When I started this little blog of mine a year ago, I had no idea what I was in for.
I can not even begin to tell you how many times I have wanted to quit, how many people doubted me, how many friends and family I thought would support me but haven’t, how frustrated I would get that I worked so hard putting everything out there and hear crickets.
Now, I don’t say all of this to scare you or get pity, I honestly LOVE blogging and have even taken it on full time.
But, there are things you obviously wish you hadn’t learned the hard way. So, to be real and honest, I want to lay it all out there for you and share the top 5 things I wished I knew before starting a blog. So, here it goes..
NUMBER ONE: BLOGGING IS HARD WORK
Okay, I don’t know HOW many times I have been around a group of people or seen someone post a post on Facebook and someone will comment, “You’re such a great writer, you should start a blog.”
To be honest, I used to say those things… until I actually started a blog.
When I hear people say that now I want to be like, “Oh, you know what a car engine is, you should just go build one.” Because, honestly, all the components that go into starting a blog are like building a car engine with no manual.Honestly, everything that goes into blogging is like building a car engine with no manual. Click To Tweet
When I first started my blogging journey, I started out on a free WordPress.com layout. I quickly realized that I wanted to add features to my blog that I saw other bloggers doing so I had to switch to a self hosted site with WordPress.org. So I researched how to do it and ended up sitting on the phone for 4 hours trying to get it switched over. Then the hosting site I was with was a nightmare and my blog got hacked 3 times and I ended up losing all my content. So I had to start over from scratch (UGHH).
Along with creating, designing and writing content, you have to somehow get that content out for people to read. Okay, so now you need to create an Instagram, Facebook page, Pinterest, twitter, youtube.. etc. Okay, now that those are created, you need good pictures to post there. So, you spend all this time trying to get perfectly lighted photos & learning how to do flatlays, etc.
Then there is SEO! What in the world is SEO? Oh, and you can make money from blogging? How in the world do you do that!?
See what I mean? It was seriously a roller coaster trying to figure out everything once I started. Which brings me to my next thing..
WANT MY ULTIMATE LIST OF BLOGGING RESOURCES?
WELL, I THOUGHT SO!
NUMBER TWO: ITS NOT ALWAYS COMMUNITY OVER COMPETITION
Okay, this one was really hard for me. As an extreme extrovert and constant people pleaser who LOVES to make connections, I found there are a LOT of bloggers out there who were all for themselves and not willing to help a newbie out.
I remember going through and emailing 100 different bloggers (I kid you not), introducing myself, the heart behind my blog and asking if they ever wanted to collaborate or if they had any advice for a beginner blogger. The email wasn’t a template either, I personalized every single email for every single person commenting on how much I loved their blog and specifically addressing something they said about themselves in there about me page on their blog.
Want to know how many people actually replied back? THREE. Three people out of 100 actually wrote me back.
And one of those bloggers replied back with her marketing prices on collaborations.
Where was this whole sisterhood of online entrepreneurs I so badly wanted to connect with?
To say, I felt really lonely was an understatement. I felt like I was cranking out these blog posts with no one there to help or back me up. Now, I know that sounds sad (and it was), BUT I am really glad it happened, because it has really shown me how much I want to HELP others who felt the exact same way I did. It helped me realize that we all start from zero and if I can help anyone in ANY way, I was going to do that.
It is also a HUGE reason why I am creating The Beautifully Created.
NUMBER THREE: START YOUR EMAIL LIST FROM DAY ONE
I’m sure you have heard the term “There’s money in the list”, and I have found that to be 100% true!
My biggest regret was not starting an mailing list from day one.
The reason I didn’t was because I thought “What would I even send in an email?” or I thought I needed to focus on social media because thats where I was growing in numbers.
The truth is, you do not own your followers on any social media platform! If Instagram decided to crash tomorrow, all your followers would be gone and you would be right back at square one. You OWN your email list, so why not invest in it?
When I first started, I used mail chimp. After several months, I switched to convertkit and it was the BEST decision I ever made. I ended up watching a webinar by Helene Sula, from Helene InBetween who talked about how to grow your email list with convertkit and it was a game changer. I knew then what I could say in emails & how to offer goodies or resources to my mailing list that people actually wanted. I grew my email list from 0-175 people in 2 weeks and it keeps growing every single day with hardly any effort.
Seriously, it is the one piece of advice I recommend investing in if you want to grow or monetize your blog.
NUMBER FOUR: NOT EVERYONE IS PERFECT OR HAS IT ALL TOGETHER
This one took me a while to learn. I would look at SO many other bloggers instagrams and blogs and envy them. I thought they lived these perfect lives and would have the perfect photos and make tons of money.
It took several months for me to figure out that they totally don’t have it all together.
The truth is, none of us do!
Let me tell you a story.. I follow this blogger who seemed to have the perfect instagram. She had about 80k followers and always posted photos of her in picture perfect outfits. When looking at her instagram you would have thought she made a ton of money and converted a lot of traffic to her blog. I ended up joining a instagram strategies group on Facebook which low and behold she was a part of. The topic of income came up one day asking realistically how much money they made a month from blogging & instagram. This blogger with 80k followers, about 1500-3000 likes per photo with maybe 20 comments per photo confessed she only made $50 a month if she was lucky!
Thats when I realized, this girl may look like she has it all together, but in reality it was just looks.
I know the comparison game is real. I fell into its trap for a long time but after much prayer and self-evaluation, God showed me a little truth. When you are comparing yourself to others, you are doubting God. God made you for a PURPOSE and gave you gifts and talents he didn’t give anyone else. So looking at someone and wishing you had what they had is a slap in the face to God. You were beautifully CREATED like NO ONE ELSE. Please hold onto to that truth and live in confidence.When you compare yourself to others, you are doubting God. Click To Tweet
Which brings me to my next thing I wish I knew before starting a blog…
NUMBER FIVE: BE YOURSELF AND RELATE TO OTHERS
After I spent months and months following the tactics of these other bloggers I saw, I realized my numbers were growing yes, but my engagement sucked and I felt like a fraud.
For example, I would have 4,000 followers on Instagram but I would get maybe 40-50 likes on a photo. Thats not a very high engagement percentage.
So, what did I do… I set out to be different.
I started sharing more of my story and really discovering my “why”.
Why was I blogging in the first place?
What did I want my readers to find when they came to my blog? The answer was easy.
I wanted them to find a person they could relate to and call a friend. I wanted to be genuine, real, honest and raw and stop acting like I had it all together. I didn’t want to be the IT girl, I wanted to be the every girl and build community!
I wanted them to be able to ask for help and receive it without playing $900 for some course promising you instant success (BECAUSE THERE IS NO SUCH THING!). I wanted them to see Jesus and the messy broken honest parts of my life.
I started to not care so much about numbers but instead care about the ones who were truly there for me… and guess what happened? I made connections.
I spent hours in happy tears from people sending me messages telling me how much they related to me and how much they appreciated following someone who did anything to help them. I kid you not, I had a follower reach out to me about starting a blog and I spent 45 minutes writing her an email back with TONS of resources. I could have easily been generic and written back a 3 minute response, but instead I poured my heart to this girl and got to know her story so I could help her better.
God gave you a unique story- don’t be afraid to share it! You never know how many people might need to hear it.God gave you a unique story- don't be afraid to share it! You never know how many people might need to hear it. Click To Tweet
So, in conclusion, I want to say this..
Blogging is hard work, but its worth it.
You will probably fail at a lot of things, you’ll have people who hate on you, judge you and not support you but you just have to keep going! You will also have people who doubt you and you’ll have friends who say they will support you and then never even read a post. That’s okay. If you’re passionate about it and do it the RIGHT way, you can make it happen!
And Just know if you ever need help, you can always count on me! 🙂