I recently celebrated a huge milestone—my blog TheCubicleChick.com turned 10 years old in August. When I started it back in 2009, I had no idea that it would become such a huge part of my life. Blogging has taken me to places I never dreamed in a million years, and has given me the ability to create consistent income to help my family.
You may not know this or not, but being in the blogging game for 10 years is indeed something to behold. Most blogs don’t stand the test of time, as people usually move on to other things. In this space, you see a lot of people come and go, but I am proud to still be standing here after all of these years.
Between me and you, I am looking forward to another 10 more years.
Now that I have this major milestone behind me, I feel it appropriate to share What I’ve Learned From Blogging For 10 Years.
Let’s do this:
Don’t believe the hype
When browsing your Instagram feeds or looking at status updates on Facebook and tweets on Twitter, you may look at the life of a popular influencer as “having it all” and “easy work”. Both are far from the truth. I have come into contact with many bloggers, some who have amassed a hundreds of thousands of followers. A few of these bloggers weren’t able to pay a tip for a meal during a blogging press junket trip. Being a popular blogger doesn’t automatically mean that you are raking in the dough—most of the time, it means the very opposite.
I’ve learned through being in this space for 10 years, the most successful bloggers and influencers have several streams of income that make up their pie. The blog and the social media piece is just one part—other pieces of the pie have to be created in order to make a real living doing what we do.
Many long hours have to be spent in order to make these streams of income—tons of late nights, weekends, and more hours than what a 9 to 5 requires. In the end, the more passive income you make and the more strategic you are, the better the outcomes are.
Not how pretty your aesthetic is on Instagram, or how many followers you have, but the overall quality of problem-solving that you are able to bring to your readership and audience. When they buy into you and invest in what it is that you do, then you are able to tap into residual income as long as you have products and services to fulfill their needs on a consistent basis.
Connecting is key
I’ve been able to do well in the blogging and social media space because I learned early to network and connect, both online and offline. I began attending conferences and events in 2010 after having my blog up for just a few months, as it was important to me to get in front of people who were doing the same thing I was who would be able to support me and vice versa. Doing this has served me well, and I’ve even made money because they’ve recommended me for gigs and paid opps after meeting me and connecting.
Serve your audience well
I said this before and I will say it again—when you serve a niche of people whose needs have been unmet and you offer value and solve a problem, then you will always have the ability to make money. Over these 10 years, I’ve learned how to cultivate a unique and consistent relationship with them because I’ve served content, products, services, and material that they found valuable.
Do it your way
Over the years, the blogging space has become oversaturated with many people who want to cash in making money as an influencer. With this, has become an onslaught of bloggers who are oh-so cookie cutter. Same looking blog themes and websites, same looking Instagram profiles, same looking content, etc. While following a blueprint is necessary for what we do, it doesn’t have to look the similar. In fact, thinking outside the box and doing things a little differently can open you up to a whole new world.
I’ve learned to do things my way–to take the blueprint and remix it just enough for it to work for me and my audience. Working mothers and their lifestyles and how they rock is a unique experience, and I wanted to be someone that was able to tap into them and tell their story, one blog post at a time. My goal has always been to be authentic to me and my truth and my readership, regardless what everyone else was doing.
Know your voice—and own it
Speaking of being real and authentic, one huge lesson I’ve learned along the way was to know my voice—and how to use it. When I first started blogging, I was trying to find a way to make my voice heard. Along the way, there were times that I muted myself because I was afraid that I would rub someone the wrong way.
Then, I got a clue.
I realized that on the posts where I was no-holds-barred and straight in my zone, I resonated with my readers and they shared the content more and I got increased traffic. When I was trying to be more “mainstream” and “everyone’s favorite blogger”, I lost some of that momentum. So now, I’ve learned that being myself is the best way to affect people. They can take it or leave it, but at the very least, I can feel good about being myself, not a watered down version.
Collaborating is everything
My blogging world changed for the better when I began collaborating with other bloggers and influencers. I’ve collaborated on books, and websites, and events, and blog series, and trips, and so much more. It has been wonderful seeing our ideas transform into something good while having someone else to lean on while sharing the duties. If you don’t do anything else in this space, collaborate. It will serve you well!
It’s been 10 years, over 2500 blog posts, 5 books, 1 commercial, 5 awards, countless television appearances, press trips, conferences, and roundtables. I am so ready to see what the next 10 years hold in store for me.
What’s next? I want to tap into my professional portfolio to land my dream gig. I also want to grow The Cubicle Chick into a community with regular contributors. Don’t sleep on your girl—I’m always cooking up something new in the lab.
Photography by Chip Dizárd.