How I started blogging
About two and a half years ago, I was working in a call center. It was a decent job that allowed me to support myself, so I couldn’t really complain. But I knew I wanted more. I had heard about people that made money while traveling the world and writing articles on their blogs and I wondered if I could do that.
I already had this blog – The Sunshine Review. I started it so I could share some of my thoughts with a few close friends, but I rarely posted articles on it. So I decided to start taking blogging seriously hoping to attract a following and make money.
For the past two years I tried some new things to see what works and what I like. Initially, I posted about anything that seemed interesting to me. If I went on vacation, I would come back and write a short travel guide. If I learned something new about personal development, I wrote about that. If I liked a book, I wrote about that book. You can tell that it was pretty random and messy.
About a year ago, I changed directions. I decided to turn The Sunshine Review into a blog about happiness, depression and positive psychology. Having a clearer direction in mind allowed me to create content that is more focused and better organized.
And now, two years later, I am looking back to reflect on what I have done. On one hand, I can tell that blogging has allowed me to develop many skills and learn a lot about positive psychology, working at home and myself. But on the other hand, I still have not learned and developed enough to be able to blog and do this sustainably (at least not in an ethical way).
I’m still not sure if everything I have done can be considered a success or not, but I have definitely learned a lot along the way. That’s why I have decided to share some of these lessons with you. If you are an amateur blogger or are thinking about becoming a blogger, content creator or “influencer”, some of these ideas can definitely help you. Here are some of the things I learned in the 2 years I spent blogging.
1. It’s much harder than it seems
I’ll be honest with you: when I started blogging, I thought that I would make a lot of money in just a few months. But two years later, I am still struggling to find ways to make money consistently and ethically.
When I first read about successful bloggers and ways to monetize a blog, everything seemed pretty straightforward and easy. You start a blog, you write articles and people read them. You can make money by selling your own products or services, advertising for other products or through ads.
Reading about the successful bloggers that made thousands of dollars made me think that this is easy to achieve. But it’s not. The problem is that we are sold the idea that becoming a full-time blogger and starting a business is relatively easy and anyone can do it. Or we are told that it is hard, but if we work hard, we can all magically achieve it. But in reality, not everyone can do it and it takes a lot of work, skills, effort, creativity, passion, knowledge and…even luck.
If you are thinking of starting your own blog, do not get discouraged by this. Just keep in mind that blogging, posting pictures on Instagram, travelling AND making a lot of money is not effortless and definitely not fun all the time…at least it seems to be this way if you are trying to do a good job without taking advantage of people.
2. You need a schedule
My birthday is on September 15th. So two years ago, on my birthday, I challenged myself to share something online every day. It could be a short article, a message on social media or a video about anything I found interesting.
I did that every day for about 60 days. It was a time when I challenged myself and started to learn how to write. But then I missed a day. I was abroad, I had no Internet access, I had to walk a lot and I couldn’t post on time. Since I was a perfectionist (I am less of a perfectionist now), I felt like a failure. So I stopped posting every day.
At first I thought this was great since it would give me more time to learn new things and write better articles. But since I had no clear schedule to stick to, I would rarely post. That was also a period that was challenging for me personally, so whenever I did not feel great or did not know what to write about, I wouldn’t. Sometimes a few months would go by without me posting an article.
I now know that an article a day is too much and an article every 4 months is too little! (I know, who would have thought???) While I think that there is no guideline about how often we should post, I think it is very important to be consistent. I now try to share one article a week and I can usually do this.
If you want to use your blog just as a hobby, you can post whenever you want. But if you want to use your blog to reach more people and find a way to make money from this, you definitely need to be consistent. Having a schedule and planning your article in advance helps a lot!
3. They will not come just because you build it
There’s a phrase that says “If you build it, they will come”. Many people think that the only thing they need to do is to write articles on a blog, add pictures on Instagram or build an app/website. After that, people will magically appear and admire their work and pay for it.
I don’t think that it ever works that way. Just because you write articles – even if they are great articles – people will not just hurry to your blog. At least not at first and not in big numbers. After you design your website, write articles, share them on social media, people may still not come. So you need to work hard and be creative to find ways to attract people. And I would say that this is much harder today since there are so many great articles, pictures, videos and books out there.
If you want to create something amazing and unique, do it! Pour your heart into a blog and share your experience, your thoughts and your life. Share the things that you deeply care about and that only you think about in that way. But keep in mind that you need to find ways to reach people to let them know about you.
4. All blogs are not created equal
There are many types of blogs out there; you can find blogs about books, fashion, living trash-free, fitness, beauty products, travelling, people’s personal lives and almost everything you can imagine. This goes for books, Instagram accounts, YouTube videos and every media.
I generally think that it is great that we can find people who are interested in different topics and create content about that. But I also think that every field, niche or topic is different – not in a good way necessarily.
For example, a website with gossip about celebrities will always (or almost always) attract more people than a website about great books. A YouTube channel with cat videos will have more views than one about how to be a good human being in our society. A book about a weird romance story will sell more copies than one about the science of happiness.
This is the sad truth about blogging, content creation and…humanity. I think that this situation is simply a reflection of the level of consciousness and education of people all over the world. And most people care more about illusions, meaningless gossip or stupid things than about scientific truths, powerful philosophies and great ideas.
If you want to start a blog, a YouTube channel, an Instagram account or write a book, it might be a good idea to keep this in mind. I am not saying that these trends should dictate your choice in topics, but it should influence your perspective and expectations.
For example, if you are passionate about philosophy, don’t start a make-up blog just because it’s a popular topic and a money-making industry. You won’t be fulfilled by this. Start that philosophy blog. Write about the deep and meaningful ideas about what it means to be human, what is good or bad and what we should think about when we cannot sleep.
Just keep in mind that you may never make as many followers as the next girl reviewing lipstick. And finding a way to make money from your blog will also be harder.
I say this mostly from experience, but also from observation. Since I talk about depression, happiness and the science of happiness, I know that my content cannot be “digested” as easily as a cat video.
This is a sour lesson I’ve recently learned. It’s not meant to crush your hopes and dreams. It’s meant to prepare you for what comes next. And if you can write great, deep and meaningful articles about serious or important topics, I honestly hope your blog will attract millions of people.
5. Your blog will grow with you
This is one of the best things about having a blog or a business. When you develop or change directions, your blog/business will automatically follow.
For example, if you start to learn how to write better articles and take better pictures with a professional camera, your blog will be better. The more skills you develop, the better you can create quality content.
Also, if your life philosophy or main interests change, your blog can also reflect that. I started blogging about anything that had to do with personal development. I shared anything from Earl Nightingale’s ideas about success to insights I would think about. But when I realized that personal development is not enough to help me cope with depression and is not scientific enough, I changed directions. I started reading books written by great psychologists and researchers and I knew I had to start blogging about that.
The great thing is that blogging (or creating content in general) can – and often will – help you improve your skills. It can help you grow as a person in many ways. And it allows you to invest in yourself and make changes in a way that typical jobs don’t.
6. If you want to make a living from this, you need to take it seriously
I did not realize this at first, but this lesson is becoming clearer every day. I started blogging thinking that if I write articles, post on social media, in time, people will discover me. More and more people will read what I write and then I will easily make money from this.
But as I said, it rarely (if ever) works that way. This approach might have worked for the first bloggers and Instagrammers, but it is no longer a viable solution.
If you want to make a living from this, you need to invest a lot of time in yourself and your work. You need to constantly publish articles and post on social media. You need to write better articles. You need to find interesting topics that people will want to read about. You need to become one of the best people in your chosen field. You need to think like a business person, make plans and adapt. You need to work many hours, even when – especially when – you don’t feel like it.
You need to help and serve people in the best way you can so you deserve their time, attention and money.
If you want to start making content (articles, photos, social media posts, videos, books), you can. But if you want to make content and earn a living from that, take this seriously. Make clear plans and work on this every day. Measure your progress to see how well you are doing. If you are not getting the results you want, adapt and try new things. Most importantly, believe in yourself and don’t give up. If you still believe in your mission, if you think that people need to hear what you have to say, keep going!
There are more things I could say about blogging and my experience with it. But in the end, this is what matters: blogging was a big part of my life and it helped me grow and develop many skills. There are things I can do better and things I still need to learn. But blogging is like living – you can always do more and you can always become better.
I like sharing my experiences and being honest. That’s why I wrote an article with the great things and the challenges of blogging. I also wanted to admit that I am still working on making enough money to support myself through my work. This is my biggest challenge right now and I have often considered giving up. But as long as I still believe in my mission, I feel like I have to continue fighting for my goals.
I hope this article helped you discover a bit more about the world of blogging and content creation. If you want to start your own blog or social media account to truly help people and share good information, I hope you’ll do that. If you believe in something that can improve people’s lives and make this world better, I honestly hope you’ll succeed! It won’t be easy, but it will be challenging and rewarding beyond words!