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Guest Posting and the Seasons of Business Growth

business cycles“To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under the sun.” ~Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

There is a rhythm to the four seasons of the year: Winter for introspection, spring for planting, summer for growth and fall for harvest.

Often our business cycles and growth as entrepreneurs mirrors these seasons.  I can see this reflected in my journey through the Audience Business Masterclass program.

My decision to join the ABM started over the winter, as I was contemplating how I would go about taking the next steps on my blogging journey. Winter, you’ll remember, is the hibernation period – and a great time for reflection and introspection!

Those early days in the ABM program had me reflecting on my business niche as well as my own blocks to success, which I discussed in my last ABC Project update.

Once I realized what fears were causing me to stall with my ABM efforts,  I was able to move past them and on to finishing my first incentive and growing my mailing list.  That meant commenting and guest posting, which I’ve been working on this spring and summer.

Budding Days of Spring: First Publishing Milestone

Just as trees burst into buds, and flowers shoot up from the earth, when spring rolled around I was like a tulip eager to burst into the world.  After laying the groundwork on who I wanted to serve, and what problem I could immediately help them with, I was in a great rush to launch my first incentive, an e-book.

The e-book and my first guest post came out around the same time.

I am not sure which was more exciting: launching the e-book or reading my first guest post online! I felt like I was blossoming along with the spring flowers. : -)

Those early days of spring were hectic with putting the finishing touches on the e-book, creating my landing page and writing the engagement sequence that would follow the opt-in. When Danny says you have to put the work into the ABM class, he wasn’t kidding!

Those first milestones were very important.  I could finally see some results for all my effort.  I was feeling pretty good about myself – energized, motivated, and ready to cruise through spring and into summer with more guest posting.

Then along came Lesson #6, which is all about engaging engaging your community and laying the groundwork for a successful guest post pitch.

Cruising Through Spring: Engaging While Staying Authentic

With Lesson #6 I went from soaring with success to back to work. Now, I was asked to get out there and engage with my community.

I first went back to the list of competitors I created in an earlier lesson – only to find  they were limited. Back to the drawing board!  More reading and searching and searching and reading!

For me it is very important that I feel a connection with the site and the readers. I can’t pretend to be someone I am not.  What surprised me was that some of the sites I thought would be a good fit, weren’t. And other sites that I hadn’t previously considered were a better fit.

I began commenting on a few blogs, which lead to a few more blogs with similar readers.  Before I knew it, I had a list of several place where I felt comfortable commenting.

I learned a few things from commenting.

  • I learned that even though you are creating a blog site, you have do a huge amount of reading.
  • I discovered that commenting was an art.
  • You have to read with care so you can make meaningful comments.
  • Be sincere.
  • Sharing a little of yourself can open a door for a personal connection to the writer.
  • Don’t be afraid to reach out to the writer.

From commenting came the plunge into guest post pitches and the lazy days of summer.

The Lazy Days of Summer: A Lesson in Patience – and Going Forward

Pitching guest posts brought up some interesting quirks in my business personality.

I had the headlines, the outline and the pitch ready, but had to take a few deep breathes before I could hit the send button.  That old fear of not being good enough reared up again.  I had to do a, “Get thee behind me,” in order to move forward.

As it turns out, all my fears were for nothing. I sent out two guest post pitches, and the next day I was asked to send a final draft.  I sent the draft and my blogs were posted the next day.  Wow, I thought, this is easy!

Not really!

Thinking it was easy, I sent out several more pitches – only to have them stall in someone’s computer.  I waited and waited.  Nada!

Could it be that my fabulous blog ideas had hit the lazy days of summer?  Did things in cyber land slow down for summer like everything else?  Probably!  Why wouldn’t editors be out enjoying summer?

Eventually, though, things did move along and I gathered more insights about pitching guest posts along the way.

  • Don’t get discouraged or overly confident.
  • Don’t wait around for a reply.  Keep writing and pitching.
  • Once you have a few articles in your inventory it is easier to be noticed.
  • Celebrate your achievement and then keep going.
  • Don’t be afraid to pitch blogs in areas that are not your expertise.
  • If a site doesn’t work for you, move on.

Looking Toward Fall and Winter: Obstacles and Solutions

When I hit the lazy days of summer, I knew I was going to have to revise my Business Launch Calendar.  My ideal plan was to launch my blog site in November. But, I soon realized there were a few problems.

Planning for the big launch has several variables that need to be considered.  The first variable is that I’d need a certain number of subscribers (1000), and second, I would need to ask partners for help promoting my new blog, which could take a few months to set up and coordinate. And third, I’d need a promotional period.

In my planning, I did not consider that summer could slow things down. I am still publishing guest blog posts on a regular basis, but I get the sense that the readers are off at the beach or having a picnic.  As a result, my opt-ins are not growing at the rate I would like to see.

Given that my list growth has slowed down over the summer, it was obvious that I’d need to redo my Business Launch Plan.  And then, I ran into Christmas – December and January. December brings lots of pre-Christmas distractions, both for me and for my audience! And in January, we’re often concerned with having to pay for all the things we bought  – and did – over Christmas. Not the best for a business launch.

Now I am looking at a March/April launch. Which is oddly appropriate – I’m back to spring time and new beginnings.

Lessons Learned from Seasons of Growth

The greatest lessons that I take from these seasons of growth are:

  • Seasons are important in business planning.
  • Don’t be afraid to change things.
  • Embrace the lessons along the way.
  • Things often take longer than you planned.
  • Enjoy each step along the journey.

I am looking forward to the fall and winter.  In the fall harvest, I am going to use lessons learned to grow my email list and polish my writing skills.  In the winter, I am going to use everything I learned to get ready for a dynamic business launch in the Spring.  It is all happening as it is meant to happen this way. Rather like how nature’s seasons are meant to happen in their own way.

Have you run into seasonal roadblocks? How do you deal with them? Do you have a favorite business season? I can’t wait to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

About Carolynne Melnyk

Carolynne Melnyk is a coach, mentor and workshop facilitator with over 25 years experience helping others. She uses the 3 Principles as foundation for helping people who feel let down by life to find inner solutions to outer situations. This process helps them reclaim their innate joy, peace and contentment. She can be found at Living Life in Joy.

20 comments

  1. No comments on Following Bullets
    The greatest lessons that I take from these seasons of growth are:

    Seasons are important in business planning.
    Don’t be afraid to change things.
    Embrace the lessons along the way.
    Things often take longer than you planned.
    Enjoy each step along the journey.

  2. Sarah says:

    Hello Carolynne,

    Excellent post about the ebb & flow of audience building. It’s nice to be reminded that this is a journey and not an end of itself.

    I appreciate that you revealed how intimidating commenting can be. In class (ABM) it seems so easy in concept…but the reality is that it’s harder in practice. Finding a balance between being bland and too self-promotional can be a bit tricky.

    Do you have any tips for how specifically to reach out to a writer?

    Thanks

  3. Hi Carolynne,

    Wonderful recount here.

    I like being detached from outcomes as much as possible. When I let go, I don’t even really think about reasons because I’m in the moment. In the moment, I’m just being, doing, watching and enjoying the online and offline ride.

    But I do appreciate that we sow before reaping. I notice more of the reaping now in so many facets of my life that the impatience I formerly experienced for extended periods, waiting for my reaping season, has largely disappeared.

    I also find that the more freely and generously I sow, by writing super in-depth posts and comments, and by promoting other people aggressively, the reaping flows in through multiple channels quite easily.

    Although sowing happens before reaping, if you’re sowing freely and acting from an inspired, peaceful, detached space, you’ll be tuned into abundance and the reaping will continue, throughout the year.

    This is why some folks seem to get wealthier by the week. They’ve sowed so much, and are so detached, that abundance flows to them continually.

    I just wrapped up my 19th interview/guest post/feature in the past 7 weeks. The run has been dizzying, and the thing is that many of these interviews and guest posts have been on some serious authority blogs.

    I feel humbled, and so grateful that I’ve received so many interviews and guest posts requests, and so many features, during the first 8 weeks of my blog, yet I did so much sowing, detach and relaxing, and had so much clarity, that the reaping season just hit me quickly.

    Thanks so much Carolynne, wonderful post here.

    Tweeting in a bit.

    Ryan

  4. Tom Southern ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    The emotional ebb and flow is important to acknowledge. Your so right about this.

    In the beginning people either want to rush in or hold back. Both can be results of feeling a lack of confidence that they are good enough, or if they will make it out there.

    I think it’s always good to take the time to really think about and discover what you want out of having a blog business first. It’s good to build up connections and networks while you’re doing this. But, ultimately, it’s only when you know what purpose your blog has that you’ll enjoy the journey there and be successful.

  5. Hello Carolynne, fear is a bigger for me. I have doubts about my abilities, even after self publishing my poetry and photograph book, that has been highly praised. As a writer I find working with my inner issues make for a happy writer. I have created a power point presentation on each seasons and include a ritual that focuses in on the energy. My favorite season is winter maybe, because I was born in the winter. I love to watch the sun in the winter and experience the light as it falls on the empty branches. I find when I am empty, that is when I am full. I am encouraged to give it a shot at guest posting. Thank you for your sharing.

    1. Carolynne says:

      Hi Patricia,
      Fear is something everyone faces, even if they don’t admit it. You are so right that working on our inner issues makes us happier. This should help you take that first step toward guest posting. After the first one get published fear moves to the side. Good luck with that.

      I would love to hear more about your seasonal rituals. I have been reacquainting myself with the seasons after a long absence and love each one.

  6. Hi Carolynne. I love the point you made about discovering that some of the blogs that you were reading and thought were a good fit for you were actually not. I currently find myself in this position and am now in the process of reading blogs (lifestyle as opposed to mommy blogs) that are a better fit for me to connect with. Although I feel a bit behind in the search, read, and connect department, I realize that starting over is in my best interest. I am also still dealing with the feeling of ‘not being good enough’ when it comes to pitching for guest posts, but I am working my way through it and your post has been a great help. Thanks! 🙂

    1. Carolynne says:

      Hi Charlene,
      Glad to be helpful! Finding that right fit can be a little challenging but it does take a little search and experiment. I have found a few that fit and am looking for a few more.

      I got over the ‘not being good enough’ by writing posts and sending them off without expectations. Some work and some don’t. A couple that did not get posted, I took back with permission, rewrote and reposted with success. Kind of like planting seeds some germinate and some don’t.

      All the best with your future posts.

  7. Sharon Brodin says:

    Thank you for a very helpful article! It’s encouraging to hear other people’s stories on their experience in starting a business.

    1. Carolynne says:

      Thank s Sharon.

      Wonderful that you found some gems in the article! I agree it is always encouraging to hear that we are not struggling alone. All the best as you make your way forward.

  8. Michael "Osito" Schulz says:

    Hello, Carolynn,

    A truly enjoyable post! While just starting my online career (Am I out-of-season already?), I’ve been aware of the seasonal ebbs and flows in my previous offline business life, and find I relate to your post completely. Your voice conveys a breezy acceptance and synchronicity appropriate for inducing introspection. Enjoy your fruits of summer!

    1. Carolynne says:

      Hello Michael, thanks for your comment.

      Seasonal ebbs are interesting, I just did not think of them in business before. In my last business summer was peak!

      Over the years I have learned to ride the flow and still be productive.

      Good luck on your new career.

  9. Razwana ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Absolutely! Seasons come into it for me on a personal level too. I always wind down in the summer. So far I’ve resisted it as I feel like I ‘should’ be working all the time. But I’m learning to accept it !

    1. Carolynne says:

      Hi Razwana,

      Thanks for your comment. Seasons have been an important part of my rhythms. Good to hear it does for someone else too. I have found it is best to flow with these rhythms as they come from our natural self.

  10. Adam Lundquist says:

    Hi Carolynne,
    Great post:-) I often do not consider the natural world when it comes to guest blogging and marketing. However, I think you brought up some really good points. Many bloggers actually do take time off during the summer and that can be a slower time – and I find a good time to catch up on the reading and necessary research. I think a more apt analogy would be that the commenting is “planting the seeds” and the “plant” is the guest post and the “harvest” is the users email address. My question to you is do you run seasonal campaigns – for example in winter you might run a different first impression incentive?
    Thanks,
    Adam

    1. Carolynne says:

      Adam, Thanks so much for your comment. I like your analogy of the commenting, guest post and email sign ups. From this perspective I can see even clearer how my efforts are producing results, thanks.

      I am planning to run a different incentive in the winter. How intuitive of you. 🙂

  11. Kate says:

    Wonderful post – generous, inspiring, and to me, very helpful and reassuring. I’d be interested to hear how you have moved past fears that threatened to stall you in your work in the ABM. Thank you, and great good luck in the next seasons of your business.

    1. Carolynne says:

      Hi Kate, Thank you for your kind words. I am happy you found the post helpful.

      I did a post a while back titled “Project ABC: Self-Created Road Blocks on the Road to Success” that spoke about my fears and how to move forward. You might like to check it out.

  12. Hi Carolynne
    Congratualations on your launch!
    I am currently in a guest blogging course myself (with Jon Morrow) and my path might end up looking like yours, so I am very inspired by your post!
    A good mix of personal contemplations (maybe a bit too many, if you’re an impatient reader 😉 and specific issues (getting to the big 1000, planning the promotion process etc.).
    Looking forward to reading more from you!
    Stine

    1. Carolynne says:

      Thanks Stine for your comment and your advice. Pointers are always welcome as this is a learning path.

      I look forward to hearing more from you and all the best on your launch.

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