When I started working after college, I was an entry-level slave to corporate life. As a creative person struggling to adjust to this new world still trying to figure out where I wanted to go in my career, I started a blog. It began as an outlet for me, but grew into something much more than that.
My blog is now not only a portfolio of my work, but also a ‘small business’ that makes money. My blog has taught me about entrepreneurship, social media, digital content, networking, web design, time management, and ambition. Did I know I would learn so much and gain so much experience when I started the blog in 2011 and wrote my first post about how much I looooved Captain Morgan and Forever 21 (ugh, gross)? No. But I’m happy I did it.
Here are 8 things I’ve learned in the 5+ years I’ve run Forever Twenty Somethings. Hopefully this encourages you to start your own blog too!
1. Blogging can help you figure out what you love.
Not exactly sure where your passions lie? Writing can help you figure that out. When I started my blog, it was about drinking alcohol and listening to music. Now, it’s about relationships, career, personal finance, and growing up. I would never have known I was interested in writing about those things if it wasn’t for my blog. I also wouldn’t have known I was interested in social media and everything else involved with running a digital magazine if it wasn’t for my blog.
2. Blogging can help you advance your career.
If I never started my website, I would not be on the career path I’m on and I would not have half the experience I do on my resume. If you are into something, whether it be entertainment or fashion or history or finance, you can start a blog about anything. It shows people that you do more beyond your 9-5, it gives you valuable experience that you probably couldn’t get at your 9-5, and it shows how knowledgable you are about certain things.
3. Blogging is harder than it looks.
There’s a lot more that goes into maintaining a blog than typing a bunch of words and taking a bunch of pictures. You have to design a website, have a basic knowledge of coding, have an eye for design and photography, and have an ample amount of time to spend promoting your blog on social media in addition to writing and publishing content. Blogging is not easy, but if you love doing it, you won’t care.
4. Not everyone is going to understand the art of ‘blogging.’
Saying no to plans because you have to work on your blog may win you looks of confusion from friends and family, but that’s only because they don’t understand the hard work that goes into running a blog (see #3). This is especially true if you blog full-time. Most people won’t understand what you do all day and will constantly ask you to hang out. It’s like, hello, blogging is a job too.
5. If you want people to love what you write, you’re going to have to deal with people hating it.
Settling for everyone to everyone to ‘like’ what you’re doing won’t lead to success. Don’t be afraid to write how you really feel and share your opinions. Chances are, if you write from the heart, people will relate more than if you don’t. No, not everyone will relate to what you write, but the people who do will be more likely to read and share what you write.
6. Don’t write for other people. Write for yourself.
Yes, you may have to follow ‘editorial trends’ if you want to keep your traffic up, but don’t get so far off track that you don’t even know what you’re writing about anymore. Write what you feel about things you care about. If you don’t, your work may be good, but chances are, it won’t be great.
7. Don’t read comment sections.
Comment sections are a place of hate. If you do read the comments on something you write, don’t take it personally. In fact, embrace negativity. You’ve created something people hate, meaning there must be a good number of people out there who love it. Any talk is good talk, right?
7. Being a blogger doesn’t make you special.
Just because you’ve mastered the art of writing online and engaging followers doesn’t mean you’re any better than anyone else. As they say, ‘everyone is doing it.’ Blogging does make you more knowledgeable about digital and social media, so that’s a plus.
8. Being successful doesn’t mean having money.
I have had so many people tell me I’m ‘successful’ after seeing my articles online. I used to respond by telling people they were wrong and that if I were successful, I would be making more money from my blog. I used to get depressed when things didn’t go as planned. Okay, I still do, but I’m trying to stop. I remind myself every day that I am successful because I created something (a blog) that people read — and I love doing it. What is even better is that I make money off it, but the amount of money I make doesn’t define my success. Being successful is getting to do what you love every day, and that is enough for me. Something else that makes it worth it to me is that I get to help others (re: the FTS contributors) become ‘successful’ and figure out their passions too. It’s a win-win, money or no money.