For the month of November, we are going to focus on something different. It is all about personal development still, but instead of focusing on our habits, we are going to focus on personal projects. This is where better habits will help us be productive so it would be nice to see a return on investment for these past efforts. Erin and I will each be doing something different this month but we have a common goal. We want to develop a new source of income.
WHAT AM I FOCUSING ON?
For me, I need to focus on this blog. We started it in February and have learned a ton but have a long way to go. We are proud that it is still going as I have seen other bloggers come and go within this timeframe but it has not achieved what we have hoped it would. I do think we have inspired people with our story and given hope but we want to reach more people as this blog just doesn’t get much traffic. For us, getting out of debt and learning how to handle our money has transformed our lives and we want that for others. Providing a better website helps us get our message out.
Also, I would like to find ways to make some income on the blog as well but I can’t say I am optimistic this will occur. I do know though that many bloggers before us have done it so we can’t limit ourselves. Limiting beliefs only hurt ourselves and if you believe you will never get out of debt then that is what you will get.
Much like starting a big journey such as getting out of debt it is easy to be skeptical but because of the wonderful blogging community I know that we can reach many people and make money at the same time. Money is not the sole reason we have this blog, but if we are going to put time into it then it makes sense to find ways to monetize it as well.
WHAT IS ERIN FOCUSING ON?
Erin is a stay at home Mom to a 2-year-old and a 6-week-old. She has the toughest job in the world as far as I am concerned. She quit her job months ago to stay at home. She has many valuable skills and is interested in seeing what she can do to bring some additional income in. She is a fan of Chris Guillebeau who has a new book out called Side Hustle. While I really dislike the term side hustle and do think that sometimes we need to stop constantly trying to work and just find time to relax it seems this is a coming as a time when Erin is interested in trying to start something up. The intent of the book is to walk you through creating your side hustle in 27 days.
You could easily argue that with a 6-week-old now is not the time to start something like that. With that though we think it is best to just try and if it fails then learn and try again. There is no harm in trying to make something work.
The difference between our side hustles is that mine is already defined and hers is yet to be defined. That is the whole point of the book so we will see what comes from it!
SO WHY MAKE THIS A CHALLENGE?
This easily could just be a part of developing the blog or a side hustle but we want to use the power of public proclamation to hold us accountable. Since not a lot of people view this blog we won’t let down that many people but we are all on a journey and we need to support each other. While debt is no longer an issue for us we can still relate to starting something that seems daunting only to be told “take it one step at a time and trust the process.”
SO WHAT DO I PLAN TO DO?
For those of you that have a blog that gets traffic you might have different suggestions but there are 4 focuses that just haven’t happened the way I would like then to. To me they are foundational so that is why I want to push these 4 items.
Task #1 – Write a definitive ‘about us’ story
This is something that I am very embarrassed about. We have shared most of our story on podcast interviews, the Grow Magazine article or some of our posts but we really need a one stop shop for someone to get to know us and hopefully find commonalities. Right now, it just isn’t there. In the rush of starting this blog and keeping up with posts it just never happened. Sooner or later you just need to make it happen and that is now.
Task #2 – Crash course on SEO
SEO, or search engine optimization, has been this elusive thing to me. Essentially, this is how you get traffic from Google searches. Right now, most of our traffic comes from other blogs (thank you!) and links from our podcast interviews. Very little comes from Google searches.
There are many ways to bring traffic to your blog but this is an important one and any tips or references you might have for me is much appreciated. To start out I was going to read the Yoast SEO guide and the MOZ SEO guide.
I also do well learning by watching videos and hearing someone talk rather than me reading. A simple YouTube search will provide lots of results for tutorials as well so I should watch as many of those as possible.
Task #3 – Write a ‘start here’ section
My main goal for this blog is to be a gateway for personal finance and more specifically getting rid of debt. I hope that someone knowing nothing about personal finance and desiring to get out of debt could use this site as a primary resource. With that, it could be the catalyst that forever changes their lives as they brach out.
The goal is not to be a one-stop-shop for all things finance but to once again be the introduction for paying off debt. I hope that by focusing on this one thing it will help guide us going forward. It also doesn’t mean we can’t write about topics that aren’t directly related but we will know our reference point when creating posts.
Getting out of debt involves some fundamental practices in the beginning and even if I have written about some of these already, we need to provide a more direct path to these items as well as filling in the blanks.
Task #4 – Create 5 tools/resources
Since the very beginning I have wanted to provide tools such as excel files and documents for people to download and use along their journey. Some of these include a debt snowball calculator, a debt thermometer and a goal tracker among others. We have worked on different versions of these documents and have frankly tried to make them too perfect. We need to just get these out there and work to improve them later. This is a great example of letting “perfect get in the way of good.”
For us it was so helpful to have tools like this to keep us on track and stay motivated and that is something we want to share. We can always improve on what we put out there but unless we get some feedback then we will never know how well they are working for people.
By offering these tools, if we have improved our SEO, then we will have more resources to bring in traffic as well. Additionally, by providing these tools it allows us to start building a database of subscribers and potentially get the word out for future resources we might provide.
PERSONAL BEHAVIOR & HABITS
So we have done many challenges before this such as not watching TV, reading 15 minutes a day or waking up early that will help give us a framework for how we focus our time. Quite simply, we just don’t have as much time as we use to. With 2 young kids, it is difficult to find large chunks of time to do work.
I personally work best when I have a large chunk of time to complete a project. Our reality though is what it is and we need to make it work. There is no time for excuses, let’s just make something happen.
By getting rid of the distractions that will really help us. One thing I will need to address is my Candy Crush habit. I simply waste too much time playing it and know that it hurts my productivity. I need to get rid of it for a month or just eliminate it in the evenings.
Also, distinguishing when it is time to relax will also help. If we don’t define those times it is easy to let it creep in to our production time.
The items I have listed are a small part of building a successful blog and brand. Many bloggers use Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest to drive traffic to their site. This is something I should focus on as well.
Also, affiliate links are a big part of creating income and the course ‘Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing’ appears to be the real deal so we plan to take it soon just maybenot this month.
You will notice that there are no blurbs mentioning there are affiliate links on our blog and that is because we have none. Assuming we are successful in getting increased traffic then that will help provide effective affiliate links.
READY, SET, GO!
So with that, it is November 1 and time to get started. We will both begin our journey today towards finding another source of income. I’m not sure how this will turn out but if we never try we won’t find out.
Time to get working…….