I wish I knew!

I’ve been doing this for two years now and I wish I could honestly say that I knew everything about everything, but the truth is I’ve only just begun my journey into the world wide web. There is so much to learn, so many things to do and so many people to meet. I often refer to it as my online life, because it’s completely seperate to my real life. It’s a life with no real boundaries. It’s enabled me to do and be whatever I want to, in a positive sense of course.

Starting out was tough, though. And it’s not like a job where you work for someone and have bosses constantly breathing down your neck. If your work doesn’t get done, it basically doesn’t get done. You have to be SO extremely self-motivated it’s unreal. There have been times where I’ve just wanted to throw the towel in and give up. But luckily I have such an enthusiasm for creating positive change that it helps me curve the stagnation blues. If you aren’t constantly learning something from what you’re achieving, then you’ll stagnate, get bored and drop off.

I’ve learned a ton from blogging, vlogging and online teaching. Here is a good list of some of the highs and lows of what I’ve learned over the last few years. It’s not all of it, but a good few points you need to consider when taking the punge into the writers world.

No-one will help you apart from you

What it says on the tin. Bad day? Tough shit. Get spanking out those articles else you’ll fall behind on your schedule. Generally, as a rule of thumb, people DO care, and you’ll rack up quite a few blogging buddies along the journey who know how tough the journey is, but there’s only so much one can do thousands of miles away at the other end of a screen. Think of this as the ultimate self employed job where if your work doesn’t get done, it just doesn’t get done. And if you’ve comitted yourself to regularly publishing on several magazines then you need to get that finished and sent off else you’ll lose your spot.

What I’ve learned in my blogging escapades is that you’ll rarely meet others that aren’t in it for themselves. There’s nothing wrong in that though. I mean don’t get me wrong, I love blogging and giving people information but there needs to be a paycheque somewhere in what I’m doing else I won’t be feeding my family. Just be aware of that, and some people chase the money harder than others. So keep an open mind as to the favours you do for other people and vice versa. I like to give more than I receive, and that way I keep my Karma from biting me in the arse.

Money Making Schemes rarely benefit you

Before I started to blog I literally signed up for a tonne of money making schemes. It also surprised me that most of these schemes were super cheap, some of them only costing a fiver or less. But what I didn’t realise that after I purchased their ebook or whatever brand of money those people were selling me, that was me tied into their email list. In all fairness it’s a good way to earn money for those marketers, but it’s an annoyance for me when I’ve read their book, or their system, and I found out it’s a rehashed version of another ebook, or the method is just unworkable and needs a few tweaks. I was also now on their list.

Ensue annoying weekly emails that I don’t want.

To be fair I have signed up for a few great programs through those lists; Instamate being one of them. My favourite Instagram marketing tool!

But in essence whatever you do, realise that nothing in this life that’s worth it comes easy. I sat on a webinar with one seller that tried to sell tome that gaining a following was easy – and yet his confidence quickly went to shit when I told him I had 30k engaged monthly readers. Just be aware of what you’re reading and only apply it to your marketing plan if you can put your own spin on it and use it within your website.

You need to connect

When starting out I was bright eyed and bushy tailed. I was raring to go and ready to get on with my work. I had so many ideas and wanted to get them far out there. What I realised very, very quickly is that no-one wanted to or even cared what I had to say. Most people start off as a no-one, it is your duty to get out there and prove to people why you need to be read by others. One of them is connecting with and sharing other bloggers. You need to prove to them that you’re worth reading, that your ideas are worth talking about, that you are a worthwhile person.

Being a worthwhile person tops it for all. If you’re seen as a good all round character that will go out of your way for others, people will accept you into their circle and treat you as one of their bretheren. Sometimes you have to go with the flow. Sometimes people like to assert their dominance, others like to be lead; learn to know how to capitalise on both! Be lead from strong willed people into awesomeness and drag the people that like to be lead into awesomeness.

When I started to connect and make friends with other bloggers then my virality and people that read me skyrocketed. I swear it’s all about the network. I also had the opportunity to write on big magazines through my network of blogger friends.

Not everyone will agree with you

Honestly, if you’re looking for a chamber of sound-bytes having your thoughts echoing back to you, then I suggest not to start blogging. People will disagree with you, and sometimes with extreme prejudice. It’s part of the game being an internet influencer. Everyone has something to say, and over the internet they say it with a hundred times more impact because there’s nothing stopping them. Good or bad.

Non-bloggers will never understand why you do it

I tend to avoid telling people I’m a blogger because no-one understands it. It often starts a series of very personal questions that I usually really don’t want to answer. I’ve also been accused of not wanting to work, being a lazy idle scroat, and doing this for a hobby because I don’t like working. Be prepared for a lot of judgement from friends, family and others that have absolutely no idea what you’re up to.

I tell them I’m a writer now and it’s far easier. People leave you alone when you tell them that you have your own section on The Huffington Post and write for major publications all across America.

It’s not a simple get rich quick scheme

Some people, like I did, have these grandiose ideas about starting up and making loads of money very quickly, but actually one thing I’ve learned is that building a presence takes a lot of time, energy and damn hard work. Actually, you won’t believe the amount of people that become disenfranchised and disillusioned fairly quickly. People think that you can write a few posts, direct people to your link and instantly earn thousands. NO. Doesn’t work like that I’m afraid, sorry.

I have a lady that’s young and starting out – I’ve opted to help her via email. She keeps saying to me that she wants to make money really quickly. I keep telling her to do that it takes time. Maybe 20 years ago it was easy to shove a basic html website together filled with money making links – but not since the web has become a creative free for all. Content needs to be informational, hard worked at, and constantly reviewed. It’s like any job in retrospect. You just don’t go into a job and instantly know everything. Takes a good while to get good at it. Perhaps a year or two depending on the speciality.

Blogging is hard

Aaand.. there is no right or wrong way

I spent a year trying to mimic other successful people when I finally realised that having my own brand of awesomeness was the way to go. Some people are successful in some ways, others in different areas. You’ll just have to find out what works for you and there’s no getting around that. I like to teach, so I’ve gravitated towards teaching areas of the internet, where others like to design, and write, and a whole lot of other things.

Just find your special brand of awesome and kill it!

This is my special brand

2 Replies to “Things I wish I knew starting out as a professional blogger

  1. All true and congrats on the new website. Networking can also be a drain because it’s a constant revolving door of people quitting. I have been lucky in the connections I’ve made and that I am making money so early in the game and I think people look at it wrong, they think they are going to get rich and that could happen but it’s unlikely and alot of work. If you don’t love it you shouldn’t do it.

    1. So agree! If you don’t love this sort of stuff then it’s not for you – it’s far more effort than a normal job would be. But the rewards are amazing 🙂

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