If you’ve decided to tackle blogging as a business, it’s important to create goals and then build a plan to meet those goals, right?
Like everything else.
I wrote about how NOT to start a mom blogging business, and stressed the importance of creating a strategic marketing plan as well. But the truth is, frankly, I did none of those things when I first started out.
When I read this interesting post about the benefits of being “vague” it struck a chord in me. My growth into being a moderately successful blogger was far more of a roller coaster ride than it was any sort of smooth ascent (if one considers me to currently be a moderately successful blogger, of course). The truth is, my flexibility and willingness to try different things ultimately helped guide me to where I wanted to be.
Now, I’m not necessarily the poster child for blogging success. The truth is, I floundered last year, I nearly lost my house, and I didn’t know which direction to go next. But I did sit down and make some goals for myself during the crisis last year, and I also set up some boundaries on what I DIDN’T want to do. I knew I wanted to stop creating copy for content farms; it may have paid the bills, but writing 450 word “articles” with a 5% keyword density was sucking out my heart and soul, and the pay was decreasing with competition rather than increasing with my experience. I knew I wanted to go ahead and let myself embrace the business of social media, even if that meant a few felt like I wasn’t a “real” blogger as a result. I knew that I wanted to find an agency setting, rather than continue to scout for clients on my own.
Knowing all that was nearly as good as having an ironclad strategy. I was able to then easily decide what to do next, what roads to go down, and what contacts to cultivate. As a result, I have a structured consultancy at an agency (I am technically self-employed), a handful of writing gigs I adore (ahem), and time left over to work on my own stuff.
Of course, there are boundaries with that kind of flexibility too; there were times that I was a bit too lax and that’s one of the reasons why my family suffered so much financially last year. But in all honesty, it was worth those stormy seas (to some extent) to arrive where I am now and I’m not sure I would have gotten there any other way.
To sum up, planning is important, but flexibility is key. Keeping your eyes (and mind) open to what’s on the horizon ultimately may mean just as much (or more) than a strategic plan.