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WARNING : this post might be a little too real for some people. If you like to escape reality often, don’t read it.
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When I started this blog in July of 2014, I had no clue where this journey would take me.
I honestly did not even know exactly how I would make money from this venture. I had a few ideas and was full of faith.
That was it.
Fast forward 3 years and what this blog has helped me achieve is quite incredible. (I still blog part-time.)
- I have now published 93 blog posts. It would be around 100 but I have deleted a few posts since I started.
- The blog has been viewed almost 395,000 times as of September 21 2017. 50-60% of that traffic has come in over the last year.
- I launched a freelance business as a social media manager thanks to this blog and have landed lucrative recurring writing gigs because of my blog
- I already hit a 5-figure income with this blog.
- I have had the chance to interact with some of the most AMAZING people in the form of people who follow me, have bought my course or eBook as well as fellow entrepreneurs. I LOVE meeting like-minded folks who get the entrepreneurial journey.
I love blogging.
I love online business.
I love being able to share my ideas.
And the nicest part of it is when you have served people well, you can even get paid – for doing something you like.
Sign me on any day !
And I have learned a LOT.
In this post I share 20 of those lessons with you.
20 life lessons I have learned from blogging for 3 years
#1 – You SHOULD do it for the money
The wisdom out there is that you should give, give , serve, serve and it will come back to you.
This is true…to an extent.
Now, let’s get very real.
Nobody wants to sit behind a computer, type away, research and create amazing knowledge-filled posts only to remain broke at the end of the day.
I learned this the hard way which is why I am sharing it with you.
Lesson : don’t start a blog with NO plan and try to “figure” things out as you go. You will get more frustrated than you should.
You should have a plan.
The plan involves you truly serving with all your heart and yet living profitably as a result of your blog – even if it is still small.
When you are still building your audience up, selling your own products can be a challenge simply because you have not built up that level of trust with your potential buyers just yet.
I talked in this post about 5 ways you can make money when your audience is still small.
Personally, I have found freelancing and affiliate marketing to be excellent sources of income for complete newbie bloggers who are not satisfied to just type away for a year or two while remaining broke.
Even though I have not done it personally, sponsored posts also pay very well – sometimes regardless of audience size.
Eventually when your audience builds up, they will tell you what they want and you can build it and sell it them.
Until then, don’t be ashamed to do what you can do – while providing a lot of great value still – to earn yourself some money.
#2 – No matter who you are, there will be days where you struggle with mindset
EVERYBODY struggles with mindset.
The only difference between people who are more productive and those who give up is that, they use those struggles as propellant to move forward and do more work that matters. They persist when technically it does not make sense.
As they continue to build the right skills and the right relationships, their dreams are eventually realized.
So, if you ever find yourself struggling, realize that thousands have gone before you who have struggled.
Push through. Do the work. Before you know it, you will be swimming with the sharks – in a good way.
#3 – Everyone’s Journey Is Different
Some people come of the gate and make six figures in their first year.
For some (like me !) it takes them a year and a half to figure it all out before a trickle starts.
In my short blogging life, I have found that the differences in the level on success depends to a large extent on these 3 things :
- How much the blogger has invested in their own education and the mentors available to them from the start – when I started buckling down and investing in myself, I began to see the difference in income levels
- Your drive as a person to succeed – we all don’t have the same drive when it comes to blogging and entrepreneurship
- The different life circumstances we all have – I’m a mother of a 4-year old, a wife, a research scientist and part of a church plant in my city. The time I have available to me maybe totally different from a 40 year-old stay at home mom with 5 grade school kids. Life is different for EVERYONE. Don’t bemoan your situation. Work with it.
If there is one point I want you to take away from this post, it is that, everyone’s life’s journey really is different. Accept that, you will be at peace with yourself during the process of growing your blog.
#4 – You cannot put a price on your learning
There are a lot of folks out there who want to get online, have this thing all figured out and then make $10,000 next month.
If it was that easy, everyone would do it.
One of the most important factors that have contributed to any success I have enjoyed especially in the last year has been due to the fact that I have taken the time to invest in really high quality courses.
“But Gee, I don’t have the money”
I am not asking you to whip out your card at each sales pitch that is thrown at you.
You can find A LOT of information just by Googling or doing a YouTube search.
But let me level with you : Googling or doing YouTube searches also cost you dearly.
They cost you time. Sometimes 3x-5x the time.
For me, investing in courses has meant that what would have taken me 1-2 years to fully learn, because I paid a good bit of money, I can cut my learning time – and hence the trajectory to my success – in half or even more than that.
#5 – Buying a course will not make you successful. Implementing the information will.
This is self-explanatory, yes ?
I am in Facebook groups for a few courses I have purchased and a lot of the time it bugs me that people come into the group and ask a question that is very clearly covered in the course.
I am not criticizing you if you have done this.
But please, please, please – don’t buy the course and then abandon the content.
Take the time to work through the course, understand what is being taught and then implement IMMEDIATELY.
#6 – You cannot put a price on the RIGHT tools
In the beginning, I used whatever free software was available to me.
I was a student and could not afford even $50 extra per month. So yes, there are a lot of quality free tools you can use right now !
However, as time has gone on and my blog has grown, I have had to invest in better tools that would help me grow even further.
The best investments for me have been :
- Switching my hosting plan from a Fatcow to Siteground so that my website does not become so slow
- Switching from Mailchimp to ActiveCampaign
- Buying the Thrive Landing Page plugin.
Each of these investments has been the reason my income this year from blogging has increased and honestly these days I am super happy to pay for those services.
#7 – Get involved in communities and build relationships
Creating valuable content for your blog is only one part of the equation.
Getting involved in communities that help you learn more about your audience and gives you the opportunity to network with other like-minded folks is GOLDEN.
Find your communities and begin to get involved.
It will grow your business in so many ways than you could do on your own.
#8 – Consistency and persistence wins the game
I cannot do these words justice so let’s allow the dictionary to do that for us.
I recently heard someone define persistence as “stubborn consistency”
If you are stubborn enough to keep creating content, to keep building relationships, to keep learning and re-learning and tweaking and perfecting you will win.
#9 – Talk to an audience of ONE
I love replying to each e-mail my audience members send me in reply to my newsletter.
It humbles me that they will share their dreams, goals and failures with me.
Of course, as I am growing it is beginning to get a little harder to respond to e-mails as promptly as I wish but I still try.
Each time I do though, I sense the gratefulness in their voices.
No matter how big your e-mail list is or your page views are, you are still always, ONLY talking to ONE PERSON.
#10 – Practice on-time learning
There is a lot of learn out there.
And it can get overwhelming.
So these days I practice “on-time learning”.
I learn what I need for the moment, implement it and make sure it is working before I move on to the next thing. This process may take 30 or 60 days.
It is worth it.
#11 – Don’t be so married to an idea that nobody can change your mind
If Twitter is not working for you, don’t be insistent on using it. Find another platform to dominate.
#12 – Comparison is evil
We are all guilty of this.
Playing the comparison game.
The time you spend looking at somebody else’s blog and work in envy is time you could spending on making yours more amazing so that in a few years other people will be saying “Hey, she seems like a pretty amazing blogger!”
#13 – Cut out distractions and do the work
Two-hour YouTube sink-holes.
We all get caught up in it.
The more I discipline myself to spend less time here, the more time I have to dedicate to the business of blogging.
#14 – Complacency is the death of great things
I read a brilliant article on Medium by Benjamin P. Hardy on why certain successful people stall after their initial success ; these people stop producing the work that brought them their initial success.
The reasons could be that they are so enamored by their own success that they are afraid to go out and create more for fear of failing.
Or they lose their original “why” for working so hard to achieve their success in the first place.
I went through a bit of that at the beginning of 2016. I has just began to earn a little bit over $1000/month and I thought I had “arrived” ! I stopped blogging for 3 whole months – because I really thought that it would be way too much work to work to continue to provide value and try to increase that income.
(**rolls eyes at self**)
Thankfully, I got over myself, buckled down and began to work again and yes, I find the work fulfilling and rewarding in monetary and non-monetary ways.
#15 – The people who laugh at you in the beginning will one day ask for your help
So ignore them.
They will call you names. Make you feel bad and roll their eyes at you at parties.
Roll those eyes right back and keep it moving, friend.
Very soon when they see the results they will come asking for your help.
#16 – Don’t get so big that you cannot talk to the “small” people
I have not yet met any blogger-solopreneurs who are cocky.
But, I have encountered a few on social media.
Life is too short to be full of yourself.
I know all about the quotes like “eagles don’t play with chickens” and all that jazz.
Honestly though, you just never know who could be a major door-opener for you. The person you are calling “small” could be a blessing in disguise.
I am making it a conscious effort to relate with everyone in a respectful manner.
#17 – When things get frustrating, it is okay to step away and take a breather
I sometimes get my best ideas this way.
#18 – Don’t believe ANYBODY’S hype
Let’s talk about the hyperbole that is so common online, shall we ?
So you know the headlines that go like “I increased my traffic by 1000% by applying this ONE trick”?
You click through.
Read the post and the truth is that you actually have more traffic than the “1000%”-er trying to sell you on their hype plus the trick is not ONE.
It is legitimately a list of 10 things you need to do.
Or how they will tell you they had a “six-figure launch” in “6 weeks” but they leave out the part where it took them 3 years to get to this point ?
Listen, 60% of the time there are valuable lessons to learn from what these two people above have to share.
However, it wears me out to hear a few newbie bloggers huff and puff about how they started their blogs 2 weeks ago and nobody has visited their blog yet and they have not made all the dollars the “gurus” promised them.
Success can be achieved in this space.
But if you come in with a “1000% traffic increase” or “6 figures in 6 weeks” mindset, you will most likely be sorely disappointed and will give up.
#19 – Success is oftentimes a result of longevity
This is tied to the point above.
You will hardly hear about the blogger-solopreneurs who have been at it for 5, 7, or even 10 years who do well enough that they can depend on their solo businesses full time.
It is more riveting to hear about the ones who shot up to stardom in what seems like an “overnight”.
If you let the “riveting” stories get to you, you will quit or worse, never even start.
Around 90% of people will start a blog and give up.
It’s true about any other life endeavor that involves hard-work, grit and longevity.
Staying in the game long enough while you learn, re-learn, test, re-test, get the right mentors and implement all that you are learning is the only sure way to win when nothing else is in your favor.
#20 – A-list is GREAT if you can get it. But the B-list ain’t bad either !
I know lots of us never want to hear this one.
Sometimes I don’t want to hear it myself !
But the truth is that there will always be A-listers and B-listers.
Interesting fact about both groups though – they both get to do the things they love and get paid HANDSOMELY for it !
Reject mediocrity by all means.
I do want you to think of this example though : there are thousands of actors in Hollywood. When you think about the A-list actors, Will Smith, Brad Pitt and Jennifer Lawrence come to mind, right ?
They have been nominated and won several acclaims and indeed get paid well for their talent.
However, you might have noticed another group of actors – these ones you don’t easily remember their names.
And they are hardly nominated for anything.
Nevertheless, they are always working because you have seen them in A LOT of movies and TV shows where they play the best friend, the side-kick or the random police officer.
Most important thing : they are still an integral part of the industry even if we don’t know them that well.
And I can promise you that some of them probably make more money than some of the more popular “A-listers”.
So yes, aim to be in the league of blogging superheroes.
However, don’t disrespect the important role you play in the industry and more importantly, don’t be disrespectful of the dollars coming your way because of your work!
Wrapping this up like a burrito
So those are the 20 lessons I have learned in my 3-year blogging journey.
It has been fun, frustrating and rewarding.
One thing is sure : I would not trade it the life lessons I have learned on this journey.
Question for you :
How long have you blogged ? What have you learned ? Share it in the comments !
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