs from the brain dump into blog categories.
- Assign dates to each.
You should have more than enough content for an entire year if you’re posting once or twice per week!
I learned something about my own blog through this exercise… I should have 5 categories instead of 4. And yes, I rewrote my entire posting calendar adding the 5th category! I might as well make it right and start the year off with a perfectly clear purpose and blog structure.
But what if you want to add something seasonal, a major relevant news event, or an industry shift? There’s a few options available- publish a special post, start a breaking news category on your site, add a text widget, or save the info for your insiders- the awesome peeps on your email list. Most likely, I’ll publish to my email list because I think they should get special treatment anyway. (Get in here!)
This could be a whole post in itself, but here’s the cliff notes version…
You hear everyone talking about how you need an ideal client picture, or avatar, right? Those people are 100% on target, but the step before that is just as crucial- what is your niche? As soon as you nail down your market and avatar, you’ll be shocked at how clear your business plan becomes and how you can provide “her” with incredible value.
Do you want to role play an example with me? Yes? Great! (perks of a one way conversations, lol)
YOU, THE BLOGGER:
I am a Do It Yourself (DIY) blogger and want to create an online business from my site. The first thing I’d do is narrow my niche a bit, especially since DIY can easily lead into other niches like home decor or crafting.
After brainstorming my passion, skills, and market viability, I’ve narrowed my niche down to being “Helping new homeowners personalize their cookie-cutter homes to make them unique masterpieces on a budget.”
Did we alienate some of the DIY market (renters, custom homes, and people with money) with that statement? Sure, but that’s okay! “If you try to serve everybody, you’ll end up serving nobody.”
Next, let’s make up our perfect reader we’ll be writing to in every post.
OUR PERFECT AVATAR:
Hi, My name is Haley and I’m 34 years old.
I live in a small town about 20 miles outside of Austin, Texas, with my two kids, Jacob (11) and Julia (4). I have been divorced for two years from my ex, who lives 5 miles away. We have a good parenting relationship and share custody, but that’s where it ends.
I’m originally from a Dallas suburb and played sports in high school. Being an only child, I was always my dad’s helper for tools and “hold this”. My mom loves to cook and maintain her veggie garden when she’s not at work.
I stayed around the Austin area after I graduated from UT with a Business Administration degree. I now work for Whole Foods in their Human Resources department and make a decent living, but I’m also paying off some credit card debt we shared in the divorce.
When I’m not at work, I like to have date nights with my kids, go out with friends about once a month, and play city league soccer.
Having gone from my parents house, to a dorm, to our house as a couple, I’m not so great with home maintenance and wish I would have paid attention more helping my dad. But, I’m not scared to google and try things, so I just bought a house! It’s about 15 years old, in great shape, and in an awesome neighborhood where my kids can play outside. I’m just excited to make it our own and an inviting place for my kids to hang out with their friends and me host mine.
I’m pretty sure I had at least 30 post ideas just writing out that avatar!
Here are Haley’s priorities and how we can help her:
1st priorities– how to customize a builder-grade home, diy basics, her own tools, time estimates for completion, cost estimates per project, one person projects, getting help with bigger projects, when to hire professionals, what low-cost improvements make a big impact
2nd priorities– small wins, order of projects to complete, kid-friendly projects, organization, creating a kid recreation oasis, time management, when to save and when to splurge, secrets of veteran DIY’ers.
You would brainstorm post ideas for each priority listed above and bam, you have a treasure trove of posts to plan throughout the year!
That was a lot of information, but hopefully worth your time if you’re planning on turning your blog into a business. And remember the secret sauce to achieving goals:
who you are > who you serve > yearly goals > quarterly goals > monthly targets> weekly tasks > daily to-do’s.
Is there any part of your business plan that I can help you get unstuck? Let me know in the comments below!
Go knock those big ass plans out of the park!
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