My blogging journey has been confusing at best. Though some may say primarily absent, but whatever. I exposed myself so much more than I thought I could handle and I didn't have a solid plan to take it all in. Doesn't mean I didn't learn valuable lessons along the way. So I'm just going to jump right into it.
Blogging and writing are NOT the same thing. At All.
I had NO IDEA all the work that really went into this life. As a new blogger that's pretty much doing it on my own right now, it's a lot. You're not just writing and hitting publish. I mean, you can. But if you want to be valued, seen, and acknowledged you have to promote like crazy. That pretty much means social media is your life. You have to take on everything from learning how to phrase things so people will want to read your posts, making images and taking pictures that grab people's attention, then tailoring your message to a specific set of people. Let these blogging guru's tell it, it's a round the clock job, whether you're getting paid for it or not, which is another beast. You're immediately an ameteur (or professional) copywriter, photographer, and designer at first.
I can do whatever I want.
When I first set out to start this blog, okay not THIS one, but a blog in general, my only objective was to put my thoughts on paper...so to speak. Money was the last thing on my mind. But then I got roped into periscope and these blogging courses and webinars that made me feel like I HAD to focus on ONE thing in order to make money. And if you're not trying to make money blogging, then you're pretty much wasting your time. That's what I felt like I was getting. So I attended these webinars and online classes and found myself seeking validation from these people about my ideas and even my NAME. And shocker, if someone didn't like my name (which happened and took me back a little), then I'd feel lost and discouraged. It took me 'til right now to say, "Look, I have to do what I want to do. And I don't need anyone's approval to be me." Not sorry at all. When I succeed, it'll be because I believed in myself, not because I paid someone to believe in me.
I don't have to adhere to ONE label.
Speaking of which, my blog can be about whatever I make it. Focusing too hard on staying in one specific lane, despite popular belief, is stifling. Especially if you came in without a specific niche, I think people call it "lifestyle". I say, if you're into beauty or hair...do that and do it well. Fitness? You got it. Blogging....sure, why not another one? *no shade*. But if you're like me, and don't have a specific topic you think you can write about...just go. I'm more than positive that once you get a flow going, most of your posts or topics will lean in a certain direction. That's my plan anyway.
I'm not throwing money at any more "how-to-blog" courses.
I signed up for A LOT of blog courses this year. I mean, it was just so easy to throw money at my problem than it was to look for a solution. My problem, in case you're wondering, was finding the perfect blend of motivation, inspiration, and ideas to make my blog and actual blog.
They are beautiful and creative and wonderful, but they pretty much say the same thing. Most importantly, just as much as it is important to invest money into whatever you want to do in order to take it to the next level, it is equally as important to invest TIME in yourself as well. A lot of these courses sell you on the "You can grow this in 3 months!" "Do this and you'll be near (not on) my level in this short amount of time!!!" but they slick tell you under their breath that they've been building their brand for YEARS. And most of us, me, are so impatient we want that success right now. But you gotta invest time.
Time includes researching everything you can about the subject for FREE first. If you have exhausted all your free resources (pinterest, google, youtube, social media, e-mail subscriptions, google's second page, podcasts, um...books, hello! and etc) searching for the answer and AFTER having implemented those strategies and tips you learned...and THEN realized that something is missing and you need more...THAT's when you invest money in a course or coaching package. To me, they are not there to solve your problems, they are their to give guidance when you have a sense of direction. No one is going to give you direction. It's not their job.
Ain't nothing new, girl.
Self explanatory, really. But it's been my biggest takeaway when trying to learn this online life. Everyone has a different purpose, different calling, and a different message. And even if someone has the same message, doesn't mean it's taken for good. Everything people put out will not be 100% new under the sun. So nobody can tell you that you're not allowed to say similar things from your perspective. Nobody has that right.
Periscope is the devil.
Before periscope, I had one blogging course under my belt. And although I was still figuring out the "let me implement this" tactic, I felt like I was okay and up to speed. But somehow I stumbled onto periscope and the few people I followed turned into dozens, and they all scoped about blogging, making money, online business, etc. I follow some great people on periscope, but before I learned about the notification settings, I'd find myself staring at my phone for hours, buying what they were selling, figuratively and literally. It got so overwhelming and distracting. Every initial idea I had faded with every new periscope/webinar I watched, or course I took. I lost my plan, my mind and my voice thinking I had to sound and look like these "gurus". I ended up I muting notifications for 95% of the people I follow. The 4 or 5 that I still get notification from now, I only tune in if I have absolutely nothing to do, or if the title is helpful to me in the quick season that I'm temporarily in. So okay, periscope doesn't have to be the devil if you know how to use it effectively.
And last but not least
I used to think that people would just sit down on the computer, write jaw dropping things online, and make millions of people flock to their site on a whim. Any lucrative life you want to establish online, requires planning. You have to plan content in advance, then plan how you're going to put in on all your social media networks. Then you have to plan your website design to get e-mail addresses and plan what you're going to write in each e-mail. Ahead of time. Nothing online is on a whim. Here I was thinking as long as I have all these ideas, I'd never run out of things to say and do online. Lies from the pit. I came in 2015 without a real plan, and that is the most important lesson I'm taking into 2016. Everything I do from here on out has to be calculated.
And that's my first year in blogging, and I honestly didn't even do that much blogging. What's next for SheisKelechi? I want to write, first and for most, so that's what I'm going to do. Write. Consistently and effectively. So after I restructure my site, we'll go from there. My countless hours of researching (pretty much pinterest and periscope) led me to so many amazing ideas, awesome content, and talented people doing great things. I've learned a lot about everything from podcasts to webinars and e-mail marketing and online business...there's so much out there to get started in whatever you want to do. So that's what I'm going to do. Start. Finally!
What's the biggest lesson or lessons you learned in 2015?