As a new-ish blogger, do you ever feel overwhelmed with all the things you’re supposed to learn and do in order to get things rolling?
I mean there’s a ton of it, isn’t there?
The experts tell us: Epic content is king, it’s all about guest posting, make sure your Facebook page is a priority, your design isn’t right, your headlines aren’t grabby enough, you need to keyword optimize your content, don’t forget your auto-responder series, make sure you connect with other bloggers, you need to comment on other blogs regularly, start posting on YouTube, start a podcast, watch your bounce rate…
The list goes on and on and on.
It’s enough to make your head spin, right? It’s no wonder so many blogs get abandoned in the first few months!
I’m right there with you. I feel your pain. In fact, it usually starts right behind my left eye.
As up-and-coming bloggers, most of us wind up juggling a day job and our blogging efforts. It can feel at times as if the two are in conflict – or at the very least that one takes time away from the other.
It doesn’t have to be that way. In my first year of blogging, I have noticed several business principles that also apply to blogging. These principles have helped me keep it simple, provided direction, and helped me gain some decent traction.
When you want to learn any new skill, what do you normally do? If you’re smart, you start with the basics.
Here are 7 real world business principles that you can apply to help make blogging easier to manage.
Why Sumo Wrestlers Make Horrible Jockeys
Principle 1: If you don’t have the right skills or qualities, don’t take on the job.
This isn’t meant to be mean or to exclude anyone, but let’s be realistic. If you can’t stand the sight of blood, you probably shouldn’t pursue a career as a paramedic. If you need a calculator and a scratch pad to calculate 10% of 1,000 you probably shouldn’t be an accountant. And if writing a lot isn’t enjoyable for you – then you probably shouldn’t blog.
I firmly believe we all have a special set of skills that can lead us to success. We each need to discover our own unique skill set and run with it. If you’re jumping on the blogging bandwagon (or any bandwagon) because you see others do it and it looks sexy – you should probably re-evaluate your motives. But if you’re dead set on making blogging work for you, find a way to acquire the skills.
There Are No Self-Taught Nuclear Physicists
Principle 2: Education lays a strong foundation.
Education lays the foundation for quality work. Most professions require some type of formal education – and education often isn’t free. It’s an investment that you make in your offline career. Education gives you a foundation for starting something significant and shows the world you’re serious about your career.
Why should you treat your blog any differently? If this is more than just a fun hobby for you, invest some of your time and money in a basic (or extensive) education to learn what works from people who have made it work. Lay the foundation for your blogging success with education.
Put Yourself Through Bootcamp
Principle 3: Training leads to expertise.
Even after being educated, you can’t “wing” being a great auto mechanic or a systems analyst – it requires training. Hands-on, gritty, dirty, up-to-your-ears training.
Blogging is no different. There are a variety of ways to get top-notch blogging training. The easiest (and free) way is to take the leap into guest posting. By guest posting on several sites, you’ll get tips and suggestions (coaching) from successful bloggers. It will help you broaden your horizons, sharpen your skills, and make valuable contacts. It’s free training – and effective promotion.
Other than guest blogging, it’s a safe bet that your favorite A-List blogger has some sort of training program available. If you haven’t yet taken part in any of these training programs, let me offer you a few suggestions of some programs that I personally have experience with and faith in:
- A-List Blogging by Mary Jaksch
- The Audience Business Master Class by Danny Iny of Firepole Marketing
- Start A Blog That Matters by Corbett Barr
If You Can’t Go Around It, Go Through It
Principle 4: Develop fortitude.
If you hope to survive and thrive anywhere, you need to develop fortitude (endurance and strength of mind). It’s true in business, and it’s true in blogging as well.
A friend recently emailed this to me. It’s one of those “it’s funny because it’s true” things:
No matter who you are, no matter how carefully you plan or study – your efforts will be thwarted at some point. Somewhere along the line, your best laid plans will tangle and fail. It is at those moments that you need strength of purpose, focus, and a will to go on no matter what. In other words, fortitude.
You’re allowed to get frustrated, to get bummed out, to get angry – but if you’re truly in it for the long haul you’ll persist despite it all.
Gather No Moss
Principle 5: Inconsistent effort kills momentum.
Momentum is huge. I’ve been in sales management for a long time, and one thing I have seen proven over and over again is that there are no elite part time salespeople. Success has a lot to do with momentum, and you can’t generate momentum if you’re dabbling.
The old “pipeline” scenario is a great example. Consider the Alaskan Pipeline spanning hundreds of miles across the state of Alaska. After the pipeline was completed, they started feeding oil from the top of it through the long pipe all the way to the bottom. At first, nothing came out the other end. But as they kept feeding oil in the top all day every day, some eventually came out of the other end.
When the oil did start coming out, they didn’t say, “Well… it works. We can stop feeding oil into the top now”, because if they did, the momentum would be interrupted and the flow would stop at the other end.
To keep momentum, your blog needs consistent effort feeding into the top end of your pipeline. I’m not suggesting you need to quit your job to make that happen. I haven’t. But I am suggesting that if you hope to gain any momentum and start seeing consistent results, you need to make a consistent effort.
Who Do You Want To Be?
Principle 6: Choose the company you keep wisely.
It’s vitally important to pay attention to this principle in business. This goes for your mentors, your peers (influencers), and your audience. I’m finding it’s just as important with blogging.
There’s no shortage of people online willing to accept a fee to be your mentor. But remember, the choice is yours. There’s a difference between a mentor and a consultant. Both are trusted advisors, but there’s often a mutual relationship component with a mentor that may or may not exist with a consultant. Consultants are paid advisors. Mentors may or may not be paid, but real mentorship usually comes with an element of a real relationship. Pick the right one.
In this post I’ve advised you to seek education, training, and mentors. If you’re willing to do those things, it indicates to me that you’re someone who takes blogging seriously and is taking a proactive, positive attitude toward it. You don’t have time for those who don’t hustle or those who are negative. Seek the company of those who are at least as ambitious and positive as you are.
This one could be a post unto itself. In fact it has been many times. Instead of re-writing one of those posts, I’ll just remind you that trying appeal to everyone is the kiss of death. That’s true at work, in your personal life, and in blogging. Although difficult, figuring out who your target audience should be is absolutely vital to the success of your blog.
Become A Giver
Principle 7: You have to give before you receive.
This is a universal truth. It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about blogging, friendship, or business. This means giving to your mentors, your peers, and your audience. Make their lives better and your life will be better.
This isn’t some touchy-feely kumbaya junk. It’s a fact. And it also doesn’t work if it’s just a tactic you use to get what you want from people. It has to be sincere.
Zig Ziglar used to say, “You can get everything in life you want if you just help enough other people get what they want.”
He was right. Give enough and it will come back to you.
Stay Steady As You Learn
So when you’re up to your ears with conversion ratios, metrics, guest posts, hosting problems, trolls, spammers, and plugins – set it all aside and come back to these 7 principles. Use them as guideposts to help you ground yourself. They’ll keep you on track and provide clarity in those times of frustration.
By following these principles, you’ll form a foundation of habits and attitudes that will constantly push you closer and closer to success in any endeavor – including your blog.
As an emerging blogger, do you ever feel overwhelmed?
What do you do to get through it?