A lot of people shy away from starting blogs because they assume that it’s going to be years before they start to see profits. This isn’t true at all. In fact, if you follow the right sequence of steps when designing, creating, and launching your blog, you can make your first profits in under 90 days.
This is possible whether you’re dedicating yourself to the blog full-time, or if you only have a couple of hours a day and some weekends to work on it. All you have to do when starting from scratch is to follow the step by step outline that follows, and you will have a successful blog that produces real revenue within just three months.
The hardest part about starting an online business is getting it off the ground.
When you’re just beginning, you have no traffic, no following, no name recognition – all of which makes it really hard to get everything moving. And that’s why a lot of people give up during this stage. But, if you persevere through it, and build a strong foundation for your business, it all becomes a lot smoother after that.
Once you have built things up and you start to see some forward motion, the momentum in your online business makes it a whole lot easier to keep things going and to grow.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the steps that you can take to conceptualize, create, launch, and develop an internet business that will bring you location, time, and money independence within just 16 weeks.
Step #1: Stop Gathering Information
From searching for ‘ways to make money online’ to ‘how to start a blog’ or whatever else your typing into Google – stop it. This will only cause you to get distracted and you’ll likely end up suffering from analysis paralysis and being unable to make decisions to move your business forward.
Besides, in this line of business, your first thought shouldn’t be about how you can make money. Online business is all about building relationships, which means that your first thought should be focused on how you can provide your audience with value. As long as you do that, the money side takes care of itself.
So don’t focus exclusively on money, and don’t get distracted by the many (many…) shiny objects out there when it comes to starting your online business. All you need is to follow this plan you’re reading now and adopt a mindset of making yourself extremely valuable to your audience.
After all, money doesn’t come as a result of some magic combination of marketing tricks that you do, it comes as a result of you making yourself indispensable to a group of people who need the solution you provide. Which brings us to the second step:
Step #2: What Solution Do You Offer?
Think about the exact solution or outcome that you want to deliver. You could call it a transformation from your customer’s ‘before state’ while they still have their problem, to their ‘after state’ when you’ve solved the problem for them.
This is vital and you should spend the necessary time on this step to ensure that you start your business on the right foot. Remember, it’s not just a blog you’re building, it’s a business. If you just start a blog that talks about ‘stuff’, you’re not going to get anywhere.
A business provides solutions to problems that people have, and it’s solutions that those people are willing to pay for. It’s as simple as that. So, prior to doing anything else, you must be very clear about the exact result or transformation that you will be creating for people.
I know many ‘gurus’ profess that it’s all about passion, but without a solid plan, there’s no way you’re going to be able to create a business that produces revenue in just three months. Instead, you’ll just find yourself passionately going around in circles.
It’s alright to take into account the strengths that you possess, and what you’re good at, but you should also look for crossover with certain areas of demand for solutions to problems and then hone it down from there. Keep in mind that it’s ALL about solution delivery. This serves serves as an orientation point for everything else in your business, including your blog.
Step #3: Essential Tools For Getting Started
There are a lot of online tools that can help you start and grow a business, but since we’re on a three-month timeframe, we’re not going to spend time on a lot of fancy tools. All we need to do right now is to create a home base for our business by setting up the site. There are three specific tools that will give you the highest return on your investment for the least cost, and these are:
1. Hosting from SiteGround
2. Thrive Themes Membership
Siteground offers an affordable basic hosting account. This web hosting service is considered one of the best in the industry with stellar support, which is great if you’re just starting out as you will likely need some help along the way.
Thrive Themes offers a membership where you get full use of their complete suite of tools. They have conversion-focused themes, landing page creators, and opt-in form builders – basically everything you need to create a professional looking, high converting website, all for one affordable price.
When it comes to email hosting, you have a lot of great options. Check out this post which compares the 7 Top Email Marketing Services to make your choice. Any one of them will do very well. If you’re having a hard time choosing, go with GetResponse. It’s great for beginners.
Important Side Note: I know that a lot of people are under the impression that you can make money online without ever investing a single dime into the business. This is absolutely not true. Well, maybe you could make (some) money eventually (years down the road), but as we want an income from our blog in 90 days, I’d say it’s well worth investing a little bit into it, wouldn’t you?
If you don’t invest in the right tools from the onset, then you’ll probably spend the next three months reinventing the wheel and trying to learn how to do technical stuff that you’ve got no business doing…
Step #4: Craft A Few Pillar Posts Around Your Solution
Now that you know exactly what transformation you will be in the business of delivering, it’s time to create a few posts around it. These aren’t just simple posts that you’re going to slap together in five minutes. They have to be useful, well-written and packed full of value. Just as pillars hold a building up, these pillar posts are going to create the foundation for your blog content.
You don’t need to create a lot of content in this three month period, just a few really great posts. Keep your eye on the target – remember, you’re not building a blog, you’re building a business. You need to focus on the offer that you’ll be making, but of course, your blog can’t be empty at the same time.
So here is what you should do:
- Outline all of the typical roadblocks and obstacles that people have to overcome when trying to achieve their transformation.
- Do some basic keyword research to find out which ones of those roadblocks have the highest search volume.
- Now craft some content that is awesome, epic, outstanding, amazing, [Insert Own Superlative Here…]
Just 3 to 5 posts will do. There much more you need to focus on besides writing blog posts. These posts are ones that you will turn into major resources over time by circling back and updating them. Make sure that your posts are solid, full of useful information that isn’t easy to find, and that they have great titles.
If you’re not up to the challenge of writing the posts yourself, then you can easily outsource this part of the process to a skilled writer. After the posts are done, publish them to your blog, and you can move on to the exciting part: Building the funnel that’s going to make you money.
Step #5: Build Your Email List
In this step, you’re going to create a lead magnet to help you generate subscribers for your email list. Your list is the most valuable asset that you can build for your business. It gives your business leverage to grow and allows you to direct attention at will.
Without list building as one of your main goals, those posts that you just published are basically useless. To get started on your list building, you need to create lead magnets, one for each of your pillar posts. The lead magnets should be tightly related to the corresponding posts, and they should be positioned as the logical ‘next step’ that your audience should take after reading the post.
You don’t need to create anything big like an ebook, a multi-video course, or anything like that. In fact, the simpler your lead magnets can be, the better they are likely to convert. People want quick solutions, and they want content that is easy to consume. There are some specific criteria to create a lead magnet with high-conversion, which I discuss in How To Plan, Create, and Deliver Effective Lead Magnets On Your Blog. The best lead magnets are short and sweet, for example, templates, worksheets, checklists, and any other types of shortcuts that you can provide your readers with.
Inside each of your pillar posts, add opt-in forms for the relevant lead magnet that you created. You also need to create separate landing pages for each lead magnet. If you got the Thrive Membership, then you have access to everything you need to accomplish all this. Here are the steps to follow:
- Create separate lists inside your email service for each of your lead magnets.
- For each one, create a basic email welcoming subscribers to your site. Tell them a bit about yourself and deliver the promised lead magnet.
- Create an opt-in form (using Thrive Leads), specifically a ‘Lead Shortcode’ that will allow you to place the opt-in form directly inside your blog post.
- Hook the form up to the right mailing list, which is very easy to do when using Thrive Leads.
- Create a landing page for each lead magnet. You will find this useful for linking to from within the post, and for use on social media or in future ad campaigns.
Step #6: Your Main Offer
Without something to sell, you don’t have a business. A lot of blog owners think having a blog is the same thing as having a business, but they are definitely NOT the same thing. And since we’re on a tight schedule, we won’t spend too much time crafting an offer at this time.
Three months isn’t enough time to start creating some big online course or video tutorials. What you need to do is create an offer from thin air. Two ways in which you can do that are:
1. By selling a service
2. By creating a pre-sale for a product that hasn’t been created yet.
You can either sell your time (offer consulting or a ‘done for you’ service) or you can get people to buy your product before you’ve even created it. By using any of these methods, you will officially be in business even without the long process of creating an entire product first.
If you are starting from scratch, then it’s probably best to sell services.
Use the landing page builder to create a simple page that describes your service and what you do. Focus it on your audience, and explain how you would solve their problems or remove their pain. Don’t make it all about you or your skills.
If your service is specific enough to price it at a flat rate, then you can include a simple Paypal button for your customers to pay for it. Don’t worry about getting any of the fancy shopping carts or membership software just yet. All that can come later.
If your service is more involved, you can use a form from Gravity Forms on the landing page and a call to action for visitors to ask for a strategy session or something similar.
As you can see, just by following these simple steps, you’re already halfway to a successful and profitable business. But, there are a few more steps to take before your business can start providing you with regular income. We will discuss those steps in the next post:
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