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Are You Ready to Grow Your Business With This?

Wanna know how I built my own business?

Do you want me to tell you the biggest secret behind my profitable business? How I managed to create and sell two audienceonline training programs, booked amazing consulting clients and created an impressive portfolio of freelance work?

With guest blogging.

Yup, that’s it.

I know that’s not the most exciting answer but it is the truth.

I didn’t spend any time wooing the influencers, the A-listers or the big shots. I am an introvert – it is very hard for me to reach out to people and ‘connect’ with them unless it happens naturally. (Don’t believe me? I have 44 friends on Facebook and most of them are family or family-friends.)

I didn’t spend big bucks on getting paid traffic (because I didn’t have any). And I didn’t start using Facebook ads until I was working full time (because I didn’t have the confidence to do so).

I didn’t get lucky. None of my posts ever went viral. I never got an avalanche of traffic. And I never, ever spent more than 10 minutes per day on social media meaning – I had no huge following on these platforms.

I set up a very basic website, I started offering freelance writing services and I started guest posting.

With less than a year, working part-time hours, I was able to reach the goal of adding 1000+ people on my email list. 

Clients started finding me through my guest posts so I had to stop prospecting. There wasn’t simply any need for me to pitch them anymore. Clients were now coming to me from my own list. It. Finally. Happened. And I have to thank guest blogging for all that.

I’ll be fair here, once I reached 2000+ people on my list, I reduced my guest blogging activities quite dramatically. One, I didn’t need it so much anymore, secondly, I just didn’t have time to create all that free content (That’s a good problem to have, right?). I could now invest way more in my business.

So if you haven’t reached this point in your business yet – and I assume you haven’t or you wouldn’t be reading this – try building your list with guest posting.

In any case, you’ve got to pay for traffic – I’d recommend you pay it with your time, rather than with money. Now, I know what you are thinking right now. But there is so much competition on the big blogs, or I am not very good at writing. Do I have a chance? Of course, you do.

You run a business (or are about to). You are an expert in your field. You have helped many people: Friends, colleagues, clients and customers. Why can’t you offer something of value to any blog’s readers? Of course, you can. Firstly, just remember this.

You don’t have to come up with an out-of-this-world idea

The worst thing you can do is to try to come up with the most unconventional angle, something so different that it doesn’t really fit in the general theme of the blog. Something so earth shattering that people might have trouble believing you could actually deliver it.

Do your homework – and here’s a list to help you:

  • Check out the audience. Does the blog cater to a highly advanced audience, or is it aimed at the beginners? Write to the wrong audience and you’ll lose your guest posting chance.
  • Look at popular posts. See which type of posts on the blog get a lot of attention and nod of approval by the readers. They like that stuff – don’t deviate to something wildly different.
  • Research the style. Every blog has a preferred style of writing, even if they don’t publish a style guide. You can generally get a feel for it if you read plenty of their posts – and you should conform to it as much as possible.
  • Be confident about your idea. Make things easier for yourself by pitching an idea you can execute effortlessly. This isn’t the time to tackle a completely new subject or go out of your comfort zone.
  • Get a working headline. Compose one sentence that sums up the entire post… and don’t deviate from that idea as you write the rest. Go deeper into the topic, but stay ON topic!
  • Outline. Ali Luke recommends preparing an outline of your post and then drafting the body before anything else. Write your opening intro and ending call to actions last.

Your initial draft doesn’t have to be perfect

Give yourself to write a shitty first draft.

Steven Pressfield explains the process of writing, composing and idea generation in his manifesto, Do the Work. He splits the process into two stages: action and reflection. “Act, reflect. Act, reflect. NEVER act and reflect at the same time.”

Ideas won’t come to you linearly at will. Let them come in their own time, when they’re ready. And record each of them as they come. Move them around and find them a proper home later. Draft something ordinary first. Polish it later on.

Beware of resistance.

During this process, you’ll be tested by all forms of resistance – especially if any of this advice is new to you. You’ll have thoughts swirling around that sound something like this:

  • “I’m not good enough.” Yes, you are. So carry on. You’re feeling the same thoughts that the majority of writers out there have inside their own head – yes, even A-listers!
  • “Nobody cares if I do this.” Yes, they do. There are all sorts of people who care about you in the world, and they want to see you succeed.
  • “I can’t do this.” Of course you can. This isn’t moving mountains – it’s writing a simple guest post. Keep it in perspective and have faith in your ability, just like the editor of that blog already did. 

You can do this.

Take the pressure off. Pretend you are writing to a friend or a fan who loves your work.

You don’t have to write that post that goes viral – and no one expects you to.

Remember, you are writing to help others, build a relationship with the blog owner as well as their audience. You want them to come check out you. You want them to get value from your content and subscribe to your newsletter.

Eventually, you want to convert them into paying clients and customers. You don’t have to create a masterpiece.

Just plain good will do.

Have you taken my 3-minute Client Attraction Quiz? Check it out now, it’s awesome! :) 

18 Comments

  1. Heléna Kurçab Says :
    Posted on May 2, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    Thank you so much for your informative blog, Marya. I alway learn something new, or have something reinforced. (sigh)
    Kind regards from Madrid, Heléna Kurçab (Author “You Can Do It!”
    El último empujón at tu inglés)

    • Marya Jan Says :
      Posted on May 3, 2014 at 8:57 am

      Hi Helena,

      Sometimes we just need a reminder of things we truly need to do to move forward. Glad my post was helpful! 🙂

      Cheers,
      Marya

  2. Rebecca Ward Says :
    Posted on May 2, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    Hello Marya,
    Great to see this in my in-box today, the Guest posting is something which does fill me with some fear! What to write about is the first thing that always comes to mind!
    “You run a business (or are about to). You are an expert in your field. You have helped many people: Friends, colleagues, clients and customers. Why can’t you offer something of value to any blog’s readers?”
    This comment has really struck a cord today and now I’m actually starting to think of some of the things I can actually write about, which is certainly a step forward! I love your instruction to “write a shitty first draft”
    Thanks Marya for the nudge, I needed one.
    Take care, Rebecca x

    • Marya Jan Says :
      Posted on May 3, 2014 at 8:59 am

      Hey Rebecca,

      Great to see your comment and the fact that the post resonated with you. Now start getting your name out there. Your knitwear is too gorgeous to stay hidden from the rest of the world! 🙂

      Marya

  3. Saiisha Says :
    Posted on May 2, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    So lovely to hear such success stories Marya – gives inspiration to the rest of us 🙂

    • Marya Jan Says :
      Posted on May 3, 2014 at 9:00 am

      Thanks so much, Saiisha. Hope you are working on a guest post or two? 🙂

  4. Andrea Says :
    Posted on May 2, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    Marya, I found you on Facebook (fellow bschooler) and loved your post there. So I just visited your blog to see what you are up to – and love it. Already took your quiz and joined your tribe 🙂 Looking forward to come by more often. – Andrea

    • Marya Jan Says :
      Posted on May 3, 2014 at 9:02 am

      Hey Andrea,

      Thanks so much for your kind words. I was blown away by the response it received – and I am thinking of publishing it as a blog post. What do you think?

      And, welcome! 🙂
      Marya

      • Andrea Says :
        Posted on May 3, 2014 at 6:25 pm

        Yes, definitely! It totally spoke to me. Encouraged me to keep going 🙂

  5. Are You Ready to Grow Your Business With This? ... Says :
    Posted on May 2, 2014 at 7:44 pm

    […] Wanna know how I built my own business? Do you want me to tell you the biggest secret behind my profitable business?  […]

  6. Jim Says :
    Posted on May 2, 2014 at 8:08 pm

    THIS is what I’ve been trying to find the answer to – how to market – get my name out there, and be an introvert at the same time. Now you’ve got me thinking. Thanks

    • Marya Jan Says :
      Posted on May 3, 2014 at 9:03 am

      Jim, guest posting works! It is THE best strategy for us introverts so do give it a try.
      All the best,
      Marya

  7. John Peter Says :
    Posted on May 7, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    THIS is what I’ve been attempting to search out the solution to – a way to market – get my name out there, ANd be an introvert at a similar time

  8. Sagar Says :
    Posted on May 14, 2014 at 7:39 am

    Very nice and motivating post

    Many web masters and bloggers have their own methods of managing their business which they do not share generally. They also differ depending upon the websites type.

    You can also define your ways of promoting and managing your business with the help of the above blog. It shows how we can build our business well by some simple steps if followed. I truly agree that paying a little time and analyzing the site is better than making adds for the sites or products by paying money.

    The tips which you have mentioned are truly worth trying and thank you for sharing such valuable posts.

  9. Anne Hays Egan Says :
    Posted on May 27, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    Excellent analysis and suggestions. I’ve come to the same conclusion, and I think that the professional connections made with other bloggers in one’s field are another bonus.

  10. Tania Says :
    Posted on June 2, 2014 at 8:23 pm

    Hi Marya Jan, thanks for sharing this content. It is very good value. You gave me the right push to do some research and write a guest post. Like you, I am an introvert and I know you from your very inspiring post on the B-school page. You received amazing and positive feedback! These are the things that inspire others to keep going and not give up, so keep sharing 🙂 You are doing great!

  11. Tina Says :
    Posted on June 15, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    Hi Marya,
    That’s the biggest question I’ve got, when I will be ready to really keep the ball rolling? I kept on holding back, every time I want to move forward, something will full me back. I know there’s a lot missing on my blog.

    I have followed you for a year already and all I’ve done was read your post, clicked, read, looked at others post, read then shut it down and that’s it.

    Now,it will be different. I would like to ask you to do something for me. There are so many things I do not know and I think borrowing and reading the books from the library will need a life time challenge. So I give up. I am a very patient person and love to do things my own, but if this has to be done properly then someone has to step in. And after thinking it through, here I am, ready to learn.

  12. Anne Haynes Says :
    Posted on September 22, 2014 at 10:19 am

    Hi Marya,
    I discovered your website last week and have already found it and your posts very useful, thank you!
    I’m sorry to ask but I am slightly confused at what you mean by guest post. Are you talking about interviewing other writers or experts in your field and writing an article about it on your blog. Or are you talking about writing posts for other websites?
    Thank you,
    Anne