Even Bloggers Need a Strategic Business Plan

Bloggers face an issue when they transition their hobby blog to business. Bloggers get tunnel vision – letting their one blog be their only money making source in their strategic “business” plan. I put that in quotes because most bloggers do not have a written business plan.

Heck, most internet marketers don’t have a business plan. A lot of this business seems to be a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants or you own a huge whiteboard to keep track of link strategies (the whiteboard is my next purchase).

However, there comes a time when most grasp the reality that a few pennies or a few hundred dollars made by Google Adsense is not going support their lifestyle. That is when they realize its time to come up with a strategic business plan. A plan that will support the desired lifestyle.

(Mine is to make $12,000/month. What’s yours?)

Some bloggers do well by making money with one blog. But for most, they need to focus on several sources bringing in revenue.

Even “A” List Bloggers do more than just Blog

 
I spend a lot of time looking at how people run their businesses online. Look at what else they do. Seek out patterns. Even “A” list bloggers do more than just blog. Here are a few examples:

John Chow, www.johnchow.com, is Master of his blog, The TechZone, and TTZ Media Network. I enjoy John’s blog because while he runs a lot of affiliate information on his site, it doesn’t look spammy. Sign up for his ebook to find out how he does it. BTW, you might get a kick out of his disclosure policy (thank you Nathan Hangen and Mike Jones for that lead).

Darren Rowse, www.problogger.net, runs three additional blogs besides ProBlogger. There is Digital Photography School, TwiTip, and FeelGooder. But he is also co-founder of b5media, co-founder of sixfigureblogging.com and the author of the book, ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income. He is also a consultant and speaker. (Where does he find the time to do it all?)

Pat Flynn, www.smartpassiveincome.com, does a great job with his blog. But he also does product sales at GreenExamAcademy.com, runs a successful niche site, has done article writing with eHow, is heightening his success with iPhone applications and possibly wordpress plugins. Oh ya, I might add speaker, too. He will be speaking at FINCON11 – the PF Blogger’s Conference.

(Sorry for not including the ladies. My reasoning, I think we approach the online world differently. And are not seen as ‘bloggers’ on the for front of our business.)

A Look into the strategic business plan

 
When I wrote my March 2011 – Income Report I came to the conclusion, that even though this is a relatively new blog, I was in need to expand my resources if I wanted to quickly make the desired lifestyle.

BTW, the income report was available as an RSS Member’s Only feed. And was picked up by the high authority German blog, SelbstandigImNetz.

It had me thinking about my strategic business plan. Here is the before and after:

As you can see the blog was the my only business idea at the time. Of course with intentions to write an eBook, expand my course offerings, and more. But I thought about kicking up a notch. Since I have the time to implement the plan. This is how I am doing it.

(Would love some feedback on all this)

What is your Strategic Business Plan?

Even a blogger needs to make a strategic business plan that will map a plan for reaching monetary and personal goals.

Monetary: I want to make ______ by the end of the year.
Personal: I want to spend more time with my family. I want to become a nomadic traveler.

Whether it be speaking, consulting, or designing courses. Consider what your goals are for this month, this year, in five years and so forth. What is your strategic business plan in addition to blogging?

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About Christine McCarthy

Social Media Enthusiast, Tech Geek & Whole Foods Lovin' | Here to discuss Internet Marketing, Blogging, Social Media & Search Engine Optimization | Twitter: @christinebiz | Facebook: ChristineBiz

Comments

  1. Christine your post hit a really strong note with me. I didn’t fully get the graphics, but I totally get the concept. My blog is one month old, as yet I have no clear direction for if/how to make any income from it. However I’m dedicating countless hours to it as I know my goal is similar to your own and many others of earning a full time income on line. I’m pretty sure most of this is wasted time. As a result of reading this and other related articles. I think it’s time to back away from the computer until I have an actual workable plan. I appreciate this post, Christine. Thanks-shared

    • Hi Stacey – Checked out your blog. Nice! Never a waste of time. You learn that way. ;)

      It’s important to decide what products you are going to host. Will it be affiliate links, paid reviews, are you putting together your own product. In fact, your site looks like a good fit as a ‘coach or mentor’. Take a look at Christine Kane and Ali Brown.

      Get that notebook out and scribble all your plans! Look forward to hearing about your progress.

  2. jpassmore says:

    I don’t know what John Chow does besides blogging but TheTechZone isn’t updated anymore, and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t make money off of that, and last I heard TTZ Media isn’t active anymore.

    • Well, maybe he is blog only. Interesting. I was trying to current ‘find the scoop’ on the internet. Seems Tech Zone was last updated in March. And updated periodically.

      And I found that he owns http://twitterfollower.com/ . I’d be interested to know how many other sites he runs or owns. I left a comment on his blog hoping he’d take a gander at this post. We’ll have to see. :)

      • jpassmore says:

        Yeah, I think he does or did own twitter follower (I may have read that he sold that, maybe not though).

        And just so you know, I didn’t mean to imply that your post was wrong about John Chow, because he DID own all of those sites while his blog got big, so he did have a plan outside of just blogging. I’ve just noticed that while his blog still says he runs Tech Zone and TTZ Media, I’m pretty sure it’s outdated.

        I’d be interested to know what other sort of websites he runs now if any. He probably makes so much from affiliate referrals he doesn’t need to :)

  3. Great post! I haven’t solely focused on making money as of yet I’m really just trying to build my blog up, but I retire in 3 years so if possible I would like to blog full time. Thanks for the insight.
    A. Tatum Jr. recently posted..The Blog Engage 500 USD Guest Blogging Contest 2 of 4My Profile

  4. Hi Christine,

    I think when it’s low cost/barriers to entry, people are less apt to create strategic plans. So true in blogging as well. Thanks for the reminder.

  5. Love this, Christine!

    You turn the old way of thinking completely on its head. No more just throwing Adsense on a blog and expect it to rake in 10 grand a month. The early days are long gone. Kinda of funny saying that since the “early days” was just 5 years ago. :)

    The infographics definitely hammer the points home that bloggers who want to profit from their blogs should offer products and services. Whether it’s something as simple as article writing to the more complex task of creating a website, we definitely have to offer value in order for people/businesses to part with their money.

    Great stuff, as usual.
    Kevin Douglas recently posted..Don’t Get Mad- Get ClientsMy Profile

  6. I like John Chow and his blog. He seems to be open about how he makes money from his blog.
    Doable Finance recently posted..Make Changes This Year To Save On Taxes Next YearMy Profile

  7. Christine, I began blogging 3 years ago for fun, and quickly discovered it was like Aladdin’s Cave. Rich, in terms of connectivity, value, and possibilities. I know some also make it rich in the dollar and cents meaning of the word. While I am earning a living with blogging as a component of my Internet marketing and publicity work, there’s always more to reach for.

    Several things you’ve done in your post are exciting to see:

    1. You give good examples of other people illustrating what you’re talking about, and are specific about what they are doing and what’s interesting about that.

    2. You have a strong image – a diagram. Infographics have emerged as a very exciting form of communication. With your diagram you’re speaking that language – the language of images. You may be aware that people learn differently, and that visual learners respond quickly to images. (Multiple intelligences by Dr. Howard Gardner.)

    3. You use a variety of font sizes and space between your lines making everything easy to read.

    4. You’re challenging us to think smarter and create a strategic plan for increased growth and results.

    5. You’re sharing what you’re doing.

    Thanks!
    Anora McGaha recently posted..The Megaphone in Your Customer’s PocketMy Profile

  8. What a post, what a point!
    EVery blogger needa a business plan, and without one you are just a writer with some webspace.

    Love the simple nature of your graphic there – really sums up what needs to be done.
    I have been using my blog as a platform to launch other areas of my business and once they start to pick up will then use the blog to grow them further. WIthout a plan I would have no clue what to do and where I should be doing it.

    Thanks for sharing Christine
    Alex recently posted..Article Marketing Challenge – Day 40 Traffic and Income ReportMy Profile

    • You are welcome, Alex.

      It actually took a while to see a solid plan needed to be in place. But I think that is because I was just hobby blogging.

      Now that I successfully grew and sold my previous personal finance blog, I know what needs to be done now. And the funny thing is… I didn’t accelerate my knowledge til after I sold the blog and had time to reflect. Then, I had one of those ‘light bulb’ moments and was like, “ok. now I am really going to kick some blogging ass”. Now, if there was only more time in the day. Oh…that probably means I need to hire someone. lol.
      Christine McCarthy recently posted..Top 16 Places Where You Can Hire Someone Without Losing Your ShirtMy Profile

  9. Francisco Pina says:

    Christine you are so right, a business plan is like a road map to success, blogging is a small business like any other specially if you are getting paid for it. Here is an article that talks about flawed business models for the small business owner and how to do it the right way: http://ow.ly/4Lc72

  10. Christine
    This is my very first blog response. I am a little nervous so I may get the protocol wrong. I have been a strategic planning consultant for about 25 years with small owner operated businesses. I find the best way to create a plan is organize what you are thinking in writting. The steps: name the opportunity or problem to be resolved, describe the best outcomes to that issue (always quantify), describe the benefits to your customer when resolved, write down as many obstacles you can think of obstructing your outcomes, initially select 2 or 3 obstacles to attack then describe the action steps needed to overcome each obstacle, translate that into into an action plan as in “who does what, by when”.

    Hope that contributes to the coversation, if not love to get feedback.
    John

  11. Definitely some great points raised. My business plan seems to change ever so often. I know what I want, but I can see that it’ll cost money to get it done. Sometimes this is the catch that you don’t realise before you put time and effort into blogging.
    I work in TV and write, so haven’t been able to put all my time into blogging. I have to look at the business plan again.:-)
    Anne Lyken-Garner recently posted..Has Anyone Used ComLuvMy Profile

    • Mine has changed since I wrote this. I felt it had to many branches, so to speak. But mapping this made me realize that. So it was a good thing I did this. Now, I am basically focused on taking that same energy for 3 aspects of my biz and narrow it down to blogging and product creation for this blog.

      And I think a blog is a useful tool whether you use your blog to help promo your TV and writing or you are a full-time blogger. It took me a bit to make that distinction for myself. Both ways can prove to be very lucrative. ;)
      Christine McCarthy recently posted..Hit “Send” to soon? How to retract Gmail messagesMy Profile

  12. very useful article. A+++

  13. I love pat. He is awesome and he helps all of his readers become great bloggers

  14. This is great and practical advice! Planning is the part many don’t like doing, but really it is essential. Planning a blog lets you see it how it is… I also find that planning makes you dig a little deeper into your own direction and figure out more creative ways of making the journey happen.

    I’m currently rolling out a planned experiment that will either work out great in terms of blog growth or just cause me to write a lot of content… either way I see planning and implementing the experiment as a win win scenario lol

    Great post, I really enjoyed it :D

    Chris

    • Haha. Planning is a time consuming aspect, but totally a solid part of the picture. I was mentioning in a comment above, just writing this post help me to refocus again. And tie together an every stronger plan that is in the works. Now to pull of the Houdini trick by making it all happen.

      This quote from Calvin Coolidge has been my light lately, “Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”

      Take the persistence and run with it, Chris. Glad you liked the post. Total win-win.
      Christine McCarthy recently posted..Top 16 Places Where You Can Hire Someone Without Losing Your ShirtMy Profile

  15. I agree that being a blogger requires a team of other individuals and companies to succeed. I’m not to sure on hiring an SEO Company though. Google is the only search engine I worry about and they give you clear rules on how to manage your site to get indexed even to the smallest detail like h1 tags, etc…

    Enjoyed the read, thanks!
    Greg London recently posted..No more points for surveys, cash only please!My Profile

    • I would start being concerned with bing. They now take 30% of the pie. You are right about clear rules…but that is because you know where to find them. There are many people who don’t understand SEO w/ a small biz online. And all that backlinking, finding keywords and structuring…and keeping the campaign running, it sometime easier to hire someone else to do it. ;)
      Christine McCarthy recently posted..How to Add a Custom WordPress AvatarMy Profile

  16. Christine,

    Your post just fit into my current thinking. i have been trying to work out a strategic plan for my new blog. I have been experimenting at a blog for some time now. I have also wondered how Blogging can become a business for me. You have just challenged me to expand my thinking. Thanks to Pat for Linking me here.

    Hoping to come back for more posts.
    Jesse recently posted..Building profitable relationships that will grow your businessMy Profile

    • Hi Jesse! I am glad you liked this post. I have since restructured this plan of mine to circle around the blog more. Meaning I am now starting product creation, will start a membership site, etc… So, you might start thinking of writing an eBook, or putting together a course. You can create webinars or teleseminars that focus on showing people how to use a specific product. Then when your readers find this is the product meant for them, they can link through your affiliate link – where by you make commission on it. I was telling someone above, Google the Hustle project. My friend is getting good results from it. It was grown by Baker and Corbett Barr. And continue to read into Pat’s pasts post. Look at his income reports to understand his business plan. He has some great info in those archives!
      Christine McCarthy recently posted..5 Secrets for Coming Up With Blog Post IdeasMy Profile

  17. Just found your post from Pat last post. Interesting point about diversify your income. Clear and reachable.
    Thank you for remind me about family time.
    alam recently posted..My experience with FiverrMy Profile

    • Oh…family time is totally important. It’s very easy to spend lots of time on the internet whether productive or not. If you find your family time restrained because there is not enough time in your schedule… consider hiring someone to do your social media stuff – like setting up tweets, facebook and G+ feeds. That in itself will free up a lot of time.
      Christine McCarthy recently posted..10 Social Media Sites to Like on FacebookMy Profile

  18. A good one.

  19. Excellent Post Christine… Lately I’ve been trying to outline, not only my strategy, but how to implement that strategy. At a certain point, you realize there isn’t enough time in the day to do everything you need to do. At a certain point you have to plan it all out…
    Mark recently posted..Learn to Draw – Free Online Drawing LessonsMy Profile

    • Thank you, Mark. There is Definitely not enough time in a day to do everything. LOL. I think planning and learning to delegate some of the task. Like hiring a VA to do the social media & social bookmarking. I have a hard time letting someone else ‘control’ certain aspects. But I think it will be essential to my success to have someone help with the small but just as important work aspects like the mentioned. Best of hard work with that strategy and implementation. It will truly help!
      Christine McCarthy recently posted..Top 16 Places Where You Can Hire Someone Without Losing Your ShirtMy Profile

  20. I like this website I feel that this site could be very useful .

  21. Christine you are spot on. Most of the big guys have one blog that brings in the bulk of their income but for the smaller guys, it will take a long time to build up a brand to start pulling in so much cash. As for me, I am working on sevral niche sites all at once while building my brand with my main blog.

    Good luck on your goal of $12,000.
    Casey Gentles recently posted..Best Way To Make Affiliate SalesMy Profile

    • Question that has been on my own mind… having a main blog and several other sites… do you feel it hard to manage?
      I think I am at a point where I need to start hiring part-time help to do the social media, bookmarking tasks of it all. How are you coping?
      Christine McCarthy recently posted..10 Apps to Make Instagram Photos FunMy Profile

      • Well Christine, here’s what I recommend: Don’t work on more that 5 sites at a time. I made the mistake at first and now I have more than 50 lol. So as a result I never finish one project, i keep working on different sites everyday. So yes it is very hard to manage if you have too many. But if you work on 5, rank then then after that they require very little work and so you can start new projects. That’s the idea of passive income.

        For some of your outsourcing work, I find that you can get a lot of good work from people on fiverr.com. However, it maybe hard to find good people at first. But good luck in all your endeavors.

        ……
        Casey
        Casey Gentles recently posted..Best Way To Make Affiliate SalesMy Profile

  22. Ankur Desai says:

    There are very few bloggers who reveal their financial secrets and the way they make money. But Pat is always upfront
    and he even have showed his monthly earnings openly.

  23. Hi Christine

    Great post.

    Having run my own brand building business for a number of years, I totally agree that it is a collective approach that will help business owners crate the lifestyle they want – not just one website, one product or one service. Perhaps it might be helpful for bloggers (of which I am one :)) to view their activity as delivering information, which may open up more possibilities for how they might in fact share their knowledge.

    Also, business plans should not be lengthy and hard to use. If it captures your goals for yourself and your business activities, identifies the key actions you will take to achieve these goals, by when and what resources you need to get there, then this is about it. You can then review this on a periodic basis to see if your daily efforts are in fact in alignment with your overall plan.

    Thanks for the post!
    Cheers
    Matt
    Easy business planning recently posted..Writing a Business PlanMy Profile

  24. Since I have a full time job, the time I can devote to my online business is 1/2 in the morning and then 1-3 hours in the evenings. It is absolutely essential that I have my plan 100% in writing. When I have time to work on my online business I can simply sit down, check my written game plan on Evernote, and knock off items on my pre planned list.

Trackbacks

  1. Blokube.com says:

    Even Bloggers Need a Strategic Business Plan…

    Bloggers face an issue when they transition their hobby blog from to business. Bloggers get tunnel vision – letting their one blog be their only money making source in their strategic “business” plan. Some bloggers do well by making money with one blog…

  2. BizSugar.com says:

    Even Bloggers Need a Strategic Business Plan…

    Bloggers face an issue when they transition their hobby blog from to business. Bloggers get tunnel vision – letting their one blog be their only money making source in their strategic “business” plan. Some bloggers do well by making money with one blog…

  3. [...] Why even bloggers need a business plan. Is there more to being a superstar blogger than just sitting down at your laptop and blogging your way to fame and fortune? You bet there is! That’s why many of the greatest and most successful bloggers out there have a surprisingly well-developed business model backing them up. Want to know more about how the social media universe works? Read more from Christine McCarthy on strategic business planning for your blog. Christine.com [...]

  4. [...] Why even bloggers need a business plan. Is there more to being a superstar blogger than just sitting down at your laptop and blogging your way to fame and fortune? You bet there is! That’s why many of the greatest and most successful bloggers out there have a surprisingly well-developed business model backing them up. Want to know more about how the social media universe works? Read more from Christine McCarthy on strategic business planning for your blog. Christine.com [...]

  5. [...] have a calendar? Is it significant for your readers or it is a space filler. What is your main strategic business plan for your blog that will allow you to pay for the lifestyle you want? In your field of business, it [...]

  6. [...] What’s the most important thing when it comes to doing any business? You have to find someone to sell your whatever-you-are-selling to. And even bloggers need a strategic business plan. [...]

  7. [...] addthis_product = 'wpp-261'; var addthis_config = {"data_track_clickback":true};If your business is starting to get off the ground a little bit (finally!) I’m sure you’re thinking [...]

  8. [...] your business is starting to get off the ground a little bit (finally!) I’m sure you’re thinking [...]

  9. [...] starting my first online business after getting laid off, writing an eBook, and starting my podcast.Even Bloggers Need a Strategic Business PlanIf you want to make money from your blog, having some kind of plan will give yourself the best [...]

  10. [...] What’s the most important thing when it comes to doing any business? You have tofind someone to sell your whatever-you-are-selling to. And even bloggers need a strategic business plan. [...]

  11. [...] Scrapped from http://www.christine.biz/blogging/strategic-business-plan/ [...]

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