Saturday, February 13, 2016
Don't start a blog...until you read this!
I started this silly little thing called a blog when my first son was born, as a hobby. My son is now five and I have since decided to take it from "this silly little blog" to " my silly little business" ok, maybe just business.;) When I started blogging hardly anyone knew what the heck a blog was, now everyone and their grandma has a blog. So here's a few lessons I learned along the way. I think this info would be of use to a blogger just starting out, or someone considering starting one. #1 It's not all rainbows and sunshine....it takes so much work and dedication. Full time bloggers work all day, everyday. More than forty hours a week in a lot of cases. When I decided to take this to a full time business in October I also started putting about 50 hours a week into it. The thing is I didn't even realize it until I added it all up because I love it so much, to me it's not really work. I personally work til 2am sometimes. I do my best work late at night when my kids are in bed, it works for me, I say whatever times work for you, go for it. If you aren't a 9-5 kinda person, that's ok in this business. I work better at night and as a freelance worker that's ok. #2 You have to have a good support system and an understanding family. Because it takes so much time you need to manage you time well. Thanks to my supportive finance and super dad Jeff. I couldn't do it with out his help and support. He takes the kids to the park or to grab a bite on days I have assignment deadlines. You will need childcare sometimes so you can work interrupted (don't try to be supermom), something I needed to learn a long time ago (after cleaning up a room full of nail polish),as well as posting some pretty crazy posts. You have to be able to focus and working when hearing mom I need ____, is just going to leave you frazzled and of course with a crazy, messed up post. Bloggers who glamorize working at home with kids aren't being real about it, it's a challenge and a juggling act everyday, but it can be done. #3 You can't do it all yourself, even the most technical writers/bloggers need some help. There is so much work to be done. From designing your blog, to coding to affiliate links and other links like products you sell and social media marketing. You will eventually have to hire help, even if it's for a small task here and there. Trying to take on the world by yourself is just going to leave you burned out. Believe me I've been there. #4 It takes money, starting out as a money saving lifestyle blogger, I tried to start this business free. You just can't *period*. Some folks may beg to differ, but as someone who found out the hard way, trust me on this one. If you want to take it from hobby to business you have to invest some money. It really does take money to make money. You can start out free to get the feel for things, but to step it up to business, it's going to take a little moolah. Of course you can start for less than $100 to start, which is nothing though compared to what some full time bloggers make. Upwards of $10,000 or more a month. Some things you will need. You need to buy a domain...which you can buy really cheap though godaddy You will need hosting. I have hosting for this blog and my other blog mommiesfrugalfinds.com through godaddy. It's a work in progress, and will be switching to Bluehost soon, most successful bloggers have Bluehost and they also make money from promoting Bluehost. I will be eventually transferring all of my blogspot content to wordpress too. If you start on wordpress you should buy a designer template for better SEO, which basically means more visabilty. For this blog godaddy seems to be working out pretty well though, so I may not transfer to bluehost because the price is very reasonable. You can start a blog free through blogger, and you won't need a domain or a host, this is a great way to get a feel for blogging and you can always step things up down the road by getting a domain and hosting, I do recommend at least buying the domain though because it may be unavailable for purchase when you decide to take it from blog to business, which will change everything. You might not be able to get a (dot) com. #5 Blogging can be discouraging. It's hard to put your heart and soul into this business (I've been blogging five years), only to read stories like one blogger makes $10,000 a month after only one year of blogging as a single mom making $700 a month. There's no way, I'm sure someone helped in one way or another. She makes the bulk of her income from this story selling books about her life story and how her husband left her, and she went from homeless to making well over $10,000 a month. Knowing what I know about this business. There has to be so much more to this story. Like maybe her ex was a doctor and she ended up getting alimony or something, all kidding aside, it just seems pretty unrealistic, but I guess there are exceptions. One can assume or speculate, it just blows my mind when I hear stories like this because of what I've put into this business, it's not an easy business by any means. Or the story about a crock-pot blogger who started a blog and within weeks ended up on the Rachel Ray show, not knowing anything about crockpot cooking she winged it and quickly became an overnight success. In the world of blogging you hear stories like these all the time. It has made me want to quit so many times. Why do I keep going? Because I love blogging and writing and I love helping other moms, if I did it for the money I would have stopped a long time ago and went into investment banking or something. I'm not in it to make money, though it would be nice to make $10,000 a month, I'm not gonna lie. You just have to start with that mindset that it is not going to be a reliable source of income at first. You can however make other streams of income in the process. More posts on this to come. #6 Make sure your heart is in it. It takes time to make decent money blogging. If you are starting a blog for income alone. Don't start a blog at all, go into another field. Or keep following this blog for more on ways to generate more income streams and use your blog as a launching pad for other business opportunities. #7 People are not going to understand this business...I can't even count how many times I've heard "what's a blog"? Most people have no idea this is a big business, as well as a platform for other endeavors. You might have to just not tell anyone about it and work on it secretly. There is so much negativity surrounding anything where you make an income online or anything unconventional. If you tell anyone what you do you will usually get a confused or glazed over look. Just smile and move on. Don't let others opinions or misconceptions bring you down. Just keep doing what you love. #8 The competition is fierce and it's not pretty. Other bloggers will steal ideas, steal tags or titles and then every blogger in that niche has the same posts. That can be super frustrating. But I just keep going and make sure I follow all competition to ensure I'm posting unique articles and that my posts are totally different and attention grabbing. #9 In order to draw readers in you have to grab attention... you have to have a great title for posts and a reason to get someone to read it....just keep your integrity. Many bloggers sell their soul for readers. Just be yourself and be real, that will eventually shine through, making your voice unique and authentic. I would rather have my integrity and no readers than a million readers because of a title that was less than honest or using someone else's idea. #10 You will face criticism and critique and you have to be ok with this. You develop a tough skin from this business. You have to not care what others think and just be true to yourself.Blogging enables you to speak your mind, just remember to be respectful of others and realize that things can be taken out of context. There will always be someone who doesn't like what you have to say, not value your opinions or are just simply mean spirited and bored. Even these people are valuable to this business because the truth of the matter is this, if they are reading your content, you are still getting views and that ultimately leads to a higher Alexa ratings, so really even haters are helping. That's the way I look at it. #11 Never stop learning and growing everyday. I learn something new everyday. Study, read, explore, learn and ask questions. I read a lot and if there is something I need to learn (like video editing for example), I watch youtube videos or turn to my BFF google. There is always room for growth and improvement. Always strive to make your blog, and your business better.And always stay humble. #12 Most bloggers don't make the bulk of there income from blogging alone. Revenue is made from multiple sources by selling ad space, affiliate links, affiliate programs, YouTube channels, marketing programs and products like; ebooks, courses, fitness programs, printables, digital downloads, etc. A lot of bloggers also write for other websites, do public speaking do virtual assisting and other side gigs. Blogging is really launching pad for other opportunities and income streams. I'm going to be doing some more posts about this subject..the truth about blogging in the months to come. Happy blogging! More business ideas to come!