When I first started this blog, I already had a full-time business and volunteer schedule. I was just looking for a creative outlet that could maybe bring in a little side cash. Since I have always loved blogging, this was the perfect venture for me. I wanted it to be fun, but I also wanted to do it right this time.
I’ve run 2 other blogs in the past. One was about my journey into motherhood and all about my daughter. I loved that blog, and it probably lasted the longest out of all of my blogs (so far), even though almost no one read it. Still, I only kept it for about a year before I got too busy and forgot to keep it up. That was so frustrating. Then, a few years ago, I started a blog all about natural living. I still didn’t actually know what I was doing, but it was fun. I got to talk about gardening, canning, chickens, and all sorts of things I’m passionate about. That one could have gone places. I still get new people coming to the Facebook page for that blog all the time, but I’d run out of enthusiasm.
My fear when I started this blog was that it would fizzle, too.
I didn’t want that. Not this time. So, before I even started my blog, I took to Pinterest and read everything I could get my hands on in regards to blogging. I learned all about how to set up a proper site, how to write a post that people actually want to read (apparently, no one wants to hear what I had for dinner), and how to use Pinterest professionally. That’s just to name a few.
I spent months getting my blog just right. I had a list of about 100 blog topics that I could write, so I wouldn’t have an excuse to fizzle this time. This was really happening.
There’s a lot of expert advice out there, though.
What I started to learn after awhile is that in the world of online business and blogging, there are a lot of so-called experts. They’re all telling us the same thing, too.
- Be active on social media, and don’t forget to play the algorithm game.
- Don’t share any pictures that aren’t perfect.
- Post at these (really inconvenient) times.
- Curate your instagram feed, so it’s visually pleasing to visitors.
- Niche down. Without a focus you won’t get any readers.
These are a few of the things we’re told, as bloggers, that we need to do in order to get people to our site and earn an income. For awhile, earning an income from my blog had become a priority. I’d closed down my other business, because my heart was no longer in it, and I needed this to replace that income. I had to do everything the way the experts told me, right??
For awhile, I did. I continued reading posts and ebooks, and I implemented as much of the expert advice as I could. Don’t get me wrong. Listening to the experts really helped me get my blog to where it is today. There comes a time, though, where you have to stop. It was starting to suck the joy out of this whole blogging experience for me. Instagram was a chore and I felt like all of my posts were redundant. I didn’t have any more new ideas for my blog, because I’d niched down to a point that bored me to tears. I’m a work-at-home mom, but that’s not all I am. I’m also a crunchy-mom, a DIYer, a planner lover, and an essential oil enthusiast. Why couldn’t I share those parts of my life, too?
That’s when I decided to ignore the expert advice for awhile.
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I got into blogging because I enjoy writing and I’m passionate about sharing my knowledge with others. My biggest goal is to help other moms in the same place in their lives and build a community for support. Being a work-at-home mom is extremely isolating, and sometimes it’s nice to not feel so alone in the world. If I can help someone feel that way, I’ve done my job. It’s not about money or having the perfect Instagram feed. It’s about being real.
One of the first things people say when they read my blog or interact with me on social media is that they can tell I’m authentic. That I’m genuine. I don’t ever want that to go away, because I genuinely am here to help and connect with you! So, over the last month, I’ve decided to ignore the expert advice for awhile and see if I can bring the joy back to blogging. It’s gone amazingly well. My community has grown, my blog has grown, and honestly, my confidence has grown, too. This feels right!
I still stand behind taking a course when you start out. A good course on blogging and online business can really get you set up on the right foot. If you need a suggestion, my very favorite course has been this one. I really don’t think I’d be where I am today without Abby’s guidance. There are some pieces of expert advice I will no longer follow, though.
1. I will not curate my Instagram feed.
I don’t need the perfect Instagram feed. If I can manage to take a picture and write a post that resonates with someone, that’s all I want. Being wrapped up in the idea of perfection stressed me out and made one of my favorite platforms feel like a chore. It also wasn’t helping me grow. I think people could tell it was forced, and that I was just doing exactly like everyone else. No more!
This past month, I have put a lot of focus on enjoying Instagram again. I’ve branched out on the topics I cover, started being more authenically me, and started having fun again. You know what? I’ve seen a lot of growhth, too. Sometimes, we have to step away and realize that we are no longer standing out when we make things too perfect. People want to see real. That doesn’t mean they want to see clutter, or dark photos, but they do want to see something authentic that they can relate to.
2. I don’t want to “niche down” on my blog.
For those of you not actually in the blogging industry, “niche down” means to really hone in on your one area of focus. It is supposed to help you stand out as an expert, and you’ll get known for that one thing. That’s great, if you can talk about one thing for years on end. I know I can’t. As passionate as I am about working from home, it’s still not the only thing I ever want to talk about.
Consider it. If all I talk about on my blog is working from home, that means it’s also all I talk about on Facebook and Instagram. It means every article I pin on Pinterest is about working from home. It takes over everything I once found enjoyable and makes it boring. My stats showed that, too! In the months that I niched down and listened to the expert advice, my stats plummeted. I started my blog with the intention of writing about business, productivity, mom stuff, and natural living. It doesn’t all go together, like it maybe shoud, but those are all things I’m passionate about and want to share. So, I am.
Related: The 10 Best Side Hustles for Moms
3. Pinterest is just FUN.
I have always been a Pinterest junkie. I was lucky enough to join back in their BETA days, and have been hooked ever since. It was simple, mindless fun, where I got to share everything I found that was cool. It was really just for me. Over the years, I managed to gather a bit of a following over there without even realizing it. One day, right as I started my blog, I had a friend say “Wow! How did you get so many followers on Pinteres?!”
If I’m honest, I’d never even noticed. I told her I had no idea, but that it was my favorite platform, so I spent a lot of time there.
After starting my blog, I realized how useful my love of Pinterest could be, and I started changing it. Everything is supposed to be branded and on topic. My boards have to be clean and organized. I have to remember to pin a certain number of pins per day. It became work and it was something I dreaded. That’s right. The pressure to do it all right took away my favorite way to waste time at night. I can’t let that happen. I love Pinterest, and while I do recognize how useful it is for growing my blog and business, that’s not all it’s for, and I won’t let it become that.
My blog isn’t going anywhere.
I’m coming up on a full year of blogging, and that still baffles my mind to think about. It hasn’t fizzled. Not even a little bit! That list of 100 blog post topics I wrote down in the beginning has grown, and continues to grow weekly. I don’t think I’ll ever even scratch the surface of what I want to cover on this blog, so it’s not going anywhere for awhile. If that’s the case, I want it to be something I thoroughly enjoy, that I can talk about for years to come.
Following the expert advice caused too much stress and created too much pressure to be perfect So, I won’t be anymore. I think it’s important to learn, but I also think that you can get in too deep, too. It’s important to remain true to yourself in this world of online blog and business, and that line is easy to cross if you don’t pay attention!
I have thoroughly enjoyed the community I’ve buit with this blog. If you’re a work-at-home mom looking for a group of like-minded individuals, I’d love to have you join us! If that sounds like something you want to do, come build your empire with us!