Updated: Jan 25, 2021
So you’ve started your own business – Congratulations.
You’ve also gotten through the struggle of establishing a website – Great.
You took the leap and decided to setup a blog – Wise move.
But now what?
As your empty first blog stares back at you, smirking at your defeat, it’s easy to wonder what happened to those million great ideas you’ve had for the past week: the genius idea you had just as you sat down for dinner; the flash of brilliance that struck you while you were in the shower; the breakthrough topic that you didn’t write down because how could you possibly forget something so magnificent?
What happened to all that inspiration?
The truth is, this happens to all of us, no matter how long we’ve been writing. Inspiration is one of those things that seems to magically disappear precisely when we need it most, much like car keys or your phone company’s customer service...
The good news is that it’s not all bad. There are some basic tricks you can use to help you with your writing – tricks that us writers use all the time and usually keep secret. I’m here to share some of these secrets with you.
Here’s the first one: writing your first blog is actually pretty easy!
The first step is to avoid the common temptations, and there are two that many first-time bloggers usually fall into:
the intimate ‘this is me’ introduction which sounds like something that belongs in a Church confessional;
the immediate launch into a detailed, technical analysis of some topic which about 6 people in the world actually understand.
Don’t be those guys.
The trick is to strike a fine balance between these two extremes.
Yes, you need to introduce yourself and yes, it’s always good to give useful tips, but moderation is key. For example, in introducing yourself, it’s best to set the limit at, ‘this is me as it relates to you, the reader’. For example, if you’re in the business of selling jewellery, tell your readers about your fascination with jewellery, what inspires you about it, what drove you to start a business… but they don’t need to know about that time you fell off a scooter whilst holidaying in Bali.
In terms of topics to cover, a good idea is to give your readers a taste of what’s to come, so they make sure to keep an eye out for your next blog and hopefully subscribe, or they might even feel inspired to make suggestions of what they’d like to see covered.
To demonstrate, I’ll use this, my first blog, as an example of what I’m describing. It’ll introduce me (my style and personality) and introduce some benefits for you, the reader (how to write your first blog, what to expect next time).
That’s really as much as you need for a first blog.
I’ve had a passion for writing since I was a young child, and there’s few writing styles and formats I haven’t played with. I particularly enjoy exploring topics around crime, law, belonging and God. In terms of style, I prefer writing on the edges, either highly abstract concepts or highly detailed personal experiences. I like writing that is dense and rich in meaning, so I often find myself reading philosophy and metaphysics for inspiration, and have recently started exploring and experimenting with poetry, so watch this space..
In my spare time I like getting out into nature: hiking, camping, swimming and more recently, snorkelling/spearfishing (I’m yet to encounter a Great White but I’ll be sure to keep you posted!). On quieter days I like to lounge around with a good book, some black tea and dark chocolate.
In terms of work, I’ve worked in a variety of industries, most recently transport, and before that academia, retail and logistics. But I always come back to writing as a passion, which is why you’re reading this : )
What should you expect from this blog?
A number of things. I’ll be sharing various tips n tricks I’ve learned from my 20+ years working in very different industries, and particularly things that relate to running a small business.
There are some things that I struggle with about running a small business (did someone say marketing : / ). For example, knowing how to dodge I mean, claim tax; finding the right management tools to work more efficiently; PayPal or Payoneer? MYOB or Xero? Facebook or Twitter? There’s a long list of topics to discuss and share ideas around.
There are also some things I do really well – things I want to share with you so you can do them well, too:
Writing. Well you would really hope so, wouldn’t you?
Organising my time and space. Yes, I’m a little pedantic, it’s true. But hey, it works, and it helps me keep my life in balance.
Buying things. No, I don’t mean shopping. I’ll admit, I never actually considered this a skill, but I always get asked for tips on how to conduct a thorough search. I’ve perfected the art of searching over many, many years, and can often find ads that are hidden in the dark corners of the web due to poor advertising on the part of the seller. Which leads me directly to…
Advertising. So many people get this wrong. (un)Fortunately, I’ve been writing ads since I was a kid, so I know the common dos and don’ts for creating successful ads on the most common platforms, such as eBay.
Speaking. In my other life I’m a public speaker and have presented to audiences ranging from students to politicians. I can show you how to speak to people effectively in your business dealings: how to frame your language in a way that benefits rather than betrays you. (Psst -- This also works for kids!) We’ll get to this in time.
Managing relationships. Also known as, ‘learning to say no’ (or NO!, depending on the context). This one took me years to learn, but hopefully with some help you can master it in less time.
So this is my promise to you, my reader: For the things that I know well, we can share tips and tricks on best practice. For things I struggle with but have found solutions for, we can discuss what works and what doesn’t. For everything else, there’s MasterCard we can learn together.
But don’t let me dictate the terms. Comment below – what things would you love to see discussed on here? What’s causing you business pain or business gain?