Update #1 – $1000/month Ultimate Small Business Challenge

For those who are new, this is a progress update of my $1000/month Ultimate Small Business Challenge. Long story short, this blog will serve as a small business that I attempt to use to generate at least $1000 monthly income (on the side) by the end of this year, all based on a comprehensive business plan.

Update #1 – Ultimate Challenge – Creating a small business that generates $1000/month (on the side) using a comprehensive business plan Click To Tweet

Why this small business challenge

This challenge was started to celebrate what 1 Day 1 Thought stands for – sharing information and knowledge to help you learn how to start and grow a business, even if it’s a side hustle.

I share updates about this challenge on a weekly and monthly basis covering these things:

  • My thought processes
  • Specific actions taken
  • Progress of this small business
  • Traffic details
  • Income vs expenses details
  • Progress vs goals
  • Anything else I think is relevant

By doing so, I hope for 2 things:

  1. If you already have a business idea that’s been lingering in your mind, or if you’ve always wanted to start a small business – I hope this challenge will inspire you to take action and just go for it
  2. You will be benefit from learning and applying some of the steps and strategies throughout this journey, saving you a lot of time and guesswork in your own small business

You can view all the progresses of this challenge via this link 

Let’s jump right into the updates!

Setting up the foundation of the small business challenge

I spent a big chunk of my time this week setting up the foundation of my small business. I brainstormed all the top level items of my blog and tried my best to make sure the pieces fit together to achieve the goal of generating $1000 monthly income. With a strong foundation, hopefully I’ll be able to track my progress more efficiently and keep my focus

Goal tracker sheet

The 5 main goals I want to achieve for the small business challenge is:

  1. Writing a minimum of 1 piece long form blog post of 1500 words and above per week
  2. 15% increase in sessions on a month to month basis
  3. Getting 800 email subscribers
  4. Getting 1000 Facebook likes
  5. $1000 monthly income generated by blog

Therefore, the first thing I did this week was to set up a goal tracker sheet. 

I created a Google Sheet and listed down the baseline comparison for all goals and a week-on-week column. I will fill these up on a weekly basis so that I can have a better view of whether I am on track to achieve my goals. If you would like full access to my goal tracker sheet, please subscribe to our newsletter at the end of this post

Re-looking at some of the opportunities of monetization

I listed down some ways to monetize this blog in my business plan. Continuing from there, I dived deeper into some further actions that I can take to monetize this blog

                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Expanding on blog topics and content formats

I already have a list of blog topics prior to this. Last week, I expanded this list of blog topics based on the content pillars that I defined in my business plan and added in some possible content formats

Content pillars for 1 Day 1 Thought:

  1. Basics of starting a small business
  2. Small business tools, tips, and tricks
  3. How-tos for small business
  4. Industry news and my interpretation of it
  5. Small business marketing strategies
  6. Interviews and stories of small business owners who have found success

If you’ve got any ideas you’d like to contribute to the type of content I could write, I’d be more than happy to hear from you!

An ever expanding task list

Even in the first week, I have listed down approximately 40 tasks that I need to complete. As I progress further down this small business challenge journey, I expect tasks to pile up very quickly. 

So, to organise my tasks – I turn to my favorite productivity tool in the universe (I’m not exaggerating) – Todoist!

I even created segments to list down all the tasks for this challenge that I completed in the past week

P/S: This awesome tool is free and has a powerful premium version. If you’d like to give your productivity a boost, here’s a link to get Todoist premium FREE for 2 months

Some improvements to 1 Day 1 Thought’s website

Optimized website structure

I realised that people could be confused about what 1 Day 1 Thought is about when they first land on my homepage.

To improve user experience, I created a ‘Start here’ page and made it 1 Day 1 Thought’s home page. After looking up the internet for several examples, here’s what I did:

  1. Created a simple statement about what 1 Day 1 Thought stands for
  2. Included a short introduction statement by me
  3. Spell out exactly who this blog is for
  4. Provided several links to our best articles
  5. Requested visitors to subscribe to our newsletter to get free resources

I am unsure of the effectiveness of this method as of now, mainly because I still have quite low site traffic and most of my external links send users directly to specific blog posts.

This is something I’ll have to continue monitoring. But for now, I like the way the page looks ????

Blog posts SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

The practice of trying to rank higher in organic (free) search engine results, giving you more traffic and higher quality traffic to your website

To improve my website visibility, I am starting to optimize my new blog posts with proper SEO practices such as:

  • Make sure there are enough internal links
  • Linking posts to other websites
  • Proper use of keywords throughout the blog post

I plan to continue doing this for all other previous blog posts in the coming weeks 

Building up the foundation for quality traffic

Keyword Research

A lot of my current traffic is from social referrals, which according to experts is not sustainable in the long term. 

This week, I did some basic keyword research and started to link them to my blog post ideas. This took up quite a big chunk of my time and is something I foresee I need to put way more effort into learning

First big boost in traffic

Last week, I wrote an article that is based on my keyword research results – 10 small business ideas you can start from home 

On top of that, I reached out to some small business owners in my immediate network, featured them in the post, and asked them to give some advice to people who aspire to start a small business

So far, this is the best performing blog post of all time, boosting my daily traffic up to 255 visitors on the day the article was posted. Currently, I get an average of only 15-20 blog visitors a day

My guess is that it’s more of excitement of the social networks of the featured business owners rather than the correct keywords used. So I’m considering creating more content that features other people in the future

Foundation for future monetization

I wanted to start monetizing my blog as soon as possible to achieve the challenge goal. Here are two of the things I tried last week:

Google Adsense

Google Adsense

Displaying targeted ads on your website based on your website content and getting paid for it

I think the fastest way for me to generate some income is to start serving ads on my website. Which is why I applied for an Adsense account last week. Unfortunately, I was rejected.

I looked up some reasons online and suspect that it’s because of the age of my blog – 1 Day 1 Thought is 1 year old, but I have only shifted my blog to a fully self hosted domain 3 months back. I’ve been in touch with Google and waiting for a reply

Affiliate marketing

Affiliate Marketing

Earning a commission by promoting another company’s product

The lowest hanging fruit I see for affiliate marketing is promoting website builders. I’ve personally used them and are quite fond of them. That’s why, last week I checked out Wix’s affiliate program

I registered for the program and have been approved, but their interface is a little complicated to use and I’m still trying to wrap my head around it

Unexpected surprises

I was pleasantly surprised when two friends reached out to me to ask about my website design services

I asked about their businesses and provided them some information about what they need for their websites, together with my rates. I’m looking forward to following up with them this week

I’m not sure what led to this though. It could be the new ‘Start Here’ page, or recent blog posts. Regardless, I hope there are more similar enquiries soon ????

The entrepreneurial mindset and asking for help

Running a small business can be tough – You don’t have to ‘fake it till you make it’ and bottle everything up inside, and I hope you know it’s ok to ask for help

These are the biggest challenges I faced for the past week

  • Steep learning curve for SEO and affiliate marketing
  • Getting more organic traffic to my website

Admittedly, these challenges, on top of the many things I now realise I need to do, stressed me out a little. So here are some of the things I am going to ask for help with:

  • Guidance for keyword research
  • Insights and tips for how to start doing affiliate marketing
  • Insights and tips about Google Adsense
  • Help to share this article so that more people can know about 1 Day 1 Thought

If you can,  or if you know of anyone who is willing to provide me some insights and guidance on the above, it will be very appreciated!

That’s it for now. I’ll speak to you next week!

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1 Day 1 Thought is here to help you learn how to start and grow a small business, even if it’s a side hustle. Subscribe to our newsletter below now for more inspiration, similar articles, and FREE resources!

 




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