Setting Blogging Goals for 2018
It’s just a week from Christmas 2017 and my attention, in these last few days before waving the white flag and surrendering to the joys of the holiday season, is to set some goals, plans and targets for 2018.
I did a similar exercise last year, but it was a challenge simply because I had no experience of working for myself. I didn’t know what was easy, realistic or ambitious to set as targets. I didn’t know how I worked when left to my own devices for weeks and months at a time. Most of all though, I didn’t have an objective.
The upside of no overriding goal or destination is that you don’t do anything wrong because it all feels ok at the time. The more obvious downside is that so much of what gets done is wasted effort. There has been a lot of that in 2017.
And panic, stress, malaise, disenchantment, dead-ends and false starts.
So 2018 is going to be different.
I have a year’s worth of experience now, which is enormously helpful.
I now have insight into the work I like to do and the work I don’t. I have proved to myself that some things work in my business and others don’t. I’ve learned, perhaps most importantly, that small, consistent and purposeful actions are what have the biggest impact.
When I’m kind to myself - and we should all be kind to ourselves - I believe that I am capable of great things. I have achieved some brilliant results this year, even if not at the level anticipated, which provides a lot of good stuff to build on.
To use a house building analogy, In 2017 I felt like a lone guy on a building site mixing concrete, pouring it in random places and trying to build a wall on top of it. 2018 still feels like a year of foundation building, but the difference now is that I feel at least capable now of drawing architect’s plans to direct where the concrete should go, and recognize that I’ll build better and faster employing people that already have the skills I need.
Where I Went Wrong With MBI in 2017
The idea for this website was borne of two circumstances colliding.
The first of these was a panic on my part that my astronomy website was not going to provide a family-sustaining level of income for me quickly enough to avoid having to get a real J.O.B. I panic about this a lot still; I can’t stress enough - in fact, I am surprised by the vehemence with which I feel this - that I never want to go back into owned employment.
The second factor behind my starting MBI was seeing too many fellow bloggers making great progress in building out a site with an audience, but not following through with a viable business. I love all of this stuff and I’m actually getting quite decent at it, so I thought: why not help others to turn their vibrant blog into a business which will fund the life they want to live?
I turned the blog on in April, and just as quickly decided to focus more time on my astronomy site in July.
It went wrong because it was started from a place of fear, not desire, and I had no plan on how I was going to execute this business.
Who the heck was going to seek blogging business advice from a guy that set up a blogging business with no plan?
Fortunately, something changed: I bought into a useful course.
I’ve been blogging on different subjects for four years or so now, and everything I’ve achieved so far has been self-taught. That’s great, and I’m really proud, but since I left employment in summer 2016 I felt that I would benefit from the wise counsel of someone that’s done it successfully before.
The course I bought fulfilled that role of wise counsel (which is a good job, because it was not cheap).
Funnily enough, it worked for me by setting out with a structure the things I already knew. Take action X, with focus Y on a consistent basis and you will get outcome Z. So that’s what I’ve been doing, and it is working.
That created a calmness in my thinking, gave me more space in my working week than when I’d been randomly doing different stuff and led me to resurrect MBI.
I want my business to have a little bit of diversification. I have a good website helping astronomers and generating income from affiliate and my own course sales.
With MBI I see the opportunity to expand my business into consulting. And it gives me the opportunity to do a couple of things that I love: sharing with others what is working for me and helping other people grow their online blogging business.
So, here we are. 2018 is around the corner, I am resolved to make MBI a useful resource and a significant part of my business. And, this time around, I am going to have goals, a plan and some targets.
What I'll Do Right in 2018
After 20+ years in the corporate retail world, I have experienced many different forms of goal and target setting. The beauty of having your own business is getting to choose what works for you.
The way I think about planning is in the following hierarchy:
Goals: Setting the destination. When whatever you are doing is going well, what will that look like? These are the big, top-level strategic ambitions for your business. To be effective you should apply the SMART principle to them, which I’ll go over below.
Plans: This part is the ‘how’ of your plan, the tactics to your strategy. With your goals in place, your plans set the roadmap to achieving them.
Targets: I use these to measure how effectively I am achieving my plans. So, if I have a plan to launch a course in July, one of my targets will be around sales volumes of that course from July to December.
MBI Goals for 2018
I do not yet have a vision and mission for my business, of which MBI is one part. I am working on these at the moment and will write about them at some point in the future.
So, for now, the top line strategy for MBI sits with my goals.
As you read earlier, I learned a lot in 2017 about running a business simply because I have never done it before. As I set goals for MBI, I am conscious that I’ve never run MBI before and so am keeping the goals to a one-year horizon, accepting that this time next year I most likely will have a very different view of the world, simply by virtue of having worked at it for 12 months.
In your own case, it may be that you have many years of experience under your belt, in which case you should feel relaxed about setting goals beyond the one-year timeline.
To be effective, goals need to be cast inside a SMART mould. That is, they should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timebound.
I’m the first to admit that this sounds like corporate cheesiness, but it does work. The SMART structure gives robustness to your goals so they can be achieved, without it they are just dreams and wishes.
My 2018 Goals for MBI are:
- Publish 50 articles in the MBI blog in 2018 at the rate of one per week
- Grow the MBI Facebook page to 1,000 followers by the end of 2018
- Have an average of 1,000 pageviews per day by the end of 2018. I will measure this on a rolling 30-day average throughout the year
- Grow my email subscriber list over 500 people by the end of 2018
- Help 12 bloggers turn their blogs into businesses on a consultancy basis by the end of 2018. This is to be on the basis on at least one per month, every month
- Generate an income of $500 per month by the end of 2018, i.e. $6000 for the year
There is a logical flow to these goals which appeals to me: blog posts and social targets leads to page views, leads to email sign-ups, leads to (if done well) revenue through consultancy, affiliate recommendations and product sales.
However, I am deliberately not setting the release of a product in 2018 for two reasons - I want to keep my activity narrowly focussed, so I do it well and effectively and, secondly, I suspect what I learn in 2018 will guide product development opportunities in 2019.
Now I have my goals in place, I need to develop a plan for the year to deliver on them and set targets for those plans to make sure I achieve them.
And that will form the second part of this post and - fittingly - the first post (of 50) of 2018.
Until then, let me wish you a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year.