I’m really excited.
Okay – I’m usually really excited – but today more so than others.
Today, I’m excited to tell you about the last year at Paying for Life, which has gone from an idea to a blog with about 650 people paying attention to it.
This is small potatoes in the blogosphere – but it feels HUGE to me.
Note from Danny: This *is* huge. Megan has grown almost as much in her first year as we did in the first year of Mirasee. And Mirasee was a full-time gig with two partners and an assistant, whereas Megan is doing Paying for Life very much on the side. So way to go!
Looking back as I’ve been working alongside (and let’s be honest – very often behind!) our students in the Audience Business Masterclass, I can see a number of things I’ve done well over the last year, and some things I haven’t.
On the positive side: my list has grown, and I’ve started building some relationships – and even friendships – with other bloggers in my space. I’ve also started blogging more frequently and *very* recently started pitching guest posts more aggressively. I have also made a plan for a couple of bigger campaigns for the next few months – I’ll explain more about all of this below.
On the more negative side, I spent most of the year laboring under the impression that I needed to become an authority in the personal finance space online – and that’s not as true as I thought it was. It won’t hurt – but it’s not the Niche Superhero I really want to be.
The other major thing I’ve done wrong is that I have yet to really prioritize my work for my own business. I care about it, it matters to me – but I also have this incredible day job…
So I’m trying to find a balance right now that lets me do the work I want to be doing AND the work I want to be doing. (What a problem, right?)
Okay, let’s go over some of this in more detail. Hopefully you can learn a little from my mistakes. 😉
Hey Audience! Where Are You?
I spent a good portion of last year doing something a little backwards. Anyone in the Audience Business Masterclass will be familiar with this feeling – where you’re working and writing and networking and you think all is going really well and then all of a sudden you wake up and realize: “What the heck am I doing? My audience doesn’t read personal finance blogs!” (Or the equivalent.)
Talk about not seeing the forest for the trees!
I was going about guest posting and blog commenting the wrong way. The blogs I need to be connecting with aren’t other personal finance or money making blogs – my audience isn’t ready for those yet. They’re politically and socially motivated, not financially motivated – and while I know they see a need to acquire more of the good green stuff – they’re NEVER going to Google “how to plan for retirement” or “the top performing stocks for students.”
They’re going to Google: “I’m broke,” “the millennial condition,” “the economic meltdown,” “make a living…” Things more along those lines.
So I’ve stopped commenting on most personal finance blogs, (some I stay involved with because I like them and the bloggers a great deal) and instead turned my attention to more social and lifestyle oriented ones.
You know how I know this is a better choice?
I’m enjoying it so much more.
You Win Some, You Lose Some
You might remember the coloring book idea I was talking about in the last update I had for you. Well I did charge ahead with it – I reached out to tons of comic and graphic artists that I respect and my audience loves – and got rejected by almost every single one.
Now, this isn’t as brutal as it sounds. Many of the artists I wanted to work with were TOTALLY willing to lend a hand and share their work. But they couldn’t, because they have contracts with agents and publishers. Many offered to do an illustration for their usual bespoke fees – which, while reasonable, were a little outside of my budget. (A lot outside of my budget.)
That put a hitch in my red panda content plans – but not to worry. Necessity is the mother of invention, and because my initial plan failed, I’m taking a page from our own Danny Iny’s book and doing something a little more collaborative, with people who are a little more up-and-coming. I reached out to my network and found illustrators, artists and even someone with a decided passion for pagination who are all interested in getting involved.
I’m not going to spill all of the launch-plan beans just yet – but I’ve got another update coming in April, and I expect to have good news for you then.
On that exact note, I’ve got another new plan to run by you all…
Sending Letters to Famous People
I have been feeling the need for a subscriber bump, and while I’m really enjoying the guest posting I’ve been able to do, in my slow, post-by-post way, I also want to practice hosting an online event.
Do you remember the killer Author Panel Webinars that Danny did with folks like Jonah Berger, Josh Kaufman, Mitch Joel and Guy Kawasaki?
I thought so. I loved them too, and so I’m going to host one of my own. 🙂
Hosting an online event of this sort is an incredible way to both get a ton of subscribers, but also really build relationships with others in your space. Putting it all together will take a good amount of work but (prepare for shameless plug) I’ve got my handy-dandy copy of the Author Panel Issue of the Campaign Mastery Marketing Blueprints Club right here and so it’s all laid out for me step-by-step (end plug).
At a high level, I’ll invite a well-known author in my space to join me on a call to promote their book, and have a panel of other bloggers in the space present as well to make the discussion lively, interactive and hugely valuable for everyone listening. The panelists I invite will also be encouraged to share information about the event to their lists.
I have a few people in mind to ask on as Panelists, but I haven’t decided on who to ask to be the main featured author yet. Any suggestions? Ideally, this will run in the spring.
And Finally – She Writes Regularly…
I’ve run my first content calendar campaign over January – The Art and Artistry of the Side Hustle – a 4-post series explaining why a side business is a good idea, how to come up with ideas for one, how to put them to the test and what to do with your first side hustle dollars.
It’s been a lot of fun, and making myself stick to a weekly schedule has been challenging and rewarding. Now to just keep it up forever …
Starting in February, I’m going to be sharing some Side Hustle Success stories: my own from back in the day, and those from some people I know. If the response to them is good, I’ll make Side Hustle Successes a regular feature. (So hey – If you have a Side Hustle gone right story – let me know!) It feels kind of cool to be thinking about regular features.
Okay, I’m winding down on updates to share – but I have just one more thing to say …
The Magic Number
It’s looking like I’m going to be hitting that wonderful 1000 subscriber mark pretty soon – and I’m trying to prepare for it in terms of having content ready, campaigns, and ways to keep the momentum going.
But I’m a little anxious because I know that giving this project the time it deserves is my biggest weak point, so I’m trying to set some “ground rules” for myself to help keep on track, like trying to devote the first couple of hours of each day to Paying for Life work, and publicly making deadlines.
I’ve set overall goals for the year – launch with Red Panda content, make my first offer for sale (watch out summer – here I come!), and blog regularly – I know how to do these things, but will I?
So I ask you, dear readers of Mirasee – how do YOU make something a priority, and make sure you hit the goals you set for yourself?
I’d love any advice or input that you have.