When my husband, Ryan and I first got married in 2014, I was getting ready to graduate from community college with my Associate’s degree in sign language interpreting. When I graduated and got my first job at the start of 2015, Ryan was on deployment and I was so happy that I was now able to contribute to our little family, a change from my prior job as a desk clerk making a small hourly wage. This was a huge step for me and I thought that I was fulfilling what I had always wanted to do. I was really happy with my job and when Ryan returned from deployment we bought a new car and even began thinking about buying our first home. We bought our first house in September 2015 and things were great.
Then, things took a strange turn. I had gotten placed interpreting for a student for the school year and honestly, it was the worst experience I’ve had to date as an interpreter. In the midst of all of this, I was beginning to feel that interpreting just wasn’t making me happy. We had started talking about having children and I knew that when we did have kids, I’d want to stay home with them because it’s something that’s important to me.
I hated freelancing as an interpreter and educational interpreting was not going to allow me to stay at home with my babies. So, I started really thinking about what options I had to make money as a stay at home mom. I found this article from Rosemarie Groner at The Busy Budgeter on how to make money as a stay-at-home mom and I was inspired. I read what she had to say about starting a blog and my wheels immediately started turning.
I approached my husband with this idea of starting a blog and how told him about how cheap it was to start a blog (y’all I think I literally started my blog for less than $100) and how this could be such an amazing thing for me to do and something that I could really be good at. Of course, being the amazing, do-er of a husband he is, he told me to go for it. So, I started Oh Happy Hotalings and I’ve been going hard at it since.
However, there are several things I really wish I would have known before I started a blog. Today, I’m here to tell you what I wish I had known before I made this decision.
5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting a Blog
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1. Blogging is not a “get rich quick” scheme
Honestly, I don’t think that I ever thought it was a “get rich quick” scheme but I guess I just wish I had known how long it would take for me to start earning an income from my blog. Blogging is certainly not something you do right away (or for a while at that rate) for the money.
I started Oh Happy Hotalings over a year ago and have made maybe a total of a couple bucks but I still go hard at it because I love it. I know that I will make an income from it someday and for now, that dream is good enough for me.
2. Getting readers and growing an audience is really hard
I think many of us go into blogging with this grandiose idea that since our content is amazing (which it is, without a doubt), people will just find us and stick around and stay hanging on our every word. However, you really get into the thick of it, and you realize that it’s a great bit harder than just having amazing content.
I know that everyone says that “content is king” and don’t get me wrong, having amazing content is what’s going to keep people around but you’ve gotta market yourself. And let me tell you, marketing yourself is not always easy when you consider how many ways there are to market your blog.
Going along with that…
3. Facebook groups are actually God’s way of telling bloggers He loves us.
If you’ve ever been a part of a Facebook group aimed at bloggers, you know what I’m talking about. I’ve learned an insane amount from fellow bloggers on Facebook groups that have been invaluable! As a new blogger, when I first started I just thought I could do it all on my own. I thought Facebook groups were overrated, and that I didn’t need them.
Boy, was I wrong.
I’ve seen a huge growth in my readership and social media followers since becoming a part of these groups! If you’re starting a blog…for the love of all that is holy, just join a Facebook group.
4. Scheduling apps and websites are your new BFF
When I first started Oh Happy Hotalings, I honestly had no schedule. I put up a post when I felt like it, not knowing from one day to the next what I was going to be writing, or when I was going to be putting up another post and I got burnt out so stinking fast it’s embarrassing. The problem was stemming from two things: 1. I wasn’t taking it seriously and treating it like a business and, 2. I didn’t have a schedule or a list of topics to fill in a schedule with.
Find a good scheduling app (I like Later), have a posting schedule and take your blog seriously. Next, realize that website speed has always been a big issue, and you should use different plugins and websites to help optimize your site for speed. Use plugins or search for the best image compressor, so your blog can load lightning fast. Every millisecond counts.
5. Blogging is really f*cking hard.
All-in-all, if I hadn’t known anything else, I wish someone would have told me how f*cking hard blogging is. Just the other night I was talking to Ryan about my strategy for marketing myself, contacting brands and monetizing and it hit me that blogging is seriously hard. Trying to grow a business is really freaking hard. Blogging and growing my brand is easily one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, or tried to do. This has required so much more commitment, effort, discipline and strategy than anything I’ve ever done in my life.
Blogging is really hard but it’s also insanely satisfying and I know that every single bit of effort I put into this will pay off someday.
Until then, the best advice I can offer any new bloggers is to stick with it. You will come to love the amazing blogging community and you will come to lean on them more than you’d think. Blogging is hard but it’s worth everything and if you can stick it out through the hard parts, you’ll be happy you did, I promise.
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