I like to play foosball.
And, as usual, I thought I was pretty decent at it. After all, I can beat all my friends.
That was until yesterday when I decided to YouTube how professional foosball players play.
“Is this the same game?” I asked myself.
It was clear that I am, and probably will always be a complete novice.
Which, luckily, is OK for me, since I’m not trying to break into the big leagues of foosball. However, it did get me thinking about what it means to be a professional, and how even concerning the most common of activities (like foosball, or blogging), there is a huge difference between novices and professionals.
With that in mind, how can we categorize professional bloggers? What makes them different?
They Have A Long Term Vision
Perhaps the most important thing is mindset. Notice, how I immediately wrote off my foosball skills because “I’m not trying to become a professional”.
Which is true – I’m not.
And because I’m not trying to become a professional, I’m not taking the necessary steps to ensure a long-term career for myself in foosball, by doing things like practicing daily, investing in equipment and lessons, and studying the pros.
In many ways, blogging is the same – some people approach it with a long-term vision and do things like:
- Develop a newsletter, to ensure long-term direct traffic
- Build a team of people from designers to developers who contribute to the blog
- Invest in premium themes, plugins, and courses
If you want to be a professional you have to act like one. Don’t fool yourself into thinking it’s something you will just happen into – have a long-term vision for your success.
They Sell Things
Have you ever met a professional athlete who didn’t get paid for what he did?
Bloggers are the same. Every single professional blogger has a means through which they make money, and almost always it’s something proprietary.
- Ramit Sethi has his online courses like Earn1k
- Lindsay Ostrom has her Tasty Food Photography ebook
- Pat Flynn has software, books, and course
While all of the them earn money from advertising or affiliate sales, they are largely in control of their income. And while there are hundreds of ways to earn money online, professionals often focus on a flagship product.
Beginner bloggers, on the other hand, often think that it’s enough to just be blogging, and that “the income will come, after the audience is built”, instead of trying to monetize or build a business from the get go.
So, are are people buying tickets to watch you “play”, or are you just playing pickup basketball?
How does your blog earn money for your business?
They Optimize Their Businesses
Speaking of Pat Flynn, he just redesigned his website. The interesting thing about it is that it was only a year or two ago since his last redesign.
Mind you, these are not small tasks or a simple theme switch.
They’re large development tasks that require a team of people to work together on.
But this is what professionals do – they optimize.
Because when you’re that large, there’s more to be gained through optimizing what you currently have than focusing on growing more through acquisition.
Typical places to optimize are:
- Your website’s speed
- Your website’s SEO
- Your user experience
- Your conversion funnels
You should be revisiting each of the above at least once a year to keep up with the latest trends and advancements, as online blogger changes quickly.
In fact, set a task to review one of the above every quarter.
They Network With Influencers
It is true Influencers works with other Influencers. Last, but not least, is the networking.
Professionals always see the bigger picture about what they’re doing. They recognize that they may one day want to change careers, or start a new project, and to safeguard against starting over they invest in building a brand and forming relationships, which they can always draw on.
Having a brand and relationships might as well be like having cold, hard cash, which is why you never see professionals struggle with new projects like beginners do.
If there’s one thing you can do today, it’s start connecting with the key people in your niche, either by commenting on their blog, following them or sharing their work.
Whether you’re a professional now, or just on your way, there are clear steps you can take now, for example:
- Plan out your long term vision
- Create a flagship product or means to earn money
- Optimize your business
- Start networking in your niche