Follow Our Passion officially turned one, last week and in honor of that I am gonna share with you all 12 Things I Learned My First Year of Blogging!
Can you believe I’ve been blogging for a year now? Follow Our Passion officially turned one last week and I couldn’t be more proud of myself. I am SO beyond excited about reaching this milestone. I shared a delicious, chocolate coffee cupcake recipe with you all last week in honor since you know cupcakes, chocolate and coffee do make everything 10 XXs better!
I’ve come a long way from those first post. When I look back at my photography, the outline… I’m a little embarrassed at how little I knew. Then I remember how much I learned when I went to my first food blogging conference with a month in on the blog and I look throughout all my posts. I have to admit the one thing that does stick is my voice, My rambles. My weird tales. Basically, my weirdness still comes out in every post. Haha. I am SO proud of that. Cause I don’t want my personality to change. Even though I have grown so much these last 12 months, It’s still me. In cozy sweaters and leggings.
I’ve made new friends, met some awesome, fabulous readers. I’ve learned about struggle, mine, and others. I’ve learned to handle it better.
SO cause. I love to celebrate.
I thought I would write 12 things I learned for each month.
There is always something to do & 10 million hats to wear
Before I started blogging and actually thought of it as a career, not just a creative outlet which is how I discovered blogging so many years ago, I always thought. I write my thoughts. Post. Publish. Done.
Yeah. Not so much. Now I have a checklist. That I go through before I even press schedule. Then I go through it again right before I schedule it. Then I take some time and read it again a few days later to double, triple check everything is perfect.
Somehow something always slips.
Us bloggers. We have so many hats.
Writer. Photographer. Social Media Expert. Marketing team. Website designer. Need legal advice so you also wanna become a part-time lawyer. Then go into each niche, like mine, cook/chef + health food wellness guru wannabe. mental health advocate, self-love advocate, positive body image advocate OH and cannabis herb guru.
There is so much you wanna do so much and at the same time make it perfect.
Which brings me to my next point.
Perfection doesn’t exist.
I will admit it, I am a perfectionist. I am my biggest critic, super hard on myself and expect nothing less than perfect. It might have a lot to do with my personality. It might be part cause my manic depressive/OCD self and also umm. culinary school. I think if you are in that field you totally get this.
Perfection doesn’t exist. There will always be something you want to change and something you think is better. AND. Someone always has an opinion. The best thing that honestly has helped me is to just click publish. Trust in myself and just hope you all love it as much as I do.
Stay true to yourself.
This definitely is the most important one. You will hear a million different tips and they all have so much purpose. Here’s the thing if you lose yourself, your voice, your personality, you lose your audience, you lose their trust, their time.
I was asked a while back why I even started blogging.
Here is the real, raw reason.
I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, lived a troublesome, unhealthy, sad, difficult life. Suicide ruled my mind for a long period of time, and when I realized I was still here on this beautiful planet, breathing, I felt like there was something to learn from all those years. I just needed to find that reason. I did. I love to cook. I love to talk to myself while I cook, pretend there’s was an audience watching me. But I get stage fright. So blogging made sense. I was able to write and be myself without worrying about a camera. Then I realized that I had so much more to say. It turns out that in the journey of leaving the medication, mending my relationship with food and myself, I sort of discovered something. Balance. Love. Passion. They’re all keys.
I more than anyone knows how much balance is important to live. Love, you need to love yourself, you need to love what you do, even if its just taking a little time each day to do something you love. I cook at night and don’t blog about it, it’s my time. I’m not worrying about the perfect recipe, the perfect shot, the perfect post. It’s just me in the kitchen. When I write these post. The one I’m currently writing. I try not to overthink everything. I try to just let my fingers do the talking with the keys. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it’s a little off but I still publish something just for me. Like my post on World Bipolar Day.
Have a to-do list.
I don’t know how everyone else does it. Here’s my thing. I used to do this.
I would start writing a blog post, then I would remember that I needed to share something on Instagram, then I would stay on Insta a little you know. All of sudden this came through my mind, oh this sounds kind of cool, I’m gonna check that out. Head over to the blog post. Read it. Then I go to the about section, then I read some more posts. Then I realize I have to pee. I go pee. Come back. Put on music. Remember I should see my Facebook groups, do some of that. Remember I have to shoot a recipe. Oh, that lighting is perfect. Drop everything. Make the recipe. Set up. Shoot. Oh, wait. I just thought of. Recipe test. This taste good. I’ll have lunch now. Maybe take some time off. Netflix. My go to. Wait. I wanna finish reading that book on social media. Before I know it an hour has passed. I remember I have to do something. Open my laptop again. Emails. Respond. Wait this might take a while. I need my mom’s advice. Call mom. We talk about everything but the reason I needed to talk to her. I gotta go. My blog post. Wait I’ll finish that later. Have a new idea.
Yeah then I realize at the end of the day I did a bunch of stuff but I didn’t finish anything, cause I just jump from one thing to the other.
I was also working full time when I started blogging.
Now. I work part-time. I treat my blog as if it was a job, even though I work at home. I have business hours.
I check my email twice a day.
I do social media twice.
I have list. It keeps me from wandering off and just getting lost in life and my own thoughts and I also use my time more wisely.
Find your people.
Trust me when I say this. Having blogger friends will change your life.
They understand your struggles with SEO.
They totally get being on social media so much.
They don’t think it’s weird when you wanna talk google analytical.
I recommend Facebook groups if you can go to a blogging conference. Life changing.
Don’t feel like you need to join every FB tribe and every Insta pod.
While FB groups, tribes, Insta pods are great, keep it simple. You will end up overwhelming yourself and burn yourself out.
Experiment. You gotta get a feel for what works for you.
What works for me or someone else isn’t necessarily gonna work for you.
Don’t stop learning.
I am always learning. I am always reading and doing online classes, courses, ebooks. There is SO much info out there.
There are a lot of things out there that are free. SO much useful info. I’m actually working on an ebook of that. YAY.!
Remember everything is always changing so no matter how long you’ve been blogging there is always new info.
Consistency is key bugs. You wanna have people coming back, you gotta be consistent. When I first started I only blogged about twice a week. I then started three times a week and now cause I have a new segment that is life every Thursday, I have a blog post-Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Again you gotta find what works for you. If you can post one a week, stick to it. If you can do five times then go for it.
Don’t compare your chapter one to someone else chapter ten.
This has been the best advice I have received from a blogger friend of mine. Jess was so right and it really makes me feel a million times better. I can’t compare my work to someone who has been blogging for 2 years, 5 years, we are all writing our own storylines. Like I mentioned at the beginning of the post, my work has evolved over a year span. You feel me?!.
Andrea of all people understands this one right here. Babes, it takes time to start gaining readers. It takes time to get companies to work with you. It takes time to make money. This doesn’t happen overnight. They say most businesses take two years of hard work to start making a profit. We are all different, I know people that in two years haven’t made a single dollar and some people who are blogging full time. Time. That is all I can say.
One is all it takes.
Here is another tip from a blogger friend of mine, Alex once told me that its gonna take 20 companies or more saying no, and one finally say yes. The best part is bugs there are so many out there. Remember just cause some said no, doesn’t mean all of them will. The ones that said no, they weren’t for you.
You need to be passionate about what you are doing, writing about. If you lose the passion, you will lose your motivation, your voice and the reason people read your blog. Whatever it is you are doing remember to always be passionate.
OH and if you are totally craving those chocolate cupcakes.