How to Think Big (Even If You’re Small)

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“You mustn't be afraid to dream a little bigger darling.” ~ Inception

As a blogger, it's in your best interests to think ahead, plan for the future, and dream big. Even if you're small or new, setting good goals and establishing good habits now will only help you in the long term. Some bloggers think those early days don't really matter. After all, part of being small, means that most people don't see what you're doing. But planning for the future, even a little bit, makes all the difference between bloggers that fade away and bloggers that are here to stay. No matter your size, start how you mean to go on. Here are 5 ways you can start thinking big right now:

  • Focus on scalable actions. What does scalable mean? It's your ability to handle a growing amount of work. As your blog grows, so will the amount of work you have to do to maintain it. Think about ways to make your blog more efficient and less hands-on right now. Having systems in place not only helps you blog grow, it also frees up your brainpower to make your blog better. Can you implement an editorial calendar? Can you open up more space for advertisers? Could you partner with more affiliates or negotiate a higher commission rate? The flip side of this point is stop focusing on actions that aren't scalable. In my blog post last week about spamming, I called leaving your blog url in the comments section of other blogs a form of spamming. Many people disagreed, but no matter your thoughts on whether it's spam or not spam, url commenting as a way to drive traffic is definitely not scalable. There simply aren't enough hours in the day to reach enough blogs to launch your traffic into the stratosphere. Note: While scalability is important, keep in mind that everything isn't scalable. It's okay to choose to do things which aren't scalable (for example: personally replying to reader emails or responding to comments left on your blog), but whatever you can make more efficient should be made more efficient.
  • Work on long term strategies, not short term gimmicks. Strategy goes hand in hand with scalability. Writing amazing content is a long term strategy. Finding your target audience is a long term strategy. Improving your SEO or diversifying your link profile is a long term strategy. Chasing trends is not. Think about it. If you're getting 50% of your visitors from one particular blogger's blogroll, what happens when they change their blogroll? If you're getting 90% of your visitors from Google, what happens when Google changes their search algorithm? You get the idea. Working smart means having a strategy.
  • Have an idea of what you want your blog to be like in 5 years. If that's too far in the future (I know it was for me when I first started), then imagine what kind of blog you want to have in 3 years or 1 year. I'm not saying you've got to sit down and write a long business plan (though business plans are pretty awesome), but knowing how you want your blog to look, who you want reading your blog, and what kind of traffic you'd like to have is really important for setting goals. Without goals, it's easy to fall into the trap of doing things “just because.” As the saying goes, a failure to plan is a plan to fail.
  • Move away from a monetization mindset. That may sound counter-intuitive, but what I'm really saying is to think of your blog like a business. It's a small business, and it may not even be a profitable business (yet), but it's a business all the same. Like I mentioned in this blog post on things I wish I knew when I first started, thinking about your blog in commercial terms is a process; for most bloggers, it doesn't happen overnight. Developing a business mindset early on is important because it fundamentally shifts the way you interact with brands and the value you place on your blog. If your blog is a business, not a hobby, you take it seriously, and that serious approach is reflected in the way you interact with brands. Suddenly, when brands approach you for coverage, you'll no longer view it as a brand doing you a favor. Instead, as a business owner, you'll understand that you both have a goal you're working towards and something mutually beneficial to trade. That mindset can make all the difference in your blogging success.

 

What are your tips for “thinking big” when it comes to blogging? Share them in the comments!

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18 Responses

  1. choolee

    my goals for the year 2013 (ye i just have goals for a year, after that year i plan the next goals)

    1: reach 400 followers on my blog
    2: reach 5000 followers on instagram
    3: maintain 300 blogviews a day (500 would be a blast)
    4: get a own blogdomain

    🙂 well thats my goals and here is my blog link
    chicchoolee.blogspot.co.at

    Reply
  2. Nasreen

    the points about long term blogging is what I find works for me! Thinking about what I want for the next year or 5 and to make things easier for me if I’m in for the long run! Thanks for the tips 🙂 Also, the earlier post about url commenting really got to me, I used to do that here and there but I stop altogether now and when I comment on someones blog, I like it to be genuine and leave my URL out of it.

    Reply
  3. Jasmine

    I am relatively new to the world of blogging and found this article very informative and helpful.

    Reply
  4. Beata

    Very good to the point post. It is good to read such short ‘reminder’! Great tips! It is very easy to be lost in everyday activities and such posts are helping to keep on the track! Thanks 🙂

    Reply
  5. Juliana

    Thank you so much for writing this post because it was so helpful! I just started blogging about three months ago, so I’m very new to blogging, so I’d love all the help I could get! After this post, I realised how I wasn’t really thinking about my blog in the long run, so this has definitely given me that little extra push that I needed to get going.

    – Juliana
    Coco and Picasso

    Reply
  6. Laura

    Great post and couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I’m in the process of launching my blog, thinking of future plans and the potential scalability of the business. I wasn’t sure if I was prematurely thinking ‘too big’ at such an early stage! Reassuring advice. Thank you.

    Reply
  7. Britani Cruz

    point number 4 helped me so much. Realizing that we as bloggers have something to offer. Working with brands are a win win.

    My Goals:

    Establish a true blog Identity
    Follow (key word) my editorial Calendar
    THINK BIG!

    THANKS!

    Reply
  8. Jamie

    I’m really grateful for all your inspirational posts on here. It can be tough starting a blog and being your own cheerleader. Not only are your posts helpful and relevant, they’re always encouraging. So again, thank you!

    Reply
  9. riris

    very helpful,
    even I write my blog for a years, but I always think that I’m new in the fashion blogging world, and it’s really help me to think, plan and learn more more more about blogging, I have a plan with my blog, and make a list in my wall,
    Thank you for share this article..
    🙂

    Rist!

    Reply
  10. Fabulous 30s

    Amazing post. Eventhough I have a small blog it is good to know that it is important to set your goals and think about how do you want your blog to look like in couple of years.

    Reply
  11. maddie

    This somewhat relates to the tip about setting 6 month, 1 years, 3 year, or even 5 year goals but visualizing who and where you want to be is motivating for me. Athletes do it before a game and it’s what I do to keep on track. I constantly remind and ask myself if what I’m doing is getting me closer to becoming my role models. Even more interesting is that positive thinking can actually change the make up of our DNA. So think, believe, act and have faith in what you will become.

    Reply
  12. Chukwumam Ruth

    This is so true! Managing a blog now is so tasking, i hardly have time for the actual blogging! And my editorial calendar has not been followed to the letter..Thanks for the tips..I should get to work..

    Reply
  13. Krystal

    The editorial calendar is the hardest part. Especially in the fashion industry, things change so much that its hard to plan something a month or so in advance and stick to it. But I am trying. I had a vacation last weekend, but this weekend I think will be devoted to pushing out some content that I can use over the next few weeks. Having to write a post, edit pictures, shoot pictures, and engage on social media is so much to try and do everyday. Great tips! Thanks for this awesome post.

    Stick Out!

    Reply
  14. Eve G

    Honestly, right now, the only thing I have in mind is that I’d like having at least 10 readers a day. It may not sound really big, but what I’ve noticed is that most of the time, people just go on the main page and leave. Plus, I tend to have one or two viewers per day.

    Reply