There’s a certain allure that comes with the idea of being running an online business blog. Pair that with working from home in your pajamas, sipping an iced latte, and catching up with the latest trends and you have the day in the life of a blogger.
Or at least that’s what most people think.
There are a lot of misconceptions about being a blogger, or creative entrepreneur, and I’m here to clear some myths, enlighten you on some truths, and share everything I’ve learned from others and personal experience about what it really means to be a blogger and your own boss.
1. Running an Online Business Blog is Possible.
I think the biggest misconception about being a creative entrepreneur is that it’s unattainable. People on the outside looking in see all these content creators traveling the world, connecting with brands, inspiring millions of people and there’s this spark in your head that says “that can never be me." But I assure you nothing can be more fallacious than this.
Blogging is not this fairytale job carved out for an “exclusive group” of people (believe me I can see how it can seem that way). But to be honest, the only thing that separates most successful bloggers and creative entrepreneurs from anyone else is simply will power. How bad do you want it? Because with hard work and dedication, you too can create the life you choose and make a living doing the things you love.
2. Content is King, But Consistency is Key.
We’ve all heard the saying “content is king” especially in this blogger world where the thrust of what we do, is in the content we create. But unique content isn't enough. What really separates the wheat from the chaff is “Consistency.” I can’t possibly stress this enough. No matter how viral your last post or video was, I assure you people forget rather quickly. So what good is unique content if you only show up once every month at random. This creative world is saturated with millions of awesome content creators, so in order to make sure you stay ahead, establish a presence, and build an engaging community (that’ll keep coming back), you must be present and stay consistent.
3. Community Outweighs Competition.
As a blogger, you will go far alone, but I promise you’ll go further working together. There’s this misconception that if you put your head down, isolate yourself, and only focus on your platform, you’ll go leaps and bounds ahead of others. But truth is, community serves us more than the competition. After all the entire essence of content creation is to share our knowledge and gifts with others, so why not build a community in the process?
Find other bloggers who are in your niche, and perhaps even some who are not. Connect, collaborate, share ideas, and encourage each other. And don’t see this solely as a means to promote your platform or get more views and a following. But more so as a tool to hone your skills by learning from others, and sharing your insecurities, fears, goals, and dreams that quite frankly most people in the “non-creative world” may not easily comprehend let alone even care about.
4. It Gets Lonely… Really Lonely.
You ever heard the saying “it’s lonely up top?” Yeah well, it’s just as lonely at the bottom too. Because whether you’re just starting out, or you’re a well-seasoned blogger with a successful career, one thing you’ll learn fairly quickly is just how lonely this world can be. Maybe you’ve seen in movies a bunch of creatives hurled together at a hipster coffee shop with their laptops and notepads, bouncing ideas off of each other, drinking art lattes, while developing the “next big thing.” And you think to yourself, now THIS is the life I want! Well, I hate to sound like a stoic, but those expectations are often times a far cry from reality. Truth is, it’s just you and your laptop at a neighborhood cafe with their "mediocre at best” Wi-Fi, sitting alone because all your friends are busy working away at their day job.
5. Success Means Learning to Say No.
We’re all taught never to say no. No is rude. It'ss impolite, a rebuttal. No is for drugs and strangers with candy. But what happens when saying “yes” comes at the expense of your creativity, your art and or your passion? Is saying yes still worth it? One thing I’ve learned as a creative is time is the raw material of creation and a very finite commodity. So the question is, how much “less” will I create unless I say “no”? A sketch? A paragraph? Twenty lines of code?
As a content creator, you must get over the “Fear of missing out” when it comes at the expense of your art. It doesn’t matter if it it’ll only take 30 minutes of your time, that means it just cost you 30 minutes of creation. So always keep in mind the more times you say yes to all the dinner parties, ski-trips, brand collaborations etc., then the less you will be creating, writing, developing, photographing, and building your brand. Read here on why "the most successful creatives say no”
6. Know Your Worth.
Sometimes companies try to low ball bloggers by asking you to go leaps and bounds to market and promote their product, only to give you a pair of socks “in-kind.” Because God forbid they pay you for your 3 blog posts, Instagram video, and 2 sponsored posts that needed to be published between Monday and Thursday. I usually disregard these sort of collaborations because they are more of “opportunists” than “partnerships.” Also know your worth as a blogger and never be afraid to ask for pay, or even say no. Especially if the product your promoting does not fit in with your brand. Believe me people will notice, and slowly shy away from you.
But also keep in mind that starting off you will have to do a lot of work for free. And there will be times when a company can’t pay your rates, not because they are trying to low ball you, but maybe your prices simply aren’t within their budget. So part of being your own boss means being your manager and using your discretion to do what’s best for your brand and your business.
7. Be all the way in, or get all the way out.
If you don’t take anything else away from this post, let your mind rest on this simple truth, in order to succeed at anything in life, you must show up 100%, and give your work 100%. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. There are millions of bloggers across the globe who wake up every day ready to show up and show out. So you have to make up in your mind that regardless of what’s going on around you, you will give it your all and you will not be outworked. Now, before you start making up excuses about having a full-time job and a load of responsibilities, remember with all things in life, you’ll either find a way or find an excuse.
I began my career working as an editorial assistant at a magazine in New York a.k.a one of the busiest cities in the world. And if you know anything about the media/ magazine industry it requires a lot of long hours, and sleepless nights. But regardless of what I needed to do to keep food on the table, I never let it come at the expense of my dreams. So if that meant waking up at 4am to finish a blog post, scheduling 3 day’s worth of content to self-publish when I knew I had a busy week, or editing blog drafts on my 1-hour commute to the city, I made it work.
Creating knows neither weekends nor vacations. It’s not when we feel like it. It’s a habit, compulsion, obsession, vocation. So you either decide to be all the way in, or simply get all the way out. The last thing the world needs is another halfway blogger, pushing out mediocre halfway content, only half of the time.
8. Be Prepared to Do What You Have to Do; To Do What You Want to Do.
There will come a time when you’ll be lucky enough to make a living doing what you love. But until then, you need a day job. Now, there is NOTHING wrong with working a job no matter how mundane it may be, in order to fund your vision as a creative. You have to be prepared to invest in yourself and your art. Because believe me, running a successful blog costs money.
Money for camera equipment, web hosting, editing software, Adobe suite, a laptop, hard drives and the list goes on. Now how are you supposed to create great content when you’re constantly worried about where your next meal will come from? So I assure you in order to make it in this world there will be a lot of missed dinner parties, packed lunches, and penny-pinching. And that’s perfectly okay because in the end it’ll all pay off.
9. Opportunity Won’t Always Come Knocking, Sometimes You Have to Build The Door.
Content creation is just that. “Creating” ways, ideas, platforms, and opportunities for yourself when there are none. Sometimes as bloggers, brands and companies won’t always magically land on our website or social media account and fall in love with our work. Remember bloggers come a dime a dozen, so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.
Find a company or brand you'll love to work with and pitch to them a great idea for a partnership. And never mind if you don’t have the largest following or page views. There is something unique about yourself and your brand that sets you a part from everyone else. Hone into that concept, and let that be your selling point. The worst they can say is no. And believe me, rejection is inevitable in this business and practically comes along with the territory.
10. Only You Can Hold Yourself Accountable.
The beauty of being a blogger and creative entrepreneur is that you get to be your own boss. But the paradox is that often times that’s the biggest burden. No one is there to enforce deadlines, make you create content, edit your work or anything for that matter. And for a while, it feels like a good thing because you get to let your creative mind roam.
But then there are the days when you don’t “feel” like doing the work or hitting goals on your content calendar. And you realize that part of being your own boss means YOU have to hold yourself accountable. And whether you decide you want to or not, there are no shortcuts and you will only reap the benefits of the work you put in. That means managing your time appropriately, staying within budget, under promising and always over delivering.
11. There’s No Such Thing As Overnight Success.
I think the hardest thing about being a blogger is not allowing yourself to fall into the hands of “comparison.” Not only does it kill your joy, but also your creativity and notion of success. We look at where we are compared to that of other bloggers and suddenly feel inadequate or eager to be at that level. But everyone’s journey is different, and there is no straight path to getting there. You have to be gentle with your growth and manage your expectations. Because truth is, no one is an overnight success. Just people who give countless years of nonstop persistence, hard work and consistency. Then one day the world finally takes notice. So instead of coveting what will surely come, focus on honing your craft and your building your character.
12. Learn your ABCs.
Have you ever heard the sales speech from the movie Glengarry Glen Ross? Yeah, of course, you haven’t. But in the movie the character Blake gave a speech on being a salesman. And the key takeaway he wanted everyone to know was “A-B-C. A-Always, B-Be, C-Closing. Always be closing. ALWAYS BE CLOSING.”
So I guess what I’ll leave you with today is, Always Be Creating. Create when you’re tired. Create when you don’t feel like it, or after you go viral. And even when you get ZERO engagement (it be like that sometimes), ALWAYS. BE. CREATING. That is the only way you’ll succeed as a blogger and creative. And that’s the only way you’ll get ahead. Always learning, always reading, always practicing, and always creating.
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