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I write because it’s a creative outlet for me to simply let the world know what goes inside my head. While I do primarily talk about personal finance/money, I am not shy with the fact that I want to be a full-time content creator. I plan to document my blogging journey along the way every so often. I started writing nearly 4 weeks ago and have learned a lot. Here are my 10 lessons learned after 100+ Hours blogging.
Lesson #1: Stay True To Yourself
The reason why this site is called “Debt to Dough” is because not all of us have the priority of investing/saving money for retirement, etc.
The fact is most of us are in the weeds throughout the day and likely looking for additional help or guidance to make more money. It’s tough to think about retirement or saving 6 months worth of emergency funds when you are living paycheck to paycheck.
I grew up very poor and I will continue to talk about all things that I have done personally or have tested out with great confidence.
Lesson #2: It’s Okay To Pivot
To be frank, there are two things I’m really proud of with this blog.
- The name
- The content I’ve written
I had a vision of what I wanted Debt to Dough to look like. I launched after writing I was happy simply by the act of doing what I set out to do.
I’ve had plans to do guest posting, make some design tweaks, focus heavily on Content/SEO. The reality is that the more research I did for other sites, it was clear that I could get more traffic and help more people if I focus on social media. So I’ve been creating higher quality articles and spending my spare time on Pinterest.
That probably sounds crazy to some of you, but I’ve been really liking Pinterest.
Lesson #3: Schedule Time For Your Blog
I work the best/most efficient in the mornings and when I’m working at an office. My weekday schedule is this:
- 6:30am -> Wake Up
- 6:30am-7:30am -> Shower, brainstorm blog ideas, document / catch up on emails, head to the office.
- 7:30am-3:30pm -> Focus on my client work first! Then any remaining time is strictly dedicated to the blog and writing.
- 4pm-9pm -> This is when I spend time either working with affiliates, testing new products, surveys, working on social media, scheduling. This time isn’t dedicated, but it isn’t intensive as writing itself.
Speaking of writing…
Lesson #4: Figure Out Which Type of Articles Fit Your Style
I’ve written about 35 articles in the last month. Prior to that, I’ve probably written 30 articles in total over the last decade.
Not all articles are created equally.
There are certain articles that I really like doing, and some articles that cause a lot of mental strain and time. I’m trying to mix them up frequently so I don’t get burned out.
- Articles where I don’t need to do as much (or any) research and I’m speaking from my opinion/experience are my favorite articles, such as this one. They are very fast to write and IMO are relatable to people walking down a similar path.
- Listed Articles can be hit or miss. If I want to provide maximum value (ex: hidden credit card perks), then generally finding those hidden gems requires more research and reading the fine print. Sure, it could save me 45 minutes to cut 2 perks, but that doesn’t do anyone any favors.
- How-to articles are generally the most time-consuming. If there is one thing I’ve learned over my 32 years on this planet, is that you need to be thorough in step by step tutorials. I don’t care if they seem elementary, we were all beginners at one point.
Lesson #5: Create A Writing Calander
I feel like I have written about 5% of what I want to talk about. That means there are about 700 articles that are sitting in my head. I won’t be able to name them off the top of my head. But as they pop up in my head, I write notes to myself and put them on my Google document.
That means every morning when I decide what to write for the day, I can pick and choose what I’m in the mood to write. I’ve had days where I write 4 articles that seem to go very fast, but then others where 2 articles take up the full day.
Lesson #6: Just Start Writing
If you have already read any other article, you can get an idea of my disdain towards the current site design. But that doesn’t matter! If you have a passion, you can start writing right away!
You can get started for free, but to be frank, free won’t make you visible. I’m writing because I already have a marketing background so I know over time people will see my articles.
The reality is that in order to blog with any legitimate chance of success, you need to spend $10. (Shoutout to Bluehost for their $2.95/month deal you should take advantage of)
I don’t care if you write your articles in Microsoft Word, but until you have your own domain, you aren’t blogging.
On the flipside, I’ve caught myself “setting up” a blog but never actually writing a good 5-6 times in my life. I would much prefer writing first and then getting your website when you are ready.
RELATED: KEEP THIS PAGE SAVED OR SUBSCRIBE TO THE NEWSLETTER AS I WILL BE CREATING A BEGINNERS GUIDE TO BLOGGING FOR UNDER $10.
Lesson #7: Blogging is More Than ‘Just Writing’
“Didn’t you just say that you just need to write?”. I did, you need to “just write” as a way to start your blog. But as you start writing (especially in WordPress), you’ll begin to see that you need to categorize your articles, figure out titles, creating nav bars, thinking about colors, etc.
On top of that, if you want to try to get traffic, you might need to reach out to friends or learn to share your posts on social media.
I’ll admit, while I do read other blogs, I don’t comment as often as I should. I know I am missing out on opportunities to meet other bloggers and learn from them. While I don’t consider myself a “beginner”, it’s always good to recognize the whole scope and to continue learning.
Now, this isn’t meant to scare you. It’s mainly meant to set expectations. Similar to this blog, I don’t want to strictly dive into money hacks knowing that teaching the right fundamentals is much more important.
Lesson #8: Determine If It’s For Passion Or For Profit
I won’t hop on my soapbox and say “If you blog for profit you won’t be successful”. That is completely false. However, before you start diving into blogging, it’s good to have an idea if you are strictly doing it for fun, or if you have any monetization plans in mind (even if it’s for some extra beer money).
I said earlier that I want to be a full-time content creator. That implies that writing content helps pay bills and the mortgage. My goal for this blog has the goal of making money to sustain myself.
That said, I have been spending time working with partners and companies that I really like to see if I can get any referral money. One example is Pressable for small businesses. I go out of my way to recommend them to clients, it just happens that they will pay for any referral that goes their way.
If I were just writing without thinking about any potential kickback, I would be missing out on free money.
Lesson #9: It’s Okay To Be Visible
The biggest worry I had when writing or even being visible in videos is “what will people think of me?”. I think the more I write and the more I use Pinterest / reach out for guest posting the more comfortable I am in talking about the blog and talking about myself.
Often the hardest part of doing any commitment is just getting started. It’s a lot easier to make changes and fix things once you’ve attempted to build something from scratch.
Lesson #10: You Get Out What You Put In
I’ve been fortunate to have enough client work to sustain my day-to-day while I dedicate almost full-time to the blog. It did take me years to get to this point, but if you are thinking about blogging, reaching 100 hours might take you 2-3 months vs 3 weeks.
So keep your expectations in check. Do you want to see how much I’ve earned since putting in over 100 hours on this blog?
Remember, I’ve been primarily focused on writing. So the fact that I’ve only recently been ‘marketing’ a couple articles of my blog to see actual money being earned is a major success.
I’ll be as transparent as I can be with this blog on my income reports at the end of each month. I plan to be with this blog for the long haul.
Want to see how much traffic I’ve been getting since launch?
Day by day I’m starting to see more people. What’s crazier is that I’m getting traffic from Google. Considering I’m in a very competitive space, the fact that I’m showing up only 3 weeks post-launch is stunning!
We all got to start somewhere.
Hopefully, I’ve inspired some of you to decide to blog or to continue to blog!
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