How to create an online space that will totally alter your business + life

starting-a-blog-changed-my-life

It sounds hyperbolic and ridiculous but it’s the truth:
blogging changed my life.

My blog introduced me to some of my closest friends. It’s helped me land bylines in national and international publications and on widely read websites. It has provided couches to crash on, all over the world. It’s given me the structure and impetus to try new things again and again and again.

It’s also helped me realize my childhood dream of earning a living as a writer. NBD.

And while that might sounds impressive or unusual, I can assure you – it’s not. Anybody with access to the internet can start a blog or join social media. It doesn’t cost anything to join Instagram or Facebook or Twitter; Blogspot blogs are free and yearly domain registrations usually run about $10. With a tiny bit of strategy and know how you can use your online space to accomplish just about anything.

Use your online space to create the business you want

It’s really, really easy to get lost in the sea of information and advice about how you should manage your online business and life. Make your blog post images more Pinterest-friendly! Make more sales on Instagram! Make sure all your social media accounts match!

One very easy thing you can do: create an online space that reflects the business + life you want Click To Tweet This sounds incredibly obvious but I see a lot of people who …. aren’t. Honestly, I struggle with it, too. I decided months ago that I wanted to stop ghostwriting and I only pulled that offering from my ‘hire me’ page last week!

When I’m Secret Weapon-ing, I always ask my clients about their goals for themselves and their business. “Book more speaking gigs and grow my Instagram following!” they cry.

“That’s so awesome!” I chirp. “But I, uh, don’t see a tab that says ‘hire me to speak’ on your website and it looks like your last Instagram post was three weeks ago. So….”

If you want to get booked for more speaking gigs:

  • Create a sizzle reel of you, speaking. Embed that video on your site, on a page labeled something obvious – like ‘hire me to speak’
  • Gather testimonials from people who’ve seen you speak
  • Create a page where you list the topics you frequently speak on
  • Mention, in your blog posts and on social media, that you’re a speaker. “Last week, while speaking at a climate change conference, …”
  • Share photos and video on social media of you, being awesome on stage
  • Join Periscope or Youtube and show your readers how articulate and funny and speaker-ly you are

If you want to attract higher-paying clients:

  • Raise your rates (dur)
  • Stop taking lower-paying clients or clients who try to negotiate prices
  • Guest post on websites that are frequented by established, high-income potential clients
  • Appear as a guest on podcasts that established, high-income people and companies listen to
  • Pitch established, high-income companies and potential clients
  • Make it clear in your blog posts, social media, and sales pages who you work with and what you’ve done for them
  • Make sure your branding and aesthetic is beautiful, polished, and super profesh
  • Hone and perfect your ‘client experience
  • Gather testimonials from previous clients, who fit the demographic of your future dream clients; highlight those testimonials.
  • Ask your previous dream clients for referrals (here’s how)

If you want more freedom in your professional life:

  • Create quick turnaround client offerings (rather than five-month projects)
  • Put up some loving, diplomatic boundaries
  • Create some passive income products so you can still earn money while you’re traveling/avoiding your inbox
  • Realize that you can choose to want less (needing less >> less work/fewer clients >> more freedom)
  • Figure out where your traffic + business is coming from and cut out the stuff that isn’t working – 95.45% of my traffic comes from Facebook, so I’m going to abandon Twitter!

If you want to create a community around your work

  • Ask questions at the end of your blog posts and respond to comments
  • Share personal photos and anecdotes – not just the filtered, on-brand stuff
  • Host + submit guest posts
  • Host + submit interviews
  • Comment on other blogs
  • Take part in blog crawls
  • Host a Twitter chat
  • Join or create a private Facebook group
  • Really, actually talk to people on social media (rather than just promoting your own stuff)
  • Set up in-person events for your readers, clients, and online buddies
  • Ask your readers what they’d like to know + read about, and then write about that stuff

Use your online space to create the life you want

And you know what? Your blog and social media accounts can do just as much for your personal life, your passport, and your creative fulfillment as they can for your business!

If you want to travel more

  • Tell your readers and followers that you want to visit X place and see if anyone can host you or give you travel suggestions (Beth road tripped across the entire U.S. this way!)
  • Pitch tourism boards, travel agencies, or companies that sell travel goods – maybe they’d like to sponsor your trip
  • Find ways to make your trip tax deductible (hint: blog about it, meet up with clients + connections, post about it on social media)
  • Tell your social media buddies that you’re in X city and see if they want to meet up

If you want to make more friends + meet more people

  • Follow other locals on social media + interact with them
  • Attend local Tweet-ups and Instagram meetups
  • When you’re attending an event, tell your readers + followers and invite them to join you
  • Create + host your own event
  • Attend conferences and conventions

If you want to live a more adventurous, intentional life

  • Use your blog and social media as an accountability tool; tell your people that this year you’re going to try 25 new things, run a marathon, or give up coffee. Document the process!
  • Join an established group that’s working towards the same goal (I like Project 333!)
  • Undertake an online project with a friend; share a blog or an Instagram account and share your mornings or your meals
  • Take one picture every day (here are some fun prompts)
  • Take one second of video every day
  • Blog anonymously and write about ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING YOU WANT. Tell the internet your wildest dreams, how you really feel about your co-worker, write poetry or fiction

If you want more discretionary income or free stuff

Amazing things happen when you share your life, ideas, and work online. If you’re just a little strategic you can make them happen even faster!

But I want to hear about you and the cool things that have come your way because of your online space! Tell us in the comments!

P.S. How to befriend bloggers (without feeling awkward or stalker-y)

photo by bench accounting // cc

5 Comments

Meg

As a fiction writer, I understand the importance of a platform, but I can’t figure out the blogging aspect of one. It seems most writers write about the craft of writing or the writing lifestyle (tips and tricks), but I don’t think other writers would be the ideal target for my books. I’ll have to think on this some more. This list is a great help.

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Stephanie

Meg stole my comment. 😉

I’m just now being serious about setting up my online space, so these ideas are great. There are SO many ideas out there for how we should do such and such, what we should write about, and why this way is THE way a blog should be done… or else. It’s nice to have an encouraging presence like you here to tell us that there are many ways to go about the blogging thing. So thank you, Sarah, for creating this safe and happy space.

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Stephanie

This is a very smart post Sarah. I really love how you give starter ideas on those various goals. Made me realise that I don’t do yet most of the things that would help reach my goals (for instance I’d like to do sponsored hotel reviews but I don’t have a “work with me” page). I want to be helpful to people and create a community of like minded stylish travellers but I only have a Facebook page (and not a group). This definitely got me thinking. Thanks a lot.

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