Happy Birthday to meeee!! It’s been 1 year since I began this blog!
I was thinking about what wisdom I can impart to those of you who might be thinking of starting your own blog or vlog, or those of you who may be exasperated and ready to give up.
First of all, I think it’s pretty damn good I’m still even here, as most blogs don’t last longer than a few months. Massive pat on the back to myself, I reckon (though I almost did can the whole thing 3 months in – don’t think I’m any different to anyone else!).
So what made me carry on despite the wobble?
Simple: it’s because of the very stuff I write about!
Overcoming adversity (anxiety in my case).
Exploring the power within.
Learning from those who have been there and done it.
Without what I’ve been learning, I undoubtedly would have given up when the going got tough.
I had to tap into inner reserves to keep going, back when no one was reading. But now I understand that I can create anything I want, it gave me the motivation to continue.
To visualise the outcome I wanted.
To believe that my message was valuable.
To know that I am good enough.
I also realised that every successful blog or vlog had been through tough times, when no one was reading/watching or it seemed to be taking up too much time and was too much hard work. The successful ones are those who kept going despite those feelings.
Here’s a list of blogging-related things I learned during my first year:
- It takes far longer to get stuff done than you think.
So many annoying little things go wrong or need to be learned, that you can’t factor in (wordpress, marketing, social media, SEO, video editing etc). I thought I’d have got WAY more done than I actually have – and I have ZERO social life! I don’t know how you guys with friends can possible manage a blog, if I’m honest! But yeah, just be prepared – it won’t be plain sailing and will at times be frustrating!
2. Don’t focus on the numbers
It will drag you down and leave you frustrated if you do. No one starts off with great numbers and most don’t get a decent following for 6-12 months – and “decent” is very subjective. Don’t look for validation in the numbers untill you’ve given yourself enough time. I’d be lying if I say I didn’t fall into this trap and it almost sent me packing! But I just always imagined I was writing for thousands of people and that meant I had to give my all.
3. Marketing is VITAL
I hate it. I wish I didn’t have to do it. But the old adage “Build it and they will come,” – BULLSHIT! You gotta market the hell out of that thing! This is what takes up most of my time, NOT the actual blogging! Oh, how easy it would be if they did come just because I wrote…..
4. You can’t ignore social media
And for marketing, these days what we really mean is social media. I personally wasn’t using ANY social media before I started. This made it even tougher to get readers. I’m still not heavily involved online (I haven’t even begun on Instagram or Facebook!) but I will be. I’d rather not if I’m honest – too much screen staring isn’t good for anyone! But there are so many good things about the social aspect. I never would have met Brett Moran or Laura White were it not for Twitter.
5. Experiment – don’t be afraid to make mistakes
Perfection used to be my biggest hindrance – though I always used to think on it as being a positive! Now I realise, being a perfectionist only holds most people back. It’s unnecessary, stresses people out and makes them procrastinate. The old me would have done half the number of posts and started about 3 months later – all due to wanting to make everything perfect.
There’s fear behind all of this. I no longer fear what anyone will think about what I write; this is me, take it or leave it. I’m still pretty thorough and never put out substandard crap but I also don’t worry about bells and whistles. It saves a humongous amount of time!
6. Help others – this isn’t about you!
Value, value, value! I like to think I provide some to you guys. This isn’t a vanity project! Yes, I am recording my journey for posterity but in doing so, I hope it helps others who might also be struggling or need guidance. When I started though, that wasn’t my attitude entirely!
I admit, I wanted to make money. I wanted to get sign ups for my mailing list with a view to selling something – just like almost everyone seems to do! But after a few weeks I realised this isn’t the way to go about things. Sure, you might mak a few bucks short term but I’m here fro the long haul and people don’t stick around long if they sense you are just a salesman. I need to help others genuinely and that’s it. Nothing expected in return.
For me, this is a fun side-project. I don’t know where it will go and have no plans other than to write – because that’s my passion. This blog has already given me more than I ever expected, purely through new friendships and the opportunity to go out to Thailand this year.
7. Be different but also be authentic
You must stand out and the best way is to be different. Most people are just copying off what everyone else is doing. Fine if you do it the best…..but that leaves most people just another anonymous blog in a sea of noise. I like to think I stand out at least a bit!
But importantly, I haven’t changed who I am to do so. I just know myself and know what I’m good at and not good at and double down on what I’m good at! Don’t try to be the next Gary Vee or the next Alexi Panos……be YOU.
8. Don’t be afraid to reach out to bigger bloggers
I would never be going to Thailand if I hadn’t taken a chance and reached out to Brett Moran. I wasn’t planning on doing this till I was set up properly, at least a year down the line. Instead, I did it in the first MONTH. It paid off! Great example of ignoring perfectionism and just going for it.
What’s the worst they can say? No. Why does that little word scare people so much? More likely, they won’t say no, they will just ignore you – no harm done. You probably didn’t expect anything anyway! But you just never know…….it’s worth taking a chance and I’m living proof of that (Koh Samui here I cooooommmmeee!!!)
9. Be Consistent
Get that shit out REGULARLY (hmmm, that doesn’t sound right!). One post a week probably isn’t gonna cut it, not when you’re starting out. Hammer out those posts and do it regularly. People won’t give a fuck, if you don’t give a fuck! Show them you mean business and get as much good content out as possible. Consistency is more important than perfect quality. Don’t churn out rubbish, obviously! But better that than nothing. At least you wil learn from the rubbish you put out.
10. Be Patient – don’t give up too soon
Don’t expect hundreds of followers in a couple of months. I barely had any! But you have to take time to find your audience, build your brand and have enough content to make you seem interesting. No one is gonna subscribe if you have 2 blog posts and it all looks empty on your site!
Don’t be discouraged if no one seems to be reading. They will come if you prove you have enough value. Best way to do that is to just keep writing and fuck the numbers. You may need to tweak things. I did, lots of times. I had to learn more about SEO, social media, creating better headlines and marketing tactics and use better pictures.
But it’s all a learning curve and it will teach you skills you can use in any future venture. Personal branding is so huge now and blogging will force you to be good at it – trust me! Learn blogging skills and you’ll be set for life in so many areas – social media, communication, marketing, writing, editing, video editing, graphic design, branding, web design. You will develop into a much more rounded business person.