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I started blogging in 2013.
At the time, I was pregnant with my first baby- a girl. Prior to becoming pregnant, I didn’t spend a lot of time online.
In fact, I didn’t have an online presence at all. No Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest. The last time I’d used a social media site was Myspace in the early 2000s.
But sometime during that year, I discovered Pinterest. I used it to find nursery decorating ideas for my daughter who was due to arrive in September that year.
A ridiculous amount of hours were spent browsing nursery photos and DIY designs. I crafted my daughter’s entire nursery based on Pinterest ideas, and it was fabulous.
But while I was perusing nursery décor, I also found something else: bloggers.
The first one I ever discovered was Jessica Garvin. Remember those amazing chalkboard pregnancy progress photos!?
That was my first exposure to the world of blogging.
I was immediately enamored.
I spent some time stalking other mommy bloggers and decided to start my own blog on a whim.
With no experience at all, and barely any idea what it took to run a successful blog- I started one.
I blogged about my pregnancy, my nursery plans, my life as a new mum.
Eventually, that blog fizzled out. I was a new mum, and when I went back to my full-time job I just couldn’t find the time to turn that blog into what I wanted it to be.
I spent a few years just working and being a mum, focusing on my family and doing what was necessary to get us by.
But I was never truly fulfilled. I always felt like I had missed my calling, that I was supposed to be doing something else.
In January 2018, I found out I was expecting again. My second child, 5 years after the first, was a complete and utter surprise. We were not planning it, and I was kind of devastated if I’m being honest.
It wasn’t in my plan to have another child, but I made the decision to go through with the pregnancy.
So, there I was- pregnant unexpectedly, working a full-time corporate job as a business development manager with a team of people under me.
The beginning of that pregnancy was rough. I was a wreck- hormonal, depressed, anxious.
I decided I needed a change, needed to step outside of my safe bubble and do something I had always dreamed of.
I left my job in mid-February of 2018. I left without any backup plan, any secondary income. It was a snap decision, and I often wondered if I had made the right decision.
I started my blog that summer, in June.
It began as a skincare blog because I was DEEP into a pyramid scheme at that point (god help me).
But, I eventually wised up and realized I was #inacult and I needed to call my dad.
I left the pyramid scheme, turned my blog into something else entirely, and decided to use my knowledge and education to blog about, well, blogging.
I’d spent a considerable amount of time starting and stopping different blogs and doing freelance work as a social media manager and ghostwriter.
I thought I could help other people learn how to make money online legitimately and turn their blogs into full-time careers.
With the change in my blog niche came thousands of new readers.
I couldn’t believe that it was working, that people were actually reading my blog.
What I have learned in my first year as a full-time blogger is this:
1. Do not be afraid to be a newbie
It’s okay to be a beginner. It is absolutely fine if you aren’t an expert right out of the gate. Like anything else, practice makes perfect. The more you blog, the more you will learn.
2. Traffic will be slow, at first
You can’t expect massive traffic right away. Doing so will only set you up for disappointment and in turn, cause you to give up on your blog prematurely. Don’t give up if you aren’t seeing the numbers you want right away. It takes time, a lot of it, to build an audience.
3. You will never, ever know everything
No matter how long you’ve been blogging, or how many courses you’ve taken, you will never know everything there is to know. Because the world of blogging is ever-evolving. What worked yesterday isn’t always what works today. You must be able to adapt, and quickly. Learn as much as you can, and often.
4. Networking is SO important
There are so many benefits to networking with other bloggers, including increasing your traffic, guest posting, advice, and so much more. Find your community of bloggers, and immerse yourself. I think you will find that bloggers, in general, are an incredibly helpful and welcoming community- no matter the niche. Connecting with other bloggers in your niche can only help you, so don’t be afraid to reach out.
5. Don’t ever be afraid to reinvent
Like I said above, I have started and stopped a few blogs in favor of different niches. Some people know right away what they want to blog about, maybe they are experts in a certain field and their blog niche is just obvious from the beginning. But that is definitely not true for everyone, including me. If you find that what you’re doing just doesn’t feel right, or isn’t what you want to be writing about, don’t be afraid to start over. It is never too late, and sometimes it just takes a few mistakes to figure out what we’re really supposed to be doing.
6. Monetize early
One of my biggest mistakes with this blog was not monetizing it right away. I told myself there was no point in monetizing if I didn’t have any traffic. But I quickly learned that that was a mistake because when I suddenly had an influx of traffic it was all for basically naught. I had good numbers, but nothing to show for it. If I had implemented strategies from the beginning, I would have been making money with my blog long before I actually started seeing an income.
7. Ask questions, and actually listen to the advice
This one goes hand in hand with step 4. Don’t just network with other bloggers, ask them questions. Seek advice if you need it, brainstorm with other bloggers if you need to. You’d be surprised at the valuable advice other bloggers have to offer, even if they aren’t widely successful bloggers in your niche. Real people, who are just trying to make it in this blogging world like you, often have the best advice for whatever problem you’re facing.
8. Don’t expect instant gratification
In the world of blogging, there is no such thing. Blogging takes time, a lot of it. You’re not going to start a blog today and be making boatloads of cash tomorrow. It is a slow burn, and it takes a lot of concentrated effort on your part. You have to be willing to put in the time, hard work and extreme patience. I’m not going to sugarcoat it, blogging is hard- and it is time-consuming. But if you can just hang on a little longer, keep investing your time and resources into your blog, don’t throw in the towel when you’re not seeing instant results, I promise it will be worth it in the end.
9. Invest in your blog
If you’re going to be serious about blogging, you need to treat it like it’s business. Successful business owners, whether small or large, know that it’s important to invest in their business. The key is investing in invaluable materials that will actually help you grow. Don’t get me wrong- even the smallest things count when it comes to blogging. Your website theme, your branding, logo design…. These all matter. You should spend time perfecting all of this, but you should also invest in tools, resources, and education that will help you grow your blog.
10. Treat it like a job
If you treat your blog like an afterthought, it will be just that. You can’t give half of your energy to something and expect it to produce full-time energy results. I know that this can be a hard one, we all have other responsibilities. Maybe you’re a mum, you work full time or both. But if you want to see results from your blog, it is absolutely imperative that you carve out the time to actually work on your blog.
You have to treat your blog like it’s an actual job. Make time for it, schedule it into your daily routine like it’s an actual job.
If you have kids and can afford to do so, send them to daycare, a sitter, or with family for a few hours a day so that you can work on your blog.
I know that’s not reasonable for everyone, but my point is simply this: whatever your current situation if you want to change it, you have to figure out how to make time for the thing that is going to change your life.
If you want to be so successful in blogging that it changes your life, you have to first change your life. You have to make a change, and you have to invest the time required to make success happen.
It might seem like blogging is oversaturated these days, and that is not untrue. But very few bloggers actually find true success. Across the board, those successful bloggers have one thing in common, they never gave up. They didn’t give up when they had no readers, they didn’t give up when they weren’t making money immediately.
Blogging takes time and requires patience. It requires a lot of hard work, and a lot of lessons learned. But if you stick with it, adapt, evolve and network- you will make it.
Happy New Year, friends and cheers to 2020!