8 Huge Mistakes I Made During My First Year of Blogging

Starting your own blog? Here are 8 huge mistakes I made during my first year of blogging - don't do the same!

Starting your own blog? Here are 8 huge mistakes I made during my first year of blogging - don't do the same!

The Baller on a Budget is officially 1 year old today! I was hesitant to write a post about this as I’ve been doing a ton of self-reflection this past month, but I feel that since I’ve launched The Blogger Bible, offering transparency is one of the most valuable things I can give to my readers who are looking to potentially start their own blog.

This past year has been a whirlwind of emotions – I experienced the thrill and rush of my first affiliate sale as well as the pain of getting paid only a few hundred dollars during dry months. I had days where I canceled my plans to work and went out to celebrate a new conquest, and then I had days where I curled up into an anxious ball of tears on the floor. Blogging, especially for fashion, beauty and lifestyle bloggers, can be an extremely tough business that might require tons of hard work and effort for months to years before seeing a decent return on invested time. So it’s definitely an emotional rollercoaster, and I learned this lesson the hard way.

Throughout this past year, my setbacks and delayed successes have taught me that the blogging business is definitely not a cookie-cutter path, and you must be flexible and open to change if you want to thrive. Had I continued to remain rigid in my choices and refused to adapt, this blog may very well have grown at a much slower pace.

I do regret that there were things I didn’t do due to just blatant stubbornness – if it wasn’t for this personality trait, I feel I would have gone much further this past year in terms of making more income and building an audience.

I wrote an e-book for you bloggers out there who want to avoid all of the problems I’ve made in the past before. If you need a step-by-step guide on getting started with your blog, download your FREE copy of THE BLOGGER BLUEPRINT. This e-book will help you create your own blog, publish amazing blog posts that generate tons of traffic and build your audience across several social media platforms.

Download your FREE copy of THE BLOGGER BLUEPRINT

And now, moving on, here were some of the major mistakes I made this past year. Have you been making any of these mistakes?

#1: Focusing on Instagram to Build a Blog Audience

Maybe it’s a millennial thing, but I definitely prioritized Instagram much more than I should have. Don’t get me wrong – Instagram is a great social media platform for bloggers, but the problem that I had was making it #1.

Instagram is a hit for visual-based niches like fashion where images are key in marketing, but it can be extremely time-consuming to constantly take pictures, edit, plan outfits, create captions, find hashtags and more. I think I’ve gotten the marketing workflow of Instagram down to a T (hence why I made an entire chapter on Instagram marketing for The Blogger Bible), but I still don’t feel that Instagram yields a good return on invested time. Sure, you can amass 10,000 Instagram followers in a matter of months (I did it in just 4!), but how many of those people will actually subscribe to your blog? It can be extremely hard to get Instagram followers to your blog, which equals less potential affiliate sales and blog traffic.

#2: Underestimating the Power of Pinterest

Since I focused so much on Instagram, I neglected Pinterest for several months before getting fed up with Instagram and dialing back from the platform. After reading several incredible income reports from Chasing Foxes and seeing their income shoot to 5 figures a month within less than 6 months of blogging thanks to Pinterest, I finally decided to begin taking it seriously.

Indeed, just after a few months, my Pinterest stats started exploding and I didn’t know whether to be upset or happy because I could have easily surpassed 1 million monthly viewers if I had just focused on Pinterest over Instagram from the very beginning.

Don’t make the same mistake as me, guys! Definitely focus on Pinterest to build your blog audience. The Blogger Bible has a huge bonus chapter on my Pinterest strategies that got me to over 900,000 monthly viewers in just months. From April 2017 to July 2017 my traffic shot up from under 350,000 monthly pageviews up to 719,000+ in July. As of August, I was at 930,000+. DO NOT ESTIMATE THE POWER OF PINTEREST.

RELATED POST: The Blogger Crash Course: 8 Must-Have Tools to Start Making Money

#3: Creating More Photos Over Blog Posts

One of the most important pillars of The Baller on a Budget is affordable fashion. Blogging about my style steals and budget buys without photos of these clothes in action (like product round-ups) resulted in less sales, so I focused a lot more on creating quality images for my outfits.

This was tough to do since I didn’t (and still don’t) have a professional photographer. My boyfriend Jun takes all my photos with limited photography knowledge – I have my Canon 5D MK II as a remnant of my previous photography business, so I started having Jun take photos of me with my camera and teaching him a lot of photography basics.

Even though I have someone to take photos of me, that doesn’t take away from the fact that I have a lot of editing to do after we take pictures. Thanks to my desire for perfection and background in photo editing, a single photo can take anywhere between 30 minutes – 1 hour to edit.

Even worse: within the past few months, I got so busy with other blogging tasks that I stopped posting my outfit photos on my blog altogether and only on my Instagram instead (again, prioritizing Instagram = major no-no). After a while I started to ask myself, “what’s the point of taking photos for my blog if I’m not posting them on my blog?”

#4: Prioritizing My Blog Before My Health

I cannot stress just how much my healthy lifestyle has declined the past year because of my commitment and dedication to this blog. At first, I used to pride myself on my ability to work 10+ hours everyday, 7 days a week without breaks. But then, after a few months I started developing back pains from not getting up from my desk and headaches from keeping my eyes glued to my computer screen. I constantly forgot to eat and if I remembered, I would eat in front of my computer without pausing to take a break.

I oftentimes held my bladder because the restroom was downstairs and I was on a roll with writing blog posts. That stubbornness earned me a trip to urgent care and a urinary tract infection. Yeah, I’m so proud of that work ethic now! Go me! – NOT.

I also used to eat much healthier and often cooked healthy and nutritious meals. Once I started blogging that pretty much went down the drain. Within just a few months I had put on 15-20 pounds, started dieting, stopped dieting after I lost it all because it was too much to maintain, and gained 25 pounds as a result.

There was a breaking point earlier this summer where I was so unhappy with my weight and also in constant pain from sitting down that I had to do something. I started walking every morning, snacking on salads instead of ice cream and cookies, and even invested in some Bluetooth headphones to encourage frequent dance breaks from my desk.

Yes, dance breaks. Meaning I get up from my desk and dance in front of the mirror like a fool for about 30 minutes every 2 hours or so. It gets my blood flowing, makes me sweat, and keeps me sane.

#5: Copying the Wrong Bloggers

Somewhere along your blogger journey you’ll start meeting other bloggers in your niches, whether it’s through Instagram or Facebook or any other social media platform. Creating relationships with other bloggers who share the same aspirations as you can be one of the most powerful ways to fuel your drive, but sometimes even this can backfire too.

I started to develop bad habits and began to heed the advice from my blogger friends, who all meant well, but came from a place of no established successes. Of course, this advice was meant to help me, but more often than not, they yielded no viable results after applying them.

I kicked myself in the butt for a few months because I realized that I was not doing what the successful bloggers in my niche were doing. I was just following the footsteps of my blogger friends because, well… they were my friends. 

It can sometimes be hard to talk about blogging and marketing with blogger friends since we all have different opinions that might be subjective, but I learned that I had to draw a line somewhere and stop doing the same as other bloggers who could not measure the success of their actions. Sometimes, you just gotta do your own thing, despite what others around you are doing – that is, unless, they’re actually experiencing measurable success.

#6: Buying Courses and Not Applying the Strategies

I have taken so many blogging courses throughout the past year, but I failed to take these courses seriously and apply the strategies that were recommended. Going back to listening to the wrong advice from the wrong people, I bought courses from established bloggers who make 5 to 6 figures per month, but chose to listen to my friends instead!

I also developed this terrible habit of buying a course and skimming through it quickly in hopes of finding valuable information that I did not already know, which, as of this moment of me writing this, sounds pretty arrogant to me. Everyone, no matter how far along in their blogging journey, has something new to learn.

Needless to say, after I checked my own ego I revisited a lot of my courses, buckled down, incorporated the strategies into my blog and started seeing a ton of results.

#7: Failing to Create a Financial Backup Plan Before Going Full-Time

This one is probably one of the biggest mistakes I’ve made during my blogging journey so far, if not the biggest mistake.

When I first started this blog, I was at my wit’s end with a real estate job that made me incredibly unhappy. After struggling for over 12 years with an eating disorder, body dysmorphia and an incredibly low self-esteem, so I began avoiding any workplace, relationship or environment that forces me to act or look like someone I’m not (you can read more about my story here). My work environment was exactly this: I was in a business where I was often underestimated and belittled for being a young woman and a brand-new Realtor. I hated the way my colleagues treated and perceived me, but working at the office was my last resort as I was laid off a few months before from a car dealership because our department closed.

RELATED POST: 3 Major Signs that You Need to Quit Your Job

For some time I had been mulling over the desire to embark on a career path that truly made me happy, and was slowly accepting that blogging was going to be exactly this. However, instead of being practical and seeking a job to save up some cash while I started blogging on the side I quit my job as a Realtor and went into blogging full-time. Yup. From the very beginning, I have been a full-time blogger. And it’s not fun working “full-time” when you make like, $100 from your first month of blogging when your monthly bills are $1,000+.

Some bloggers like Chasing Foxes were able to do this with massive success, but I had absolutely no idea what the hell I was doing for the first few months, and as a result, I burned through the little savings that I had. I started sweating a bit as I pulled out the credit cards more and more often and continued maintaining a lifestyle that was not within my budget.

Trust me, I know the feeling of hating your job as well as the urge to burst through the doors with both middle fingers up at your boss and coworkers, but if you want to pursue your dreams and make it your full-time job, create a financial strategy that will carry you through the first few months to years so that you don’t struggle the way I did.

#8: Capitalizing On My Failures and Ignoring My Successes

Now that I look back on it, it was incredibly rare that I acknowledged any of my blogging accomplishments but never seemed to have an issue on zeroing in on my failures. Like one of my many detrimental personality traits, I used to pride myself on having a Nazi work ethic and having extremely high standards for myself, but I don’t think that this was the best type of encouragement I should have given myself.

If I could relive this past year, I would probably be much more comforting and uplifting towards myself, rather than punishing myself for setbacks that may very well have been out of my hands. I had expected to make at least $100,000 in income this year, and I didn’t. So once the first month passed and I made less than $100 in affiliate sales, I literally punished myself by staying at home when I was invited to gatherings by my friends. I punished myself by pulling all-nighters to get more work done. I punished myself by pretty much being terrible to myself instead of giving myself the reassurance that I so badly needed.

I didn’t realize until later along the line that blogging is completely different from any other career – after all, it is a self-employed business, and your success truly depends on your current situation as well as your strengths and weaknesses. I spent so much time hating myself and wondering why I wasn’t getting the same results as the big bloggers I looked up to, but I did not once tell myself that me, my situation and my blog are completely different from anyone else’s and that I should remain patient and hopeful.

RELATED POST – The Blogger Bible: The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Fashion, Beauty and Lifestyle Blog

All of these setbacks I experienced occurred earlier in the year, so I was fortunate enough to learn them early on and make up for lost times within the most recent months. Once I acknowledged these mistakes and made conscious efforts to change them, my blog started to grow like crazy.

Like I mentioned previously, no two bloggers’ paths will be exactly the same – in fact, I would have to say that the “recommended” path for fashion, beauty and lifestyle bloggers is significantly different than other blogging niches. This is why I created my very own blogging course, The Blogger Bible, for newbie bloggers and existing bloggers who want to make more money and grow their blog.

My course was written in not just the perspective of a fashion, beauty and lifestyle blogger, but as a person who can still freshly recount the errors of their beginning as well. After I did tons of trial-and-error I witnessed an impeccable amount of growth within The Baller on a Budget that I want other bloggers to experience the same with their own blog too.

Using the strategies in The Blogger Bible, I was able to grow my Instagram audience to over 10,000 followers in less than 4 months and expand my Pinterest reach to over 900,000 people in 4 months as well. In The Blogger Bible, you will also learn how to:

  • Build a gorgeous blog from the ground-up
  • Run your business legally and responsibly
  • Develop a branded aesthetic, voice and personality that your audience will love
  • Take beautiful pictures without paying a professional photographer
  • Build a targeted audience that is loyal to your brand (and therefore generate more sales!)
  • Increase your traffic and expose your blog to new readers every day
  • Monetize your blog using several different avenues
  • Monetize your social media platforms such as Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook
  • Build passive income without needing to sell a product
  • Work with your dream brands and get free products and services

The Blogger Bible is definitely for you if you:

  • Are a brand-new blogger and have no idea where to start
  • Want to make money blogging
  • Have been blogging for some time now and need guidance on how to improve, build your audience and increase your profits
  • Need to increase your existing blog traffic
  • Want to learn how to work with your favorite brands
  • Do not understand the business, legal and tax aspects of the blogging world
  • Have trouble with constructing and creating your blog
  • Struggle with taking beautiful and professional photos
  • Want to leverage the power of free social media marketing
  • Need help with your Instagram strategy

I also have payment plans available to make the course affordable to everyone. Click here to enroll now.

Also remember to grab your FREE copy of THE BLOGGER BLUEPRINT!

Download your FREE copy of THE BLOGGER BLUEPRINT

Tell me, what are your fears when it comes to starting or maintaining a blog? Let’s chat in the comments below and don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter for more blogging tips!

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8 Comments

  1. September 9, 2017 / 5:03 am

    Hi,

    I love reading people’s mistakes, because it helps me take a look at whether or not I am making those mistakes on my blog.

    Like you, when I first started my blog, I didn’t take Pinterest seriously. I had an account and was pinning, but I didn’t actually take the time to learn the ins and outs of it.

    I am finally starting to learn how to use it effectively to grow my blog. Glad to see that you finally figured it out to help you grow your traffic.

    I’ve purchased courses in the past and didn’t apply the strategies. I think we all tend to do that sometimes.

    Thanks for sharing these tips have a great day 🙂

    Susan

  2. September 12, 2017 / 2:38 pm

    Hola! I’ve been reading your weblog for a while now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from New Caney Tx! Just wanted to tell you keep up the fantastic job!

    • The Baller on a Budget
      September 13, 2017 / 10:44 am

      Hi Marin, thanks so much for stopping by! I appreciate all the generous words!! <3

  3. September 14, 2017 / 2:04 pm

    Thank you for sharing! I am definitely guilty of a few of these (#2 and #6 for sure!) It’s so nice to hear someone honestly admit where they have made mistakes, and then show how they are remedying it. There are lots of great tips in this post!

  4. September 15, 2017 / 6:40 am

    This is a really helpful post for other bloggers in the same boat as you. I think I should take advise from here as I too have neglected certain areas in blogging that would help me improve my blog. Excellent post and very helpful.

  5. September 16, 2017 / 6:46 am

    This is a really fantastic blog post and something I think many can relate too – I know I have put my blog before my healthy before and have felt really stressed and overloaded, something I am trying to work on. Also under estimating the power of Pinterest – such an amazing tool for traffic

    Laura x

  6. Alex
    October 9, 2017 / 6:17 am

    Love your blog name!! Thanks for the tips!

  7. October 22, 2017 / 7:26 pm

    I’ve read this post 3 times now, and it’s got so many gems!

    I started my blog in June, and I’ve made almost all of these mistakes. It’s so easy to fall into the Instagram trap, but thankfully I’m starting to take Pinterest more seriously now.

    Thank you so much for writing this blog post. Your honesty and transparency is extremely helpful, and appreciated!

    Xo,
    Aryanna | Rosé & Chambray

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