A lot of things are happening…
Each month, I report on the activities performed for my online company. In the month of May, I’ll take a pause from the classic Evo Report and tell you what we discussed during our annual meeting. Each year, my partner and I take a full day (or a weekend depending on the situation) where we start working at 7am and finish around a beer, ribs and a hockey game. We started this initiative a long time ago when we decided our blog activity was a business. Each year brings its challenges and new ideas. Here’s what we have discussed for 2013. I hope it will inspire you!
Not so long ago, I discussed on this blog how I should have a clear discussion about our personal finances with my wife. I was hesitant to start this discussion as I didn’t want to turn it into an argument. Well a similar situation was required with my partner. We both have well paid day jobs and busy lives. Last year, I had my third I child and he had his first. He was surprised to see how much time and energy a newborn takes in a day and I was surprised to see how my new job drained me at first. The result of these situations (doubled by the fact that the income was harder to earned) was a drop in our motivation and the number of hours worked in the company. This is why I had to discuss this issue with my friend: what stand do we take with regards to our business? Is it a hobby paying for our internet or do we want to eventually work full time online?
I was somewhat scared to have this discussion with my partner for two reasons:
#1 I didn’t want him to think I was disappointed by his work as I consider I underperformed as well. Sometimes, the other party could think you are blaming them while you are trying to have an honest discussion.
#2 I was scared that he would tell me he just wanted to keep the company as is to see how it goes. If we want to continue making money from our websites, we have to continuously evolve. Business model changes through times in the “real world”, it’s happening in the internet world as well.
The end result was very satisfying; I was scared for nothing. We are both committed to work harder on the company this year and that we would eventually be happy to work full time on our sites. I don’t think this situation will happen very soon considering that we both love our jobs and that we are making a good pay check. However, the plan remains the same; the day I want to retire early, I will count on my online gigs to make it happen. Same for him. In the meantime, we will continue to grow the company as we grow our careers.
Hosting our blogs is not enough anymore if we want to go to the next level. We can use our blogs as a launching platform and brand, but we need to expand from simply having a blog set on WordPress. I’ve discussed that we will be working on our traffic by improving our social media presence along with going mobile for our sites. The Facebook page should be as important as our blog. The reason is simple; people going on my Facebook Page, following my twitter account or communicating through Google + are all independent from search engines.
Therefore, it doesn’t matter if Google likes my sites or not; I will continue to get traffic. Aside from social media and becoming mobile friendly, we will also work with different media this year…
We just ordered our microphone along with screen capture video software. Our first goal was to build tutorials about things we do (manage our mailing list with Aweber, doing keyword research with Market Samurai, stock research and analysis, etc.). We thought that adding video on our blogs would make them more interesting for readers and could help us rank in another great search engine site; YouTube.
Once we got the idea of doing tutorials and short videos, we started brainstorming on another level. We thought that making podcasts could be another very interesting addition to our brand. Stock market reviews for one could be a great hit. Since we have a huge investing mailing list, we could start our podcast with several subscribers instantly. It’s now just a matter of mastering the art of the microphone before going live.
Since creating a membership website is one of my 2013 blogging goals, we took a good part of our day to brainstorm on this idea. We had several previous discussions about it but taking 3 hours straight to define our project truly helped to put it in the right light.
We discussed the time table to make sure we will be able to launch it on time. Such projects require several parties and need to be coordinated. We will need a programmer to organise different pages in our site, a designer to make it look sharp, an editor as we need all wording to be perfect and fellow bloggers to publish guest posts, reviews, etc.
We will also create a beta class for long time readers where they will have access to the membership site for free in exchange of their feedback. This will be a great way to make sure we have built a useful tool for investing. If this project works, this may be the beginning of a much bigger company!
We have the chance of having one of our VAs working near us. We were then able to invite her for lunch and get her direct feedback on what works and what doesn’t. We also gave her objectives to complete throughout the year. One of them is to take care of the social media campaign. She’s in charge of setting our pages and monitoring our progress.
We also wanted her to get clients for private advertising. We are not talking about sidebar links here but to get private clients for complete advertising campaigns. It could be reviews of their products, CPM ads or private affiliate programs that we will share throughout our network only. This is also a great source of revenue that have been underexploited lately.
What I like the most about these meetings is the feeling of accountability coming out of this. If we want to make it happen, we each have to commit ourselves and start working very hard. I’m convinced these changes will help us to expand our brand and make our business more fun!
Have you ever thought of bringing your blog to a whole new level or are you happy with where it is at?
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