August 2014 marks 10 years of blogging out of my 17+ years in business. What a fun milestone!
10 full years of blogging... and I haven't run out of things to say yet. LOL. People who know me would laugh. I can be a real talker when I get on a roll.
Interestingly, I'm a true introvert. While I'm not shy (anymore), I am definitely introverted - which is why working online has suited me so well. I can be as social as I please, and talk/blog away, all from my "comfort zone". We live in amazing times full of incredible opportunities - for anyone, anywhere!
I started out broke and clueless just like everyone else, and had to figure things out along the way, through MUCH trial and error. I now make a 6-figure income online and from home and have a fabulous lifestyle.
My Life As A Blogger...
I'm single, so my online business is the sole source of income for my family. In addition to a fun and rewarding career, I was able to be a full-time parent to my two children. I quit my last job in 1996 and have been working online/from home for more than 17 years now. The children were 5 months and 5 years old when I started. They're now turning 18 and 23. I just sent my youngest off to college (with no financial aid/grants/etc, just "bank of mom" lol). A proud moment indeed...
People often ask me how many hours I work in a week. The truth is, I have no idea. The lines between work and play have come so blurred at this point that it would be hard to calculate.
A lot of my "work" is mobile while I'm traveling the world, eating at interesting places, meeting cool new people, hiking, camping, skiing - you name it.
I'm sitting by a pool in Orlando, Florida as I write to you now. To me it's like having a conversation with friends over coffee (or wine, but I'm actually enjoying a coffee on this beautiful evening).
I love to be at home - and when I am, I'm a total homebody - but I also love to travel. Most of all, I love having the freedom and flexibility to do either, or whatever I please whenever the mood strikes me. I can "pick up my laptop and go" on a whim, fly to Australia for the weekend (crazy yes, but that was a fun trip!), or hang out on the back deck with my two goofy danes for days on end.
The Secret To My Success
My oldest child had special needs, which required me to be home full time and even home school for a few years. Let me clarify, too: I am NOT one of those super-moms. The idea of home schooling my children scared me to death lol. But there's nothing I wouldn't do for those two awesome kids.
I knew from the start that my son was "different", but it wasn't until he started school at almost 6 years old that it all came together. I sent him to kindergarten, and they sent him straight to the 4th grade. Three years later they tested him out of school altogether, at the age of nine.
He's a total whiz kid, a true genius, which of course came with it's challenges. He had grand mal seizures from the sheer amount of brain wave activity, for example.
Zack has been self employed before he was even employable. He also works from home as a brilliant 22-year old programmer, and just launched a startup called SmartDepart.com which was featured on Fox Business earlier this month.
He was a bit of a challenge to raise.
That was a major understatement. lol.
I remember the first time my daughter made a "C" in school. She was distraught over that grade. I hugged her tight and said "The fact that you're average is what I love most about you." While she's bright and beautiful and smart, my children are complete opposites in most ways - which always made for an interesting dynamic. Between the two of them... I had it all!
It was just the three of us after my (unexpected) divorce in 2000. I had to do a complete reboot on my life *and* business. I actually had a great job offer that year, but it came at a time when my son was going through a particularly hard time - and I simply needed to be home full-time for him.
I made it work.
I pushed myself night and day, 14 hours a day 7 days a week even. Whatever it took to get back on my feet and find some balance between being a provider and being a parent. I was the only provider OR parent they had. I had no choice.
I blame them for all of my success.
Without those challenges, who knows what path our lives would have taken, or how things would have turned out. We're all happy, healthy, and exactly where we want to be in our lives - and moving forward. What an accomplishment! My best achievement ever, for sure.
I think on it often, actually. I suppose I could have kept my job back in the 90's, continued to struggle, maybe I would have eventually gotten a better paying job - but would I have been able to continue working once my son became ill? I doubt it. And then what? I shudder to think...
I'm certainly not suggesting you need such harsh challenges to be successful. My life was anything but easy. That said, I do recommend you challenge yourself. Go out on a limb. Put yourself in a situation where you really have to push yourself.
10 Things I've Learned in 10 Years of Blogging
I started blogging in August 2004 and truthfully, I didn't have a clue where it would lead me or even what my objective was. It was the hot thing at the time, and so like most "hot things" I dove in and tested it out. And here we are, 10 years later.
With a full decade under my belt (which I've had to tighten up by the way, thanks to my other blog -lol), I thought I'd share some things I've learned along the way...
1. Don't worry if you suck at blogging. You get better with practice (and feedback). I say this from personal experience. Some of my early work really sucked. lol.
2. It gets easier the more you do it. No amount of studying, researching or procrastinating will make it any easier - or make you any faster at it. Put your fingers to the keyboard (consistently) and figure out your flow.
3. Forget perfection. It doesn't exist.
4. Don't try to be The Lone Blogger. Remove the word "competitors" from your vocabulary. Other bloggers in your niche can be a HUGE asset.
5. Stop writing, Start talking. Articles are boring. Have a conversation with your audience. Ever notice how responding to forum threads or emails is SO much easier than blogging? Get in that same "response mode" when you sit down to blog.
It makes a big difference.
6. Go to business or niche-related events when you can, or at least local meet-ups. Also find a great virtual mastermind group, or join smaller online groups of like-minded people. (On that note, read this.)
7. There is no one right way to do things. There's only YOUR way. Figure out what works for you, and do that. But don't get too comfortable. Constantly test and tweak, and push yourself to improve on what you're doing and how you're doing it.
8. Do more of what's working, and less of what's not.
9. Forget "making money online". Instead, focus on building an awesome business that makes money. There's a difference. Focus on creating a lifestyle you'll ENJOY through your business, and serving a market. That's the key to a sustainable business with long-term profit potential, which is exactly what you want.
10. BACK UP EVERYTHING. Seriously. Sh*t happens. Be prepared.
Oh - and one last tip: "Google Proof" your business. You don't live in a zoo, and your website(s) shouldn't either.
I just ran out of coffee, so we should wrap this up...
I've spent this month reflecting on what's worked well with my blogs & business over the last decade, and what direction I want to take things from here. I've also been doing A LOT of traveling. The "empty nest" phase is proving to be FUN so far.
I'm really excited about work and life both, and all the great opportunities to explore.
Leverage My Blogging Experience!
With over 17 years in business, and 10 years blogging, I have a lot of experience to share and stories to tell! I'm currently available to do text interviews, podcast interviews, or to work with you to create fresh new content for YOUR audience.
I teach my own method for successful blogging through weekly training modules at Niche Success Blueprint. (I just totally updated the sales page, so be sure to check it out!) I have an affiliate program for NSB that pays 50% commission instantly via paypal, which would be a great way to monetize an interview with me.
I'm actively looking for Affiliates and JV Partners to work closely with, so feel free to get in touch with me if you have ideas you want to brainstorm.
If you haven't already reviewed the Niche Success Blueprint, but want to promote it, download these four modules free as a preview. That will give you a GREAT idea of what to expect, and the quality of the training.
NSB has been a real highlight of my 10th year blogging, by the way. I really enjoy sharing all of my methods & strategies - and live examples from my own niche blog - and getting amazing feedback about the results people are getting!
* Seriously, I'm out_of_coffee and now it's crazy late to boot so I'll close with this question for you...
How long have YOU been blogging, and what do you find MOST challenging about it? Leave a comment below. Let's talk!
p.s. If you want to get in touch with me about Niche Success Blueprint, my affiliate program, an interview - or some other fabulous idea! - you can contact me here.
I look forward to hearing from you! *cheers*