How to validate your business and marketing efforts through blogging
YOU have probably seen tons of articles preaching about pursuing what you love and that being employed is not the only way to be truly happy. While all of the hype behind entrepreneurship can be quite inspiring, there are certain realities that anyone considering entrepreneurship must face.
For some, it can be a scary prospect compared to having a nine-to-five job. There is no guaranteed income even if you decide early on to pay yourself. Even if you are not committed to have fixed hours growing a business is essentially a 24/7 affair. If you will be hiring people, you also have to be responsible for the livelihood of others. Those are no small responsibilities.
Clearly, you have to put in the work to be successful at it. So if you are thinking of quitting your day job to pursue your own business but are worried about trading the security for now, how about testing the waters? Try running your own blog to see how running a business might feel like.
Blogging as a business
While some might think blogging has gone the way of 2000s technologies like the first iPhone or the TiVo, blogging is actually alive and well today. Successful blogs can still earn thousands if not millions of dollars a year. Businesses use blogs to strengthen their online presence as a content marketing tool.
— Notion Technologies (@notiontech) November 9, 2016
Compared to other digital ventures, blogging has lower barriers to entry. Putting up a blog can be done on the cheap and rather quickly. All you need is a domain name and a web host like WordPress, the world’s leading platform which is free to use, or Medium, which is becoming a popular starting point for content-focused blogs.
Unlike app and game development, there is no need for advanced coding skills to blog. Unlike online selling and e-commerce ventures, blogging does not require physical products and merchandise. Best of all, blogging can be done one the side while you are still working a day job and building capital.
Find your niche
If entrepreneurship preaches about pursuing your passion, blogging can actually help you check if you really are passionate about something. Choosing a topic of interest and writing about it can expand your views on that particular area. Since you will also be writing based on your experience, the exercise can also test your know-how.
Sometimes we might think that we are passionate about something but when we are compelled to face it on a daily basis, second thoughts creep in. Blogging can give you a level of exposure for you to do some introspection. Keep in mind that entrepreneurship requires 100 percent immersion and it pays to know if you can really commit.
Writing also encourages you to research. Remember that being an entrepreneur also requires expertise on your part. Blogging can reveal to you important statistics and trends for when you decide to make a business out of it rather than going in blind. Your readership can also give you an indication if there is a niche market in which you can position your eventual business.
Develop business sense
Even if blogging can be a one-man-show, it can develop some business savvy especially when you treat it as such. It does take a lot of discipline to work on a blog even as a side venture. Managing a blog develops a time management since it requires you to devote time to post and maintain at regular intervals.
Growing a blog requires you to set targets like how much readership you intend to gain over a three-month period or what activities do you have to perform to get there. This is similar to running a business – setting targets and finding ways to achieve them.
Monetizing your blog allows you to experiment with various revenue models – whether it’s through supporting ads or entertaining sponsored posts, or combinations of both. Implementing analytics can give you good insight into how you could apply data science to your business so that numbers can guide you on what to focus on or improve when the time comes.
Build networks and relationships
Blogging is not just about sharing with your readers, it is about developing relationships with them. Like in a business,regular readers will give your blog the sustainability it needs. Many think that products and services sell themselves. While this may be true for some really unique and valuable products, it is good relationships that create loyal customers.
Blogging can help you practice with interactions. With the abundance of naysayers and critics on the internet, you will eventually encounter haters when you do it right, and will need to develop patience to deal with unsavory characters.
Networking also helps especially when you reach out to other bloggers to exchange links or discuss matters concerning your niche. Do not discount the power of reaching out. These could be the same people who might be your customers soon.
Give it a try
Blogging is a low cost and relatively low risk endeavor for you to try your hand out in running a venture. If you treat it like a real business, you can even sharpen your business savvy. For the resources you have to put it, it can be a great investment if only for you to test the waters. Who knows? Your blog might even become your real business.