It struck me the other day that I’m already 4 months into my blogging and business journey. How crazy is that!?
I’ve blogged in the past, but never earned a ton of money from my blogs until I launched Blog Beautifully. And now I get to work from home, and do what I love full-time!
But don’t get me wrong – blogging full-time isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. In fact, over the past four months there have probably been more downs than there have been ups! But I’m okay with that, because I know that this whole blogging thing is a continuous learning process.
I thought you might find it useful if I summed up the top 10 lessons I’ve learned since I embarked on this crazy and amazing journey four short months ago. Let me know if you can relate to any of these, and what lessons you’ve learned since starting your own blog or business down in the comments!
10 Lessons I’ve Learned as a Full-Time Blogger
#1. Organization is vital to success
I NEED organization to run my blog and business. Plain and simple. Without processes and systems in place, I fall apart (and it ain’t pretty!)
I learned this lesson the hard way when my business really started picking up in June, and my lack of organization became apparent pretty darn quick. After getting through those tough weeks, I vowed to never let that happen again!
I’ve since put a lot of systems in place that help me keep my blog and business organized. Some of those include…
+ Two editorial calendars taped to the wall behind my desk (one for client work and one for blog posts)
+ A sticky-note weekly calendar (color-coded, of course), where I place sticky notes for each of my weekly tasks.
+ Evernote. Moving from paper notebooks to digital notebooks has seriously made all the difference.
#2. You won’t get everything right at first
… And that’s okay! You hear me refer to blogging as a “journey” time and time again, and that’s exactly what it is. Don’t be scared to make mistakes – everyone does! But, at the same time, don’t be afraid to reach out for help when you need it.
Think of it this way: Every single thing you do when it comes to your blog is an opportunity to learn, grow, and improve. Don’t be hard on yourself if you mess up the first few times!
#3. Build friendships and community
One of my very favorite things about blogging (if not my #1 most favorite thing) is the sense of community among bloggers. I’m so glad I made community-building a priority for myself and my blog early on, because it’s led to such quick and amazing growth.
I now have a flourishing email list filled with amazing babes who know they can reach out to me anytime; a tight-knit group of blogging besties who are always there to support me and listen to my (sometimes crazy) ideas; and a ton of new clients coming through referrals from past clients or other connections I’ve made.
Not too shabby for only four months!
#4. Connections are incredibly important
I basically covered this in my last point, but I think it’s so important that it’s worth repeating.
Blogging is not an island. Don’t isolate yourself! If you like someone’s blog, tell them. If you want to collaborate with another blogger, reach out. And if you think that girl on Instagram’s shoes are super cool, let her know!
As I said, the majority of my business comes through referral clients and other connections I’ve made online. This is why I recommend spending at least 10 minutes every day building UP and nurturing your connections. It’s so worth it!
#5. Investment is the key to success
For years and years I was strictly a “DIY Blogger”. I was determined to make my blog a success without spending a single dime on it. And you know how well that worked out for me?
Hint: It didn’t work at all.
It wasn’t until I started making investments in my blog and business (purchasing a custom WordPress Theme, investing in ebooks and ecourses) that I truly started to see growth and success. I can’t put into words why this mindset shift has made all the difference for me, but it really has!
So I want to urge you: If there’s something you’ve been thinking of investing in for your blog, GO FOR IT! Don’t run yourself into bankruptcy, of course – but if it’s from a source you trust, and you know it will be insanely valuable for you and your blog, don’t hold back.
#6. Set boundaries for business vs. personal
When I started my business back in May, I learned first-hand how difficult it can be to separate your business from your personal life when you work from home.
This has undoubtedly been one of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn so far, and it’s something I’m still working on every day. If you’re in the same boat, here are some guidelines I try to follow that help me keep that distinction:
+ Have a dedicated work space in your home
+ Set daily office hours, and stick to them
+ Shut the door to your office when work is over
+ Leave your computer in your office at the end of the day
If you have any other tips, I’d love to hear them!
#7. Double-check things often
This is another lesson I learned the hard way.
When I transferred my email list from MailChimp to ConvertKit a few months back, I thought I had everything set up the right way. I was new to ConvertKit, but I watched some tutorials and thought everything turned out the way it was supposed to.
Flash-forward two months, and I found out that one of my opt-in freebies wasn’t even set to DELIVER when someone signed up for it. *Gah!!* Talk about embarrassing.
Now, I make sure to regularly go into things like my email list, and check that everything is working correctly. I try to do this for every aspect of my blog and business – for example, making sure contact forms work, comments are functioning, and that my social media icons lead to the correct accounts.
#8. Do things the right way the first time
This is a big one! Make sure you’re doing things the right way, the first time around. Don’t just half-ass it and tell yourself you’ll fix it later. Do it NOW and save yourself a headache down the road.
I understand that when you’re a new blogger there are so many things you’re trying to learn, do, and figure out. But trust me – take a step back, figure out with tasks are most important for your success as a blogger (and for your income), and then learn and do those tasks as well as you possibly can!
#9. You won’t be good at everything
As a (recovering) perfectionist, this was a hard pill for me to swallow. I’ve always pushed myself to be good at everything I put my mind to, but when it comes to blogging and running a business, that’s just not possible.
I mentioned this earlier, but I’ll say it again: Don’t ever be scared to reach out to other people when you need help. And don’t be afraid to turn to other bloggers and business owners for advice! The blogging community is incredibly supportive, and I know you’ll find someone willing to share their tips and experience with you.
And hey, if there’s something that you REALLY hate doing, or maybe something that you’re just no-dang-good-at, don’t be afraid to outsource it.
#10. Prioritize tasks based on income
Something I’ve recently started doing is prioritizing my blog and business tasks according to the income they provide me. As my business has taken off, there simply isn’t enough time in the day to accomplish everything I want to get done – which is where this system comes into place.
When I’m overwhelmed, and I feel like my to-do list is stacking up, I prioritize my tasks according to income. I start by writing down every single thing on my plate, and all the things I want to get done. I then sort those tasks into the following four categories:
$$$ – Brings me direct income. e.g., Client work and projects.
$ – Has the potential to bring income. e.g., e-course creation.
Expert Status – Tasks that help build my authority and status as an expert. This includes writing blog posts, guest posting for other sites, and interacting on social media.
Everything else – If a task doesn’t fit into one of the above 3 categories, it’s left at the bottom of the pile, to be completed once everything else is done.
From there, I make a game plan to tackle everything in order of importance. Starting with – you guessed it – the $$$ tasks, and working my way down the list from there.
To Sum It Up
These past four months have been a wild and crazy journey, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! I’m incredibly blessed to be able to do what I love full-time.
These four months haven’t been without their challenges, but I’ve come out stronger, smarter, and more successful than ever before. If you’re new to blogging, don’t be so hard on yourself! Blogging is a journey, and trust me – you’ll never stop learning and growing.