Today the big news all over social media is that it’s the date that Marty McFly came into the future in Back To The Future II. I can still remember seeing the first one in the theater back in 1985 — I had a healthy crush on Michael J. Fox (who didn’t???) — and I was just a BIT freaked out by Marty’s life being so changed when he returns to it at the end. My sensitive self was all bothered by how weird that would be, when your memories are so different from everyone else’s, and you can’t explain why… but I digress.
In my little life, this day is significant because it is my first blogging anniversary. (I refuse to use the word “blogiversary,” although it’s actually a thing, believe it or not. I think some words just were not meant to be smashed together. And basically anything with “anniversary” is a no-go in my book. Anyway…)
On this date a year ago, I published my first blog post — my easy chili recipe. All I knew then was that I needed something to do with my brain, since #2 had gone off to college and I was reeling from having two children gone instead of just one. And we needed more cash — for the same reason, lol. So I thought I would see if I could make money blogging.
Since then I have published 136 more posts, and I have learned A LOT. And I think one of the coolest things I have learned is that this blogging thing is a pretty good gig. I haven’t made it big, yet, by any means (more details later), but I am encouraged by what is happening. :-)
Remember Chef Gousteau’s motto in the movie Ratatouille? He says, “Anyone can cook.” Well, I’m here today to say that anyone can blog. If you are thinking about it at all, then try it and see if you like it. You may just find that you do. Yes, there are things to learn and adjustments to make, but if I can make money blogging, anyone can.
My experience (so far) trying to make money blogging:
1) I started from the beginning with the mindset that I was going to treat my blog like a business and my time doing blogging like a job. This meant that I didn’t see it as a hobby, as something I could do in my “spare” time. Instead, I made decisions as if it were a business — in other words, I didn’t rely solely on my emotions when it came to deciding what to post, how to design it, etc. I researched what was successful and tried to implement that. I also committed a certain amount of time, as if it were a job that I had to report to.
2) I did break one of the cardinal rules of blogging, apparently, which is that you shouldn’t start blogging just to make money. After all, I had two girls in college (and now there are THREE. Can you say “ouch”?). Why WOULDN’T I be wanting to earn some more money? Allegedly you’re supposed to have a passion for it, or for a subject, and that’s the only good reason to start doing it. Um, let’s be real, here, y’all. EVERYONE talks about blogging as a way to make money, and my guess is that’s why the majority of people start doing it. They just won’t admit it, for whatever reason. Here is some honest truth, though: Blogging is NOT quick money; so if you don’t enjoy it, you probably won’t keep going until the money does start arriving. But during the times when I question whether I enjoy it, my mindset from #1 keeps me pressing on.
NOTE: If you want to make money with your blog, download this awesome FREE resource that can get you going quickly: 7 Surefire Ways to Boost Your Blog Income Overnight.
3) I might just do a blog income report next month, because I can tell already that November is going to be my best month ever. But please realize that that is still only going to be in the triple digits (for maybe the second time ever), with the first digit being the number 1. So yea. After a year. Some people get going much quicker; but from my understanding, this is actually pretty good. But there is a snowball effect that happens, so hopefully things will just get better from here. That gives you a gauge of how quick to expect those millions to roll in. :-)
4) I did pick subjects that I already know a bit about and have fun researching what I don’t know about them. That helps a lot when it comes to enjoying my time spent blogging. Everyone has one or two subjects that are like that for them. Again, I don’t see the need for a PASSION — just something you like talking about or reading about or doing. My big two are Homeschooling (with an emphasis on high school) and Frugality/Personal Finance. But I also dabble in other subjects about being a mom, wife, and homemaker, because I am also interested in those things. Just not enough to write about them so frequently. :-)
5) But in doing #4 I broke another cardinal rule — according to the gurus, you are supposed to have a niche, one narrow topic that you can write about infinitely. This is the ONE decision (that I can think of) that was more emotional than business-like for me. Because I am not a niche person and never have been. In fact, my first blog name was “Ann of All Trades” because that has always been me — I’m not outstanding at any one thing but I’m passably good at quite a few things. (The name had already been taken by someone else, in case you’re wondering. Except she spells her name with an E, so it took me awhile to realize she was there…) The one thing I do know is that I can’t pretend to be someone else. Nor could I be interested in any one thing enough to write about it CONSTANTLY ad infinitum world-without-end. So I stuck with my multi-topic blog. It’s probably taking me longer to get noticed and make more money because of that decision, though.
UPDATE: There is new info about this whole niche thing in my 2nd anniversary post: Avoid These 6 Mistakes New Bloggers Make. If you want to avoid some of the things that held me back, then go check it out. :-)
6) I did realize before too long, however, that I would need to find some angle that would set myself apart from other blogs so that people would know that I am me and I am not the same as everyone else. I thought about this for a long time; in fact, I kept trying to find a niche for myself for months after starting the blog. Never could accomplish that. But I did eventually hit upon the tagline of “making any & everything as simple and cheap as possible” — because that is also who I am. I really am lazy, y’all!! And I really do think a lot about ways to do things more easily, so I don’t have to work so hard, lol. I do think some sort of angle is helpful to getting noticed. One of my most-viewed articles fairly early on was It’s Not That Hard to Homeschool High School, which reflects my unique spin.
7) There will always be some things you don’t like to do about any job you undertake. For me, the hardest part — and therefore the part I procrastinate the most about — is putting words onto a blank piece of paper (or in my case, a blank computer screen). The rough draft is always the worst for me; once I have something, ANYTHING, down, then the edit/rewrite process is actually kinda fun.
8) Blogging has adapted well to my life. I am a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom. I did not want to take a job outside the home; I tried that once and it led to regrets. I can blog any time of day that is convenient, or I can skip a day if we are busy. I can put my family BEFORE blogging, which is not true of a job outside the home. It is a productive use of my time, even if I’m not being compensated much for that time yet. I still have deadlines, but I can arrange my agenda to meet them when it will work best for me. Blogging makes a great side hustle for that very reason.
9) Networking is crucial and helpful and fun. It’s crucial because that is how your blog will get noticed. It’s helpful because you learn things from other bloggers, and you are encouraged by them. It’s fun because you make new friends! I was surprised by this aspect of blogging — but now I wouldn’t be without it.
I share all this in the hopes that you will see that making money blogging is doable and worth the effort for anyone. Like any job or endeavor, it has its ups and downs, its positive aspects and its drawbacks. But on the whole I think anyone can prosper at it, if they are willing to work hard and learn. Do I consider myself to be a success? Well, I’m not making the big bucks, that’s for sure. But the blog is paying for itself and there is even a little extra. I am doing something productive with my time. I am helping and encouraging others. And I like it! So yea, in my own little world, I consider myself to be making good at this blogging thing. I think I’ll keep at it for awhile. :-)
To conclude, I’d like to share this message which Doc Brown (aka Christopher Lloyd, looking a bit older, if I may say so) recorded in the Delorean time machine. I posted the video of it on my FB page today:
Great Scott! If my calculations are correct it is now precisely Oct. 21, 2015. The future has finally arrived. Yes, it is different than we all thought. But don’t worry, it just means your future hasn’t been written yet. No one’s has. Your future is whatever you make it. So make it a good one.
Thank you SO MUCH, all you wonderful readers of this blog, for making my first year of blogging a GREAT one! :-) HUGS!! –Ann
P.S. If you decide to start a blog of your own, I recommend Black Chicken Host for your web hosting provider. I didn’t start with them, but I switched to them after blogging awhile because I heard of their reputation for great customer service. That has proven to be true with me! I love that they are small enough to attend to me personally, and I appreciate their values. Click here to check them out and see what I mean! :-)