Picture this. You’re in a fancy night club, one of the best in Vegas. You’re drinking free beer and watching 50 or 100 people party to heavy beats and exotic dance tunes. You should be enjoying the mood . . . maybe even letting a dance sneak out every now and then.
But instead, you’re off in the corner talking business. Not just any business either. You’re talking about the business of blogging.
I know . . . pretty lame right?
But hold that thought, because although on the surface it seems like you’re missing the point of the “nightclub experience,” the truth is that you are working feverishly to solve a problem that plagues the blogging world.
It might not be life or death, but the fact that most bloggers don’t see it is cause for great concern. So what’s the problem?
Bloggers make terrible businesspeople
I was at the Bank in the Bellagio hotel earlier this month, talking with my pal Rich Lazzara, and we started talking about something we noticed during the first two days of the Blogworld Expo.
Rich mentioned to me that bloggers were crappy business people (that’s putting it nicely) and proposed that if people like you and I started treating our blog as a business, we’d actually start seeing better results. At first I was a bit surprised by the assumption, but after digesting it this weekend I realized that he was absolutely right.
Over the course of our conversation, we discussed a variety of examples, but I want to share the three “blog killers” that really stood out to me.
1. Business Bloggers Making Hobby Money: These guys (and gals) work like Gary Vaynerchuk, but they aren’t making anything more than hobby money. They want to say that they are probloggers, but they allow the comfort of their job to lull them into a sense of security.
Rather than live up to their inner desire to become a blogging powerhouse, they use “hobby blogging” as an excuse to stay exactly where they are.
2. The Dreamers: These bloggers dream all day about blogging success, but they never get around to actually doing the work required to make it happen. They simply won’t take things seriously. To them, spending four hours on Twitter is just as productive as writing a blog post.
3. The Selfish: These bloggers just don’t see the point in networking or in spreading goodwill. They certainly don’t take the time to foster relationships that can help them reach the next level, including creating a solid relationship with their audience.
For selfish bloggers, everything is about them . . . what they can do, how good their products are, and how much you should want to be like them. They step on everyone else in order to get onto the shoulders of giants.
It’s time to get serious
In my opinion, each of these three maladies hinge on what Chris Brogan said during his Blogworld keynote on Thursday, which is that as bloggers we all need to elevate our game.
If you are serious about blogging, you need to treat your blog like a business. You are the CEO of You Inc., and you’ve got to weigh every single decision as if there were millions of dollars on the line. Yeah, it would be great to blog in your underwear and sleep in every morning, but the reality is that most of us can’t afford to do that.
Measure the day’s work in results, not in hours spent typing on Facebook or Twitter. Absolutely, fostering relationships is important, but every action needs to be treated as an investment of your time.
This is especially important if you are a solo blogger, as there is only so much work that you can get done in a day. You’ve got to be efficient with your time. This means measured action and measured results — not just going with the flow.
Be honest with yourself
If you really don’t care whether or not you make any money as a blogger, then that’s fine. But don’t lie to yourself just so you can feel better about being broke.
Bust your tail
Copyblogger took about four years to get where it is today. Gary V busted his ass for two years before he got the book deal. And Chris Brogan spent 11 years on his “overnight success.”
You’ve got to work hard to become successful. End of story.
Develop a short-, mid-, and long-term plan for your business and follow it to the best of your ability. You can adapt it as you gain knowledge and expertise, but if you go without a plan you’re toast.
Learn how to network
As someone who spends time in sales and marketing, I’m used to shaking hands and saying hello.
It’s important to get out there and meet people, but please don’t be “that guy.” Treat relationships as an investment in your business.
Quit worrying about what your customer can do for you and instead worry about what you can do for your customer.
Don’t think about how you can shove a new product down a customer’s throat. Instead, spend your time worrying about whether you can solve a problem or improve their experience. If providing value to your audience isn’t a priority, you’re in for trouble.
There’s no secret to becoming a full-time blogger aside from hard work and adopting the right mentality. Sure, there are nuances that you’ll need to master, but the plan is already laid out there for you. Find your passion, develop a plan, and work your tail off by creating awesome content.
But heck, isn’t that what they’ve been saying here all along?