You hear it all the time. If you want your blog to be successful, you need to treat it like a business. The same is true if you want to stick to Internet marketing, if you want to grow a YouTube channel, or any other kind of endeavor. The people who approach these ventures like they are “hobbies” or something to do “on the side” can only hope and pray for some glimmers of profitability.
You want to make money doing this? You want to replace your career with the dot com lifestyle? Then treat it like a business. Because it is a business like any other, even if the startup costs are significantly lower. It’s likely because the barriers to entry are so low that people don’t take this kind of work seriously.
Anyone can do it, but you need to take it seriously if you want to “make it.”
What Gets Measured…
And a big part of treating your blog (or whatever else) as a business is that you should be tracking all those facts and figures and metrics and analytics. How many visitors did your blog have last month? What was the bounce rate? What’s the conversion rate on your email list for the affiliate offer you’re promoting? What is the year-over-year growth for followers on Instagram?
You might remember when Peter Drucker wrote, “What gets measured gets managed.”
The goals and objectives that you set for you and your business need to be specific and measurable. Remember the notion of S.M.A.R.T. goals? It’s not enough to say “I want to make more money this year.” Instead, you need to be asking how much more. And how does that relate to your business expenses? Where is this added income going to come from? What key results would lead to greater profitability?
“What we choose to measure is a window into our values, and into what we value,” business philosopher Dov Seidman once said. “If you measure something, you’re telling people that it matters.”
But simply measuring all these metrics isn’t enough.
… Gets Managed
Look at the second half of the Peter Drucker quote. Measuring your stats is good. But you’ve also got to manage them. Simply keeping tabs on all those numbers isn’t good enough. The point is that you need to learn from what those numbers are trying to tell you, so that you can make better decisions now and into the future.
Put another way, philosopher and educator John Dewey says that “we do not learn from experience.” That may sound like it flies in the face of so much common advice. I’ve said before that failure is inevitable, so we just have to learn to embrace it. I’ve said before that failures represent opportunities for you to learn, but it’s not just the experiences themselves.
“We learn from reflecting on experience,” said Dewey. Track those metrics, take account of your experiences, and then look back to see what went right, what went wrong, and where you can go from here. Tracking your stats and watching them move in the right direction can be incredibly motivating. Actually seeing that progress in hard facts and figures, especially if you convert those stats into visual representations like graphs and charts, can really help you keep going.
Studies have shown that seeing that progress in such a measured way can be much more of an incentive than the extra money you might earn or the public recognition you might enjoy. It can provide the will to keep moving forward. But first you’ve got to track those metrics. And then you’ve got to take the time to analyze and reflect on them.