Want To Go Pro? 4 Things You Need To Do First

madamenoire.com

madamenoire.com

Have you been blogging for awhile and want to make it your full time job?  I talked about being a full time writer for years, dreaming about it when I filed into work every day.  I finally took the leap January of this year and let me tell you, I love what I do!  That doesn’t mean it’s a walk in the park by any means. I’m working harder than I ever have and I’ll be the first one to tell you it’s not as glamorous as you may think.  It takes a lot of work, persistence, some serious planning, and realistic expectations.  Freelancing is not for the faint of heart and it takes awhile to be able to make the full time money you may be used to.  I freelanced on the side for years before leaving my job and I’m super fortunate to have a very supportive husband.

So if you’re serious about making blogging your profession, here’s what you need to do first.

Create a Business Plan

Blogging professionally is a business – you are the company, boss, employee, and brand.  You have to sell yourself and your blog.  In that respect, you need a business plan.  It doesn’t have to be anything super fancy, but it does have to be detailed enough that you have a clear idea of who you are as business, where you want to go, and what you have to do to get there.  I wrote a business plan for my blog two years ago, using Yuli Ziv’s fashion blogging book as a guide.  She breaks down everything, asking the questions you need the answers to in order to have a clear vision of your business.  Some of those questions I asked myself while putting it together were things like:

  • Why does your blog exist and how is it different from all the others?
  • What services will you provide?
  • Who is your target market? (i.e who are the people who will be reading your blog? Age? Gender? Occupation)
  • How is your blog going to make money?
  • What’s your competitive edge?

This step is essential because it’s your big game plan that will set the tone for everything else you do to make your writing dream a reality.  Take your time with it.  Put in some serious thought. Then move on to the next step.

Do Your Research

Now you know exactly what type of blogging business you’re getting into, look up people who are doing the same thing you want to do.  I love reading bios because they not only give me a better idea of who the writer is and what the site is all about, it gives me a sense of perspective.  Many of the professional writers I aspire to took at least 5 years to get to where they need to be.  That means, I’m probably not going to be at their level in one year or even two.    Another thing you need to look for?  What they’re doing right, what you need to learn to be just as good as they are, and what you can offer that they can’t.  Also, look into groups and blogs that are catered to type of business you want to do.

Break Down the Business Plan into Smaller, Attainable Steps

Now it’s time to break down your game plan into smaller, more bite sized steps.  Setting small weekly and monthly goals will make the journey to your dream job less overwhelming.  It also gets you into the habit of staying organized and meeting deadlines – two major skills you need when you strike out on your own. I go into more detail about this here, sharing my experience with breaking down blogging goals.

Get Busy!

You’ve got your plan.  You’ve got your research.  Now it’s time to put it into action.  This is what separates dreamers from doers.  Opportunities aren’t going to fall into your lap and life is too short to put those ambitions on hold.  I’m not saying you have to quit your day job tomorrow but I am saying you need to start taking those steps you outlined in your plan so you can get much closer to your goals.

I would love to hear from you!  Tell me about your blogging dreams.  What are you doing to reach them?

I’ve got a lot more blogging advice for you here but before you do, make sure you enter the #PlusSizeGiveaway.  $500 in gift cards can really help get your blogging dreams off the ground!

5 thoughts on “Want To Go Pro? 4 Things You Need To Do First

  1. Nadia Marie says:

    I’ve been wanting to do this for a while. I love the advice you’ve given and have an idea in mind of what I want to focus my blog on and what I can offer that other bloggers have not offered which are similar in style. You’re awesome, Margaret! Thanks for sharing this! xx

  2. Kim Powell says:

    Great tips.

    Another important thing I think people forget is layout and visual aesthetics.
    If your content is good, but your layout isn’t engaging and looks disjointed, it often won’t get the traffic it deserves.

    A good tip is to invest in your blog visually. If you know to write code, invest your time, if you don’t invest your money. I think it is very important to show care in not only what your blog is saying, but how it looks.

    Currently working on this myself..

    –kim

    • MJ says:

      You are absolutely right! Investing the time and/or money not only improves your site buy solidifies your commitment to making things happen for yourself!

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