Oh my gosh, it feels SO nice to be working on my blog again!! I can’t even tell you how much I missed it.
For a little back story, I started this blog in 2016 and, even though I was SO determined to make it a success, I was one of the 90% of bloggers who completely give up within the first 6 months of blogging.
Why did I ditch my blog?
Well for starters, it wasn’t making enough money. Or at least, not as much money as I expected it to make within the first year.
Making a ton of money was never my priority for this blog, but I loved blogging so much that I really wanted it to be my full-time gig. After 6 months of full-time blogging, I was extremely impatient and also desperate to support myself, so I needed to have some real cash flow coming in (fast!). I stopped blogging and started a dog walking business which actually tuned out to be super successful. I still have this business and I love it, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss blogging.
The second reason I ditched my blog is because I totally ran out of motivation and inspiration.
I went into blogging full throttle and even though I LOVED it, I just couldn’t maintain the same level of enthusiasm and work I was putting into it. I was running out of ideas, not being consistent, and feeling overwhelmed with everything involved in creating and running a blog.
I wanted to get super honest about what I was feeling and why it led to my 1-year blog burnout because I don’t want any other newbie (or seasoned) bloggers to give up on their dreams! I seriously regret missing an entire year on my blog and I cringe when I think of all the awesome things I could have done during that time to grow my online business!
As much as I regret taking a hiatus from my blog, I also learned some really valuable lessons about myself, the business world, and the ridiculous limitations we put on ourselves. When I came back and re-evaluated WHY I gave up on my blog, it helped me understand some important lessons I needed to learn not only for blogging, but every aspect of my personal and professional life.
I sincerely hope from sharing my story that I can help someone else who feels like they want to give up. I promise, whatever business or project you want to do can be wildly successful if you embrace some core principles!
1. Authenticity is EVERYTHING
After my blogging hiatus, I started thinking about
1: why I stopped feeling fulfilled from blogging, and
2. what I love most about reading other people’s blogs.
I decided to scour the internet looking through business, lifestyle and food blogs making note about what I loved, and looking for a little inspiration.
I kept reading posts and watching vlogs that were about people’s journeys: their success stories, their struggles, and milestones in their lives. Even when I landed on the pages of brand new bloggers I had never heard of, I found myself drawn to the inspirational, raw, authentic posts.
It made me realize that, in a world FULL of blogs all covering the same topics, what really stands out is YOU. The person behind the content has such a unique, interesting, inspirational story to tell! It’s easy to forget we’re dealing with real people in such a digital world, so don’t let your readers and clients forget that you’re a person with feelings, struggles, and inspiration to offer!
I figured out that I was missing this feeling of authenticity on my blog. I was writing informational posts about business and forgetting what I really LOVE to do, which is write about my journey and share lessons I’ve learned.
In order to create a connection and really build a brand that resonates with people, we have to be willing to be vulnerable and authentic.
There’s no other way.
2. Oh, and passion is also EVERYTHING
Blogging, or any business for that matter, is not easy. It takes work, dedication and patience to persevere. It’s REALLY hard to persevere if you don’t love what you’re doing. And I mean, LOVE.
Having a serious passion for what you’re writing about will help you continue to create content and stay motivated when you’re starting out. It will help on those days you write an EPIC blog post, and your pageviews are still sitting at zero (which is the reality when you’re getting started).
I THOUGHT my passion was simply entrepreneurship and building businesses, so when I quit blogging, I started a dog walking business to support myself. This biz became SUPER successful during the year I ditched my blog. I reached 100k in less than 12 months and I was working about 4-5 hours a day.
But I was totally unfulfilled.
I’m very proud of what I accomplished, but I wasn’t particularly proud of my business because it didn’t feel like my passion. The only time I would come alive is when people asked me about STARTING the business and how they could do something similar. Then, I could go on about it for days!
I realized, my passion is helping other people see their potential and realize that building a business and being financially independent IS totally possible! My passion is showing people they don’t have to work at a job they hate or work for the weekends anymore. Seriously, life is way too short.
Once I understood where my drive really comes from, my fire was reignited and I was more determined than EVER to grow my blog.
3. Blogging + building a business takes time
This can be difficult for some entrepreneurs to hear, but time is one of the only things you CAN’T control and it’s absolutely vital to growing a business. Time can either lead to success and payoffs, or failure and discouragement depending on how you spend it.
The major problem with time is that it’s really hard to wait for something when you don’t know how long you have to wait! I bet that 99% of bloggers would stay with it and be consistent if they knew there was a magic formula and in 8 months, they would make a full-time income.
But the truth is, you never know if the effort you’re putting in today will pay off tomorrow.
And then you start wondering: how long will I have to do this before I’m just wasting my time? 6 months? 1 year? 2 years? Try thinking about that next time you write a blog post and see how fast you lose motivation!
Worst. Idea. Ever.
Welcome to how I used to think! That was the old me (the 1-year-blogging-hiatus-me). The new me realizes that patience is my best friend. The new me knows that success tomorrow is not guaranteed no matter how hard I work today. The new me knows that I have to take a chance and believe in myself enough to know that I can build an amazing business, and the new me is mature enough to know that I will be ok and still love myself if it fails.
A healthy dose of blind faith will carry you a long way as you build your business!
4. Caring what other people think is soul-sucking
How many times have we heard our friends, family and random internet gurus tell us to stop caring what other people think?
But I’m willing to bet so many of you are like me and still care WAY too much what others think about us and what we do!
Blogging is the most vulnerable I’ve ever felt and I seriously had a hard time exposing my thoughts and feelings knowing that my friends and family might read it. I was so afraid of being judged or looking stupid that I censored a lot of what I said to the point I felt robotic.
I also cared WAAAYYY too much about how total strangers would perceive me and whether or not they would think I was worthy of taking of space on the internet with my blog. I kept worrying that I wasn’t smart enough or I didn’t know enough to be taken seriously. Honestly, there are SO many blogs floating around out there- what makes me any different?
Caring what other people think is toxic and utterly useless!
When people give you their opinions, we have to remember it comes from their own insecurities, fears, life lessons, and experiences. If you tell your Grandma you’re starting a lifestyle blog and expecting to make a full-time income from it, you’re going to get a way different (and probably a more skeptical) opinion than if you tell your 21 year-old sister. Grandma has had a completely different life experience and may place a higher priority on job security and stability over creativity and autonomy. I don’t mean to stereotype here because, for all I know, your Grandma could be a badass influencer on Instagram.
All I’m saying is that when people are giving you “advice”, they’re drawing on a lifetime of fears, insecurities, experiences and opinions. All of which are not YOUR fears, insecurities, experiences and opinions. And although it’s great to keep an open mind and listen to what your friends and family have to say, it should never deter you (or even worse, STOP you) from pursuing your goals!
This was a really tough one for me to learn, and I still have issues with it. When I became a vegetarian 3 years ago, boy, did I hear ALL the opinions! “Humans are designed to eat meat.” “Why don’t you switch to grass-fed cattle instead?” And for all the vegetarians out there, our favourite, “how do you get enough protein in a day?”.
People have opinions about literally E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G.
When I started blogging, I faced the same opinions, only this time, I really took it to heart. I started thinking blogging was NOT a gig that could really sustain me financially. I started believing that I needed a “real” job where I left the house 9am-5pm and got a steady paycheque. I let the opinions of people (who never even thought about blogging) influence mine! I lost an entire year on my blog and I missed it EVERY. DAMN. DAY.
So for anyone who is thinking about starting a blog or online business, please don’t be me!! Stay positive, and remember- even though your boyfriend or your best friend may not get it, there are like-minded people out there who understand and are really excited to hear what you have to say!
5. Comparison is deadly
AAAGH, I KNEW this (I wrote a blog post about it!) but for some reason I still got lost in the world of comparing myself and my progress to people I didn’t even know.
When I first started blogging, I was reading other blogs and learning AMAZING stuff from like-minded entrepreneurs and girl bosses. I would find tons of inspiration that helped me along my blogging journey and it was refreshing and exciting to read new content.
But…that started to change several months into my blogging journey and I should have paid closer attention!
I was reading blogs and (I have no problem admitting it now!) I was feeling discouraged, annoyed or even jealous that I wasn’t having the same success as my fellow bloggers. I would say things to myself like, “my website will never look as good as hers…”, or, “she started blogging 10 years ago so of course she has followers. That’s not possible in 2017!”.
Yeah, pretty pathetic of me.
Not only is this the most UN-empowering attitude, but it really started to affect my motivation and drive to continue building my blog. I was basically using comparison as an excuse to give up and play the victim. Seriously, with an attitude like that, I wasn’t doing myself any favours, and I certainly wasn’t doing enough to support my fellow bloggers on their journeys!
It wasn’t until I took a break from blogging that I realized how selfish I was being for not acknowledging the incredible accomplishments of all the amazing entrepreneurs I had followed for years.
After all, everyone starts somewhere and I was forgetting that these girls and guys worked HARD for their wins. And a win for one blogger is a win for all of us.
6. Consistency is BAE
Everyone says it and with good reason: consistency in blogging is SUPER important. Like, more important than your graphics, the length of your posts, or your cute headers. It’s everything. And not only consistency with in terms of how often you’re posting, but consistency with social media, promoting your content, and responding to comments/keeping in touch. Basically being involved and present with your blog.
At first, I had no issues with consistency and some would say I was even going overboard! I would have so many ideas in my head that I would post every day and be working on my blog basically 14-16 hours a day. Not only was this totally unrealistic for me, but it was a serious cause for burnout.
After the novelty of starting a blog wore off, and my ideas were dwindling, I started becoming really inconsistent.
I wasn’t posting on Instagram, I stopped loading up my pins every week for Tailwind, and worst of all, I stopped keeping in touch with a lot of my new blogger friends.
It was a vicious circle because my traffic started dropping, and then I would lose even more motivation to work on the blog!
I was forgetting how much time and effort it takes to really grow and operate a blog and I was still praying for quick results.
NOT the way it works.
After I came back to my blog, I created a way more realistic posting schedule (1-2 times per week) and I made a content calendar so I’m always at LEAST 1 month ahead of the game.
Blogging is not a sprint- it’s a marathon!
7. Stick to what you know, automate the rest!
I think a lot of bloggers and new business owners will understand when I say, trying to be a one-woman or one-man show can be seriously damaging!
When I started blogging, I wanted to learn and do everything myself- and I mean EVERYTHING. Content creation, website design, social media, pictures and graphics, editing: bring it on! There were literally entire days spent on adding some coding to my WordPress site just to change the colour of a header. I liked to think of myself as a girl-of-all-trades who could do anything. Looking back, I realize what a complete waste of time this was!
The reality is, when you try and do everything yourself, a lot of it ends up being half-assed (or you’re just way less efficient than you could be!). Sure I can design a WordPress site, but there are some GORGEOUS themes out there that look way better. Sure I can spend hours designing my Instragram page and uploading to Pinterest, but there are way more efficient tools!
As soon as I came back to my blog and realized I have to focus my energy on what I know instead of trying to learn everything I don’t, it completely changed my mindset.
I bought a proper theme, I pay for awesome stock photos, and and I automate all my social media so I don’t have to worry about anything except content creation. What a lifesaver!
8. You are enough
It sounds so cheesy but honestly, you are enough. Your knowledge, opinions, and experiences are MORE than enough to grow a successful business. You may not know everything about your specific niche, but you can offer unique insight and opinions other people may not have thought about.
I can read 3 different blogs telling me the EXACT same thing, but only one of those blogs will actually engage me and resonate with me. It could be the style of writing, a unique perspective, or just the feeling that someone “gets” me.
You can be that person for someone else.
Who cares if you don’t know every little detail about your business or niche! You can learn and grow with your business. Even if you don’t think anyone cares what you have to say, keep going because you never know who you’re inspiring!
I hope these lessons have helped in some way if you’ve been feeling like giving up!
Have you ever felt super low on motivation? What are some lessons you’ve learned along your blogging or business journey? Leave a comment below!