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My Seven Biggest Lessons from Seven Years of Blogging

Guess what?

A couple of days from now will actually be my seventh Blog-aversery (I think Blog years are like dog years though because it feels more like forever). And considering the longest I have ever really stuck at something before was three months of piano lessons when I was eight (I can still play Chopsticks and The Simpson’s theme pretty well by the way), that’s a pretty massive milestone for me.

Also considering that when I first started my “Blog” ( which actually wasn’t even a Blog, it was an email newsletter) back in 2007, I thought it would be just a little side-project that might take up an hour or so and hopefully make me a few extra hundred dollars a month. And now it’s grown into a full-time-plus-some job (which I adore) that pays way better than my “real job”  ever could, with five staff members, and office off Chapel Street in Melbourne.

Well, lets just say, it has way surpassed even what I dreamt could happen with it. And I dream big!

But of course, it hasn’t all been runway shows and free lipsticks (although it’s been a lot of those too… particularly the lipsticks!). It has also been a LOT of hard work, a lot of stuffing things up (and then stuffing them up some more), a lot of feeling like you’re just running on the spot and not getting anywhere, and a whole huge pile of self-doubt. And yep, there have been some tears as well.

And also of course with the highs and the low, comes an awful lot of lesson-learning.

So on my almost seven-year Blog-aversery I just wanted to share my seven biggest hard-learned lessons with you now (because… well… they might help you out as well!).

1 – It’s a marathon, not a sprint

One thing that still surprises me about blogging is that nothing takes as long as you think it will. Some things happen much, much quicker than expected, but most happen much slower (a LOT slower). And you have to be prepared to just keep going, step-by-step because if you want to build up a successful anything, it is going to take some time (and a whole lot of persistence!)

You also need to make sure you get your basics down right, so to keep with the running analogy you need good shoes (or a good blog theme/host), you need to train (you need to post, share and interact regularly), and you need a good coach and cheer squad (more on that later).

2 – Spread it out

This applies to anything that you rely on really on your blog, but it was a lesson that it took me a little too long to figure out. It is just crazy to rely on getting either all (or most) of your traffic or all your income from only one (or even two) sources. Because most of those can change or disappear pretty much overnight.

I mean look at Facebook? I know lots of people that built up huge following on Facebook (and they spent a lot of time and money doing it), and they used to get so much traffic from it, and then within the space of six-months their Facebook traffic dropped by about 90% (not kidding) and now it’s like they are right back at the start.

The same goes for only relying on one type of income. If you rely solely on Sponsored posts or banners, it’s a pretty stressful way to make a living (for example the price of banners is now less than a 10th of what it used to be, again because of Facebook… damn you, Zuckerberg!). Advertising is not a reliable income source at all. And there are so many other ways to earn money blogging that you do have more control over, but most people don’t start looking at those until they’ve been blogging for years.

3- Get help… as early as you can

When I started out blogging, there really weren’t that many people doing it really well yet (or at all). It was still an industry finding its feet, and so I had to learn a lot of things by trial and error. And while there is nothing wrong with that, if I could have skipped over some of those mistakes (especially the ones that meant I wasted a whole bunch of time or money) then I definitely would.

And that is why I created my Blogging Bootcamp because I wanted to help people stop wasting their precious time, and just get straight down to doing the stuff that needed to be done to get them where they needed to go.  And I’ve seen the amazing difference it can make even in a few short months with some of the awesome results my SBBers have been getting (I’m like a super proud Mama bear right now!).

So Yep, don’t waste time slogging it out on your own, particularly when so many people are willing to help you.

4 – It’s all about community

One of my favourite things about being a Blogger is the awesome people I have gotten to meet. I have made some amazing friends through the blogosphere, and the Facebook group for the SBB Community is now one of my favourite places on the Internet to hang out.

Also one of the best ways to build a loyal readership is to nurture a community on your own site, and off it. Through commenting, sharing and interacting with your readers and with other bloggers as much as you can.

biggest lessons

yep, it’s a pinnable!

5 – Make your own rules

One of the biggest ah-ha moments I had in my life was when my business coach (yep, I am still learning and getting help too!), said to me ” You need to build a business that works around your life, and not a life that works around your business”.

Hello, light-bulb moment!

And the same goes for blogging.

You need to build a blog that helps you have the life that you want, and not just do what you think you are supposed to be doing.

So if you only want to, or only have time to, blog once a week. Do it (just do it really well!). And if you hate Instagram and don’t want to be on their, then don’t do it (social media only works when you really enjoy it anyway).

It’s your blog, so it’s your rules!

6 – You have to invest in it

You know the old saying, “You only get out, what you put in?”

Well, I personally think whoever wrote that must have had a blog. Because man is it true.

I see so many bloggers out there who refuse to pay $30 for a theme they love (they’d rather have a free one they don’t love), or $5 for a good spam-blocking plugin (they’d rather spend hours each week deleting the spam themselves, hey, your time is free right?). And these are the ones who seem to stay stuck on level one.

And yes I know everyone has different budgets, but I promise you, every time I personally stepped up and invested some money in either myself (I am all about the courses and coaches… and the good ones are not cheap), or the blog (good theme, better hosting, great staff members), I always made that money back ten-fold.

If you want your blog to be your job one day, then you have to treat it like a business. And businesses cost money to grow. It’s as simple as that.

Yes, there are some things I wasted my money on, but up-levelling the tech side of the blog, getting help and up-skilling myself, were never one of them.

7 – Never stop learning

OK, so seven-years in and I am STILL figuring things out (Youtube is my next frontier to conquer, watch this space for updates!). But I think that is what has kept me interested in my “little side project”  for all this time.

And you can bet that I will be getting some help from the pros and learning from the best as I go  (I don’t want to take another seven-years to figure this next bit out, that’s crazy talk!).

So there you have it, seven years of ah-has and oh-nos. Personally, I can’t wait to see what the next seven-years bring.

 Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub.com

 What have been some of the biggest lessons you’ve learnt from your blogging? I’d love to hear, share them below!

COMMENTs:

  1. Madeleine | The Daily Mark

    November 25th, 2014 at 8:09 am

    Love your tips (as always!) x
    Madeleine, The Daily Mark

  2. Kate McKibbin

    November 27th, 2014 at 7:25 am

    thanks lovely x

  3. Elyse - Notes on Bliss

    November 25th, 2014 at 8:19 am

    Such an inspiring list Kate, love it when you share your 7 years of wisdom with us 🙂 xxx

  4. Robyn A

    November 25th, 2014 at 8:33 am

    Kate I am so excited to be enrolled in the blogger bootcamp. I feel like I have learnt SO much already. It’s definitely a fantastic investment in my eyes! Thank you! Robyn x

    http://stylevsbeauty.com

  5. Kate McKibbin

    November 27th, 2014 at 7:25 am

    Thank you so much Robyn, so glad to have you on board 🙂 x

  6. Aimee

    November 25th, 2014 at 9:07 am

    Truly inspiring! Thank you for sharing your insight!

  7. Maxabella

    November 25th, 2014 at 9:30 am

    You’re an inspiration, Kate. x

  8. Kate McKibbin

    November 27th, 2014 at 7:25 am

    Aw shucks x

  9. Tahlia Meredith

    November 25th, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    Yep yep yep!! My blog’s still a baby but I found myself nodding the whole way through this – top tips!

  10. Samantha B

    November 25th, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    Thanks Kate, as always insightful and actionable tips! Love it!

  11. Namrata

    November 25th, 2014 at 6:37 pm

    That was a great post Kate. Absolutely loved it.

  12. Vicki W

    November 25th, 2014 at 8:13 pm

    Love your tips Kate. As always thank you for being so generous with sharing what you have learnt.
    Vicki http://www.styleonv.com

  13. lifestyletalks.wordpress.com

    November 25th, 2014 at 11:33 pm

    Thank you so much for the tips!

  14. Michelle R

    November 25th, 2014 at 11:38 pm

    Awesome! Thank you Kate! I think these are all really straight-forward insights that are helpful for everyone’s unique blogging situation. It’s especially nice to read the investment one. Sometimes I fear that I shouldn’t be putting $$$ into my blog for fear of failure but I think investing in anything (especially myself) is a risk worth taking. Even if it doesn’t work out, showing up for myself totally counts for something!

  15. Kate McKibbin

    November 27th, 2014 at 7:26 am

    Exactly! If you don’t take yourself seriously, who else will xx

  16. Rebecca

    November 26th, 2014 at 1:31 am

    #3, Oh #3! I have been trying to get help in setting up my blog for 3 months with limited sucess! I have hired one person, gotten reluctant help from another, Googled-looking for help, asked a Facebook blogging group I belong to…..Nothing! I am so frustrated! I fear my wonderful ideas will never get off the ground. As much as I would like to go to Blogging conferences, at this point, it wouldn’t do any good, since my site isn’t even ready. Thanks for letting me vent.

  17. Kate McKibbin

    November 27th, 2014 at 7:27 am

    I feel your pain, I have had a few unreliable developers in my time! Have you tried either Swish Designs, Little Hero Hosting or Envato Marketplace? x

  18. Liane

    November 26th, 2014 at 10:21 am

    Great list Kate. I love reading your mistakes hope I can avoid them all!
    My biggest lesson was that you learn along the way. You don’t have to know everthing before you start. Just start.
    So happy to have joined SBB Bootcamp it has helped my blog results jump up over 600%! xx

  19. Kate McKibbin

    November 27th, 2014 at 7:28 am

    Thats is amazing Liane, and so fab to meet you in person yesterday x

  20. Aisha

    November 29th, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    These are so helpful. Thank you so much for taking time out of your life to do this or us ♥♥

  21. Simone J

    December 14th, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    I’ve just got to say, I love hanging out here. Great info, inspiration and support. Love your blog! Thanks a million.
    Simone littlenickelbird.com

  22. Kate McKibbin

    December 15th, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    My pleasure, thanks for coming and saying hi!

  23. Krystle Barrington

    March 17th, 2015 at 2:05 pm

    This is awesome. Glad I stumbled upon your blog!

  24. Lindsey Lutz

    April 6th, 2015 at 9:40 am

    Hi Kate! I am obsessed with your site already! Thanks for the fabulous tips, inspiration, and coaching. xoxo-Lindz
    http://lifelutzurious.com

  25. Kate McKibbin

    April 6th, 2015 at 10:32 am

    My pleasure 🙂 x And thanks!

  26. Lena

    May 6th, 2015 at 5:18 pm

    One of the things I’ve learned is that you don’t need to follow the crowd. Just because everyone is buying this, or doing that, doesn’t mean you need to. Making your own way in blogging means that you carve out your own niche and audience!

  27. Kate McKibbin

    May 7th, 2015 at 7:04 pm

    So true! That’s the whole point of being a blogger, so you can do your own thing, why play by someone elses rules 🙂 x

  28. Charlotte

    May 18th, 2015 at 6:50 am

    Hi Kate!
    Just stumbled across your site after wanting to get back into the blogging world…I sadly gave up my much-loved blog 12 months ago as it didnt feel ‘worth’ it, & man do I miss it!
    First thing’s first for me though…is there a particular blog-hosting site you’d recommend? I’d previously used WordPress however am keen to hear if in your opinion there’s a more suitable one for peeps who want to turn the blog world upside down? 🙂
    Thanks so much!

  29. Kate McKibbin

    May 18th, 2015 at 4:09 pm

    Hey hun, Welcome back! 🙂 I use and still love WordPress.org, and hosting wise I recommend WPengine. Hope that helps, and glad to see you are getting back on the blogging horse (and turning things upside down, hells yeah to that!) x

  30. Felicity

    July 5th, 2015 at 6:24 pm

    Great tips! I think investing in yourself is super important not just in the blogging world, but in life in general 🙂

  31. Kate McKibbin

    July 6th, 2015 at 7:18 pm

    Absolutely, we are our own best asset also x

  32. Jemma

    January 1st, 2016 at 12:40 am

    I’m just starting out and I’m a little intimidated. This article made me feel so much better. Now I’m excited to get started!! Thank you for being an inspiration!!!

  33. Kate McKibbin

    January 5th, 2016 at 11:26 am

    Everyone starts at pretty much the same spot lovely, so glad my story is helpful x

  34. Charlene

    January 28th, 2016 at 3:49 am

    Thank you so much for sharing your insights! I’m on the waitlist for your next Bloggers MBA and I can’t wait to get started!
    Charlene The Frugal Fashionista

  35. L Monet

    January 30th, 2016 at 2:12 am

    Awesome info! Thanks for sharing!

  36. Shan Yi

    February 16th, 2016 at 12:03 pm

    Just stumbled upon on your blog and I’m loving it! Can’t wait for your course to be open again!

  37. Kate McKibbin

    February 17th, 2016 at 12:19 pm

    Yay, are you on the waitlist? Make sure you are so you get notified as soon as it does 🙂

  38. Tan S

    February 17th, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    I just joined The Bloggers MBA yesterday but haven’t got approved to join the FB group. 🙂

  39. Camryn

    December 5th, 2017 at 10:06 am

    I love this! But I just wanted you to know there’s a typo in this post.

    “and up-skilling myself where never one of them.”

    It should be “were” not “where”

    I just wanted to let you know, but again, thanks for the awesome content!!

  40. SBB Team

    December 7th, 2017 at 12:18 am

    Great spot, Camryn! Glad to hear you liked it too! Thanks, Lauren 🙂 x

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