As a full-time blogger, there are a lot of highs and lows that I have to face throughout my year. A lot of my friends don’t really understand that I don’t have a steady paycheck. Everything I do is truly figured out on a month to month basis. So, when we use the word “hustle”, it isn’t used lightly. I can never phone it in. I don’t have a husband with a full-time job and benefits. We don’t have any sort of set money depositing into our bank accounts every two weeks. Every moment counts for us. This means that every hour of my day is important. I have to be selling, pitching, working, writing, engaging… just being part of the online world at some capacity. The life of an online entrepreneur is a crazy one without any boundaries or borders.
You cannot fit my job into a box.
What do you do for a living? Um…. everything? No, really. What do you need me to do? Do you need me to go on TV and soft-sell your product to the nation during the 8AM hour? Do you need me to put together a 600-person event in NYC and make sure that it has online coverage from all the right players? Do you need me to create a personal video showcasing my family using your product in a natural way that would appeal to the mom audience? How about a magazine photo shoot? Yes, I can do that as well. A write up. A voice over. Or even a blogger outreach program where I find you 50 women that we can seed your product out to from all over the nation. Yup – that falls under the umbrella as well.
But when most people ask me what I do, I usually just tell them that I am a writer because it’s a much simpler answer. And truth be told, writing is the foundation of it all. A blogger’s home base is her blog. I wake up every morning, sit down in front of my laptop, and let it all out. Whatever “it” might be on that particular day.
Thankful For Those Missteps
13 years of blogging under my belt this year. Can you believe it? After all this time, I’m still learning. I’m still making mistakes and thank God for that. This year, I made quite a few. Like I said…THANK GOD FOR THAT. There’s something I like to say to my children whenever they feel defeated about a mistake they’ve made at school. I tell them to “fail forward” because there’s literally nothing else left to do. A mistake is just a lesson — it’s all how you look at it. If you aren’t making mistakes, then you aren’t trying anything and if you aren’t trying anything then you aren’t growing.
I hope my children have a lifetime filled with mistakes because it means that they lived a full life.
Mistakes Come In Many Forms
This year, some of my mistakes hurt. Some of my mistakes stung. Some of my mistakes were amazing. Some of my mistakes were absolute WOW A-HA moments. And I welcomed them all. Like I said, I pray to always keep growing. Success doesn’t come on a platter. Well, maybe it does for some. I guess I can’t speak for everyone. But I will say that personally, my career has looked more like a rollercoaster than a train ride.
I wanted to share with you 10 lessons that I learned this year as a blogger. In case you are also a writer in my industry. Perhaps reading through some of my missteps will help you recognize habits in your own space.
10 Lessons I’ve Learned As A Full-Time Blogger This Year
(1) I wasn’t pinning enough of my own content. I ALSO wasn’t LIVE pinning enough of my own content.
(2) I wasn’t focusing on keywords as I was writing content. I was just writing from the heart and without intention. How very 2005 of me. Now, when I sit down to work on a post, 9 times out of 10, I write it with a particular keyword in mind. This is new for me. Absolutely ignorant.
(3) I set a goal for myself to get to 10 million views on YouTube by December and I don’t think I am going to hit it. In January, I started to post 5 videos a week. I kept that up until about August. I am really good about giving something 6 months. My videos had no specific theme. They were sort of half-a**ed if I am being honest with you. But I was consistent. I went up in subscribers and I think I went up almost a million views. But… I am nowhere near 10. Maybe by Christmas I will be at 9 million? But not 10!! 🙂 My lesson here is that I am not a YouTuber. It’s impossible to do what I do on a regular basis AND be a full-time YouTuber. I’ve cut down my commitment to two videos a week and I feel good about that. I still love making videos. I just cannot commit to the 5-day a week game. Fail forward. When you are goal setting for the week/month – consider your bandwidth.
(4) Not everyone has your back. Not everyone has your best interest at heart. Not everyone wants good things for you. And you have to be ok with that reality. That was a big lesson for me in 2018. I am not here for anyone but my children and their future.
(5) If you don’t understand something – you can’t wallow in that and hide behind that wall in 2018. Either find someone that does, or open up Google and figure it out. There is too much free information on the web. Find the time or hire someone. Stop getting in your own way. This was a HUGE one for me. The “I CAN’T PROCESS THIS” WALL that I build has been a security blanket I’ve clenched to for a decade. I had to get over that a few times.
(6) Times are changing. People are better. I can’t keep up. I don’t want to keep up. Pivot. That was more recent with my niching down decision that I am working on. I don’t want to run through a field of lavender with my kids while holding a can of Red Bull as a unicorn chases me for Instagram. I really don’t. There are plenty of people who do it so much better and who LOVE to do it on IG. Let them. I will enjoy their pictures. I will laugh and smile and they will warm my heart as their photos take me on an adventure. But I don’t want to curate that. IT is not ME. I cannot be that thing. I can only do what I can do. Pivot.
(7) Find good people who have their heads on straight and who are hard workers and who are willing to grow with you – and hold onto them for dear life. You are only as good as your tribe. Don’t think you need to do everything on your own. We aren’t meant for that. Sometimes I get into this frenzy where I go heads down and I think I am better off just chugging along in slience. But that’s never the answer.
(8) Don’t be afraid to test things out. Even if they don’t work. I will NEVER regret a mistake. We learn from every mistake. Thank GOD I am brave enough to make mistakes.
This one isn’t a lesson learned. This is more of a new way of thinking.
(9) I started thinking every morning – What does she want to know? – my reader. How can I help her? How can I make her day better?
It’s been helping me rethink the way I approach creating new content. I still will ALWAYS write personal updates about my life because it IS my blog. But now I always think about HER. What is SHE up to? Does SHE have clothes to wear on Thanksgiving? Has SHE thought about a good hair mask for the winter? Does SHE know how to make a mean bloody mary bar for her next brunch? What is SHE working on this week? I’ve become obsessed with her.
(10) The last one is — you aren’t late to the game. There’s still room at the table. For so long, I kept thinking…. there’s so many YouTubers, podcasters, ETC ETC ETC. Insert whatever you want here. And that would hold me back. But the truth is – there is only one YOU. So, no matter what it is that you want to start… do it. You aren’t late. The party is just starting.
I hope these tips help if you are a blogger and you are just getting started OR if you are a blogger and you’ve been in this space for over ten years – like me.
Wednesday 31st of October 2018
Thank you for this! I get all of it. Next year will be my 13 year anniversary, though truly I was blogging as a forum leader and mom expert on a site called Clubmom before it became Cafemom - So probably 17 years blogging (I joined the site as a founder after Ethan was born and he'll be 18 in January).
That brings me to my question: 2 and 9 are big for me. I've always written mainly for me (even when I had much a much larger audience) and I'm good with SEO but my problem is how to combine 2 and 9 so I'm not coming off as spammy or commercialized. I can see in some instances where I might want to come off more promotional but that's a rare, RARE occasion.
Monday 29th of October 2018
Hello, Personally, i learned one important lesson: ALWAYS BE A STUDENT. If you always approach your work with an open mind and a willingness to learn, you’ll get much further than someone who thinks they know it all.
NYC Single Mom
Monday 29th of October 2018
I regularly come to your site because there is so much great content but this one really hit home. I have known you pretty much own blogging career and learned so much. I love that you try new things and have set goals (something I am still working on) . That said, this year I did set the goal of pinning more which meant I do more scheduling and figured out tailwind!! But what the heck is "live pinning" I guess in 2019, I will work on youtube!! Ha Ha!!
Thursday 25th of October 2018
I love this post so much. Girl we are the OG's of blogging, And yet, I'm amazed and what I DON'T know. Thanks for writing this. I say I'm a writer too ;)