Blogging Lessons from Four Years of Erin’s Inside Job
In honor of the fourth anniversary of this blog (one that is two weeks belated I might add), I wanted to use today to focus more on the writing and maintaining of a blog. Non-bloggers stick around because I think there are parallels that you can use as well. 🙂
As you know, at the beginning of September I shifted to becoming self-employed through my personal training and this blog. I don’t want there to be any illusions; I don’t rely entirely on the income from this blog, but combined with training I’m able to make a sustainable living. One day I may be able to shift everything over, but for now I’m pretty proud of my ability to start two businesses and make this life for myself.
Over the four years I’ve maintained this little corner of the internet, there have been many different iterations of this blog. I started off with a free site where I lacked control over just about everything, then shifted over the years to a self-hosted site where I took the time (and money) to see out my vision for this blog. I know this isn’t the final version and I’m sure there will be more design changes to come, but for now I’m pretty happy with where we’ve ended up, this blog and I.
Reflecting over the past four years, I’m sure there are many more lessons I could include in this post. Today, however, these are the most important ones that came to mind.
Don’t wait to start
Hindsight is 20/20, but if I had started off this blog by investing some money (not even a lot, my theme only cost me $50) and being self-hosted, it may have taken me less time to grow it to where it is today. I’d like to say that, but I know it also took me those years to fine tune what it was I wanted to share with you and how I wanted to share it.
If you have a dream or a project you want to work on, don’t wait to start. Think about where you want it to end up and aim for that.
From a young age, I tied a lot of my self-worth into my accomplishments. The grades I earned, the awards I got, and any kind of recognition that came my way shaped my version of self-confidence. The same thing happened as I went along this blogging journey. I felt that I couldn’t be proud of what I had done because my statistics didn’t reflect that enough people followed me. Not enough people read what I had to say. There was always someone with more of a following than what I had.
It’s safe to say that there will always be someone with more. More views, more likes, more money, more whatever. If you’re unable to find value in yourself now, you’re going to have a much harder time feeling confident enough to approach brands or tell people what you do. See yourself in a position where you want to be and act that way. There’s always someone who will value what you have to say.
Find your voice
A lot of the time I get caught up in thinking that I don’t have much original to say. Many things I write have been said before by other people and I’m caught wondering why my words are any different.
As I’ve already learned on this writing excursion, everyone has a story, but it’s the narrative of that story that sets people apart. It’s how you deliver information and how you use your voice. When you get caught up thinking that there’s no original content out there anymore, find a way to make it YOURS.
Have a schedule
Mine has shifted over the years from five days a week to a current three. It takes planning to figure out what content I want to share and when, so I’ve had to find a system that works for me. I keep a running list of blog post topics in a Google Doc and refer to it when I need some inspiration. If I think of something while I’m out, I either make a note in my phone or open up the doc on there and add it in.
Once you have your schedule, you can easily fill in draft posts or even write a bunch together to get them out of the way. I still always write my posts the day before because that’s when I work best, but it’s entirely up to you.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — blogging is a marathon, not a sprint. There are the outliers who will find success what seems like instantaneously, but for the most part it takes a good amount of time to turn blogging into a lucrative outlet. You need to be prepared to put in a lot of time with little reward aside from the feeling of accomplishment that you get from doing it.
That being said, if it’s something you’re passionate about, many times it doesn’t feel like work. Of course there are stressful days and things you have to do that may not be your favorite (hello scheduling social media), but actually creating content normally feels exciting to me. No matter what, if it’s something that brings you joy, keep doing it.
Thank you all for following me on this journey and if you’re interested, here are recaps from the last three years as well: