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Why I Started Blogging (and Is Blogging Right For You?)

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Is blogging right for you? You’ve heard the story of people earning 6-figure income from their blogs while they’re traveling the world. Tons of articles are circulating around on how it’ll only take you 15 minutes to build your website and how they make thousands of dollars in 3 months of blogging. You are tempted to ditch your 9-5 job, start a blog, and get a piece of that pie. But, before you do that, I hope this article will shed some insights on what the world of blogging is really like.

Learn what the world of blogging looks like to decide if blogging is right for you

My Life before blogging

It’s almost 3 months since I started my blog. I never thought that I would venture out into the blogosphere.

When I went to college, I studied Mathematics and then Management. Right before I finished my degree in Management, I was hit with big anxiety. I was about to graduate, but I still had no real work experience in the field. How was I going to compete with the rest of them to get a decent job?

Being an international student in the U.S. limited your opportunity to get a job outside campus. You are only allowed to work part-time on campus while you’re taking a full-time course load. So, for me, it was either being a math tutor or working at the cafeteria. I was caught in the classic catch-22. I couldn’t get a job without experience and I couldn’t get an experience without a job.

my phoenix sugar showpieceOne semester before graduation, I decided to transfer to culinary school and took on 2 more years of college. I liked it. It gave me practical knowledge and experiences of working in the kitchen even while I was in school. I also participated in competition since I was in school. This blown sugar phoenix is one of my proudest creation. By the time I graduated, I felt confident with the skills and experiences I had gained.

I went on building a career in the pastry field for 7 years until life decided to throw me another curve ball. I guess a curve ball is an understatement. It was more like a raging fire that burned and destroyed everything on its path.

The Turn Around

1 ½ years ago, life required me to move to the other side of the world and started over in all aspects of my life from scratch. I lost the life that I had built for 16+ years. It was devastating. It threw me into the deep abyss of depression for about a year. I had done nothing wrong. I had followed all the rules, but I still couldn’t stay. I felt betrayed by life. My faith took a major beating. But, overtime I did heal. (Read more for self-care tips if you’re going through a tough time.)

In terms of work, my pastry skills don’t serve me well here. If I continue on this field, I will be forever trying to catch up with life. I love pastry. But, it is a very physical job. I would be on my feet for 8-10 hours a day running around the kitchen. My lunch time would be sporadic as I liked to power through when we were busy. On many occasions, I would just gobbled down a muffin by the trash can or skipped lunch altogether.

People were always amazed how I stayed skinny working around sweets all the time when I told them I was a pastry chef. When they threw me the saying “Don’t trust a skinny chef,” I would comeback with, “Well, let me JUST tell you what working in a kitchen really entails.”

When it’s time for me to get married and have my own kids, it will be hard to balance such a demanding job with a family life. I have seen a lot of female chefs that either leave their kitchen career or leave their kid(s) at the babysitter for the whole day. I don’t want to do that.

As I age, such a physical demand on my body would not be pretty either.

All these made me rethink on what to do in terms of work as I move forward. I know I want to do something online this time around and build a location independent lifestyle. The next time life throws me a curve ball and requires me to move again, I will have my income with me.

I explored lots of different options on how to make money online. I tried proofreading. I found that I rather work on creating something pretty than checking for grammar mistakes all day long. I tried creating and selling t-shirt (I sold one!). I love the idea of designing t-shirt. But, the effort to learn Photoshop to get where I need to be successful is just too much for now. It’s something that I need to learn slowly.

So, I stumbled upon blogging.

What I have learned so far about blogging

1. Blogging is a lot of hard work

It isn’t a quick, get rich scheme. Yes, it’ll probably only take you 15 minutes to have your website installed. But, the real work are in producing high quality content, being consistent and keep showing up even if you are not earning anything from it yet.

2. Do TONS of research before and after you set up your blog.

I didn’t know anything about Word Press or social media before I started. Other than a personal Facebook account that I only used to post hiking pictures, I was not active at all with other social media platforms. I filled up a binder for my research before I even published my first post.

I have learned a lot these past 3 months, but I also have lots more to learn.

3. You need to invest time, money and energy into it.

It will take time before your blogging endeavors will bring you sustainable income. Don’t go into it expecting that you will make big bucks in a month. Building a business takes time. In my 3 months, I managed to get my first affiliate sale totaling about $ 12 in commission. (Score!)

You also need to be willing to invest some money into it. I know you’re trying to make money off it and there are lots of free resources to help you. But, certain things, like website hosting, are necessity.

Yes, you can start your website for free on platform like WordPress or Wix. But, if you’re serious about making money with your blog, you need to be self-hosted. It’s the legal thing to do and it gives you ownership to your blog.

If you need recommendation on which self-hosted platform to choose, check out SiteGround. They are reliable in terms of loading speed, performance and security. Even if you’re not technical, they have a free website builder that allows you to click and drop as you build your website. When you run into trouble, you can always contact their very reliable customer support.

Web Hosting

Then, you’ll probably want to invest on scheduling tools like Boardbooster or Tailwind. Both of these are my referral links that will entitle you to get a free one month trial for both programs. Check it out. You have nothing to lose. If you’re serious about making money with your blogging, you’re going to spend lots of time on social media promoting your blog. These scheduling tools will help you save time doing it so you don’t get burned out.

You will also need to invest your energy. There are times that will bring you down emotionally. You’ll be wondering stuffs like: Is anyone even reading what I’m writing? Am I going to make money at all with this blog? What else can I do to promote my post when I have spent a whole day on Facebook , Pinterest, Instagram, etc.? I commented on 10 blogs. Why aren’t they reciprocating as they’re supposed to? Arrghh…

4. Learn the legal stuffs about blogging

I am one who is always cautious about breaking a law. There are lots of legal stuffs regarding blogging. For example:

  • Don’t just Google, save pictures and use them in your own blog without permission. That’s copyright infringement. I am surprised to see how many newbie bloggers do it blatantly. Use tools like Canva or PicMonkey to create your own graphics.
  • Same idea with YouTube videos. Unless I can reach the creator of the video and ask permission to use it on my blog, I refrain from using it. I’d rather be safe than sorry.
  • If you’re doing affiliate marketing, you need to disclose it. Your blog needs to have disclosures, term of use, privacy policy, etc. If you’re doing affiliate marketing through social media, you also need to disclose it.

5. Create high quality content.

Quality trumps quantity every time. Create contents that give value to your readers. It’s good that you write something you are passionate about. But, make sure that it also provides value to your reader somehow. While you might enjoy writing about your cats or dogs’ accomplishment of the day, in what way does that provide value?

Focus on creating one high quality content per week rather than generating 5 so-so posts in a week. Go for longer word count article so Google can understand what your article is all about. I have come across articles where there are few written words and loads of pictures thrown into it. Sometimes they don’t even compress the picture files so you end up with blank page most of the time.

6. Learn social media to generate traffic to your post.

You have spent hours creating the perfect post. If you don’t market it by posting to social media, nobody is going to know that it exists. There are lots of options: Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, G+, Stumble Upon, Twitter, etc. Spreading yourself thin is not going to help you at all either. Pick one social media channel and focus on it before you hop on another one.

7. Create blog-life balance.

As with any other job, you need to create a life and blog balance. Don’t be so focused on marketing your blog that you spend endless hours on social media neglecting other aspects of your life.

I am guilty of this too. Since I started blogging, I am on my computer and phone so much more. I would reach my phone mindlessly and check if there are any updates on the Facebook groups that I belong to or if someone has made a comment on my post.

Set specific time to do your blogging tasks. Don’t forget to take breaks so you don’t get burned out.

There are still so many aspects of blogging that I need to learn. You didn’t know that there are so much into blogging, did you? I didn’t either. But, I am determined to make this work.

I hope this article helps you gain some insights on the blogging world. When you have mastered the basics and the technical aspects of it, blogging is FUN. You get to express yourself and connect to people all over the world. And, Yes! It’s possible to achieve that 6-figure income if you put in the hard work, invest in your blogging endeavors, keep learning and build your business over time.

Here’s a resource that helps me tremendously in learning the ropes about blogging:

The She Approach Ebook

You get your blog set up. Now, you need to learn how to attract your audience. Some of the topics you are going to learn in this book are:

– How to do your dream audience audit and how to track them
– How to expand your network by implementing Social Media Strategy
– Understanding the mind boggling SEO
– Pinterest tutorial and resources
– and so much more.

There are 100 pages of PRO blog traffic tips in this book + bonuses.  Grab your copy or check it out here.

 

Share your thoughts with me.

Are you a newbie? Does this help you to decide if blogging is right for you? Would you give it a shot?

Are you a seasoned blogger? What are the things that you wished you had known before starting your blogging journey? What tips do you have for the newbie or the aspiring blogger?

To your blogging success!

♥♥♥

 

Please share this article if you find this helpful. Thanks a bunch!

Learn what the world of blogging looks like to decide if blogging is right for you

Comments

  1. Usually any blogger bragging about their untold riches, is probably full of poo. A quick search on their metrics will tell you all you need to know.

  2. Always love love love to read interesting and useful information of bloggers as you. Thanks so much for sharing your view. I am still learning and appreciate all the information provided here.

    • That’s very sweet, Monica. Thank you! I am a bit of a self-starter in trying to figure out things myself. But, I can’t say there were not a lot of frustration in trying to figure out the technical aspects of blogging these past 3 months. I hope it’ll help the aspiring bloggers to decide if it’s the right path for them.

  3. Trained, and educated Pastry chef?! I would love to hear your pointers and perspectives on baking techniques and recipes! There are no lessons of inspiration and faith that speak to the soul, like that through food. 🙂 <3

  4. Great piece! I wanted to go to culinary school but I stayed with psychology. I still cook though, which is good because my wife DOESN’T, so we’d starve haha.

  5. I’ve been publishing at least one new blogpost every single week since the first Friday in July 2012!! I started to realise the importance of social media networking pretty soon after my first post. It does consume a lot of my time – I tell new people that writing a post is only 5% of your daily blogging “job” – 95% of time is networking/promoting. Blogging is definitely harder than is often portrayed. One piece of advice: Always promote your past links on a daily basis as well as your new material 😊

    • Oh man, now it’s down to 5%? I try to follow the 80/20 rule with 20% as writing post. Now I have to spend more time on social media 😉 It’s a great advice. Good advice about promoting past posts too. Thanks, Linda.

  6. A really enjoyable read…I loved how I got to find out a lot about you AND get some really good advice too! I’m with Siteground too, and I couldn’t recommend them more 🙂 x

  7. Love this! It’s always interesting to find out about why people started and what motivates them! These tips are also spot on- like many it started as a simple hobby and I didn’t realise how much time and money I would have to invest! I have no regrets but a warning would have been preferred lol. Great post!

    • I agree. Warning would have been lovely when I first started. I didn’t know anything about blogging and social media before I started. I am even amazed I managed to create a website. I hope the article will be a warning they need for the newbies 😉

  8. First of all thanks for posting this useful content. I agree with your thoughts to the fullest. Though I’m not a newbie in blogging but seriously taking blogging from last one year with frequent postings, participating in blogging challenges etc. Liked reading your post and gain some knowledge. But still working on to get used to the full-time blogging spree!!

  9. Great to have found you on Life Unplanned fb thread – I have included your fab post on PainPalsBlog regular feature Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You! This is so good!! Claire x

  10. I am also a fairly new blogger – what a learning curve it has been for me! Your tips and experience is so helpful. I agree with all of it, including the need to find balance. I am definitely on my phone and computer much more than I used to be, and it can take a toll on the family. I am still working to find that balance.

  11. Awww i love this post. It’s as if I had written myself (the blogging part) I’m sorry that life has dealt you two bad hands. You seem like the type of person who won’t let anything drag you down. Good for you. You’re doing great and I hope your blog becomes successful.
    Every part you wrote about blogging resonates with me. I thought it would be so easy. Not the case at all. And I too spend too much time on my phone neglecting other aspects of my life. You give great advice. Good luck with all!!

  12. Blogging is definitely not for someone who wants to take it easy! It is highly advisable to do your research FIRST before jumping in so that you are prepared and can focus on quality content. It’s also important to note that you should pick 1-2 social media platforms and really focus on them. Although some others may be fun, if they aren’t generating traffic to your blog, you are wasting precious time!

  13. Great article! A lot of stuff I’ve learned asking the way as well. The thing that surprised me most about blogging is how much time the marketing takes. I definitely need to set aside only a portion of my day for marketing so that I don’t lose focus on everything else.

    • Yes, the marketing takes lots of time. I have never been much of a social media kind of gal before. But, now I spend a lot of time on Pinterest and FB. I have to schedule in some digital detox too from time to time 🙂

  14. Thanks for sharing your story Herlina. My story is completely different. I’ve been on the Internet since 2000 – working for other companies.
    I’ve learned everything that can learn about websites, SEO, social networks, but I’ve always fallen into the wrong scams.
    Only a year ago I launched my first site, and about a month ago another. You’re right: there’s a lot of work and I spend most of my days on a computer, but at least I work for myself.
    I can already see now that all my time and effort are worth it!

    • That’s great, Jelena. You have all those experiences to draw upon in building your own career. You might be someone I need to befriend so I can learn some tips from you 😉 Yes, working for ourselves is definitely the way to go. What we get depends on how much we put into it. I know I always put 110% into whatever I am doing. Sometimes when we work for others, they just don’t see our true value. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  15. Thanks for sharing your story. You are right blogging requires a lot of time and energy to make work, not just an investment in technology or courses. If you don’t have that time to put in the work you’re shooting yourself in the foot.

  16. I definitely agree with your lessons that you have learned through blogging. It is a time investment and I am still having to better myself regarding organization and consistency!

  17. I’m a newbie too, and I really had NO IDEA what I was getting myself into haha. There’s so much to learn and it’s a slow, tough battle, but I’m very stubborn and determined haha. Thanks for talking about the Genius Blogger’s Toolkit. I don’t think I’ve heard of it before and it looks like it has some really useful resources from some really great people.

    • Welcome to the blogosphere! I hear you. It’s still an uphill battle for me too. Your website looks great. Absolutely. The Genius Blogger’s Toolkit is AMAZING. Now, I have digital resources that will help me figure out all this blogging thing in one place. I’ll take me at least a year to go through all these useful info. Thanks for stopping by.

  18. I agree with all of this! The most time consuming part of blogging isn’t writing; it’s all the little things that you have to do in order to optimize your blog post! Geez, nobody tells ya that part lol

  19. Wow, what an amazing story! Your blown sugar is beautiful . I love how you changed with the different seasons of your life and found what worked for you. Although our paths are different, they’re very similar and I’m glad I’ve found blogging. I’m still very new, but I live the challenge and how I can take it will me anywhere and in any direction! Best of luck to you ❤️

    Jennifer, Persist Mama

    • Thank you, Jennifer. I love that blown sugar phoenix. It’s a symbol for my spirit animal 😉 Yes, blogging seems to provide that endless potential of growth. That was part of the reasons why I jumped into it even when I didn’t really know what I was doing. It’s been a great learning curve. Best of luck to you too. 🙂

  20. Herlina, I loved your post, it is very true! It’s a lot of hard work and you have to really love it. You sound very resilient and it will take you far. Your writing comes across very naturally and authentic, I’m sure you are going to do amazing! Thanks for a great post.

    • Thank you for the feedback on my writing, Gem. It means a lot. I wasn’t sure how my writing came across to my readers. I just try to type in whatever my brain is concocting at the moment. Of course, there are lots of edit happening. I wonder if there’s a limit of how many revisions WordPress can handle for a single post. My earlier posts averaged at 10+ revision each. 😉

    • Thanks for reading, Taylor. I am currently in Indonesia. I’m working on building this online stuff so I can travel. Europe might be my next adventure. Keep on baking even if it’s only for your family. Professional baking can be REALLY challenging. It’s very physically demanding, and the sporadic work hours will take time form your family and lived ones. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  21. Hi Herlina,
    I enjoyed visiting your blog today! I know what you mean about blog/life balance – I’m trying to be more disciplined about staying away from my computer these days or my blog stuff sucks ms in 🙂 Reading through your other posts made me think about the heidelberg catechism question 1 – it’s something I’m trying to absorb into my heart at the moment… 🙂 He also watches over me in such a way
    that not a hair can fall from my head
    without the will of my Father in heaven;
    in fact, all things must work together for my salvation.

  22. Great write-up!!! I felt free to share it with my audience and fellow bloggers 🙂 The life-blog balance you are mentioning is a very important aspect, I used to get way too caught up by all the obstacles and tech things in the beginning. Now, I am a lot more relaxed, the internet won’t be gone tomorrow and our blogs will still be there too! Remaining authentic is very important also, I believe. Trying to stand out, finding your own voice and style!!!
    Again, brilliant post, thanks for that!
    Klaudia @ https://www.klaudiascorner.net

    • Thanks so much, Klaudia! No kidding about the tech things. I wonder how many times WordPress can handle revision of one post. All of my articles in the beginning average at least 10 revisions each. I agree with being authentic and finding your own voice and style. 🙂

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