If you’re reading this blog post right now, on a website solely dedicated to helping people with blogging, chances are you’re at least somewhat intrigued by the idea of starting an online business or making money online.
Maybe you’ve even taken the step of setting up your website or writing a few blog posts. Maybe you’re trying to take advantage of all the free resources available because you’re still not quite ready to totally commit to this idea just yet.
And I totally get it. Starting a blog—especially one you intend to turn into an online business—is a big commitment. It’s normal to feel scared or overwhelmed or even a little bit ambivalent. It’s normal to hesitate, and even to drag your feet, even at the risk of self-sabotage.
But how do you know you’re actually READY to start a blog or online business?
These are the 7 questions you should ask yourself. And if the answer to FIVE or more of these questions is YES, then chances are, you’re ready.
1. Do you know WHY you want to start a blog or online business?
Any time you’re trying to accomplish something big in your life, it’s important to be clear about your why. When I first started blogging, my WHY was my husband. He was working at a job he hated so much, and it was killing him. I wanted to make enough money blogging that he’d be able to quit his job, and that’s what kept me going.
So what’s your why? Is it unhappiness at your current job? A desire to help support your family? A passion to help people or make a difference in the world? A need to have something of your own, or some sort of creative outlet?
Your why is yours and yours alone. You don’t need to share it, but you do need to know what it is, because it’s that WHY that will help sustain you when the road feels long.
2. Do you know WHO your blog or online business would be for?
If you’re starting a blog as a hobby, then your audience doesn’t really matter, because your blog is really just for you. But if you want to actually make money blogging, then the more you can focus on WHO your blog or business will be for (rather than just what you are interested in), the more successful you’re likely to be. After all, your readers and customers are what will make your blog succeed, so it makes sense that your focus should be on them.
So who exactly is your target customer? Is it someone similar to you, or similar to someone you know? What are they interested in, or what are they struggling with? How can you help them?
Answer this question, and almost everything else will become clearer.
3. Do you know what TOPIC your blog or online business would focus on?
Once you know WHO you are writing to, it should be much easier to narrow down the topic you want your blog or online business to be about. And while you might have lots of topics you think you might want to write about, my advice is to narrow your focus and niche down as much as possible.
In my experience teaching more than 12,000 bloggers so far, I’ve found that the ones who niche down are the ones who tend to get traction—and make money—a whole lot faster.
4. Are you able to navigate new software without getting totally overwhelmed?
Please know that you don’t have to be a technological expert or computer programmer to successfully start a blog or online business. The tools and software that are now available are generally designed to be as user-friendly as possible, no coding required.
That said, you should be able to confidently navigate the internet and internet-based tools and software without giving yourself a panic attack. You should be able to Google for answers when necessary, and to be able to approach your blog with an “I can figure this out” attitude.
Were you able to figure out how to confidently use your smartphone in less than an hour? You’ll be fine.
5. Are you willing to INVEST in getting your blog or online business off the ground?
Contrary to popular belief, starting a blog or online business isn’t free. Like any business startup, you will need to invest in the right software, tools, and training to make your business a reality. At the very least, you’ll need to pay for web hosting, an email service provider, and other necessary software. You may also need to invest in help with graphic design or web development, or paid advertising to grow your audience more quickly.
It’s important to understand that while starting an online business is far less expensive than starting a traditional business, there are still costs involved. And if you try to do everything for free, or as cheap as possible, you’ll often end up throttling your own potential before you even start.
The following chart provides a breakdown of the costs you can expect to incur in your first year:
6. Are you the kind of person who will take action, as long as you have a clear plan and clear instructions to follow?
Thomas Edison famously said that “genius is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration,” and when it comes to your blog or online business, that statement is 100% true!
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Your success will not be based on having the best idea, or the best name, or the most beautiful website design. In fact there is not one single decision that will make or break your business. Instead, your success will depend almost entirely on your ability to take action, to try things, and to keep trying. And as long as you are actually IMPLEMENTING what you’re learning, you WILL be successful.
Most of the amazing blogs and online businesses you see didn’t start out that way! They are the direct result of taking action, of honing and refining and implementing new ideas. So don’t worry if you don’t have it all figured out just yet, just be willing to take action.
7. Do you understand that growing an online business will take time?
I hate to break it to you, but there’s no such thing as overnight success. Getting any successful business off the ground takes time, and a blog or online business is no exception.
Within our programs, our students typically see their first few dollars start to trickle in after about 18-20 weeks, but they won’t see significant income until after they’ve launched their core offer, about 7-9 months in.
For new online business owners going it alone, the timeline is quite a bit longer—anywhere from 18 months to 3 years. In my own business, it took me 3 years of a whole lot of trial and error to begin making enough money that my husband could quit his job.
Suffice to say, this path is not a “get rich quick” scheme! It’s important to go in knowing it’s going to take a little time so that you don’t get frustrated when it feels like your early progress is slow.
So there you have it, the 7 questions you need to ask yourself before you start blogging.
- Do you know WHY you want to start a blog or online business?
- Do you know WHO your blog or online business would be for?
- Do you know what TOPIC your blog or online business would focus on?
- Are you able to navigate new software without getting totally overwhelmed?
- Are you willing to INVEST in getting your blog or online business off the ground?
- Are you the kind of person who will take action, as long as you have a clear plan and clear instructions to follow?
- Do you understand that growing an online business will take time?
And if you went through them, and the answer to five or more was YES, then my final question for you is this: What are you waiting for?
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