Wednesday, September 20, 2006

BlogBiz
Michelle Bery

How do you know if your blogging is a hobby or a business? Consider the following:
Are you behaving in a business minded manner when you blog?
Does your blog, even if silly or comical, have a purpose to draw readers or traffic with the intent of creating an income?
Are you putting in enough time and energy into blogging to make it profitable, or are you half heartedly approaching blogging as a side hobby?
As you increase your income, are you investing, reinvesting or utilizing the income for livelihood, or are you considering it 'mad money'.
There is a difference in how you perceive your income and how you will behave. If you feel it’s just extra money to have fun with, you may not be taking a serious business perspective of blogging that you need to take for profit long term.
As you increase your business, you need to be flexible and grow with the business. This means that what worked in phase one may need to be upgraded or changed in phase two, and phase three and so on and so on.
In the past, have you followed through with goals and activities? If the resounding answer is no – then beware, being self-employed, even a blogger business, may not be right for you. However, if you have a support system, a partner or a plan B, where if you start to fall downward you have a way upward, then blogging as a business is certainly a possibility.
Some real positives of having a blog as a business is that it is easy to start up, and easy to maintain, especially if you use a service to help you glean the most from your business as you can.
Another great thing, if you are not a people person, that is fine! If you are, good – communicate more with your fans! Having positive working relationships is very important and yet, with blogging, you can make money and not really have to develop super close relationships. Many people find close relationships, especially working relationships, to be very stressful. Again, if you have a service to help you, this is two-fold easier.
Blogs are great because as far as a business goes, there are minimal decisions in this line of career. Most business owners make decisions constantly, have a lot of overhead and are under pressure. However, with blogging you have minimal overhead if any, and your big decisions are often simply when to renew your service contract with your supplier/manager. Usually the partner/manager/supplier in blogging makes all the nuance decisions that can drive you crazy.
If planning and organizing are not your strong suits, never fear… you can certainly hire someone to do this for you; again there are organizations that take all of that nitty-gritty stuff away from you for a small fee. But you can also learn how to organize yourself but realize this can mean you may be working at your blog a few hours at a time when you’d normally be spending time with family or friends. Again, blogging will make you money if you go toward this goal as a business, not a hobby.
Make sure you survey family, friends on peers in what they may enjoy seeing or having in a blog. Maybe they will voice that they’d like to have a place to write in themselves about their experiences, or just read inspirational experiences or informative comments. Perhaps, they want an informative site where they can both interact with others and, purchase equipment or books. Figure out what you like, then start seeing how you can tie your interests in with other’s desires.
As you initially start your business you can add ideas or subtract things that don’t seem to be working, but in whole marketing research will give you a nice, firm foundation; if nothing else, it gives you a target starting point which is easier for you to focus on.
This actually takes you to the next subject of thought, which is a strategy to market. Once you know what your survey tells you, you can easily, as outlined above, develop a strategy. Again, it’s knowing how to take an interest of yours and make it marketable.
In your blog, don’t just write! Sell! Sell a product or service. Although some people can make money just from writing, through banners and such, you will have more success actually offering a bit more. However, if you have a service working with you, they can certainly help to promote you as well as place banners and other marketing tools in to help you get your business off the ground.
Think of unique promotion strategies. Though if you have a service, again, you will not have to worry as much – it still is a good idea to create promotions yourself that are highly unique to your specialty. Make sure your prices are competitive or at the least, considered well within your target market. The moment the Blog is up to the moment the client or consumer has what they want from you; and the entire process should be quite enjoyable!
Michelle is a bona fide professional blogger. If you're aiming for six figure online profits then you NEED her fresh, upbeat advice!

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