When I first started this blog, I felt like I was drowning in information, to-do lists a mile long of things I didn’t know how to even start to do and thoughts of comparison and inadequacy. What kept me afloat, however, was remembering my purpose for starting it in the first place – my urge to write about and share the things I love. Helping more than one person would just be a bonus.
Now, I’m no expert by any means, but during the last 6 months I’ve learned more than could ever fit into this single post. So here are just some of my top takeaways from this experience so far and they’re all reasons why you should start a blog too.
1. You’ll Develop Your Skills
I started my blog with just an iPhone and a dream. Yes, I’m being a bit dramatic there. But in all seriousness, I had no idea what I was doing. I just knew I wanted to continue helping people, sharing what I know and expanding on my journey.
Because of my persistence and general love of learning and growing in whatever I’m doing, I’ve gotten better at a lot things like writing, editing, researching and mostly, photography. I’ve always loved photography but never had a real reason to get into it. I was always “too busy” and continued feeling pings of jealousy when my photographer friends or blogging mentors posted beautiful photos – food, wedding or otherwise.
I got pretty good at iPhone photography and even started making an income with this blog while using it, which is proof you don’t need to be a pro to start a blog! I didn’t get a DSLR until recently and even this one is a super cheap, beginner model. But with it, I’ve worked really hard, watched tons of YouTube tutorials, practiced, annoyed my boyfriend by taking an hour before we ate to attempt to get better at photographing our dinner and practiced some more.
I’m starting to take pictures I’m proud of and I know I’ll just keep getting better. It’s something I never thought would be a skill I had but I’m glad I have it because it’s coming in useful in my everyday life with my family, too.
2. Your Goals, Hopes and Dreams For Your Blog Will Grow As You Do
I really had no motive to make a legit income source from this blog. I really, really didn’t. I figured I’d get a couple of cents here or there from ads or affiliate links (they really are just cents on the dollar, if that!). I hoped to just make back the money I spend each month on maintaining the website. I know other people do this full-time but I thought, for a long time, that there’s no way that I could do that. I’m such a small fish in a massive pond.. there’s just no way. I felt so “unworthy” of being a quote ‘blogger’ that I bought my domain in September but didn’t even start working on it until January and didn’t go live until late February. Seriously. My own fears of not having anything “good enough” to put on a blog kept me from even logging in after I created the domain for FIVE MONTHS!
But soon after I did start, I found myself putting more time and effort into my little baby blog and the more TLC I gave it, the more I started to begin cultivating ideas of working for myself. I started fantasizing about no longer having to “work for the man”. I read the book “You Are a Badass” and decided to stop shying away from my true passions (helping people) and shrinking down because I felt like I wasn’t worth the success I wanted but wouldn’t admit I wanted out of fear. I want to be my own boss and I want to do it by being MYSELF. Simple as that. So I put it out into the universe and started manifesting my own destiny.. or so they say. I’m still no where NEAR a full-time income, but it’s just proof that your goals change as you grow and learn. It’s the way humans work and it’s such a fun daydream to toss around.
Even if THAT isn’t the same growth you want, your goals will still grow and get bigger as you chug along on your blogging journey. You’ll come up with new ideas for posts, new ways to put your work out into the world, new dreams that align with your growth and so much more. It’s exciting and exhilarating and terrifying all at the same time
3. You’ll Be a One-Woman Show
I thought being in the medical field made me a jack of all trades but being a blogger gives that a whole new meaning. I’m now the developer, manager, planner, HR specialist, communications expert, accountant, tech support, producer, lighting engineer, cook, graphic designer, editor, personal assistant, negotiator and there’s no one else who is going to get things done, fix a HTML crisis or put out the fires except for YOU.
With that being said…
4. You’ll Spend a lot More Time on Your Phone, Computer and By Yourself
Blogging is obviously done 100% online and much of the creative process is a solo effort. I’m not (er, wasn’t) a person who compulsively checked their phone, had emails pop up as notifications, was replying to comments from multiple social media outlets through all hours of the night and writing/editing/emailing/working at every opportunity. At first, it’s hard to find a balance of work and real life and the two blend together. There’s no set office hours and because of that your screen time exponentially increases. A big adjustment if you weren’t previously a computer person.
5. Not Everyone Wants You to Succeed or Thinks You Can
Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of people who WILL believe in you and be supportive of you and starting a blog about your passions. Buuuuut… there will also be people, both other bloggers and people in your life (co-workers, friends, etc.) that try to warn you against it.
Most fellow bloggers are genuinely supportive, helpful and remember what it was like when they first started, making them more willing to lend advice or support you by commenting on/sharing your work. I have found, however, that there are others who just…. aren’t like that. Whether they’re too busy, feel like you’re beneath them, are threatened, don’t care, whatever it is… some will give you the cold shoulder (which you’ll learn to be fine with!) and you’ll find yourself realizing there’s definitely a clique-y, high-school like drama to some blogger groups and you don’t want any part of that anyway. You’ll just learn to steer clear instead of wish you had that connection/networking. I’ve learned to give and accept support from some and that I can be successful without the support of others.
The same holds true for people in your life. Most will be encouraging, others will think you’re crazy. They’ll doubt you and think you’re wasting you time, efforts and money doing this and offer their words of wisdom that usually sound like, “if you don’t have anything better to do, I have a huge list of things that need to get done around my house,” or something to that effect. Ignore it. Or, use it as fuel to prove them wrong! Both work in this scenario. Just don’t ever believe them. You got this!
6. Your Success is Entirely Up to You and It’s So, So Rewarding
Your results (much like anything in life) are a direct reflection of the effort you put in. You have as much or as little to gain from this as YOU would like. Unlike being at an hourly or salaried job where you’re getting paid regardless of if it’s a busy day or if customers are walking into the store you work at, this job is 100% based on your efforts and your efforts alone. I’ve learned to be better at time management, asking for what my time is worth and that you really have to be self-motivated because no one is standing over you reminding you to do this, giving you deadlines for that or writing you a check on payday.
You might put in a ton of effort and not see the fruits of your labor for a while (and I mean months) but if you keep at it, once you do start seeing your hard work pay off it is way more rewarding. Maybe it’s a share from a person or company you admire. Maybe it’s an opportunity you never expected. Maybe it’s your first 27 cents from Amazon (true story – that was the first amount of money I made from this blog and I was THRILLED). The success can come in many forms that will be meaningful to you but it will always be incredibly rewarding because no one can take credit for it except you. You’ll know that it’s entirely YOUR success because you worked for it.
Finally, don’t be afraid to celebrate your successes, big and small, because you earned it! Even if it’s a small dance party in your kitchen before you get back to work, always be so, so proud of the milestones you reach along the way.
There’s so many things I’ve learned lately and I’m grateful for all of them. It’s opened me up to even more new passions (hello, photography) and brought me hard lessons I’d rather not have had to experience (hello, half of my blog getting deleted before a backup). All said and done though, I’m forever thankful I took the leap and started my blog. Regardless of what happens, it’ll always be my own corner of the internet where I can share my story, passions and anything and everything in between. It’s given me the outlet I didn’t even know I needed and something to be proud of. I’m sure I’ll learn even more in the following 6 months and I hope to bring you all along for the ride as I do!
For more info on how to start a blog and step-by-step instructions on how I started mine, check out How to Start a Blog in 15 Minutes! And, if you have any questions, let me know! I’d be happy to share more lessons and other insights I’ve learned!
Reader Reviews & Comments
Allen Hudson says
Also, most new bloggers try to do this alone.
Building a community isn’t just successful for your blog, it’s also a great way to receive support and motivation that will keep you going.
Sorry – I just wanted to clarify, the read more buttons under the other recipes, not the first one at the top of the page.
Hello! I can’t seem to fix the issue with not having a read more button, even though I’ve inserted “read more” in both the blog post and under the widgets section. The “read more” buttons used to be there, but they were in weird random locations and not consistent in the placement for some reason. Also, I tried to change the colors, but found that I couldn’t change the button’s colors on the home page, because those were considered links. That’s not a major issue though – I figured I can deal with just the default colors for now. The “read more” issue is driving me crazy though! Thank you so much for any ideas you have – I appreciate it!
Hey I’d maybe try to find other widgets. When I was first putting in the formatting I wanted I had to try a few different ones if the one I installed didn’t give me the results I wanted. I’d also maybe try to google the theme you have and your issue (in case you haven’t already!) but when I was teaching myself I’d google like “foodie pro wordpress theme footer navigation” or whatever it is I’m trying to change – in your case the read more buttons.
Just to clarify – are you talking about the “read more” as in more of the particular blog post or “read more” as in more related blog posts? If it’s just putting in a read more section that has like 4 more thumbnails of other posts you’ve written, let me know because there’s a widget for that 🙂
Hello! Thank you for all your feedback! Installing different widgets makes so much sense – I had just watched a tutorial on setting everything up when I first set it up, and it didn’t occur to me that I could use different widgets! Thanks for the google search phrases – I have just been searching Wordpress read more buttons and was getting all kinds of code-related information that I had NO idea what to do with! I think I’m talking about “read more” of the home page for the posts under the “Home Bottom” section. I have been messing around with them and now the excerpts are all different lengths, but I do have the “read more” button under all of the posts now…so progress is being made 🙂 Thank you again so much for your help!
Wooo! Glad it’s coming along!!
I’ve enjoyed reading your blog for about 3 months now – you are such an inspiration to me! I love reading your stories, and can definitely identify with some of them myself, particularly the ones when you were growing up.
I have started a blog myself, only about two weeks ago now 🙂 , mostly as a creative outlet, and I am REALLY struggling with what seems the most basic stuff. This is my blog: http://tinaskitchenescapades.com and I think I’ve messed it up quite a bit trying to figure things out on my own. Have you ever hired anyone to help you out? I had hired a person for one issue I was running into, but it didn’t really fix the problem I was having. I only have five posts up, and I’m almost to the point of just resetting the whole thing, because I’m afraid if I keep tinkering around with it, I’ll just make the problems worse! Did you run into issues like this in the beginning too and how in the world did you figure out how to fix them without getting into and messing the code up behind your theme?
Thank you so much!
Hey there! I’ve never hired anyone to help with my blog. What do you think you’ve messed up? I’ve only messed with the actual code twice and before I did it I made sure I knew exactly what I was doing (lots of research!) and those were just minor changes – nothing huge. Most everything you need/want to do can be done without editing the actual code. LMK what those basic things you mentioned were and I can see if I know anything about it!
Thank you for this! I’ve been wanting to start a blog for over a year now and I’m finally getting serious about it. Would you be willing to answer questions either on instagram or via email when the time comes?
Sure! Email would be the best way to reach me 🙂 My DMs get a little crazy and I lose track of them!
I agree with all of those! I definitely learned that I’d be constantly online but I guess that comes with it. It’s all about finding balance.
You’re so right! It’s definitely about finding a balance and I’m not quite there yet 🙂 I still feel a little guilty every time I feel like I’m ignoring something in my life to do “blog stuff” as my boyfriend calls it! PS – LOVE your blog name. So cute!!
Mandi Em says
I needed to read this. I’ve been hit with discouragement lately and found this to be really uplifting! Thanks 🙂
I’m so glad!! Please let me know if you have any questions or need some support! We’re all in this whole thing together 🙂
Mandi Em says
Thanks! Lovely site btw. Your about me section is very inspiring!
Vanessa @ Zest & Simmer says
This was a great read! I had a similar situation with buying a domain and then it actually starting in things for a while… in fact it took me almost a year, I’m a bit embarrassed to admit! However I have now launched my blog as of about 3 months ago and am enjoying the learning process as I go! I already feel more confident in what I am doing but there is still a long way to go; however, I am excited for it. Great post!
Thank you! Yeah it’s definitely something we’ll never know EVERYTHING about. Always more to learn and more to improve on! I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who sat on their domain for a long time – but I’m even more glad that you’ve started!!