Blogging 101: Blogger Expectations vs. Reality

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What are your expectations about blogging?

One of the things that might surprise you after you’ve started a blog is that the reality of blogging is very different to most of your expectations.

If you’re just starting out, I urge you to read through each of the items below and take note. They’ll help you get a better understanding of what you’re about to get into.

In doing so, you’ll know how to handle these situations… and avoid some common beginner mistakes along the way.

If you’re started your blog, see if things line up with your own experience. And let me know the similarities and differences in the comments below.

Blogging Isn’t a Real Job

“What’s blogging?”

“Is blogging a real job?”

“Why don’t you get a real job?”

Theses are just some of the things you’ll hear people say or ask you the moment you tell them you’re a blogger.

And before you started blogging, you probably thought it was just writing blog posts and creating beautiful images.

The Reality

Blogging is just like any other job out there. And it’s very REAL.

That said, it’s more like a business than a job.

Here’s why:

  • You work long hours, often more than 9-to-5 jobs when getting started
  • You will have to do (and learn) everything yourself (at least in the beginning)
  • You’ll get paid
  • You’re accountable for your own business (you don’t work, you don’t see results)
  • You don’t get paid for just showing up
  • You will need to spend to make money. And do your own accounting/balancing your expenses

So, from the outside looking in, blogging seems more like a hobby or something fun to do on the side.

But every blogger knows that if you want to make a living from it, it’s very hard work.

Running Your Blog is Free

Because it’s often seen as a hobby, it’s easy to think that being able to blog is free.

While that’s true in some cases (if you use a free blogging platform)…

It’s almost never the case, if you wan to make serious money from your blog.

The Reality

Like all businesses, blogging has costs. You’ll need to pay for:

  • Blog hosting
  • Design of your website (Blog Theme)
  • Social media marketing tools
  • Email marketing tools
  • Invest in learning (eBooks and Courses)

The good news is, it costs between $250 to $500 or so to start a blog.

That’s much cheaper than any other kind of business around.

The rest of the investment are your TIME and EFFORT.

This includes the time and effort you put into:

  • Learning everything (how to install software, use the software, figure out strategies that work, properly use social media for your business and many more)
  • Write content
  • Promote content
  • Build relationships with other bloggers
  • Get to know your audience
  • Grow your email list
  • And many more

It’s Easy to Make Money Blogging

You’ve probably heard or seen:

  • A travel or food blogger say how great it is to get free food, hotel accommodations, or trips
  • Some successful blogger saying how them earned over $1 million in a year
  • Advertisements that say you can earn your first $50,000 in 6 months
  • Or something like that

All of which leads you to think that making money blogging is sooo EASY.

In fact, you’ll be making your first few hundred or even thousand dollars in your first 30 days. And, earn a nice full-time income by the end of your first-year blogging.

Or…

You believe that your audience will follow all your recommendations much like how Kim Kardashian’s many millions of followers do.

So, all you need to do is suggest some product or create a product of your own and they’ll come in droves to buy it, right?

The Reality

Over 90% of bloggers fail.

That means, they either never made money from their blogs or made enough of it to sustain it as a means of living.

And, majority of bloggers don’t make more than $2,500 a month.

For most bloggers, it will take anywhere between 3 to 6 months before earning their first $100-$500.

And…

People won’t buy your products just because you say, “it’s GREAT!” or “it will change your life!”

Instead, you’ll have to earn their trust before they’ll hand over any of their hard-earned cash.

Here’s the good news.

If you put in the work, stay patient and learn how to build your audience’s trust…

You’ll be able to make a full-time living as a blogger. And more!

In fact, many bloggers make over 6-figures each year with elite ones earning over $1 million annually.

Blogging Won’t Take a Lot of Work/Time

blogging

How hard can blogging be, right?

You write a few articles, get noticed and become famous.

That’s what many people think.

The Reality

Blogging is a lot of hard work.

It’s just as tough or tougher than your 9-to-5 job because you need to do everything.

In addition to writing content, you’ll need to promote on social media, do SEO, and reach out to other bloggers.

Plus, somewhere along the way, there will always be unexpected surprises. You’ll need to put out these fires before getting back to the work you’ve scheduled for the day.

Finally, there’s a lot of analysis. Figuring out what works and what doesn’t is a big part of being a successful blogger.

That’s why you’ll see a ton of analytics software available.

Write About What You Love

This is one of the most common mistakes many beginner bloggers do. They write about what they love or want to talk about.

After all it’s your blog, right?

Yes, that’s true.

However, if you want to make money blogging, you’ll need to turn that concept upside down.

That’s because with blogging, it’s never about you.

Instead, it’s all about your audience.

They’re the ones taking time out of they’re day to visit your blog. And if you want to make any money blogging, they’ll be the ones paying for your products and/or services.

The Reality

What you write about should the intersection of these 3 things. These are something:

  • You like or enjoy spending time on
  • That has a market where people are willing to pay for what you’re offering
  • You know, are good at or willing to learn

Together, they will allow you to:

  • Keep on blogging and not get bored even after a few years
  • Be viable (or allow you to profit from your blog)
  • Have something unique and valuable to offer to readers (otherwise, why will they waste their time visiting your website)

In short, you need to be able to help people with a problem they’re having. This will be the #1 reason they’ll take time out of the their day to read or check out your blog.

Blogging Gets Easier Over Time

It depends.

If you’re a successful blogger or have figured out how to consistently make money blogging, then YES. Blogging will get easier.

By that time, you would have built an audience and a good-sized email list. Both will allow you to shift your work-life balance such that you spend less hours blogging.

But, it doesn’t always apply.

Why?

Because blogging as an industry keeps maturing. As a result, it’s getting harder to draw audiences.

There are more blogs around. There are more media besides blogging. And a few other factors.

Like all things, the more mature an industry gets, the more sophisticated things become.

This means you’ll need to keep learning to keep up with it. And since there’s more competition, it will become harder in general.

The Reality

Be ready to keep learning. There will always be something new that you’ll need to learn in order to stay competitive.

And, to keep failing as well.

Both are important aspects of becoming a successful blogger.

You’ll Grow Your Blog in No Time

When it comes to growing your blog, be it increasing traffic, getting more social media followers or building your brand, the blogging “pros” make it look very easy.

So you would think that you’ll be able to get lots of visitors in your first month of blogging. Build a solid following by your 6th month. And be an established blogger after your first year.

The Reality

It can take a while before you get enough visitors to make a good living blogging.

Blogging is all about people who come to your blog.

While you don’t need a lot of them to succeed, you do need a loyal following.

This means it’s very important to understand who your audience is, what problems they have and how you can help them solve it.

You’ll Always Be Vacationing or Somewhere Else

fun rewards

Let’s see, you’ll be on the beach in Bali with week, stay in a 5-start hotel next week and trek the Himalayas the week after that.

All the while blogging.

If you look at the Instagram or Facebook pages of some successful bloggers, you’ll think they spent majority of their time vacationing and living in paradise.

The Reality

They’re working all the time.

They may be on the beach or some resort. But rest assured your blogger is working.

If they’re a food or travel blogger, they’ll be doing all the behind-the-scenes research, photography and editing.

Meanwhile, other bloggers will show you pictures of their experiences. What you don’t see are the long hours they spend working while they’re there.

After A Write A Great Post People Will Line Up To Share It

You’ve spent the last 2-3 hours writing an amazing blog post.

All you need to do now is wait for people to discovery it. As the saying goes, “if you build it, they will come”.

The Reality

Unless you’re a celebrity or have an established brand before you wrote that post, nobody’s going to come read it.

…Not unless you promote it.

With over 600 million blogs on the web and over 1.5 billion websites, people have many other places to go online.

This means besides creating great content, you need to actively promote it in order for it to get any traction.

Everything Looks Perfect!

The background, their homes and rooms look like they come straight out of your favorite TV show or movie.

Everything’s just right. The design is awesome. And everything’s sooo clean!

The Reality

Everything gets prepared way before any photo or video is shot.

Furniture is arranged and the surroundings are tidied up.

What you don’t see is other parts of the home. That’s where you push all the mess to. At least temporarily.

After you take the video or photo, clean up starts.

Bottom line, the perfect pictures aren’t always the reality. But, they’re not far from it either. The extra cleaning, organizing and arranging all go a long way to make blogging backgrounds look perfect.

You’ll Get Free Stuff

free stuff

You’ve probably noticed your favorite YouTuber or influencer mention getting free stuff. It could be comped meals, airfare, hotel bookings or products.

That means you’ll get them too when you start a blog, right?

The Reality

Not really.

The thing is, free stuff only works for certain niches. These include food, travel, beauty and a few others.

For the rest of the niches, there aren’t any free stuff.

Secondly, you’ll only get free stuff if the company gets something in return.

Basically, it like “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine”.

That’s why you’ve probably noticed that only the biggest bloggers and influencers get these things. The rest are never offered anything.

That’s because the companies that offer them know that it’s these elite bloggers have large audiences who are loyal to them. And, having them use or mention their product increases potential sales.

So, if you want to avail of free stuff, you need to do 2 things:

  1. Pick the right niche
  2. Grow a large, loyal audience

It’s Easy to Work With Brands

Working with big name brands are awesome!

It works in many ways:

  • You can get free stuff
  • They’ll pay for your services or advertise on your blog
  • Make you a sponsorship deal
  • Let you be the face or one of the faces of their product
  • And more

What you don’t see is how these things get “ironed out”.

The Reality

Dealing with brands takes a lot of negotiations. That means TIME.

In almost all cases, it doesn’t happen in one sitting where you agree on everything.

Instead, there’s a lot of emailing back and forth before any of the terms are finalized.

Plus, you need to make every detail clear. And, understand everything they’re asking.

That’s because working with them is a “give-and-take”. Both sides need to mutually benefit for the agreement to succeed.

That means for any payment, product or exposure they’ll give you you’ll be giving them something in return. As a blogger, that often comes in the form of a review, featuring their brand or product.

Bottom line, you’ll need to well-known before brands will start working with you. At the very least, have some kind of audience.

And, when coming to terms with them, be ready to negotiate.

Conclusion

When it comes to blogging, reality is often very different from expectations.

Because blogging in its core is a form of marketing, the photos, videos and even titles you see are all idealized versions of what blogging really is.

That said, it’s a one of the simplest businesses anyone can start.

You only need a few hundred dollars to get your entire business started. And, if you put in the work, you’ll be able to live your life the way you want to.

What’s better than that?

What about you? What are/were the biggest differences you discovered about your expectations and the reality of blogging.

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