Disclaimer: this post is long and sprinkled with a heavy dose of reality and honesty.
This is as 'no-fluff' as it gets.
It's tough being stuck at the start and making no headway with your blog and your business. I know, because I've been there. Several times. But there's always a certain mix of ingredients that, when they're missing, hold us back from the growth and success we crave with our blogs.
If you're reading this, there's two possible situations you're in: a) you recently started out and you're not patient enough to wait till the floodgates open, or b) you've been blogging for a while but you aren't reaching your goals and seeing the kind of growth you'd been banking on.
So what gives? Here's a list of 5 things that are possibly standing in the way of you and where you want to be with your blog and online business:
1) You don't know who your audience is or what your niche is
If I had a penny for every time someone had a breakthrough in their business by me helping them to identify their niche and audience, my bank account would be "abundant".
No matter how many blog posts you read or however many podcasts you listen to, the answer to any blockages in your business almost always lies in you not having clarity on who you're trying to help with your business and how you're planning to do that.
Finding a niche is the basis of absolutely everything.
When you know who you want to help, and how you want to help them, every thing becomes so much simpler - creating content, growing your email list, increasing sales, you name it.
I'm almost annoyingly obsessive about finding a niche, and that's why I've created an email course that takes you through the steps to discovering your unique niche day-by-day (it's free to boot!).
If you want to grow your blog, start by being intentional about who you serve and how you want to serve them. The rest (the recognition and the money) will then follow naturally.
Remember, even if you went through a niche finding exercise once and it seemed to make sense, and you still aren't seeing much progress, it's highly likely that you weren't specific enough or that your content actually attracts another audience. Go through the Niche Hunting course (for free!) - it walks you through the process of exploring and finding a niche most suitable for you and your blog. Identify where you may have gone wrong or stay open to the possibility of discovering an entirely new, more refined niche.
2) You don't invest in your blog or business
This one is a big one, guys, and probably the one no one really likes talking about. That's why we're going to talk about it here. My standing promise to you is: no false promises, and straight talk always, so don't expect me to gloss over this crucial point.
I'll give it to you straight: if you don't invest in your business, don't expect anyone else to either.
I know, I know, that's harsh, and no one likes hearing it, but if you're reading this, you're probably one of the few that actually want to change things around and make your blog work for you.
Maybe you're hoping to earn a part-time income from it, maybe it's your ticket to freedom and working for yourself, or maybe it's your only creative outlet. Whatever the reasons, you want to take it to the next-level.
Well, then, you need to take next-level action.
Let that sink in for a bit.
If you've read even a single book or interview, listened to a podcast, watched a video by an established entrepreneur, you know that one of the keys to growing a business is to invest in it.
That doesn't always mean investing in things that cost money, but often they do.
Why? Simple, when other people make tools or share information that helps you be more efficient or achieve greater results in less time, they deserve to get paid for it. Just like you do.
I want you to think of all the investments you know you should probably make in your business - whether that's more time, more intention, more learning, more tools, more efficiency, or more money.
I'm not saying you can't grow a blog using only free content and free tools, but would you rather spend your time searching high and low for knowledge you lack and hacking together free tools to get work done OR would you much rather fast-track your growth by investing a modest amount in courses, workbooks, ebooks or tools that give you more knowledge or free up time by making your process automated and efficient?
It should be a simple (and obvious) choice.
Make the investments, and make them before you're ready, because if even you don't think you're business is worth investing in, you really won't be able to convince your readers that it is.
3) You aren't consistent (always a personal struggle)
This one continues to be a personal challenge and I know several bloggers struggle with this one on the daily. Being consistent.
So crucial, and so difficult. When you're a solo blogger or business owner, and depending on the type of business you have, there's so many jobs to juggle - administration, creating content, promoting content, social media, more social media, generating sales, building relationships, working with clients, rinse and repeat.
It's.just.so.much. It is.
Yet, and we've all heard this time and again, one of the things that separates those that "make it" and those that join the camp of thousands of failed blogs is consistency.
Consistency is showing up when you promised you would, whether that's daily, once a week, twice a month, or even once a month.
What it really boils down to is not how often you show up, but that you do show up.
That makes it simpler, doesn't it? There's no rule that you have to blog every day or that you must publish a post 5 days a week, as long as you find a schedule that works for you and that you know you'll stick to.
When you're consistent, people learn to trust you. You become reliable, and reliability is rewarded. It is the only long-term strategy to grow your blog.
Oh, and another thing: never ever (like never ever) show up for the sake of showing up. If you've hit a rough spot, and really can't think of anything valuable to share, skip it. Value always triumphs, and quality is always more important than quantity in this game.
If, like me, you suffer from the overwhelm of being consistent (and desperately want to be consistent), you need to plan your content (for your blog, your products, and your social media) and create a content schedule that works for you.
I walk you through this in detail in my FREE Blogging Blueprint strategy workbook, and the 22+ pages cover all the essentials of building a blog that's intentional, strategic, and profitable.
I recommend you invest the time (it costs nothing) to take your blog seriously because treating your blog as a business right from the get go is the only thing that will get you the growth you want to see with your blog.
GET THE FREE BLOGGING BLUEPRINT WORKBOOK
4) You don't acknowledge or manage the overwhelm
Starting a blog and growing it to make it a viable business is without a doubt an overwhelming task. It's also often a lonely journey. Not because it is lonely, but because we make it one.
When we start out, we want to do it all on our own, without spending a penny or asking for anyone's help.
Plus, you need to keep it at it on the daily without any external validation - no pat on the backs or celebratory post-work drinks to enjoy each step forward.
We often hear the six-figure success stories and we want it too.
What we often miss out on, though, are the stories of how they got there - with a lot of grit, a lot of lonely work days, a lot of overwhelm, and a lot of trying everything to keep going anyway.
The journey of starting and growing a blog is not easy.
If you want to hear that it is, then this is not the place for you. It is my purpose to share with you all I know to build and grow an intentional and strategic blog, but without the fluff of how it's all "so easy" and with complete honesty about the time and work it takes to build a business that is truly solid, valuable, and profitable.
If you're feeling lost in your own business, read this post I put up on the blog for a 'how-to' on three practical ways to overcome overwhelm in your blog and business.
Then, reach out to someone whose blogs or content you connect to. Tell them why you like them, just send them a note of appreciation. Nothing more. You'll make their day, and you'll definitely feel better for having reached out to someone you admire.
5) You don't have a solid foundation for your blog
97.5% of the times (statistically solid, yea), the biggest issue my strategy clients face at the start is that they have set little to no foundation for their blog.
If you're blogging in the hope that your audience will be larger than your mother and your closest friends, and you hope to make an income and living from it, a solid foundation is a must.
As in, the "yes you need to be strategic, no you can't just 'wing it'" kind of non-negotiable.
If you're looking to grow your blog, and want to build a business that relies on your blog, you simply cannot afford to skip identifying your audience and your niche, being intentional about your brand, planning your content and social media, or building a strategic website.
You might scramble and hack things together, but you're essentially setting your blog and business up for failure.
How? Let me just say one thing.
You wouldn't build a house you want to live in safely, comfortably, and for years without laying a solid foundation, would you?
Didn't think so.
You can't build something sustainable and long-term without investing in laying a solid foundation for it first.
That's why I put together the FREE Blogging Blueprint workbook. It takes you through all the exercises you need to build the foundation for an authentic and strategic blog by identifying your ideal brand persona, strategically planning and organising information on your website and blog, creating basic brand style guidelines and templates, and building a social media plan by using my unique formula.
GET THE BLOGGING BLUEPRINT WORKBOOK
Don't waste another day randomly blogging and hoping the right crowd finds you!
Blogging is hard. Building a business from your blog is even harder. Even to this day (close to 9 years in the game), I invest (time and money) in learning and in tools that I know will make my business better or more efficient.
At the end of the day, I'm ambitious, and I want to innovate and grow my business, and I don't want to sit around 10 years waiting for that to happen.
If you're stuck with your blog, and you're done hoping for growth, take action on any one of the five things that hold you back the most. Decide now what you'll do to change things, write down how you will change it, begin with small changes, and take action today.
GET THE FREE BLOGGING BLUEPRINT WORKBOOK
Build the foundation for an authentic and profitable blog by focusing on setting up your blog, creating the ideal brand persona, strategically planning and organising information on the website and blog, creating basic brand style guidelines and templates, and building a strategic social media plan by picking the ONE platform best suited for your blog.