My Business Plan - 2010 to 2012

12 replies
This post outlines the business plan I am developing, in the hopes I can gain enough knowledge by January 2012 to move forward with bigger and better ideas.

One of the topics on WF that always seems to catch my eye is the newbie versus information overload, and the newbie not knowing where to start. Many people have boiled beginner action down to picking a path, and following it until you understand just how it works.

I've put together a plan. I'd like to outline it here, and generally see if folks think I am planning this out properly.

First, let me say that I recently began to Freelance, and am currently working for two clients on an ongoing basis. Both of my clients have asked me to take on misc. SEO and internet marketing tasks as I learn how to do them. While it's beyond cool that I have clients who pay me to learn as I go, it puts me in a difficult position, and hence, my plan was formed based on the things I'm being asked to do and learn right now, by my clients.
So here is my plan. Suggestions, advice, and general feedback would be sweet. I'm not posting this just to say HELP, but so that other new folks might also gain something from this post.

I'm going to start a blog, and write about my experience being a freelancer who learns SEO and internet marketing skills as tasks are assigned to me. The demographic group I intend to target are people who, like myself, have started to freelance and are being asked to get into SEO and internet marketing by their clients. I know there are at least 300 workers on the Freelance site I work from who are in the same position as myself. And that's just one site. Below is the schedule that I have created, which contains goals that pertain to things I need to learn, and accomplish.

  • Now to July 15th - Consider domain names, keywords and competition in my niche. It's a fairly competitive niche, and I consider this an excellent chance to learn some things about Ranking, Promotion through Google Adwords, article and press release submission, and of course, SEO in general. I have a couple of different checklists that I am using to do all the possible prep I can, before I have the funds to register the domain name and get the blog hosted.
  • July 15th to July 30 - Register domain name, sign up for blog hosting, create blog, begin posting. All posts will be archived into a special folder on my pc, as the posts will form the foundation of an Ebook I will publish next year. During this period I will do all the things on my "start-up" site checklist, which includes promoting the site via Google Adwords, creating backlinks, and generally working on site PR and rank.
  • August to November - My main goal this period is to find my blog on page 3 of Google. I know it won't happen overnight, but I think my efforts will pay off by November. Meanwhile, I will continue to post. I'll use the name of my domain and blog to promote myself and my blog through sites like WF, social networks, twitter, etc. I'll learn how to use Google analytics, get a feel for how to use Google Adwords, and gain skills in building backlinks.
  • December - If I am on the 3rd page of Google, and have gained a decent amount of daily visitors, I'm going to create a couple of "cheat sheets". These will be 2-3 page Ebooks will be branded to my site, and will be used to promote an email subscription list. By this time I should have a solid understand of the tools I've been using up to that point, and I will begin writing reviews of various products that I want to promote through affiliation links. I do not plan on becoming an affiliate guru, but I do need to understand the basics.
  • January 2011 - Assuming December goes the way I plan, I'll launch the email subscription campaign. I'll continue to post, and meanwhile gain my list. Also, by this time, I'll be making more money from my Freelancing, because I'll be able to charge more for my services. I will have War Room access, and know what tools I prefer to use.
  • February 2011 - This is when I will tackle the mounds of material I have, and start work on the Ebook. I will also start planning to branch into a slightly different field, and begin the planning process for that.
  • June 2011 - This is the month I plan to launch the Ebook, and I should be well into learning another different internet marketing process as well.
  • January 2012 - By this time I will have an understanding of several key components of internet marketing, and I will then be able to make a better choice concerning what direction I want to go over the long term. As I am not really huge on the whole blogging thing, I want to have other options. But, I will be able to build that kind of business for others, and that is why it's my first choice as what to dig in and learn.
#2010 #2012 #blog #business #ebook #plan #seo
  • Profile picture of the author Jawshh
    First of all, continue to freelance till you get around $300.

    Secondly, instead of building a big blog that will probably never rank on page 1(not even on page 3), consider building niche sites.

    Thirdly, being on page 3 won't bring you any visitors! You will only get traffic if you're on page 1. Once again consider building niche sites.

    Now let me give you some ideas. Sign up on an affiliate network. Try clickbank.com and cj.com . They are perfect for beginners. Get a feel of some of the bestselling products, that is, understand who they are targeting and why and you know...

    Read, read and read. You don't know much about keyword research and stuff,therefore, you need to purchase an all-in-one nooB guide like Traffic Ultimatum or Google Sniper for example, that's why I suggested that you freelance till you get around $300. You can also get kim roach's free stuff. Her membership site is also awesome and doesn't cost much. Just google!

    To conclude, your business is too broad and will get you overwhelmed in no time. Focus on affiliate marketing for now and expand later. Another thing you can try is, monetizing with adsense...
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  • Profile picture of the author theemperor
    First - good on you for coming up with a detailed plan. Chances are you won't follow it to the letter - because as new information comes up you may need to change it. Nonetheless it is essential to keep planning to focus the mind and work out what is important, what is urgent and what can be left out.

    I agree with the previous poster about not going for a high competitive keyword. Plus page 3 on Google isn't hot, most people don't go that far (unless they are really desperate - searching for the solution to a PC error message is one example where you may check quite a few Google pages).

    However there is no harm in going for the high competition keyword if you also plan to spend time optimising your blog posts for a bigger list of lower-competition keywords too. Imagine 1 visitor per day per keyword-targeted post, and then having 100 posts like that on your blog.
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    • Profile picture of the author laurenceh
      First of all you have made a great start by creating a plan of action. Many people just jump in and leap from system to system without really knowing what they are trying to achieve long term.

      Like others have said why aim for page 3 of Google? If you are going to build up a content rich blog there is nothing wrong with targeting a "big" keyword that you could rank for overtime, but do not discount the lower searched for keywords.

      I hear people talking about only using keywords with a certain amount of searches and it makes no sense whatsoever to me!

      Keywords with less searches are often easier to rank for, and why would anyone ignore a traffic source, no matter how small?

      So I would say, keep learning, keep writing, target many different keywords in the niche, low search and higher searched, keep pressing on with the plan. Be prepared to be flexible with it as you go and things happen different to the way you expect.

      Last thing, remember there are other search engines other than Google
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    • Profile picture of the author x3xsolxdierx3x
      Don't underestimate the value of forming relationships with others, and blogging on other's blogs.

      In fact, I would seriously consider making a habit of contributing consistently to other blogs.....and, after a good solid 5-7 months of commenting consistently, and making yourself known to the blog owner(s), try to score some reviews and testimonials for your eBook....

      So many people are attempting to sell eBooks nowadays. You really need to have some authority names behind your product, and if you can do that AND give it away for free, you have a winning combination.....
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  • Profile picture of the author Andyhenry
    Hi,

    It's great that you've made a plan but there's something bugging me about it - You're not responding to a demand.

    It seems like it's all about you - rather than addressing a demand for something.

    It sounds like you're saying that you're intending to be selling seo and marketing information products to people you've built onto an email list based on being on page 3 of Google?

    Page 3 of Google is not likely to get you any decent traffic. In my experience almost zero traffic comes from page 3.

    You seem to be making a lot of assumptions.

    I think if you think more about 'WHO' your target audience is and getting in touch with what they want you'll get better results, rather than it being all about what you will do and hoping that people will find it, like it and buy it.

    As you said there are lines of people bringing out the newbie plan to seo and marketing every day, so I'm not sure why you think it's a good direction for you to go too - it's really competitive and most people will only buy that sort of information based on who it comes from.
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    • Profile picture of the author dbarnum
      Hi,

      Your plans listed in your initial post may be included in the marketing plan, but for an overall business plan, you may want to seek help from the SBA:

      Writing a Business Plan

      (no affil.)

      That page covers:

      Write a Business Plan

      SBA Program Office 8(a) Business Dev. Advocacy Banking Chief Financial Officer Chief Info. Officer Disaster Assistance Entrepreneurial Dev. Entrepreneurship Ed. Faith-Based & Nbd. Prt. Financial Assistance Freedom of Information GCBD Goaling Program Government Contracting Hearings and Appeals HUBZone Inspector General International Trade Investment (SBIC) Lender Oversight Native American Affairs Ombudsman Press Office SBDCs SCORE Size Standards Surety Guarantees Technology (SBIR/STTR) Veterans Womens Bus. Ownership A written guide to starting and running your business successfully is essential. This plan will encourage loans, promote growth, and provide a map for you to follow.




      Business plans help you define your target audience, business objectives, goals, strategies, and more with a long term outlook and annual analysis.

      Hope that helps!
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      • Profile picture of the author Richard Crooke
        Pandora,

        Great job in throwing yourself out in WF and listing your plan. You have received good feedback by others.

        My added suggestion is to stay focused and continue having a plan. Your plan will change overtime, but make sure you are making positive results.

        Always take the time to recognize your successes and continue to improve. Start off each day being grateful for something and you'll experience more success.

        To your success....

        Richard
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  • Profile picture of the author Jill Carpenter
    Originally Posted by PandoraHarper View Post

    This post outlines the business plan I am developing, in the hopes I can gain enough knowledge by January 2012 to move forward with bigger and better ideas.

    One of the topics on WF that always seems to catch my eye is the newbie versus information overload, and the newbie not knowing where to start. Many people have boiled beginner action down to picking a path, and following it until you understand just how it works.

    I've put together a plan. I'd like to outline it here, and generally see if folks think I am planning this out properly.
    Yippee!


    First, let me say that I recently began to Freelance, and am currently working for two clients on an ongoing basis. Both of my clients have asked me to take on misc. SEO and internet marketing tasks as I learn how to do them. While it's beyond cool that I have clients who pay me to learn as I go, it puts me in a difficult position, and hence, my plan was formed based on the things I'm being asked to do and learn right now, by my clients.
    You would likely want to cover these things at some point anyway - and I dare say if I had an understanding of SEO when I first started I would have been ahead of the game.

    I had no clue about SEO and started out with adwords. While I made money, my sites never saw the front page of the google search unless I was paying for it. So I wouldn't say you are in a difficult position what so ever.


    So here is my plan. Suggestions, advice, and general feedback would be sweet. I'm not posting this just to say HELP, but so that other new folks might also gain something from this post.

    I'm going to start a blog, and write about my experience being a freelancer who learns SEO and internet marketing skills as tasks are assigned to me. The demographic group I intend to target are people who, like myself, have started to freelance and are being asked to get into SEO and internet marketing by their clients. I know there are at least 300 workers on the Freelance site I work from who are in the same position as myself. And that's just one site. Below is the schedule that I have created, which contains goals that pertain to things I need to learn, and accomplish.
    So, are you expecting your blog to act as sort of a training manual for the others - where they can look if they are having issue learning to do something?


    • Now to July 15th - Consider domain names, keywords and competition in my niche. It's a fairly competitive niche, and I consider this an excellent chance to learn some things about Ranking, Promotion through Google Adwords, article and press release submission, and of course, SEO in general. I have a couple of different checklists that I am using to do all the possible prep I can, before I have the funds to register the domain name and get the blog hosted.

    • Could you clarify for me what you are determining as your niche? Is it SEO for the freelancer?

    • July 15th to July 30 - Register domain name, sign up for blog hosting, create blog, begin posting. All posts will be archived into a special folder on my pc, as the posts will form the foundation of an Ebook I will publish next year. During this period I will do all the things on my "start-up" site checklist, which includes promoting the site via Google Adwords, creating backlinks, and generally working on site PR and rank.
    • If you have something like wordpress it lets you download a file that has all those blog posts in it at any given time. If you are looking to start learning how to manage a blog in general, I will suggest you go to Wordpress.com and establish a free blog there. You won't be able to sell or advertise on it, but you will be able to poke around the back end and get a good feel for how it works in general. You will also be able to use things from that account for your new self hosted blog once you get it going.

      You can begin blogging immediately, and when you are ready to go to self hosting you can back up that blog, install WP on your host (with a one click install program) and then transfer the content up to the new blog within minutes.

    • August to November - My main goal this period is to find my blog on page 3 of Google. I know it won't happen overnight, but I think my efforts will pay off by November. Meanwhile, I will continue to post. I'll use the name of my domain and blog to promote myself and my blog through sites like WF, social networks, twitter, etc. I'll learn how to use Google analytics, get a feel for how to use Google Adwords, and gain skills in building backlinks.
    • Well, the speed at which this happens is going to depend on which keywords you are targeting exactly. If you are trying to rank for the term SEO, then I agree with Andy - page 3 won't really mean anything and you likely won't get there in that short period on your own.

      What I would recommend is using a different niche as the experimental ranking site. Something you can actually get to page 1 within a few months. They are not easy to find, but they are out there. This example site can be discussed on your SEO blog.

      If you get the right hosting set up, you'll be able to host many domains on one account for no extra charge.

    • December - If I am on the 3rd page of Google, and have gained a decent amount of daily visitors, I'm going to create a couple of "cheat sheets". These will be 2-3 page Ebooks will be branded to my site, and will be used to promote an email subscription list. By this time I should have a solid understand of the tools I've been using up to that point, and I will begin writing reviews of various products that I want to promote through affiliation links. I do not plan on becoming an affiliate guru, but I do need to understand the basics.
    • If these are tools you have used there is no issue or reason you can't promote them and use an affiliate link. It will just be an additional income source.

    • January 2011 - Assuming December goes the way I plan, I'll launch the email subscription campaign. I'll continue to post, and meanwhile gain my list. Also, by this time, I'll be making more money from my Freelancing, because I'll be able to charge more for my services. I will have War Room access, and know what tools I prefer to use.
    • February 2011 - This is when I will tackle the mounds of material I have, and start work on the Ebook. I will also start planning to branch into a slightly different field, and begin the planning process for that.
    • June 2011 - This is the month I plan to launch the Ebook, and I should be well into learning another different internet marketing process as well.
    • January 2012 - By this time I will have an understanding of several key components of internet marketing, and I will then be able to make a better choice concerning what direction I want to go over the long term. As I am not really huge on the whole blogging thing, I want to have other options. But, I will be able to build that kind of business for others, and that is why it's my first choice as what to dig in and learn.
    Ultimately this is your plan and we can only make suggestions/recommendations based on our personal experiences.

    One thing to keep in mind is that your plan should always have some fluidity to it.

    It sounds like you are using this time to learn and give yourself a bit more time until you determine what ultimate direction you want to go in.

    If you create a site that is centered around a smaller niche to use as a test site, you can not only rank it and maybe make some money from it, but you can also just sell it off when you are done doing what you want with it. It becomes an asset. And you can sell it and use that extra cash toward building what ever it is you want in the future.

    You don't need to find the end all be all niche - just something fun.

    The SEO niche is highly competitive. Unless you are going to promote yourself as an SEO specialist in your local town, it will be a really steep hill to climb and may frustrate you to no end.

    Consider taking a smaller bite that you can digest more easily and will build confidence in your abilities much quicker.
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    • Profile picture of the author PandoraHarper
      Originally Posted by avenuegirl View Post

      So, are you expecting your blog to act as sort of a training manual for the others - where they can look if they are having issue learning to do something?
      Informally, yes. Just how I am going to present the material is an issue I am working on. I do not want to push any particular path, and I need to avoid that type of presentation.


      Originally Posted by avenuegirl View Post

      Could you clarify for me what you are determining as your niche? Is it SEO for the freelancer?
      Yes. With a specific take on helping this demographic wade through all the garbage that is out there in regards to learning online marketing. Deeper demographic niche research is underway. If only I didn't suck so bad with Keyword Research.:p

      Originally Posted by avenuegirl View Post

      I will suggest you go to Wordpress.com and establish a free blog there.
      I'm fully proficient in creating and administrating self hosted WordPress blogs. I've just new to the SEO and online marketing side of the business. Creating websites has been a part-time career and hobby for some 15 years.

      Originally Posted by avenuegirl View Post

      If you are trying to rank for the term SEO, then I agree with Andy - page 3 won't really mean anything and you likely won't get there in that short period on your own.
      <Laughs>SEO is one hell of an $$$ term. I'm looking for other avenues.

      Originally Posted by avenuegirl View Post

      If you get the right hosting set up, you'll be able to host many domains on one account for no extra charge.
      I have considered this, and will be doing some research into the right kind of host. I wanted to go with a particular host, but they are not really good for this kind of industry. And hey, I really enjoyed your reply. Very good presentation. I also liked the "How to use WF Forum" videos you posted recently.
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  • Profile picture of the author Vishal Mahadik
    Yes, I completely agree with the views of x3xsolxdierx3x and Andyhenry .

    If you are making your business plan then first thing you need to understand is the real requirement of your target audience. Knowing your competition well is equally important too.

    If you really want to increase your list then you will have to build a strong relationship with your fellow marketers. When you increase your reputation by providing value to your subscribers then and only then they are going to believe in whatever you are promoting out there.

    It is also better to promote your own blog using niche forums. Forget about ranking well on Google. It is not the only source to gain traffic to your blog. Provide tremendous value to the forums you are targeting and you will definitely get great returns after some time.
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  • Profile picture of the author PandoraHarper
    Originally Posted by theemperor View Post

    However there is no harm in going for the high competition keyword if you also plan to spend time optimising your blog posts for a bigger list of lower-competition keywords too. Imagine 1 visitor per day per keyword-targeted post, and then having 100 posts like that on your blog.
    That is one of the tactics I plan on taking. My first post in this thread was so long to begin with that I left out LOADS of information. Thanks to those who mentioned this tactic, as I was hoping my plan to do this was not far out in left field.:rolleyes:


    Originally Posted by laurenceh View Post

    Like others have said why aim for page 3 of Google? If you are going to build up a content rich blog there is nothing wrong with targeting a "big" keyword that you could rank for overtime, but do not discount the lower searched for keywords.
    Quite a few of you responded in particular to my goal of reaching page 3 of Google. I said that was my goal for November. Assuming I do everything right, I should end up on the first page sometime in 2011.


    Originally Posted by Andyhenry View Post

    Hi,
    It's great that you've made a plan but there's something bugging me about it - You're not responding to a demand.
    Quite a few of you mentioned this, and rightly so. I've done prelim research that indicates that the number of IT people who are unemployed is HUGE. So is the number of mature white collar people involved in other industries. And a lot of these people are heading to freelance sites like Odesk, Elance, etc. A large number of large and small online marketing jobs are being posted on these freelance sites.

    A large percentage of those are one-off jobs, which can be done in a day or 3, if you know how to write good SEO copy. Or optimize the keywords on an existing site. Or conduct keyword research for a new project. And then there are the cooler jobs, where a business wants to hire someone full time to do online marketing for them. This requires knowing all those above skills, and more.

    Hence, I see a large number of "providers" on these freelance sites who see an opportunity, but have no related skills. Then there is the huge number of people elsewhere online that are looking to hire online marketers. My concern is that 90% of these new freelancers are in for a real shock.

    This is not like learning how to build a website from the ground up. This is not like learning how to use Photoshop. This is not like learning Unix, or becoming Microsoft Certified. I dabbled in internet marketing back in 2006, so I knew what to expect coming back to this industry. However, this time around, I underestimated the amount of material, and people, who are marketing their own internet marketing materials.

    I do not wish to offend those of you whose primary business is selling internet marketing materials. I have to say that I would not want the average IT worker, clueless about internet marketing, to wander into this industry without forewarning. This is a shark infested pool of scammers, and the real experts are rare gems in the pool of utter garbage that is floating around.

    I'm probably going to get flamed for saying this, but surely you remember what it was like when you first got into this business? So I see a demand to offer support to THAT group of people.

    Having said this, yes, it's still a very broad demographic, and I am working on finding a smaller niche related to the main subject matter. I am still learning how to do keyword research, and I SO SUCK at that right now.


    Originally Posted by avenuegirl View Post

    The SEO niche is highly competitive. Unless you are going to promote yourself as an SEO specialist in your local town, it will be a really steep hill to climb and may frustrate you to no end.
    Oh my gawds, I know this. I'm still trying to decide if it's worth it for the sheer learning experience. Having said this however, I am trying to find a smaller niche. The local thing isn't a bad idea, but this is where I get bogged down mentally: The local primary demographic unemployed worker in my region is not computer savvy, may not speak English, and can't afford a real internet connection. Yes, I live in the US. I just happen to live in a really CRAPPY part of the US right now. Also, I am hesitant to do anything based on my locale because as soon as I can, I am MOVING TO ANOTHER DAMN STATE.


    Originally Posted by RCrooke View Post

    Pandora,
    My added suggestion is to stay focused and continue having a plan. Your plan will change overtime, but make sure you are making positive results.
    Quite a few of you mentioned this. Believe me, I am well aware that my baby of a plan is going to get twisted, wrung out to dry, and sometimes thrown into a large fire. Heh. But, I'm in the prelim stage, and want to develop something that will keep me focused on specific goals and continuing tasks. If I don't have that to lean on, fluid as it may be, I won't get anything at all done.

    I have to say that I was a bit surprised to see so many responses to my HUGE original post. I want to give a big Thank You to everyone contributing to this thread. I wanted to say a lot of other things, but it seems I can't make a short post to save my life.
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    • Profile picture of the author Andyhenry
      Originally Posted by PandoraHarper View Post

      I do not wish to offend those of you whose primary business is selling internet marketing materials. I have to say that I would not want the average IT worker, clueless about internet marketing, to wander into this industry without forewarning. This is a shark infested pool of scammers, and the real experts are rare gems in the pool of utter garbage that is floating around.

      I'm probably going to get flamed for saying this, but surely you remember what it was like when you first got into this business? So I see a demand to offer support to THAT group of people.
      I rarely sell IM related stuff so you can say what you want

      You're right - there are a lot of unscrupulous people in IM. It's not surprising because many people get in to IM with problems and hope IM is the answer, get sold lots of hype and then waste money they don't have buying products with false promises to get rich quick.
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