The Hard Truth About Blogging: What I’ve Learned the Last 3 years

Posted August 26, 2019 by Thirty-Something Angie in Business & Productivity / 0 Comments

The hard truth about blogging

Wonder if you’ve got what it takes to be a blogger? I’m spilling the details here. Read on to learn the truth about blogging that I’ve learned over the last 3 years.

This week, my blog turns 3 years old. I can’t believe I managed to keep this going for three straight years!

Three straight years of posting no less than once a week. Three straight years of putting my life and thoughts out there on the internet to be picked apart by mostly strangers.

Sometimes, it feels like it’s been so much longer than three years. Most often, though, it feels like I’m still a beginner.

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a professional blogger? Well, my friends, today I’m going to tell you. Read on to see the hard truth about blogging. The good, the bad, the ugly, and the really, really cool.

It’s a Dream Job… But the Truth is Blogging is Still a Job

Working for yourself from home really is the dream job. You set your own schedule, work when you want to, and have 100% control over what gets done.

Sounds awesome, right?

But here’s the thing. No one is telling you to come to work or helping you set a schedule. No one is telling you what to do when you get to work, either! You have to consistently show up, even when there’s something more fun you could be doing. You have to be totally accountable for your own work.

Luckily for me, I really enjoy many aspects of blogging. I’m a natural born writer, love learning and researching new things, and really enjoy photography. Those are all things I get to do regularly with a blog.

Know what else I “get” to do regularly?

  • organize my emails
  • plan an editorial calendar
  • track my expenses
  • research keywords
  • optimize my site speed

But, even with all of those less fun things, blogging is still my dream job. I love 90% of what I get to do, and it still amazes me that I get to earn a living being this happy with my “job.”

Can you really make money blogging?

I know this is a question that’s on a lot of people’s minds, especially when I talk about blogging being my dream job. Can you actually make money blogging?

Short answer: Yes!

Now, in an effort to be totally transparent, I will say that I don’t make a full time income. While I started this blog with the intentions of using it as part of my business, I didn’t actively start monetizing it until much more recently. I was pretty distracted with the idea of building my income through Young Living for awhile, but that certainly didn’t work out.

There are lots of great articles with advice on monetizing and growing your blog, so I’m not going to go there. One of my favorite bloggers to follow is Carly from Mommy On Purpose. I love her emails and her blogging advice.

If you’re curious about the basics of how to make money on a blog, there are a few ways in general that bloggers make money.

This blog earns money through affiliate marketing (where I share company links and earn commissions based on those), ads, and my own personal product line.

There’s also sponsored posts, where you partner with brands and earn product and payment. That’s a really common way for bloggers and social media influencers to make money, but I personally haven’t had much luck with that.

blogging workspace: coffee, journal, computer

I Still Doubt I Have What it Takes to be a Successful Blogger

There are some general guidelines for what it takes to be a successful blogger:

  • consistency
  • fresh content
  • engagement with your readers
  • being authentic and personal
  • and knowing what your audience wants.

I’m pretty sure I have those things. At least, I know it’s easy to check those types of things off of a list. But what about the things you don’t usually see on a list?

Becoming a successful blogger takes guts. It takes a lot of bravery to show up and put yourself out there every single week.

I’m three years into this gig and still doubt myself all the time. There have been a few times where I worked so hard on a post, only to almost not hit publish when the time came. It’s really scary putting yourself out there for the whole world.

I played it safe for a long time, because I was worried so much about upsetting people. Finally, one day I heard the advice I needed so badly.

The people you upset with your opinion…those aren’t your people. Stop worrying about them, and connect with your people.

And yes…since taking that advice to heart, I’ve upset a few people. I’ve gotten rude messages and dealt with keyboard warriors, and that does take thick skin.

But you know what? I’ve also gotten some of the nicest messages from the most encouraging people. People have reached out to me that I didn’t even know were reading, and it’s been amazing.

I still doubt that I have what it takes to do this some days. But I think the secret is that everyone feels that way on the inside. The real success comes from doing it anyway, even when we’re scared and unsure.

The hard truth about blogging no one wants to tell you

The Truth is, The “Experts” Don’t Know Everything

I’ve blogged about this before. When I got started, I was really hung up on taking all the classes and listening to the experts.

I do think it’s important to learn from some pros when you first get started, but there is a fine line you have to walk.

If you do everything perfectly according to the blogging experts, you’re no longer being you. Blogging and building an audience is still about attracting the people who really get you.

My goal with my blog is for readers to feel like they know me. Like we could be internet besties or something. Because I know those are the types of bloggers I follow. The ones I relate to and want to hear from every week!

The truth about blogging is that a lot of the advice out there these days is really generic, and kind of takes away your individuality. Niche down, write for Google, don’t talk about your life…so, basically…you want me to be a content mill?

I made a commitment to be more selective about what advice I followed two years go, and honestly, I couldn’t be happier. Blogging became fun again, and I’m pretty sure it showed through in my writing, because my stats went through the roof at the same time.

Listen to a few experts, especially when you’re new, but be selective. There’s a lot of blogging and business advice floating around out there, and you can easily get overwhelmed and lose your passion for blogging if you try to learn and follow it all!

It is Possible to Make Money Blogging, But it’s HARD

When I decided to start my own blog, I knew I wanted it to be part of my overall business strategy. I didn’t really understand what exactly I wanted from it in the beginning, but I knew I’d be making money off of it somehow.

I started researching how to make money blogging, and got inundated with income reports and articles sharing how easy it is. Titles like “How I made $4,000 in my First 3 Months of Blogging,” called out to me. I became obsessed.

But, here’s the thing. Reports like those are designed and written to pull you in and sell you something. That’s how they are making money. By making it look easy to newbies, so they’ll buy whatever product is being promoted.

The truth about blogging is that there is a lot more than those reports share. It’s not actually super common to make that kind of money in your first few months, or even your first year.

If you’re searching for a way to make fast cash, blogging probably isn’t for you. 3 years in, and what I make is still considered “part time” or even “hobby” income.

Of course, my blogging journey hasn’t been straightforward, either. I’ve gotten hung up a few times and distracted. So, maybe it would have happened faster if I’d been more focused.

But the fact remains that while, yes, you can make money from a blog, the hard truth is that it won’t be fast. It takes dedication, hard work, time, consistency, and a pretty solid plan.

Blogging is Lonely

Okay so hear me out. Blogging is all about building a community, networking, and connecting with others. But, below the surface, it’s kind of lonely.

People don’t understand blogging. Your friends probably won’t get it. Even if they run businesses themselves.

Blogging is a business, but it doesn’t really fit in with small businesses or handmade businesses or anything else. Blogging is a niche all on it’s own, and the only other people that “get” it, are other bloggers.

This truth has been the hardest for me to accept, and it’s hard to explain why. But finally, I heard another blogger say it. It’s lonely. Yes, I have a community of people I reach daily, but very, very few people really understand what I do all day.

This is probably true for a lot of businesses, but I don’t think it’s something people consider when starting a blog.

The Truth About Blogging: Final Thoughts

I still pinch myself every day that I get to wake up and do this. Blogging truly has been the dream job for me. And I know a lot of people see successful bloggers and wonder if they have what it takes to do it, too.

Blogging takes some rawness and authenticity. It takes time, hard, work, and consistently showing up, day after day. It’s not fast money, and not everyone finds success, because they’re not willing to put in the work it takes.

It’s not a path many want to take when they learn the truth about blogging as a business. So many articles make it seem like blogging is such an easy job. Income reports make it all look so easy, and I can see how it would be enticing! But those articles and reports don’t show the real behind the scenes of what it takes.

Blogging truly can be a dream job for anyone who is willing to put in the work, but the truth is, if you’re just in it to make a quick buck, I’d find a new dream.

More on Blogging and Business from The Angie Cruise Blog:

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