31 Jan

6 Tips to Help You Start Blogging!

computer desk with laptop, flowers, lamp, phone, binder and glasses

Learning how to blog can be a daunting task for some. I’ll tell you a secret – you already have it in you. And it’s not that hard (I think we make things harder than they seem sometimes). There all sort of people out there writing content about all sorts of things. And you can become one of them!

What is a blog?

Blog is a format for presenting online content in chronological order. Sometimes individuals or businesses will put up a simple webpage that is solely dedicated to posting articles. That webpage then becomes the “blog” and the articles themselves become “posts” on the blog. Others will have a full-service website and then offer a page dedicated to written articles, which again is a “blog” page with written “posts”. In any event, once the blog is created, content can be added as frequently as you like.

There is a wide variety of topics to choose from. Sometimes blog posts are personal stories. Sometimes they are technical works, full of industry related information. Sometimes they come in article form, sometimes they are simply lists (like this one), or just a beautiful narrative of thought.

The good news: You can write about whatever you want!

Experts recommend picking topics that you already know something about. For example, it might be a hobby or interest or something related to professional training and skills you have.

Here are 8 Tips to Help You Get Started Blogging

    1. Start writing – every day. Yes, every day! It’s an important habit to create.
      a) Block off uninterrupted time for your project.
      b) Find a quiet space.
      c) Take breaks regularly.
      d) Devote yourself to a good computer! It will become your best friend. Utilize tools to help you, like notepads or post-its, a recording device or speech recognition software, a calendar etc.
      e) Set up a schedule for your writing time and stick to it.
      f) Manage other aspects of your writing project outside of your scheduled writing time.
      g) Check your document for grammar, spelling etc. And don’t forget to save it!
    2. Know your audience
      a) Who is your ideal reader? What are they interested in? Check industry journals or websites to see current trends.
      b) Find a niche that is profitable. For more information visit Jon Allo’s website.
      > Jon is currently running a series on his blog and newsletter for new bloggers.
      c) Find out what social media platforms your ideal audience frequents so you can target them there.
      d) Add a comment section to your blog so you can interact with your readers.
    3. Decide what topic you’re going to write about.
      a) Find out what topics your readers are interested in.
      b) Conduct research on the topic.
      c) Cite sources when appropriate.
      d) Write down all your ideas about future topics to write about. You might need it down the road.
      e) Create a publishing calendar to keep you on track.
    4. Pick topics that interest you or are related to the industry you are in.
      a) Pace yourself when deciding how much content to put out there. Blogging can be a long-term venture for many so think of it like it’s a marathon. In other words, pace yourself.
      b) Decide if this is something you want to do for fun, or as a more serious venture, like a full-time writing business.
    5. Create a simple web page using HTML or a CMS like WordPress.
      a) To get started check out the websites of hosted services like SquareSpace.com and WordPress.com. Or if you want to Do It Yourself, check out WordPress.org for creating a self-hosted blog.
      > For more information check out this resource link from ProBlogger.com.
      b) Post consistently and regularly.
      c) Add a comment section to interact with readers.
      d) Post your blog on other sites like Ideapod.com or Postwaves.com.
    6. Connect with other bloggers.
      a) Try joining a blogging forum. Check out this article from SmartPassiveIncome.com for examples.
      b) Create a profile portfolio on a contracting site like Upwork.com.
      c) Learn how to research and write blogs quickly.
      d) To learn more about how to write efficiently and effectively, I recommend a book on Amazon.com by Marc Guberti titled Content Marketing Secrets: How to Create, Promote and Optimize Your Content for Growth and Revenue.
      e) Darren at Problogger.com (yes, he’s one of my favorite bloggers :^) and his team are now offering a course to help get you started blogging. (Please note: there is a deadline for this course, but they are going to offer more in the future.)

    Once you get this part down, you’re ready for the next stage –

    “How To Start a Blog in 6 Steps: Learn how to create a blog in about 20 minutes following these steps:

    1. Pick a blog name. Choose something descriptive.
    2. Get your blog online. Register your blog and get hosting.
    3. Customize your blog. Choose a free template and tweak it.
    4. Write & publish your first post. The fun part!
    5. Promote your blog. Get more people to read your blog.
    6. Make money blogging. Choose from several options to monetize your blog.”                                          –TheBlogStarter.com

    Happy Writing!


    References

    Books:

    Blogging for Dummies (For Dummies(Computer/Tech), 6th Edition

    Blogging for Fun and Profit: How to Have More Fun Writing a Blog and Make Money at the Same Time

    Why Authors Fail: 17 Mistakes Self-Publishing Authors Make That Sabotage their Success

    Blog Posts

    How to Write Every Day (and why you should)

    A Simple Guide on How To Start Blogging for Beginners

    How to Know Exactly What Content to Deliver to Convert More Prospects

    Blogger Outreach: Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners

    What’s the Difference Between Content Marketing and Copywriting?

    10 Awesome Ways to Make Incredibly Shareable Content

    10 Best Freelance Websites to Find Skilled Contractors

    5 Ways to Make Money as a Freelance Writer Before You Even Have Clients

    From Corporate Desk Jobs To Full-Time Bloggers – 2 Tech Bloggers Tell Their Story


    Podcasts:

    Derek Doepker on Launching Books, Leveraging Influencer and Overcoming Your Doubts

    Examples of Website Listings that Pay for Articles

    Write and Get Paid

    14 Websites That Pay Writers $100+

    Get Paid to Write: 101 Sites That Pay You $50-$3000 per Blog Post

    22 Websites That Will Pay You to Write for Them

26 Jan

Entrepreneurship for Life Coaches, Part 7

desk with phone, computer, notebooks and reference books

This post is one of a series I am offering to coaches that are new to entrepreneurship and are setting up an online business for the first time.

5 Starting Tools for an Online Business

  • Create a website
  • Create business cards, stationary
  • Decide what advertising materials you need
  • Create a digital marketing strategy
  • Start Networking

First step: Create a Website

There is a lot of information on the internet about this topic. I would decide first if you really need a website. See my post “7 Reasons Why You Need a Website” (insert link here)

Creating your own website is something that can be time and energy intensive so it’s good to decide if you want to take that on or outsource it. You have the option to have someone else create and manage it for you if you can afford that in your budget.

Next step: Create Business Cards and Stationary

There’s a story floating around out there about a famous business owner who wrote personal notes to everyone he met. And yes, over the course of decades it became thousands of notes he wrote. Having an easy way for people to reach you is a good idea, and business cards are cheap and easy to make. Also having some type of notepad with your logo and business name, along with note cards and stationary will bring a look of professionalism to your business. Order a return mail stamp with your business name and address for finesse!

3rd Step: Decide What Advertising Materials are Needed for Immediate Use

Companies like Vistaprint.com and Staples.com offer reasonable prices with templates and print options. Canva.com is also very popular right now and offers a variety of services. It’s easy to hand out business cards, post cards or flyers at business networking events. For industry fairs, you may need a poster board, marketing materials and promotional items to entice potential customers to your table.

Tip: If you get a chance to attend an industry event – fair, convention, speaker series, see if you can be a sponsor and host a table at the event to advertise your services. Create a package of services, create flyers and put them on your table. People like things that are free, so gifts are good. You don’t have to spend a ton of money. They also like to know what you do and what their buying options are. Get the pitch down you are going to use. PayPal has options where customers can purchase from you right on the spot with a swipe of a credit card so plan to have sales and get the equipment to take payments. Also start a mailing list. It’s a way to draw people into you sales funnel. I use raffles and people love to sign-up for those!

Next Step: Create Your Own Digital Marketing Strategy

Digital what?

“At a high level, digital marketing refers to advertising delivered through digital channels such as search engines, websites, social media, email, and mobile apps.”
http://www.jeffbullas.com/day-life-digital-marketer

How will you advertise your product and services? Online advertising? Regular mail? Cold calling? Networking? Word of mouth?

There are lots of ways online to advertise your business: SEO, social media platforms, ads on websites or e-zines, guest blogging for others, interviews, videos, and affiliate marketing, just to name a few.

Any digital campaigns you create will be based on your target market, how big a campaign you want to create and how long you want to run it for. Budget should be a factor because advertising can become costly. Industry experts say it’s much more effective to offer speaking engagements and attend networking to actually capture the client that will make a purchase.

Tip: Regarding Social Media platforms: experts recommend picking a few strategies and trying them out. In other words, don’t try to learn it all or cover all media platforms. And they recommend to not throw a bunch of money at it to start. This is an area than can easily become a money pit. It’s better to pick a 1-2 platforms to start, advertise and connect there with people. This is part of the process that takes time – time to learn and time to implement. See how your competition maneuvers on social media. As your business grows you can always add platforms and automation later.

Last step: Start Networking!

Get out and meet people, join forums, networking groups, join speaker series, anything that will put you in front of potential clients. Networking also gives you a chance to create a mailing list, necessary to building long term client prospects. It is also a way to keep people informed about what you are doing on a regularly basis.

Tip: Go where your customers are, not where other coaches hang out.

Your affirmation checklist:

I have products and services that clients need and want.

I have a great marketing strategy!

Lots of clients are coming my way!


Recommendation: If you find, after reading this, that you are stuck or just frustrated with your idea, or don’t’ know how to get started, you might want to think about hiring a Life Coach. I know, it’s yet another thing that costs money, but I’ll share something with you – surprisingly I have found it to be the one thing that has been invaluable in building the foundation and success of my business. My personal coaching is what has made my business successful. As a coach, I have worked with many coaches to either them turn their idea into a viable business or help them launch their business. I can offer you a working relationship where you gain insight, accountability and a can develop your own strategies to build your business. Don’t be afraid to invest in yourself, even for a short time. You are your business!



Resources

Books:

Building a Website for Dummies by David A. Crowder.

Digital Business and E-Commerce Management, 6th Ed. Strategy Implementation & Practice by Dave Chaffey.

Million Dollar Coach: The 9 Strategies That Drive a 7-figure Coaching Business by Taki Moore

Content Marketing Secrets: How to Create, Promote, and Optimize Your Content for Growth and Revenue by Marc Guberti

Blog Posts:

26 Tips for getting started with social media marketing

15 step guidelines to create your perfect digital marketing strategy

How to create a social media marketing content plan in 7 steps:

Choose a website builder: 17 top tools

13 Jan

The Importance of Conducting Good Market Research When Starting a Business

desk with documents, a computer and an agenda- there are two hands pointing to a diagram on document in center of frame

What is market research?

“Market research (also in some contexts known as “industrial research”) is any organized effort to gather information about target markets or customers.”
From Wikipedia

“The purpose of market research is to examine the market associated with a particular good or service to determine how the audience will receive it”.
From Investopedia

How to conduct the research:

  1. Decide which market segment you need to collect data from.
  2. Figure out which way the data will be collected.
    • Common ways include: surveys, interviews, focus groups or questionnaires.
    • Other ways include case studies or oral history, records.
  3. Gather information. Figure out a way to collect data for analysis.
  4. Evaluate data.
  5. Decide if findings warrant creation of new product/services or changes to existing ones.

4 reasons online businesses fail:

  1. Poor planning – including not clear on how to get the product to market.
  2. Not understanding trends in the industry.
  3. Lack of product testing – is this something a customer will buy?
  4. Lack of market testing – is this something the market needs?

Things to look for:

  • • Demographics: Who is your target market?
    • o Where do they live?
    • o What social media platforms do they use? When?
    • o How old are they?
    • o What are specific traits or qualities of that population?
  • • Level of need for customer: low, medium or high?
    • o How do you know?
    • o What does this type of consumer usually buy?
  • • Market competition – who else is out there? Why are they successful?
    • o Look at their products and compare.
    • o Look at their online presence and online marketing strategies.
    • o Is it a strategy that you can duplicate or do you have another way to access potential customers?
  • • What is the customer’s perception of your product?
    • o Is your brand unique enough? Identifiable?
    • o Why should they buy your product or service?
  • • Is the concept feasible in a larger scale?
    • o Look at the details including production, cost, shipping, advertising and necessary expenses to expand.
  • • What product in this niche has the highest revenue potential?
    • o Talk to customers and find out why they like that product.
    • o What specifically about that product or service do they like? Why?
  • • What is your competitive advantage as a reseller?
    • o What do you have that your competition does not?
    • o How can you use that feature to enhance your brand?

A smart business owner will do the research first to evaluate the viability of the product before taking it to market. Start yourself on the right foot and see what customers are buying. This will also help you design the most attractive product that your customer is likely to buy.


References

Test Your Business Idea from Monster.com.

Market Research – Definition from Investopedia

3 Effective Methods of Data Collection for Market Research from BigData-MadeSimple.com

Data Collection Techniques on Cyfar.org.
https://cyfar.org/data-collection-techniques

When to Use Different Types of Market Research from SurveyGizmo.com.

Data Analysis in Market Research from djsresearch.co.uk.
http://www.djsresearch.co.uk/glossary/item/Data-Analysis-in-Market-Research

How is Market Research Used to Analyze Demand? from SmallBusiness.chron.com.
http://smallbusiness.chron.com/market-research-used-analyze-demand-1506.html

8 Cool Marketing Analysis Tools for Data Junkies from WordStream.com.

07 Jan

Entrepreneurship for Life Coaches, Part 6

 Dollar Sign Entrepreneurship

This post is part 6 of a series I am offering to coaches that are new to entrepreneurship and are setting up an online business for the first time.

Next Step: Set-up a system to manage the financial aspect of your business

Did you know that lack of profits and poor financial strategies are two of the top reasons why 40-49% of online businesses fail within the first 4 years? Spending time on this aspect of your business is one of the best gifts you can give yourself to get your business started right!

4 Steps to Get You Started:

  1. Conduct market research
  2. Talk to industry experts – find out what their challenges and successes were when they were starting out
  3. Create a budget
  4. Make a list of costs associated for all the things you will have to purchase for your business. Write them down, in case they are needed later on for business, accounting and/or tax purposes.

Ways to do this:

Step 1: Get information
Successful business owners frequently tell me that setting up a system for managing their finances correctly and efficiently from the start save them time and money. The good news is there is so much information out there today between websites, books, consultants and industry experts, it’s easy to get started. And basic information is readily accessible.

Step 2: Consult when necessary:
I am not an expert in business management, law, finances or accounting. This are areas I strongly suggest consulting with an industry expert about.

Tip: If you are on a budget, there are consultants in various industries that offer workshops or even reading materials (like on their websites) for free.  Some offer consultations for free or at a discounted rate. Check speaking engagements or classes in your area. Professional organizations are also great places to gather information, meet industry experts and find leads for a variety of topics.

Step 3: Decide when to invest time, energy and money into an area of your business
Invest in a good program if it will help you manage one aspect of your business while providing ease and support. This will free up your time up for other things. For example: Quicken now has an online monthly membership program for bookkeeping. Every month you pay a fee and with the click of a button you can manage all sorts of aspects including budgeting and bill pay.

3 areas to set-up: budgeting, invoicing and basic accounting

  1. Budgeting basics

budget is a financial plan for the future concerning the revenues and costs of a business. However, a budget is about much more than just financial numbers. Budgetary control is the process by which financial control is exercised within an organization”.        -Tutor2U.net

How do you create a budget for an online business?
When I was researching start-up costs, there was quite a variation in reporting how much money it would take to start an online business. To me, that’s good news because it means you can create your own budget and cost structure and decide how much money you want to invest in your business.

Overhead can include things like: website hosting fees, marketing services, costs for advertising and marketing materials, professional training, outsourcing services (like consultants), licenses, and taxes.

What I know from experience is that you can get a website up and running for fairly cheap. Additional costs will depend upon a variety of things like: the goods and services you are offering, the market need, the competition, and additional business expenses you may have to spend money on.

For example, for online services (like coaching, writing, or consulting), initial costs can be lower because you don’t have to buy, store or manage inventory, but you may have to pay for online advertising, online directories or join professional organizations which can add up. Compare that to a business that sells online products, there are different costs associated like manufacturing, shipping, sales, staff and inventory management.

I also found that things moved to another level of detail when my company became an LLC and I had to set-up a business bank account (specifically regarding reporting, profit, loss, and taxes). Again, I recommend taking time to gather information and learn what the options are for your particular business.

Written Exercise:  If you have already created a business plan, you might have some idea about how much this venture will cost you. If not, click on the link below and complete the questions and then create a simple business plan.

TIP: Try a start-up calculator like this one from BusinessKnowHow.com.

Take a look at the numbers. Just remember: this is a “dry run”, things can change, so be flexible and creative. Start small if you need to (for example you may not need a huge social media campaign to get started, perhaps that type of PR launch could happen a year of two down the line). Once profits start coming in, it’s much easy to allocate money in your budget to specific things. Keep strategizing and looking at options. Be creative!

  1. Basic accounting options for a new online business

Here are some helpful posts:

Bookkeeping for Small Business

Bookkeeping and Accounting Basics

  1. Invoicing and record keeping options for small businesses

3 simple ways to do this invoicing and record keeping for small businesses include:

  1. Do it yourself
  2. Hire a book keeper
  3. Find online programs or software that are great for small businesses. For example:

PayPal Invoicing offers invoicing convenience.

Quickbooks is another program that is very successful and has products for small businesses. They offer a monthly membership.

Tip: practice positive self-talk daily!

Your affirmation checklist:

I am allowing money to come into my business for success.

I have a smart financial plan in place!

I can create a cost structure that is doable and achievable.


 

RECOMMENDATION: If you find, after reading this, that you are stuck or just frustrated with your idea, or don’t’ know how to get started, you might want to think about hiring a Life Coach. I know, it’s yet another thing that costs money, but I’ll share something with you – surprisingly I have found it to be the one thing that has been invaluable in building the foundation and success of my business. My personal coaching is what has made my business successful. As a coach I have worked with many coaches to either them turn their idea into a viable business or help them launch their business. I can offer you a working relationship where you gain insight, accountability and a can develop your own strategies to build your business. Don’t be afraid to invest in yourself, even for a short time. You are your business!


Resources

 

Books:

Start Your Own Business, Sixth Edition: The Only Startup Book You’ll Ever Need

You Need a Budget: The Proven System for Breaking the Paycheck-to-Paycheck Cycle, Getting Out of Debt, and Living the Life You Want

Small Business Financial Management Kit for Dummies

Blog Posts and Articles:

Five Reasons Why Market Research Matters (and Five Tips to Using It) on MarketingProfs.com.

Start Up Statistics – The Numbers You Need to Know on SmallBizTrends.com.

Success rate: What percentage of businesses fail in their first year? on USAToday.com.

How to Identify and Engage with Industry Experts on Seapoint Digital.

Budgeting for Your Online Business on SelfGrowth.com.

10 Online invoicing services for small business owners on Entrepreneur.com.

10 Essentials for Setting up Your Accounting Function on EarlyGrowthFinancialServices.com.

Best Small Business Accounting Software 2017 on BusinessNewsDaily.com.

Inventory Management 101: How to Manage Small Business Inventory on SquareUp.com.

6 Professionals You Should Talk to Before Starting Your Business on Intuit.com.

SBS.org: How to build a small business on SBA.gov.

Posts for the Self-Employed on MileIQ.com.

Copyright 2019 Etain Services.