When planning this post, I had to think about what would be a good starting point to touch on when it came to encouraging others who are just starting their blogs/businesses (after my back story, found here). I thought, what is something I would have liked to know before I ventured into Blogland?? I came to the conclusion that I think I would have needed to hear the cold hard truth. Note, I said "needed to hear" not wanted to hear.
I needed someone to keep it real with me and to boink me on the head (lovingly) and knock me out of my starry-eyed dream-vision of what blogging would look like.
So here, let me be that person for you...
The launch of your blog isn't as important as you think.
This may be a hard one to understand when you're putting your all into the development and creation of your brand new blog or business. And I get that. Because it's a big deal to put your work and ultimately a part of you out there. But its a tiny spec compared to the lifetime of your blog.
If I could have just told myself when I was leading up to the launch, that in the grand scheme of things-- a year or even five years down the road it won't matter how well the first day my blog entered into the world.
I would encourage a person who is just starting out to try really hard not to put too much weight on the perfect layout or about page. To try to put themselves into the future, maybe a year from now and realize the beginning isn't everything.
Other bloggers/people in your niche are your friend- not your competition!
I will admit, at first when I started blogging I was entirely too competitive. My competitiveness can be a blessing, but it's mostly just a curse for me. I would compare my work to others, and harshly so. Looking back on this makes me kind of embarrassed I was thinking like that.
Now I have a completely different view of the people in my "space". I see them as part of my community, each having something unique and awesome to offer to our realm.
I think it's also a great idea to work with other bloggers in your field. I'm working on collaborating with another blogger now for the first time, and I'm realizing there are really good things that come out of joining forces with other people.
Piggy-backing off the previous thought- You truly just need other people in general.
Now, this may not apply to everyone. I think this was a very important thing for me to learn as a blogger. When I first started, I thought I could do it all by myself. And I didn't want help from anyone!! I honestly didn't pay any mind to what the people reading my blog wanted, nor did I reach out to anyone for help. And boy was I stupid for not taking advantage of PEOPLE!
So easy, yet such a hard concept for me to accept. Because I'm a DIY'er at heart. And a perfectionist. And my blog was my baby that I only had the power to influence.
I think there may be some people out there like this, because we do live in an age where there are such high standards for everything. And you should know everything. But there's power in humbling yourself and asking others for help or working with others. AND YOU WILL GROW FROM IT.
Please don't make my mistake and just get involved with others. Find your people. And thrive in community with them!
Putting content out there is far more important than "perfect" content.
Imagine two people-- Mary and Betty. Mary has a food blog and she's consistently putting out recipes and blog posts every week. She's just started, and her photography isn't the best. But she's steadily growing her email list and gaining an audience. Then there's Betty... she just started her food blog also. She went and bought the best of the best photography equipment, and watches videos every night about how to take awesome photos. She's got to have the best looking recipes!
Instead of hyper-focusing on her photography, Mary has simply just put content out there while learning along the way that some people prefer one-pot recipes or Paleo something or another. Meanwhile back at Betty's ranch, she's still figuring out how to use her camera's manual setting, still waiting on FIRST recipe post (that she swears will go viral because it's just genius).
Do you see where I'm going with this?? I think we all may be a little guilty of falling into the "Betty" category. I know I have. But trust me when I say that it is ALWAYS BETTER TO JUST GET YOUR STUFF OUT THERE. Not necessarily sloppily or incomplete. But to the best of your abilities at said time, and then move on! Even if it's something that does not go over well at all-- it's something you learned to not do again. That's valuable. In the end you are learning as opposed to going nowhere when you are trying to make the perfect post.
The sooner you take control of your time, the BETTER
That means reducing distractions, deciding what deserves your attention, and planning the everyday tasks. Also making rules (especially when it comes to the time you spend on social media!!!).
I've shared a little bit in this post about how I organize my tasks.
You will wear many hats... and you will get better with practice!
This one was incredibly frustrating to me when I first started. I loathed marketing. I hated dealing with taxes and numbers. I despised the menial tasks of repetitive tasks.
In the end, I thought these things all kept me away from what I truly enjoyed doing-creating. And I think that's an issue for many creators/artists. To create awesome things is one thing, but to be able to turn around and change from creative mode to business manager is an incredible feat.
I will say that it gets better with time. At first I totally sucked at it. And I'm continually getting better with this. It goes back to the Mary/Betty example of whether or not you're just gonna give a good try regardless of how great you are at it. Be resilient.
It's not over after you hit "publish"
You have to "market" your work/blog. There's really no way around it. Just do it. And you've got to get over your aversion to it.
If you've got something that's valuable to someone, it's your duty to put it in front of them! It's not slimy!
It's also a big misconception to believe that if you make something awesome enough people will flourish to it. And that is simply just wrong. STOP THINKING LIKE THAT! I was one of those people who believed that. I had to come to the realization that you've got to put your work in front of people, there's no way around it.
And for you that may be social media. Or Pinterest. Or guest posting. It can be a lot of different things. But I suggest seeking out your "way" of getting in front of your people.
YOU HAVE GOT TO KNOW WHAT YOUR AUDIENCE WANTS!
Perhaps the most important I wish I could have told myself. News flash-- it's not just about what you want to create (sadly). I mean it could be... but in most cases it won't usually go over well if it's strictly about you. You've got to change your mindset... to how you can most serve others with your gifts.
And that can be hard for some people. It was a bit tough for me. I'm not naturally an outgoing person, so I struggled with this. And honestly fought it. I eventually caved, and decided I'd get into the heads of my "audience". I had conversations with some and also conducted a survey.
And I'm so dang happy I did!! Because through getting to know my "people" I found out what they're struggling with, what they desire and how I can serve them.
It's really a simple concept- yet it was hard for me to do.
Stop putting so much emphasis on your "numbers"
No good will come from obsessively checking up on your page views, income or feedback from audience. It's just a waste of time. Looking at those things will really change nothing! Other than getting frustrated that they aren't what you want them to be.
Numbers change when you give energy and work to your blog. When you're putting content out there and bringing life to your brand (a.k.a. being a Mary not a Betty 😂)
This leads me to...
Define what "success" is for you (and no I don't think it should be a specific number/figure).
Because what happens when you accomplish that specific figure? You'll always be seeking the next big thing- and that my friend is what we call chasing the wind. What is "success" to me? Mostly it's the things I value about owning my own business. It's being able to call the shots, to not have anyone tell me what to do, also I love being able to bring life to my business and brand. Something I also value is staying home with my son, and being able to up and go to the park in the middle of the day if we so choose. Success is also being able to support my family in any way. And for me this is a tough one to balance with, because if I'm not careful I get a little too hungry for "more".
Something I do want to mention is that I am in no way perfect and entirely focus on the right things when it comes to "success". I sometimes catch myself falling into a trap of seeking out something I truly shouldn't. And that's the most important thing I think-- catching yourself chasing after the wrong thing. You've got to be on guard to the love of numbers or even money because it will never be enough. And quite honestly, if you think about it that is just exhausting.
Well guys... those are my ten things I wish I could have told myself when I first started this gig! I hope this was good information. I really do wish I could have put my hand on my former self's shoulder and said these things. And to have been honest and a little blunt about some truths I've learned.
Thanks for reading, and look for more posts on blogging in the future! I so enjoy making these. :)