By: Sara Urquart. Photo by: Kameron Elisabeth.
It can be daunting to think of joining the blogging community as a professional, but there is plenty of room for new bloggers who are willing to work. My advice to anyone who’s thinking about getting started as a blogger is to simply start.
Choose a platform (Blogger, WordPress, Squarespace), and begin writing. Put your thoughts down. Share your images. Get your feet wet. You might be tempted to spend a lot of time putting together a logo, tweaking your web design and spreading the word about your soon-to-be-blog. Those are the fun things, but in the beginning, they are not the necessary things.
It’s far more important to understand your workflow and the many, many lessons you’ll only learn through the experience of beginning your blog. When you’re doing the work, you’ll discover your strengths as a blogger, you’ll learn from your mistakes, and discover essential details you may not have considered.
I’ve never met a single blogger who’s ever said, “I’m so proud of those first few months!” That is the learning curve, and you can grow best when you’ve learned the essential lessons those first few months are waiting to teach you. You’re likely a dedicated blog reader, but being a dedicated blog writer requires a very different set of skills, and the first is a willingness to work with something that is less-than-perfect. Of course you’ll do your best work, but if you’re waiting for something perfect, you’ll never hit publish.
Professional bloggers blog consistently, and you won’t know if you’re up for that challenge until you give it a try. It’s common for beginners to blog furiously for the first three weeks, and then taper off significantly. That’s just fine, and in fact is very valuable information, but moving toward professional blogging means approaching it in a professional manner.
Occasionally I meet people who are planning to start a blog and they have questions about working with sponsors. Those questions aren’t relevant until you’ve started your blog, worked consistently at it for several months (I’d say close to a year), developed a solid product and built your community.
As in any new business, an initial investment of time or money (or probably both) is required before it will turn a profit. The business of blogging is no different. You’ll invest lots of time, and probably some money, too. Be prepared for hard work and consistent effort. Be open to the lessons that will shape your business, the lessons you can only learning by getting started.