Blogging has become one of the first ways that people with hobbies are getting their feet wet in creating an online business. There are truly countless bloggers out there making full time income from their websites and hobbies. In fact, despite being a professional Interior Designer with a degree in design and another in business, I’ve made my hobby of photography a full fledged business.
It’s totally true (see it for your own eyes here at the shop and here at the online courses) and it brings me the biggest amount of joy to do what I love every single day. As surprising as it might be, you can get there too, but you ‘ll need a plan and a place to start.
Today we are breaking down the 10 first steps to getting you from hobby to online business. So, let’s get started. .
Identify your niche
Identifying your niche is going to be our 101 today. Establishing this will help to determine who we are speaking and selling to, what they want to read, learn about, buy and what we’re going to talk about on our blogs. What are you passionate about? What do you want to share with people? Are your hobbies and interests marketable? Do people want to read about that? Maybe your niche is vegan recipes, or photography tips, or parenting tips, or maybe you want to just make and sell scarfs…. You get the point. Figure out what you want, if you can talk about a few times a month on a blog, and make sure it’s something people are going to want to read.
Self-host your blog
Free sites like blogger and wordpress.com are great if you just want a space to write and hobby to your heart’s content! But to make this into a serious business you’re going to want to take it up a notch. Get a real domain name from a real hosting site. There are tons of options out there for hosting so shop around until you find the one you want!
Decide on a business income plan
With any business, you need to know how much money you should be makinghen figure out how to get there. How are you going to make money from your site? How are other bloggers making money? Do your research and figure out what you can offer that your readers will eat up!
Create a brand style guide
Branding is so important! What are your colors going to be? Your fonts? What is attractive to your ideal clients? When people open up your website what kind of feeling do you want it to invoke? These are all questions to ask yourself when creating what will be your brand!
Get an official logo
Let’s talk logos! Having a solid logo is going to make the world of difference for your blog. They say you want your brand to be recognized within 7 seconds of viewing your logo. Big name companies (McDonalds, Coca-cola, etc.) can be recognized quickly! Their logos are unique, and have become a recognizable symbol for their products. What image do you want to represent your brand from here on out?
You can read more about logos here.
Set up your email signature (maybe get business cards)
That new logo? Throw it at the bottom of that new email address you just got too! Heck, why not throw your website link there too. Go all the way and also share all your social media profiles there as well. This is going to help your brand feel cohesive when you are emailing businesses for sponsored opportunities or anything else.
Start Tracking Finances
Time to talk money. No one likes to talk money. But here we go! Because it’s important. This is a business now. So any income and any expenses associated with your blog need to be kept track of for tax purposes. You can use spreadsheets or an online program. Whatever your preferred method would be!
Read more about different blog income streams here
Set up a real business schedule
Okay. Let’s be realistic here. So many people that want to run and online business and work from home want to do it because they are free from bosses telling them when to be and where. I get that – I do. But you are going to have to create your own “office hours” to make this thing a success. You need to have time set aside, scheduled, to work on content creation, emailing, social media, reaching out to companies, taking photos for posts, and so much more! A business will not grow if you aren’t watering it enough. The more you put in, the more you’ll get out.
Create forms, contracts, and template documents
Make sure everything you do is legit (aka LEGAL). Do your research. Make sure you have your contracts and any other forms you may need for various things for your online business all lined up and ready to go. You are going to be so thankful the first time you need a contract to already have it sitting there waiting for you to just fill in the clients name.
Decide on your marketing plan
How are you going to share your blog with the world? Where are your readers? Are they on social media? What particular social media sites are the frequenting? Are they in your local area? How can you reach them? Make a plan and stick to it!
Create a 5 year growth plan
What do you want your site and business to look like in 5 years? Dream big! Start making plans to get there and add those plans to your to do lists! What are you doing this month to reach your five your goal? Or this week even!? Five years will fly by! But you blog will grow to where you want it to be if you take it there!
We’ve covered ten steps for making your hobby a successful blog and business.