Wow. It’s been THREE years of blogging for me at MBAsahm! This is a huge milestone for so many reasons. From the very beginning I promised myself I wouldn’t quit blogging until I had put in at least 3 years and thank God I made myself do that because now I’m sure I’ll never stop.
If you read my blog regularly, you already know that starting MBAsahm was one of the best decisions I ever made. So if you’re considering starting a blog, DO IT. It may not be exactly what you thought – it may be more, it may be less – but I promise you, it will be fulfilling.
Related post: How to Start a Money-Making Blog
I spend so much time explaining the in’s and out’s of blogging and describing what it takes (and what I do), so I know what a lot of you are thinking and wondering! I hope this will be helpful for anyone that is just starting out and also for any of you that are considering it. But first and foremost, don’t stop! Your blog is what you make of it, so if it doesn’t feel right, just change course. Eventually it will all make sense. 🙂
The Beginning is the Worst
I’m not saying this to scare you off! I’m only saying this so that you don’t think you’re doing something wrong if you experience agonizing dread every time you hit the publish button. You’re doing it right – that’s actually what it feels like.
In the beginning, blogging is like one of those dreams where you’re standing in front of a group of people naked. Only it’s not a dream, and it’s happening on social media…or at least, that’s how it seems. You’re putting your heart and soul out there and basically waiting for people to judge you.
It only sucks in the beginning. It will get better. You will grow and become so empowered that you aren’t even focused on the post you’re publishing because your mind is pulled into next month’s amazing post that’s in the works.
Don’t Write for the People that Hate You, Write for the People that Love You
I know this for a fact. You have an amazing post or blog idea churning in your head, or maybe even already drafted, but you’re not going to publish it because you know that your neighbor/co-worker/sister/mother-in-law/father/husband/dog walker is going to seriously judge you and most definitely talk about you behind your back.
Did you see what she wrote? OMG, I can’t even believe I’m related to her. Who does she think she is? People can just publish whatever they want on the internet these days. I can’t believe I actually walk her dog.
First off, let’s just consider the fact that those self-defeating thoughts are most-likely not even true. Your neighbor/co-worker/sister/mother-in-law/father/husband/dog walker might not even be reading your blog! And if they are – hello! They’re reading YOUR blog. Anything they say to you is a product of their own insecurities and any thoughts or fears rolling around in your head are a product of your own insecurities.
So stop thinking that way and instead write each and every post for the one person you know would LOVE IT. Because those are the people reading your blog and those are the people that will walk away happier. When you start to do this, you will all of a sudden find yourself writing better, faster, and happier.
Fake It ‘til You Make It
This may be the most important advice I have. Really, it works for everything in life, but most definitely when it comes to blogging. You need to Fake It ‘til You Make It.
When you write your first post, you’re an experienced writer who does this all the time. When you’re starting to monetize your blog, you’re an old pro who’s already drawing consistent paychecks. When you start to see regular money come in, you’re a six-figure blogger looking for ways to outsource your administrative work.
Your mind and thoughts need to be a step ahead. That’s how you’ll actually get there. Otherwise, no one would ever be able to start! Just fake it and eventually it will be true.
Don’t Stop for 3 Years
I said in the beginning that I promised myself I wouldn’t stop for 3 years and here I am telling you the same thing, so obviously this was important! Blogging is cyclical and a long-term strategy. If you can’t imagine keeping it up for 3 years, then it’s not for you.
Here are just some of the reasons why it’s so important:
- Most of your seasonal posts will gain traction the next year.
- Almost all of your new evergreen posts won’t gain traction for 6 months.
- You need time to figure out what people like reading! You’ll be shocked. Often.
- It takes years to figure out the ebbs and flows of making money with a blog.
Most importantly, if you let yourself quit within the first 3 years, you inevitably will because blogging has tough times. It’s a major roller coaster ride and you need to ride that coaster enough times to know, for a fact, that the next peak will be higher than the last.
People Read Your Blog on Their Phone
You will write, create, curate, edit, design, embellish, and preview your blog posts on your computer. So you will, without a second thought, assume that’s just how everyone else will see it. Unfortunately, that couldn’t be farther from the truth and only about 10% of your audience will use their computer.
So check into your phone every now and then to see how things look! Keep in mind that images that are right or left justified on your blog are centered on your phone. I know this isn’t profound advice, but it’s important nonetheless.
Posts are Never Popular When You Publish
I mentioned earlier that when you hit the publish button, you will often experience agonizing dread. The fact that your post doesn’t draw instant readers only makes that anxiety worse, but it’s totally normal. The only people seeing your post right away are those that subscribe to your newsletter or RSS feed (and maybe some BlogLovin’ readers), and most of the time those people aren’t going to drop what they’re doing to read what you wrote.
Everyone else will read through social media or search engines and that takes a while – often up to 6 months. For truly seasonal content, you may get a little burst, but the real burst will come the following year.
So hang in there! Try and schedule your posts ahead of time so that you’re not thinking as much about them when they publish and give them time to penetrate the big hitters (Pinterest and Google) before stressing.
Blogging is a Marathon, Not a Sprint
I’ve already said this in more ways than one, but just so we’re clear – blogging is a marathon, not a sprint, so stick with it! You will periodically get discouraged, but you’ll also periodically find yourself on Cloud 9. Find ways to push through the tough times and take advantage of the motivation and inspiration that comes with the good times.
There’s another really important point to stress here – because blogging is a marathon, you need to pace yourself. You need to be realistic. If you can’t find the time to publish 3 posts a week, just accept that you’re only going to publish once a week and just let it be. Blogger burnout is a real thing, so go easy on yourself or you’ll become your own worst enemy.
Write about What You Love
Hopefully the blog you’ve started or are considering is about something you love. If it’s not, you may want to reconsider.
Writing about what you love is crucial for the long-term success of your blog. It is what will get you through the slow, tough times and what will keep your head on straight when you’re tempted to go in an odd direction.
Writing about something you love will make your blog more sustainable. It will help you to find new and interesting topics once you’ve exhausted all of the obvious ones.
If you’re inspired, write! Don’t get in your own way. If you love it, odds are someone else will too.
People Like Weird Things
This plays into my advice earlier about not letting self-doubt keep you from publishing. If you’ve got an interesting – or weird – topic, odds are there are a lot of other people that will be interested…sometimes way more than you think.
Not only are there a lot of people out there that are most likely interested in your odd topic, but it’s likely that there isn’t nearly as much competition writing about it.
So don’t hold back! Write about what you know, what you love, what inspires you, and what’s going on in your life…the weirder, the better!
Don’t Stress over Finding a Niche
You can’t write about what you love if you’re constantly worrying about staying within your niche. You also may be missing out on finding out what people really want to read about. My “niche” started as personal finance from the perspective of a mom. And in many ways, it is still what I come back to. But what I discovered was that while people are interested in personal finance topics, they were even more interested in other aspects of my life… some of which didn’t even exist when I started my blog!
A lot of successful bloggers will tell you that one of the keys to success is to find a niche and stick with it. This may have been what worked for some of them, but it’s not what worked for all…if it was, then they wouldn’t be telling you that because they wouldn’t be writing for bloggers. NO blogger starts out by teaching other bloggers. So obviously some of them left their niche.
Be Wary of Bloggers Selling Advice
I’m not trying to knock my fellow bloggers, but you will quickly realize that there is a large group of bloggers that make their money selling courses to other bloggers. You’ll be tempted yourself – it’s a profitable industry! Some of their courses and books may be worth it, others are pretty close to pyramid schemes that are fueled by the fact that they offer other bloggers a hefty commission to market their products.
Just be careful. There are lots of Facebook groups and bloggers out there that will help you get your blog going FOR FREE. It is rare that I pay for a course and feel like it was totally worth it. On the other hand, I am often blown away by an amazing tip someone offers up on Facebook (for free).
You Will Make Money
I don’t make as much as I hoped as quickly as I hoped, but I also don’t work nearly as much as I thought I would…which has been amazing (and one of my favorite aspects of blogging). My income has, however, grown significantly and I can now see the path towards making a lot of money clearer than ever.
People make millions from blogging. It is possible. But don’t fool yourself into thinking that they don’t work their butts off to achieve that. It’s not easy money, but it’s entirely possible.
Just keep moving forward. Some of your earnings will be gradual, others will appear out of nowhere and grow exponentially. So don’t be discouraged when you don’t make a lot at first. If you love what you’re doing, the money WILL follow.
Don’t Compare Your Beginning to Someone Else’s Middle
If Fake It ‘til You Make It was my most important advice, Don’t Compare Your Beginning to Someone Else’s Middle is my second most important piece of advice.
Sometimes it can be really motivating to read about the successes of other bloggers. When that happens – great! Use it to your advantage.
But other times it can be extremely discouraging and during those times it’s important to remind yourself that they’ve been at it longer and they’re not you. Don’t compare your beginning to their middle. They struggled as a beginner too. EVERY blogger struggles in the beginning.
There are a Lot of Audiences to Write For
In the beginning, you’ll most likely write about what you love, what you intended your blog to be about, and the topics that come easily. But over time, you’ll start seeing traffic coming in for certain topics and from certain sources and you’ll be tempted to write solely for that crowd.
That’s totally ok and in many cases what you should do! But don’t forget that there are other avenues to write for too. Your blog does not need to revolve around Pinterest. There’s Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
So as you build up your blog, just keep in mind that there may be a huge source of traffic you’re missing just because you haven’t given other platforms their fair shake. Read up on what readers on those platforms like and give them a try too. You may be pleasantly surprised!
I hope this information was helpful! Blogging is such an amazing endeavor. I hope you end up enjoying it as much as I do!
Related post: How to Start a Money-Making Blog
Other posts from MBAsahm that you may be interested in:
5 Books that Will Completely Change Your Life
How to Overcome Writer’s Block & Get More Writing Done
How to Supplement Your Blog Income with Hubpages