I get this question a lot.
I mean, A LOT!
And it’s always some version of the same thing: how does one get started when they already have a full-time job, or not enough money, or what if they end up biting more than they can chew… etc.
After the latest email from a reader asking yet another version of the aforementioned, I figured it’s time to address the elephant in the room.
I get it. There are so many things going on in our lives at all times!
A full-time job.
A couple of full-time jobs!
How does one start a blog amidst all this? What if it ends up being too much?
My short answer is this: only you can decide if blogging is right for you or not, or if this is going to be too much for you to handle. No one else can make that decision for you. All I or any other experienced blogger out there can tell you is how to do some things… things like, how to leverage social media for traffic, or how to use Pinterest properly, or how to get more email subscribers, or how to write better blog posts. But, at the end of the day, the decision to start a blog has to come from you and you alone. You have to ask YOURSELF if blogging is right for you.
Am I being too harsh? Maybe. But since we’ve decided to address the elephant in the room, let’s do it right once and for all!
Here’s the thing: no one else may take part in your decision to start a blog. I am here to help you with my knowledge. I am here to share with you what I know. Read the posts I share. Find other bloggers whose ideas and methods align with you and your vision. And then, make the decision.
There are so many of you out there, wondering whether or not you should start a blog. Just that fact that you’re killing yourself over whether to start a blog or not is very telling to me. It’s telling that at the very least, you really, REALLY want to start a blog.
And yet, here you are, wondering how to start.
But here’s the most interesting part: most of you already know how to start! You have been reading blog posts after blog posts about how to start a blog. But you’re still wondering how to start a blog.
And after reading so many of your emails, I’ve come to this conclusion: it’s not that you don’t know how to start or even whether or not to start. You’re, simply put, AFRAID to start a blog!
So, allow me to shed some light on some of the most common fears you have regarding being a blogger.
Fair caution though, I’m going to be very honest. My job isn’t to sugarcoat everything and make it sound like blogging is for everyone. I’m not here to tell you that every one of you should start a blog. After all, a lot of new bloggers start a blog but then give up shortly after.
I will, however, try to shed some clarity over some aspects of blogging so that you may find yourself in a place to make the final decision regarding whether you will start a blog or not.
Let’s jump in!
Is Blogging Right For You?
Again, only you can answer this question.
All I can do is tell you what blogging is like so you may decide for yourself.
First and foremost: blogging isn’t easy. However, blogging is also not rocket science. Furthermore, there is not one way to blog. Every single blogger, the ones who are successful at least, have had to find their unique method for being successful.
Resources are helpful. For example, I, on The Side Blogger, have made it my mission to help new bloggers and design enthusiasts with information. Information that I’ve gathered from my own experiences of blogging and designing websites and graphics. Some of this will be helpful to some of you, and others, not so much.
But herein lies the beauty of blogging.
You see, I’m not the only person blogging about how to blog. There are plenty of other bloggers out there writing about the same topics. But we are all doing this, and thriving at it to various degrees.
It is because of our unique voices and the unique places that we come from that resonate with some of you. Not all of you, but some of you! And you who can relate, are my ideal audience. I blog for you!
So, is blogging right for you?
To answer this, you have to ask yourself: do you have a message? Do you believe there are some people out there who you can help? Forget some… is there one person out there who you think will benefit from what you have to say?
If the answer is a resounding “yes”, then blogging is right for you.
But what if you’re unsure? What if you don’t know whether at least one person will benefit from what you have to say?
I’ll give you a very technical answer to this question. You see, I’m not very good at spouting motivational speeches. My way of tackling a difficult question is by looking at hard facts and data.
So, to answer this question, to answer whether you have at least one potential reader or not, I’ll suggest you do the same–look at data and hard facts.
Well, here are some resources:
- Go to Quora, and type in your topic of interest. See if people are talking about it. And if so, what are they talking about? What questions are they asking? If you see people asking questions that you can answer, then that’s a good indication that you have a potential reader-base out there.
- Join a few Facebook groups where you think you potential readers may hang out. For example, if you’re looking to blog about a ketogenic diet, join a few groups about keto diet. See what people are talking about, and again, if you think you have value to add, then that’s a good enough reason for you to start a blog.
- See if there are other people blogging in the same niche. If there are, then great! It means there are people out who’re in need of what you know, and the information you have to offer.
How to Get Over Fear of Starting a Blog?
This is the biggie, isn’t it?
Let’s tackle one thing at a time:
Do You Have Enough Time?
I’ll be honest with you. Blogging is time-consuming! Writing takes a lot of time. There are those who can write 10K+ words every day. They are professional writers! If you’re a professional writer who can churn out 10K+ words a day, chances are, you’re not asking yourself whether or not to start a blog.
So, I think it is safe to assume you’re not one to write thousands and thousands of words every day. If that is the case, writing will take time. Putting together a well-researched and well-written blog post can take a few hours to a few days!
Here’s the thing. I blog on the side (as the name of the blog suggests). I have other things going on. Graduate school, My freelance work which pays for rent and bills. Those things are higher up on the priority list. Blogging comes after. That’s why I’m a side-blogger.
But that is not to say that I do not take blogging seriously. On the contrary, blogging is a very strategic part of my life. I have maintained (or have tried to at least) a frequency of one blog post per week for the last few months. I’ve planned out my life and all that’s in it, to accommodate everything that I have to do, including blogging.
Note that I said, “everything that I have to do”. I didn’t say everything that I want to do. That’s important. A lot of us want to do a lot of things. You cannot always do everything. But what you can do is look at your life, and prioritize. If you really want to blog, you have to carve time out for it, and even if it’s not number-1 in the priority list, it has to be up there… preferably within your top-5 priorities.
But how much time do you actually need?
That depends on what kind of blogging you do and what your expectations are.
For example, As a side-blogger, I know for a fact that I can only spend maybe 10-12 hours per week on my blog. This is significant. This means that I cannot publish a blog post every day. I cannot be on more than one social platform. I cannot get a hundred email subscribers a day. Or even in a week! I’m satisfied if I get more than 5 subscribers a day. I also do not get thousands of page-views a day. If I get 500+ pageviews a day, I’m satisfied.
That’s what success looks like to me as far as blogging is concerned.
But then there are bloggers like Neil Patel or Seth Godin or Jon Morrow who get thousands of visitors per day! They have been at this game for a very long time, and blogging is a higher priority for them than it is for me.
What am I getting at?
Well, what I’m trying to tell you is that you are free to decide what your blogging life should look like. You can decide to be a full-time blogger, or you can decide to be a part-time blogger. There is no right or wrong way about this. Sure, you will have to adjust your expectations accordingly. If you blog full-time, you’ll hit more page-views and more subscribers faster than if you were to blog part-time.
As a rule of thumb, I suggest to all new bloggers that they should give themselves at least two years of consistent work before making any profit from their blog. If you start making profits sooner, great! But do not lose hope unless you’ve worked at it for at least two years. Especially so if you’ve decided to blog part-time.
Going back to the original question: do you have time to blog? Well, do you have at least 5 hours a week to dedicate to blogging? Then yes, you have time to blog.
You won’t be an overnight success blogging five hours a week, but if you keep at it for two years, you’ll likely start to see some growth. And when I say “keep at it” I don’t mean just setting up a blog and writing. You have to do the work. Pick a platform of your choice to promote your blog. Personally, I love driving traffic with Pinterest because it’s a search engine with social media like features. It is also a visual search engine, and since I love designing graphics, it’s perfect for me!
You also have to learn how to get email subscribers. That’s one way of promoting your blog and potentially digital products or services if you have them. It is also a good indication of how many viewers may buy from you: not just buy your services or products, but also perhaps the affiliate products you’re promoting.
The more time you spend actively working to promote your blog and building an email list, the faster your blog will grow. But maybe that’s not your goal in the first place. Maybe you’re happy with slower growth. Maybe what you really want is to take your time, grow slowly and organically, and just help a few people in the meantime. If that’s the case, perhaps 5 hours or 10 hours a week is enough for you!
Do You Have Enough Money?
When I started The Side Blogger, I purchased my domain from NameCheap [affiliate] for 10-bucks-ish, and hosting from SiteGround [affiliate] for a whole year. The GrowBig hosting plan (which I recommend) is 70-something for a whole year for all first-time users. I also signed up for ConvertKit [affiliate] for all my email marketing and list-building activities. Together, they cost me less than $115 with monthly recurring $30 for ConvertKit.
So yes, if you want to start your blogging endeavors the way I recommend, you should probably have $115 for investment.
But if you don’t have that, you can always start your blog on a free platform, and your email list using MailChimp which is free for the first 1K subscribers. Or perhaps you buy the domain and hosting, and use a free platform for the email list in the beginning.
The point is: if you want to start a blog, then the money is no issue. You can start a blog for absolutely FREE if you’re dead broke.
The goal should be to invest in the aforementioned as soon as possible, yes, but not having money is definitely not a good enough reason to not start a blog.
Also, if you think you can save the $115 bucks in a month or two and want to wait until you have the money, great! Because there are a LOT of things you can do to prepare for a blog launch that costs NO MONEY AT ALL! You can start building social media following, you can start writing posts to prepare for the launch, you can start to validate your ideas by writing on Medium, and you can even start to build an email list just by setting up a landing page with MailChimp or MailerLite and directing people to it from your social platform(s). There are plenty that you can do while you’re working on saving up the money for your initial investment. I’ve written a blog post about all the things you can do BEFORE you even launch your blog, FYI.
What If It’s Too Much for You to Handle?
Well, it’s an easy answer. Always re-evaluate. In fact, check-in with yourself every single morning to see if you are where you want to be. If you think blogging is harming rather than helping, you have a few options:
You can cut back on how much time you’re spending on blogging. Re-visit your strategies. Create a new strategy if need be.
Or, you can take some time off from blogging. This will cost you, but sometimes it’s necessary. What if there’s an emergency that you didn’t foresee? If blogging is keeping you away from what’s important, then maybe it’s time to take a break. It doesn’t sound ideal, but not everything in life is ideal.
Are You Still Afraid?
Well, if you’re still too fearful, then it’s something you need to work on. Ask yourself exactly what is making you so afraid?
Fear of failure?
Let me tell you, you will fail! I guarantee that!
There’s no going around it. You’ll implement a strategy and it’ll backfire. You will invest, and it will turn out to be a mistake.
It all depends on how you look at a setback. Setbacks aren’t necessarily failures. They can also be opportunities for growth. Sometimes you need to fail to be redirected to something that works. As long as you’re willing to learn from setbacks, and you don’t give up, and you keep on trying, eventually, you’ll find something that works for you. I can also pretty much guarantee that!
I can tell you right now, if you’re holding out on things because you’re afraid to fail, you won’t get too far in life. Because pretty much every entrepreneur, and every philanthropist, and every risk-taker understands that there are no surefire wins in this life.
Your fear is a sign of a kind of mindset that’s unhealthy for you.
Get over it.
It's time to grow your blog already!
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