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.
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.
Photography Credit: Janneke Storm
With my adventures down under soon drawing to a close, this week I’ve really started to think about my goals and plans for 2014. While, yes, it may be a little intimating to ponder a whole new set of tasks and things that need to be achieved, it is one of my favourite things to do. Someone in our Auckland workshop this week asked me why it was important to set yourself goals and commented that she was scared to do so in case she didn’t achieve them. I told her what I’m telling you now.
Goals are great because they not only set your head in the right space and give you something to aim for, by committing them to paper (whether publicly or privately) you are also much more likely to achieve them… and if you don’t, well that’s OK too, you have something to keep aiming for next time. Without goals we simply plod along aimlessly, having a concrete benchmark to hit is a massively powerful tool in our business arsenal.
As the latter part of the year creeps up on us, and if you haven’t already, I’d like to encourage you to set some 2014 goals for yourself and your business.
So tell me, what goal would you set yourself if you knew you couldn’t fail?
♥ Why creative people sometimes make no sense
♥ What you fail is more important than if you fail
♥ Does my business idea have potential?
♥ Success is for the lucky
“In business or entrepreneurialism especially, more luck and serendipity is required than anything else. So the only way to reduce the probability of loss is to try experimenting with new ideas as often and as publicly as possible. This is the only common thread with successful entrepreneurs: they keep trying different ideas until one sticks”
I’m in a quandary… I’m expecting my first baby in three weeks time and am obviously not going to have time to post on my blog as regularly in the coming months. My blog is a wedding blog and is fairly new (only launched five months ago) but it’s going really well and I want to keep the momentum going in the best way possible.
I have two questions. Firstly, if it’s not going to be updated for a while do I need to have a post explaining why, or can I just leave it standalone with the content as is? Obviously viewing figures are going to go down whilst I’m not updating regularly – there’s nothing I can do about that – but do I need to tell the world that I’m on a little maternity leave?
Secondly how often, as a minimum, do you think I should be aiming to post? Do readers genuinely expect updates or can they be happy with the content as is? I look forward to hearing any thoughts.
Well firstly, congratulations. It’s going to be a super exciting time for you. If you want to keep blogging you’re going to need to have a plan because I imagine you’re going to have your hands full!
A blog is like a baby in itself. It needs to be nurtured, to be given regular love and attention or it won’t continue to grow. So, yes, if you want to keep the blog going in some capacity, you need to be posting regularly. How often you post isn’t actually the most important thing, as long as you make the commitment to update at regular intervals. Most of all you need to find a schedule that works for you.
Remember, if you don’t blog, no-one is going to tell you off. You need to be accountable for whatever you decide to do otherwise it can be all too easy for it to fall to the wayside. You’ll wake up one day and think “Oh I’m too tired/ busy today, no-one will mind if I don’t blog” and you’re right, they won’t, but without the commitment to do it, one day will quickly turn into two… to a week… to a month… and soon enough you won’t have blogged for a year. You’ll have no readers left and you’ll basically have to start again from scratch.
Photography Credit: Lakshal Perera
Hello from Auckland! Our alarms went off at five o’clock this morning and we were back on the road, heading to New Zealand for our third class on this Antipodean adventure. Although Gala, Shauna and I have been having an absolutely fantastic time down under, it really has been all go go go. We’ve been pretty un-Rock n Roll and spent most of our down time in our PJs, laying about in whatever hotel or apartment we happen to be holed up in.
After teaching this weekend, we hop on yet another plane down to Wellington to visit Gala’s parents for a few days before heading back over to Melbourne for our final workshop of 2013! It really has been such an incredible trip but I sure am missing Gareth and those kitties of mine. But – yay! – only just over a week until I can see all their cute little faces again.
In other news, I’ve been invited to speak at Enterprise Nation‘s Blogging for Small Businesses event in London on December 3rd. I’ll be sharing my blogging journey and letting you in on just how I turned my hobby into a full time business. PLUS it’s completely free to attend. I’d love to meet you there!
So let’s check out some of this week’s most inspiring business links shall we?
♥ 10 reasons why Kate Spade is the queen of digital marketing
♥ 20 entrepreneurs reveal practical wisdom to succeed in business
♥ 98% of your paid ads are a colossal waste of time
♥ Want to be more productive? Do less!
“Doing less will help you accomplish more.
We have to start by redefining productivity, because the current definition is clearly broken. When was the last time you finished everything? What was the last time you thought, “I’m so productive that I got it all done.” and didn’t have to wake up and do it all over again?”
These days it seems that branding is the hot topic within the wedding industry, especially for photographers. We certainly discuss it quite a lot at Photography Farm and we are very lucky to have photographer’s brand expert Melissa Love join us to share her expertise. When I first started shooting weddings, brand simply wasn’t an issue. It was enough to take good photographs and make sure that you were found in the right places. However there has never been more wedding photographers competing against each other for potential business, so of course branding can be one of the elements that can help us to stand out.
But what about a USP? Before working on your brand, have you given any thought to it? I don’t hear people using this term any more, it’s kind of fallen out of fashion along with shoulder pads and pagers. Yet if we all defined our USPs before looking at branding, it would be much more likely that we’d each end up with much more unique brands and websites. These days it seems like there are way to many companies with very similar website designs.
So usually I open these Business Bites posts with some kind of work-related lesson that I’ve uncovered over the past seven days… but when you’re having so much fun exploring the Queensland coast there’s no time for nonsense like that!
After our surf lesson at Surfer’s Paradise we checked into our hotel for the night, QT Gold Coast. I’ll be doing a much longer post on this hotel chain at a later date because it was so damn amazing and you all need to know way more about it than I could fit into this short intro. After a blissful night’s sleep we hopped on a plane to Cairns and took the hour drive to our epic ‘blogger mansion’ (as we’ve dubbed it!) and from my Instagrams alone I’m sure you can tell that it’s pretty damn ridiculous.
And then it was time for pièce de résistance – snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef! Gala and Shauna have been feeling a little poorly this week so they stayed back at the house, but our photographer Janneke and I weren’t gonna let that stop us. Finally, yesterday we went jungle surfing in the rainforest where we were zip-lined through the trees and we all even went upside-down!
PHEW! This week has been nothing short of incredible and I can’t thank Tourism Queensland enough for spoiling us much more than we’d ever deserve!
Our first Blogcademy class is taking place in Brisbane this weekend so it’s back to the daily grind… although when you’re in Australia talking about your favourite subject it’s really not that much of a drag at all…