5 (more) things I wasn’t prepared for when starting a blog

A while ago I wrote a blog post spilling the beans on the five things I wasn’t quite prepared for when starting a blog last October. Well, it turns out I wasn’t quite done on the subject. There are still several more things that took me off guard about the blogging world and I want to share them with you!

Now before we get stuck in, if you haven’t read my original post, have a read of that first and then come back here. It’s cool, I’ll totally wait for you.

Right, here we go for round two of things I wasn’t prepared for when starting a blog! And again I waffle on for while, you may need to bring snacks. 

1.Non blog readers/writers don’t really get it

I’ll admit it, every time someone I don’t know well asks me about blogging, I cringe. I know that what will follow is an awkward conversation along the lines of ‘so you can actually earn money blogging, how does that work?’ They will nod along throughout my painstaking explanation, while secretly thinking ‘lunatic’.

I think if you’re not familiar with the blogging world, it’s easy to assume that it’s not a realistic career option and it’s more of a hobby. Of course for many people it is a hobby and that’s great too. But for more and more people, their blog is becoming their business, which I happen to think is awesome!

You work from your sofa writing about things you’re genuinely interested in, get sent lovely products to review and get invited to cool events? Nope that doesn’t sound like work at all. You’re not supposed to actually enjoy your job, that’s cheating!

Ha! Of course I’m glossing over the fact that there aren’t enough hours in the day to do the crap ton of work it takes behind the scenes. The late nights, the early mornings, the lack of sick days and the need to be your own writer, photographer, PR, accountant…I could go on FOREVER. Just know that I mean all the things, OK?   

I consider myself lucky that my family and friends have been incredibly supportive and encouraging, even if they don’t quite understand how it all works.

Avoid saying the word blogger, it baffles people. Tell them you’re a freelance writer or that you run a website about ‘insert niche here’. It helps to make it less awkward. I’ve still not perfected my answer to be honest. Perhaps I’ll make a free printable ‘What the hell is a blogger’ worksheet to hand out.

2# Blogging for money is controversial

There are so many reasons why I started a blog. I’m not ashamed to admit that making money is one of them.

I knew that I would be working for hour upon hour without making a single penny and I’m fine with that. But the grand plan is that eventually I’ll make enough to cover at least my blogging expenses. It would be nice to treat my boys to a few lovely things and maybe, very occasionally, buy a rather nice handbag. I don’t have dreams of making millions (although that would be nice) just a decent living.

Some people think that making money from blogging is selling out. Well, I completely disagree. Writers get paid for writing articles and books, painters sell their art, what’s the difference?

You’re devoting hours of your life to give people great advice, help them to learn new skills, to entertain them. As long as you’re blogging with complete honesty and integrity, there is nothing wrong with being paid for it.

If you want to make money blogging, you should! Just always be honest with your readers. Add a disclaimer to let them know it’s a sponsored post, you were gifted an item or there’s an affiliate link.

3# Bloggers tell you exactly how much they earn.

While we’re on the subject of money, I can think of relatively few jobs where people share their incomes in quite such specific detail. But admit it, who doesn’t love a good nose through another bloggers income report?

It’s one of those strange things that is inspiring and depressing in equal measures. If they’re making an absolute fortune, it’s a bit hard to relate to. If they’re barely making a penny but they’ve been blogging for ages, it makes you feel like there’s no hope.

Income reports are definitely Marmite – you either love or hate them. I personally find them very interesting.

Use income reports as inspiration, but take them with a pinch of salt too. To be a blogger you need to be motivated by more than just money. It will come eventually if you put in lots of hard work and clever strategy (I hope anyway).

4# You compare yourself to other bloggers

It’s really hard not to compare yourself. Within the confines of the Facebook blogging groups, people are constantly sharing their wins, breakthroughs, sales and achievements. Of course you’re delighted for them, especially if it’s one of your tribe. But just a tiny fraction of you is thinking, but how did you do that. How? HOW? Tell me your secrets! 

Sometimes it’s hard to hear that someone who’s been blogging the same amount of time as you, has thousands more views or hundreds more subscribers. 

Truthfully, there will most likely always be somebody with more views, more success, more followers and better ideas than you. I know that sounds harsh, but it’s the reality of the blogging world. It’s fine to be inspired by those people, but don’t measure yourself against them!

Compare yourself to where you were last week, last month, last year. Have you made progress and moved forward? Then you are moving in the right direction, my friend. Be proud of your own accomplishments.  And obviously, tell me your secrets ; )

5# Courses are everything

Before I joined the blogosphere, I had no idea that so many bloggers are running courses as a way to make income. In fact I seemed to have started during the peak of the online course revolution. Literally any topic you want to know about when it comes to running a blog or business – there’s a course for that online.

I’m certainly an advocate that you should never stop learning regardless of your age. There’s always a skill that you could improve. Perhaps it’s the fact that I worked in education marketing for 10 years!

I have certainly benefited from some amazing webinars and courses. It’s a great opportunity to try before you buy if you’re considering starting a paid course.

Do you have expertise on a topic? Create a free course for your subscribers! It’s a great way to give back to the community and build an email list with those who are genuinely interested in your niche.

I’m sure there’s a million more things I could add to this list, but that’s enough reflecting for one day!

Now it’s your turn.

Are you a blogger? What surprised you the most about starting a blog? Let me know in the comments. 

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19 Comment

  1. Reply
    Lauretta @ Home and Horizon
    February 24, 2017 at 9:51 pm

    I love this and wholeheartedly agree! In fact, I could have written it myself! You did make me laugh with your ‘lunatic’ comment!

    1. Reply
      February 25, 2017 at 1:30 pm

      Ha ha, glad it’s not just me. It’s just so hard to explain.

  2. Reply
    Catherine, Not Dressed As Lamb
    March 1, 2017 at 10:32 pm

    Caroline I first discovered all these exact things six years ago when I started my blog – the only difference was that I had no idea you could earn money from it! The first time I read about a blogger going pro I remember thinking HOW?!! How will she earn any money? How times change…

    I still have the same problem with explaining what a blog is, but to be honest it’s a lot easier than it used to be. Many more people “get it” these days, and for the first time I’ve heard myself say “I’m a professional blogger” when people ask what I do for a living. It always used to be freelance writer as you’ve suggested – though I’m a fashion blogger and trying to explain why you’re up a country lane being photographed by your husband is still tricky. We have an agreement to always say we sell clothes online, hehe 😉

    Great post, found it through #brilliantblogposts… And I must say for a reasonably new blogger your site is incredible! You’re doing everything so well!

    Catherine x

    1. Reply
      March 2, 2017 at 9:40 am

      Ah thank you so much Catherine. I absolutely love your blog! Yes, it’s definitely tricky for fashion bloggers getting those outdoor shots at least I can take photo’s in the comfort of my own home. x

  3. Reply
    Amy Downes
    March 2, 2017 at 9:31 am

    I think the thing that surprised me most us how supportive everyone is, surely it is the only job in the world where the majority of people working in your field want to help you and be friends!? Lovely blog, thank you #brillblogposts

    1. Reply
      March 2, 2017 at 9:44 am

      Yes, so true Amy. It’s a support network like no other, that’s for sure. x

  4. Reply
    Annette, 3 Little Buttons
    March 2, 2017 at 12:51 pm

    What a fab post. I was nodding along to everything, especially number 1. Even though I have been blogging for over a year now, I still feel like this! Non writers just don’t get it all all do they?! #brillblogposts

    1. Reply
      March 2, 2017 at 4:17 pm

      Nice to know it’s not just me Annette! I’m considering learning an impressive party trick to distract anyone who asks me what a blogger is ; )

  5. Reply
    Lucy At Home
    March 2, 2017 at 1:56 pm

    Great post! My blog is 9months old and I’ve only just started telling my “real life” contacts about it, but they generally just look blankly at me. I now tell people that I write for a parenting website… #brillblogposts

    1. Reply
      March 2, 2017 at 4:26 pm

      Yes, good plan Lucy! I read blogs for years before I started mine, so I thought that most people knew about them. I was really surprised that so many people don’t.

  6. Reply
    Susie / S.H.I.T.
    March 2, 2017 at 2:07 pm

    Really useful post for newbies like me – I hadn’t realised what a minefield this blogging world is, but there seems such a good supportive world of bloggers out there, Everyone is so helpful. I love these posts #brillblogposts

    1. Reply
      March 2, 2017 at 4:30 pm

      Thanks Susie and welcome to the blogosphere! One of the best things about blogging is the overwhelming support from other bloggers. It’s a great community to be part of.

  7. Reply
    March 2, 2017 at 9:32 pm

    Fab post and so true! #brilliantblogposts

  8. Reply
    March 3, 2017 at 9:04 am

    I was super surprised mainly at the breadth of the blogging community. It is so vast and so supportive! I agree with the comparison thing definitely… I just wrote a post on this exact topic actually! <3 #brilliantblogposts

    1. Reply
      March 3, 2017 at 10:09 am

      Yes, there are a whole lotta bloggers out there. It’s fab! I’ll pop over and check out your post. X

  9. Reply
    Mrs Mummy Harris
    March 4, 2017 at 7:48 pm

    Im still so pleasantly surprised that the community are so supportive and helpful. I love how fellow bloggers are not seen as competition! #brilliantblogposts

    1. Reply
      March 4, 2017 at 11:05 pm

      Yes absolutely, it’s wonderful!

  10. Reply
    Anne Marie
    March 18, 2017 at 12:12 am

    Wow! It’s exactly how I feel, I’m like a zombie staying up late reading just one more article, one more post or updating pintrest. The true is I don’t know where all this will take me, but I’m determined to make this happen, because I love what I’m doing and I’m not planning on giving up! The only problem is that I feel alone in all this. Are there any groups open to bloggers?

    1. Reply
      March 18, 2017 at 8:30 am

      I feel exactly the same Anne, I’m not really sure where I’ll end up – but it’s a pretty exciting adventure. There’s lots of facebook groups where you can connect with other bloggers and get advice. Twitter chat’s & linkys are another good way to ‘meet’ other bloggers.

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