Blogging Tips

10 CRITICAL Things I Learned that EVERY Growing Blogger MUST Know

There are some things that every blogger must know.

Sensational Facebook ads, online courses, and humble brags can all give us the FALSE idea that succeeding at blogging is somehow easy.

It isn’t.

 

But it’s not just blogging, business of any type is hard.

And anyone who doesn’t acknowledge that isn’t being totally honest.

You see, entrepreurship is in my blood.

My first hustle was at the age of 9, selling Costco candy on the playground at four times the cost. By the time I was 12 I was selling homemade cookies out of my bake shop/backpack.

My middle school operation consisted of sneaking crumpled dollar bills across not so stealthy handshakes in exchange for tiny packages of warm sugary goodness, all the while acting like the FBI was watching. I was quite amused with myself.

In college I sold cakes and pies on the side with a more formal system, complete with invoices and order sheets.

In my early twenties I sold handmade jewelry to supplement the good times while living in Santa Barbara.

By 26 I achieved my dream of owning my first restaurant, a pizza and beer sports bar 4 blocks from UCSB.

I turned that restaurant from losing $4000 each month to hitting almost 1 million within 4 years (and the first profit within 3 months).

Just to be clear, that was NOT easy, and it took a boatload of strategy, a ton of micromanagement, buckets of hustle, and a deep understanding of human psychology. I never sold pizza and beer, I sold an experience.

In between all that I held “real jobs” in banking (at 17), taking insurance claims (21), managing multi-million dollar accounts for a huge clothing manufacturer and distributor (at 23), even a stint working the front desk at a mental health facility (that was a doozy), plus several second jobs waitressing here and there.

Thanks to all this I can say confidently, I KNOW business. I KNOW people. And I know YOU have something amazing to share with the world!

Why does this matter to you?

Here’s why, because lately I’ve turned my career from 60+ hour weeks running a crazy busy restaurant to being a work-from-home mom and growing an online business while also being a single mom.

And because I’ve made it my mission to help you to share YOUR genius with the world.

You are here, that means you have an idea, maybe a dream, about growing an online business.

Maybe it’s for side money, to help you take a family vacation.

Maybe it’s to pay off debt.

Maybe it’s to help make ends meet.

Or maybe you are like me, a single mom with no safety net, no child support, no help, and you MUST succeed to survive.

Whatever the reason for you landing here, you dream is valid. It’s possible. It exists for a reason.

No matter how many unsporting people or thoughts you encounter remember…

NO ONE CAN DO WHAT YOU DO, HOW YOU DO IT!

With that in mind I want to get real for a second. I want to share what I’ve learned both from the highs of extraordinary success to the deep dark lows of failed aspirations.

On my journey I’ve begun connecting with bloggers, and often I seeg the same problems popping up.

These problems are easy to fix, but many rookie webpreneurs don’t see the road blocks to begin with.

So here are a few nuggets that I think will help you navigate your way toward success, delivered with love to help YOU succeed.

Join the, Create Your Stellar Lead Magnet Challenge & Mini-Course

 

Things every blogger must know #1: Get a grip on your strengths and weaknesses

The first step is taking stock of your strengths and weaknesses. It’s important for you to grasp where your skills need to be improved and where you excel. Rank your skills from novice to expert…and BE HONEST!

I’ve seen a lot of people overestimate their skills and then when put up against someone who actually has mastery of that skill they end up with their tail between their legs. I don’t want that for you.

Be honest with yourself so you can shine where you are a genius and recruit help where you need it.

 

Things every blogger must know #2: Get serious about your skill set

Make sure you have the necessary skills to get the job done.

There are plenty of ways to get your skills on point.

Try YouTube, pick up a course on Udemy, sign-up for your favorite bloggers program, follow blogs that resonate with you (wink-wink), but fill those gaps.

Remember, you don’t need to master EVERYTHING but you do need to be competent enough to get the job done.

If you don’t have the time to pick up the needed skills, recruit people who have the skills you need.

 

Things every blogger must know #3: Evaluate the viability of your blog/paid offering

I’m amazed at how many people skip this crucial step.

Business people KNOW they need to assess their project’s viability BEFORE committing massive time and resources.

I recently heard a popular blogger (who teaches people to blog) claim that EVERY blog had a chance at success as long as you believe in it enough. Eeek!

Look, I’m all about lifting people up, I want YOU to succeed, but in order to make it work you need to be strategic.

No amount of hoping and wishing will make a bad idea viable.

So ask yourself:

  • Is there a market?
  • How will you monetize your blog?
  • How will you get it seen?
  • Who’s your competition?
  • What’s your first income goal?
  • What’s your startup budget?
  • What’s your break-even?
  • What obstacles does your blog/program face?
  • Who is your ideal buyer?
  • What is your unique message/angle?

Inexperienced people think that because they have a dream and believe in it, they will somehow succeed. This is NOT the case.

Yes, believe in your dream, and then back it up with a solid strategy!

 

Things every blogger must know #4: Don’t get emotionally attached

Photo credit: www.bigstock.com

 

In order to make your blog succeed you’ll need passion.

You’ll need to be your blog’s biggest cheerleader.

You’ll need to tackle obstacles and navigate your business safely through the shark-infested waters…

but don’t fall into the emotional attachment trap.

So in a nutshell.

Passion, yes!

Dedication, check!

Crazy hard work, absolutely!

But blind emotional attachment, never!

The reason emotional attachment is so detrimental is that you won’t be able to see the writing on the wall if your business is failing.

You need discernment free of attachment to see if your new course needs revamping, or your niche is struggling, or your marketing is nose diving.

You can’t right the ship if you can’t see clearly through the storm. (yes I love me some maritime metaphors)

Otherwise every bump will hit you hard, much harder than necessary.

You”ll take business failures as personal failures, and the two are NOT the same. 

But if you have clarity free from emotional attachment you can catch the mistake and adapt. Make the needed changes and get back on course.

It’s business, and some businesses (or small components of them) fail, and that’s ok.

Yes, it will suck if you fail, but if you fail it’s because something went wrong learn from the mistake and use it to make the next project even better. That’s what true masters do.

I’m saying give this thing everything you can, watch, learn, adapt, keep pivoting, but if the ship is TRULY sinking you need to know when to jump off.

Knowing when to call it quits is the hallmark of a business pro.

But it won’t end there, take what you’ve learned and come back better, smarter, and more strategic.

 

Things every blogger must know #5: Reverse engineer your success

When planning your blog’s big strategy, I recommend people reverse engineer their success.

Basically, you’ll need to start with HOW this puppy will be monetized, then work backward from there.

Almost no one talks about this, everyone is saying pick a passion and dive in, see what works, and THEN create a product/service/offer.

You know what that leads to? Epic burnout!

How long can you realistically invest hours and hours, to see no substantial return?

Likes, comments, and subscribers do not pay the bills.

If you don’t start making money soon you WILL burnout and potentially give up. That means your voice, the voice we all need to hear will disappear, and that my friend, is a true tragedy. 

So instead have a loose idea of what you will offer.

Start modestly, no need for your first offer to be a massive course. Maybe it’s a small service, a group coaching session, a set of swipe file or templates, and e-book, a paid masterclass. Whatever your future paid offer it, it’s critical to know if it is viable (is there a real need?).

Have an idea of how you will deliver your paid offer, and most importantly KNOW your future buyer.

While everyone is clamoring over creating reader avatars, I’m telling you to know your BUYER, not your readers.

Readers will come out of buyers, but everything you create should target (in one way or another) those ideal buyers.

Yes, you’ll have people who don’t buy, and that’s ok. But as long as you target your buyer you’ll be able to stay in business, and continue sharing your wisdom to those readers who also need you.

So figure out:

  • How will you monetize your business?
  • Is there competition, if so how can you make your version better?
  • How will you sell your thing?
  • How much do you have to sell to make your income goal?
  • Who is your ideal buyer?
  • Where can you find that buyer (ads, Pinterest, YouTube, Facebook groups)?
  • What kind of content (blog posts, videos, graphics, etc.) will you create to lure that perfect buyer to your perfect solution for them?
  • What will you offer your buyer to join your list (your lead magnet)?
  • How will you nurture that buyer and when will you mention your paid offer?
  • What is your measure of success, when do you pivot?

For the record I used this exact method to take my restaurant to almost a million dollars in revenue in 4 years…along with profits in the six-figures (the business had been losing money when I took over).

This is the strategy I used to FINALLY turn my first website around and start making money from it.

As for this new blog, I’ll be sharing my successes and inevitable failures along the way. Stay tuned.

Strategy is KING!

Need some ideas as to what things to consider for your signature paid offer? Read my post, 21 Money Making Products You Can Sell on Your Blog

 

Things every blogger must know #6: The 4-hour work-week is gobbledygook!

Photo credit: www.bigstock.com

There it is, I said it.

Please do not grab your pitchforks.

I know there are a lot of bloggers out there who claimed they are living the passive income dream. The one where they do very little and just sit back and count the cash.

Reality check, most bloggers and webpreneurs work crazy hard to get build their audiences and get their products launched.

The reality is that success takes a LOT of hard work.

Even if that hard work is performed on an island in the middle of nowhere.

Just to be clear, you can and should create products that earn a passive income (and I recommend that you do!), but a dedicated owner takes the time freed up by those funnels and puts it back into the business.

And yes, please do make sure you’re not always hustling, take time to be with your friends and family, eat right, exercise, and breathe (there’s the health coach in me). And when you are done and refreshed, get back to work, because this ship isn’t sailing itself!

In other words, you should always be working toward growing your business.

In the beginning it will take a LOT of hustle. As your business grows you WILL be able to create a better work/life balance.

As an example I’ve been working 10-13 hour days 5/6 days per week for the last 8 weeks to get THIS blog up and running. It has launched with about a dozen posts ready to go, a spectacular lead magnet (if I do say so myself, wink-wink), and my first awesome sauce paid product–be your own biggest cheerleader 🙂

If you need another motivator remember that your competitor may be working harder to dethrone you while you’re chillin’ in that hammock.

In summary, don’t work yourself to death, but don’t be a lazy bear either.

 

Things every blogger must know #7: Become an efficiency master

Photo credit: hautestock.co

So you have a plan and are ready to put in the work, great! Now here is how you will climb the mountain without killing yourself: Become a master of efficiency.

This means learning to prioritize, setting daily goals and getting them done, doing everything efficiently, and using technology to your advantage.

If you can master getting more done in less time you will have that coveted work/life balance we’re all chasing. I’ll be posting my list of productivity tools soon, so stay tuned.

But in general know that your systems will improve over time, eventually you will take less time to do more, so hang in there.

 

Things every blogger must know #8: Done is better than perfect, unless it’s sh*t

In the blogger world there is a popular mantra, “done is better than perfect”.

In other words your blog or e-course or website need not be perfect, it just needs to exist.

Fair enough, I know there are perfectionists that become obsessed with irrelevant details and put off their project for too long (**raising hand**).

That said, there is a fine line between declaring a well-planned project is good enough for launch, and cutting corners because you want to get your thing launched ASAP.

If your skills aren’t’ up to snuff, if your project doesn’t have all the components to run smoothly, if you didn’t do the necessary work to develop your strategy then your project ISN’T ready.

Launching a shitty blog/course/lead magnet is worse than not launching at all, people will KNOW you don’t take your business seriously and you’re reputation will suffer.

I have been on the receiving end of many a miserable paid course, mediocre lead magnet, or terribly crafted blog post. And each time I encountered someone’s mediocre thing I unconsciously decided they were NOT worth following.

I do not want this to happen to you.

It doesn’t need to be perfect but it does need to be right.

 

Things every blogger must know #9: There will always be someone ready to exploit your weaknesses

Photo credit: www.bigstock.com

Remember that last tip. Well, there is always someone who will be willing to put in the work to challenge you.

I’m not here to rattle you. I’m here to prepare you. Business is HARD.

Like it or not there will be competition.

I’ve seen a lot of advice about keeping your head down and ignoring your competitors. For the record I think that is terrible advice.

That said, don’t obsess over them. Know what your competitors are doing. Assess if you have the bandwidth to make any needed adjustments and move on.

This isn’t about comparing, it’s about assessing strategy.

Remember the tip about letting go of the emotional attachment, that includes not beating yourself up every time someone else succeeds.

You are not them.

You have YOUR unique brand.

YOUR unique message.

Stay focused friends!

But do always be open to improving and learning from what others are doing.

If you follow the tips here and get your strategy on point, most of those competitors will not come close to you. But a few might, so it’s important be ready to adapt as needed.

When I had my restaurant, I was queen of the hill. So much so that competitors were outright stealing my ideas and popping up left and right. It could have rattled me. Instead I took stock of what they were doing, and my weaknesses, and adapted. My mantra was “bring it on”, precisely because I knew I had a rock solid strategy and was willing to pivot as needed.

It’s no different on blogging.

I want you to be the best at what you do and create the life you deserve. However, if you don’t have the skills, didn’t do the planning, failed to take the time to get your blog on point there WILL be someone who will kick you off the mountain on THEIR way to the top.

Business is business and the most successful people tend to be those who matched stellar planning with badass execution.

I’m here to tell you that YOU can be that badass. 

 

Things every blogger must know #10: Be adaptable

If there is one skill that separates the giants of success from everyone else I’d say it’s this one.

You can have everything going right and trucking along but if you fail to change with your environment, you will eventually be wiped out. Dinosaur style.

Being adaptable can mean a lot of things.

It can mean being able to accept a strategy isn’t working.

It can mean staying on top of relevant social media.

It can mean shifting your brand’s focus with your customers.

In a nutshell being adaptable means staying flexible and being ready to abandon what doesn’t work in favor of what does.

You might have one planned path but if the niche you’re in is going in another direction you need to be ready to make that turn.

Don’t forget to join the, Create Your Stellar Lead Magnet Challenge & Mini-Course

So basically…

Everything I’ve said in this post is meant to help YOU on your journey.

I know this has a tough love tone but business is no joke.

If you want to succeed then you NEED to stack the deck in your favor.

I’ve seen people lose their tail feathers through pitfalls I’ve mentioned here.

I’ve also failed more times than I can count so I know what works and what doesn’t…so far, and I know that benchmark will continue to evolve.

Most importantly I’ve learned from every single experience. I want the same for you.

These tips will give you an edge because even if they seem obvious soooo many people ignore them…and fail, but with YOUR amazing ideas, careful planning, and kick-ass hard work you will achieve success!

Hugs + Hustle

~Maya

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10 Critical Things I Learned that EVERY Growing Blogger MUST Know - Blog Brand Hustle - Perfect tips for beginner bloggers and even those wit more experience. I wish I knew these blogging tips when I started!

 

47 Comments

    • Thanks so much Lisa! I think it’s the only full scale business where you are on your own for so long…while the world things we just “play on the internet”.

  • Great tips! I think it is very important to remember that not everyone is your best friend like you said in #9. Not everyone can be supportive and it is important for us to grow from that rather than let it shut us down.

    • Yes I totally agree, business is business and while it’s amazing to find a supportive circle the reality is its a competitive world out there. Stay strong bloggers!

    • Lisa I know what you mean, I’ve grown from stepping outside of my comfort zone, but there are still things I have zero interest in doing for my blog. SEO, cough-cough.

  • i love these tips and its totally true. i specially love the idea of done being good! There is so much pressure.

  • Hi Maya,

    Great tips and you’re definitely right. So many people make it sound like you can start a blog today and turn it into a six-figure business in just a couple of months.

    I’m not saying that it isn’t possible to turn a blog into a six-figure business. But like you said, it’s going to take a lot of hard work at the beginning to get it up and running.

    You also need to know how you’re going to monetize it. The great thing is that you can always add other income streams, which I believe every blog should have multiple income streams.

    Awesome job on your blog and like you, I put in a lot of hours in the beginning. I still put in quite a bit hours, but I am not working as much as I used when my blog was just a month old.

    Thanks for sharing the truth on what it actually takes to build a successful blog. I’ve shared this to help people realize what it actually takes to build a successful business online.

    Have a great day 🙂

    Susan

    • Thanks so much Susan! I really appreciate your thoughtful insights! Yes, I think there is this false idea that with just one stratagy we’ll be rolling in the cash and the reality is businesses are built through so much time, effort and hard work.

      By the way I’ve seen your content and you write really great stuff, I can see you also have clear strategy! 🙂

    • Thanks Jenna, I’ve learned through a lot of trial and error. I’m so glad you found the post helpful. 🙂

  • I’ve been blogging for a little over a month and have found that it is definitely a lot of work! I don’t know how anyone could get by with investing just 4 hours a week! Great tips and suggestions here!

  • This is a fabulous post! I’ve been blogging 2 years and I wish I would have heard some of this advice early on. It’s so much work and it’s definitely good to have a monetization strategy in place.

  • Great post Maya, you had me laughing a lot at the painful truths that a lot of bloggers turn a blind eye on. Love the picture of the dog – I so want to be the dog in the hammock working 4 hours a week with all that cash flowing in. LOL! I’ve been blogging for a year now and felt like I was a freshman in college and now I’m about to be a Sophmore (so much to learn at lightning speed). I happened upon some great advice last week where a professional blogger said that the difference between a successful blogger and a hobbyist was to think of learning blogging as a business like baking a cake. You wouldn’t go into a kitchen and try to throw together a fantastic dish by searching around for ingredients randomly and throw it in the oven for 5 minutes (it would come out as gook), rather wouldn’t you learn a recipe from one of the top chefs and know exactly what to mix in and learn how they made it exceptional. I think one of the most important steps as a blogger is to get a successful mentor and learn & emulate their success. You hit on some fantastic points and I love your humour and honesty. I’m starting to pivote and hopefully graduate from being a sophmore in blogging to a Junior. Thanks for a great post and tips!

  • Thank you so much for this! I’m still somewhat of a newbie in this whole world of blogging that I’ve saved this for those gloomy days when I just can’t help but feel down! This gave me such a lil boost of energy to get me out of the rut I’ve been in!

    • Hang in there Anne, I know it’s tough sometimes but using a good strategy can turn things around, we are always learning!

  • Great post, I have been blogging for just under a year now and there is still so much I need to put in place! Thanks for sharing your experience.

  • Really great post. It takes me about a day to do a blog post, I do a food blog so I create the food idea, take pictures and so on and so forth. After that to network it can take up my whole day to do that. My friends don’t believe me when I say that it is a full time job that can be 10+ hours a day/ 7 days a week.

  • So many important points that every blogger must tackle especially if you want to turn it into a full fledged business. I sometimes lose motivation and once this happens, everything else follows. Important lessons to keep in mind!

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