I’m back with my second blog growth report this month…
and while I did make money, the past month and a half was hard on so many levels.
It was also my most unproductive month because so much of my time and energy was spent debating about direction, what I truly wanted and the relationships I wanted to build.
This report is different from my previous one and I talk more about the emotional aspects of blogging and running a business online. Here are my reflections of the past month before I dive into subscribers and income.
#1 Going it alone as a solopreneur
I’ve read many posts about how lonely it is as a blogger and solopreneur because no one gets it.
But this past month was when I actually felt it. I missed having a sounding board or a group of people to bounce ideas off.
While my husband is supportive of the time my blog takes and my blogging investments, he’s in the medical profession and has absolutely no clue about blogging or how things work.
This was the first month where I also felt distracted since I started blogging. I’ve always been a proponent of focusing on 1-2 areas for a quarter or more. This is what helped me grow especially in the early months.
But the past month was where I felt that I couldn’t just focus on ‘one’ thing and that there were so many moving parts that I had to juggle all at once.
Blogging is hard work and the more you grow, the more things get added to your plate. But you’re just one person with no team. I really had to dig down and think about the type of blog and business I wanted to run this month.
It was timely that I came across this post by Paul Jarvis about growth and it struck a chord with me.
We’ve all been told that we should run our online business in a certain way. Success is measured by having the ‘right mix’ of certain ingredients.
But for many of us success is if we make enough to cover the cost it takes to buy diapers or to buy groceries. Who is to say that that isn’t success?
Most of us will come to a point where we have to ask ourselves:
- What type of selling feels right to you
- What makes you happy
- How do you want your client/subscriber relationships to be like
- What are you good at and also love doing?
- What do you want people to feel like from your brand
The ‘right’ answer may not be the norm in your niche and industry. The more honest you get about this, the more clarity you’ll get about the type of business you want.
I have been thinking about these questions from the very beginning and had to revisit them to see if I felt the same way.
I received this email from a reader and it made me laugh out the way she was so honest but it also made me realize that – yes, I do love teaching!
I love to get to know my readers better…to be able to recognize their names.
I also truly enjoy writing. I connect best through my words than through any other medium.
#2 Not everyone is going to value your working relationship
This was tough.
At the end of the day it boils down to priorities. And if the relationship with you isn’t a priority, it just isn’t.
And that’s ok.
It’s hurtful to not have that support when you need it, especially when you’ve fully supported the relationship in every way you can… but it was an eye-opener for me and that I needed to be more discerning of who I worked or collaborated with and shared work with online.
Amidst this, I am grateful for the friendship and support of a few ladies whom I have started chatting with more regularly. It’s important to have blogging friends and network but not everyone is fortunate to be able to find a support group that they ‘click’ instantly with.
Many people go it alone. And if you’re someone who doesn’t have a biz bestie or an accountability partner, it’s alright.
It doesn’t mean that your blog will never take off or that you’ll never see success. It means that you’re accountable to yourself and you have to be disciplined with how you manage your time and schedule.
#3 Traffic and subscribers
My traffic hasn’t changed much from the last month.
In my previous report I reported that my subscriber list was at 936 after running a re-engagement campaign. I am at 1274 currently. If you notice from the graph below, it was steadily climbing month to month but there are visible dips in September and October from August.
That’s because I had only 1 guest post published in these 2 months. I have been guest posting very heavily since May but chose to wind down my frequency to concentrate more on my blog.
I haven’t written off guest posting completely. I built a lot of my audience via guest posting and need to find a way to fit it back into my schedule amidst my client work and blogging.
#4 Social Media
I had a sudden surge in subscribers from one of my older posts (from 5 months back) and I added close to 160 people in just these 2 months from that one content upgrade and pin.
Goes to show that it takes time and you don’t quite know when something will pick up.
I’ve also been slowly swapping out my old pins for new ones after taking this course by Mckinzie Bean at Mom Makes Cents. You can see how my new pins look here and how they compare with the old ones. Graphics and imagery have never been my forte and I’ve come a long way from how I used to be doing them.
It’s too early to say for sure how the results will be but for now the repins and clicks are definitely higher.
I enjoy posting on Instagram but haven’t been able to keep at it constantly. I recently installed the ‘Revive post plugin’ and it’s been looping through my posts and posting it on auto to Twitter which has actually brought quite a bit of traffic to my site.
#5 Course Investments
I invested in an affiliate course and completed it recently.
It changed the way I’ve been thinking about affiliate marketing and dispelled some serious myths I had.
You can read my interview with the course creator Michelle here.
I also put together a list of blogging eBooks and courses I’ve invested in. You’ll especially love the writing books by Henneke which are a steal at less than $5 each on amazon. Those books played a very big role in shaping the way I write.
#6 Opt-in Blueprint
This is a subject area that I love talking about and I’ve received so many questions on opt-ins from my readers. It’s always easier to look at something when you have some distance and I love helping readers take a second look at their opt-ins and what would work better for them.
#7 A/B Testing my landing page and email course
I wanted to test how a new name and new landing page for my email course would perform.
Some of you may have seen the title ‘Email List Jumpstart’ around. I was wondering if I was alienating a big group of people by naming the course ‘Email List for Newbies’. In reality, there are people who have had an email list for some time and still have no clue about how to nurture their audience.
Well, the new landing page didn’t do very well. It never moved past 23.7% compared to my original one which converts at 41%. So I switched back to my original and set-up redirects for my pins.
I would love to test my content upgrades as well and hope to do it soon.
I haven’t promoted coaching as yet and the clients contacted me directly to work with them. I do have a ‘work with me’ page and I’m still debating if I should put this up. At the moment, it’s linked within my eBook and I send it to those who contact me directly.
Don’t fall prey to the ‘highlight reel’
As the year comes to an end, this is when we look back and see how much we’ve grown.
As you set your new goals, focus on you. Don’t fall prey to the comparison trap.
We often see the ‘highlight’ reel in people’s lives. Not everyone shows their vulnerabilities.
Don’t lose out on your ‘why’ for wanting to do what you do
Determine your own version of success. It’s hard to do this amidst all the clutter.
But learn from and follow people who make you feel good about yourself, not lousy. Likewise, surround yourself with blogging buddies who are supportive and who give you the encouragement that your version of success is possible with baby steps.
Let go if you have to
Of toxic Facebook groups, people who drain your energy and negativity. I don’t mean to sound ‘woo woo’ but there have been several good meaning people who have been ‘burnt’ in Facebook groups just because they had asked for an honest opinion.
Creating and putting yourself out there is hard work in itself. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Share your thoughts
Let me know your thoughts on this second report. What are your struggles with finding clarity and your ‘why’?