This series of posts has been a long time coming. Let me tell you, it was not an easy series to write.
Openly acknowledging your failures is a daunting prospect.
After my business failed and I went back to full time admin work, I felt a great sense of failure and disappointment.
Time has given me the opportunity to reflect back on my mistakes.
Some of the points I cover off in this series will seem very obvious – like ‘why didn’t I realize that before’ obvious. Unfortunately sometimes when we are smack bang in the middle of something we often don’t see the big picture.
Some of the issues I’m going to talk about are interconnected, so expect some overlap within this series of posts.
My reason for writing this series is to help people avoid my mistakes. Let’s start with the first one.
Imagine you opened a bricks and mortar store (spending time and money making it look good), then in one corner you placed a small pile of cheap books. Near that pile is an even larger stand of free giveaways. Somewhere near the back of the store you place a small, hard to read sign listing your writing services.
Then you wait for the crowds to arrive, except you didn’t take into consideration the fact that the shop is in a quiet alleyway somewhere with not a lot of walk through traffic.
Does that sound like a great business venture?
Without realizing it, that is exactly what I did with my business, though my shop was my blog.
In essence I did have a product – the product was me or more to the point my writing ability.
What I didn’t do was advertise my writing services on the blog. I didn’t have a hire me or work with me section on my website. I didn’t actively promote myself or my services. I promoted myself on a small scale but certainly not to the level I should have.
When I originally left work my plan was to become a full time freelance writer and blogger. My first plan of attack was to start pitching to magazines and websites.
Instead I was spending over half my time blogging when pitching should have been the priority. At some point I decided that pitching wasn’t for me. I began to question whether I wanted to be a freelance writer
After some consideration, I decided that I wanted to sell my own products online. Excellent!
Except that is where I dropped the ball. I drafted several different ebook projects but never launched anything.
I was a failure to launch girl.
So what were the cheap products I mentioned earlier?
I had affiliate products on my blog. Affiliates in case you don’t know are where you sell other people’s products and get a small commission. This business model can be successful but you need a lot of people buying, which means a decent amount of visitors which unfortunately I didn’t have. To make serious money with affiliates it needs to be your key focus, not something you spend time on now and then.
On top of that I was writing a lot for free which is a whole separate post!
The fact is I worked really hard. Whilst my hours were more flexible working from home, I did work a lot longer hours than I have ever done working for someone else. I worked weekends without a break.
This is the really tough part to swallow. Working hard doesn’t guarantee success.
Neither does having passion. I know this is going to push a few buttons but passion alone isn’t going to make you successful.
You need to funnel that passion into the right projects that will make enough money to support your business.
Here are the takeaways from this mistake.
- If your plan is to become a freelance writer – pitch, pitch and pitch some more. Don’t spend all of your time blogging. Blog occasionally and spend the rest of your time writing, promoting yourself and actively looking for writing work.
- Have a hire me page on your blog. Make it easy for people to work with you.
- If you want to run your own online store you need to be creating, launching and promoting products on a regular basis.
You can read the rest of the series below.
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