Have you ever thought about what your life will be like once you kiss your day job goodbye? Maybe you want to transition to something you can do from home. If that’s the case, you may have asked yourself, “I wonder if I should start a blog?”
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The time will come for all of us when we want to get out of our day job. We may be burned out, physically unable to continue doing the work, or bored. But for whatever reason, we’re ready to chuck the whole 9 to 5 routine.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that we want to quit being mentally active though.
When I left my job in education, it was time for a life change. My last child was headed off to college, I was ready to get things in place so I could see to my dad when the time came, I was tired of the hassles (including car wrecks) of city life, and I badly needed something ELSE to do (anything else, actually).
Jungle Jim and I had been talking for several years about what we wanted to do when I was able to quit my job. I’ve always liked to read, I enjoy writing, and I was already writing some fiction when I was at home.
You may be looking down the road and wondering what you’ll do when you leave your day job. Or you may have already quit your day job and are wondering what on earth you’ll do now that your days are less structured. You may be contemplating packing your parachute and telling your boss….well, what you tell your boss is up to you. Or you may have some passion that you’ve always wanted to share with the world and you just weren’t sure how to make it happen.
For any of these reasons, starting a blog may be just the thing you’re looking for.
The great thing about blogging is that you can write about anything…and I mean that literally. It seems that blogs tend to fall into several categories though. There is probably one that appeals to you.
Types of blogs
Hobbies – Do you have a hobby that you enjoy? Perhaps you’re a master at restoring old furniture, knitting, or decorating. You may love art, jewelry, DIY projects, gardening or playing Bingo. If you do, then chances are that you’re learned things about your hobby that someone else doesn’t know yet. So you’re able to grow tomatoes anywhere – there’s a new gardener struggling with the basics. Your hobby may have given you the exact information that someone else needs.
Opinion – Do you have strong opinions? Do you get fired up about politics, current events, celebrity news, fashion trends. Do you love sharing your thoughts and opinions with others? You’d be surprised at the like-minded friends you’d meet online. And if you love a good argument, you’ll certainly find plenty of people who love a good discussion and will happily trade verbal spars with you. There are people looking to interact with people they agree with, and with those they don’t.
Special Interests – Do you know more about music than anyone around you? Do you know the history of every comic book character? Maybe you can talk for hours about how Yoko didn’t really break up the Beatles. The point is that there are folks out there who have spent a lifetime learning about some particular topic and they know it inside and out. Put that knowledge to work for you! You know things the rest of us don’t even have a clue about.
Expertise – Perhaps you’ve spent your life in a career and now you have expertise running out your ears. Are you good at organizing? Is financial planning second nature to you? Could you advise someone looking to renovate their home? You may have spent your career honing these skills and you’d like to continue putting them to use. Not everyone who walks away from a day job is sick of using the skills they’ve acquired.
Advocacy – Feel strongly about a particular cause? Perhaps you’d like to share your concern for saving the planet, your love of animals, or your religious beliefs. You may feel strongly about the education of special needs students (or education in general), or bringing awareness to some issue. The world needs people who are willing to help advocate for others. Yours may be the voice that provides the answer someone is searching for.
Women’s Interests – Okay, I know I’m beginning to stereotype here and I apologize. I’m really not into gender stereotypes and am just categorizing here in order to make a point.
Are you a great cook? Do you have experience that would help someone else in the role of caretaker? Perhaps you’re an ardent feminist or you’re a working mom who has tips to help others balance the demands in their life.
Men’s Interests – Lots of men have blogs. (I’m speaking to that man who has stuck it out and has read this far – or to his wife who needs to encourage him to find something to do.) Do you love to hunt or fish? Perhaps you collect something (guns and cars come to mind). You may have special skills. A former boss was an excellent wood worker and he could talk for hours about the tools he had and techniques he’d learned. Trust me, someone somewhere is looking to learn what you know.
Why I choose to blog
Every blogger has their own set of motivating factors. When it came time to look for a second career, these were the criteria that were important to me.
- I want something that I control.
- I want flexibility and freedom in my work schedule.
- I need a creative outlet.
- I want a job I can do anywhere. I don’t want to be bound to a specific location.
- I want something that is not at the mercy of an employer who decides my fate.
- I have a message I want to share with others.
- I need and want to stay mentally active.
- I enjoy interacting with others who share similar interests.
- I enjoy learning from others.
- I enjoy the feedback and discussion from those who visit my blog.
- I like the challenge. I can honestly say that I’ve learned more about technology in the past year than ever before in my life. Blogging has so many components that it’s a continual challenge to learn and master them all (and I’m definitely not there yet).
- It’s something I can do with Jungle Jim – it’s a shared pursuit.
One thing I’ve learned since starting blogging is that you can drown in information! I mean that seriously – you can get overwhelmed before you realize it because there is so much you have to learn.
The other thing you learn very quickly is that everyone wants to sell you something. Unfortunately, just because they have something to sell doesn’t mean it’s worth your money.
But there are some things I’ve used (both free and paid) that I do think are helpful. Keep in mind that there are tons of resources out there and that you may find other resources you prefer.
Inspired Blogger’s University
I have paid money for other courses, and I’ve joined a multitude of Facebook groups, but I like Tabitha Philen’s Inspired Blogger’s University the best. I first discovered her Facebook group and felt immediately at home there. Unlike another big group I’d joined, this one was drama free, friendly, and Tabitha herself hangs out there quite a bit. It’s not uncommon to ask a question to the group and find that Tabitha is the one who replies with the answer. Trust me, you don’t find that in every group and it made me a fan (I’ve told Tabitha that she makes me feel like a real person instead of just an open wallet).
Tabitha offers lots of different courses and products. She’s recently changed the structure of the Inspired Blogger’s University so you’d want to check her site to see when specific courses will be available. She also offers membership packets (full disclosure – I am a lifetime member because I like her stuff so much) to those who are interested. She also offers a great blog planner – the Blog Success Planner.
The Blog Success Planner is the one I’m using right now. It is stuffed full of information and it comes in a digital version that you can print out and use over and over again. To make it even better, from February 10 – 15, 2017 you get some pretty awesome free gifts with your purchase (which makes this an even sweeter deal than usual). Check it out and check out the Inspired Blogger’s Network on Facebook.
Since I mentioned Facebook, Brittany Ann from Equipping Godly Women, has probably written the definitive book on making Facebook work for you. I am currently working my way through her course (very slowly) and it’s definitely helping me. Facebook can be a huge driver of traffic and it is in every blogger’s best interest to figure out how to leverage this platform. Facebook Strategies Worth Sharing has both a book and a workbook available for purchase, either separately or as a package. Facebook has been such a mystery to me that I needed someone who has had a wildly successful page to help me figure it out.
I got access to Abby Lawson’s Building a Framework master package when it was included in the Genius Blogger’s Toolkit and I have to say WOW! It was probably my favorite thing in the whole bundle. Not only did I get her book, but the master package had tons of videos and interviews that I watched over a period of several weeks that were really helpful. Even one of her other packages offers good information and her Facebook group is one that I really enjoy (and I’ve already said that I don’t like all Facebook blog groups). And I have to admit that I was stunned one day to see that Abby had responded to a tweet of mine – I was pretty stoked about that!
Abby is in the process of updating her book and course and aiming it towards the newbie blogger. It’s going to be a great update but if you’re interested, hold off just a little bit till the update is ready. I’ll post information when it’s available.
This course on affiliate marketing is a little pricier than some of the others but is worth it. And Michelle Schroedner-Gardner runs discounts from time to time. But there’s no doubt that the lady knows her stuff. Her course, Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing is one of the most popular courses out there. One thing I really like is that she emails you whenever she adds a new lesson to the new course so even if you’ve already been through it, you’ll know when you need to go back in for new information. I would suggest that you consider this course after you’ve got at least a few months of blogging under your belt though.
Women Winning Online
This site and Facebook group are run by Jennifer Snyder who also has a course called Find Your Tribe Online. I have just scratched the surface of this course and am anxious to get further in. Her Facebook is also one of the groups that I didn’t go through and get out of. Her group has a weekly sharing thread where you can share your latest posts and she regularly does Facebook Live videos on various topics. She’s one of the few I actually make a point to tune in to and watch.
The Art of Better Blogging
This is the other Facebook group and site that I really like. You’re probably wondering, “How many Facebooks do you follow?” Well, before New Years I followed quite a few. But over the holidays I decided that I just didn’t have time – or patience – for them all and I opted out of probably 30. I decided to remain a member of only a few (the ones I’m discussing here). Jennifer Smith (my other Jennifer!) is in and out of the groups all the time and if I can’t catch her Facebook Live videos, I make sure to save them so that I get to them later in the day. She offers courses and coaching and I was lucky enough to get a free coaching session with her as part of a package. It was fantastic! I am still in the process of implementing the thing she discussed with me in that 30 minutes. As soon as I’m able to add a coach, Jennifer will be my girl!
I hear lots of different things about hosting companies. Presently, we have all our blogs with Blue Host. I am very happy with their service and customer support and I couldn’t be happier with the price! It’s possible that one day we may outgrow their services, but I think for a newbie blogger they’re great.
Sweet Tea LLC
Kristen over at Sweet Tea LLC has some great podcasts and posts to help you master the different skills that blogging requires. I just discovered her recently and am really enjoying working my way through her podcasts. She’s fun to listen to as well – you’ll like her.
Blogger Smarter is the new venture of my friend Cathy over at My Side of 50. Cathy was one of the first people to take me under her wing. I have enjoyed her posts and the fact that she’s a little farther down the road than I am helps me see some paths I need to explore. She has a great Facebook page and if you subscribe to her newsletter you’ll get weekly blogging tips. Cathy really is great so go check her out.
Expenses with blogging
Now I’m not going to lie to you – blogging is not free. Unless you go with a free site (and there are pros and cons to them) you’ll have to pay for hosting. You’ll likely want to pay for a few plugins or services to help you with social media scheduling. But frankly, the expenses aren’t horrible. And here is my take on the expenses:
- You are either interested in turning your blog into a career, OR
- It’s a hobby and outlet for you.
Either way, it’s natural to spend a little money. Obviously, businesses cost a little money to get off the ground. But even if blogging is simply a hobby, the fact is that most hobbies cost a little money too. I’ve never known anyone who didn’t spend some money on their hobby – and were happy to do it. My friends who knit and make jewelry don’t bat an eye when it’s time to buy supplies.
The decision on whether or not to take up blogging is one that only you can make. I know that in my situation I am having a blast, I’m busy and challenged, and that I’m proud of how much I’m learning. I’ve met new people who share my interests and that I’m developing relationships with. I can truly say that I am loving this new chapter in my life!
If you think blogging might be something you’d enjoy, I’d encourage you to read about some mistakes I’ve made as a newbie blogger. Maybe it’ll keep you from making the same ones.
So, could blogging be for you?