When I started my blog three months ago today (YAHOO!), I was unemployed and staying at home most of the time with no social life. Things have changed pretty dramatically since then. I was called back to work just two weeks later, and then I decided it would be a great idea to plan a wedding in three weeks time, all while maintaining my side hustle. Did I mention my side hustle is not my blog? So yeah, I guess you could say things got pretty busy pretty fast.
Leading up to my June 16th launch I spent hours and hours researching the necessary steps to start a blog and, of course, became consumed with articles from “professional bloggers“ and how they had monetized their blogs.
Titles like “How I made $10,000 in three months, how I landed my first brand deal and how to make money in your first month.The opportunity is intoxicating and the impression of how hard can it be? Spoiler alert: it’s really hard!
Have you seen those memes complaining about how a recipe website has a six page description of how that person learned to cook alongside their grandmother over a wood stove wearing a lobster shaped pot holders? Well, not exactly that meme but you get my drift. Did you know there are several actual reasons behind that? It all boils down to how you can get more people to read your website across search engines and social media. It’s a science and a skill.
Please note this article is not meant to complain about my chosen hobby as a blogger. Instead, my hope is to give mad props to anyone who has developed their own and to give an honest account of the entire process.
1. It takes way more time than you think
It takes WAY more time than you think to take really fancy and beautiful photos, write an article and post than you would ever imagine. In fact, whatever you think it would take, multiply that times five.
Over time, I have gotten so much better at being strategic with my time. I listened to some great podcasts (shout out to Thrive Podcast) about creating batch content and being more efficient with my time. Sometimes just coming up with the content ideas is the most time consuming and exhausting part!
Then, don’t forget you can’t just take pictures at any old time. If you’re shooting outside you need natural light, but not too much light, and all the right tools, and pray it doesn’t rain, and don’t forget to have your tools charged, and not too windy or your tripod will blow over. SHEESH! I already have PTSD.
One thing that helped was when I got back to work, I didn’t have the same amount of time to write my articles. I took advantage of my commutes to do talk to text as I came up with ideas or create the framework of my articles. You have to make it work for you!
2. Prepare to be embarrassed
Lucky for me, I totally missed the embarrassment gene. It takes a lot, and even still, rarely happens. BUT, there are cringeworthy moments nonetheless. For example, I am a 32 year-old woman and when I have my tripod set up on my front steps doing all sorts of goofy poses with a self timer and I hear the 4 year-old neighbor kid say “WHAT’S THAT LADY DOING?!” I want to shrivel up. Also, am I old enough to be a lady? FML.
You just have to own it! Act like you are that professional blogger making that dough, even when the closest you are getting is eating cookie dough.
Side note, have you seen that brands are coming out with “safe” edible cookie dough for those worried about salmonella? Just wondering what percentage of people were really NOT buying and eating it raw before because they were genuinely worried.
3. You need to know things
You just can’t “blog”. I mean, you can, but there are all sorts of rules you have to follow. Like – are you doing enough to “rank” on google searches? Are you using enough keywords (still don’t know what keywords are)? Is your title using enough uncommon words? What hashtags do you use? Are you scheduling your pins on Pinterest? What’s the optimal word count?
Yo, it’s a LOT! And to be honest, I can’t keep up most of the time. The other day, I paid someone on Fiverr to make some pins for my Pinterest because 1) I have no idea what I am doing and 2) who has all this time? but 3) apparently that’s important.
There are a TON of free resources and articles. I already mentioned podcasts, but do a quick Pinterest search (oh wait, THAT’S why it’s so important) and you’ll get up to speed.
4. You don’t make money right away (MOST of us)
I THINK I have a decent “following” for a regular person. I don’t think I’m necessarily interesting, but I’ve lived a few different places and done some cool things and met some amazing people that I have connected with over the years. When you do those things and you get to know people, that just happens.
However, my blog isn’t based on “selling” items. It’s an “inspo” blog to help people get excited about their closets and feeling great about themselves in what they are wearing. All the while doing it when you are in a rush. I have some key experience in this area.
To date, I have earned $4.35. That’s a real number. That said – I didn’t do this to make money, it’s just fun for me.
Unless you already know the things (see point three), this is a slow crawl. I can see how people buy into the blogging dream and then give up quickly. You’re reading all these romanticized articles about people making boatloads of money and then you don’t so you think you’re a failure. NOT TRUE. Most people spend YEARS building their brand and owning their content.
You can’t get discouraged. Hopefully, you started this because you just enjoy this subject matter so this shouldn’t be a huge issue. Apparently it is?
5. People are seriously amazing
Any time someone likes, shares or sends me a message about my blog I literally GLOW. It makes me feel like a superstar. I know I am not, but I am consistently surprised and touched and who engages with my content. Like I said above, it’s not a lot right now, and that’s ok.
So to those who have been cheering from the sidelines, you are the freaking bomb. You help make all the energy I put into this worth it.
Worried about how your group will react? Just do it. You may be surprised and who steps up and supports you. For a blogger, every single like, share or comment is a dang TREAT. If I haven’t said it enough to my hype squad – THANK YOU – for being alongside me.
If you have a skill or an interest and are on the fence about starting a blog. Do it. Do it now. Don’t wait until it’s perfect or until “you have more time”. I can promise you that day is not coming. Do it for YOU. It’s been a fun three months and each week I feel like I’m finding my voice even clearer.
Peace, love and champagne!