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Taking Pleasure Seriously

10 Things I have Learned in 3 Years of Blogging

One of the most exciting things happened to me this month, three years ago…

My blog was born!

I can’t believe I started my blog in 2015! I have been a blogger  and have been doing freelance work for the past three years and now and I am so happy that I get to do what I love as part of the business I built with my own two hands. Since starting my blog I got to do many amazing things and so many doors – that I never even imagined existed  – have opened before me. I participated in leading brands’ campaigns, was interviewed by the Israeli GoStyle Magazine, had my own spot on a regular television show, been a guest at some of the most beautiful hotels in the world, advised dozens of bloggers and small businesses, met interesting people from around the world, and designed social media visual branding strategies for plenty customers. I am grateful each and every day for the fact that my work allows me to have all of the freedom I need, and motivates me to develop each day anew.

A blog birthday is an excellent chance to ponder over the last three years as a blogger and to share what I‘ve learnt along the way. From my first, hesitant days, long ago, when I thought to myself “what the heck am I doing?”, until today, after reaching the confidence of knowing that I do exactly what it is I need to be doing, and I would never change this job for anything in the world. The decision to start this blog is definitely one of the best choices I have ever made.

Today, I’d like to share with you the top ten lessons I have learned from being a blogger for the past three years.

Let’s go!

1. SELF DISCIPLINE IS A MUST

As an independent blogger I have a LOT of free time. In fact, I can do what I want – sleep in and take naps on a daily basis, wear PJ’s to work, have binge marathons whenever I’m in the mood, go shopping on any morning during the week, and go on vacations without having to answer to anybody. I do take advantage of some of them {as you probably noticed ?} But with such freedom, comes responsibility. In reality, when you have a blog, and want it to succeed as well, it is important for self discipline, order, and organisation to be in the picture.

Usually, at work, your boss is mainly the tough figure who sometimes needs to motivate you at work, make sure you keep up with the schedule and take less breaks when necessary, even when you’re not exactly in the mood to work. As a blogger and owner of an independent business it is my job entirely to be the annoying boss… and you have no idea how tough of a boss I can be… ?

So it’s true my job is mostly made up of things I love to do, like writing, photographing, and travel the world, but in many aspects it is a job like any other and includes things which at times can be less than great, like the financial aspect and an inbox exploding with emails. I take on different roles – I am writer, photographer, editor, and marketing director, accountant, customer service manager, and the list goes on…. The bottom line is that to run a successful blog you simply can’t neglect any one of the roles, and that’s why self discipline is so major.

When it comes to caring for my blog and business, my self discipline comes naturally as I am very passionate about what I do. Still, I too don’t always feels like taking on one of the roles of the business, and sometimes I feel like taking an unlimited break from my computer. But, because I set myself goals I am determined to reach them. Since I have taken my blog very seriously from day one, I see the blog advance each day and am filled with pride and joy.

2. …BUT YOU’VE ALSO GOT TO KNOW TO LET THINGS GO

One of the things that took me longest to understand, and which I’m still learning, is how important it is to take breaks and let things go, every once in a while. From my point of view creative work like blogging means freedom, flexibility and lots of opportunities. But as with everything in life, blogging also has a full learning curve in ups and downs. One day I can be thinking “Yes, I am really on the right path”, while the next I think “I have no idea what I’m doing”. I slowly came to realize that nothing is 100% perfect and that it’s ok to feel like there is nowhere else to go – which is completely fine.

Motivation, inspiration and creativity come and go. If I had a not-so-great day and the words didn’t flow out of me like I would have wanted them to, or pictures that I take don’t seem too great in my eyes, instead of freaking out about it and becoming frustrated , I try to get busy with something else. There is so much to work on when you manage a blog, so there is always something else to tend to. On days when I really feel like doing nothing, and I feel like everything I touch goes bad, I try not to be too hard on myself and distract myself by watching some good ol’ trash on TV {hey channel E! ?), going to the beach, or simply reading a book or a magazine. Often, a few hours later, or the next day, inspiration returns naturally and I manage, quite easily, to work on something that beforehand I would have been stuck on for hours and hours with no results.

I am still learning to let go and not take it all too seriously, enjoy the process, try new things, and give it my best. Sometimes it's hard to let go, which is something I'm still very trying to work on, but after 3 years as a creative business owner I fully understand the importance of breaks for maintaining concentration, inspiration and productivity.

3. ACCEPT THE UNEXPECTED

If someone would have told me that I will have my own spot on a regular television show I would have thought they lost their mind. Me? Talk? On TV? No way.

Perhaps what I am about to write is going to surprise you, in light of the development of the last few years – but before the blog, I was very shy. Until a few years ago I was even shy to talk on the phone with people I don't know! Yes, you read correctly… I remember when I was working for a small marketing office in Eilat, one of the jobs was to call different companies and offer them our services. It was a nightmare! The words didn’t flow and I was so ashamed to even sa the first “hello” of the conversation. And don’t get me started on the meetings I had to attend…

It’s only been 3 years since then and so much has changed – and I owe full credit to my personal change and development to my blog! This blog opened so many doors for me, and forced me to deal with situations that I used to do everything to avoid, and this is certainly one of the best things that happened to me.

A very important thing I learned being a blogger is that there is a limit to preparing for something new, sometimes you just got to go for it and deal with it. Many of the things I have done today thanks to my blog – the TV show, magazines interviews and online interviews, advisor to bloggers and businesses, photography, and visual strategy development for brands – none were part of my plan when I first started my blog. These are unexpected things which stemmed from my advance as a blogger. I do not think you can expect at first that everything will be clear and easy. A blog is a very dynamic thing, there are many changes and sometimes even uncertainty, and this is one of the nicest things in blogging – it constantly pushes for development and progress.

4. IT'S IMPORTANT TO BUILD A STRONG SUPPORT SYSTEM

With all the great things involved in running a blog, there are also times that are harder and less glamorous. You have no idea what you're doing at all, time periods when you can not stop comparing yourself to other bloggers and others when you just need someone to tell you everything will be fine – that this too shall pass.

When I first started the blog, approximately 98% of the people I knew didn’t even know what a blog was and why i’m doing it. I’m pretty sure most people assumed it was just a whim and that nothing real will come of it… I mean, anyone who doesn’t know what a blog is can’t possibly understand its enormous potential and what it takes to manage. Combine that with the fact that I live hundreds of miles away from all the people I know, and very quickly you will understand that my family and friends who tried to support me didn’t really know what I was experiencing on a daily basis, and couldn’t really be there for me, even if they really wanted it. Luckily, Daniel, my other half and my best friend, was a part of the process before it even began. He is by my side in celebration of big and small victories, pushes me forward when I hesitate to try new things that frighten me a little bit, and keeps me strong during the hard times. He is my rock and I am so happy I have such a wonderful and supportive partner.

Keeping a strong support system, whether if its family, friends, or other bloggers, is necessary. In order to succeed as a blogger I had to surround myself with positive figures I could lean on when I needed the support, the kind of people that gave me honest feedback when I needed it. Very quickly I found the answer in Facebook groups of bloggers from around the world, these people were experiencing, to the fullest extent,  exactly what I was going through. When I could not find an Israeli group to meet these needs, I opened The Blogging Babes, an Israeli Facebook group which serves as a support system and sharing platform for posing questions in a friendly and supporting environment.  

blogging tips and tricks | טיפים לבלוגרים

5. NOBODY BUT ME WILL TRULY REALLY UNDERSTAND WHAT I DO

Directly following my last thought…even after 3 years as a blogger, I still find that nobody, even my family and friends, really understands what I'm doing ? and the truth is, You can’t blame them…

As a blogger it is difficult to put a label on the type of work I do. Blogging is a relatively new profession, and so most people have no idea that it includes more than just writing and photography. Like I already mentioned, I take on so many roles it is almost impossible to follow all of the things I do to keep the blog going on a daily basis. Only when I have a serious conversation about my work as a blogger with people unrelated to the industry, do they begin to understand in a nutshell what it means to be a blogger. As time went by, I simply realized that I need to accept the fact that I know what I do and the value of my business, but most people never really will understand.  

6. NOT EVERYTHING IS MEASURED IN MONEY

When looking at a blog as a business venture, one of the first things to think about is the financial side. So when I first built my blog's business plan I thought about how I could make my blog profitable. But the truth is that unpaid jobs {or low-paying jobs}, or tasks that contribute to personal development, are just as important as those that pay the bills.

All successful bloggers know that it is important to invest in their blog {money and, more importantly, time} as no business is expected to grow without investing in it. I learned how important it is to invest in an independent blog, buy photography equipment and accessories, apply to courses to acquire new skills, listen to podcasts or read interesting articles, to spend a few hours experimenting with photography, or even to create new collaborations for experiences in which I had less experience, for lower pay. All of the above helped me push my blog further. I quickly discovered that every investment I make in the blog returns itself within a short time.

7. FIRST AGREE, AND DEAL WITH IT LATER

As a blogger, I get lots of different job offers and opportunities to take part in many exciting projects. These are usually things which I’ve haven’t yet experienced professionally, before the arrival of the offer. There's not much to say, it can be very challenging and sometimes even scary, but getting out of my comfort zone usually makes me feel amazing. I learned that there is nothing I can not learn to do and that I have to be brave enough to experiment with new things in order to develop and grow.

Thanks to all the “yeses” that I replied, I got to try things I never thought I would get the chance to, and some of them also became part of my main occupation. True, lots of times I try new things only to discover they are not exactly my cup of tea, but I am always happy to have said yes and dared to try.

8. ON THE OTHER HAND, ONE MUST ALSO LEARN TO SAY NO, AND TO COME UP WITH ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS, IF POSSIBLE

Sometimes I receive offers to participate in campaigns or projects that just don’t feel right. I know it's hard for a lot of bloggers at the beginning to give up such opportunities, especially if they involve financial reward – but when something doesn't feel right, it's because it's not, and it is better to give it up. I trusted my gut from the very beginning and rejected projects that didn’t suit me, and I am so glad that this is the way I chose.

You have no idea how often I see bloggers promoting products that simply do not fit in with their brand and style, and I find it so irritating. As a follower of theirs it makes me feel uncomfortable and, in my opinion, creates more harm than good.

In other cases, in which I do identify with the product but the campaign is not my style, I will always let the other side know why I think it won’t work for me and what I think will make the campaign more successful. I believe it shows a willingness to participate in a product campaign that is relevant to me and that I think outside the box. Sometimes they refuse, but many times I not only get to participate in a campaign I actually like, but also they adopt my idea more widely.

blogging tips and tricks | טיפים לבלוגרים

9. AN INDEPENDENT BLOG IS THE MOST IMPORTANT AND SAFEST PLACE FOR ANYONE WHO WANTS TO MANAGE A SUCCESSFUL DIGITAL PRESENCE

I know I've talked about it in some of my previous posts, but every passing day reinforces this argument more and more – there is no substitute for an independent blog!

I am not arguing with the fact that, today, social networks are a necessary tool for a successful and profitable blog or business. They support my brand, connect it with my community, allow for sharing “behind the scenes” information, and create blog traffic. But they have one very big drawback, even huge – I can not control them. I do not own Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or any other social media, so although I've invested a lot of time in creating quality content for social networking and have managed to reach a good number of followers, I can not be sure that my followers will definitely receive updates on new content I publish.

I have already talked about the importance of a blog and a newsletter, and the impact of the changes in the Facebook algorithm on businesses, and it is important to emphasize again that the situation is going to be the same for businesses that rely on Instagram as a business platform. (Read more about that here). The bottom line is social networks are a tool which is right for now, and it is best to use them for marketing services and brand strengthening, but they are in no way a substitute to a blog and newsletter.

10. DREAM BIG AND HAVE PASSION

In order to run a successful blog {or any other independent business} it is important to know how to dream big and be passionate about the business. You won’t go far if you don’t love what you do, especially when the work requires such perseverance.

 

I hope you enjoyed reading all of the important things I’ve learned from being a blogger for 3 years ? It has been a very interesting ride, and I am excited to see how far I’ve gotten and am curious to find out what the future has in store for me!

 

Thank you so much for spending the time reading my blog, following me on social media, commenting, and even sending positive, private messages 

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18 Responses

  1. Hello,
    So I usually read a lot of articles and therefore it is rare that I feel I learn from that piece of writing. So, in this case, your while reading that article I felt as if I was being taught about blogging.
    I would like to say thanks to you for sharing such information as it helps me in gaining that extra knowledge that rarely people tell. A great read and I would surely recommend it to my friends.

  2. How good to discover these things now, since I intend to have a blog and it is always good to know more about the experience of others, I will save these tips and put them into practice as soon as I finish completing my blog. Congratulations and success!

  3. Hii,
    The estimate of writing your blog post is very good. The simplest language you use when writing articles is appreciated. The information you give will prove to be of great value to me, I hope that. It is our wish that you continue to write great articles in such a future. Thanks for sharing this article. Thank you

  4. Your style is really unique in comparison to other people I have read stuff from. Thank you for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I all just book mark this blog.
    I truly believe that experience is something that needed to be shared more often ? glad you found my experience helpful!

  5. Hello Tamar, this is very interesting and inspiring article, your blog is impressive and the blogging lessons you have covered are truly great. All the best for all your blogging journey.

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