Starting your own blog or any business for that matter is tough. But doing so with babies and toddlers underfoot or working a full-time job can feel downright impossible. But it isn’t, I promise. That’s because so many moms, including myself, are doing it every day.
Following the four steps in this post will help you set your blog up for the success it deserves by doing what many bloggers miss – laying the proper foundation from the very start.
If you have a desire to share your ideas, create/sell a product, provide a service, or start a ministry; therein lies the start to your business. And yes, a blog is a business. So don’t be tempted to treat your dream of starting your own blog like a hobby if you want to get the results you desire. You need to treat it like a business right out the gate. And you don’t need a solid eight hours a day to make that happen, either. But we’ll get to that later!
Let me start off by quickly defining what a blog really is. Your blog is the vehicle for your business. It’s what brings people to you business through your sparkling and unique personality and the valuable content you create and share on it.
So, then what is your business? Your business is your actual cause, idea, product, or service that you’re offering to your ideal community.
Your blog is a place to express what makes you different from all the rest and why you’re the one we should all be paying attention to. Sound great?!?
But wait! It’s not as simple as just throwing up a website and getting to work. You must, must, must build a solid foundation and the proper framework for your blog. And even if you already have a blog but never took the time to build the proper blog framework, it’s never too late, so this is for you too!
This post will give you the 4 steps to start your blog the right way. Too many bloggers and business owners get frustrated early on because they didn’t take the time to do what I’m getting ready to walk you through now.
I’m going to warn you, though. This post is extremely long and thorough! I’m not trying to be long-winded for the mere sake of it. I save that for my husband… 😘 Just kidding, Babe!
But seriously, I worked hard to put together a resource you can return to again and again. So, bookmark this post so it doesn’t get lost… I’ve packed this post full of resources you’re going to want to come back to later!
Also, this post contains affiliate links which, in short, allows me to get a monetary thank you (commission) if you decide to purchase any of the pretty awesome products & services I’ve linked to in this post. It’s nice when you can get paid for something you’d do for free, Right?!? – Just do me a favor from one blogger to another – If you decide to use any of the stuff I linked to, please sign up through my link. The commissions helps to keep me doing what I’m doing & I truly & grateful for that!
Step Number 1: Write Your Plan and Keep It Simple
The first step in the process of starting your blog is to visualize and understand what it is you really want to accomplish with your business. This isn’t always clear in the beginning. It may seem like you’ve got your concept down-pat until someone asks you to explain what you do … and the stuttering begins…
There’s wisdom in writing down the vision for your business and keeping it nice and simple. That means, don’t be tempted to make it super “sophisticated” – which is just code for over-complicated. Been there… Done that!
Start out with your end desire in mind. Don’t be afraid to really go with the BIG vision in your heart. Still… Big, not complicated; there is a difference. It may seem over-the-top crazy right now, but just go with it. You’ll be in good company with all the crazy dreamers out there who sacrificed to make our lives better. I’m glad they didn’t let fear water down their dream! So don’t let fear cause you to water down YOURS!
Know Your Tribe
As you write out your vision, it’s an absolute MUST to visualize who you’ll be helping. That’s your tribe – the group of individuals who are waiting for your idea, service, wisdom, product or anything else you’re offering to gift to the real world and not just something taking up space in your head. We’re all waiting for you, so don’t forget about us in the process of creating your vision. Ask yourself these questions to help get you started…
Do you have a product that’ll solve a problem? Who needs your help and how badly do they need this help? Will your blog be a resource that will make a difference? Do you plan to provide a service that’s designed to make someone else’s life easier? Again, who needs this help and how would their life be positively impacted by it?
It’s always a good sign when your customer needs what you have in a major way. Concentrate on how their lives will be positively impacted, changed, and transformed by what you have to offer. Think about where you want to lead them.
You also need to become an expert of your your tribe. You need to know where they live, hang out, and also where they shop. You need to know what they like, what they love, how they communicate, and what’s important to them. And here’s a BIG one – know their fears, problems, annoyances, and what keeps them up at night!
And one rookie mistake that I believe ALL bloggers make (including myself) is to see your tribe as a massive group filled with many different personalities, needs, and desires. When, as hard as this may sound, you must really see your tribe as one person.
Create your perfect fan and build an “avatar” with a name, face, hopes, and problems; and craft everything you write, offer, and do around that person. It’s been said many times in the writing world that when you write to everyone, you write to no one.
The more you know about your tribe, the easier it will be to find them with your carefully crafted target marketing so you can provide them with the products and/or services they need (books, blog posts, ideas, courses, inventions, etc.) and blow them away!
Now that you’ve written down your concept (What you’re offering) and Who you’re offering it to – it’s time to focus on How you plan to get it done. This is the nuts and bolts of your business plan. Oh, I didn’t tell you were writing a business plan? Oops… Don’t worry you’re doing great. Don’t stop now!
Know Your Numbers
I didn’t say it earlier because the words “Business Plan” can be intimidating. It was for me. But it’s really not that bad, and look how great you’ve done so far!
All you’re really doing is setting yourself up for success! So, like I said, now you’re going to write down your plan of action. We’ll start with your budget.
No matter how “boring and intimidating” this step may seem, don’t skip it! You need to carefully determine ALL costs associated with starting your business. This will vary tremendously depending on the type of business you’re starting.
Some of the expenses you want to consider for your blog will include the supplies you’ll need, costs for advertising, people who you may need to hire (work you’ll need to outsource), and monthly maintenance expenses for your website and social media.
Don’t let the initial costs of start-up get in the way of starting your dream. The good news is starting a blog isn’t that costly upfront and there are many free or super low cost options to get you started. That way, you can upgrade as you start making money later.
Know Your Action Steps
Now that you’ve earned a PhD in knowing your tribe and having numbers your CPA would be proud of, you’re almost done with your business plan. Believe it or not, business owners pay hundreds to thousands of dollars for the information that you took the time to discover on your own! The only thing left to do is to be clear on the actions you need to take to get your desired results.
You need to be absolutely sure the tasks you’re working on are the “right” actions. It doesn’t make sense to do all this work preparing your business for success if you spend time doing things that aren’t fruitful.
Your daily actions have to line up with the overall vision for your business. If they don’t, it’s highly unlikely you’ll see success in your business.
If you’re not exactly sure what your daily activities should be, go back and review your vision. Look at the end of your vision and reverse engineer what it’s going to take to grow and nurture your blog to that place. You can design and create the life and business you want to have!
For example, do you need to create fabulous content that will establish yourself and brand as an expert? If so, content research and curation should be built into your daily/weekly priorities.
Only you know your blog and what needs to be done and you’ll learn even more as you keep growing. Just beware of the unrelenting power of resistance which plaques creatives and entrepreneurs alike.
Steven Pressfield’s book The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles beautifully brings to light the struggle of this invisible, yet ever-present resistance; which works to block us all from our dreams.
It helped me recognize I’m not alone in my struggle with insecurity, distraction, and self-sabotaging behaviors. This book was a real game-changer for me. And best of all, it’s a super quick read!
Knowing this resistance is constantly lurking around the corner to halt both your creativity and productivity will allow you to be armed and ready. And kick its butt!
Step Number 2: Add Your Business into Your Life
Once you complete your business plan, you need to make a firm decision that you’re a business owner NOW. This step could have been rolled into number one, but I believe this one needs to stand on its own.
Even if your business is becoming a freelance writer or starting a lifestyle blog – you’re a business owner. You have to respect your new decision and integrate it into your life.
This first step to adding your business into your life is making sure your family’s on board. That’s extremely important! You’ll need your husband and children’s help doing many of the things you used to do before becoming a business owner. And please don’t launch into this new venture thinking you can doing everything you used to AND run a successful business.
You need help, so you don’t crash and burn from pure exhaustion. Your business should enrich your family – not run it into the ground. And a fried, burnt-out momma will do just that! And there can be balance in the Mom Biz life.
Read my post: How to Be a Fully-Connected Mom without Sacrificing Productivity as a Work-at-home Mom.
Instead, use your family to help you achieve your dreams, and you’ll be a happier, healthier you and your family deserves that, and so do you.
Any new endeavor requires new habits, actions, and daily routines. You can’t expect your business to grow and be successful if you only work it when you feel like it or have a free second. Never decide to work only when you have that stroke of genius. No, you have to MAKE time – every day.
If you’re a mom or have a full-time job outside the home – your time is slim. But NOT non-existent. You’ll need to be skilled at the art of saying no and scaling back your life, at least in the beginning.
Even if you seriously have only one hour a day to work on your business – you’ll still be successful if you stick to that one hour EVERY day.
Darren Hardy teaches in great detail on the powerful concept of the compound effect in his book – The Compound Effect Basically, he shows readers how small changes made consistently, over even a very short time, will have exponential results. I strongly recommend this book which really gives us all hope that we don’t need a full 8 hours a day to make a BIG impact!
So there, you can stop telling yourself you don’t have enough time! And instead, decide what time you need to work – and do it faithfully.
I personally work every day at least 2-3 hours before my children get up for school, and when my 23-month-old son takes his afternoon nap for 2 hours. I sometimes will try to catch up on work stuff in the evening, but I’m honestly too tired, so I stick with the early hours instead.
Now, once my son is old enough and all 3 of my kids are in school for 8 hours a day; I won’t need to work at these crazy, early hours. But for right now, I sacrifice so I can be fully available to my family. It was hard in the beginning, but only took a few weeks to get used to.
**Update: My son is now in preschool! So, my days are now fully dedicated to work and my evenings are all about my family! It’s working extremely well for my family now. It’s my new season.**
Overall, becoming your own boss is harder than you can imagine. But if you’re pursuing a calling and not just a paycheck, you’re off to a great start.
#3 Tell Your Tribe
Now that you’ve laid the foundation, the first thing you want to do is to get your blog up and running. So you need a website which will serve as your home-base. And that’s extremely important to know because though social media is an excellent and widely-used tool for getting your message out – it’s not your platform.
Social media sites are really in charge of EVERYTHING that goes on their platforms, not you. They can change the rules anytime they see fit, and those changes may or may not be beneficial to you.
You want to use those very effective platforms to do ONE thing – drive all your fans and followers straight to your home-base (your web-site). If you don’t have one, that’s a big, rookie mistake. Don’t be a rookie. And think like a professional.
You’ll need to make 3 choices when setting up your website. And just be aware these are exactly the same regardless of whether your business is a blog, a service based business, or selling physical or digital products. No matter what you’re offering – you need a place to call home. So, let’s get started.
Choose Your Platform
You need to choose your site’s platform. This basically means the place where you’re going to “house” your site. There are a few platforms to choose from, but one platform has risen above the pack and become the industry leader. (Source)
WordPress is easy to use and best of all – it works really well. They also provide great support to their customers and that’s EXTREMELY important, especially if you’re not tech savvy.
Another awesome benefit is the enormous community of creators who build plug-ins, tools, and themes designed to work directly with your WordPress site. If you’re looking for a great theme, I’ve used Web-Savvy-Marketing themes when creating sites for other business owners and they look awesome.
There are two different types of WordPress sites:
WordPress.com – This version allows you to host your site on WordPress servers, and they allow you access to update content. There is a free option, however your domain name will include the .wordpress.com (subdomain) and you have very limited storage space and customization options. There are premium options that provide for a little more flexibility that range from $2.99 – $24.92 per month.
WordPress.org – This is the more common version of WordPress that most website owners use. Its what’s called the self-hosted WordPress option that allows you to host your site on the hosting provider of your choice and provides for the most flexibility and customization. This version allows you to host your site on your own server and is highly recommended. There’s a little more set-up on the front end but you’ll have complete control over the look or your site, how it operates, and how you’re able to make money. This version is the hands-down winner if you want to really operate a business because you need complete control and this is the version that delivers that option.
Choose Your Hosting
If you decide to go with a self-hosted WordPress site (WordPress.org), you’ll need to set up hosting. Hosting is simply a server that houses your site and allows others to find it. So, your hosting is EXTREMELY important. The upside is hosting is very inexpensive across the board. But most of all, you want to be sure your hosting is reliable and has excellent support and customer service.
The clear winner in my experience is BlueHost.com. My husband and I have been customers with BlueHost for many years and have only good thing to say. And let’s just say, we’ve made a number of mistakes along the way and needed BlueHost to walk us through the process and sometimes even come to our rescue! And they always delivered. My top-2 favorite things about Bluehost is that 1) They don’t allow pornographic websites, and 2) They are available 24/7!
All you need to do to get started is choose which plan you want by clicking on the image below. If you’re just starting out and you have to be more mindful of your budget, just choose the basic plan. They make it easy to upgrade when you need it at anytime.
Choose Your Domain Name
Finally, you need to choose your domain name, which is your website’s “online” address. My domain name is www.familyfelicity.com. You may already have a domain name and if you do that’s great, but if not it’s not difficult to find one. Just use the simple BlueHost search feature below to see if your desired domain is available. If not, you’ll need to keep trying until you find one. If you don’t already have one, Bluehost will require that you choose one at setup. But the great thing is that it’s absolutely FREE for the first year (included with your hosting package).
Here are some simple tips when trying to come up with your name:
- Keep it short and easy to remember
- Use keywords for your business niche if possible
- Don’t add symbols in the name
- Use a .com name if possible
Once your hosting & domain name is setup, Bluehost makes it easy to setup your website with a WordPress 1-Click Install which literally takes about 2-minutes. Simply answer a few questions about the name of your site, and your user name and password… Then BAM! You’ve got your own website. Now you’re ready to start adding your content. This is the fun part where you get to tell everyone who you are and what you have to offer. I’ve added a video below created by BlueHost to help you navigate through the process and make it a little easier.
The next video helps you to create your first blog posts.
#4 Building Your Email List
Building your email list is something you MUST begin doing from the very start of your blog. In case you didn’t know this already, your email list is your future gold mine. Basically, this group of individuals who liked what you were offering so much that they gave you their email address for your free goodies are now starting on a journey with you.
As a subscriber, they’ve taken action with you. You asked them to sign up for something and they did. This may not seem like a big deal, but I assure you it is. A person is much more likely to purchase something from you later down the road if they’ve already conducted business with you in the past.
Even if you don’t have plans to sell products on your blog, at some point you’ll want your readers to “do” something. And it’s your faithful subscribers that’ll be more likely to do it than the random visitors that come and go to your site. And the stats are there to prove it!
So how do you capture these email addresses? You offer them something of great value to them for free. This is the basic, no-frills way to build your email list. There are many more ways, but it’s too much to discuss in this post.
You can offer a free guide or book if you’re an expert in a particular subject or industry. You can offer a valuable service for free like a website audit if you help blogs run their social media. Don’t be tempted to offer a “free consultation” though. They never work.
You also need to create noticeable and convenient places for readers to opt-in to what you’re offering, so make sure they can be found easily like on your side bar, within blog posts, and even as a pop-up offer.
Once you start to capture these emails, you’ll need an email service that’ll deliver your freebie to your new subscriber. As well as allowing you to communicate with them regularly to stay in contact. This is where your readers get to know you and is the perfect place to offer them great stuff both free and paid to make their lives better.
There are many email service providers doing great work, both free and paid. I used to use Mail Chimp which was free for me because I didn’t have a very big list at all, and is a great start. But there were many things I was having difficulty doing so I later switched to ConvertKit which was created especially for bloggers like us.
I started to notice a huge migration of bloggers running to ConvertKit and I did my research to see what all the fuss was about. I’m glad I did, and my email list has been growing ever since!
You can click here to sign up and get a free demo with ConvertKit to see how it works!
Getting started with your dream business is easier than you thought, right? In just 4 steps you can have a blog that’s ready to interact with the world!
That’s exciting and I can’t wait to hear what type of blog you’re going to start.
Please share your comments, questions, or thoughts below as other readers and I would love to help you get started on your business journey!
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