My Seven Biggest Lessons from Seven Years of Blogging
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.
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