The Ultimate Business Plan Workbook for Bloggers (Free Download)

  • March 30, 2011 by Corbett Barr
  • 46 Comments

Hey bloggers, here’s a potential newsflash for you. It’s OK to make money from your blog. You don’t have to feel guilty or like a “sell out” for doing so. Lots of people are earning a living from blogs these days and there’s no reason you can’t join that growing group.

But before you run off and slap some advertising on your site in hopes of making millions, let’s talk about the reality of earning a living from a blog.

First, a blog isn’t a business. A blog is simply a good way to reach an audience online. If you want to build a business around your blog, that’s completely doable, but you need to think about the business end of things just like you would with any other business.

Second, a little planning can go a long way. Yes, if you build a giant audience online, chances are you’ll be able to make money somehow even without planning. But most people don’t build giant audiences. Most people build modest audiences.

Bloggers who plan ahead can still earn a comfortable or even great living from a modest-sized audience. Bloggers who don’t plan ahead are usually stuck with some unpleasant choices when they realize they aren’t on track to build the next Boing Boing or Zen Habits.

I’ve taken everything I learned from the first year of Think Traffic (and the first two years of my other site), and packaged them into a new comprehensive business plan workbook for bloggers.

This isn’t your typical business-school type plan. It’s the kind of plan that aims to get you thinking about what matters instead of creating random 5-year revenue numbers out of thin air. Planning is guessing after all, but simple planning has been shown to increase a business’s chances of succeeding. Answer these 33 in-depth questions and you’ll have a much better shot at building a successful business around your blog.

This workbook is free. Download it here.

Written by . Corbett is cofounder of Fizzle, a place for creative entrepreneurs, writers, makers, coders and artists, all working to support themselves doing what they love independently on the Internet. Follow Corbett on on Twitter.


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Hector Cuevas March 30, 2011 at 6:35 am

Thanks for the great resource bro. I’m sure people will find it very useful. I’ll have to agree 1000%, that a blog isn’t a business. Without a business strategy, having the biggest audience won’t make you a dime.

Hec

Philipp Knoll March 30, 2011 at 1:40 pm

Hi,

I love the resources here at Think Traffic but this time I have to argue against you. I believe it is fair to say that a blog is / can be a business. If the blog is not the business than what is? Would you rather call the idea on how to monetize your blog a business?

I believe we could split it up like this: You have a business idea (the idea what to blog about and probably a guess on how to make money from it), then you set up your business (you set up your blog) and then you work your strategy. Otherwise you could argue that Ford, BMW etc are no cars until you fill the tank with gas. Because only then you can can start the engine and drive.

Looking forward to hear your take on this.
Regards,
Philipp

Benny March 30, 2011 at 6:49 am

Look forward to reading it. I’m sure it’ll be as epic as your other content.

Corbett Barr March 30, 2011 at 10:17 am

Cool Benny, please let me know how useful you find it to be.

Anant May 21, 2011 at 4:43 am

hey Benny, the link to your website is wrong. I figured it’s getbusyliving.com though. Glad I found it. It’s great! : )

Vito Colombo March 30, 2011 at 7:14 am

This isn’t working. I tried several times to get the download but keep getting error messages.

Corbett Barr March 30, 2011 at 10:24 am

Hey Vito, what error message do you get exactly?

Internet Marketing Fan March 30, 2011 at 8:26 am

Okay, I may be just missing it, but I signed up for your updates, but I don’t see any business plan anywhere. What am I missing?

Corbett Barr March 30, 2011 at 9:05 am

Hey there, please check the final “thank you” email you were sent. There will be a link in there. Let me know if you didn’t receive that email.

Marketing Gal March 30, 2011 at 9:14 am

Signing up. Cant wait to read what ya got in there !

Brian Driggs March 30, 2011 at 9:16 am

I like your moves, Corbett.

1. Kick ass.
2. Help others do likewise (with thought-provoking workbook-type deal).
3. Build your own list.

This showed up at the right time.

lauren March 30, 2011 at 10:27 am

Thank you!! I’m super excited to read this! If it’s good then I’ll def promote it on my site :)
Lauren
 http://happylifeinnyc.blogspot.com/

radman March 30, 2011 at 5:20 pm

Now if I could only find the link.

Corbett Barr March 30, 2011 at 7:05 pm

Check the final “thank you” confirmation email you received. If the link isn’t there or you don’t receive the email, please write me at support@thinktraffic.net

Alex March 30, 2011 at 10:48 pm

Corbett,

I am just in the process of turning my free eCourse (Build.Rank.Profit – have you heard of it?) into a paid membership type site, and although it has been a long time in the building and planning, what took me the longest time to realise was a point you so nonchalantly (and brilliantly) made above, and that is:
“you can blog all you want and build the biggest audience in the world, but your blog doesn’t become a business until you offer something for sale.”

Thanks so much for confirming what I only just figured out, and then in the most timely manner – providing such a free resource as this to help me get there that much sooner.

Subscribed and downloaded!
Thanks Corbett

Corbett Barr March 31, 2011 at 9:38 am

Awesome! I hope your breakthrough leads somewhere great Alex. Let me know how it goes for you.

Alex March 31, 2011 at 1:10 am

Corbett, I signed up but no sign of the workbook?

Alex March 31, 2011 at 2:41 am

Scratch that, sorry Corbett, just opened the toolbox and noticed it there as the latest edition.
My bad

Corbett Barr March 31, 2011 at 9:37 am

Cool, glad you found it Alex.

Gabi March 31, 2011 at 2:45 am

Hi Corbett,

Thanks for this amazing tool. When I open the ‘B-list Breakthough’ link I get all the links to the reading material but no video. I don’t know if someone else has had the same problem.

Thanks very much!

Corbett Barr March 31, 2011 at 9:37 am

Hmm, the video just worked for me Gabi. I haven’t heard about issues from anyone else. Perhaps try holding down the “shift” key on your keyboard and pressing the refresh button in your browser. That might clear it up.

Jia Jun March 31, 2011 at 7:54 am

Awesome. Thanks for the free Workbook Corbett. :D

marianney | A Life Set Free March 31, 2011 at 1:22 pm

This is great, thanks so much for sharing :)

Sunil from The Extra Money Blog April 3, 2011 at 8:56 am

You nailed it Corbett. I wished many more realized what you said about your blog not being your business, rather a channel through which you can build / hone a business. Many simply blog for the sake of blogging, without the financial side of the equation in mind.

Christina Crowe April 9, 2011 at 10:12 am

Wow, this is awesome Corbett! I just subscribed to your newsletter, and I’m really impressed with the business plan template so far. This will definitely come in handy while building up a network of niche sites. I’ll add it to my blogging binder!

Thanks! I’ll be tweeting this post, that’s for sure. :)

Christina

Anant May 21, 2011 at 4:39 am

I’ve been a lurker at many blogs, including this one, Smart Passive Income, Entrepreneur’s Journey, etc for ages. I’m just getting started with my own blog now and this is a fantastic resource. Thanks for this! : )

How to Business Plan February 4, 2012 at 1:21 pm

Great post Corbett.

I would add that any business, regardless if it is a blog or not, needs to add something of value in order to generate a customer base. Without offering something of value 0 be it information, selling a product or service, etc – then no matter what is done, the business will most likely struggle from the start. And writing a good business plan (using the workbook you provide will help) gets to the point of what is being offered.

Thanks once again
Matt

health wellness March 30, 2012 at 11:01 am

Not a business, but a means to an end. I see it all as a path to creating more of an internet “presence” and personaliy.

Peter Mutiso February 28, 2013 at 3:38 pm

Subscribed. Yet to receive the workbook

Regards

Corbett Barr March 30, 2011 at 2:54 pm

Hey Philipp, my point is simply that you can blog all you want and build the biggest audience in the world, but your blog doesn’t become a business until you offer something for sale. 99%+ of blogs out there aren’t businesses because they don’t have a way to earn revenue. Does that make sense? Thanks for the perspective.

wilson March 30, 2011 at 5:50 pm

totally makes sense. I’m one of those blogs. Hate to admit it, but I can’t seem to figure out what I want to offer in my blog. It’s seems easier to do it on some of my niches.

Philipp Knoll March 30, 2011 at 10:19 pm

Yes it makes sense put that way. I could see where you are going but just could not agree with the way it was stated in your article. Guess that is the great thing about having comment sections – controversial statements get a good discussion started.

You are right that most blog out there might not offer anything for sale. Those at least offering some advertising space are businesses – but might not be very profitable.

Your .doc that I just downloaded could lead bloggers to ask the right questions. I’m looking forward to see your updates on feedback you received from it.

Ria November 5, 2011 at 8:30 am

As much as I hate to agree, I also must be missing something. I believe it is the final “thank you” email.

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