January 1st was my one-year blogiversary! Wow! It’s hard to believe that I’ve published a blog post at least once every week for the past 52 weeks! Guess what though … I almost quit about a million times over the past year! Well, not quite a million … but at least ten times!
I didn’t quit (obviously!) and now I’m opening up and sharing the 6 greatest lessons I learned in my first year of blogging!
This post is a reflection on my first year of blogging / running an online business. I truly hope that something below speaks to you in some way … whether that be if you want to start a blog or need to make personal changes in your life!
This isn’t a how-to of what I’ve learned skill-wise (although I HAVE shared a few resources that have been instrumental to me in learning to blog) … this is what I’ve learned about myself, life, and running a solopreneur online business in general! Buckle up because this is a long one, friends!
Affiliate links are used in this post. All opinions expressed are my own and I only share blogging resources that I use and believe in!
BLOGGING LESSON 1: BE PERSISTENT
I can’t tell you how many times I just wanted to give up on Caroline on Design! Starting and running a blog is HARD WORK (but absolutely worth it if you’re passionate about the topic)!
I was a social worker pre-kiddos. I have no formal business training, no tech training, and no interior design training! That’s a lot of whammies against me when starting an interior design blog!
Oh … and did I mention that someone tried to take my business down in the FIRST month my website was live?! Said someone reported my website to my state’s Dept. of Business (or whatever it’s called) and alleged I was misrepresenting myself as a registered Interior Designer … umm, no … never did that!
All was good and I was allowed to keep my website running. I could have thrown in the towel right then and there! I could have just given up because someone (I still don’t know who this ‘someone’ is) thought I wasn’t worthy of having this business. I did NOT give up!
Whenever I felt like giving up on my blog, I would initially tell myself ‘it’s ok … you’re a Stay-at-home mom and an active volunteer in your community. You have nothing to prove.’ Then the other (cray cray) side of my brain would tell me that I was building an important platform and to keep pushing forward one day at a time (and here I am one year later)!
Overall, I’ve learned that business is such a metaphor for life. That is, you MUST keep pushing through when you want to give up (so. many. times.)! Building a business is simply a series of baby steps one day at a time … and these baby steps eventually add up to great change! But this change is very gradual and takes time.
This idea of persistence and baby steps can be applied to any personal changes you want to make in your life … whether physical or emotional! You won’t see immediate change, but you will see GREAT change over the course of a year when you take one baby step each day!
BLOGGING LESSON 2: RELY ON FAITH
When you want to give up on your business, you have to completely rely on faith (or whatever you believe in)! Some days, that will be the only thing that propels your business forward!
I know that a higher power was behind me posting my very first Instagram post (that led me to where I am today) and kept me moving forward with Instagram and my blog whenever I felt defeated or unsure about what I was doing.
We don’t always see our own gifts and talents, but we ALL have gifts and talents to share with the world! It takes A LOT of faith to share talents with the world that you can’t yourself see! Does that even make sense?!
BLOGGING LESSON 3: IT’S OK TO BE IMPERFECT
My name is Carrie … and I am a perfectionist! There, I admitted it! Believe me … this is a quality that has NOT always served me well in life! Perfectionism trickles down into just about every aspect of my life … parenting, marriage, friendships, work, my appearance, etc.
Here’s the thing … my perfectionism causes me to give up, to procrastinate, to purposely not try, to not persevere when things are hard. Basically, the perfectionism tells me if I can’t do something perfectly, then don’t even do it. It tells me I’m just wasting my time .. and other people’s time and they would be better off with someone who knows how to do life ‘perfectly’.
OMG … that is some crazy S*%T! Can anyone else relate to this?! I’m DONE letting perfectionism rule my life!
It has become crystal clear to me this past year is NOTHING IN LIFE IS PERFECT! ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!
I will never have a perfect website, I will never be a perfect salesperson, I will never be a perfect mom, I will never be a perfect wife, I will never run a business perfectly, my body will never be perfect, I will never be a perfect friend …..
But you know what … WHO CARES?! People still need me to show up in their lives whether I’m perfect or not! Someone out there needs to hear what I’m writing about whether it’s written perfectly or not! My kids need me whether I’m perfect or not! My husband needs me whether I’m perfect or not! The world needs me whether I’m perfect or not! You get the point!
If you are a self-proclaimed perfectionist, go back and reread this section … but read any “I” or “my” as if you are speaking about yourself! Oh … and insert your own name at the beginning!
BLOGGING LESSON 4: MENTORSHIP IS KEY
I could NOT have made it to where I am without the ‘help’ of my mentors and the support of my family!
Wanna know a secret?! Many of my mentors don’t even know I exist!
I always thought mentors had to be 1:1 business coaches, but that is SO. NOT. TRUE. My mentors include podcasters, bloggers, YouTubers, online course educators, book authors, etc.
My number one mentor DOES know I exist and we communicate fairly regularly! This is my girl, Tana (Your Marketing BFF)! I hired Tana to do my website design … but I got SO much more than just a website! She trained me on WordPress, SEO, and everything else I needed to know about running the backend of a website!
Tana is my website/tech angel!! She is my go-to blogging resource! I HIGHLY recommend her How to Start a Blog e-book and her Blog EDU membership site if you plan on starting a blog (or are already an established blogger)!!
I have SO many blog and podcast mentors that have been instrumental in my learning, but here are the top three I recommend:
- Christie Wright’s ‘Business Boutique’ Podcast. She also has Business Boutique three-day events … I have been to two in Nashville! I highly recommend going if you dream of starting a business!
- Jenna Kutcher’s ‘Goal Digger’ Podcast has been invaluable! I especially liked the earlier episodes that were geared toward starting a business. Super helpful!
- Amy Porterfield’s ‘Online Marketing Made Easy’ podcast! Amy has a gift of explaining things in an easy-to-understand way!
One other thing that I learned is worth EVERY single penny is investing in gorgeous stock photography for your blog! I dreaded choosing images for my posts until I joined Haute Stock! You won’t find more beautiful stock photos anywhere! All of the images in this post are from Haute Stock!
BLOGGING LESSON 5: CONNECTION IS (ALSO) KEY
Blogging is wonderful and portable and flexible … but it can also be LONELY! I work primarily at coffee shops because I like to be around other people even if I’m not interacting … the baristas see me more than my friends see me!
It’s key to develop friendships with other bloggers … whether this is through a local group or online. I’ve met all of my online besties through Instagram! This is a great platform to meet other like-minded women.
Believe me … your husband and real-life friends won’t understand the world of blogging … but your online blogging buddies will understand everything you’re going through!
BLOGGING LESSON 6: EDUCATE YOURSELF
If you are starting a blog or business, you MUST be willing to learn … A LOT!
You are capable of doing whatever you dream of doing! You can start that business you’ve been dreaming of … or make the changes in your personal life that you know you need to make! All it takes is a willingness to invest in yourself and learning!
ALWAYS be educating yourself! I happen to LOVE research and education when I get to CHOOSE what I’m learning! I’ve read hundreds of books (I’ll share my favorite blogging/business books below), listened to hundreds of podcasts, taken several online courses, and simply ASKED my fellow bloggers questions! I will never stop learning …and it’s so much more fun when it’s a subject I love! There is so much value in learning from those who have already been through this!
Also, you can GOOGLE literally EVERY question you have! You can no longer use “but I don’t know how to do this” as an excuse to give up on your business! Do you think I knew how to run a website, make design boards, edit images, do digital invoicing, create email lists, etc.?!?! I did NOT know how to do any of this! I took online courses, read e-books, scoured websites, and spent a ton of time googling things!
I hope you enjoyed my 6 greatest lessons from my first year of blogging, and now feel capable of doing whatever you dream of doing! You CAN start that business you’ve been dreaming of … or make the changes in your personal life that you want to make!
Please share this post with ANYONE and EVERYONE who needs to hear one of these lessons (hint: you can pin the first image or any of the images)! Then get out there and launch your blog or business … or take the first step toward any personal change you want to make! You CAN do it!!
How did you know what I was just thinking? Lol. Ive got the right brain/ left brain thing too. I cant even think of creative post for Instagram, not sure if I could blog regularly. I have a subject, I love. Im still doubting myself & we are day 2 of the new year. Great post! Wonder info you have shared. Thank you Carrie
So glad you could relate to this post! No more doubting yourself … just take one small step at a time!
Awesome blog! Do you have any helpful hints for aspiring writers?
I’m planning to start my own website soon but I’m a little lost on everything.
Would you recommend starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many
options out there that I’m totally overwhelmed .. Any tips?
Thanks for reading! I would suggest starting with the PAID version of WordPress (it isn’t that expensive). If you don’t want to do the paid version, you can do the free version … but you will have way more flexibility with the paid version. (sidenote – I started with Blogger and didn’t like it!) You’ll also have to pay for hosting, but it isn’t very expensive. I use Bluehost … it’s a great host for beginning bloggers. This can all be overwhelming … luckily there is TONS of free info available online for aspiring bloggers and writers! My web designer has a great beginning blog book which is linked within this post. That would be a great place to start (it’s only $29) and it is comprehensive! However, you can Google anything you need to know about ‘starting a blog’! Good Luck!!
Great post Carrie… I’m so proud of you!! What a year it’s been for you!!! Much love from one of your real-life besties who doesn’t quite understand the blogging world so is happy you have online besties who do!! xoxo
Hahaha!!! Thanks, Amanda!!! Thanks for your support!
Great post! SO inspiring to hear that you started with very little knowledge and to see what you’ve done in a year. I had no idea a blog would require do many hours behind the scenes. I love your work and am glad you persisted, so many others can enjoy your talents! 🙂
Thank you so much, Kelly! Yes, there is A LOT of behind-the-scenes that goes into blogging … but most of it is FUN! Thank you for your sweet words!