Four years ago, on May 23rd, 2013 I hit publish for the first time ever on this blog. That was back when my domain had a blogspot.com in it, I didn’t know what SEO, CTR, or GA stood for, and I figured I’d blog for one summer to entertain myself.
And here we are 4 years later.
As I mentioned in my post last week, 4 years seems like forever ago but at the same time, I can’t really imagine my life before blogging either. It has become such a crucial part of my life at this point it’s hard to remember what I did before it. Considering I’ve never really done a Blog Anniversary,/”what I learned” kind of post, four years seemed like a good time to look what at what I’ve done, what I regret, and where I see this blog going.
What I’ve Learned in Four Years of Blogging
Everyone Takes Their Own Path to Success
It’s easy to get sucked into the competition surrounding blogging. You see others growing faster, with bigger followings and better quality and that jealousy bug starts to sneak up on you. But, what I’ve learned is that everyone takes their own path to success. Some people have an easier path and others have one that’s a little bit longer and rockier. But, at the end of the day everyone can reach success if they commit to continuing on THEIR path and not spending too much time comparing it to someone else’s. While many bloggers have achieved greater success than I have in four years, it doesn’t matter to me because their path wasn’t mine. I can’t compare them to myself because we weren’t all handed the same circumstance.
Everyone takes their own path to success. Click To Tweet
That being said, I’m quite proud of the things I’ve accomplished in my fours years. Like I’ve said many times, I started blogging with no knowledge of the industry and no skills in internet media, blogging, coding, etc. Some of my proudest accomplishments so far along my path are:
- Launching Caffeinate and Conquer which also includes:
- Being Picked by YouTube for YouTube NextUp
- Getting shared by some of my favorites brands like Buzzfeed, Marshalls, and E.L.F Cosmetics.
- Attending events and experiences with brands and companies I love including getting to see the Breeder’s Cup in Pasadena, CA, countless trips into the city like Brooklyn as part of a campaign with Hanes and Midtown for Fashion Week, or just recently I spent this last Saturday at Foxwoods Resort and Casino.
- Working with local news stations on in-studio and on-location pieces
- Meeting and networking with other kick-ass blogger babes like The Style Theory for #HerStyleTheory collab – just one example of the tons of amazing ladies I’ve met.
Everyone Needs a Side Hustle
Like I said, it’s hard to remember my life before this blog. BFC and Caffeinate and Conquer have given me so much to do and so much fulfillment over the past 4 years, it’s hard to remember what I did with all my time before this. I think everyone needs a side hustle. They not only give you a sense of accomplishment (and often make you some side income), but they give you a sense of purpose. A side hustle allows you to break into a new niche and start learning new skills.
Since starting blogging I’ve learned enough about internet marketing that I was able to quit my job as a teacher and get a job doing it full-time. I’ve used my side hustle to not only make a side income but to break into a whole new industry in my career. On top of that, my side hustle gives me something to do. I’m almost never bored or without something to do, because I have a side hustle to invest my time into.
You Have to Invest in Yourself
As a new blogger, I couldn’t justify spending money on what was just a “hobby.” Much later into my blogging career, I learned the importance of investing in this blog, myself, and tools and resources that make me successful. And, of course, it’s not just money you invest, it’s also important to invest time to learn and try new things. If you want to know some of the blogging resources I recommend you can check them out here.
I also, obviously, suggest my free e-course A Better Blog in 10 Minutes a Day, as well as my recently published e-book, Explode Your Traffic. Can’t help a little self-promo in there. Plus, if I can be honest, I think they are kick-ass and will TOTALLY help you. If you’re looking to start working with brands and monetize your work and your blog, Erica’s BossPitch is currently open for enrollment, but get on that bandwagon soon because doors will close soon.
You Must Persist
Full-time job, 2 blogs, 2 YouTube channels, an e-course, and e-book, and blog coaching services…oh, and a real life being a wife, friend, and daughter – how do I fit it all in? That’s a question I’ve gotten more times than I can count since I launched C&C last fall. The only answer I can come up with is persistence. I started to come to this realization when I talked about how my belief that I would succeed kept me going. It’s truly amazing what you can do when you’re persistent. Nothing can take the place of being persistent – not talent, not genius, not circumstance. There are smart people who never achieve and talented individuals who give up. It’s those who are persistent that prevail. As my girl, Erica from Coming Up Roses preaches, “Instant success isn’t the only kinda success.”Nothing can take the place of being persistent - not talent, not genius, not circumstance. It's those who are persistent that prevail. Click To Tweet
What I regret Doing in my First 4 Years Blogging
Waiting too Long to Network
When I first started blogging networking was a free-for-all of connecting to literally anyone who had a blog. I realized soon into it I needed to narrow it down so I could grow stronger connections to a few other creative entrepreneurs that were like me, as opposed to having a lot of “blog acquaintances” across the board. What that ended up turning into was having pretty much no one in my network because I lacked the skills and know-how on to how to properly grow strong networks with others.
It honestly wasn’t until recently that I’ve been working on properly networking – and I still kind of suck at it. It’s so important to me I actually made my 2017 blogging goal to network with others. Launching Caffeinate and Conquer has definitely helped. You can join our Facebook Tribe here. But, also just being open to reaching out to others and making the time for Skype calls and email chats has really helped as well. Next step? Some good conferences. Leave any recommendations in the comments.
Worrying about Numbers
I, like pretty much every blogger on the face of the planet, wasted too much time chasing numbers. And, by this I mean chasing more Instagram followers, stressing about YouTube subscribers not growing fast enough, obsessing over getting more Pinterest followers. I actually spent all this time trying to figure out how to get MORE followers I let that control my content in some ways. It was time-consuming, stressful, and didn’t help me grow at all. In fact, when I spent more time stressing about followers I actually got less of them. Instead, I’ve learned to step back and look at what really matters: content. Instead, I now obsessed over analytics: who is my audience, what do they like, where are they coming from? I focus on getting sustainable, organic traffic to my blog and real, authentic followers on my social medias.The more time I spent stressing about followers, the less of them I got! Click To Tweet
I’ve learned I’d rather have a smaller following but by doing what is true to me, than have a larger following but only because I’m chasing numbers.
So, what does the next four years mean for But First, Coffee and Caffeinate and Conquer? Hopefully, a lot. I don’t know everything that lays in front of me, and that’s OK. While you should always have dreams to aspire to, you also need to leave room for life to show you the way, too. Always stay open to change and flexible to shifting what you thought was going to happen. Two years ago I never would have imagined I’d be writing a second blog about internet marketing or teaching online courses. Three years ago I’d never believe you if you told me I’d quit my job as a teacher. Four years ago, when I hit “publish” for the first time, I would never believe that I’d still be blogging.Always stay open to change and flexible to shifting what you thought was going to happen. Click To Tweet
On But First, Coffee you can expect to keep seeing posts about saving time in your beauty routine and everyday life as well as posts about saving money through DIY or money-saving hacks. I anticipate I’ll continue to make YouTube videos right alongside that as well!
On Caffeinate and Conquer, I’ll be launching another course in the (soon-ish) future and hopefully hosting a virtual summit in the next year – dream big.
Besides that, I’m keeping my doors open. I’m going to keep working, keep creating, keep hustling (because I don’t believe Hustle is a bad word like some do,) and keep on bloggin’.
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