By Grove Galligan.
At this year’s 7th Annual ProBlogger Event, hundreds of bloggers will come together to network with each other and learn from over 30 speakers and subject matter experts.
What separates those attending from those presenting is…. not much.
Bloggers are speaking, and most of the speakers blog. The people up on stage have faced similar challenges to those listening to them and this makes their stories relatable.
Our speakers package up their experience and expertise for the benefit of those in the audience. Our attendees come away inspired and motivated by the actionable insights from people just like them.
When we asked this year’s line-up of PBEVENT speakers what was their biggest challenge in their online endeavours we also asked for their top tip to deal with it. We received some interesting responses with a few common themes, some you may recognise yourself.
The only way I ensure I have time to do my blog and book writing is to schedule it into my calendar and make it non-negotiable.
If you only ever write ‘when inspiration strikes’ or ‘when you have time’ – it will never get done. I also remind myself frequently that ‘just because it works, that doesn’t mean you have to do it’.
There are so many things we could be doing to make our online endeavours more successful, and we can’t do them all. A few things done really, really well will always be more impactful than doing many things ‘ok’.
With three small kids I’ve become a ninja at nap time. Writing a to-do list the night before is the best way to make sure things keep moving forward.
For me, it’s staying focused.
I’m awful for being easily distracted, having too many ideas and not being sure what to concentrate on. In recent years, though, I’ve really accelerated my progress by doing just three things.
First, I do a big planning exercise at the start of the year, setting out goals for the year. I split the business challenges into categories, eg. Sales Funnel and Product Development. Then I set my long term yearly goals within those categories.
Next, I make a plan for the coming month – a set of tasks that move me towards those goals.
Finally, each week I break them down and set out my goals for the week, and I post them in my accountability group in slack. Those are things that can be achieved in half a day.
So, when I come in in the morning, I just look at my weekly accountability list, and I know exactly what I have to do. It keeps me on track and it’s the main reason I’ve grown the business more in the last year than in the 5 years before that!
The online space – while wonderful in many ways – can also be a massive echo chamber, and I’ve often found myself comparing what we’re doing in our business to what others are doing in theirs.
It’s not so much about external signs of ‘success’ but rather the constant question of whether I should be trying this new platform or that new promotional tool, buying this online course or that best-selling book.
It can become very overwhelming very quickly to keep chasing every new and shiny opportunity that comes our way, so I give myself time and space before making any decisions.
Having a clear picture of our goals is important, because it turns out that the vast majority of these “opportunities” are simply prettily packaged detours that take us further away from our destination. Understanding this is probably one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learnt over the past few years of working online.
It’s not that there’s anything wrong with any of these offerings, but realising they’re not right for us right now is really liberating, because I can say no with complete confidence and, bonus: FOMO isn’t a thing I have to worry about anymore.
Trying to take in too much information from too many sources and ending up doing way too much learning and not enough action taking.
My top tip has been to unsubscribe from most of the newsletters I was getting into my inbox and sticking with 2 or 3 trusted sources.
Being online the distractions are endless.
It is easy to justify the time we spend on social media, reading blogs etc as “work”. To keep focused I set boundaries and set myself up for success by removing as many distractions as possible so I stay focused on the task at hand.
Don’t try and do everything all at once. Do one thing at a time and make sure it works, then move on to the next thing. Otherwise you simply end up with a catalogue of partially completed bits.
Scaling and prioritization are my biggest challenges with managing my personal brand content, social engagement, as well as business goals and being a Dad to three girls.
I’ve always believe that identifying what I don’t know and then sharing that within my digital story allows me to surround myself with those who know what I don’t and learn from them while also together become a better team as a whole.
I’ve also worked hard on celebrating small wins along the way while focusing on long term goals and strategies allowing me to prioritize what needs done by when it’s due and it’s impact on my long term goals.
My biggest challenges at the moment are taking on too much at once, and not blocking out the less important things to focus on the things that matter.
One of the reasons for that is that it’s hard to say no to opportunities that are in front of you today when you don’t know what’s going to land in your pipeline months down the line.
Over-commitment leads to fatigue and burn-out, and when you’re feeling exhausted it’s easy to fall back on the easy things that make you feel busy but aren’t moving you forward in your business.
Recognising your limits and keeping yourself in a healthy work-life balance is important. I won’t claim to be nailing that balance perfectly, but I’m getting there.
Hard Work (The Magic Formula)
Probably figuring out how to build a business around the content I create. The way I solved it was creating shitloads of content and starting shitloads of businesses until something stuck.
Getting attention in a noisy world. Top tip for dealing with it, is to work ridiculously hard to make all the content you put out the best out there.
My biggest challenge was working out the best way to make my blog profitable – and then sticking with the approach that I chose to take.
There are so many different ideas out there that it is easy to keep switching tactics and to not give any one approach enough time and energy to see if it will actually work.
My top tip for dealing with that is to have patience. Educate yourself, decide on a strategy and then stick with it until you have given it enough time to know whether it has worked or not.
Like any small business, offline or online, the biggest challenge is creating and sustaining a consistent cash flow. And like any small business, this is better achieved by creating multiple income streams.
So my top tip is that as you build your community, continue to create new income streams for your online platform – don’t rely on just one avenue for making money.
We also asked our speakers to cut to the chase and tell us what would be at the top of their ‘to-do’ list if they were just starting out today in the online world.
Focus on building a community of people who rally behind a common passion or purpose that aligns with your business goals and personal passions.
Doing this allows you focus on the people and the mission more so than vanity metrics or silo’d networks. Networks and platforms will come and go but if you build a community they’ll follow you where you go.
Build a community. Unique visitors are one thing, but people that read your blog, trust you and respect your opinion are much more than unique visitors. They will be your advocates and the ones that buy your products if you choose to sell them.
It takes time to build this and it is worth the investment.
Start building relationships with other content creators and influencers, probably in person.
Besides the planning and goals work that I described above, the top thing on my to-do list would be to get out there and start meeting people.
A huge factor in our growth since the start of 2015 has been the people I’ve met. I moved to a new city around that time, and so I had to make the effort to get out there and meet some new people. People who are supportive, creative and honest when I need it.
It’s easy, when you’re running a mostly online business, to hide behind your keyboard, and think that’s enough. But, the growth that I’ve experienced thanks to my network has been enormous, and it’s only going to get bigger over time.
Get out there, find events, talk to people, make friends, and you’ll grow as a result.
Find some like-minded people at a similar stage of business and form a mastermind group to support each other. The mastermind group I’ve been a part of for the past year has been invaluable.
Getting to know other bloggers. It doesn’t matter how great your blog is, if you’re not an active part of the wider blogging community it’s going to be very hard for your blog to grow and for you to reach the people your words can help.
Test The Market
Find out what people want and see if they will buy it.
Start a Facebook page and invest some money to get your idea out there to test the waters.
If you can’t get your specific audience interested on Facebook through targeted promotions, then I would find a new idea.
Ship a product.
So many things go into shipping a product that help your business as a whole. Product creation means tapping into audience needs, focussing on a high level of quality and value, and growing a fan-base that trusts you enough to pay for what you’re offering.
All of those things make you a better blogger.
The top of my to-do list would be the same as it was when I realised that blogging was a thing and I changed the way I wrote my blog posts. Content is EVERYTHING.
Your voice, the way you write your content, the way you reach out and connect with your community – even if it’s small – that is the number one thing you need to focus on.
This applies at the beginning and every day on your blogging and online journey. Nail the community factor and you’ll have an engaged audience which will want to buy-in to anything that you might be selling – your own products or someone else’s.
If I was starting out today I would be incorporating more video.
Video has been the fastest way that I’ve grown my business and now with the addition of FB live – I’d be going crazy on it!
Don’t spend valuable time trying to be someone else, or even a version of yourself that you think others will like.
Instead, spend that time practicing how to write as yourself. So really – be yourself, and practice in public.
So there you have it. A small taste of the wisdom you can expect to be shared at ProBlogger Event 2016 in September on the Gold Coast.
If you haven’t bought your PBEVENT ticket yet, get in before July 1 and save $100 before the full rate kicks in.
We hope to see you there!