How do you clearly send a message to the world, aside from printing it on your forehead or on the front page of your blog, that you are running a business as a blogger and that, as fun as it may be, you are not just in it for the fun, (unless you are of course, in which case this blog post might become handy a few months or years down the road when the idea of turning all your hard work and labor into a thriving business makes more sense … but no rush!)
Anyway, we all need incentives to be moved to action. Right? You do. I do. We all do.
The incentive does not necessarily have to be monetary, as in financial, money-like, exchange of currency.
Let me repeat that one, in case it gets scanned over or something: The incentive does not have to be monetary.
Examples of Great Incentives to Move You to Action
Here are my practical tips on how you can treat your blog as a business and not a hobby starting today:
- A budding relationship that will later lead to mutual benefit between you and this other person and entity.
- A cause in which you believe and want to support.
- A favor in return for a favor, or as favor in return for nothing as Seth Godin talks about in his book Linchpin. See the next one for more on this.
- A good feeling inside that tells you that you just want to do this period, and you are the boss of you so you decide.
- A product or service exchange, sometimes referred to as bartering.
- A learning opportunity for you in return for your service or product.
- A pay-it-forward for something that comes later, and in which you fiercely believe.
- A partnership that will benefit both parties in ways that they deem valuable.
As a business owner, you make all these decisions and their variations every day: When to give something away for free, when to charge for it, when to discount it, when to build a partnership, when to charge more for a service, etc, why would you not apply the same rules to a blogger?
A business does not stay in business by giving away every resource and product for free. Even a charity runs as a business; it has funding and operates on a budget and has limits and boundaries to what it can and cannot do, even if it does not turn a profit. Both a charity and a business always have an incentive for every action and so should you.
Get clear on your incentive and don’t let others tell you what incentives you should have to take certain actions. And remember to constantly educate yourself.
Practical Tips on How to Treat Your Blog as a Business
1- Awareness that you are in business, and that it depends solely on you, not outside factors, but all resources and power and energy that you posses on the inside, to make things happen. I love Christine Kane’s Laws of Awareness if you need a healthy nudge.
2- Believe in the goodness of business. Corporate America may have some stupid, crazy, dumb ways of doing things, yes, I am happy to admit it, and corporations may treat their employees badly, happens every day but that should never kill the spirit of business. Businesses advance our culture and our civilization and are the foundation for a lot of good in society. And if you disagree, I ask you to do without all the things you buy from a business – think your car, your groceries, your Mac, your clothes, what have you … – for just a day and then re-think your position.
3- Stop doing things for free and out of the kindness of your heart, because your business will be bleeding and lacking love as a result. Instead, learn to build partnerships and lasting relationships, with mutual benefit, with a win-win situation, whatever the definition may be.
4- Get very clear – my friend and a great coach, John Falchetto says it better than me if you need a second opinion!- on your expertise, your unique offering, and why it rocks – because it has to rock and not suck please – and then proudly put a price tag on it, a process around it, and a way to collect payment. If you have any kind of inner conflict with this, you are not yet ready to take this step.
5- Exude professionalism by setting the standards very high for how you run your blog and your website, how you communicate and act – in fact, check out my email etiquette rules while at it – and how you leave an imprint of impression everywhere. Be professional and expect to be treated as such, and the right people will be attracted to you.
6- Describe your blog as a business in your words and your terms on your About page, and inform people who want to contact you on your Contact page, and have templates for various professional queries so you are consistent and stay true to your standards even if you are in a hurry.
Benefits of Treating Your Blog As A Business
I can tell you that when I started applying these rules, the fabulous five happened to me:
1- I finally got taken seriously by others because I was taking myself seriously and until you start taking yourself seriously, no one will. This one is worth repeating over and over.
2- I actually started building a company – yes, Prolific Living is an itty bitty company but nonetheless a company – but also a strong brand and a respectable online presence.
3- I found true happiness to be operating from a place of strength and alignment to my core values, which are owning my own company, doing negotiations, building killer relationships, and creating a community of like-minded fabulous peeps.
4- I became even more motivated than before, if that was possible, to keep blogging and building out my website because it is a business and not just a hobby anymore.
5- I felt heaps more compassion, love, and a sense of service for my peeps, my supporters, and my partners and my blog readers, now that I value myself and my in-depth knowledge first and foremost.
Of course, none of this matters if you do not believe, with every ounce of your being, and every cell in your body, that you are running a business and it is going to succeed. If you do not believe that, I cannot help you on this blog post but I bet I can change your mind in a power coaching session.
And if you do believe that, it is enough, you have the biggie down, and because you cannot change what others believe, your job is to then act the part of a business owner, and continuously inform and educate your position with poise and grace.
Even if your blog is not generating income, and even if it is losing money and costing you every month, it is still a business, it is just a business in trouble. I mean, how many formal companies out there declare bankruptcy every day, without an ounce of shame and go on calling their entity a company or an organization long after entering a pathetic financial state of just sucking money in and never repaying it?
If they can call their failed thing a “business”, you, my dear, have no reason not to call your blog a killer business in the making. So take heart, because the fact that you are in the red does not take away the concept that you are in business, and that you are planning to stay in it.
Unless again, you wish to do this just as a hobby, and I know several perfectly fine bloggers who have either an inner conflict with making money from their blog or no desire to do so. If you are one of them, then just respect that choice and obviously don’t call it a business.
If you are like me and planning to build an enterprise that will reach masses one day and share a message that you passionately believe in, then tell yourself everyday that you are building a business, you are creating a company, and you are changing the shape of your own future. Stop the destructive mental self-sabotage process and instead believe that your message will help and empower others and your efforts are worthwhile.
Now over to you. What kind of blog – or rather, business – are you building these days and what lessons can you share in terms of positioning?