Happy September!! I’m excited to share what I learned blogging these past three years!
It’s officially (almost) my favorite season: Fall. September is a very special month for me. It’s when my middle daughter was born (she’s turning four this year!), it’s when we moved to Charlotte (we actually moved at the very end of August but the fall season is what I relate our move to), and it’s when I started my blog!
I started my blog exactly three years ago this month. One of my very first posts is on how to move across the country on a budget. You can see it here 🙂 The first thing I notice is that my images have (thankfully) come a longggg way. Graphic design is definitely not one of my talents, but I guess after three years of making images I’ve learned a thing or two, haha.
This journey has been so crazy but also so fun. Here’s how I got started blogging and what I learned in three years of blogging!
Why I Started a Blog
We had just moved across the country and I was raising my two little girls and freelance writing. I wanted to write more finance articles and needed experience, so I decided to start a blog to basically house my resume and my own finance articles. I majored in finance and loved budgeting, so I figured a blog would be a great outlet.
I also knew you could make money blogging. I had seen many personal finance bloggers making a couple hundred a month to a couple thousand, and I wanted in on that!
I never intended to start my blog purely “for fun.” I always viewed it as a career from the start. I think having that mentality is what allowed me to eventually succeed. Of course, I LOVE blogging and don’t think you can run a successful blog if you don’t like writing or social media or networking. You have to enjoy it in order to keep it up! But, I really recommend going into blogging with a business mentality if you do eventually hope to make an income.
Why Fall Is the Perfect Time to Start a Blog
I really believe I jumped on the blogging bandwagon at the perfect time! Summer is slowwww, even for well-established, popular bloggers. People just aren’t online much. If you start your blog over the summer, it’s easy to get discouraged because you really won’t see much traffic, especially as a newbie.
Fall, on the other hand, is the best time to start a blog. School is back in session, the holidays are approaching, and people are just using their computers more in general. Since the holidays are a HUGE money-making time for bloggers, you can start a blog now, build up some traffic, and hopefully make your first $100 by the holiday season!
How to Start a Blog
First, you want to brainstorm what you want your blog to be about. Once you have an idea, come up with a few domain names. If you have an idea already, you can see if it’s available here:
Then, purchase your hosting through Bluehost. Bluehost is, in my opinion, the best host for new bloggers. My readers receive a special discount making the service more affordable. You also will get your domain name for free. Once you’ve been blogging a few years and have more traffic, I recommend switching to Siteground or a bigger host. But for newbies, Bluehost truly is amazing.
Here is my full tutorial on how to start a profitable blog >>
What I Learned in Three Years of Blogging
Gosh, I really cannot imagine where I’d be if I hadn’t started this blog. One of the really cool (unexpected) benefits of blogging is I made some really good friends; one really close friend in particular. She lives out-of-state but we text every single day about our kids, our blogs, what we’re making for dinner, and more. I never in a million years thought I’d get a best friend out of blogging.
Here’s everything else I’ve learned from blogging. The good, the bad, and everything in between.
You really can make a living online
Like I stated above, I started my blog to gain personal finance freelance clients (which I did!) and to eventually make money directly from my blog. To be honest, I had a lot of confidence that I could make money blogging but I didn’t really know how to go about it. I remember feeling discouraged a LOT in the beginning, but kept it up. Now, three years later, I’m making over $3,000 a month (on average) from my blog. It really is possible to make money blogging, you just have to keep at it.
Here’s my complete guide to making money blogging, if you’re interested 🙂
Blogging is lonely
Yes, I’ve made some really good friends thanks to blogging. But, I don’t see these friends every day. Heck, most of them I’ve never even met because they live somewhere else. Every day, it’s just me and my computer. I don’t get to go chat in the break room with coworkers, go out to lunch with my team, or have company-wide holiday parties. Instead, I wake up when my whole family sleeps so I can write a post. I stay up late promoting my posts, sending newsletters and creating images. My blog is a team of one – and that can get very lonely after a while.
Creating your own schedule is the best
But on the flipside of working alone, I get to create my own schedule and be my own boss! Since I socialize plenty with my family, my kids’ teachers, my kids’ friend’s moms and more, I usually don’t mind working alone. And being my own boss and setting my own schedule is truly THE BEST, especially as a mom! I may not always want to work at night, and so I don’t, haha! I love that I’m completely in charge of my schedule and, most importantly, my time.
Comparison is the thief of joy
This is true in life and in blogging. I urge you to stop comparing yourself, your blog and your journey to that of others. We are all on different paths. I really try to be truly happy for others’ success, and to be honest, I am!! A lot of bloggers have surpassed me, and instead of feeling like I’m not good enough or like I should quit, I feel proud of them and what they’ve accomplished. We are ALL different – our lives are different and our blogs are different. Don’t focus on what other bloggers are doing and instead focus on your own blog. You’ll see results a lot faster that way 🙂
My to-do list is never ending
Every day, I feel like I add more to my list than I cross off. There is just SO. MUCH. TO. DO. A few of my daily tasks include responding to emails, promoting posts across all social platforms, thinking of new content, thinking of new products I want to create, handling behind-the-scenes tech stuff, and more. Then, of course, I need to actually write my content, create my products, and promote all of these things I’m creating. I have a list by my computer and another one on my phone for when I think of ideas on the go. It’s crazy, but I love it!!
Your blogging journey will ebb and flow
I wish I could say I posted twice a week every week for the past three years. That is actually not the case AT ALL, and I still was able to turn this little blog into something fun and profitable 🙂 When I first started my blog (Sept 2014), I blogged 2-3 times a week for the first few months. Then, I posted sporadically for about a half a year (ugh, I know!!). During that time, I increased my freelance workload AND got a full-time job. Fast-forward to September 2015, and I started posting three times a week every week for about four months. This is around the time I started seeing a consistent income. Since then, I’ve always worked on my blog, but sometimes that meant just sharing posts on social media rather than writing consistently.
In March 2017, I was able to quit my full-time job because my blog income was hovering around $2000-$3000/month consistently. I now spend my days taking care of my three little girls and love it. But, fall marks the start of school/preschool so I plan on ramping things up over here and I am excited!!
I love having something just for me
As a mom, my life pretty much revolves around my kids. I have three little girls ages five and under. They’re pretty constant haha. In addition to keeping track of them, I – of course – have to keep up with the cooking and cleaning and errands and all that fun stuff. I truly love being a SAHM, but I also love that I have something to think about and do that doesn’t involve anyone in my family (LOL, that sounds mean but I’m sure all you other moms can agree!).
The potential is limitless
This is probably the coolest thing I’ve learned from blogging: Blogging is what you make of it, and that’s a really, really good thing. I know bloggers personally who have grown their blogs from zero to $70,000 in a year, bloggers who make six figures a month, and bloggers who stop blogging for months at a time but still bring in an income.
Tips for New Bloggers
If you’re thinking that would never be you, change your attitude!!! That absolutely can be you!! Think of your blog as a business from day one. Ask yourself:
- How do you plan on making money?
- Do you eventually want to create products?
- What type of products would you create?
- What products can you promote as an affiliate?
You don’t have to have answers to these questions right now; but they should help you see the big picture when it comes to blogging. You have to help people and form relationships!! While you certainly CAN make money blogging about your life, you’d have to have a TON of traffic to do so. Instead of just blogging about your life, ask how you’ll help others. Will you share family-friendly recipes? Show off your kids’ style? Share money-saving tips? Talk about your travel adventures? Share fun crafts? Help people organize their homes?
Give your blog a purpose and see the big picture!!
So I encourage you: If you’re a new blogger, don’t stop blogging. It takes time to get traffic, build an email list, find products to promote, and all of that. Just do one thing everyday to help grow your blog.
If you’re on the fence about starting a blog, I encourage you to go for it! There’s no better time than now. In three years, will you look back and wish you started? If so, now is the perfect time to get started.
Are you a blogger? What’s been the biggest lesson you’ve learned?
Sarah, thanks so much for this – it’s really encouraging.
I just started my blog at the beginning of September (http://becominglifesmart.com/ if you want to check it out) and have found all of the logistics of setting it up so frustrating. The writing is the easy part – everything else from Pinterest to learning WordPress has been a challenge.
It’s nice to see bloggers like you who have been doing this for a while and have hit their stride. I’ve told myself to stick with it for at least a year before deciding if I should continue and I hope I’m even half as successful as you are now three years later.
Thanks for all of your wisdom and advice!
I just want to pop in and give you a word of encouragement. I started my blog at the beginning of June, and I fully understand your comment about the logistics being frustrating. As a person who is not very computer savvy to begin with, there were many times I was ready to pull my hair out as I worked to set up my blog. Three months later, I’m to the point where I feel like I understand most of the logistics, and now I can truly focus on the fun of blogging. Hang in there! It really does get better.
Susan Velez saysat
Awesome job and congratulations on creating a consistent income from your blog. I know that you’ve put in a lot of hard work on your blog.
Your story goes to show that consistency definitely pays off. My blog will turn a year old next month and it’s exciting.
This is the first time that I’ve stuck with a blog for so long. In the past, I’ve jumped from one shiny object to the next. I was always looking for the magic bullet.
Unfortunately, there is no magic bullet. It just takes persistence and consistency to grow a blog. I love your story and wish you tons of more success in the future.
Have a great day and thanks for sharing 🙂
Chelsea @ Thecrazysahm.com saysat
Hi there Sarah!
I cannot thank you enough for this post! I am coming up on my 6 month benchmark at the end of this month, and while things have been slow, I am somehow managing to steadily grow. That being said, the appreciation I have for how real you are in this post is unmatched.
This summer has been slow. Really slow. I was beginning to think it was just my blog, but it is nice to know that is normal! Also, my to-do list is ongoing and never ending as well. I feel like just about the time I start to figure something out, the flood gates open and I gain 15 new tasks. It is amazing how much new information is out there everyday!
It is inspiring to me that you are making a full time income consistently. Last month was my biggest yet, and I made a whopping $30! I am getting better however, and I feel like the only way for my to go at this point is up, so I will keep chugging!
Thanks again for the inspiration!
Jennifer @ Camp Frugal saysat
Congratulations on your hard work, success, and living life on YOUR TERMS!! That’s awesome!
I recently started a blog to document my journey from almost 100k in debt to debt 0. Since my blog is still in its infancy, I can’t totally relate to having so much to do. From getting set up, to finding a theme, to turning my ideas in to posts, I get it.
Keep at it. You’re giving your readers a lot of valuable info!
Thank you so much for sharing! It was great advice! I have been blogging sporadically over the last few years and have really going to be more consistent at it! You are so right about starting in the Fall!