Archive for Blogging and Business

Yes, You Need A Business Plan

When I started working on All The Things I Do, two years ago I did not even think about creating a business plan. My plan was simple; I’d start a blog, people would flock to it because of my witty humor and fascinating tales of a twenty-something and marketers would throw money at me for ad space. Yeah, I obviously had it all figured out. NOT! I quickly learned after I started working with ad companies that it would take about a million page views to even make enough money to fund my TGIT wine habit. Even at 30,000+ pageviews, a month ads make up about $70 of income a month.  As I learned more about the world of blogging and what I wanted to bring to it, I knew I needed a plan. If you’re still on the fence about whether your online business or blog needs a business plan here are a few reasons why you need a business plan.

Yes, Your Blog or Online Biz Needs a Business Plan

You Hope To Make A Regular Income From It 

Even if you only hope to make a little mad money on the side from your online presence a business plan is an excellent way to make it happen. I’m all about setting goals and making a plan for them. I’ll use one of my favorite examples, losing weight. If you want to lose weight and you say, “I’m going to lose weight by getting healthier,” you do not have a game plan. You have a nice thought and a vague statement.  If you want to sell customized quilts online and say, “I’m going to sell my quilts online and make money.” It’s the same.

A business plan is like saying, “I’m going to lose 15 pounds by eating 1200 calories a day and working out four days a week with a trainer.” It’s a clear plan with a clear goal.

Have Realistic Expectations

You know you want to sell your custom quilts online and that you can usually finish one in two weeks. If you plan to sell them at $89.00 a quilt and it takes you two weeks to make one, having a revenue goal of $500 a month is very unlikely, even without adding in the cost of materials.

You can set realistic goals for the time and money you have to work on the business. If it takes $15 in fabric and other materials to make a quilt on average, then your profit per quilt is only $74. Does the $89 include shipping or will that be an additional fee? These are things your business plan will help you plan for.

Clarity

A lot of the frustration that comes with starting something new comes from a lack of clarity and that lack of clarity lead be overwhelming.

Have you ever sat down to do something seemingly simple and found that you got nowhere because you weren’t sure the steps of doing it? Building your online business can be like that. It’s easy to let that fear you might screw up stop you in your tracks. Personally, if I have a plan or guidelines, my fear of screwing up is greatly lowered.

It also helps you know what is in your reach.  Do you plan to hire help?

Now that you know the average cost of supplies are you going to require payment upfront? Are you going to charge a cancellation fee for canceled orders to cover time invested and materials?

Figure Out Marketing

When you purposely think of how you plan to market your business, you will find yourself coming up with more ideas to market it. Yes, a website is nice but are you going to write blog posts with D.I.Y tips? Do you plan to go to local events to advertise your business? Are their local trade shows you can go to?

You will be able to plan ahead for any special seasons where your service or product might be popular. Do you want to do ads in the late Fall for all the people who might want to purchase quilts as Christmas presents?

Mark Your Progress and Re-strategize 

Like with goals, having an idea of what you want out of our business is wonderful but being able to measure those goals and the activities you do to accomplish them is what makes them work. When you have custom and personalized business plan you can sit down regularly and evaluate which activities are working and which aren’t.

Are you limiting yourself using a certain carrier? Should you shop around for fabric suppliers? If you create your business plan for Awesome Quilts Online, and 2 months later review it you may notice that the money you spent on that trade show fee actually only returned 3% in revenue and 4 orders, while attending meetings of local sororities and offering your services was a free investment and earned you 10 orders. This allows you to refocus your energy instead of doing the same limiting or unsatisfactory methods of marketing or business operations.

Are you ready to start your business plan? I’ve created a free email challenge with templates to help you get through it. In less than half an hour a day, you can have a business plan ready in less than a week to help you grow your online business and figure out your mission.

Go ahead and sign up below and I can’t wait to see you in the challenge!

The Distraction Keeping You From Your Dreams

A few months ago I ran an experiment on social media. Using Instagram, Twitter and Facebook I asked bloggers and entrepreneurs what their biggest time management issue was and what distractions stopped them from reaching their goals, mastering their side hustle and working on their craft. The answers were pretty much what you’d expect; social media, naps, lack of motivation, Netflix and so on. When really looking at these I saw one common thread: them. The biggest distraction keeping you from accomplishing your goals is you. Unless the answer to that question is “being held hostage” or “divine intervention” you have control how you spend your time. As long as you keep making those excuses and allowing these distractions to interrupt your working time you won’t accomplish your goals.

It’s About What You Want

Have you ever had a friend or family member call you in the middle of a week and say, “Hey I’m going to be in town this weekend? Do you have any time to meet up?

If you’re like me, then the first answer to that is probably, “No, I’m booked solid.

You probably have your whole week and weekend planned out or assigned to other events and people but what do you do? You make time.

You may have a bridal shower, first date and friend’s birthday party that night but you figure out how to squeeze in that surprise guest. Why? Because you want to.

You may be thinking, “but I do want to launch my email course,” or “I want to publish my book, but I don’t have the time.”

Why can’t you make the time? I get it really I do, even if you love writing there will be times where you’d rather watch Netflix then turn off the television and write. Heck, there are nights where I know I need to go to bed and end up watching three episodes of Raising Hope on Netflix, then the next thing I know it’s 12:30 and there is no way I’m waking up for yoga at 5:45. There are times when I say I’m going to put the laptop away and get some sleep and then end up watching some random movie I see on Netflix with “that one guy from that one show.”

We may not think we have the time or that we are too tired to do XYZ and then end up doing something that in no way moves us closer to our goals.

I love television and I love reading, but I know it’s rare that doing either of those things will bring me closer to my goals. Next time you fix your mouth to say, “ I don’t have time to____.” Think back to the day before and count how many hours you spent watching tv, reading for pleasure, scrolling through Instagram or just not working.

If you want it you can have it; you just have to do it.

If you want it you can have it; you just have to do it. Click To Tweet

You Let Yourself Get Overwhelmed

I mentioned in a recent post, 9 Mistakes Bloggers Make Managing Their Time, a lot of times the reason people fail to get started is that they go into overload and freak out at the amount of work required to get their goal done. I’ll be honest, very few goals require one step of work.

For example, your goal may be you want to launch a course. I’m sure you realize that your to-do list isn’t going to be, create the awesome course and watch as the sales roll in. (Trust me I’m in a crazy badass course about all the steps required to launch a course). People make a goal, and it’s exciting and awesome, then they start looking at the steps and get overwhelmed because in my experience not all steps are linear, so it may not be clear which should go first. Remember that little by little becomes a lot. Start by doing one thing at a time and then as you go you will notice things being checked off your to-do list and you will be closer to your goal.  

You’re Afraid Of Asking For Help

When you have a big goal or dream, it is a part of you, and it can be scary to let anyone else hold a part of it. Whether it’s asking for help, feedback or even a partnership it can be terrifying to imagine someone else having a say in it. You want to know that every detail is done the way you’d want it and that it is being treated with the same love and attention you would treat it with. Remember that sometimes asking for help or trusting others with certain aspects of your project is the best thing for it. It’s important to identify what your strengths are so you won’t waste time on things that could be better handled by someone else. If you are really bad at editing video, then don’t waste 4 hours trying to edit video if that isn’t a skill you plan to nourish. When it comes to things you need done but aren’t good at I recommend either asking someone if they’d like to swap services or if you have the budget, hire someone to do it. I tried like crazy to take photos of myself using my camera’s timer, and they all looked horrible. Finally, I asked a photographer friend who is always looking for more chances to take photos, and now I have some beautiful photos.

You Don’t Order Your Priorities Correctly

I am guilty of this. As I’ve mentioned I like television, there are few things as relaxing as getting wrapped up in someone else’s story, even if its fictions. On almost any given night I have one or two television shows I want to watch. I realized I would say, “Okay, I’ll watch Switched at Birth and then I’ll work on that blog post.” The better way to tackle this would be, “I’m going to finish this blog post and then when I’m done I can watch the new episode of Switched at Birth.” I get it we do things to relax, reset and give our minds a break but you still can be strategic with your leisure. Sometimes I get home after 7, I’ve worked all day and then hit up the gym and I need a minute before opening my laptop but deciding to watch 3 hours of television before you finally sit down to work is self-sabotaging.

I know that most nights before bed I like to either watch television or read, so when I decide to watch the new episodes of my shows, work, then unwind with a little Netflix, I end up working less and still staying up later. Try the, “If this, then that” method. (I know a bunch of you use Zapier so you should be familiar with it.) “If I finish writing this week’s newsletter then I’ll watch the new episode of The New Girl.” If you aren’t looking at social media you don’t have to worry about spoilers before you get to it.

You Secretly Don’t Believe In Yourself

I’m not a therapist, but I would bet money that even the most narcissistic and self-loving people are subconsciously their own worst enemy. It’s totally normal to have those feelings of self-doubt, but the trick is to identify them and find the root of them. Anytime I have a doubt or fear in my business I have two choices: get in bed, cry and don’t get anything done or try to decide what exactly it is that I am having doubts about. I do this by asking myself a few questions:

Why do I actually feel this way?

Do I doubt my knowledge, my ability to share it or am I just worried about the response of others?

Am I practicing what I honestly believe is best and right?

Do these fears have to do with something in my past?

Do they really have anything to do with this project?

Am I just holding myself back?

What’s the worst that could happen?

By simply asking myself these questions I can typically realize why I feel the negative feelings I do. To be honest, even in nonbusiness situations, these questions can normally help me calm my shit down a little bit.

Fear is a bit of a self-preservation emotion; it’s our body and mind’s way of saying, “Wait you could lose something here.” Normally we are afraid of losing something when there is something to gain. You might be finally self-publishing that book you’ve been working on for years and you keep holding yourself back because subconsciously you’re worried that once it’s out there, it might not do well and if it doesn’t then there goes the dream of being a successful writer.  Guess what, if you never publish that book you are guaranteed to fail at that dream of being a successful writer.

 

You aren’t going to wake up one day and automatically have endless motivation and be immune to the distractions of the world, but the first step is realizing that you have more control than you think.

What is the biggest way you distract yourself from accomplishing your goals? What do you do to combat it? Tell me in the comments.

February 2017 Goals

Disclosure: Posts on AllTheThingsIDo.com contain affiliate links. For more information see policy.

Can I be honest, I am as happy to see January 2017 go as I was to see 2016 go. I’m not going to say it was a bad month but man did it feel like a long one. I hit a rough path with my Generalized Anxiety Disorder this month which in my unprofessional opinion may have been the result of a combination of stress, major change, uncertainty, antibiotics and more. This has resulted in a not so fun month but it hasn’t been all bad by any means. This is sort of a side note but I came across this article on Pinterest and as if God knew I needed to feel less alone. When you think I’m being rude, here’s what’s really going on Fiona at Fiona Likes to Blog. (P.S. How much do you love the name, Fiona?) Please feel free to check it out. I wish I could post this up at work so my coworkers understand my mood changes.  So let’s get into the review of last month.

January 2017 Goals

Objective: Launch TheBalancedSideHustle.com (this won’t be the full course, the official launch date is March 6th. I was hoping to launch February 27th, but I had family and social obligations heavily in February and wanted to give the launch and you guys my full attention).

Personal Goals

  • Read one book

I don’t know if it’s because I was sick or was feeling less social than normal I read 2 books and have started another 2. I read The Big Leap and The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl you can read more about what I thought of those books here.  

  • Purge some of my closets

Haha nope. But it was a nice thought. 

Blog and Freelance Goals

  • Continue working on Launch Your Signature Course!

As I’ve said a thousand times. I am so glad to be in this program and apart of this amazing community.

  • Finish the articles for my feature in All Things Trend Magazine!

Any day now I should get my copy of the magazine and I’m so excited. The article took a life of its own but I feel like it is one of the most honest things I’ve ever written.

  • Have 536 Facebook page likes

545! Woot! Woot!

  • Have 3148 Twitter Followers

3155!

  • Have 1115 Instagram Followers

1111. Can a girl get 4 more followers? LOL. 

  • Have 966 Pinterest Followers

968!

  • Create at least one new Resource for my Resource Library

I finally released my scripts for saying no! Check them out here. 

  • Post at least 4 times this month

Yes! Go check them out! 

  • Spend at least 10 minutes a day engaging on each of the above social media sites. That means repinning, responding to tweets of others or seeing what their links are, etc.

My feed has been very Trump heavy so I kind of slacked on some of this from lack of energy.  But I have started doing Instagram stories… I wonder if that’s why I didn’t hit my goal… do you guys not enjoy hearing me sing the hits of the 80s while sitting in my car at lunch?

  • Crush the webinar I have scheduled this month.

This was probably the best webinar I’ve done. It was so much fun and we actually had a decent conversation going with those who attended. Thank you if you joined in.

  • Do one guest post or contributor article.

Can I use the magazine article for this? LOL. I have some stuff in the works besides that just running a little behind.

Health and Fitness

  • Walk 7,000 steps a day

R.I.P to my Garmin. I don’t know that I’ve done this because sadly I lost my fitness tracker. The band has come undone many times. (Even once on a plane where I was sure it was lost but found it when leaving.) It was only a matter of time.

  • Make meals at home 80% of the time or only eat out 4 times of the week.

I’ve started a new fitness plan and can say this happened for sure. I have been doing really good on improving my eating habits.

  • Go to a gym class at least 3 times a week.

I went once. I know what the hell? Not once a week, once the entire month. So the above-mentioned antibiotics I was on was for a double ear infection so it’s hard to go to Zumba when you have a fever, headache and vertigo. 

  • Lose 5 pounds. I won’t put my weight but I started a new fitness program and am excited about it. (More details to come.)

So I went to weigh in today and am down 15 pounds. I had someone notice but I still have aways to go. I can openly say I’m proud of myself! This is also why I didn’t purge my closet, I might fit those skinny jeans just yet.

February 2017 Goals

Objective: Launch TheBalancedSideHustle.com and just list build and connect like crazy.

Personal Goals

  • Read one book
  • Get back into meditating
  • Do at least one activity a week for myself that isn’t work related.
  • Do my gratitude/goal journal at least 5 days a week if not 7.
  • Party like it’s 1999 for my grandpa’s 85th! I love that guy. Here is a picture for the hell of it. Grandparents

Blog and Freelance Goals

  • Continue working on Launch Your Signature Course!
  • Have 555 Facebook page likes
  • Have 3200 Twitter Followers
  • Have 1125 Instagram Followers
  • Have 990 Pinterest Followers
  • Create at least one new Resource for my Resource Library
  • Post at least 4 times this month
  • Spend at least 10 minutes a day engaging on each of the above social media sites. That means repinning, responding to tweets of others or seeing what their links are, etc.
  • Do at least 2 webinars
  • Reach out to affiliates
  • Do auto versions on relevant posts. I did my first audio take on a blog post in January. I have been wanting to do this for a while and plan to do it for posts in certain categories.

Health and Fitness

  • Make meals at home 80% of the time or only eat out 4 times of the week.
  • Go to a gym class at least 3 times a week.
  • Lose 5 pounds more pounds

February is going to be an amazing month. GO Patriots and happy black history month! What are you looking forward to this month? What did you accomplish last month? Let me know in the comments.