My freshmen year of college I decided that I was going to major in business. Like many other college students out there, I financed most of my college education through student loans. So when I entered college, I knew I needed a return out of my investment and I guarantee that I would have a job in four years. At 18 years old, I had no idea that I would later start a blog and an online brand. Picking business as a major was a practical decision for me that has paid me back over and over again.
This decision not only helped me line up multiple internships and job offers out of college, but also has helped me in my creative endeavors. I can’t believe that what I learned in my management, marketing, and sales classes has helped me stand up my blog and Instagram. So today on Emma’s Edition, I’m sharing 6 business concepts to apply to your blog:
Business Concepts #1. Define a mission statement
Every business and nonprofit out there strives for clear strategic direction for their work and the people they’re serving. If you also want set clear direction for your blog, Instagram, or YouTube channel, I’d also recommend creating a mission statement for your channels.
Why it’s important to create a mission statement: If you feel like you’re all over the place, creating content for everything that comes to mind – beauty, fashion, travel, parenthood, school, etc. creating a mission statement can help you narrow your focus. My mission statement for Emma’s Edition is: inspiring the modern woman with fashion, career, and life tips. I started out as just a fashion blog and expanded to other areas in my life that I felt most excited about.
Additionally, it’s important to produce consistent, clear content around a specific focus because this is essential when you’re starting to build an audience. You help retain a reader, follower, and audience member when they visit see your website and Instagram and can immediately see that you’re a fashion focused blog or account.
Business Concepts #2. Define annual and quarterly goals
Set yourself up for success by creating a clear vision for yourself what success means to you. If success means hitting 5,000 on Instagram, what steps do you need to take to reach that goal? If success to you means driving 5,000 unique sessions on your blog, what steps do you need to take to reach that goal?
Advice: I recommend creating annual (1-3 over arching goals) and quarterly (2-4 smaller goals) so the steps you want to take can be taken throughout the year. Example:
Annual goal: Drive 5,000 unique visitors to Emma’s Edition
Quarter 2 (April-June 2018) Goals:
- Write 2 blog posts per week
- Publish one newsletter a month
- Make sure to update Instagram story highlights when a new blog posts is shared
Business Concepts #3. Apply Breakeven Point
What is a breakeven point: when your profits (money or gifted product) = your costs (cost of photography or time). Typically in a business, the breakeven point or price is the amount of units you have to sell in order to cover the costs of creating/manufacturing/providing the product or service.
In summer of 2016, I started applying the breakeven point lesson to the trade for promotion/gifted products partnerships. For instance, if I was a gifted a $20 shirt but my photography costs $100, I would be losing $80 in value for pursuing that partnership. But if I was gifted a $300 watch and my photography cost $100, the value of the watch exceeded the cost of photography.
Advice: Reflect on which gifted products outweigh your costs – you can reflect on previous collaborations or upcoming ones!
Business Concepts #4. Apply Opportunity Cost
One experience I face almost on a weekly basis is deciding whether or not I go to blogging events and/or whether or not I pursue gifted collaborations. Opportunity cost is when you are given the chance to take an opportunity (like a gifted collaboration), but make an alternative decision instead (not take the gifted collaboration).
I use the example of a gifted collaboration because so many brands and bloggers are entering in these types of partnerships. When you frame your collaboration opportunities with opportunity cost in mind, you get into the habit of thinking through what these brand collaborations will actually do for your brand. Sometimes gifted brand collaborations will be worth it for your blog if the brand guarantees you’ll be reposted and tagged on their accounts. Sometimes that $20 really isn’t work it – especially when you factor in the time you spent styling the shirt, setting up a time with a photographer, paying for those photos, writing the blog post, etc.
Advice: Obviously everyone weighs gifted product collaborations in a differently. So my advice to you would be embrace opportunity cost and the breakeven point concepts and ask yourself: how much do you value this brand collaboration? Will working with this brand for free help me long term (assessing the opportunity costs)? And am I super excited to work with this brand?
Business Concepts #5. Apply Sunk Cost
First of all, what is sunk cost? Sunk cost is a cost that you’ve already realized (your time and money has already been spent) and you can’t recover the cost. I use the sunk cost concept in almost every facet of my life. Here’s why I use it for blogging:
Have you ever tried something new strategy with your blog or Instagram? Maybe you tried engaging with a specific hashtag or tried getting a brands attention by participating in their social media campaigns. If you never got a return in your investment (for instance, the brand doesn’t engage or select you for a campaign), don’t dwell on it because that time spent is sunk cost.
Advice: You can’t get back that time you’ve already spent. So rather than dwelling on things that haven’t worked out, spend your time reflecting, learning, and moving on to the next thing that could potentially build your blog and brand.
Business Concepts #6. Apply Insource + Outsource
I’ve talked about insource and outsource concepts before on my blog – specifically on my How to Take Photos for your Blog – With and Without a Photographer post.
If you haven’t heard of these terms before, insource and outsource are the two different ways you can allocate work being done for your blog/brand. When you insource a task, for instance: editing your blog post, you personally spend the time completing the task. When you outsource a task, for instance: hiring a photographer to take and edit your photos, you pay someone to complete the task.
Why you should apply insource + outsource concepts to your blog: in my personal opinion, you are either spending time or spending money. I recommend thinking about what your strengths and what your areas of opportunities are. I prefer spending my time on strengths (writing, posing for the camera, engaging on social media), rather than spending my time on areas of opportunities (learning how to use a camera and how to use photo shop).
If you want to develop a skill set – like taking photos or designing your website, then learn how to take your own photos or how to build your website with CSS/HTML. If you’re crunched for time (like me – balancing blogging, a full time job, and school), then outsource the tasks you don’t have time or have the capacity to learn how to do. When I migrated my blog over from blogger to WordPress, I paid a company to complete the migration and install a new layout.
These are just 6 business tips to take with you in your blogging journey. Please let me know if you’d like more posts like this in the future!
Thank you to Seattle Vis for these gingham cropped pom pants! You can shop a similar look here:
Thank you for reading!
Photos: Holly Phan