Where do I start?
Before I get into what I have learned, I wanted to share that recently I have received a boatload of questions around blogging and mentoring. So many that I am considering adding separate content around this new-ish way of making money for Entrepreneurs in the business section of this blog.
To get the conversation going I thought maybe I would share what it has been like blogging for myself since April of 2016.
The truth is I have been blogging for about 6 years now and while I absolutely do not know everything, I have learned a lot over the years and continue to learn every single day.
There is nothing easy about doing what I do, there are a ton of sleepless nights involved, a ton of no’s, ramen noodle dinners, and quite a few instances of feeling as if I was not cut out for the whole thing.
I started EmilyCottontop in 2011 or 2012 while working in the financial industry but I quit after about a year. At that time I did posts about my hair (pictured above) mostly and I got bored super fast. I think I quickly realized that while I understood that people are somewhat interested in me the person and my hair I got tired of talking about me all the time.
I wanted to add more value to the natural hair community specifically and I found that the curation of content surrounding all the interesting people and techniques in my niche was way more fun.
The second reason I quit was because I wanted to learn more about the business and so I opted to freelance write and edit for other natural hair blogs. I learned more about social media, learned more about WordPress and building websites, a little more about SEO and a whole lot about branding and social media.
In the midst of all that I got laid off twice, I got pregnant with my son and my husband and I built 2 retail stores which we have since transitioned completely online with two retail websites in the automotive space (long story and one day we will tell it)
When 2016 came along I felt ready mentally to try EmilyCottonTop full time and so in April I launched it again applying everything that I had learned in previous years. Frankly it has been a wild ride with so many lessons, really fast growth and a ton of ups and downs.
What I have learned
1. Regardless of what you think you know, there is always more to learn and I am constantly in training.
2. Blogging is hard!- This is not easy work and for it to work you have to be consistent, driven and thick skinned. Frankly not everyone is going to like your content or how you do your business but in this world there is no one way to skin a cat and with a few naysayers you will have double the supporters if you stick with it. I did find a way of making blogging a lot easier. I found that I was constantly thinking of new content for my blog, but I wasn’t able to keep up with writing daily. I then thought it was best that I started writing down all my ideas, just so I have something to refer back to later on. The best way for me was to write it down on a whiteboard. This was an effective method for me. If you are like me and like to see clearly what needs to be done right in front of you, you could visit online sites that sell office supplies. I’m sure you can find a whiteboard suitable for your blogging needs. We all eventually find a way of making something that seems difficult a little bit easier, with time.
3. You are tested – There are so many instances when I questioned the process of blogging and being an entrepreneur altogether. When you go through a week of hearing NO to everything it can be a bit daunting but if you want it bad enough you just keep pressing forward.
4. Community is everything – I love this community, I love talking with my audience and the value I place on my readers is priceless. They are the backbone to this blog, without a community or any readers, there is no blog.
5. Tech knowledge – I have always loved technology even though I was not great at it which just meant that there was a ton of opportunity for me to get better.
Learning about the technical aspects surrounding blogging has been invaluable. I do not know everything though so I am still committed to learning as much as I can surrounding backend aspect of blogging and social media. One thing I didn’t know initially was the idea of having a web host. As I initially used WordPress for my blog, this wasn’t an issue. But after I wanted to move my blog to a different platform, I was recommended to look into a company like Hostiserver, who help manage the tech side of your blog. Without a web host though, no one would be able to view your content, so this is something that is essential to anyone who is thinking about starting their own blog or creating a website. To a technnology novice this can be a very overwhelming experience, but you can help yourself by familarizing yourself with some off the different providers and maybe even some of the basics of how it works. I starting point would be reading a few reviews online including a web hosting UBC review. This will enable you to make a decision on which is best for you based on knowledge rather than guessing.
6. This is no hobby – Years ago I would say to my friends and family that blogging was a hobby and I treated it like that. Nowadays I say blogging is something I am passionate about and I blog to get paid because what I do is worth it. Changing my mindset, changed everything!
I have a ton of goals for 2017 including finding a way to give more to my audience in the area of blogging and becoming an entrepreneur in this space because as much as I love hair, being an entrepreneur in this game is equally as exciting.
With all that said, I wanted to see if more of you are interested in content that dives into the world of blogging, social media and growing your brand. If you are, send me an email at email@example.com so that I can create an email list for you all. I already have a few people on my list already, join the fun and hit me up!
Do you blog, share your blog in the comment section so that I can check it out!