As you’re reading this, I’m sure you’re picturing me sipping a nice tropical drink by the beach while I tap away to glory on a slim and stylish laptop not having a care in the world because money just keeps filling my bank account almost automatically.
This is what I look like right now.
Dark circles, hair – a frizzy rat’s maze, and my table full of coffee cups that I’ve not bothered to carry to the sink because I haven’t taken a break in God knows how long…
Yes, I’m going to go out and say it.
Blogging isn’t glamorous.
At least not in the beginning.
No way, Ma’am.
Starting a blog is really fine and dandy.
But nailing your target audience, choosing a profitable niche and growing your traffic while building a loyal audience takes a long time and a lot of effort.
Needless to say, this is hard work.
And although it’s really easy to get carried away with online metrics, you shouldn’t. None of those Bloggers you are envying have had it easy.
They have all started right from the bottom, grinding for long hours before they saw those results.
So, if you’re stuck wondering, whether you should start a blog or not, or have just started a blog and are not seeing results, I want you to take a deep, deep breath and just relax.
It’s normal to feel dejected, scared, anxious, or hopeful.
It’s completely normal to not know where your blog is going or to wonder if it will all work out.
I’m not here to bring down your hopes and/or discourage you from blogging. But instead, show you a few realistic expectations from starting a blog and growing it from scratch and show you how a few ways you can cope.
Once you understand what to expect along the way, you’ll be better prepared to tackle these little obstacles and blog more effectively.
So, let’s begin with a few harsh truths about blogging.
If you don’t have a blog or are thinking of starting one, I have a free 7 day email course (extremely detailed) that will help you start a blog that makes money on autopilot!
This post includes affiliate links to products I truly (from the bottom of my heart) recommend, meaning at no extra cost to you, I may earn a small percentage which I will use to buy my poor dogs food.
1. You need to be a Master in Time Management
Being a blogger is so much more than just typing a post and clicking “Publish.”
Additionally, you will have to plan your blog content in advance, do keyword research, come up with SEO rich headlines that convert like crazy, work on SEO to get organic traffic, constantly update and upgrade your website, network with other bloggers in your niche, keep updating your social media, work on blog promotion and so much more.
It’s like doing several jobs at once.
This requires us as bloggers to spruce up our time management game. Otherwise, we’ll soon find our sanity leaving the door.
Furthermore, I would suggest keeping a blog planner with you at all times. You can make to-do lists in your phone or get yourself an actual blog planner so that your tasks become easier to manage.
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- The Ultimate Guide on Creating a Kickass Business Plan
- The Badass Guide to Blogging more Consistently
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- 11 Easy Hacks to Stand Out as a Brand New Blogger
2. You need to invest money in the beginning
Most people shy away from this teeny-tiny fact.
I understand how difficult it can be to invest money in something that doesn’t have a clear cut guarantee of doubling your returns if not more.
But as a Blogger who has gone down the cheap route before, I know for a fact that it is crucial to believe in yourself and not cut corners when you are entering this field.
Remember, if you don’t believe in your business, why should anyone else?
Believe in yourself. Invest in yourself and your Blog, and you will get back what you’ve invested more than tenfold.
If you do your research and truly work hard, there is no possible way you can fail.
I can assure you.
So, don’t pinch pennies for your brand new Blog.
And blogging isn’t expensive if you know exactly what to invest in. I cover the exact cost of operating a Blog in this post right here.
3. You have to make an effort to be fit
Aye, it will feel amazing to work from home.
And contrary to what most people believe – that working from home gives you plenty of time to focus on yourself, it actually works the other way around.
When we work from home, we tend to let go of ourselves. We think, “Why bother? I’m not going to meet anyone anyway.”
This attitude is not healthy. This is a hard truth about blogging to swallow.
You need to look after yourself, both physically and mentally because at the end of the day you are working for you.
This is why, it is so important to create a work schedule and take breaks so that you can return to your work refreshed and mentally recharged.
For instance, when I wake up in the morning, I take my dogs out for a long walk before I have my breakfast and sit down to work.
I take regular breaks after every two hours to either lift weights or run on the treadmill.
Make sure that you stay hydrated and don’t overdose on tea or coffee.
I also do not keep much junk food in the house.
And I’ve stopped snacking completely. I have 3 meals a day and that’s it.
Apart from focusing on fitness, I sometimes switch things up by doing something personal and uplifting – like creating a fun comic (that has nothing to do with business) and posting it on Instagram.
Here are a few fun things you can do to take a break from work:
- Play with your pets
- Watch some tv (not too much)
- Write in your journal
- Drink a smoothie or a refreshing glass of water
- Practice a hobby – like playing the piano or drawing or bird watching
In short, take breaks. Your break can be 10-20 minutes. I suggest taking one after every 2 hours of strenuous work.
And doing this will actually help you become more productive.
You can also get yourself this cute printable little self-care planner that will help you take care of yourself.
4. Battling loneliness will be a regular struggle
Sitting on your laptop for hours and hours on end is not easy.
And you will want to sit indoors all day and not leave the house, but go out.
I can’t tell if I’m recharging or getting an electric shock…
Take a break.
Go on dates, catch late-night dinners with your best pals and take care of yourself.
Do not work 24/7. It’s tempting to want to put your all into your work… but if you don’t make time for yourself or step back once in a while to get a new perspective, you could burn yourself out.
I really shouldn’t have worn that much gel today…
Another suggestion is to network with other bloggers and online business people because the harsh truth about blogging is that no one else will understand your situation or your line of work except them.
The best way to do this?
Join a few Facebook Groups (I suggest no more than 3-5) and participate in conversations. Engaging with people in your field of work will help you feel much better about what you do and create better goals in your niche.
And here are more remedies to stop yourself from going into blogger’s burnout.
5. It’s going to take a while before you see ground-breaking results
Burst your bubble, didn’t I?
I take too much pleasure doing this…
Ah, but you saw this coming!
I am not one to toot my own horn, but I was really lucky to start making a full-time income within six months. I wasn’t really starting from scratch, because I had already built a name online 2 years before I started this blog.
So, it wasn’t hard for me to stand out and pull in loyal readers.
That being said, had I to start from rock bottom without knowing a single person online, it would have probably taken me 2-3 years to see the same results.
I kid thee not.
So, don’t lose courage if your Blog doesn’t start bringing you a 6 figure income within 2 months.
Hold your horses there, Molly…
It takes time.
And once you start growing, it almost always happens exponentially.
Figuring out what works and what doesn’t, testing out new methods of content marketing, tweaking your content to reduce your bounce rate takes time.
It’s like learning to play the piano.
It doesn’t happen in a day.
And the only difference between a successful blogger and one that isn’t is the fact that the former was not willing to give up even during their darkest moments.
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6. The research never stops
Whatever niche you decide to blog in, you need to be on top of things always.
This becomes helpful as you write and also when you introduce yourself to others who don’t blog. You should be able to concisely tell anyone you meet what you do.
Just saying, “I’m a blogger, yo.” is not going to take you far.
Instead, I say, “I’m a Blogger that teaches young women how to build online businesses that stand out from the norm.”
Aside from this, you will need to constantly research on blogging and business because the rules change every day.
Whether it comes to SEO, traffic, and/or content marketing, it’s good to constantly read and familiarize yourself with this line of work.
7. Failure and rejections are to be taken in your stride
You cannot take failures personally. This is what you should know about blogging before you start.
There are days when nothing will go right, or months when you’ll feel like you’re getting nowhere.
This doesn’t mean that you have to quit.
It just means that you have to find another way to make it work or make modifications in order to grow as a Blogger.
If a Brand you really want to work with doesn’t reply to your collaboration request, don’t lose heart. Try for another and write an even better cover letter.
If a product launch doesn’t make as many sales as you predicted, then modify your emails so that you make more sales next time.
If in 3 months you realize that this niche is wrong for you, you can go back and change your niche.
There is a solution to every single problem.
What I would suggest is to track your growth.
If you don’t, it will be like blogging in the darkness.
The best way to do this?
Draft daily goals, weekly goals, and monthly goals. Make Quarterly Business Plans and see how your blog is growing.
Initially, you can rely on traffic metrics. As your blog grows, you can start including your income metrics as well.
Tracking your goals will help you understand how far you’ve come each month and what you need to do to grow further.
Additionally, keep a place for all the comments and praises you get. This will be your little box of sunshine that you can hit every time you feel low.
Another harsh truth about blogging is, there will be days when you will feel like quitting.
That’s one of the main disadvantages of working for yourself.
Blogging takes a lot of courage to pursue. It’s not uncharted territory, but it can feel that way when you start your blog.
Starting a blog, choosing a host, and picking a theme is super easy to do. You can read this post that gives you a detailed step-by-step plan on starting and growing your blog.
Either way, this post should leave you awfully excited to start or wincing and saying, “Hell, naw!”
This is a good thing because now you’ll know if blogging is your cup of tea or not.
If it’s the former, welcome aboard the Blogging Ship.
My job is done.
Growing your can prove to be difficult as I’ve just mentioned.
However, if you plan your blog content in advance and work consistently every day, you will have no trouble growing in this field.
I want you to remember, that this is not a one-day or one-month thing.
It is a way of life. It is a journey.
And I wish you the best!
Have you been blogging a while? What’s the harshest truth you’ve discovered about blogging? I’d love to know!
And if you haven’t already signed up, here’s my free 7-day email course that will help you realize what actually goes into a successful blog!
Angela, I just have to say a huge THANK YOU for this extremely honest post! I am a new blogger working my butt off and already feeling the stress of how much there is to learn, with not much growth to show for it (yet!). I sincerely appreciate the honestly and education you share in all of your posts. My goal is to build up my blog and one day, make an income. Getting discouraged is so easy in these early days- I need bloggers like you to lead the way! So thank you!
You are so sweet, thank you! Yes, in the beginning, it’s always hard. No doubt! Once you figure out your target audience, your goals and consistently work towards them, you will be on your way to making a full-time income!
I wish you all the best!
I like the part of time management and unending research. Every new blogger should have it in mind that blogging is a business of strategy and information and to succeed one must be willing to go for knowledge. Failure to do research was of the reasons my first blog failed. I have learned and I am hoping to do better with this one. Thank you for being honest and easy to relate with, Angela.
Time management is super important and can be a struggle that most of us bloggers face. Research is also important and taking down notes to see what works and what doesn’t tops the list as well. :)
Wishing you all the best with this Blog! I’m sure it will be wonderful!
Hi Angela, Thanks for another amazing post. I was wandering what pluggin do you use for comments?
I’m using the default comment system that comes with my theme. This is the theme:
The post about blogging is amazing!
Thank you Tanaya!
Super Helpful!!! I was actually thinking if I should continue. Thanks XOXO
Are you going to continue blogging? :)
Nope. Not quitting. ?
I’m really glad. Please keep going!
I feel like, someone finally understands me ? I have been blogging since 2018 but I have not put my name out yet and because of that I also have no income from my blog. However, I enjoy reading your posts and all your emails! Keep inspiring people, Angela.
Thank you so much. I think you should put your name out there. It’s the best way to build a Brand. Blogging requires a huge leap of faith!
Wishing you all the best,
At the risk of sounding like everyone else, Thank you, Angela!
Yes, I have definitely found blogging to be a difficult money-maker. I’m a creative writer, who spends her time writing books when I’m not working on my website. I’ve tried using affiliate programs, but I still can’t seem to find the right path to making my blog lucrative.
I appreciate your honesty and encouragement.
You’re so sweet, thank you, thank you!
It is difficult in the beginning, there is no denying it. But once you grow, you will grow exponentially. This is the best part about blogging!
Okay, I took a look at your blog. Since the primary purpose of your blog is to promote your services as a Writer, I would suggest that you write articles about writing instead of writing reviews. This is going to help you clients. The key to getting more traffic is to aim for a target audience and understand your call-to-action. This might help!
I wish you all the best! Let me know if you need more help, and I’ll be more than happy to answer any questions that you might have.
Lots of love,
I also took the liberty of looking at your blog. I am an aspiring writer and would love to read your content. I am not a blogger yet, but am doing my planning and research in to enter this industry. I have some suggestions to improve your blog if you’d like. This is only from the perspective of someone who is a potential follower to you. Here they are. Please remember this is only my opinion.
1. Use more visual aids. Add more pictures it’s nice to give our eyes a break from reading by looking at some nice pics.
2. Go for a minimalistic page. When your page looks crowded it can be overwhelming to read. People will have a hard time following and sticking to your writing.
3. Explore different themes. I guess see which theme appeals to you and your readers. This can be done by monitoring your website hits after you change each theme.
I hope this helped. I look forward to reading your content :)
Thank you sooo much for looking at my blog. I did not expect that :)
Actually, the purpose of my blog is to promote my pending publications, and then my writing services. Primarily, I’m an authorpreneur. Perhaps that’s not too clear… Which may be my problem, as well.
I’d started writing reviews for affiliate purposes, but that hasn’t been working too well, either. I’m really not sure what to do.
I could really use some help with my focus. My target audience are made up of book readers and struggling writers. Does that make sense?
What I would suggest is to look at others in your niche and see how they’re putting the message across. Sometimes, we feel that we are clear, but we aren’t. I had a few friends look at my blog and they had very different perspectives. Write these down and work on your Blog some more. This really helps!
We really need to break things down, because people who see our blogs are totally new and don’t know where to go or how to navigate around our website.
When it comes to your Target audience, there is a lot of thinking to do. Do they have the money to invest in your services? Are they genuinely looking for solutions online? Are you making yourself visible to them?
So, consider all these questions before narrowing down on your target audience. This post will help:
Wishing you all the best!
You are right building a loyal audience takes a long time and a lot of effort. A blog like your’s with useful content is always worth for readers to read again and again.
Building a loyal audience definitely takes a lot of time and effort. And thank you so much! You’re too kind.
Lots of love,
Your blog posts have been super helpful. I’ve been blogging for about 6 months now. Not thing yet. However, I’m very much encouraged as I know and see the evidence of going in the right direction. However, my biggest challenge is feeling like I need to create products. Ugh! I don’t have any, nor can I think of any. I don’t want to create things just because other bloggers are creating products. In short, I don’t want to publish “garbage.” Simply put, I just love writing. I’m a Christian blogger and I desire to grow my email list, but it appears I need something for subscribers to opt-in? Whew! What are your thoughts?
You can always just release a free email course for anyone who wants a few words of wisdom for 6-7 days. :) And each day you can teach them something valuable and cover a certain topic in Christianity that you feel would make a big difference.
How does that sound? :)
Just discovering your blog but I will be back. Years and years ago, I had a blog that I wrote for about 2 years, when I felt like it and on subjects that interested in me. It was fun! I wasn’t really seeking an audience and the thought of putting ads on it was unappealing as it was a personal blog and the cheapie ads that get posted on blogs like that are pretty tacky.
Now, I’m in a different place and am thinking about blogging to tie into a podcast I want to put out. So, I need to think about coming out with a schedule for content and all of the other issues you talk about here.
I think the two elements I find overwhelming are a) graphics and design, since I’m a writer, not an artist or designer and b) SEO. Everyone seems to emphasize SEO but I find the idea of writing, not what I think/know, but to incorporate specific keywords, kills my creativity. I feel like my sentences and headings are just a series of linked keywords and I’m not allowed to really write, to express myself & my ideas. My blogs are just keyword generators which, I think, is boring. Any suggestions on a different way to approach these difficulties?
So, the thing about SEO is, you shouldn’t just stuff Keywords into your post. You do need to drop them here and there but you can do that when you’re outlining your post. Just include important keywords and related keywords. For isntance, if I were to write a post on choosing a sketchbook for drawing, I’d make sure I used keywords like “watercolor,” “pencils,”gsm,” “thickness” and so on.
Weave it into your post using your own sentences.
This basically tells Google that your post is actually real and helpful!
It’s far from boring but it is labor intensive.
Hope this helps!
This is a great post. I really liked the illustrations and your smooth content. When I read your bio I understand why.
I see you have used Pinterest size for your post. Is this your major traffic source ?
I started my blog in July.but when I read your post I felt every point hitting the nail and how you have put personality and humour. Wow!
Again ..your illustrations are really cool.
Jagan Rao (from Bangalore)
Thank you Jagan. :) Pinterest brings me 1/4th of my overall traffic. It’s not much, but it’s definitely the best social media I use for traffic. The remaining comes from Google and other Search Engines. :)
Thank you again! I wish you all the best with your blog!