Are you one of those people that like to seem like they have it all together?
Yeah, me too.
So, this post is a little hard to write. You are going to see the good, the bad and the ugly side of the journey of the blog this last year.
This will be a post where I “keep it real.”
I published my first blog posts on Moms Make Cents exactly a year ago today.
I remember nervously hitting publish on my first few posts on Moms Make Cents. I had a vision, but I had no idea where the journey was going to take me.
Well, what an amazing whirlwind it has been. I started with the goal in mind to help other moms start their businesses and understand their finances so that they could have the choice to stay at home with their children.
BACKGROUND - BEFORE MOMS MAKE CENTS
So you may be wondering what is my background in the blogging & online marketing realm.
I started my first blog five years ago, back in June 2012. It was a lifestyle blog and was when I first dipped my toes in the blogging sphere. This is where I learned the importance of connecting with other bloggers, taking high-quality pictures, and little touches of web design.
Since then I created a handful of other small blogs that varied from a couponing/frugality blog to a more professional lifestyle blog.
In January 2015, I began helping an old friend with social media and influencer marketing for her startup company. It initially began as an unpaid thing helping her on the side, but eventually turned into a paid position.
During this time I managed all of their social media accounts, created the majority of their content and coordinated collaborations with dozens of bloggers and influencers. This period of time helped refine my experience with working with bloggers from a business perspective.
Around this time the company my husband worked for began to have some serious challenges. He worked in the oil industry and in that industry there are a lot of ups and downs.
This was in the third trimester of my pregnancy, right before I was about to have our first baby. We were panicking.
His pay was immediately cut by ⅓ and over the course of the next year, 60% of his co-workers would get laid off.
In hopes that he could get a new job with more stability, we rented out our home and moved in with family.
I continued to work my businesses, while my husband kept applying for more and more jobs. After a few months more and more of his co-worker's wives began to ask me how they could start their own businesses to help offset the pay cuts that they’d experienced.
One night I remember sitting up writing a 2,000-word document on how to get started selling on Amazon FBA and then it clicked.
If there were this many people so close to home that needed help, I could help so many more people if I published them online. That 2,000 word how to I sent to my friend, ended up becoming one of the very first blog posts on this site.
Now I want to cover the awesome, and not so awesome things that happened on the blog this year.
I’m a bad news first type of gal, so we will start with the not so awesome.
NOT SO AWESOME
1. One thing I struggled with A LOT this year is comparison.
There are so many talented people online and for a while, I was getting down on myself because I didn’t feel like I was measuring up. Now, this was all in my head, but it caused me a lot of anxiety. The turning point for me was when I heard this quote.
“Stop comparing your beginning to someone else's middle.”
How true is that?
When I changed my thinking and stopped comparing myself I felt loads better about myself and my blog.
When I look back on how much my blog has grown and changed in the last year, if I could have just seen my potential, in the beginning, I would have never felt down on myself.
2. I went down the rabbit hole of over analyzing & distraction.
With blogging there is so much to do, to learn, to experience and sometimes I got caught up in it all! I would find that I was reading so much about how to do something, that I would never actually do anything. Sound familiar?
This can be a major productivity killer so now I try to focus on one thing at a time and have batch days where I get similar projects done all at once.
I also recently downloaded the News Feed Eradicator for Facebook chrome extension to help me from getting distracted when I go on Facebook for work.
Here are some of the awesome experiences from this year,
1. I made so many friends!
When I sit back and think that a year ago I didn’t have any of these blogging friends, it is like, “how did I survive without them?!” They have become some of my closest friends and I know there is always someone I can talk to or count on.
Now, I am blessed with friends all over the world, that enjoy the same things that I do, that I can talk and collaborate with.
Plus, motherhood can be lonely sometimes, right? If you are a mom with little ones it can be hard to not have a single adult conversation during the day. Having your blogging friends can be your lifeline for socialization.
2. I learned so much!
Now, I am kind of a nerd and love learning and school. So much that I actually got two bachelor's degrees while I was in college. But, I feel like this year I have learned even more than I did when I was in school.
I learned about,
- Graphic design
- Online course creation
- Interpersonal skills
I’m the type of person that can’t sit still and loves to be learning something new and this year I feel like my knowledge and experience exploded.
Many bloggers start out as “amateurs” in their field. They have an interest in a topic and know more than the next person, but haven’t reached that “expert” status yet. As you blog, engage more with your writing and hone your trade you truly become an expert in the topic you cover on your site.
3. I made almost $35,000 😱
When I added it all up and showed my husband that I’d made almost $35,000 in revenue from my blog in its first year. His jaw hit the floor. That was like the salary at my first full-time job out of college and this I was doing during nap time and in the evenings in my pj’s!
The income from my blog has seriously blessed our lives so much.
There were two primary ways that I generated income from my blog this year.
1. Digital Products / Courses
In September of last year I launched my course Pinterest to Profits and in January I relaunched it with a big update. This is an evergreen (always available) course that I sell using a funnel.
Recently I also launched a mini product called Traffic Trajectory. This is a collection of resources including Pinterest group boards, blogging Facebook groups, blogs accepting guest posts, and blogs to comment on to increase brand awareness. Because it is at a lower price point it has sold very well, with little promotion.
2. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing has been a big player for me ever since I started this site. I only recommend products that I have used and actually like and I know that my readers appreciate that. I focus on promoting offers that my audience may be interested in and that are complementary to the topics I cover on my blog.
If you want to learn more about affiliate marketing check out these blog posts,
THINGS THAT WORKED
1. I focused on one social media platform
In the beginning I tried to do it all Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and I was spread too thin. I observed which actions were getting me the most return on my time and Pinterest was by far the most valuable. So I shifted my efforts and put the majority of the focus on Pinterest.
There are a million ways to succeed online, but if you try to do all of them, you won't succeed at anything.
2. I invested in my business
By no means am I saying that if you don't invest you can't succeed, but by making small strategic investments you can scale up your business and your income much faster. For example, in my first month blogging I invested in the course Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing and by my third month blogging I made over $1,200 in affiliate income.
3. I built relationships
By connecting with other bloggers in my niche I've been able to bounce off ideas, get inspiration and have support while working in this industry. These connections can also help you secure guest posts, affiliates, and you can cross promote each others posts!
GOALS GOING FORWARD
This year has truly been phenomenal and I am so excited for what the next year will bring.
Here are some of my goals for year two,
- Come out with a new opt-in or freebie every month to provide more value to my readers
- Be more active in my Facebook group Blogging Newbs
- Create more digital products
- Double my blogging income
- Spend more time with my family
Where are you at in your blogging journey? Do you have goals written down for the next year or your blog?