Episode 189 | MBA Lessons for Blogging with Zhen Zhou

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Building Your Brand as a Business!

Are you building your brand with a business mindset? Today we're talking with Zhen of Greedy Girl Gourmet! Zhen is an MBA graduate turned Asian food blogger. We dive into how business training has helped her blogging journey, and the principles she learned that she thinks every blogger should incorporate!

MBA Lessons for Blogging

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"For example, on Instagram, I spent three or four years on it without seeing a single cent.  I really should have just cut my losses; maybe give myself six months. If it's not working, change what I'm doing, or try something else. But because, you know, I felt like because I'd invested so much time, it had to work. I think when you're in this situation, it's hard to make these levelheaded judgments about when you should change. So before you do it, think about how much time you're willing to give it if it's not working. At what point are you going to regroup?"

Discussed in this episode...

Frame Your Blog as a Business Right Away

From day one, Zhen thought of her blog as a business. And as a business, she was willing to invest in it. She wanted to make sure she made the right investment, but the mindset of this being a business made it easier for her to invest in something like an SEO audit. And that SEO audit is something she credits with helping her get into Mediavine!

Drawing from Life Lessons to Grow Your Business!

Another thing about business training is that she was willing to put herself out there. While in school she had to work through her natural shyness in order to participate in opportunities because not doing it would have been an incredible waste of money. She went from being afraid to ask her teacher for permission to use the bathroom, to pitching her business idea on stage in front of hundreds of people at an MIT conference. When you see other people doing hard things, it's inspiring to do them yourself. Drawing from those experiences in school has helped her build the skills to put herself out there in situations like pitching brands and collaborations.

Stop Losses in Business

In stock trading, there is a thing called a stop loss. Because humans are naturally loss averse, if you bought a stock for $10 and it went immediately down to $8, you may not want to sell it. This is because once you sell it you feel the pain of that $2 loss! That's where the value of setting a stop loss in advance comes in; you've already made the decision that if that stock you're buying goes below a certain point, you're out. You make that decision without emotion.

Taking that into blogging and business; Zhen spent three or four years on Instagram without seeing a single cent. Because she's put so much time and effort into it, she had a hard time taking a look and realizing this was something she needed to cut her losses on. Rather than waiting until you're in a situation where something isn't working, make that decision on the front end. Maybe give Instagram six months of real effort, and if it's not working then change what you're doing or cut your losses. But have that planned in advance?


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Also Discussed:
  • How long it can take to start making money
  • Why not close an old blog
  • When to know your strengths, and when to push yourself out of your comfort zone
  • Adjusting our approach to things as we grow and our goals change
  • Negative Keywords
  • Creating a system for tracking analytics

Resources Mentioned

More about Zhen Zhou:

MBA-graduate turned Asian food blogger. Unlike most recipe bloggers who grew up cooking with their mother or grandmother, Zhen couldn't boil water till she went to St. Andrews, Scotland when she was 18! (Street food in Singapore is cheap and delicious.)


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