The Good the Bad and the UGLY – What my blogging journey has taught me thus far.
I know I am usually sharing all positives when it comes to blogging … Well, today I want to do something a little different. You all know I am about being 100% HONEST. So that’s what I am doing.I have been blogging since April 2017 (about almost 8 months now) and throughout my journey I have gone through trial and error, I have learned a lot about blogging, about myself, and I also learned a lot about other bloggers too! Today I want to be truthful and share the good, bad and ugly sides of blogging. BECAUSE WE ALL KNOW, blogging isn’t always cute.
I’ll start off with the good side because I am mostly a positive person! There are so many positive parts to blogging!
The Blogging Community
Never would I have thought that the blogging community would be so supportive, welcoming, and helpful! I have met so many amazing ladies thanks to blogging. My favorite part is my community of BOSS GIRL BLOGGERS. If you don’t know already, I am the founder (admin) of Boss Girl Bloggers, a group where over 23,000 female bloggers connect, collaborate, and help support each other. We are constantly sharing blogging tips, strategies, and content over there and asking + answering questions. So check it out!!!
BUT YES, the blogging community will welcome you with open arms. The best part is, you talk with people from ALL AROUND THE WORLD.
Doing What You Love Feels Good
There is nothing more true than finding happiness through your passion. If you are doing what you love, then of course you will be happy! Blogging has really showed me that if I follow my passion and pursue it, I will be overall, more happy! I was actually extremely depressed right before I began my blog. Blogging saved me.
Patience is Rewarded
It’s no secret that when it comes to blogging, patience is necessary. Unfortunately page views don’t come over night. It takes serious strategy and promoting to get those page views up. And of course it takes A TON of time to start making actual money from blogging.
BUT if you do have the patience, you will get rewarded I promise! It took me 6 months before I began to see monthly blog income of 1,000$ or more. Now I am going on my 8th month of blogging and make over 1,000$ monthly.
You Can Work From ANYWHERE
One of my favorite things about blogging is that I can do it from ANYWHERE. If I want to spend the day blogging in bed, I CAN! How sweet is that!? If I am sick, I can still work from home if I want to. OR if I am traveling, it’s not an issue because I can blog on the go! Super convenient!
You Can Be Your OWN BOSS
That was my main goal in life; to be my own boss. I am not one who likes being controlled. I’d rather be in control of my own life. Being able to be my own boss is the BEST. I can decide my schedule, do whatever I want, write whatever I want, and not worry about someone else determining my career.
You Can Get Free Product (+ MAKE MONEY)
This is crazy right?! A lot of people don’t believe me when I say I have gotten free product sent to me from brands like Ulta Beauty, Loreal + even a free mattress from Tuft & Needle. They also think it’s even crazier when I say that brands have sent me free product AND paid me to write about their products! That’s how bloggers are able to do what they do!
Because DAMN blogging is a whole lot of work and takes up SO MUCH of your time! If you weren’t able to make money from it, you probably could never be able to do it full time.
You Receive Opportunities That You NEVER Thought You’d Ever Have
I remember when I first started my blog. I had dreamed of receiving free product, traveling the world, and inspiring others… and then it came true!!! I seriously cry thinking about how far I have come. AND YES I do pat myself on the back because I deserve it. The amount of hours and sleepless nights I put into getting to where I am now, it’s not easy.
The longer and harder you work at your blog the more opportunities will come your way. I have been invited to Boston College Fashion Week, I have worked with brands that I am OBSESSED with, I am able to travel to places that I would have never been able to afford otherwise. AND I receive messages daily from ladies all around the world, telling me that I inspire them to keep blogging! It melts my damn heart!
I would have never expected any of this, but it reminds me that hard work pays off and even when you think no one is reading or watching, they really are. Even if you can inspire ONE person, it’s so rewarding.
You Get to Be Creative
If you are anything like me, then you LOVE to be creative. I love blogging because it allows me to be as creative as I want! It’s so much fun. Doing something that you actually enjoy doing, is the best feeling!
I think one of my favorite parts of doing what I do is receiving messages from others telling me that I inspire them, or actually have helped them with their blogging journey. Blogging is so rewarding! I have always wanted to inspire others, and to know that I am makes blogging worth it. It just reassures me that I am on the right path and that I made the right decision to go after what makes me happy. So just think of all the people YOU are inspiring through your writing. That’s motivation in itself.
SELF HOSTING – Site Ground
YES, this might offend some because I know there are wordpress .com / Wix / Blogger / Squarespace users…And don’t get me wrong some LOVE it BUT, I do find that those who were on those platforms and switched to self hosting LOVE self hosting more than the previous platforms they were on. Why? WELL
Because self hosting a blog allows you to have:
- THE MOST design flexibility. Especially when creating your own shop! You have SO many options, where as other platforms are limited with design.
- The most freedom with monetizing (making money). Can you monetize your blog on other platforms (YES) BUT you can monetize your blog when it’s self hosted a lot easier and you don’t have any restrictions. For example: WordPress .com will only allow you to use their AD program…Where as if you self host your wordpress site, you can use ANY AD program. Which is pretty awesome. ALSO if you use free versions of wordpress .com or other platforms you are actually NOT allowed to monetize your blog or add any Ads because it’s against most of their terms.
- Self host means you OWN your site, if you use wordpress .com / Wix / Blogger etc. they technically still have the rights over your blog too.
- PLUG INS! A self hosted website get’s you access to A TON of plug ins! UGHHHH I LOVE PLUG INS! For example – an email list builder (which is SO important!) .. without the access to plug ins you really can’t build your email list as easily. Other plug ins include things like Yoast SEO (a plug in that guides you through getting the BEST SEO so you can rank higher on search engines!) OR Instagram Feed which allows you to add your Instagram feed to your blog! I have a list of Plug ins that I recommend HERE
If you are looking for a self host to go through I ALWAYS recommend Site Ground. The reasons being:
- They do free site transfers (so if you are wanting to transfer from Wix or Blogger or WordPress .com they will help you or transfer it for you so you don’t have to manually!)
- Fast and RELIABLE servers. They NEVER crash on me, unlike other self hosts’ servers.
- Security is top notch and they offer SSL certificates
- Their support team is knowledgable, friendly, and FAST RESPONDING. Other hosts support teams SLACK and take forever to answer me. Site Ground’s team actually has 24/7 instant messaging too!
They start at only $3.95 a month too so SUPER affordable. I definitely recommend giving Site Ground a chance!
Blogging Helps Depression
One reason as to why I started my blog was because I was depressed and unhappy with the way my life was going. I needed an outlet for my thoughts and a way to feel overall, more happy. Writing actually helped me to get through my depression and interacting with other bloggers who were going through similar situations helped me to feel happier as well!
THE BAD + THE UGLY
Of course not everything is rainbows and butterflies. There are some bad + ugly sides of blogging. I am here to be honest with you. I’m not going to sugar coat a thing! Maybe you’ll read these and shake your head “yessss, I can relate girl!!!” Just know that NONE of this is meant to be offensive. It’s just what I have seen, learned, and experienced throughout my journey thus far.
Unsupportive Family + Friends
It’s unfortunate BUT it might happen…I have had friends that didn’t really show any support and same with some family members. I find that they don’t understand just how successful blogging can be if you pursue it hard enough! Many are oblivious to the fact that you can earn money via blogging. You tell them and their eyes light up in shock “LIKE HOW” is what their face is saying. That’s why the blogging community is so important to me because we can all relate and support one another when those close to us don’t.
Sleepless Nights + An Exhausted Face
FORREAL THOUGH…If you are trying to turn your blog into a career, then you know this struggle all too well. You stay up LATE as hell trying to get your newest blog post written. OR you toss and turn because your mind won’t let you sleep…Instead of sleeping you are worrying about what you’re going to write next! That’s because you are obsessed with your passion. Nothing wrong with that BUT you will be tired, you may look exhausted, and coffee probably will become your new best friend.
Slow + Steady
It’s actually EXTREMELY difficult to grow your social media and blog subscribers! It’s so easy to get discouraged because you may be constantly comparing your growth to other bloggers. I also notice A LOT of bloggers play the follow/unfollow game making it nearly IMPOSSIBLE to grow your following. For some reason they like to follow you until you follow them back. Once you follow them back they decide it’s time to unfollow…FUNNY HUH?! Except it’s not funny at all! It’s actually very frustrating and petty. BUT whatever. Basically what I am trying to say is…It’s easy to get discouraged because the following comes so slowly, BUT if you continue to put out quality content, the followers will come!
Related: Beat Instagram’s Algorithm
ECOURSES + EBOOKS
This is where you need to be VERY careful. One thing bloggers like to get you with is PRODUCT. It’s no surprise, as a blogger it’s really great to have a product that you sell because it will give you income, making you able to blog full time and do what you love … BUT there are SO MANY E Courses and E Books out there that will scam you out of your money. PLEASE BE CAREFUL. Make sure you do your research first OR only purchase from a blogger that you TRUST. You want to make sure you are getting your moneys worth. There are too many courses out there that are filled with VERY BASIC information that you can get FOR FREE. So just make sure it’ll be worth it.
You will definitely encounter some jerky turkeys at some point during your blogging career. Whether it just be someone who is jealous of your success and wants to make you feel like crap OR someone who accuses you of something that’s not true. WHATEVER the case may be, you will have someone negative trying to stop you from continuing your journey. DON’T LET IT HAPPEN. Ignore the hateful comments, the rude opinions, and the discouraging words. You know your worth!!!! If you have to, block the negative people!
Feeling of Alone + Stress
Blogging can be very lonely. Especially if you don’t have any friends who are bloggers. Since blogging is usually a work from home job, it’s important to switch up your scenery as often as possible! Maybe one day take your blogging to a coffee shop or outside. ALSO join blogger communities and groups like Boss Girl Bloggers or Style Collective to try and find other bloggers that are nearby and make some friends! Blogger friends are the best kind of friends!
You will also feel stressed out especially in the beginning because blogging is A LOT of work. It’s more than just writing and posting. It’s hours upon hours of work! It’s tough, especially if you are a parent or have a full time/part time job too! Giving yourself breaks is important.
I like to have one day a week dedicated to doing absolutely NOTHING, and I also like to take a 5 minute break every hour or two!
Product PILE UP
As you know, being a blogger can mean – FREE PRODUCT – As a blogger you can get free product sent to you OR PR mail. Sounds really fun right!? Well, don’t get me wrong it is! Until you realize that you are human and may not always have a perfect nighttime routine where you wash your face and use up all the products that you receive!
In the beginning I would accept every opportunity that came my way until I realized that was the WRONG way to do things. ONLY accept brand collaborations that work for you and what you talk about. ALSO only accept collaborations with brands that you would have purchased on your own any way. You want to be truthful and honest with your audience.
Product will pile up, you will realize how much product you actually waste, AND not to mention, the amount of boxes you need to cut up and throw out is SUPER annoying! Don’t get me wrong, I am VERY appreciative of the opportunities I have. I’m just being honest.
Even When You Put in SO Much Time – It Feels Like it’s Not Enough
I know you can probably relate…You put SO much time and energy into your blog and feel like it’s going absolutely NO WHERE… Maybe you aren’t getting as many page views as you would like or maybe no one is engaging with your blog post. BUT GUESS WHAT. I promise you that someone is out there reading your content, and you are inspiring someone! Even if it’s ONE person… That’s still amazing that you are able to impact someone else’s life through your writing. Don’t EVER think otherwise. It’s so easy to feel like a failure when you are trying to become a “successful” blogger, but just know that your stats don’t define you!
You could have little to no blog views and have AMAZING content. It’s all about strategizing and getting people to notice your amazing content!
Related: How to Grow Your Blog Traffic
Don’t Believe Everything You Read
Again not trying to bash BUT there are bloggers out there that will get you with the “Learn how to make a six figure salary blogging overnight.” OR something crazy like that. NO NO NO. Making money blogging takes so much time!!!!! Don’t expect it to happen over night and DON’T expect it to happen without putting in a crap ton of work!
I don’t like to share how much money I make BUT for the purpose of this post, I will be real with you. I checked my paypal stats the other day and in October I made about 1,200$ that month blogging .. In November raised to over $1,600 … NOW I know that’s not a TON BUUUUT it is extra money that I didn’t have before.
I started blogging in April of this month, so it took me about 6 months to start making over 1,000$ monthly!
The more effort and work you put in….the more money you will get! Also if you think of your blogging as a career (the longer you work at your job, you get raises etc. WELL seems the same for blogging too!)
The point being: Making a 6 figure salary through blogging may be possible but it definitely takes SO MUCH TIME and no e book or e course will get you that income over night…no matter what they say!
Watch Out For The Liars
It’s so easy to lie through the internet. I mean we live in a “fake news” world, right? Well, in the blogging community you need to watch out for the liars. They will lie about many things and you WOULDN’T EVEN KNOW IT. This is similar to the “don’t believe everything you read.”
Lies that I can smell from a mile away… Again, e-courses and e-books that say “Read this, take this course if you want to make 200,000 dollars a year or month blogging.” OR “Take this course to get rich quick through blogging.” These are most of the time filled with useless information, or newbie information that you could have gotten for free. NOT TO MENTION, blogging is no where near a GET RICH QUICK scheme.
It takes a lot of time and patience to make a steady, stable income through blogging. I’m not saying every e-course is a lie, but most of the time, they stretch the truth. PLUS how can you really be sure that’s how much they make? Weird right. Which is why I tell everyone to stop comparing your blogging income or your blogging journey to someone elses.
Other lies I can see is when bloggers talk about products that they “love”. Don’t get me wrong MANY MANY MANY bloggers out there are honest when they are telling you about products they love, but there are many out there who will do ANYTHING for a free product. NO MATTER WHAT. You don’t want to be the blogger that talks about a sh*t product and tries to convince others to purchase it. NO. Only talk about products you really do love because your audience will see right through you!!!
Other Bloggers are Supportive – BUT Not Really
Okay, you’re probably like WTH does she mean by this? Like I said before the blogging community is really sweet and supportive for the most part, BUT a lot of it feels like competition rather than community.
Let’s face it, we are ALL trying to grow our stats, numbers, etc. SO what do I notice? I notice that other bloggers are less likely to support and follow back on social medias etc. A lot of bloggers will play the follow/unfollow game because they care a lot about their numbers and need to keep their followers/following ratio low. I GET IT. But is it disheartening? Of course.
Especially when a blogger with 10k plus followers follows me and then I go and follow them back to realize they unfollowed me right after. Ugh, LAME.
SO what have I learned through this? I learned that not every blogger wants to help other bloggers succeed, it’s more of a competition opposed to community. I learned that engaging with those on social media who AREN’T bloggers helps to grow my following a bit more because they aren’t focused on the numbers game and they will ACTUALLY want to read your content more than another blogger would. AND I learned that I really don’t care as much about my numbers as I used to. Instead i’d rather focus on creating quality content.
NOTE* I am NOT saying all bloggers are this way, I am just saying what it feels like sometimes.
There are a ton of sincere, genuine, kind, and supportive bloggers out there. You just have to find them (:
Free Time is GONE
Whenever you aren’t working, you will be blogging. Your free time is basically gone. However, for me I don’t mind it too much. Why? Because I LOVE blogging, so when I am working on a blog it doesn’t feel as if my free time is “gone” but more like, I am spending my “free time” doing something I LOVE. If you love to blog and write, then this won’t be much of an issue.
BUT – it definitely is hard to find time to blog especially if you have another job, go to school OR if you have children.
It’s no doubt that when you are trying to become a successful blogger, there will be times you find yourself comparing your success to someone else’s. This is the WORST thing you could do to yourself and your blogging journey.
You see that so and so is making TONS of money blogging, she has TONS of followers and her engagement is ROCKING. So.. you start to become upset because you have had your blog for a while now but you aren’t even close to her success. Guess what, THAT’S OKAY! Everyone’s success comes at different times. Your journey may be longer or shorter than someone else’s.
You have to stop comparing your success because if you do, you will just begin to become depressed and unmotivated thinking that you aren’t where you should be, when in fact you are exactly where you need to be at this moment.
What works for one person might not work for the other. Just because you don’t have hundreds and thousands of subscribers, doesn’t mean that your content is bad! I have seen blogs who have thousands of subscribers and their content isn’t that great. AND I have seen blogs with amazing content but little subscribers!
Just keep putting out your best content and worry about the audience you DO have! The rest will follow.
People Refuse Using Affiliate Links
One way to earn money through blogging is by using affiliate links. What are affiliate links? It’s a link that you can have your audience click and purchase a product you are talking about via the link. If they purchase via your affiliate link – you get commission! Sounds really amazing right? Well it’s HARD!!! It’s not easy getting someone to purchase a product through your affiliate link. IN FACT at times it can seem nearly impossible.
I actually have seen comments about how people REFUSE to purchase through affiliate links, and will go out of their way to search for the product instead. Seems ridiculous right? Seeing as how purchasing through an affiliate link DOES NOT mean that they have to pay more.
AGAIN, some people really just aren’t supportive. FOR ME – I will go out of my way to find an affiliate link to purchase from because I LOVE to support others who are trying to make a career out of blogging. It’s no extra cost to me so why not?
All in all, I am so happy that I decided to start a blog. It’s been so much fun and very rewarding! Yes there are bad days or days where I feel exhausted BUT doing what I love makes it all worth it! I wouldn’t change a thing! Even through the bad and the ugly, the GOOD keeps me motivated.
Always go after your passion, live your dream life. If you have the courage to start you have the courage to finish!
Let’s connect on social media!
Beauty + Lifestyle Instagram: @ELLDUCLOS
Boss Girl Bloggers Instagram: @BOSSGIRLBLOGGERS
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Until Next Time,