Lessons Learned From My First Year Of Blogging
So I completely dropped the ball and forgot that I’ve been blogging for a whole year! (If that’s not an indicator for how this last year has gone, hah)
This last year has been very turbulent for me. I won’t go into significant detail about actually starting the blog, but you can read about it here. Right around when I started Life With Cattitude, I was working a call center temp job that I absolutely hated. But it paid for me to be able to start the blog so I put up with it.
Travis relocated to Florida for long term work for almost exactly six months. I only got to see him for maybe two weekends a month, and even then, our time was very limited. It did a number on our relationship and honestly, we are still rebuilding from that.
In my professional life, that call center job straight up lied to me (and about 25 other temps) about full time hire and let us all go at the end of April. I waited a month for another temp job, where I took a MASSIVE pay cut. I worked that temp job through the summer and fall until I got my current job, and I also managed to move out into my own space with a roommate. Also, I started a third side hustle with Limelife By Alcone. So as you can see, IT’S BEEN A YEAR.
It’s also been a big year of trial and error for Life With Cattitude.
No. The blog isn’t a huge success story you see on Pinterest where I’m making $10k a month and that’s my own damn fault. And that’s also why I’m writing this post. I’m laying out my wins and my fails here so that the second year can be magnificent. I hope that if you are an aspiring blogger you will learn from my lessons!
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1. The hard work begins AFTER you publish the post
Here’s a HUGE lesson for you all. I used to read other blogs and think all it took was compelling writing to drive traffic. NOPE. It takes a hell of a lot more. You have to market the crap out of yourself, your blog, and your brand. I had to let a lot of time spent scrolling turn to time spent marketing. The great thing (and difficult thing) is that you can never really be done marketing posts!
2. If you take time off, it will hurt
Here’s another major lesson I learned the hard way. I went through a really rough patch in the fall trying to adjust to my new job. It was so demanding, and I was working up to 60 hour weeks. I also had mono and didn’t realize it for weeks. As a result, I let my blog sit with no drafted posts, no marketing work, nothing… for almost a month. I really shouldn’t have been surprised when I finally logged back on to see hardly any new viewers. Of course not! It’s important to practice self-care and give yourself little breaks, but if you take too much time off, it will really hurt your progress. You don’t take weeks off at an office job, so the blog is no different.
3. Know when to invest and when to teach yourself
This is a huge lesson for lots of people. There are soooo many skills involved in blogging, and soooo many coaches out there willing to “teach” you… for a nominal fee of the price of a used ’99 Toyota sedan. REALLY?? I will tell you right now how much I invested in learning how to build my blog.
My theme, a Pinterest course from my mentor, and a motivational book. Bam. Anything else, like website coding, SEO optimization, Google Analytics, I taught myself. I promise those courses that cost hundreds of dollars are a waste. My mentor created a pretty affordable course that shot my Pinterest analytics up within a few WEEKS. That is the only one where I put my stamp of approval. Take some time to teach yourself what you need to, and if you have to invest, make sure you know you NEED to.
4. Creative Block Is Inevitable, But You Can Beat It
Unfortunately, everyone gets into a creative burnout and can’t think of new material. It just happens. There are ways to beat it, though. My favorite way to beat it is to go back and edit old content. It won’t last forever, though! Just keep pushing through and the juices will get flowing again!
5. Do. Not. Compare.
Here’s a lesson I’m trying to learn in my personal life as well as my professional life. Comparison is the thief of joy! Do not look at those other blogs and start bashing your own blog. You are a work of art, baby. It takes time to build your brand and legacy! Some people just may have had a little extra time throughout the day to devote than you. It doesn’t mean you don’t work as hard! You focus on you, and your time will come!
I know these don’t seem like a lot of lessons, but these have been the most important for me! And I hope that someone who may be reading this and contemplating starting blogging will take this to heart and have a better year than me!
Happy birthday, Life With Cattitude, I’m very happy to have you in my life!