Yo … are you ready for some real talk? Well buckle your star-studded seatbelt, because today that’s exactly what we’re gonna do! :P
I’ve been blogging for 10 years and running my own businesses full-time for over 7, and while I now currently make almost 100% of my income from passive income in my online business, it wasn’t always sunshine and rainbows in that department.
In fact, I blogged for almost 8 years with very little growth. It wasn’t until I decided in January 2015 to get serious and officially turn my blog into a business that things started to happen.
But in order to turn my blog into a profitable online business, there were some things that I was majorly sucking at that I had to fix first.
And if you’re anything like I was for several years, it’s quite possible that you are majorly sucking at a few things too. (Hey, I did say that we were gonna have real talk today, didn’t I? Haha!)
If you’re guilty of just one of the things listed below, then that’s enough to greatly hurt the chances that your blog or online business will turn into something that will give you financial freedom.
Now just to clarify, you don't NEED to blog in order to have an online business. However, if you enjoy blogging for your business, it can be a great way to not only market your business, but to provide lots of free value to your audience. :-)
So with THAT being said, if you’re showing up in your business every day but are currently struggling to make any moo-lah from it, read on.
It’s time to get brutally honest with yourself so that you can actually address and fix the problem. Are you with me?! Are you ready to look the below issues straight in the face and tell them to go take a bloody hike?!
Put your boxing gloves on, because it’s time to fight for your business! You DESERVE it, dammit!!!::: queue Rocky theme song:::
Here’s 10 reasons why your blog or online business is failing (and what the heck you can do about it!):
1. You’re not clear about your purpose
If you’re not ridiculously clear about the purpose of your business, then you are going to struggle with everything else on this list. Why? Because everything that you create (your website design, blog posts, free content, paid content, etc.) should be created with your specific purpose in mind. If you don’t know exactly what you’re trying to do and for who, then you’re gonna have a very hard time doing it.
Do ya feel me?
What to do about it? Watch the epic (and free) 1.5 hour workshop that I created just for you! It even comes with a free workbook so that you can come up with a unique and profitable purpose for your business, even if you've got a million and one ideas floating around in that creative brain of yours! :-)
2. Your purpose is not a profitable idea that provides value
Perhaps you’re clear on your purpose, but it’s simply not a profitable purpose. If you want to create a successful business, then the purpose of your business needs to provide mega value to other people. They need to actually get something out of it.
For example, a few years ago, a big part of my blog used to be posts that simply shared what I was up to lately. I’d share tons of photos and recaps of “life lately” but guess what?
No one cared.
Well … I take that back! My family and friends enjoyed reading those posts, but that was about it, if I’m being honest. In most cases, you can’t create a profitable business based off a purpose that is centered around you.
My blog (which I turned into an online business) started gaining traction when I made sure that my purpose (and all of my content) was focused on providing value to others. (In my case specifically, helping creative entrepreneurs start and grow epic online businesses!)
Ideally, you want your purpose to not only provide mega value to others, but for it to be something that you’re really freak’in good at and passionate about!
So … what to do about it? Remember that free workshop + workbook combo that I mentioned up above? It will walk you through not only how to come up with a super awesome idea that uses your passions and talents, but how to come up with one that is the most likely to actually be able to make you money, too. Because no money coming in = no business.
3. Your niche is too broad
Yep, I totally was guilty of this one! But first, if you’re wondering what the hell a niche is, it’s simply what you’re offering and to who. Like … a very specific who.
For example, if someone’s a wedding photographer they might simply say that they provide wedding photography when asked about what it is that they do. BUT if they’ve decided to focus in on a particular niche, their response might be something like, “I do creative wedding photography for offbeat brides.”
They are extra specific about what they’re offering, and exactly who they’re offering it to.
The problem with being too broad with your niche is that when you try to appeal to everyone, you end up appealing to no one (at least not very well.)
I remember when I was trying to do it all on my blog … I was writing posts about photography, storm chasing, DIY crafts, recipes, party ideas and personal “life updates” along with some business tips on the side. (Yes I know, completely random!)
The issues from that? I had an extremely hard time developing a following because I was too all over the place. The people who came to my blog for storm chasing didn’t give a crap about my DIY stuff, and the people who came to my blog for recipes didn’t give a crap about my business stuff.
(Plus let’s face it, trying to do that many things was not only confusing to everyone, but was nearly impossible for me to do very well!)
The more specific you are with your niche, the tighter your focus will be and the more effectively you will be able to market to your people, serve them and connect with them.
What to do about it? Get clear on your specific and unique niche. Soooo yeah, remember the workshop + workbook combo that I mentioned above? (Twice?) It's going to walk you through how to come up with a unique niche idea as well. :-)
4. Your website looks unprofessional or confusing
You know how important having a professional looking, well-branded, purpose driven website is? About as important as it is for me to have my coffee first thing in the morning.
(And that is VERY IMPORTANT, in case you were wondering!) :P
Think of it this way … if your website doesn’t look professional on a professional website platform, then it’s going to be very hard for others to take you seriously as a professional. (Man, that’s a whole lotta “professional!”)
In order to develop trust with your people, attract the right type of person and establish yourself as an authority in your niche, you need a kick ass website. One that looks professional, is easy to navigate and has a clear purpose (like we talked about in number one! And NO I’m not referring to pee. :P)
Sorry that just took a turn for the immature child in me. Ehem!
But if you want to create a profitable online business, then you need to make sure that you get serious about the foundation of it all; your webiste.
What to do about it? Move away from the free blogging + website platforms and make sure that your website's purpose is clear immediately, that the site looks professional and well designed, and that it's well branded so that you're attracting the right type of person. You can read this blog post about about how to create a kick-ass brand in 10 steps, or you can just grab the epic workshop + workbook combo that I keep referring to because it will give you specific, actionable steps to take for your brand and website. :P
5. You suck at marketing
Creating super sweet content like awesome blog posts is really fun, but if no one is seeing those super sweet, awesome blog posts then you are just wasting your time.
Unfortunately, being good at marketing is a BIG part of running a successful online business. I mean after all … you need to actually get people to your site who are interested in what you have to offer if you want clients and customers right?
You can create the most amazing content there is, but if you lack in the marketing arena then that content is going to just be sitting in the corner all sad and dejected like an outcast at a high school prom.
(Wasn’t that a rather sad mental picture?)
But it IS sad!!! Creating tons of amazing content that will provide tons of value to other people and NOT having them see it and experience it is SAD. (And it’s kind of bad for business, too.)
What to do about it? Up your marketing game. Pinterest is one area that I make sure to use strategically because it is, by far, my biggest source of traffic (and it's free!) You can check out this blog post about the 28 Pinterest tips I used to massively grow my sites traffic or you can just watch the epic workshop that I've mentioned a bazillion times because it goes into not only Pinterest marketing, but other marketing strategies too. Email marketing, social media, Pinterest, your blog- they all work together to create one gigantic marketing explosion! :::queue explosion sound:::
6. You’re failing to grow & cultivate your email list
Ah yes, this is something that I failed at pretty dang hard for a long time. Even though I had invested literally thousands of dollars into courses that were telling me I NEEDED an email list, I continued to stubbornly ignore it for way too long.
My thoughts sounded something like this, “but, I don’t LIKE newsletters! They’re boring and I don’t want to create one!” “I have no idea how to do the tech side and I’m completely confused by opt-ins … what are those again?” “But but … even if I WERE to get people on my email list, I have no idea what the heck I’d actually send them!”
And on … and on. Sound familiar at all? :P
But when I decided to create an online-based business out of my blog, I knew it was time to stop making excuses and to start taking it seriously.
And it’s not enough to simply START your list, you need to focus on growing it with people who are actually engaged with your content and for using it to nurture the relationships you have with your people.
So don’t be in denial like I was and keep ignoring your email list! Mmmkay? Pretty please. And if you still need more convincing, check out this blog post right here because I write about WHY you need one.
What to do about it? Focus on building your email list with people who are actually engaged with your content. You can check out this blog post right here for some strategies on how to do it, and you can also watch the you-know-what that I keep mentioning in this blog post because I've give you specific action steps to take.
7. You’re not creating things that people want
Alright so … if you’re not creating things that people actually either WANT or NEED, then you’re going to have a reeeeal hard time making enough sales! Like … you know how hard it would be to build a 1,200 foot skyscraper out of wooden rainbow-colored building blocks by yourself?
It’s not enough to create awesome things, you need to create awesome things that people either FOR SURE need or want. That’s why number one, two and three on this list are so important! You can’t create amazing offerings if you don’t know exactly WHAT your purpose is and also WHO exactly they’re for.
And not only that, but there needs to be a for sure need for what you create.
What to do about it? You need to get clear on your purpose and people first so that you know exactly WHAT to create and for WHO. You need to not only get into the head of your ideal client, you need to be straight up asking people what they want and need. You need to be going to places where they hang out online so that you can see what they need help with and want. (Pssssst, remember that workshop + workbook combo? Yep, it'll help you with all of this too.) :P
8. You’re not creating clear, easy to find paths to your paid content
If you’re kill’in it at number 7 and are creating things that people in your niche either for sure want or need, then you’ve gotta make sure that you’re creating clear paths to those things so that people can find them!
We’re talking lots of paths.
Most people aren’t going to take the time to search for your stuff, so it’s your job to make sure that they are finding what you want them to find! As much fun as treasure hunts are, most people won’t want to make a treasure hunt out of your content.
Unless of course that treasure hunt is filled with golden chocolate eggs, in which case that would be both tasty and beneficial for the wallet!
What to do about it? Look at your website's homepage and ask yourself, is it super obvious and easy to find my paid content from here? Better yet, is it super easy and obvious to find the awesome FREE stuff that leads to my paid content? Am I creating paths for this on my website? On my social media? In my emails? And if you like listening to broken records, I mean who doesn't? Hahaha.) I've got that free thing I mentioned right here that will help. :P
9. You’re not creating free content to lead people to your paid content
Speaking of creating paths to lead people to your paid content, you also need to make most of those paths filled with free, super awesome value-filled content!
If you’re not giving away lots of amazing content for free, then you’re going to have a hard time developing the trust that’s completely necessary with the people that you’re trying to sell your suh-weet offerings to.
Plus, creating awesome free content to lead people to your paid content also gives you the opportunity to not only provide value, but to educate people as to WHY they might need your thing in the first place.
Makes sense right?!
Would you want to purchase an ultra pricey chocolate covered marshmallow online from some stranger that you didn’t trust without tasting it first? Probably not.
(Also … I’m not sure who actually buys ultra pricey chocolate covered marshmallows online, but you get the idea!
What to do about it? You need to create some awesome, free content that's directly related to the topic of your paid content. So if you have 3 different paid offerings, you need to create some awesome, free content for each one! Your free content should not only educate people about your paid content, but it should give them real value so that you can help develop trust and WOW them, baby! We talk all about how to create awesome funnels that lead to your paid content in From Blog to Business.
10. You’re not taking action and showing up every single dang day.
Alright so picture this with me … there’s a super fluffy, grey colored cat with a pink nose that really wants to build his own cat clothing store down the block. But everyday when this super fluffy, grey colored cat with a pink nose wakes up, most of the time he just sleeps.
And takes poops.
On a daily basis, he’s actually doing very little to make his super swanky clothing store for cats a reality. He’ll dream about it on a daily basis, but he only takes an actual step towards his goal every now and then (and half the time it’s not even in the right direction!)
Do you think that this super fluffy, grey colored cat with the pink nose will successfully build and run his own cat clothing store anytime soon? Probably not. (Okay, that was a slightly silly analogy, but you get the point!)
If you want to create an amazing online business that actually makes you money, then you need to show up every day and taking action. Consistently.
Even when you’re feeling scared. Or doubtful. Or uninspired. Or confused. Or tired.
What to do about it? Create a solid plan to accomplish your goals and give you focus, be more productive and show up consistently! I have something right here to help you.
Alright, how are you feeling?! :::rubs your shoulders and gives you a bottle of water like a boxing coach::: Did you find something on this list that you need to fix?
The best part about being honest with yourself and identifying what you need to work on is that you can then actually DO something about it.
Is there something in particular on this list that you need help with or have questions about? Let me know below, yo!
And now, it's time to go make another cup of coffee and binge on some creepy zombie shows on Netflix! :P