I tend to overthink things, and I can talk myself out of something before I even begin. If I had known what was ahead, I think I would have put myself under a lot of pressure to succeed.
Ignorance can be bliss.
There are plenty of posts about “what I wish I knew when I started” but I wanted to celebrate a few things that I’m glad I didn’t know before I started blogging.
Going into blogging “blind”, in that I had fewer objectives beyond helping another woman with her hair, meant I had no idea what I was getting myself into. For that I am glad.
For a long time when I told people I was a blogger I was met with confused stares. Then once I tried to explain it, the next question was “so how do you make money?”
Now blogging is becoming more mainstream. I can write “blogger” in the occupation box on forms and people won’t question me (as much). Though the money question is still there.
I wasn’t early to the blogging scene (I started blogging in 2010) but I think I had great timing as blogging was really starting to take off.
For me, blogging is fun but it’s also a business. Blogging has completely changed my life, our life.
Having said that, here are 5 things I’m glad I didn’t know before I started blogging.
It takes a lot of work to make things look easy
That one casual-looking image your fave blogger just posted of their café “office” you just double-tapped on Instagram makes blogging look so easy.
Bloggers do make it look easy. Our skill is ‘making the most out of the mundane’, as my friend Mrs Woog puts it. I mean, we just get things for free and take our MacBook Airs to cafes and quickly tap out some stories, right?
Now, I’m very conscious to not sound privileged here, and I know there are many worse jobs around, but blogging is still a job.
Blogging is more than one job, it’s a whole bunch of roles in one. I wasn’t mentally prepared to run a business when I first started writing about how I did my hair that day.
I didn’t have the accounting acumen, styling skills, or technical know-how to make things happen easily. I have learnt a lot on my feet and have stumbled along the way.
Remember that when you see that perfectly styled snippet of a blogger’s day that there is so much more happening outside the frame.
Building a community takes time
Good things take time, and with blogging that is definitely true. Each piece of content we create, be it on our blogs or for each social media platform, takes creativity and time.
Perhaps I spend way more time than necessary to put a post up (the perfectionist’s curse) but even the quickest tasks still add up to a fair amount of time.
The community of readers is what makes a blog really come alive. I spend all that time creating content to attract readers who will want to share their stories back with me.
There is no magic formula. You have you work hard and try new things to see what works for you and your community.
This can’t be rushed.
Your blog never stops (but you can)
My blog is like a hungry baby that needs constant love, food and attention.
I feel guilty when I leave it alone for more than a few hours. I once left my blog untouched for a week. It was a very strange feeling.
If I had known how addictive, and relentless, blogging could be, I may have held back. Instead I threw myself in the deep end and just started.
My blog is at an age now where I can leave it for a while without freaking out. I have to remind myself that it’s just work, but it feels like so much more.
You have to take breaks so that you can keep up your creative energy. Your blog will still be there when you get back.
There’s a lot of technology you need to understand to blog
I knew nothing when I started blogging. I loved reading blogs but I knew nothing about the tech side.
I’m glad I didn’t let my lack of technical knowledge hold me back. I could have used this as procrastination, or a reason that I couldn’t do it.
When I compare my coding knowledge now to when I first started, I have improved so much. There’s still a long way to go, and I get frustrated by not being able to understand some technical aspects of how my site runs, but I just keep blogging.
Blogging can be a career
While I definitely had some big goals for starting to blog (like writing a book), I really just wanted to help one person.
If I had known blogging could be a career, I would have put a lot of pressure on myself to succeed.
By starting as a hobby, I was able to enjoy blogging just for fun. I bring that same sense of fun into my business today.
The pressure to start earning a good income from your blog can force you to burn out early on. My ignorance has kept me in the blogging game for the long haul.
Are there any things you’re glad you didn’t know about blogging when you started? Or something that you wish you had known? Is ignorance really bliss?
Tine @ Beautyholics Anonymous
When I first started, there was no such thing as getting products for review. No working with brands. You wanted to write about something, you had to buy it. And you know what? I’m so glad I started out that way and went on for 2 years before I started getting sent products for review, working with brands, etc. This way, I know that when that day comes that I no longer get sent stuff, that I no longer work with brands, etc, the blog will still go on because it started out that way. There was no obligation, no pressure. To tell you the truth, I wish for those days again sometimes.
Thanks for commenting Tine! I agree that managing press samples can be a massive job in itself. There’s too much pressure to test new products rather than ones I would actually buy myself. I know a few bloggers that have gone “PR free” to avoid the stress and get the fun back in blogging.
I love all of these points and agree with the pressure. I have been blogging for just over a year with little interest from brands and I’m glad that I am not putting pressure on myself because I notice my content suffers when I am stressed about impressing people. Thanks for sharing
I get pretty stressed writing sponsored content Sheridan Anne, because I know it needs to be even better than my usual content. It’s good to go at your own pace and the right brands will come at the right time.
Coming from the aussie bloggers group- I’m so glad after two years of blogging I’m just getting my head around SEO and nofollow links. It definitely would have turned me off my love of writing! Hehe. Laura xx
Thanks for clicking over Laura! I still get confused with SEO, and if I had to worry about that at the beginning I’m not sure I would have blogged on 🙂
I started my blog as therapy and had no idea that there was a whole community out there, let alone what’s become an industry. I have learned so much in the last 6 years, stuff I would never have imagined learning. It seems that you can teach an old dog new tricks.
I agree Dorothy, blogging can be awesome therapy. I used to only read design blogs and I had no idea there were so many beauty blogs when I started. It’s changed so much in 6 years, I can’t even imagine what blogging will be like 6 years from now.
Sonia from Sonia Styling
I love this post – it rings so true! I threw myself back in the blogosphere last October with little thought of what next, but I’m so glad I did.
and I’m so glad you did! You have created an amazing community and I think you just keep going up x
Glad you like it, Sonia. Mrs Romance did a great job with it, didn’t she? So glad you’re back. Our time here in the ‘sphere wouldn’t be nearly as good if you weren’t in it too!
Julie @ meybestandi
Yes ! “My blog is like a hungry baby that needs constant love, food and attention.”
I have 3 of those – my hubby, my baby, and my blog baby! I feel all kinds of weird not checking in for a day too!!
That’s a lot of mouths to feed Julie! Glad I’m not the only one that fears neglecting my blog baby too x
Bele @ BlahBlah
Wise words. The all consuming part has been the biggest factor to me, but it has also lead to the realisation I can never do it all and in a funny way that’s quite liberating x
it’s a weird realisation isn’t it? I could be overwhelmed with how much there is to do, but then I realise that it’s never going to be finished and that’s ok x