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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.
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.
One 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.
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.
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:
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!
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