The courage to just begin is a challenge for many aspiring bloggers. We don’t know what we don’t know. We fear making mistakes. We are unsure of the essential things we should know before starting a blog business.
Because of this failure to start, many aspiring bloggers lose their way in a sea of information. The good news is there are only three things you must know before starting a blog business.
1. Purpose: Uncover Your Core Gift
The best place to start is to look within. This is one of the biggest mistakes most entrepreneurs make in the early stages of their business. We want to look “outside” in the marketplace first.
Which topic will make me the most money? What’s the fastest way to get cash in the door? Don’t get me wrong, nailing down a profitable market is important. But your fastest path to income and impact is to look within first.
In an effort to help more entrepreneurs get this right, we created a 32-question assessment that helps you discover your influence “strength.” When it comes to creating influence online, I believe every influencer has a primary influencer “strength” in one of four key areas: writer, speaker, coach, or online teacher.
Let’s look a bit more closely at each:
- Are you a writer-first? With the writer-first strength, you look forward to processing your thinking through writing books and blogging. With this strength, you are able to organize your thoughts and think through your messaging. Once you have it all out on paper, you can then more easily convert your message into speaking, coaching, and even teaching.
- Are you a speaker-first? If you struggle with the “blinking cursor syndrome,” then you might be a speaker-first personality. If that’s the case, then you may not want to write out your thoughts first. Your strength would best be leveraged by recording a video or podcast first. As a speaker-first, it’s easier for you to process your thinking through speaking. Later, you can take that video or podcast and convert it into a blog post.
- Are you a coach-first? With the coach-first strength, you shine best in a small group. You are great at asking questions, showing empathy, and being resourceful. Before you write the book, create the keynote, or design the online course, you should get 5-10 people into a six-week coaching program with you. After that, you can more easily move to the other income streams.
- Are you a teacher-first? If this is true for you, your strength is going to be best used in creating online courses and membership sites. The fastest path to impact for you is to begin organizing your topic into an online course outline. Then, you can work back into creating blog posts, podcasts, and videos.
Once you discover your influencer strength, your creativity will be more easily unleashed inside you!
2. Passion: Rally to Your Cause
Once you know your own core genius, the next step is to make it profitable. In other words, you need to make your gift useful. We do this by connecting it to a real passion in the marketplace.
For many people, this is where they get stuck. Passion should never equal pressure. Finding your passion is different than finding your calling in life. Your calling or purpose in life is uncovering your core gift.
Your passion will fluctuate throughout your life, but your purpose will never change. Passions change, but your purpose remains.
I want you to select a passion that you are willing to attach yourself to for the next 2-5 years. We take our blogging students through a proven 6-point checklist to help them narrow down their passions to the right one for them.
Let me share with you three of the questions from our Passion Filter Scorecard in order to get you started.
- Do you enjoy learning about this topic? In order to attach yourself to a passion for the next 2-5 years, you need to be willing to read books, watch videos and listen to podcasts on this topic. In order to be resourceful, you must be willing to grow yourself on this topic.
- Does this topic solve a problem or satisfy a desire? If there’s no problem to solve, there’s more than likely no money to be made. At the heart of a blog business is the ability to solve problems for a certain group of people.
- Do you want to serve the people who need help with this topic? You must fall in love with the people you want to serve. If you are annoyed with beginner questions, you shouldn’t work with beginners. You should target people who are more advanced on your topic.
Remember, finding your passion should not equal pressure. Find a passion you are willing to serve for the next 2-5 years and give yourself to the cause.
3. People: Decide Who You Want to Serve
This final piece of the puzzle brings everything together. Before starting a blog business, you need three things in place: purpose, passion, and people. Now, let’s take a closer look at choosing an audience to serve.
We have developed a tool called the 11-Point Audience Discovery Checklist. This checklist helps you to “check all of the boxes” on selecting the right audience that will be profitable from the start.
Going through this entire checklist would take us outside the scope of this blog post, but here are three of the most important questions to consider:
- Are there other blogs, podcasts, and YouTube channels on this topic? You do not want to be the first person to the market on your topic. I often hear people who are excited about the fact there are no blogs or podcasts on their topic. For me, that’s a clear “no” that this market is not proven. We want to see that people are consuming content on your topic of choice.
- Is this topic just a fad or is it evergreen? Another mistake new bloggers make is to try and jump on fads. Don’t pursue a fad that is here today and gone tomorrow. Remember those fidget spinners? Go over to Google Trends and put in “fidget spinners.” You’ll find a huge spike in interest with a dramatic fall off. We want to start a blog business that will still have demand ten years from now.
- Is there evidence of other people making money online on this topic? If someone is already making money with your idea or topic, this is a good sign, not a bad one. Our competition has already proven that the model works. If you want to be a writer, look for evidence of books being sold. If you want to be a speaker, look for evidence of events and conferences on your topic. Bottom line: we want to find evidence of money being made before we pursue a market.
Once you have confirmation on your purpose, passion, and people, you have the confidence to move forward. A successful blog business must have you working in your strengths, connected to a real passion, and working for a specific audience.