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If you’ve never tried blogging or you are just starting out, I think it’s important you know one thing. It is NOT an easy career path!
Blogging is awesome, but it’s NOT a get-rich-quick-scheme and it’s NOT easy work. Let me share with your lessons I learned from my first 2 years of blogging!
I see many people jump into the world of blogging with a dream of financial independence, the ability to work from anywhere, and a desire for 100% passive income.
And believe me, there is no shortage of YouTube videos of bloggers and vloggers riding around in the Lamborghini’s, pulling up to McMansions, or living it up as they travel the world full time without a care in the world.
Unfortunately, those Youtubers give people a false sense of what it means to be a blogger or online entrepreneur.
The videos don’t show to hours, frustrations, blood, sweat, and tears that went into making that kind of money online.
They show the end result, not the work to get there.
And spoiler alert! No online business is 100% passive. Prove me wrong.
The reality is, blogging is challenging. It comes with a significant learning curve, and it will stretch you in ways you cannot imagine.
Why I Started Blogging
Full transparency, I began my blogging career as a way to avoid “looking for a real job”. I’m being completely honest.
I quit my very lucrative Corporate America job back in 2013 to homeschool our youngest child.
In doing so, we chose to reduced our household income by more than half!
My husband used to joke that I was his Sugar-Mama, so when I say we made a financial sacrifice for me to quit my job, know it was a big hit!
What I did not foresee was the long-term impact that decision would have. It set the course for our lives on a path I never could have imagined!
Maybe I’ll write about that more in detail another time, but….
After a few years of FREEDOM from the office, I knew I could never go back.
The idea of sitting in a cubicle all day, dealing with office politics, always fearing the next round of layoffs, and seeing the disconnect between the executives and the worker bees literally made me nauseous.
But I also knew eventually, my child would either graduate or go back to public school, and I would need to contribute to the family finances once again.
My husband and I agreed that me not working was only temporary while homeschooling was my full-time job. Working again was always part of the deal.
My brain had already shut out the idea of another Corporate America job, and I needed to find an alternative way to make money.
This was my initial motivation!
I had looked at blogging a few times throughout the years, and of all the online possibilities for making money, it’s what I kept coming back to.
In February of 2019, I stumbled upon a company called, Create and Go. There website was chalk full of amazing articles on how to start blogging, grow the blog, and how to monetize all that.
Best of all, they had several courses to teach someone how to build a blogging business from scratch that would go way more in-depth than their already amazing articles.
The authenticity of the story told by the course creators, Alex Nerney and Lauren McManus, won me over, and I soon found myself investing in their blogging course.
I had dreams of not only making a full-time income, but also big dreams to retire my husband early so we could travel the world in a few years when our youngest graduates high school.
But that didn’t happen in year 1, nor did it happen in year 2.
Thankfully, I went into blogging with a 5-year plan to make it successful, which has helped me to not be disappointed when I did not achieve insta-success, making six-figures the first year.
And in case you are wonder, I do make money blogging, and with my current rate of growth, my website is forecasted to hit 6-Figures by year 5.
Winning with the long-term plan!
The 11 Blogging Lessons I’ve Learned
That brings us around to the point of this article! Lessons learned after two years of blogging!
I recently spent 2 days catching up on inputting income, expenses, and receipts for the 2020 tax season along with updating the current year, 2021.
As I created my new folder in Google Drive for Blogging Expenses 2021, it hit me that I’ve been blogging for nearly 2 years, and I’m entering my 3rd year, CRAZY!
In reflecting over the past couple of years, I began thinking about the thinks I had learn.
I shared these thoughts with my fellow students in the Create and Go courses, but now want to share them with everyone!
#1 Stay up-to-date on your income/expenses
It sucks playing catchup!
At the very least, you should update whatever tracking tool you use for finances once a month, but weekly is even better.
I tried using a simple excel spreadsheet, but eventually decided to go with QuickBooks Inuit for Self-Employed.
With QuickBooks, you can easily track your income and expenses and they auto-calculate your estimated quarterly taxes for you.
Chances are, you will spend more than you make the first year and won’t have to worry about taxes right away. BUT, whether you owe taxes or not, you still need to file them.
#2 Don’t give up if you don’t make a crap-ton of money the first year.
The hard truth is, you will do a lot of work in the beginning “for free” while you are growing your business.
The harder truth is 95% of people who start blogging give up within the first year, before they give themselves a chance to succeed.
The people that make 6-Figures their first year are the outliers, not the norm.
In networking with other bloggers, I’ve discovered it takes MOST successful bloggers 3-5 YEARS to start making significant money every month. And many of the ones that consistently pull in +$10K/month have been at it much longer.
#3 Focus on long-term growth
It’s easy to get caught up in the ups and downs of how you are performing from one day or week to another.
Yesterday 400 people visited your website. Today only 250 people visited. Tomorrow you spike up to 1,000 visits, only to go back to 300 visits the very next day after that.
You’ll drive yourself crazy looking at your success on a day-to-day basis.
Even month-to-month results can fluctuate with the season. My keto food blog has amazing traffic in November and December as people are looking up fun keto desserts.
But the January hits, and my traffic bottoms out. Yikes!
The real results are in how you are performing year-over-year.
As each year passes, take a moment to compare your blog stats for the current month and the same month for the previous year. (Google Analytics is great for this!)
When I compare my current past 30 days with the same 30-day period last year, my pageviews are up 118%.
Y’all! That’s amazing!
If I maintain this type of year-over-year growth, the results and income become exponential!!
I started my blog with a 5-year plan for success. My desire to retire my husband has taken on a deeper meaning, and we plan to bring him onboard to my business.
The best part? I’m on track to meet that goal!
#4 Dream Big but set realistic expectations and goals
It totally fine to have BIG goals. Heck, you should have big goals!
Maybe you’ll end up being in the small majority that hit it big quickly. But be okay with knowing you might not.
#5 Your expenses WILL grow as you grow.
Invest in your business.
You may roll your eyes at “it takes money to make money”, but investing in the right tools truly can make a difference in the time it takes you to succeed.
Yes, you can blog for free.
But the limitations that come from using free resources can also be infuriating and cost you time in the end.
Treat your blog like a business and invest in the right tools at the right time.
#6 Blogging is Hard!
My old job in Corporate America was 1000x easier than this, but I hated it.
Blogging is hard, but the wins are so much more exciting!
The learning never ends. You will want to bang your head against the wall….often!
Your brain will hurt and you will have many day where you feel completely stupid an incapable.
The competition will scare you (although it shouldn’t) and you will question if you have what it takes.
The doubts that set in and the learning curve can be overwhelming.
All of this is completely normal, and it’s been the case for every single blogger I’ve talked to.
And the ones that persevere to become successful will tell you it is all worth it!
#7 Making money is fun!
Like, I can see how making money online is addicting and why so many entrepreneurs keep pursuing other streams of income.
It’s not greedy, it’s just so much fun seeing all the ways you can make money!
Once your eyes are opened up to it, it’s like there is no going back!
You’ll be shocked how excited you get off a commission worth only $1.62 when it’s your first taste of success.
#8 It will take a hot minute for others to “believe”
As supportive as my family is, they will also admit they thought this was a pipe-dream when I started.
They didn’t tell me that at first, but admitted to those feelings after I started seeing success.
But now they are totally onboard and excited for me with each and every win.
For anyone who has never made money online from the comfort of their own couch, it’s hard to wrap their brain around the concept.
We live in the information age and people will pay others to do the research and compile information together for them.
For example, I could have started blogging without purchasing a eCourse, but I paid for the course to learn from other bloggers who had found success already.
I chose to learn from those who came before me. They compiled the information of proven strategies, and I paid them for that information to save myself time and effort researching.
This is the exact reason why blogging and online businesses with digital products can thrive in today’s world!
It just takes a hot minute for others to buy in to what you already believe in.
#9 You will always be tempted to buy the next great course!
After 2 years, I still struggle with the new-shiny-object syndrome. There is always a new course to take.
We all start out as beginners, taking beginner courses. But as we become proficient in one skill, we start looking for more advanced courses to take.
Or you may decide to branch out to a new media outlet, such as YouTube, and decide you need a course on video editing.
And you will inevitably discover new ways to make money online and want to take courses to learn about that.
The problem is, when you are in too big of a hurry to learn something new, you’ll end up spreading yourself too thin, and it’s impossible to do it all.
We won’t talk about how many courses I’ve purchased and still haven’t used. I think I’m slowly getting better….maybe not, lol
#10 Knowing when to put some tasks aside…temporarily
Sometimes you have to take a break from content creation to do a little maintenance. As a blogger, you wear many different hats and may need to focus on one particular project without distraction.
A few examples of projects from my food blog.
- Changing website themes which requires a redesign.
- Changing to a new recipe card plugin, going through every recipe article, one at a time, to make sure updates were correct.
- Catching up on finances because you didn’t learn lesson #1 above
- Revamping YouTube default descriptions because of new affiliate products
- Updating featured images
- Page Speed Audits
- Expense Audits
- and so much more….
This is the the not-so-fun parts of owning a blogging business that I hope to hire out someday soon 🙂
If all goes well, you website is successful enough that you won’t be able to do everything yourself.
That’s not a bad thing, but it’s important to know when it’s time to hire a virtual assistant or outsource things like video editing, and website administrative functions.
#11 Read 10 pages of a good book, every day
I actually learned this lesson reading a “good book” called The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson.
Reading books by successful entrepreneurs is a great way to keep yourself motivated and keep you focused!
So much of entrepreneurial success comes down to having the right mindset, and reading books like the Slight Edge will be a continual reminder to set your mind straight.
I also highly recommend The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Colvey. I’m only 1/10 of the way through that book, but my mind is already blown!
Your Turn! Tell me about Lessons You’ve Learned
Have you ventured into the world of online business through blogging, vlogging, sales, or by other means?
Comment below with your lessons learned!