Allow me to state the obvious: I’m a blogger. And, if you’ve been around these parts for any length of time, this one will be even more obvious: I’m kinda organized. But if I’m being totally honest, (and I am because I can’t stand dishonest folks), I absolutely suck at acheiving my goals.
One reason is most likely because I don’t set any to start with. I’m changing that this year, and if you’re a blogger, or want to be a blogger, I want to share my thoughts & tools for setting goals & planning for success.
I think we’ve all heard the expression, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” How much truth is in those few words, y’all!? I’m living proof. Here’s the deal: I’ve been an active blogger for the better part of 5 years, and for the longest time, I’d try to do what I saw other bloggers doing, bigger bloggers, successful bloggers, in hopes that I would also gain similar success.
It didn’t work. You know why? It wasn’t for lack of working, it was for lack of planning. I had no real goals, and no real direction for acheiving any goals. I was running on a treadmill – fast & hard but going nowhere. Can you relate?
Last year, when I came back to blogging, it felt different. I really felt like this was for real this time, that I was going to be successful according to my own terms, set real goals, and determine a plan for acheiving them.
I mentioned a few days ago what my goals are for 2015, so I won’t go into those again, but for bloggers out there who feel like they’re simply spinning their wheels, I wanted to focus instead on the tools I’m using to plan my roadmap for success.
HAMMER TIME. Collaborate & listen. Read THIS before you go any further.
Don’t worry, I’ll wait….
Did you read it? Skim it at least? I hope you take away from that post that “success” is different for everybody, and there’s no right or wrong way to be successful. Once you determine what it is that will make you successful as a blogger in your own mind & heart, we can move on.
TOOL TIME. (insert that weird throat thing Tim Allen used to do: “Oh-Oh-OH!”)
Once you’ve established your own personal view of success, you need a way to set hard goals, break them down into acheivable steps, and a way to track your progress. These are my own tools for doing just that:
I mentioned Powersheets the other day, but promised I’d go into more detail here, so I will. Let’s take a peek at my Powersheets, then I’ll explain a bit further.
(a) You can start anytime, not just January 1st. The Powersheets aren’t dated.
(b) They’re pretty – and I like pretty things. It makes me want to look at them, which is good, because I need to look at them daily to stay on track.
(c) Powersheets make it so easy to take a big goal & break it down into monthly, weekly, and daily steps. It’s easy to see what you’ve accomplished, what you need to work on, and to measure your progress.
(d) You spend more time on the planning portion than on the monthly goal portion. What I mean by that is, before you start working towards acheiving your goals, you spend time defining your goals, addressing your fears, what you have learned from past successes & failures, what gets you excited, what your long-term goals are for your life, defining your core focus, and deciding what really matters to you.
The idea is to set goals that all point towards you acheiving that big picture you have for your life.
*Sidenote: Looks like they’re out of stock at the moment, but from what I hear, they should be back in March.
Let me just shout this from my proverbial rooftop, ok? If you are a blogger and you are NOT using an editorial calendar to plan your posts, you are doing yourself, your blog, and your readers a disservice.
There. I said it. Now, if you are just blogging for fun, and have no intention to ever make money from your blog, be it directly or in side gigs like my virtual assistance biz, then you may not need an editorial calendar. But, if you are a serious blogger, you simply must use one. MUST.
The style of editorial calendar you choose can vary. I use a plug-in on WP, plus I have a color-coded spreadsheet. The purpose of the editorial calendar is two-fold:
(1) Make sure I rotate blog categories regularly to keep my readers interested
(2) Make sure I include blog posts that help me establish myself as an authority on specific topics, thereby helping me reach my goals of success
Let’s say, for example, that Susan has a goal of opening an Etsy shop to sell her hand-crafted goods. To be more specific, let’s say Susan specializes in mixed media. Perhaps Susan also wants to eventually teach an e-course on the art of mixed media.
An editorial calendar for Susan might include, among her normal DIY projects, a post about the tools used in the creation of mixed media art & how to use them, a post about building inventory to open an Etsy shop, or even a series of posts about her journey to becoming an Etsy seller.
A good editorial calendar will assure you that your blog posts are pointing you towards your goals and help you stay focused.
Now this one can be tricky, but I believe it’s vital to acheiving your goals. I work full-time away from home, blog, and have a virtual assistance business. I’m also a wife and a mom. My goal, however, ultimately, is to work from home, blogging and running my VA business.
You have to get your family to back you up if you want to be successful – that’s huge. I’m blessed with a strong support system. In order to set dedicated work hours, I had to get my husband and daughter on board, let them know my goals, and have them help in other areas of my life so I can work.
For me, that translates to assigning both my husband and my daughter specific nights to be in charge of dinner, which frees me up to go to my office and get some work done. I also set aside time on the weekends to work on blog projects, edit photos, and write posts.
Now, my hours fluctuate from week to week, as family events and priorities arise, but part of my Sunday Prep is scheduling these work hours and sticking to them as much as possible.
So I ask you:
What are your blogging goals for 2015?
What are you doing to work towards them and make them reality?
Share your thoughts in the comments below. I can’t wait to see where this year takes us!