Photo by Steinar Engeland from Unsplash
A blogger’s journey to success starts with years of questioning her place in this industry (and that means being overwhelmed most of the time) but still giving it her best. Making it to a full year of part-time blogging while attending online college courses is such a huge achievement for me.
Not everyone is disciplined enough to pull off the work it takes to reach one whole year making a name for yourself on the internet. The number of hours dedicated to brainstorming content and optimizing SEO in every blog post is mind-blowing for any newbie blogger. I can’t believe it’s been a year. The thought of celebrating my 1st blogging anniversary gives me a feeling of thrill, hope, and gratitude.
For seasoned bloggers, blogging for a year is too short, and I agree. There’s still a lot for me to learn about the ins and outs of succeeding in a lifestyle niche. Lifestyle trends and practices constantly change, and as a blogger, it’s my job to be adaptive to people’s situations and helpful to their needs. My purpose revolves around the truth that the twenties are messy and complicated, and being that stranger on the internet is going to help them get through it all.
MY BACKSTORY OF HOW I STARTED:
I started with knowing nothing about blogging but relying on my love for writing. I was just a regular 19-year-old who was in the middle of her YA fiction novel on Wattpad who wanted to expand my reach in sharing my thoughts and stories with people. As a young adult, I wanted to make some money while at home. I binged watched a lot of “How to Start A Blog” videos on Youtube—and they immediately got me hooked. I was mesmerized by the overload of opportunities and freedom in blogging.
I set daily goals to be productive with my time, and I try my best to complete them. Every day, I opened my laptop and continued doing the things I promised myself I would do the night before. I juggled school with blogging and joining writing contests (poetry and short stories) and on and off query letter writing. I didn’t know exactly what I was doing nor was I confident that my efforts would pay off but I still did it. Amidst my fear and hesitance, I pushed through.
5 HEARTFELT LESSONS I LEARNED IN MY FIRST YEAR BLOGGING:
I HAVE EVERYTHING I NEED TO SUCCEED
When I first started blogging, I knew nothing about the industry or where to even begin. I didn’t know the technical, legal, or business sides of it. All I know was I love to write and publish my writing online. A lot of bloggers and self-proclaimed social media experts say you need to purchase a lot of things for you to start your blog in the right direction, but you don’t have to believe them.
Blogging is expensive. Depending on your goals, it would really cost you money should you aim to make it a small business and income stream. It discouraged me when I listened to some bloggers’ advice about what hosting provider to choose, what platform to commit to, etc. because not all of them were beginner-friendly. I picked the cheapest blogging platform I found, which is Blogger, and I don’t regret it at all. I realized I didn’t need pricey blogging courses, video/podcast equipment, a posh theme, and web design to make money in the first year of my blog.
All I needed was to start because I have everything I need to succeed. I took advantage of my time and energy to pursue what I love doing and make potential money from it while showing up in class AND babysitting my nieces and nephews. To those of you who feel like they’re strained by the too many responsibilities in your lives, remember that it is not impossible.
DON’T BE SCARED TO GO THROUGH TOUGH TIMES
Having the audacity to start building a small business in an industry I know nothing about is scary. I realized I have this fear of trying out new things because I was scared to fail or waste time doing something that isn’t for me. Know that you will have to learn totally new, unfamiliar, and complicated things first before you get the hang of it.
This, to me, is the most challenging part— when you have to force yourself to work in areas you don’t quite excel in. When you don’t have the capital to hire a team of people to do the work for you, you need to be a one-man team for your dream. No one will work as hard as you for your goals, so never expect people to. It takes time to explore new things, so don’t be too hard on yourself.
A lot of people give up before they even start because their ego can’t handle being bad at something. It’s okay to make mistakes along the way as you’re learning. It’s okay to take a longer time to finish something than you expected. It doesn’t make you a failure for having weaknesses. The number of mistakes you experience does not guarantee loss but wisdom.
OUR DREAMS REQUIRE EXECUTION
One of the things I want to achieve in my twenties is to be financially stable with various passive income streams. The only way to do this is to take advantage of my youth, energy, and time through hustling. I understand that to become a successful blogger, I need to spend every day building my site from the ground up. Ideas are useless if they’re not used translated into actions.
When everyone else was busy dancing into new trends on Tiktok, I was writing blog posts and reaching out to influencers and bloggers in the industry. I work roughly 14 hours on my blog every day except on the weekends. Even when I’m not using my laptop, I write down ideas on my phone or do my research on blogging strategies and income reports in my free time.
It took sheer will and desire to make quality content and share it with people who need it. Even dedicating 10 minutes to your blog every single day can make huge progress. The only thing that’s limiting yourself from improving your abilities is your mind. Never let self-doubt destroy your perception of aiming high and wanting better in your life. You deserve to dream fabulous goals just as everybody else.
As they say, discipline generates results. What you do every single day adds up to big changes in your attitude and direction. Once you learn to commit to your schedule, regardless of your mood or motivation, you train your mind to adjust to evolving circumstances which eventually becomes a habit. You have the power to make your dreams a reality one day at a time. As long as you keep moving forward while manifesting your ambition in your actions, you will go far.
HASTE MAKES WASTE
In the beginning of my blogging journey, I was serious about my blog since day one. That was a good attitude to have, except when I started to pressure myself into reaching certain views and blog stats. I overwhelmed myself with my own expectations and doing so allowed doubts to enter my mind. I wanted to follow every piece of advice from bloggers and gurus to ensure I was on the right path and pace.
I was too focused on the end goal that I failed to appreciate where I was at that point in my journey. Most of all, I wanted to prove to everyone I know that I can make passive income from my blog as soon as I can. I became more and more distracted by the doubts and what-ifs. Little did I know, I’ve wasted hours trying to predict the future and finding solutions to problems that haven’t happened yet.
I’ve been so pressured with my next move, forgetting to plan the present. My negative expectations bred doubts and criticisms in my head. As a result, my need for instant gratification wasted precious time, energy, and creativity which should’ve been poured into more productive endeavors. Remember that haste makes waste. If you rush things to happen, you’re more likely not getting the desired result. You will end up wasting resources and feeling bad for yourself.
FORTUNE FAVORS THE BOLD
The beginning is always the hardest and the scariest, but once you get through it, everything will seem more smooth-sailing. If you don’t take a risk on anything, you will never grow. It still surprises me that it’s been a year since Life Begins At Twenty was born. Looking back on the previous months, I pondered on my tenacity and ambition to create a wonderful future for myself.
Never underestimate the power you hold when you aim for bigger things in life. Every courageous action is rewarded. Unless you ask for it or work hard to achieve something, you will never have it. This is why most talented and smart people don’t get far in life because they’re often shy and overshadowed by brave ones. They may not be as talented or skillful in a particular skill, but their stubbornness makes them stand out among the rest.
I allowed myself to make mistakes because that’s the only way I will grow. Even if you don’t have the exact set of skills and intellect to take on a challenge, the willingness to learn is already admirable attitude worth investing in. Even if everything is unpredictable and scary, have faith that everything will turn out in your favor if you do the work. You will not make a lot of money right away, but I promise you that it is possible. Trust the process of your journey and find the blessing behind every obstacle. There is always something to be grateful for in every situation, no matter how hard it may be.
If I gave up on my blog in less than a year, I wouldn’t have felt the exhilarating satisfaction that I feel now. I wouldn’t have had my site approved for Google Adsense, made new friends in the industry, and even received my first pitch on Intellifluence. The only time you lose is when you quit and refuse to try again. You can take as long a break as you need but never surrender. Be patient with your pace and your small victories because your greatest achievements are yet to come.
Looking back on my journey as a student/newbie blogger, I never thought I would be in the place where I am now. I am extremely grateful for the support I’ve been getting from the blogging community. I used to think the worst critics come from the writing community (and I still do), but it’s nice to have strangers-turned-online friends interacting with me on social media platforms as a show of support.
I admit that I’m one of those annoying beginner bloggers who keep asking questions and over-promote her work on blog post threads. If you’ve ever helped me in any way, a huge thank you. Without your kindness, I wouldn’t be writing this post today. If you’re about to celebrate your 1-year anniversary like me, don’t forget to take time to celebrate your victories. Know that you’re doing so much better than you think.