This month is kind of a special month for me. I celebrate 8 years of being a full-time blogger and solopreneur…
Woohoo (I’m just doing a celebration dance in my office).
It’s been one heck of a rollercoaster journey so far, that much I can say.
And the thing is, I know that I still have a long, long old way to go. But that’s OK because I’m in this for the long haul.
Measuring my success a little differently
Let me ask you something –
How do you measure your success as a blogger and solopreneur?
Do you evaluate your traffic, subscribers, income, engagement, and authority, etc. and think the more of those things you have the more successful you are?
Do you measure your success by your conversion rates?
Of course, without most of those things you can’t really say you’re really succeeding as a blogger, right?
We all measure success differently, but for me, blogging and building my online business as a solopreneur has helped me achieve a different kind of success.
Traffic growth of Magnet4Blogging in the last 12 months.
Thrive Themes one of my favorite products that I use and promote as an affiliate on Magnet4Blogging
Sure, the traffic and income over the years have steadily grown upwards and I earn enough to mean that I don’t need to have a regular 9 to 5 job and everything else.
However, for me, the real reward has been attaining the complete freedom of not being constrained or limited by “time”.
You see, we can easily forget that “time” is ultimately the most valuable commodity we have in our lives.
So, blogging and solopreneurship have provided me with a steady income, but most importantly, it’s enabled me to have the freedom to organize my work around my life.
Freedom to balance work with life
Many years ago, when I used to be part of the 9 to 5 rat race, I was once told in a “motivational meeting” that work always came first and family and everything else came second.
If we wanted to make a name for ourselves in the company, then deadlines came first, profits and margins came first.
You had to put in everything you had if you wanted to succeed.
In fact, in the very place that I worked in, not a single soul in middle management gave a crap about your personal problems or your health. You just didn’t bring them into work.
They only cared about the numbers, statistics, facts, and figures.
I was kind of young and none the wiser back then and it took me several years to realize that all of those things that were being brainwashed into our heads was complete nonsense.
Seriously, what absolute trash talk when I think about it now.
Leaving the rat race, forever
Starting my first online business venture in e-commerce in 2005, and finally leaving the rat race in 2006 laid the very foundation for me to discovering blogging, website design, and solopreneurship in 2010.
Don’t get me wrong, it was one of the toughest decisions that I had to make at the time, and I didn’t really have the support of anyone sadly, but it has turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made.
To have the freedom to balance my work, which I’m already so passionate about today, around my life has been the ultimate reward for me.
Fast forward to 2018, I’m a happily married man. We have two wonderful children, and nothing is more satisfying and rewarding than being able to spend as much time with them making memories and watching them grow up.
10 important blogging lessons learned as a solopreneur
So, I’ve shared with you what being a blogger and solopreneur has meant to me, and still means to me today. And I’ve shared with you the rewards it has given me not just financially.
Let me now share with you 12 important lessons I learned over the years as a blogger and solopreneur.
#1. You’ve got to love what you do
I’ve always said that without passion, success in anything can come with a struggle.
It really doesn’t matter what blogging niche you’ve picked, if you’re not truly, madly, deeply passionate about it, you’re not going to win, sorry but that’s the honest truth.
No one ever achieved something truly remarkable that they hated doing, seriously, think about that.
The most famous Astronauts don’t put themselves through the vigorous, soul-crushing mental and physical training programs if they weren’t passionate about wanting to walk into outer space.
I went through many months of building my blog before I actually made my first affiliate sale.
I kept going and ensuring that the content I was producing was always top notch because I was in love with the process of blogging and writing content.
That hasn’t changed today.
Takeaway: Ask yourself this; If it meant that you couldn’t earn a single cent from your blog for the next two or three years, would you continue with blogging or building your personal brand business? If you answered yes, then you have the passion my friend.
#2. You don’t need to do this alone
Do you want to know why so many bloggers stop after a few months of blogging?
Well, one of the reason is that of the isolation blogging can put you in.
But here’s the thing, you don’t have to do this alone. If you choose to, then that’s entirely your choice, but it will be much harder for you to get noticed.
I know that it’s difficult in the beginning to start making friends in the blogosphere, but we’ve all been there.
The fact is that you have to step out from your blogging cage and start connecting with other like-minded bloggers right from the very start.
There is no shame in shouting out, “Hey I’m new around here, can someone help me out with this, that, and the other?”.
Takeaway: Join blogging groups on Facebook and LinkedIn if you can.
Sign up to blog community sites to gain more knowledge and ask for help when you need to.
If you’re in the marketing and online business niche, there are sites like GrowthHacker, BizSugar, and Inbound.org.
#3. Knowledge is power
And that’s a fact! So get reading books, learn new things, watch videos, sign up for some online courses, learn from other bloggers and solopreneurs, and most importantly, put what you’ve learned into practice.
#5. Fear will stop you… If you let it
One of the toughest things I had to do as a blogger and solopreneur is to step out of my comfort zone.
You can step out of your comfort zone in so many ways, it might be –
- To start a podcast and let people hear your voice for the first time.
- To create videos and let people see who you really are for the first time.
- To write a guest post for another blog.
- To get up and talk in front of a crowd of people.
For me, it was doing videos.
I’ve always hated the way I looked and sounded in front of the camera. But one day, I decided – “Ah screw it, I’m just going to be myself and get on with this”. And so I did it…
Takeaway: Start with a single step. Do something that will slowly but surely ease you out of your comfort zone. It could be something as simple as writing a guest post, or doing a blog interview, etc. What ever you decide to do, make sure you do it! Don’t let fear stop you. Don’t stay in the dark and hope that someday you’ll get noticed by chance. Get out there!
#6. Follow your heart and not the opinions of others
When I sat down and told my family and girlfriend (at the time) about my exciting online business venture idea in 2006, you’ll never guess what happened next.
Well, my family thought that I was mad giving up a perfectly fine job with a steady income to go chasing an unrealistic dream. And my girlfriend, at the time, decided to leave me.
On top of that, I was constantly battling against everyone’s thoughts and opinions about what I was doing and why I was doing it.
Some folks seriously suggested that I sought professional help.
Despite all of this, the tiny little voice in my heart kept saying, “Fabz, just keep bloody going mate”, and I did.
I was fortunate enough to have eventually found someone who shared the same dream and passion as me in 2008, and that someone became my life partner in 2016 when we got married.
Thank you, Samantha Van Marciano 🙂
Takeaway: It can not only be tough, but also disheartening when you don’t have the support from friends and families when you’re starting something different. Just think, if everyone just setteled and became what society intended them to become, how boring would this world be, right?
Follow your heart, always. Listen to what others have to say, even if it sucks and not what you want to hear. But at the end of the day, you know the saying, right?
You are the captain of your own ship, sail it in the direction your heart and soul tells you to, proudly.
#7. You just got to be yourself
Don’t pretend to be someone else, that is so important.
Just be the best YOU that you can be as you’re the only version of yourself in existence.
#8. You gotta win trust first
When people visit your blog or personal brand business website for the first time, they’re not really going to know who you are properly.
They may learn a few things about you and what you have to offer, sure, but they will certainly not trust you, not straight away anyway.
I’ve been doing this blogging and online business thing for 8 years now and I’m still working to win the trust of my audience and readers.
It’s a slow process that can’t be rushed, however, keep at it. The more trust you gain, the stronger and authoritative your blog/brand will become.
Takeaway: To win the trust of your audience you have to be seen as someone who loves to provide solutions to problems, and someone who cares.
The best way to do both those things is to keep creating great problem-solving content for your blog. Additionally, connect with your readers/subscribers and learn more about them and their needs. Let them know that you’re there to serve them the best that you can because you care to.
#9. If you think just about the money, you will fail
Earning an income from your blogging or personal brand business is the result of working hard, creating great content, connecting with your audience, providing incredible value, doing marketing and promotion, and all the rest of it.
Money should not be the reason for you to continue building your blog or online business, I’ve written about this so many times on Magnet4Blogging.
When you only think about the end result of earning an income from your blog or website, you can easily become disconnected with your real purpose as a blogger. Your readers, subscribers will notice that you’re not really there to help them as such, but rather just to make a quick sale here and there from them.
Takeaway: Focus on providing irresistible value first. Just go out there and over-deliever on everything you can offer your readers/audinece/customers that’s going to be valuable for them.
If you are providing a service through your personal brand business, make sure it’s the emost complete and most valuable service in your marketplace.
If you’re promoting third-party affiliate products and services, ensure you only endorse the most relevant, useful, and quality products and services. And, that you are writing the best and most honest reviews about these products and services.
#10. You gotta be patient
I know we live in a world where instant gratification is the normal thing these days, but anything that is worth working so hard for is worth waiting for.
#11. You gotta know when to reward yourself
Don’t forget to pat yourself on the back from time to time.
Reward yourself whenever you reach a particular milestone or have done something significant enough to help you move your blog or personal brand business onwards and upwards.
#12. Yo gotta be organized
Finally, one very important lesson I learned over the years as a blogger and solopreneur have been – Being organized is key!
Without proper organization, you can’t –
- Stay motivated.
- Stay focused.
- Make progress.
- Track progress.
- Ultimately, reach your goals (If you’ve set yourself any)
Takeaway: Organizing, scheduling, setting goals, tracking progress, prioritizing tasks for managing and growing your blogging/personal brand business can take a bit of time. To help you out immensely, I created the Ultimate Blog Planner workbook. A 27-page template workbook to help you stay on track with finding success online.
Blogging and solopreneurship can be extremely rewarding, and along the way, every blogger will experience highs and lows.
I have never experienced greater career satisfaction than I am now being a blogger and running my own digital media business with Magnet4Blogging.
I wanted to write a post to not only share my journey so far as a blogger and solopreneur, but to also share some of the valuable blogging lessons I learned along the way.
Hopefully, you can relate to some of these yourself, or if you’re just starting out, hopefully, you’ll know some of the things you might expect in your own journey.
The very best of luck.