When you woke up this morning were you thinking about a decision you made 5 years ago? Were you looking back at the moment where you stood at a crossroads in life that took you on the road less traveled? Did that one decision make a huge impact on your life? Or maybe it didn’t make any difference at all?
Some decisions make a HUGE impact whereas other decisions make only slight differences in our lives. And you know what, contrary to what we’re told to believe, it is okay to embrace the small changes in our lives.
As the old saying goes, “Small changes over time make a big difference.”
5 years ago yesterday, I made the decision to start my first blog. At the time, I knew absolutely nothing about blogging. In fact, my youngest daughter talked me into it. Imagine that, a teenager talking their parent into something the parent had no idea what it was or how to do it? Ah, gotta love the things we do as parents to humor our children’s sense of discovery.
For me, the decision to start a blog was a walk on the wild side of life.
Well, that’s what I thought at the time. I was so scared to take a leap of faith out of my comfort zone into the wild side of life, aka, out into the world of the internet being a blogger. Yikes…!
All I could think of was, “Who am I to blog about my silly random thoughts, from my little old life, in a small little town in the mid-west?” It was awkward and I was afraid strangers were going to find me and steal my dog after seeing how cute he was when I posted pictures of him. By the way, he is cute and is still okay with me blogging about him.
Worse yet though, I worried my readers were going to judge me for what I wrote. My fears unfounded after checking in with reality.
“Get real!” I told myself as I opened up my stats for my blog. Getting real was easy to do after discovering, even after posting on the big and scary internet, I could still remain pretty damn obscure.
How do I know that is true? The first morning after posting, being all excited to check in on my blog stats, I found get-real status instantly when I discovered only two people had read my blog. Yep, that’s right, only two people. My two daughters. I love how faithful they are, especially when they’ve made a suggestion to try something new. Many days, they still are the only ones reading my blog.
But, we do that all the time to ourselves. We tell ourselves, there’s nothing wrong with trying new things. “Try it, you’ll like it, it tastes like ice cream.” “Go ahead, try it, take a risk, if you don’t you won’t discover things in life.”
Or the big one, “You won’t grow if you don’t try new things.”
Blogging for the first time was like that for me. It was so exciting to try something new. I didn’t really think I’d be famous or rich. I just wanted to have fun and see where it took me. I don’t regret starting a blog. Doing so did help me grow. I am still growing. Which is a good thing? Back then though, I didn’t know where blogging would take me.
An unknown destination is fun. For a while.
Then there’s the point where you start to wonder more about it and do some more research to find out what the successful people are blogging about and how are they making money. There is some secret to it? When you can’t figure it out, it is easy to start doubting yourself and wonder, “What’s wrong with me?”
I imagine every blogger, at one point or another, has a silent dream of being discovered. That’s the hard part. Fighting off the wanting to be discovered while remaining authentic and true to yourself is hard. Along the way, you forget to just have fun blogging. If you’re not careful, desires to become rich and famous will take you off track and can steal your creative juices.
But, it is so easy to get sucked into reading about the people who make money at blogging. They make it look so easy.
They tell you, “To be a successful blogger, here’s how to do it.” “Take a risk, you can do it.” They sound just like the chanting voices in your head telling you to grow out of your comfort zone.
Rarely do they tell you how hard it is? They know, people don’t pay for “how hard it is.” They pay for advice on “how easy it is.” We take the bait, hook, line, and sinker.
As a novice blogger, I’m here to tell you, there are lessons learned in the world of blogging that you don’t get to read about in the super-hyped up news about successful blogging.
Sure, you can set up a blog in 10 minutes or less. Sure you can make money blogging. Sure you can be famous when you blog…but…there are things you have to dig down deeper to discover before you get to SUCCESS!
6 lessons to learn about blogging that the pros don’t tell you:
- To be a successful blogger, realize it takes a long time to get “discovered”. Overnight successes are RARE. If you look at some of the really cool bloggers, look closer to see they’ve been doing it for a really long time. Many of them for 10 years or more before they became famous. You’ll know when they are famous because they start selling their books or tricks of the trade. Or they start tours and talks around the country about their blogging successes.
- Be consistent. I guess they do tell you this one. But it is that important to repeat it. You can’t just blog when you feel like it. You have to show up on a predictable or consistent basis. Whatever basis you decide upon, you must do it consistently. It is like a job. If you don’t show up for work, you really don’t have a job for very long. People won’t take you seriously. Most importantly, you won’t take yourself seriously if you’re inconsistent.
- You are noticed way less than you hope for, especially if you know nothing about SEO or how to comment on other people’s blogs or how to write something interesting. At a minimum, you’ll be noticed by your close family and friends who still might check in on you occasionally.
- Remind people to read your posts. You have to be willing to beg a little or put yourself out there beyond just blogging. Get comfortable with saying, “Hey, I just wrote a blog post, check it out.” That bit of advice does seem to work. If you ask or beg people to read your posts, they will. Secret tip in the meantime…you can always, read your own posts to make your stats appear like someone has read your post for the day. Honestly, it works, try it.
- Don’t let yourself be suckered into thinking you’ll be famous or rich overnight as a blogger. Overnight success is for those who magically win the lottery. Thinking otherwise about your success will lead you to feel defeated and frustrated.
- Bottom line, the best place to start and remain is to blog for fun. That’s where the real success comes in. It is way more important to embrace the simple reasons you started the blog in the first place. Remember when you started, it was fun, wasn’t it? If you’re not having fun, you’re never going to be discovered.
You will get discovered, eventually, at the right time in your journey. Just like when you take a really awesome picture. You don’t know what you did to get it, it just happened. The real secret is…don’t try so hard that you forget to have fun!
Go on – have fun, discover something to blog about. Your discoveries are what makes blogs fun to write and fun for someone to read too! Don’t miss the opportunities right in front of you though. Dogs don’t do that, they live for what is in front of them. Everything is interesting to them. Everything is interesting to you too. Even dewdrops on the blades of grass are something fun to discover.
Oh good graycious, maybe it is time for me to start a different blog again? Hmm…maybe…!