The Secret of Success

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I kinda hate it when people ask me what I do for a living. It’s not that I’m embarrassed, but when you reply with “I’m a blogger”, it’s usually followed by a million other questions like “Is that like Facebook?”, “What’s a blog?” and “How do you make money?”

Another round of questions that I seem to get asked a lot are about how I became successful and profitable at something so many others try, and fail, to do. Like I have a secret that others haven’t quite figured out yet or something. People always want to know if there was one defining moment or a turning point that took my blog from a small hobby on the side to what it is today… but I’m sorry to report that the answer is always no.

Like anything in life, there is no quick fix or easy answer. The reality is that there is no single trick or technique to making your blog or business become ‘successful’. There is no ‘one size fits all’ guide or single path you can follow for guaranteed prosperity.

However when I think about it logically, there probably were three main things that I did that helped me become (however you might define it) successful in my field.

Determination

For three years I blogged without making a penny. I did it because I loved it. The thing about working for those years without thinking about how to make a living from it was that I had plenty of time to practice. I didn’t have the pressure of earning a crust to contend with. I was able to just learn and create without any pressure.

I had a full time job where I worked nights. I’d start at 6pm and work on until 2.30am. The only way I could blog too was to get up in the morning and do it – all day – before going to work again in the evening. Am I going to pretend it was easy? Of course not, I was bloody tired all the time, but it wasn’t even a question for me. I loved blogging so much that I kept doing it, even when I wasn’t seeing and rewards.

I was determined to make a success of my blog. I’d set my mind on something and I knew, without it, that I was unlikely to succeed. Overnight success is a myth. Hard work, putting in long hours and never taking no for an answer is the best way to give yourself a fighting chance.

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Consistency

An undervalued trait, but being consistent is vital to being successful in any form of business. You need to consistently blog, respond to emails, keep on top of your accounts and be creative… without consistency in all areas of your business you’ll fall behind, get out of practice or fall out of love with it.

The key to building a loyal audience or customer base is to offer something they want and that they can get whenever they need it. If you’re a blogger and you only update sporadically, your readers are unlikely to become invested in what you do or feel the need to pop back regularly to check for your latest updates.

Making mistakes

If you don’t make mistakes you’ve got nothing to learn and grow from. Not everything you try will work but you have to give things a shot or you’ll never move forward. Sometimes you need to fail. Failure forces us to re-evaulate and to move in another direction.

I’ve made some horrible mistakes and faux-pas in my six years of blogging, but without them, I wouldn’t know what I do today.

There’s is no single quick fix that will suddenly enable your business to reach its full potential. It will grow slowly through hard work, a determination to succeed and being consistent with everything that you do. You may have a few stand-out moments – when your blog traffic spikes, you win an award or you get featured in a magazine, but its actually what you do between those few and far between highlights that is the most important.

Supporting Cast

21 comments

  1. Thank you for the reminder, Kat! It can get tiring working so hard for years at something that you are just hoping will be ‘BIG’ like you believe it will. Never letting go of the dream is key to persevering and continuing the hard work!

  2. I love that you included consistency! I always tell clients that consistency is everything, especially when it comes to blogging. Mistakes are an important part of any journey, I’m glad you addressed that too.

  3. The whole article is great and very encouraging to those of us just starting out down this path but..wow, this:

    “If you don’t make mistakes you’ve got nothing to learn and grow from. Not everything you try will work but you have to give things a shot or you’ll never move forward. Sometimes you need to fail. Failure forces us to re-evaluate and to move in another direction.”

    That really hit home for me. As someone with a strong fear of failure, I needed to hear this. Thank you. <3

  4. Thanks for sharing Kat…. I write a blog that’s not connected to this industry and is more of a hobby. I love doing it and at first seemed like nobody was reading it! It’s slowly picked up and we have had a few good mentions on industry related web pages.

    Your words of wisdom have given me some hope 🙂

  5. Yes, thank you for the encouragement. I don’t think I knew how much work it would be to blog consistently, but it does seem that it’s the way to go. I’ll remember your words as I continue to struggle with everything Google lol. Love your photos!

  6. Currently sitting with a glass of pinot in hand, my mind full of self doubt and wondering what I have done and whether i am on the right track. I have just stubbled across your strong words of wisdom, advice and wealth of experience. Thank you thank you… onward and upward, chinchin xx

  7. SUCH good advice!
    I just launched last week and have ‘consistency’ on the brain – it’s really hard to hold back from over-posting initially and instead keep material in reserve so I can consistently post. I’ve realised that overdoing things at the beginning and burning myself out/dropping the project is a huge past pattern of mine so I’m very aware of holding back and staying sensible!

  8. Thanks for the inspirational post Kat!

    This is exactly what I needed to remind me that we do things for the love & passionate of it and other people’s doubts of ‘how you’ll make a living doing what you love’ is not relevant.
    I’ll bookmark this page and when shit gets rough I’ll read it again … and again … and gain 🙂

  9. YES! This is so, so true. I spend every waking hour on our wedding photography business, and I don’t regret it!! It’s been a humbling, slow process but so very rewarding seeing the momentum building.

    Every single thing you pointed out is something I’ve learned through experience and sometimes embarrassing mistakes, and it was a relief hearing someone as successful as yourself admit that you have done the same during your career. We’re all human!

    In the end, our work will speak for itself and others will gravitate towards it naturally if we apply ourselves in all the areas necessary.

    Thanks so much for a great post. <3

  10. Remember that guy from Pineapple Studios? Andrew Stone, who said “It takes ten Years to become an overnight success . . . ” but then he added the fateful words “and I’ve been at it for 15”

    It doesn’t always matter if you’re making lots of money, or if you’re working all the time, o even if everybody loves what you do. Most people don’t get to love their jobs, but I do!!

  11. Thanks for this post, Kat. It’s just what I needed to hear. After months and months of debating (Am I good enough to start a blog? Will anyone read it? Etc etc) I just did it. If anything, it’s a hobby, a way to write and get things out of my head and if people read it – great. If not, I get to record my journey through the next few years of my life and have something to look back on. I’m slowly ploughing my way through all of the Green Room posts… thanks for your brilliant and honest advice. You are inspiring.

  12. Hi Kat
    Thanks for the great advice and what a brilliant blog to encourage us newies to the world of blogging. I have been running my wedding planning business and work full time so you it a cord and yes it bloody hard going. Your wise words have given me the motivation to carry on, so thank you very much x

  13. Thanks, Kat! I’ve been following your blog for a long time and was waiting for this post. I have been blogging regularly for a year now and things are going in the right direction.

    It’s helpful to know that it took you 3 years to get some return on the time you invested in your blog.

    Thank you for being such an inspiration!

  14. This is absolutely true! I have been blogging for a few years and this is the year I am planning on taking it to the next level. It definitely takes dedication and getting over the fear of “what if someone hates it?” attitude. Plus, I am investing in my blogs (by going to Blogcademy in Vancouver YAYAY!!) and I feel this is one of the best investments I can ever have made and I haven’t even attended yet!!

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