Why I started blogging and my journey to Starting a Blog
The reason I’m opening up to you today on my blogging journey is to kick off a topic I’ve felt compelled to share for some time: Blogging Tips. I know exactly what it’s like to not know anything and feel nervous because you never know what you’re doing is “right”. Second guessing yourself in everything. Feeling behind constantly. Those nights you spend google searching like a mad-woman trying to absorb an ounce of valuable info to grow your blog from hobby to full time business.
I feel you, and I want to help you through this unknown process! I want to be your mentor. I want to help you! No – I don’t have it all figured out – and no I haven’t successfully gone full time yet. But, I have been through the trenches the last 2 years trying to figure it out how to build a brand, grow a following, drive blog traffic, manage blogging and a 9-5, creating a media kit, pitching to brands, selling yourself as a micro-influencer, THE WORKS. I love sharing my experiences in hopes that it’s easier for you and you aren’t sitting there wondering what you should be doing, and start executing.
I’ll be putting my experiences, tips, advice and struggles out there on the table for you. Sharing everything from my favorite blogging resources like what podcasts are worth the listen and what courses are worth the investment, as well as what to put on your media kit and rate sheet. I want to share my personal knowledge with you on what’s worked for me growing a brand in the 2018-2020 landscape – which is much different than taking advice from those who grew their following in earlier Instagram days when the market wasn’t as saturated. I want to share that even without 10k followers, you can get brand partnerships and make money.
And I’m done “waiting” for the perfect time to start living and sharing things I want to share. I’ll never 100% have it figured out and know the answers, so there’s no better time to start than now! I’m confident I have tips that will help some you! And for those of you who aren’t bloggers, this post is still intriguing on the behind the scenes of blogging.
So today, I’m starting with why I started blogging so you can get to know me on a more personal level. Each week (maybe Blogging Tip Tuesdays?) I’ll share a new blogging article with you!! I’ll be polling more on Instagram Stories for YOUR input on what topics you want to read about next!
It’s been (almost) 2 years since I started hit publish on my first blog post ever. About this time 2 years ago, I was figuring out how to set up a website (blogger or wordpress type of google questions) and spent WAY too long in Adobe photoshop trying to create a logo with gold foil, before I knew the beauty of Canva.
Anyway, let’s just say with 2 years of grinding, I didn’t really expect to still be in the same spot as I was. And let’s get one thing clear – I AM NOT. I’m 100000x more knowledgeable now that I’m in the thick of the daily work required to build a brand and business. Big picture though, I still don’t make a full-time income blogging. I still work 9 – 5, then find time to take pictures, pitch brands, negotiate, write blog content, go on Instagram stories, and so so so much more. The dream was, wouldn’t I be full time by now? I know bloggers that went full time in a year, 18 months, etc, why not me? I’m making good content, why am I not getting followers?
These negative thoughts and the comparison game can take over at any time, and I’m constantly reminding myself to realize that isn’t my journey. Did I start my blog before blogging was popular? No. Was I a pioneer of the industry? No. These women I am comparing myself to are not a fair comparison. So, scratch the idea of overnight success right now and embrace YOUR journey.
Now back to my personal WHY.
I’m someone that toyed with the idea of starting a blog for YEARS. And the reason I didn’t early on was because there wasn’t a clearly defined path. I wasn’t one of those pioneers. If I’m being 100% honest, I wasn’t willing to put in the work, time commitment and effort it takes to go into the blog if I didn’t see there was a monetary outcome. I also had friends that started blogs, and I didn’t want to be seen as “copying” even though topics and content would have been different.
Overall, I can sum up why I didn’t start earlier to 2 reasons:
- Fear: afraid of what others would think, fear of failure
- Waste of Time: I didn’t see the monetary value in the time commitment
If you can put these aside, and I encourage you to do so, you can start a blog!! You are the only person holding yourself back. It took me years for this self-realization and to get out of my own way.
THE DREAM JOB
If someone asked me my dream job and it could be anything, it would be shopping.
If I was asked at 10, 15, 20, 25, that answer remains the same. So how does that translate to starting a blog?
Again, I LOVE shopping and clothes – everything from planning outfits according to occasion and figuring out the most flattering jean shorts. I also love to travel and explore! Eating the best food in each city I visit is one of my favorite activities while traveling. Not only do I love shopping, traveling and eating, I LOVE SHARING ABOUT IT. I want other people to experience the same magical experience that I did! So why not share what you learned along the way with others to make it easy for them to have a similar experience? I LOVE being that resource, and before I started my blog, I already was to friends and family informally.
The SHARING part is what I love, and that’s exactly what blogging is about. Sharing and connecting with women in your community, while giving them advice in an easy way.
And why do I want this life? So I can travel freely, shop unlimited, and eat the best food. So I can raise my family working for myself and not committed to certain work hours, because I define and prioritize my schedule.
I mean – reread that sentence. Who WOULDN’T want that? The only requirement is building an audience that follows you for this information. And you actually working to produce this information and marketing it. Simple, right? LOL. Haha.
You also actually have to ENJOY doing the work part! And I do! That absolutely drives me. I love sharing! There’s nothing better than getting a response from one of you that an article I wrote really helped you. Those messages mean so much to me.
Does it seem selfish for me to say I’m doing this for me and my life goals? Maybe – but in reality – it’s not. We only have one life to live. And the purpose of blogging is actually helping others! No matter what topic, we all have a common goal of HELPING OTHERS – even if it’s not curing cancer. We are adding value to someone’s life with other information, or even just entertainment!
I started because I feel you will benefit from my content and I believe in myself! It has taken me awhile to get this type of confidence…
Let me tell you, I didn’t realize this dream was a real thing until it was proven by the pioneer bloggers. I keep using the term pioneer bloggers, but that’s genuinely what I think of them! Is there a better word I can use besides pioneer? I’ll call them out so you know who my role models are: livvyland, cmcoving, galmeetsglam, daniaustin, darlingdetail, and champagneandchanel. Very Texas based because that’s where I was living at the time and loved the local flavor.
Anyway, I developed that dream above in hindsight of seeing success from other women blogging. Seeing the dream was possible. I needed that in order to start.
I saw these bloggers posting, I loved their style and I would buy their recommendations. Livvyland 100% convinced me to go to Big Bend hiking and to wear Outdoor Voices. There are so many things these bloggers influenced me to do, but I didn’t realize there was ANY MONEY associated to what they were doing. I thought they were doing it because they had free time. Or at least that’s what I would tell myself.
Oh, I was delusional. Or, a twinge of jealousy because I wanted to do it, but I didn’t have the motivation and confidence to start one. Let me just rattle off a few excuses I made to not start a blog myself (all conversations I had in my head with myself BTW):
- It was a waste of time because it wouldn’t actually make money (waste of time)
- I needed to focus on my “career” (waste of time)
- these girls are already doing it, nobody would want to follow me (fear)
That is…… until I saw the MONETARY REWARDS.
In 2017, I started following Hunter Premo, and she shared the Influencer Podcast screenshot on her stories. I remember everything about this day so vividly – I was watching her stories at my turquoise desk in my bedroom, and walked up to go to the bathroom. I was curious, so I went and listened to the podcast right there on the cold bathroom floor. And I was SHOOK. GIRLS ARE MAKING MONEY BLOGGING? They are getting 5k brand deals? They are making $25k a month? WHAT IN THE WORLD?!?! You don’t just make money through affiliate shopping links?
OKAY, I WAS ON THE BLOGGING TRAIN NOW. Now that one of my excuses was completely invalid about making money, I was more motivated to combat my fears and do this thing. I could see light at the end of the tunnel of work.
The Push I Needed to Start Blogging: Support
I finally opened up that I wanted to start blogging to Ross, somebody new in my life at the time, and he was 10000% supportive. I needed that. I needed one person to believe in me. And he was that person. Ross was such a bright light I needed at this point in my life – and he continues to be my number one cheerleader, dose of encouragement and support I rely on daily. He started his own tech company with 3 other guys, so his entrepreneurial influence is unparalleled for advice and someone to lean on, every day.
If you’re feeling like you don’t have anyone to lean on, I get it. Especially if it’s family. Not to stereotype, but here I am stereotyping – I don’t think older generations get the point of blogging or starting your own non-traditional business. They don’t understand a different pathway than the security of a corporate paycheck and benefits. To this day, I’ve been told to focus on “my career.” My grandparents still wonder and ask me, “when I’m going to get my MBA.” I’m probably still a disappointment that I didn’t become a doctor in their eyes. I used to let this predetermined life path of what I was “expected” to do run my life, and over the years let those feelings go by bringing the right people into my life.
And yes, disclosing this right here guarantees 1000% I am getting phone calls right now from ALL FAMILY MEMBERS reading this. Some still view this “blog thing” as a hobby, and wondering when I’m going to refocus my attention on my actual career. Because blogging just can’t be profitable in your 30s. *INSERT EYEROLL HERE*
BRINGING THE DREAM TO LIFE
Once I realized the dream of living life freely, on my own terms, sharing the things I loved could be a reality with tangible, real money (not just free clothes and trips) I was ready to bring on the work part. Mentally, it took me awhile to feel ready to share with the world and leave the fear of being judged and failure behind.
Determination for success replaced these fears. I was ready to go all in with the work.
The work part – the behind the scenes nobody usually sees. You’re the one woman show trying to figure it all out, and it is not a glamourous as the picture perfect smile you posted on Instagram that day.
You have to love the work, stay consistent, and stay committed even if the dream still feels far away. But the dream is what keeps you motivated. It’s your why. The life you are trying to create for yourself is your “why”. You just have to choose something you’re passionate about sharing, something you won’t give up on, especially when it’s not making you a dime.
Even when you “achieve” the dream, you’re still working. It’s probably not going to be all rainbows and butterflies, but it will be a better place than where I am today. The self-motivation to keep producing will always be a job requirement, but there will be new goals set with each milestone achieved. And right now, my current goal, the current light at the end of the tunnel, is having the weight of the 9-5 weight lifted off my shoulders. The freedom to expand my time, energy, and resources into creating more content and a brand. And I work at it every day.
And now I’m ready to expand what tips to share for blogging and bloggers. I’ve learned so much over the last 2 years, and I’m dedicated to making this journey easier for you! I can’t wait to share more!
What’s your WHY? Why did you start a blog? Comment below!