Writing Prompt Day 6 + How to Spread Your Ideas
Many people don’t make it this far so pat yourself on the back! You’re a rockstar.
Welcome to Day 6 of our 7-day Start Your Passion Project Challenge.
Now that you hopefully have a good writing rhythm going, we wanted to get a little more advanced and talk about what’s possible when you really start to connect your writing, ideas, passions and ability to help others – with today’s online tools.
So we want to share the specific steps we took and the mentors and models we learned from to grow Live Your Legend into the business and movement it is today.
Here’s today’s tool and strategy: Our Process for Growing & Monetizing a Website
The first four years Live Your Legend was in existence, it literally got no traction – no growth, no following, no community – nothing. But those four years were priceless because they allowed us to develop ideas, see what connected with others and learn a ton about the online world.
For four years we had no idea what we were doing, but then stumbled upon some role models and a very specific framework for building a large online following and business. Six months later LYL’s following grew by 10x. Within 12 months it grew by 160x. And today we have over 65,000 people from every country in the world who use our tools on a monthly basis. And Live Your Legend has turned into a profitable business in the process. It’s still surreal to think this all came from developing a writing habit and running mini experiments – just like you are in doing this challenge with us. 🙂 We have written about this full framework in the below article. Please take a few minutes to check it out if this topic is of interest to you…
We have an entire course uncovering this full framework in our Passionate Work Program. But you can also check out the following excerpt from a post on Live Your Legend, where our friend and colleague Corbett Barr shares some advice!
The fundamentals of earning a living from a blog are really no different from any other kind of business.
To earn a living from a blog, you need to do three things:
- Identify a group of people with a specific problem or desire
- Connect with a sufficient number of these people
- Offer a product or service that fills that problem or desire at a price they’re willing to pay.
Let’s dissect this deeper.
1. Identify a group of people with a specific problem or desire
This fundamental step is what separates blogs that become businesses from blogs that remain hobbies.
To ultimately earn a living from your blog, you have to solve a problem or address a desire for people, in a way they’re willing to pay for. Blogging is a great platform for figuring out who those people are and what they need or want because you can interact with people (via comments, email and social media), and hone your writing over time.
Why should someone read your blog… instead of the likely hundreds or thousands of other good blogs that already exist on similar topics?
You see, it’s incredibly easy to start a blog these days. That’s why there are hundreds of millions of blogs in existence. It’s easy to start a blog, but it’s hard to start a good blog. And it’s even harder to start a great blog, or a blog that truly matters.
And one of the core elements of a blog that matters is this: in order to attract an audience, you need to create a compelling reason for people to read your site.
It isn’t enough just to publish, you have to publish with purpose.
2. Connect with a sufficient number of these people
There’s no doubt about it, if you want to earn a living from a blog, it’s best to have a large, engaged audience.
Notice that I didn’t just say large, I also said engaged.
Engagement with your audience matters almost as much as size.
A small but highly engaged audience is usually much easier to earn revenue from than a large unengaged one.
What does engagement mean to a blog? Your readers are engaged when they:
- Return to your blog frequently to read new articles
- Read deeply instead of skimming
- Comment on your articles
- Subscribe for updates
- Email you about your blog or something you wrote
- Write you on social media
- Share your articles
- Link to your writing from their own sites
When you have a large, engaged audience, it’s easier to sell things to your audience because they know you and trust what you have to say. When you make an offer, they’ll consider it.
If your audience is too small or unengaged, it’s hard to sell a significant amount of anything.
How do you grow a large, engaged audience? It starts with your answer to #1 above. Knowing who your blog is targeting and what problems or desires they have (your blog’s foundation) is an important part of growing your blog.
Beyond that, it’s important to write compelling articles on a frequent and consistent basis. Just look at what Scott and Chelsea have achieved here at Live Your Legend. Look through the archives to see how frequently and consistently they have published here, and notice how many of the headlines you find compelling.
Writing consistently compelling articles doesn’t happen easily. It takes lots of practice, dedication, learning and trial-and-error. In other words, it takes work. Don’t expect it to happen overnight.
3. Offer a product or service that fills that problem or desire at a price they’re willing to pay
Once you know what your audience wants and have been delivering compelling content consistently and long enough to grow a sizeable, engaged audience, it’s time to offer a product or service and see if they’ll buy.
At this stage, it will often be fairly obvious what you could offer to your audience, because people may be asking you for things. They might want more depth on a topic you’ve covered, or step-by-step instructions about how to do something. Or maybe you’ve explained how to do something on your blog many times, but people want someone to do it for them.
Notice that above I said “offer a product or service” instead of “create” one. You don’t necessarily have to create a product or service from scratch to earn some revenue. Sometimes you can earn a commission for recommending other people’s stuff. This is often called affiliate marketing. A good example of affiliate marketing can be seen at the popular personal finance blog Mr. Money Mustache. When MMM recommends a product like Betterment for investing, they earn a commission if you sign up (see the disclaimer here). It’s as simple as that.
For some of you, affiliate marketing won’t be your preference. For others, it might not be an option if there aren’t products offering commissions that make sense to tell your audience about.
In those cases, you can make your own product or service. Digital products (ebooks, courses, digital downloads, subscriptions, etc.) can be a great place to start because there’s little cost involved and because as a blogger you’re already used to creating digital content of the written variety.
My biggest word of advice in creating your first digital product or service: start small. The biggest risk you face with this product is that you’ll spend many months or years working on something only to find out your readers don’t want to buy it.
Reduce this risk by starting as small as possible. If it turns out your audience doesn’t buy, no big deal. You will likely have to try selling several things before you find what really works.
Of course, there is much more to learn (and more importantly, much more to do), which we walk you through in our Passionate Work Program, but this is the high-level approach all successful blog-based-businesses take.
That being said, here’s today’s writing prompt: Day 6 -Who is your Ideal Customer?
The beautiful thing about combining writing with today’s technology is you legitimately have the chance to make a meaningful impact on the world and those around you – assuming you find the right people to serve.
But all that starts with a clear picture of who you can help! You have identified your value add and what problem you can solve. You have identified what fires you up, now let’s get inside the minds of the people you can help, so you can better find them.
And because we know you may need a little guidance, I am including the first rendition of LYL’s ideal customer (also known as an avatar). We have since updated this but here’s an example. What is their name? What do they do? What are their pain points? How might they find you?
For now, meet Miles…
Miles wakes up for work at 6:00am to an alarm where he presses the snooze button a few times dreading getting out of bed. He throws on some uncomfortable clothes that he is ‘supposed’ to wear to the office, grabs a big cup of coffee and commutes to work. During the commute he scrolls Facebook envious of the friends he sees traveling, after all he’s in his early 30’s with a great girlfriend, no kids , no mortgage and nothing really tying him down. He wants to be out exploring the world but his job doesn’t allow him to do so. It does however, allow him to have the sweet apartment in SF and the one time a year blow out trip. That’s worth it right?! Some people slave away at their jobs and don’t even get that…
When he gets to work, he pours another massive cup of coffee and begins a day of work that sounds cool when he says it to others but actually doesn’t fill him up at all. He is confused why other people think his job is cool but he feels so empty inside. He gets home to spend a few hours in front of the TV or searching the web for what else could be out there before doing it all over again. He knows there has got to be more, but he just doesn’t know what it is.
Miles may have or will likely try things that are money driven initially but will quickly realize that serving others is where fulfillment comes in.
Start small and just let a few ideas flow for a few hundred words or more. Don’t judge what comes out. Have fun with it and we’ll see you tomorrow for our final day of this little challenge of ours.
Congrats and thanks for making all this progress with us!
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