Happy New Year everyone!
I guess it’s almost cliche to talk about how crazy the holidays are, so I won’t get too into that – but I will say here and now that I will, if at all possible, never move houses in the week between Christmas and New Year’s directly before a product launch and while trying to start a business ever again.
I will just say no.
Suffice it to say, I spent slightly less time working on my business in December than I had initially planned for. That means January is going to be full-steam ahead, with extra hours and lofty goals.
And that’s something I’d like to talk about for a few moments – goals.
This time of year, the blogosphere is full of talk about New Year’s resolutions – are they good? Are they bad? Do they work? Are you making any? Will you keep them?
I don’t know the answer to any of those questions. But I am making, if not a New Year’s Resolution, a list of things I want to accomplish in 2013, since the world didn’t end, and all. One of them is relevant here:
I’m going to get Project ABC to a point where it’s earning an income, and set to become a long-term, sustainable, audience based business.
And I don’t think for a single second that I’m going to be doing this alone.
You see – we’ve got a big, new thing coming at Firepole Marketing, and we’re going to be taking on a whole lot of new students who will all have dreams and ideas and goals and things they want to accomplish.
And we’re going to be doing it together. 2013 will be the year of the audience business – and I think you should get in on the action.
If you haven’t seen the RSA video we put together in December – take a look at it now. It will give you a little taste of what is to come, and I hope it whets your appetite for more, because we have some incredibly exciting free training coming up this week.
Okay – back to the update!
Getting Out There
I haven’t seen too much of a subscriber or traffic jump yet, but that’s pretty fair, as I’ve only had two guest posts go live so far. It feels very, very cool to have my writing out there on other people’s blogs – and each with an invitation to come back and write again, and I am up to about 70 subscribers. Yay small victories!
I quite recently made the application for that larger site, and here’s hoping that it goes well. Since it’s just finished being holiday season, I won’t stress out about rejection for a little while yet – it’s for that same reason that I didn’t press the non-respondents on my guest post submission checklist too hard. I enjoy relaxing with my family this time of year, and I figure plenty of other people do too.
With two successful guest posts behind me, and potentially a regular spot on a large, reputable site, I’m thinking that I’m about ready to start writing for bigger blogs in my niche – or at least screwing my courage to the sticking place and going for it.
With the New Year also comes my resolution to really and truly make getting out there on the social media part of my schedule.
To that end, I’ve narrowed down my social media options and created an actual schedule that I intend to follow most days. I’m focusing on Twitter and Pinterest for starters, and over time will be adding Facebook, Google+ (for the search goodness!) and Tumblr.
The scheduled time for “work blocks” are appointments I’m making for myself to sit down and do bigger tasks, like writing, blog fiddling and big picture planning. This is stuff that, for me anyway, is easy to push aside and procrastinate on, but I think if I can schedule the time specifically for it, I’ll work it in more regularly. It’s getting to that time where it’s more critical.
- Blog Commenting, Mon-Fri 8:30am -9:00am
- Twitter, 2x 15 minute blocks, Mon-Fri
- Pinterest, 2x 15 minute blocks, Mon-Fri
- Work Blocks, Mon-Fri 9:00am -10:00am
Ideally, I’ll get some time in on the weekend as well, but that, by necessity, is more catch as catch can. One does need to see their spouse once in a while…
Generally, I find it harder to prioritize work on my own project then, say, work I do for Firepole Marketing, but I’m working on being firmer about the time I spend on Paying For Life each week. I want this to go somewhere, and as we tell our students (not in so many words, of course) you’ll never get anywhere if you don’t do the work!
Do you have a set schedule for working on your business? What does it look like?
I tested my red panda content idea with a focus group of my target market. It was all very professional, and definitely not past midnight after 3 hours of hot spiced wine. Hey – in vino veritas – right?
The reaction was pretty good, overall, and I got some feedback as to how to make it more interesting.
Basically, what I’m planning to do is create a personal finance coloring and activity book. You get the book (either as a free download or a paid hard copy, a la Engagement From Scratch!), go through the different pages filling in the information (and coloring the pictures!) and at the end: Boom! You’ve done a budget and identified ways to make and save money. Congratulations.
I’m hoping to have a variety of people to contribute to this project, and am very excited to start reaching out to folks.
Thank you hot spiced wine.
So getting this off the ground is… intimidating. My first step will be creating an outline for the thing, and an overview of what I want it to include, so I’ll report back next month on how that goes.
What do you think? Cool or crazy idea?
I was having coffee with a good buddy of mine shortly before the holidays, and we were talking about some of the folks we knew, and gradually, we came around to the topic of money. My friend posited the question: “Why do some of our friends always have money, and some never do? We all make roughly the same amount – what’s up with that?”
The personal finance stock answer: “Because they’re bad with money” doesn’t really do much for me. There must be reasons, identifiable reasons, that this is the case. Now, every personal finance blog in the world has their theory as to why, and most of them work off of the model where the reason you’re broke is because you make bad choices.
I’ll not weigh in in, yet, on whether or not this is true – but I do think that more information will help me do a better job in helping people out of the situation.
I’ve started reaching out to a few people I know and a few that I don’t and asking them to complete a short survey, track their spending for a week, and then fill out another survey. While this is costing me a significant outlay in home-baked bribes, and is possibly the least scientific study of all time, I think it’s going to be really interesting to see what people end up revealing about their spending habits.
The takeaway here is that conventional knowledge isn’t terribly helpful when you’re trying to differentiate yourself. If you think something is true, then it’s up to you to find the proof that you’re right.
Readers – where do you get your information from? Have you ever polled the masses to prove a point?
On January 31st I’m going to be launching the Paying for Life blog officially, not with a roar, but with a whisper.
Yep – I’m doing a soft launch, and not an explosive one. For the time being it’s only going to be offered to the wonderful folks who have subscribed – but it will be available to people to come and see and take a look at, if for example, they’re considering a guest post or are my mom.
There’s a few reasons for this:
- It’s important to me to start putting content out there on my own space. I know that getting tons and tons of subscribers before launching the blog is possible, effective, and arguably the better tactic. But it’s important to follow your own comfort levels too – and I want to have it live so I can start seeing my posts accumulate.
- Several of the sites that I really want to guest post for, only accept posts from bloggers who have current sites. I totally respect this, and would like to meet their criteria.
- I’m still learning engagement through email and auto-responder sequences, but am very comfortable with on-blog engagement, so for the time being, I want to play to my strength.
I’ll still be directing new people to my landing page, of course, but I’m really, really excited to get something live happening.
What are your thoughts on soft vs. hard launches?
- I will actually start paying close attention to my metrics. Because I have not really been watching them, and that is cause for shame. Next month, you will get all the juicy numbers. Brownie’s honor.
- Draft a proposal and outline of my collaborative project to reach out to potential sponsors with.
- Structure social media activities, at least into some semblance of a regular schedule.
- Get the blog ready to go live!
That ought to be enough action points for the time being!
Do you have any big plans or changes you’re going to be making for the new year? Did you make a business-related resolution?
Megan Dougherty (@Megan_Rae_D) has been with Firepole Marketing since 2010, first as Danny’s Assistant and more recently as Content Editor and Assistant Instructor. When she’s not working with wonderful students and readers here, she’s building her own audience based business helping the young and underemployed handle their money at Paying For Life.