Whenever you start something new, you have certain expectations for how it's going to go. But, there are always weird unexpected outcomes that pop up along the way. They just make life more fun, right?
If we always knew what was going to happen, life would be so boring. And, building a blogging business is the same way.
There are plenty of unexpected things that happen when you start a blog. Things get exciting, and by exciting I mean sometimes odd.
You're going to experience things that are wonderful, weird, scary, odd, and amazing. But, it's all worth it. Building a blogging business helps us to learn more about ourselves and connect with others around the world.
I truly believe that having a blogging business is the best job I could have asked for. And, these unexpected outcomes only add to the experience.
If you're asking yourself, "What should I know before starting a blog?", here are some of those unexpected outcomes.
Unexpected things that happen when you start a blog:
1. You learn how to deal with critics.
2. You'll get out of your comfort zone.
3. You’ll become a teacher.
4. You'll learn how to run a business.
5. You’ll learn if an entrepreneurial life is for you.
6. You’ll identify what you're truly passionate about.
7. You'll get better at certain tasks or learn new ones.
1. You’ll learn how to deal with critics
One of the things I wish I knew before starting a blog was how to deal with critics. This isn't one of those exciting and fun unexpected outcomes. But, it's still a necessary one and incredibly helpful in life.
Social media has helped us to dip our toes into the pool of critics. It's not fun. I don't love when people tell me that I'm doing something wrong or that I could have done something better.
If you think that this one of the reasons that blogging might not be for you, think again. Despite the fact that it makes you uncomfortable, it's an important life skill to have.
Do I love constructive criticism? I would like to say that I do. But, it's hard when you pour your heart and soul into a blog post that everyone hates. This has taught me how to deal with this criticism.
There are going to be people that come along that have no problem telling you how awful you are at writing something, sharing something, or doing something. It doesn't matter what your niche is. There are going to be people that come along and tell you how they think you should have done it better.
And of course these people with no manners do it anonymously! They are just hiding behind their computer and saying mean things. It's frustrating to deal with.
But, learning how to deal with critics can actually be really good for us. There are always going to be those people in life, so the sooner we learn how to deal with them the better.
2. You'll get out of your comfort zone
When you become the owner of your very own blogging business, you're going to think that you're the boss. I did too at first. You are excited that you get to choose what tasks you do, what you write about, and when you get to work.
The thought of comfort is alluring. It's tempting to think that you will have a nice, cushy, comfortable job when you have a blogging business. With no boss to tell you what to do, you only have to do what you want to do, right?
That's not how it works.
You're going to want to push yourself to the limits. When you get the taste of having a successful blogging business, you're going to want to know what you need to do to improve it even more. Before you know it, you're going to get out of your comfort zone.
This can happen in any number of ways. It might be that you start to learn how to get better at photography, customer service or writing. You may find yourself deciding to start filming for your blog. Or, you may learn how to run the business side of your blogging business. Whatever it is, you're not going to be in your comfort zone anymore.
When you're truly passionate about running a blogging business it means that you want to provide the best content ever. This means having to get out of your comfort zone.
The largest percentage of students in my Blogging to Win course start the course by saying that they are not going to create videos. They aren't comfortable with it and don't care to expand in that area. And I totally get it. It's nerve-wracking to sit in front of the camera.
However, by the end of class, they have their confidence up. They want to be competitive within their niche. And, they decide to venture out of their comfort zone and start working on creating video content as well.
Seeing that growth is exciting, and is such a natural part of becoming a blogging business owner.
3. You'll become a teacher
There are plenty of teachers out there that are starting blogs. And, that's great. But, I think they have a leg up on us. Another one of those things I wish I knew before I started blogging is that teaching is a crucial part of blogging.
However, if you aren't a teacher, don't worry. When you start a blogging business you probably aren't thinking about becoming a teacher. But, as I explain in my recent video on the Allison Lindstrom YouTube Channel, How to Write Your First Blog Post, part of being a blogger is building a safe learning environment.
The bloggers that are the most successful are inspiring or teaching people how to do something in particular. If you want to do that well, you have to learn how to be good at teaching people.
You need to learn how to create an outline and properly explain what it is you're doing so that others can do it too.
To succeed in your blogging business, you have to figure out how to translate your instructions into a blog post or video. In doing this, you become an instructor.
This is a very fulfilling part of the job. I didn't expect that becoming a teacher was going to be part of my journey and the fact that it has, makes every 5am morning spent working worth it.
4. You’ll learn how to run a business
We think that starting a blog is all about writing and maybe taking some photos. The first question people ask me when thinking about starting a blogging business is, "Can I be a blogger if I don't write very well?" And, the answer is—yes.
Writing is just a small percentage of what it takes to become a successful blogger. You also need to become really good at business.
It's OK if you aren't good at it right now. You can learn that skill over time. That's the blessing of becoming a blogger!
You are your own boss and can be proactive about learning the things that you need to learn. This is something that you can either figure out how to learn on your own or learn from someone else.
For example, in my Blogging to Win class, I don't teach just the blogging part, I also teach how to manage the business side of it.
If you only have the writing, pictures, and social media down, you only have a portion of the things that you need in order to be a profitable blogger. And, if you want to turn this into your career, you need to know how to be profitable.
You absolutely cannot be a professional blogger if you don't have the business side figured out. If you don't understand how to run a blogging business right now, you can learn over time.
5. You’ll learn if an entrepreneurial life is for you
I wish I could say that blogging is for everyone. But it wouldn't be fun anymore if we were all doing it. It's a beautiful journey and just like every journey, it's not the best for everyone.
When you're sitting there and you start writing blog posts, laying out strategies, business plans, growing, learning and teaching people, that's when you start to realize if this is something you really want to do.
I don’t personally think that it’s something you can just figure out without actually trying it. It's kind of like learning how to ride a bike.
Do you know that you're going to enjoy riding a bike until you learn how to do it? No. If you just sit and look at the bike and say it's not for you, no one will believe you. You have to try it first.
Blogging is the same way. You can't know if you really want to invest the time that it takes to succeed at building a profitable blog until you have started.
You need to jump in and get your feet wet. Then, you'll either realize that you can't wait to keep going or that having a hobby blog is more your style, or that the entire blog journey is just not for you.
There really isn’t any right or wrong answer- it all depends on what you want to get out of it.
6. You’ll identify what you're truly passionate about
When you start working on building a blogging business you will quickly learn what topic you are passionate about. To run a blog, you have to be able to really eat, breathe, and sleep whatever topic you choose.
You think you know it now, but when you start a blog and wake up at 5 am because it's the only quiet time in the house and you're writing blog posts and editing photos at that time. Those are the moments when you realize you don't love the topic as much as you thought you would. Or, on the other hand, that you truly are passionate about it.
It’s a powerful and exciting moment when you get to the point that you're working on something that you're so in love with.
7. You'll get better at certain tasks or learn new ones
When you grow enough to start creating and selling your own products, you might have never seen or known what a sales funnel was. Well, you're going to get good at it if you start a blogging business!
When you hire someone to work with you and run your Pinterest account, you're going to become a really good manager. Even if you've never managed people before.
Maybe you’ll also become exceptionally well at writing even though you never realized you had a knack for it.
By starting a blog, you will tap into things that you didn't realize that you were good at.
For me, initially, when I thought of starting a blog, I thought about doing a lot of writing and probably taking some sort of pictures to use in my posts. Running a blogging business is so much more than that.
Those two things are a small percentage of what goes on in a blogging business. That means there's a lot that we manage, and we're never bored.
Getting confidence in knowing that anything could be thrown your way and you could manage it because you have the confidence and strength to figure it out, is very powerful. Eventually, that confidence bleeds into your personal life as well, which is absolutely amazing!
What blogs are the most popular?
If you haven't started your blog already, you can find a tutorial here that will help you get started.
You can blog about anything. And, I mean anything. That's the freedom of the internet and being your own blogging business boss.
But, if you want to really succeed at making a real income blogging then you're going to want to think about something you can be profitable in.
Some of the most popular blog niches include:
Healthy living blogs
But, I urge you to think smaller than this. You may want to be a lifestyle blogger, but in my experience, this is way too broad of a topic these days.
What area of life do you want to blog about? If you want to be a food blogger, choose a niche within food blogging. For example, you could be a paleo food blogger for moms with kids. Or, a Whole30 blogger for people that don't like veggies.
Think about how you can take a popular niche and narrow it down to work for you.
To help you out, I created a list of 160+ blog niches that you can choose. You can pick one right from the list, or you can use the list to get you thinking of your own ideas. I take the most common blogging niches and then give you really niched down ideas from there.
You can also check out niche ideas that my 3,000+ students have been successful with.
Want to download the list of 160+ blog topic ideas
Do bloggers get paid?
Absolutely! Why else would so many people venturing out to build blogging businesses? It's a lot of work. But, it's rewarding on both a personal and financial level if you do it right.
Don't get me wrong. There are a lot of hobby bloggers out there. They blog about topics they enjoy. Or, they blog about all sorts of random things. You aren't likely going to make money if you're following the example of a hobby blogger.
If you want to build a blogging business that brings in a full-time income, you need to think like a business. That means you need to set financial goals that you can work towards along the way. It also means that you need to create a plan to reach those goals.
I don't know of any successful bloggers that accidentally fell into making a living blogging. Those of us that succeed do it because we created a plan and then worked the plan, adjusting as needed along the way.
There are a lot of different ways that you can get paid as a blogger. The first thing most bloggers make money from is having paid ads on their sites. Some of the other ways to make money include working with affiliates and selling products or courses.
Lessons I've Learned About Blogging
Along with experiencing unexpected outcomes, there are plenty of other lessons that you're going to learn along the way. After blogging for three years, I shared an extensive post about the lessons I’ve learned blogging.
But here’s a summarized version of what blogging has taught me:
1. Running a blogging business isn't all about you - If you have other people in your family that are relying on you like a husband or children, your business isn't just about you. It's going to impact your family as well. So, you need to take this into consideration. This means getting everyone on the same page and building your blogging schedule around your family schedule. If blogging is causing intense strain in your life, you won’t continue doing it.
2. Sometimes you have to pretend no other blogs exist - If you find that you're getting influenced too much by other bloggers, pretend they don't exist. Take a break from reading other blogs and focus on getting your message down. Do your research and make sure that you are being unique.
3. You need to be in it for the long haul - I'd love to tell you that you can replace your full-time income within the first month of blogging, but I can't. It just doesn't work that way. Building a blogging business is not a get-rich-quick type of business. But, if you are consistent over a long period of at least a year, it will pay off.
The idea of blogging for free is a nice idea but it's not realistic. If you want to build a profitable blog, you're going to need to invest in it. This doesn't mean you need to have a ton of money to get started. But, you are going to need to spend a little.
The most common blogging expenses that you can expect include:
Purchasing a domain name
But, don't let the thought of spending money to get started, stop you from actually starting! Check out my blog post, Blogging for Cheap | Ways I Save Money as a New Blogger.
You can also see examples of what I spend on my blog at my monthly income report posts listed below:
How to Become a Professional Blogger
The last thing that I want to stress to you is that being a professional blogger is much different than being a hobby blogger. If you want to build an income from your blog then you can't operate the same way that hobby bloggers do. You need to have a plan on how to start and run your blog.
Here are five of the things that professional bloggers do.
Choose a specific niche for your blog
Focus on helping people
Write a business plan
Get comfortable marketing your brand and yourself
If you want more details about how to become a professional blogger, check out the blog post, Professional Bloggers Do These Five Things, to learn more about what this looks like as you start your blog.
Let me close with this—blogging is more than worth the time, effort, and money that you put into it. If you follow the tips I’ve shared, you'll be able to build a profitable blog. But, more than that, you'll have a career that you love and that allows you to pay the bills while doing something you're passionate about.
If you've been wondering if blogging is for you, I encourage you to take the leap and give it a try!