The fact that I’ve been a blogger for 2 entire years now is crazy to me.
In the eyes of the blogging community, I’m still a baby blogger, but still I’ve managed to turn my hobby blog into a full-time job.
Make Friends, Even if You’re Introverted
Just like any other job, blogging is all about networking. But, since you’re not all located in the same office, town, or you may never even meet face to face, connecting takes a little bit more creativity. I’m naturally introverted, and literally do not leave the house unless I have to, so I find networking online to be so much easier than in person.
I do things like commenting on others’ blogs, emailing other bloggers with questions/comments, and sharing others’ posts via social media to get attention, make friends, and call attention to their amazing content all at the same time.
Blogging Is Work
People will laugh and tell you that blogging isn’t work. They will give you sympathetic looks when they overhear you tell someone you “own a small business and work from home,” thinking that you’re just trying to feel like you’re doing something worthwhile besides being a stay-at-home mom or dad.
Obviously, they don’t have the first clue about what blogging is really like, and that’s ok.
It’s Completely Ok To Get Paid For What You Do
People have called my site click-baitey, unprofessional, too professional, hard to navigate, easy to navigate, and told me that I don’t have enough ads. I’ve had people criticize me for me for making money (even some friends and family) for doing what I do, and getting paid for it. There seems to be this stigma that all information on the internet should be free.
I’ve had people tell me this, and it used to bother me, but lately I’ve begun to not care. After all, how many 24-year olds get to own their own business, have employees, work from home as many or as few hours as they want, get to skip the daycare bill entirely, and get to do what they’re truly passionate about.
But with that being said:
It’s Ok To Not Tell Everyone
I still haven’t told the majority of my family and friends exactly what I do, where I blog, and by extension how much I earn. Quite frankly, I’m over people judging what I do, so I’ve chosen instead to be the happiest I can be, and to give my readers the best content I can!
Not Every Opportunity Is A Good Fit For Your Site, and That’s Ok
I used to reader other bloggers’ income reports and see the enormous amount of money they were making on sponsored posts. When I finally got my change to start applying for sponsored posts, I went a little crazy and took a few opportunities that really weren’t a good fit for my blog. It wans’t the end of the world, but more offers than I can handle have continued to pour in, and I can afford to be selective now.
Just because someone offers you a sponsored post, you don’t have to say yes – even if you need the money. If your blog is growing enough that you’re getting sponsored post offers, hang on just a few months longer and offers that will really appeal to you and your audience will start to roll in – and they’ll pay better too! (Case in point: my first sponsored post was for $50 – I now charge $175 – $225!)
No Matter How Busy You Are, Pay Attention To Other People’s Content
Networking is everything, if if you’re ignoring other people’s content, then you’re not networking. It can be so easy to get caught up in the day to day of running a blog.
But besides networking, other bloggers are putting out some crazy awesome content! Not only is it a good idea to read other bloggers’ articles regular to get to know them and keep up with their lives, discovering awesome content to share with your followers via social networks being a variety of content to your audience.
Inspiration comes at the least expected moment. For me, solid places for inspiration are in the shower, and in church. Maybe it’s something about the quiet and the ability to concentrate – a 2-year old doesn’t really lend herself to quiet. Like ever – but you should see my husband glare at me when I’m texting myself article titles or even whole introductory paragraphs!
Regardless, put a system in place to record ideas when they strike. Whether you text them to yourself, holler them at your husband, or keep a notepad handy, make it work for you.
In that same regard, you should know that it’s ok to be inspired by totally random things that no one else has written about before. In fact, some of the weirder things I’ve written about have been my best performing articles. Don’t let weird inspiration scare you.
Reach Out To Your Idols
You’ve been following other bloggers, getting to know them through their blog articles, commenting on their articles. If you really want to befriend them, you have to send them an email. Maybe you have a question, a clarification, or just a word about how they inspired you. As long as you mean it, reaching out to your idols can totally revitalize your passion for blogging – especially when they respond positively.
And 99% of the time, they will.
The blogging community is, for the most part, a friendly one. Don’t be intimidated by your idols. Instead, befriend them!
Diversify Your Income
You diversity your household income, right? In our house, we have 4 incomes – I’m not kidding! – because we believe in not depending upon a single source of income.
The same is true for blogging. Marketing budgets have a way of fluctuating, as does traffic. Having all your eggs in one basket will cause you income to tank with normal fluctuations, and if you’re depending upon the income to pay bills, save, or pay off debt, then fluctuations are the enemy.
Join several ad networks, several affiliate networks, several sponsored posting networks, and take on a bit of freelancing work to stabilize your income – and increase it too!
Blogging Income Isn’t Passive
I think it was around Month 2 of blogging when I realized that the passive income I had envisioned from blogging wasn’t exactly reality. Blogging is crazy hard work because you wear all of the hats: writer, editor, graphic designer, social media marketer, HTML expert, executive assistant, and much more!
You can certainly choose to contain your blogging to just a few hours a week, but in order to turn it into a full-time income, you’ll either need to hire help, or dedicate a full-time schedule to it. Sorry, but that’s how it works!
Be Honest With Yourself About Your Goals
When I first started blogging, I was working in an office, fulfilling my ‘lifelong dream” of becoming an accountant. Fast foward 2 months and I had a new baby at home, went back to work a mere 3 weeks after having her, and thought that I was happy. Living the dream, if you will.
I didn’t recognize it for far too long, but I was suffering from postpartum depression, working 12 hour days, and I wanted to be a working mom so badly that I couldn’t admit to myself how much my situation was NOT working out. I was side-hustling, sure, growing this blog into more than I ever could have imagined. But then, fate intervened, I lost my job, and was forced to make my side job my full-time job.
Now, I am able to work from home, whatever hours I want, I have 4 employees, and I get to spend as much time with my daughter as I want. I make more money than I did as an accountant and I’m happier too. I shudder to think what would have happened if I hadn’t lost my job. How long would I have stayed, being unhappy, missing out on my daughter’s life and milestones.
Be honest with yourself. If you want your blog to be your job, that’s ok! Don’t let anyone tell you that blogging isn’t hard work, or let them diminish you for what you want to get out of life. Whether you’re a mom or a dad, you deserve to have the life & career your want – you just have to be brave enough to be honest with yourself about exactly what it is that you want.
Keep Your Inbox Clean
By far, the task that I dread the most is email. I get tons of awesome information, comments from readers, other bloggers, and other positive things in my inbox, but the sheer number of emails I get every day is terrifying. Even one day of not cleaning out my inbox can be catastrophic for my productivity – and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t dread the task.
I started using Productive Inbox to help with the clutter, but the best tip I have for you is to put your email on your phone. Don’t set it to sync automatically, only when you tell it to. Then, when you’re riding in the car, watching your kiddo at the park, or otherwise killing time/bored, call up your email and answer EVERYTHING you can. I use gmail, and the app allows me to categorize emails into folders once they’ve been answered.
Keep on top of it, and you’ll feel like a weight has lifted.
Blogging Can Take You Places You Never Thought Possible
2 years ago if you had told me that I not only would I earn money from home in about 6 hours a day, that my blogging income I would be making MORE money than at my office job, and that I would actually enjoy it, I would have told you that was crazy.
But here I am, happy to be a work-from-home mommy, small business owner, and wife.
And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
*This post may contain affiliate links
Love this! I love blogging and I am so very happy that I started it as a hobby. Don’t know what I’d be doing today without it!
That is amazing! So many really successful bloggers, like you, started out blogging a a hobby – and you have the most amazing life now!
Sylvia @ Miss PF says
Thank you for this. I am learning how to blog. I just started mine a few months ago!
You’re welcome, Sylvia! Stick with it, and you’ll be surprised just where blogging can take you!
Shirria @GDTH says
This was very helpful! When I first started out, I imagined that because of my passion to track my financial journey that it would not feel like work, and quickly I realized otherwise. I’m glad to know that I am not the only one that feels like blogging is work.
The advice to diversify blog income was helpful as well. Although, I did not envision myself earning money from the blog, it would be great if I did!
Thanks so much!
You should definitely monetize, Shirria, even if it’s just a little bit. At the very least, you can cover your hosting bill.
Olga Zagulova (therussiannextdoor.com) says
Thank you for sharing great tips, I’m about 4 months into blogging, it’s an absolute passion of mine but it sure is so much work! I’m also trying to juggle a full time job, a 2 year old, a marriage and my writing skills at the same time. I can only dream that one day I could make this my full time job and actually make a difference in the world. Never say never!
That’s right, never say never! My blog started as a money-making experiment, and look where I am now! I know life gets busy, but don’t give up. Blogging takes time, but it’s totally worth it.
Love your blog! Hoping to get my own started soon, but mainly about knitting and crafts. Any suggestions on what platform to start on?
Hi Rachel – thanks so much! I would definitely start out on WordPress! On my Recommendations page (http://www.retiredby40blog.com/products-use/) I actually list all of the products/tools I use for blogging.
My husband and I are going to start a blog together. We hope to generate an income that will eventually allow us to both stay home with our 6 kids! There is A LOT to learn! Thank you for all of the information you provide! You pointed out quite a few things in this post that I hadn’t even thought about! (maybe we could be friends :) )
I found your post via Pinterest, and was so encouraged by what you have said. I’ve been blogging for about a year and haven’t started monetizing because my numbers are still so low. But this past month I’ve actually set some goals for my blog so that I can build traffic and start making some income in 2016. It makes me excited to think about!
Thanks for the post. Being a new blogger, it’s nice to hear the “hang in there it’ll get better” encouragement and tips from the veterans.
Just wanted to say what a brilliant list this is for new bloggers – I really got a lot from it so thank you! I will certainly be sharing this with other newbies!
I always laugh when people write that blogging or any form of online income is passive – At best its low touch, but even then, you need to stay engaged because its easy for any number of things to derail your income pretty quickly! Thanks for the interesting post
Vikas Singh says
Really nice article. Infact I could relate myself pretty much to your story. Thanks for sharing.
I have recenty started my blog nextisbest.co.in and working really hard. Waiting for the breakthrough.
Writer, Editor, Marketer, HTML expert and everything :)