If you’re reading this post, you’re probably on the same path to becoming a blogger as I or you’re about to start your social media journey. I decided to start growing my blog and social media about a month ago. It’s been a difficult and mind-opening month. And these are the lessons I’ve learned that no one tells you about being a blogger or an influencer.
My Story of becoming a blogger
It’s not my first blog, YouTube channel, and attempt. But this time I am taking it seriously. I created a blog on wordpress.org, transferred my old blog posts to this new platform, changed my YouTube, and currently, I am in a process of changing my Instagram. I am using Pinterest and TikTok religiously. I watch a lot of content about growing your social media and I am learning new things daily.
I started this journey with an open mind, a desire to learn, and the understanding that overnight success can take months but most likely years. And in the first month, I’ve learned a few things that no one tells you about being a blogger that I cannot wait to share with you.
1| Being a blogger takes time
You have to realize that building an online presence and a digital product or space in 2021 will take a lot of time. I don’t expect to get more followers and subscribers in 2 weeks, this is unrealistic. People who promise you to gain 1000 followers in a week are just bluffing.
First of all, reaching the first 1000 people is always the hardest. This is the fact. Second of all, you need to create a realistic timeline for yourself and have a plan.
Give yourself at least 6 months to figure it out. Don’t wait though, start posting now. It will not be ideal but it will give you time to learn new things, understand the insights of Pinterest, Instagram, and the blogging world, what you like to post and create and what is your niche exactly. If you are not super experienced in this industry, you will have to learn a lot so setting time aside to create AND learn is crucial. Being a blogger takes a lot of time and patience.
A tip: experiment and have fun!
I gave myself 3 years to truly reflect back and see if I can turn it into a bigger project. It might seem long but I know that I have to work hard to achieve success and I am being extremely realistic. I cannot plan to start making money from my blog and social media in the next year or even two because of my K1 visa application. Long story short: once you’re in the USA, you cannot make ANY income online or offline no matter who and where your employer is as long as you don’t get your work permit. FUN!
Anyways, here is my brief timeline for the first year..
First 3 months: start posting, research the market and hashtags, have a content pipeline, figure out my aesthetic and style, learn better editing in Lightroom and Photoshop, learn blogging techniques, start Pining like crazy.
First 6 months: learn the platforms, tools, and what I like to do exactly in my lifestyle and personal development niche. Improve my content creation and planning techniques, have a better schedule, and stick to it. Learn techniques for batching content. Learn more about email lists, research more about SEO.
First-year: Find my voice, style, aesthetic, and have a well-planned schedule and content calendar.
2| There are always exceptions but you are probably not
There are plenty of people who blew up in a few weeks or months. Some people are born stars and some people have to work extremely hard to shine bright. And in the real world, the overnight successes are rather exceptions and you and I are probably not. So forget about blowing up in a few weeks. Stay focused on your end goal and be humble.
There might be also an urge to compare yourself to other bloggers. You need to stop it now! Do you hear me? I see you, stop it right now!
This is the hardest thing no one tells you about being a blogger and I think it is because people want to create this magic story or sell a course to you. So beware!
And if you do blow up in a few weeks, CONGRATS!
3| Being a blogger takes money
Being a blogger requires investing money. How much depends on your niche, of course. But if you’re planning to start a blog, wordpress.com or blogger will not work for the majority of people. You will have to invest in a good platform, hosting, domain, design, probably a better camera or a phone, light, editing software like Photoshop or Lightroom, scheduling platforms, props for the photos, new clothes, and makeup to start (re)branding yourself. The list can go on. Be ready to invest a bit of money into your project
A tip: create an excel sheet to track your spendings and don’t go overboard.
Another tip: always look for cheaper but quality options. The market is full of good but affordable products and services.
4| You have to make sacrifices
Another thing no one tells you about being a blogger is you will have to sacrifice some things whether it is money, social events, or lifestyle. This is just a reality of starting a side hustle.
The things I am sacrificing: my sleep and free time, watching movies and YouTube for entertainment (90% of what I consume is educational now), staying at work additional time when asked, money, and I am partially sacrificing time with my friends.
Things I don’t sacrifice: self-love and self-care rituals, workouts, spiritual and mental health activities like journaling, spiritual rituals and creating art, time with my fiance, and partially with my friends.
You have to make a decision about what things are important and what you can let go of in order to achieve success.
5| If it’s not for you, you need to decide quickly
You may think you want to do something until you start doing it, you may realize it is not for you or you simply don’t like it. My advice is to stop now, don’t proceed if your gut is telling you that it’s not for you. This way you will avoid money loss, stress, and disappointment. I thought I wanted to start a Russian YouTube channel and then I understood that I just love watching content in my native language not creating it.
I don’t care what your family and friends will think about it. What do YOU think about it? Would you rather stop now and start with a new project and be happy? Or keep doing what you dislike and be miserable only because you are scared of what others might think? Being a blogger is a very tough process so don’t waste your time and money if you’ll realize this is not for you.
This is up to you but the only person you cannot fool is you!
6| You need a niche
OK, this is something that we are actually told very often. But I want to point out how important it is. I thought that this is one of the last things I need to think about thoroughly. But I’d say it should be in your top 5.
My niche is a lifestyle and it is too broad. My subtopics however are personal development, wellness, and side hustle which is a bit better but not perfect. I am still working on it.
However, with niching down comes better market and hashtag research, an understanding of your target audience, and what content you should make.
A tip: don’t niche down too much. If you’re writing about espresso from Starbucks this is too niched down. But if you write about espresso from different coffee shops and stores this would be a better alternative.
Another tip: interact with your niche daily – like photos of other creators, leave genuine comments, ask questions. This will help you grow, get ideas, and see what other bloggers do. I love to use Dollar Eighty (Chrome plugin) for this.
7| You need aesthetic
People are visual creatures and if they don’t like something visually, they will not come back. So make sure your blog and Instagram correlate with each other visually.
I am still working on it, but here are a few things that help me:
- Pinterest research
- Research similar platforms and creators on Instagram and Google
- Creating my own color scheme
- Creating my Instagram moodboard with 9 photos and content description
- Have the same or similar editing settings in Lightroom for the photos
This will also help you with content creation, posting, and editing your photos and captions. Use Planoly or Later to create a coherent Instagram feed.
8| You need to be prepared for everything
Good or bad, amazing and not so. Be ready for everything and plan accordingly. Prepare yourself mentally and financially.
Be prepared for the website, your camera, or WiFi not working, tiny issues that will require hours and sometimes days to resolve, for errors, for experience, for people not supporting you, for not growing, or growing and then being stagnant. Being a blogger is a hard path, the competition is very stressful but it is also fun and rewarding. As I said, be prepared for everything!
9| You need to have the right attitude
Yes, you need to have a good idea, a plan, and time to execute it. But you also need to be positive, show up every day, treat it as your job and have a smile on your face even when just 2 people read or watch your content.
Most likely, people around you will not understand or will not support what you do, you will not have many followers and readers, and you will spend hours and hours on creating the content only for 5 people to like it. You need to work every day with a bigger goal in your mind and stay focused.
If your expectations are too high, if you think everybody owes you or your timeline is not realistic, sorry to say it but you will struggle.
In a conclusion, building an online platform and social media presence is hard work, don’t underestimate it. And if you already think it is challenging, multiple it by 2 or 3.
But if you are focused, consistent, have a good plan, and believe in yourself, sooner or later the doors will start opening for you!