Can I tell you a story about why I started working for myself?
It was nearly a decade ago now (holy, moly!) and I’d left the traditional workforce to be a stay-at-home mom. Eventually, we wanted the extra income, though, but I didn’t want to go back to work.
I wanted to be my own boss.
I’ve never been very good at taking orders from others, so I started a creative business, and it grew wonderfully! For over 7 years, I worked my fingers to the bone, so proud to say that I was my own boss.
It wasn’t true, though. The truth was, I was actually at the total mercy of my customers.
I made what they wanted.
I kept up with multiple sales platforms to meet everyone’s needs.
When I broke away from that business and started my blog, I was so excited to finally be free.
I didn’t realize there were so many “rules” to blogging, though. In August, I noticed I was falling into the same trap again. After a year of taking blogging courses and reading books on marketing, I’d lost track of what my blog was supposed to be. It was nearly unrecognizable from what I’d originally planned.
I decided to ditch the expert advice. It was time to do my own thing.
I’m chasing freedom, right? So, why am I spending so much time doing what everyone else tells me??
The blogging rules are enough to drive anyone to exhaustion.
There are so many, and I realized they were taking the joy out of blogging! I wanted this for so long, and I was dreading blog work.
We’re supposed to niche down, push affiliate links and sponsored posts, sell our souls for social media engagement, and constantly focus on adding value everywhere.
I don’t want to niche down.
When I tried it, I was bored to tears. I’m sure I delivered some helpful content, but I couldn’t keep it up! In fact, My previous 2 blogs before this one were niched down (motherhood and gardening) and neither of them lasted for a reason. I ran out of things to say!
The whole point of this blog was to share more of me. The things in my life that make my soul sing. I don’t want to lose that just because some experts say it’s the right thing to do. So, since August, I’ve slowly branched out and shared more about what I love on this blog.
It’s done wonders for both me personally, and for my readers! Traffic is up, subscribers are up, and my community is growing. But even better is that I’m finding joy in my blog again. You can expect to see a lot more of this moving into 2018. More of me. More of what I love. And the occassional Op-Ed piece that has nothing to do with anything else. They’re fun, and carefree, and something I enjoy doing sometimes.
I’m tired of engagement.
Don’t get me wrong. I love social media just as much as anyone else, but it was starting to feel pretty fake. Engage, engage, engage!
Reply to every single comment!
Always be adding value.
Don’t forget your call-to-action!
Last week in one of my blogging groups, someone posted that they are spending 4+ hours a day just engaging and participating in social media threads! 4 hours just to comment on posts other bloggers are making, so they’ll comment on yours in return.
Another topic that just came up in the blogosphere is an app that will like all of the links in an engagement thread for you. You don’t even have to look at someone’s instagram post anymore! Just plug the address into this app and it’ll do the work for you. What?!
It’s not authentic. Or sustainable. Or even enjoyable!
I’ve taken my social media back, too. Especially Instagram, which is my favorite, but even that was starting to feel fake. Now it’s all about the things that bring me joy. My hope is that it’ll bring others joy as well, because I got into this to build a community and share the things I’m passionate about. Not to talk to “robots.”
Enough chasing money.
Okay, maybe I’m a little fortunate in this aspect, because I don’t need to constantly chase blogging income. (Thanks again, Young Living!)
But I feel like so much of blogging is about pushing sales these days. It’s no longer authentic. Everyone is selling something, and it’s starting to all feel like noise.
Don’t get me wrong. We all need to make money, and even I scatter affiliate links into the blog when appropriate. It just seems like every time I click on a post these days, whether it’s a blog post or a post on Instagram, there’s an #ad or a sponsored disclosure at the top.
When I first started reading blogs, I’d get so wrapped up in the bloggers I followed. I looked forward to coming back, week after week to catch up. My favorite thing was to find a blog I enjoyed reading and read back as far as I could.
It’s rare that I find that these days. It’s all expert advice and posts designed around affiliate links. Those have their place, but can we start sharing a little personality again? I miss that.
With all that said, I have decided to break the blogging mold. The last 6 months have been a good experiment for me. I’m happier with my blog. My traffic is up. My engagement is up on Instagram. It’s basically worked in my favor all around.
Sure, you’ll still see some affiliate links, and I could never totally drop my informative posts. But, mixed in there, you’ll see a bit more personality. A bit more of who I really am, and how I really feel.
I hope you stick around. I think 2018 will be an amazing year here!