How to Become a Successful Blogger on Your Own Terms

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How to become a successful blogger  on your own terms

 

Before I became a blogger, I was an elementary school teacher.

I loved the kids, and I loved teaching. (Which is why I now teach blogging to women.)

I left the public school system because of all of the rules.

And all of the people looking over my shoulder, making sure I was doing it “right.”

It didn’t matter how much my kids were learning, or how happy they were to be in my classroom. What mattered most was stringent adherence to the rules.

Blech.

That’s why I went off on my own and started working for myself.

But the great irony is, in becoming a blogger and entrepreneur, I (and probably you) ended up seeking out the rules.

I asked, What’s the best way to get seen online?

I wondered, What does [insert blogging expert here] say about how to write a compelling post?

Instead of embracing the freedom of entrepreneurship, I actively looked for rules to follow.

And here’s the problem with that.

No one ever became a huge success by following other people’s rules.Click To Tweet

No one ever stood out from the crowd by being a sheep.

And, the real kicker?

Other people’s rules and formulas will rarely work for you.

Because you, my beautiful and unique blogger, have your own path to success that no one else has ever walked before.

Sorry to break it to you.

But there are a few ways to find blogging success on your own terms. Here they are.

Define your own success

First, define success for yourself.

If that’s making 10k a month, great.

If that’s making enough to stay home with your kids, wonderful.

If that’s creating a community of women who support each other to explore new things, terrific.

You’re allowed to dream up whatever version of success you want.

2 ways to dream up your own version success:

1. Visualize it.

Find a comfortable spot in your house, close your eyes, and imagine what blogging success looks and feels like for you. What would your day look like? What would your online interactions be like? How would you feel about yourself? Make it come alive in your mind.

2. Write a letter from the future.

Imagine you’re a year into the future. Write a letter to yourself about all of the amazing things that have happened. Describe your success in great detail. Where have you been interviewed? What do you do with your days? What does your bank account look like? Include everything that’s important to you.

Stick to the habits that work for you

Habits are those daily activities that make things happen for your blog.

And I have something to tell you that you’ll probably find very relieving: You only have to do the ones that actually work for you.

Forget about checking Instagram every 3 hours if you hate Instagram.

Forget about blogging 4 times a week if that drains you.

Forget about working out in the morning if you’re not into it.

Figure out what works for you and do that, and only that.

You’ll know it works if it:
Gives you more energy
Makes you happy to be alive
Increases your productivity
Makes you look forward to getting up in the morning

Figure out which stats matter to you and forget the rest

On that same note, you’ll know a habit is working if it’s reflected in your stats.

But which stats?

There are sooooo many stats we can look to as bloggers, from page views to email subscribers.

I hate to break it to you, but most stats don’t actually reflect anything meaningful about you or your blogging success.

But it’s easy to get sucked in and use them as a measure of your self worth.

For me, the only stats that really matter are:

  • The # of members in Have Your Cupcake
  • The # of email subscribers on my email list

That’s pretty much it.

Do I want more Pinterest followers, Facebook group members, and page views? Heck yeah.

Do I spend time worrying about those things? Absolutely not.

And because of that, I not only spend less time worrying, but I also can shape my daily activities around doing things that will make an impact for me and my business.

So determine what stats actually matter for your blog and business, track those, work on improving them, and forget the rest.

Wondering how to determine what matters?

Take another look at your definition of success.

Devote yourself to your own voice

You can write as many formulaic blog posts as you want, but they’re not going to get you noticed.

You can follow what [insert blogging guru’s name here] says to write about, but it’s not going to make you stand out.

The only way to get noticed in the crowded blogging world is to honor your own voice. That’s it.

Easier said than done. I know.

Well, it may not be easy, but it is completely essential to your success as a blogger.

Do this. Define your voice and then keep writing.

And trust yourself. Those blogging gurus (including me) don’t know anything about you or your unique path. Just remember that while you’re searching for yet another “blog post formula” that will make you go viral.

Understand what motivates you

Here’s what I’ve experienced in my 5 years as a business owner:

Nothing happens as fast as you want it to. Nothing.

So you have no choice but to keep pushing long after the blogging honeymoon period ends. (And it will end.)

When your honeymoon period dies a sad death, what’s going to keep you coming back and doing the work?

Is it your desire to connect with others?

Is it your dream of financial freedom?

Whatever it is, figure it out, and then, when you decide you’ve had enough of blogging, you’ll be able to dig down deep and go, Ah, that’s why I’m still doing this insane blogging thing.

But beyond that deep motivation, also know yourself well enough to understand what motivates you in general.

Is it giving yourself rewards? Is it connecting with other bloggers? Whatever motivates you, keep it front and center in your life.

Create a perfect support system for yourself

I’m a big believer in getting the support of others.

Blogging is a solitary activity for most of us. It involves lots of coffee and finding a quiet place to sit and write.

But it’s much harder to be successful if you don’t reach out and connect with other bloggers.

So figure out what you need to be successful. For me, it’s 2 mastermind groups, 2 accountability partners, a thriving blogging community on Facebook, and support from my husband and family.

Yeah, that’s a lot of support. And it’s why I’ve been able to make a full time income from my blog.

Give yourself a break

Did I mention in the intro that I also quit teaching because my boss bullied me and made me feel like crap?

Yeah. That happened.

And the sad thing is, I am often just as bad as my asshole boss was.

I don’t give myself breaks. I constantly tell myself I’m not working hard enough. I don’t give myself credit when I get positive attention, and only focus on the negative.

As business owners and bloggers, we forget to be good bosses to ourselves.

And what’s less motivating than a negative voice in our heads constantly screaming at us to do more?

For me, part of being a “successful blogger” is enjoying my life. Having more freedom. Appreciating myself more.

And being able to go to the beach on a Tuesday without worrying about blogging the entire time.

Give yourself peace. Give yourself happiness. Give yourself a break.

Your blog will still be there when you come back. I promise.

Don’t be afraid to experiment

Experimentation is the key to making things happen for you and your blog.

Try things out. Write a blog post that flops. Start an Instagram account that fails.

Don’t let your fear stop you from writing that post you just know needs to come out (but that you’re terrified no one will like).

Do stuff just to see if it works.

Because some of it will be a smashing success.

Deal with your mental shit

Do you know what will get in the way of your success the most?

It’s not your competition.

It’s not the people out there who disagree with what you’re doing.

It’s your own mental shit.

It’s the voice in your head telling you that you’re not good enough.

It’s the unspoken fears that keep you from being creative.

It’s the feeling that you don’t have what it takes to be a successful blogger.

Here’s how to deal with your negative thoughts:

Whatever those negative thoughts are, write them down.

Ask yourself if they’re true (SPOILER ALERT: They almost never are)

Write down everything you are missing out on because of those negative thoughts.

And then replace them with positive, true, creative statements.

You may have to do this everyday. But it’s worth it to slay your own internal demons.

Seek out the knowledge you need right now

I firmly believe that successful bloggers are bloggers who seek out knowledge.

Bloggers who learn on a constant basis.

And bloggers who know what they need to learn and focus on that, and only that.

Just take the step in front of you.

If you need to climb a mountain right now, don’t learn how to create a bridge across the river that’s coming up in 500 miles.

If you’re just starting to write content, forget about creating an email opt-in freebie. Instead, write the best content you can right now.

You can learn about email list building later.

Keep going

In the end, the bloggers who succeed are the ones who keep going.

That’s all I have to say about that.

How to become a successful blogger on your own terms

To sum up, to find blogging success on your own terms, “all” you need to do is:

  • Define your own success
  • Stick to the habits that work for you
  • Figure out which stats matter to you and forget the rest
  • Devote yourself to your own voice
  • Understand what motivates you
  • Create a perfect support system for yourself
  • Give yourself a break
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment
  • Deal with your mental shit
  • Seek out the knowledge you need right now
  • Keep going

It’s not easy. But it’s totally worth it.

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  • Monica Bruno

    Fantastic post, Daniela! And it’s exactly what I need to hear right now. I’m so grateful for Have Your Cupcake. I know it’s what helps me keep going on this crazy blogging journey.

    • Daniela Uslan

      Thanks Monica! I am so glad that we’ve become friends on this journey. Keep going! You are an inspiration to me and to so many other people!

  • Sue Anne Dunlevie

    Hi, Daniela,

    This made me chuckle a little. You’re so right, most of us sought out blogging and working from home to escape the rules, only to start
    out following a new set of rules. How wrong we were!

    I love the idea of writing a letter to the future you. I recently discovered Future Me, where you can send an email to yourself in the future. I may give it a try!

    Thanks,
    Sue

    • Daniela Uslan

      Thanks Sue! That sounds like a cool program. I will definitely check it out!

  • G2W

    I love this post Daniela— Yes, we seem to always be looking to follow rules, huh? I’m a big rule follower,…but you are right,…part of doing your own thing is that it is your OWN thing! Rules and fear of not following the rules can really be stiffling. I guess, for me, I have to figure out how I would visualize / define “success”. I guess I’m not quite sure yet! Seems like a good exercise to try to define the top 5 things that you visualize as indicators of your success. Have Your Cupcake is such an incredible group and I have found so many answers there! Thank you for devoting yourself to us!

    • Daniela Uslan

      Thanks for your comment, Gigi! I am so proud to have you in Have Your Cupcake. I of think that your blog is unique and different. I can’t think of anyone else’s blog that is similar to yours – or that has such breathtaking photos!

  • Daniela Uslan

    Thanks Sara-Rae! I’m glad it came at the right time for you!

  • Daniela Uslan

    Thanks Allie! It’s so important – but also so hard sometimes to stay true to yourself in general, and in the crazy blogging world. I’m glad that you resonated with this post!

  • Daniela Uslan

    It is overwhelming. Just take a deep breath and keep going!

  • Aarika Chilson

    Defining success and finding your voice are two fabulous reminders. Thank you, Daniela! I love this post. It’s interesting that when we choose to blog its often to escape “structure” or rules, yet it’s often the necessity of rules and structure that help us succeed. =) Writing a letter to my future self is a brilliant idea. Thanks so much!

  • Hey Daniela,

    Were you reading my mind, this is a topic I’ll be sharing myself next week. I did an interview last week with Jayme Soulati and we talked about why what I’m STILL doing continues to work. It’s because I’m doing what’s right for me and no one else. I don’t listen to all these so called gurus who are telling me I should be doing this or that. Maybe that’s what you should be doing but what I’m doing is working just fine for me thank you very much.

    I’m glad you spilled your guts with this topic. Success means different things to different people and we’re not all going for the same thing. That’s okay too! That’s why there is SO much information out there to help us along the way. We just need to remain true to ourselves, that’s all.

    I’ve never done the letter to my future self but that’s a pretty cool idea, thank you!

    Way to go Daniela, sharing all this wise advice with us. Thank you for this and I’m off to share this one as well. Hey, have a great day and a super fun weekend okay!

    ~Adrienne

  • Hi Daniela,

    I found your post on Triberr and had to come by and read it. I enjoy reading how one started their blogging journey. 🙂

    Our stories are somewhat similar in that I didn’t have any blogging experience either. My background is in sales marketing and customer service and I left because of the long hours.

    You’ve shared some wonderful advice for new bloggers who are still struggling to get their blog off the ground. I like the idea of writing a letter to our future self…I need to try that.

    The best advice I ever got was to run my own race and not worry about what others are doing. Instead of letting the green monster take over, look at what successful bloggers are doing and mirror that but with our own spin.

    I agree with you 100%….blogging is hard but it’s so worth it.

    Thanks for sharing. I enjoyed reading this post and will definitely come back to read more. 🙂

    I’m passing this along! Have a great weekend.

    Cori

  • What a great topic for a post, Daniela.

    Plus, I learned something new about you… I didn’t know that you were previously a teacher. Good to know!

    “It’s the voice in your head telling you that you’re not good enough.”

    ^ This line really resonated with me.

    When I polled my mailing list of freelancers the other day to see what their greatest challenges are, the number one reason I got back from them was, “I’m scared to pitch because I’m afraid I’m not good enough.”

    As the saying goes, doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.

    The internet has created this awesome place though where we can build our own digital businesses on our terms — no one else’s. It’s a beautiful thing, really.

    Great stuff!

    Brent

  • Monica Schwartz

    Hi Daniela, this is the first time I read you, and I am very happy to have found you. I can already think of several people (besides myself) who would benefit from reading this post. Great article, great topic, with real, helpful tips. Looking forward to more.
    Monica