I wanted to do a slightly different type of post this week, one which shows you an exact timeline of my blogging journey, from when I started in December 2016 to now June 2019. I’m going to share with you the exact steps I’ve taken from starting my blog and not exactly knowing what I’m doing to now, where I work on my blog alongside a part time job.
I’ve never seen anyone create a timeline of their blogging journey before. To be honest, I tend to just find catchy pins on Pinterest about how people have made “thousands” from their new blog in only a couple of months.
Well, I’m sorry to tell you that that’s definitely not how my story goes. I’m afraid mine is a bit more realistic.
I’m am 100% certain that you will find this post super helpful and it’s something I wish more people shared! I find myself digging around peoples blogs, YouTube channels and Podcasts to try to understand how exactly they have got to where they are today. What struggles did they have? Did they invest in courses? Coaches? Adverts? What did they find worked the best? Maybe I’m just nosy? But I want to know and I’m sure you do to!
Okay so let’s get to it!
July 2016: Idea to start a blog
Nervous, embarrassed and self-doubt
My blogging journey started in July 2016 when I had the idea to start a blog. The reason why I started a blog was because I was looking for a creative outlet. I was happy with my life but felt like I needed a hobby, I read a lot of others blogs which I found through Pinterest and I wanted to start my own!
Okay so this is going to sound RIDICULOUS but I reckon you can relate. Before I started my blog I felt extremely nervous, embarrassed and I was riddled with self-doubt. Which sounds ridiculous now as it’s honestly the best thing I’ve ever done and I would always encourage others to start a blog. As a form of self-development, a creative outlet and a way to eventually make extra money.
I first told my fiancé Ash about my idea to start a blog. I never feel embarrassed with Ash but I had so much self-doubt around the idea that I honestly felt stupid saying the idea out loud. Of course Ash was super supportive and as he works in IT he was keen to get the blog up and running! To be honest, if I didn’t have Ash’s IT support, I might have given up on the first hurdle of actually creating the blog!
July – November 2016: Creating the blog
It took four months from coming up with my blog idea to sharing my blog. This is a very long time! It does not take four months to start a blog, but the time it takes to find the confidence to share your blog is different for each person.
Looking for validation
In this time Ash and I created my blog and I wrote 10 blog posts. I gradually told a couple of friends about my idea to start a blog and I asked them to read the blog posts which I had written and let me know their thoughts. At the time I was looking for validation that I was “good enough” and that my blog posts were “good enough” to be shared with others. I use to write my blog posts on a word document and email them to a few close friends, this really helped boost my confidence before I launched my blog.
Being a total perfectionist!
My blog bought out the perfectionists in me, I wanted everything to be perfect! I first noticed that I was being a perfectionist when Twitter would only allow 11 characters in your Twitter Handle. This meant that I couldn’t have my Twitter name as ThosePositiveThoughts. I was a little dramatic when I found this out and saw it as a reason why I shouldn’t start a blog. 🙄 Thanks goodness I had Ash to talk some sense into me. In the end I simply went with the name thosepositiveth on my Twitter account. Really not a big deal but when you’re looking for reasons why you shouldn’t do something, it’s easy to make a mountain out of a mole hill.
Choosing a date to launch
November 2016 approached and I decided that I was ready to launch my blog. I gave myself a couple more weeks to finalise things and I choose Monday 28th November 2016 as the date I would share my blog. I choose this date as it was on a Monday and I liked the idea of launching at the start of a week (honestly doesn’t make a difference!).
Before I launched my blog I wanted to do the following things:
- Write 10 blog posts
- Add four blog posts to my blog
- Schedule the remaining 6 articles to post once a week for the next 6 weeks
- Set up my mailing list with Mailchimp
- Set up an Instagram account
- Set up a Twitter account
- Set up a Facebook page
- I also set up a YouTube channel (which I didn’t use until 2018!) more about this below
November 2016: Launching the blog
On 28th November 2016 I shared my blog with the world! Okay maybe the not the world, but I did share my blog link on my Facebook page. I remember this moment well. I was on my way home from work and I felt extremely nervous to press publish. And guess what happened after I did click publish... not much at all really! I had a couple of friends and relatives check out my blog but that was it. I definitely made this moment seem much bigger in my head. But to me, it was a big deal and if you’re yet to share your blog, you will probably feel the same.
Scheduling my articles
I had written 10 blog posts before I launched my blog, I added four of the articles onto my blog. I had four categories at the time and added one article to each category. I then scheduled the remaining 6 blog posts to be published once a week (every Sunday) for the next 6 weeks. This gave me time to create new content and deal with any unexpected technical stuff related to my blog. I would recommend doing something similar if you’re thinking of starting a blog.
Below is a screen shot of the message I added to my Facebook page, when I shared my blog for the first time.
April 2017: Added Google ads
In April 2017, 4 months after I started my blog I added Google Ads to my blog. It took a while to get approved by Google Adsense, I think I applied for ads 5 times before getting approved. I think my website was too new the previous times I applied and I needed to increase my traffic and the amount of content I had. However Google Adsence did not provide the reasons why I wasn’t approved, so I had to keep growing my blog until I finally got approved. Below are some of my early stats from Google Adsence.
- April 2017: £4.17
- May 2017: £18.39
- June 2017: £50.21
- July 2017: £66.82
- Best month with Google Adsence was January 2018: £226.39
October 2017: Press event with Arsenal and Vitality
Someone pinch me! In October 2017 I received an incredible email. I was invited to join Vitality on a new project called #WomenInSport. The project was all about inspiring women to join a team sport and enjoy all the surprising benefits it can give you. To kick start the #WomenInSport project I was given a once in a life time opportunity to interview the Arsenal Women’s team.
I tuned up to the Arsenal Women’s football ground expecting to be joined by 10 other bloggers…. it was just me! I was nervous AF but I had to find my confidence as I was being given the opportunity to interview and have a kick around with the Women’s Arsenal team. You can read the Arsenal interview here
Not long after the interview with Arsenal, I was invited to Edinburgh to meet and interview the Scottish Women’s Rugby Team with three other blogger. You can read about my experience meeting the Scottish Women’s Rugby Team here
I asked Vitality how they came across my blog, they said they found me through Instagram. I don’t have a huge following on Instagram, and at the time I had about 1200 followers, I honestly think it was luck that they found me, but it was my content which landed me this amazing opportunity.
November 2017: Created my first digital product
In November 2017 I launched first very first digital product, it was a 2018 digital year planner, which bought me a total of £328. I’m not sure how that number sounds to you, maybe it’s low, maybe it’s high but I was over the moon with this result! I created something I loved and my readers wanted to buy it! And as this was a digital product, it meant that it didn’t cost me anything to create!
I created the product on a word document and converted it into a PDF. I then sold the product on Magento which is an online e-commerce platform. Magento was extremely difficult to set up, thank goodness I had Ash to help me (he works in IT). The reasons why I set up my online shop with Magento instead of Etsy was to avoid seller fees. I eventually switched to WooCommerce. More on this later.
January 2018: Started YouTube
I mentioned earlier that I actually set up my YouTube channel in November 2016, before I launched my blog. This was because Ash insisted that I set up a profile on each social platform with my blog name, in case I want to use it down the line. I was very much against the idea of having a YouTube channel and I didn’t see the point in setting up a channel that I knew I would never use. I was scared enough to share my blog, let alone start a YouTube channel. But two years later, I gained enough confidence to start creating content for YouTube. Why is Ash always right 🙄
The very first video I shared on YouTube was a voice over. Even though my confidence had improved, I was too scared to talk in front of the camera. It wasn’t until November 2018 when I started creating videos more regularly and I was confident enough to talk to the camera face to face.
Below is a random video from my YouTube channel. Subscribe for regular content!
April 2018: Invested in a blogging course
In April 2018 I invested in my first blogging course. I had been following Wonderlass for quite some time and her online course The Five Day Profit Plan was on sale. This course was a step-by-step guide on how to create an online course.
I had been playing with the idea of creating an online course but I wasn’t sure how to get started and I was scared of putting in effort and my effort not paying off. I really enjoyed taking The Five Day Profit Plan online course and I would highly recommend it, it certainly gave me the push I needed to start creating an online course. But sadly, I did not follow through. This is by no means a reflection on the course, but an example of how I was afraid to put myself out there.
Even though I did not follow through with creating my online course (yet..) I wanted to share this with you. As it shows how we all go through struggles, we all experience self-doubt but we don’t all share our struggles online. Investing in this course was a step in the right direction in growing my confidence and growing my blog but I still had further to go.
April 2018: New blog theme and new online shop
In April 2018 I finally invested in a new blog theme! I had been using a free WordPress theme since I started blogging and I was so bored of it. I found a theme I loved with PigDig for £49. Clearly in April I felt like I had some extra money to spend, as I first invested in the The Five Day Profit Plan course and then a new blog theme!
One of the reasons why I choose this theme with PigDig was because it had a WooCommerce online shop. Which meant I could get rid of my “difficult to use” online shop with Magento and swap to a user friendly online shop with WooCommerce. You can check out my online shop here.
June 2018: Press event with Debenhams
In June 2018 I was approached by Debenhams to join their press event! They found my blog through Instagram, the same way Vitality found me the previous year, so it seems as though Instagram is useful in connecting brands and bloggers (even if your a smaller blogger). During this press event, Debenhams invited me and 10+ bloggers to the Beyonce and Jay Z concert! They kindly gifted our outfits and in return I wrote this blog post about the event.
August 2018: Invested in Pinterest marketing
In August 2018 I decided to step up my Pinterest game. I started doing a lot of research on how to bring traffic to your blog through Pinterest and I purchased a Pinterest eBook by Mommy On Purpose. I found her eBook very helpful, even though I knew most of the information already as I had been doing a lot of Pinterest research, I did notice an increase in traffic after purchasing her eBook.
August 2018: Started Facebook ads
In August 2018 I started putting some money behind Facebook ads. My aim behind these ads was to increase my number of followers on Facebook. At the time I had around 500/600 followers and I was keen to increase that number to improve my blogs credibility. I also put a little bit of money behind Instagram ads but I found Facebook ads to much more worthwhile.
From my experience, Instagram ads did not give you much in return as Facebook ads. I spent £71.68 promoting my Facebook page and received 574 likes in return. This gave me a bigger following on Facebook and more readers to promote my content to!
December 2018: Invested in a 1-1 coach (biggest financial investment)
In December 2018 I made the biggest investment I’ve ever made in my personal growth and in my business. I was ready to made 2019 a better year but I knew that I was self sabotaging and getting in my own way! At the beginning of December 2018 I signed up for 1-1 coaching with Sam Laura Brown. The investment cost me a whopping £1,200. Now I’m sure that amount of money is normal when you’re investing in coaching, but coming from someone who needs to work almost an entire month to earn that amount of money, it was a big deal!
The coaching lasted for 6 weeks and once a week we would have a 90 minute Skype call. The coaching pushed me out of my comfort zone, more than I ever would have. It was extremely helpful to have Sam by my side for 6 weeks to help me push through discomfort and grow my blog.
I told Sam that I wanted to grow my blog so I could quit my full time job. During those 6 weeks Sam guided me through creating my very first online course. Creating the course was hard work, mainly because I was stepping outside my comfort zone. But promoting the course was even more uncomfortable. I wasn’t use to selling to my audience, thank goodness I had Sam to guide me through and keep me going.
January 2019: Launched my first online course (disappointment!)
In January 2019 I launched my very first online course. I mentioned that this course launch was one of the hardest things I’ve done. I felt uncomfortable selling my course as it bought up a lot of insecurities such as, what if no one likes it, what if people want a refund! I done a 7 day launch in which I promoted the course to my email subscribers, Facebook followers and Instagram followers. During the launch I was still being coached by Sam, so it was helpful to have to support during this time.
Now I wasn’t going to mention how the launch went as, to be honest, I felt embarrassed. But this is a personal growth blog and I can only help you if I am completely honest. But unfortunately I didn’t enrol any students into my online course during my launch… I was incompletely gutted! I took it very personally and it pulled me into a bit of a funk! I used it as a reason why I’m not good enough.
However with that being said, I DID NOT GIVE UP! Because failing for trying isn’t as bad as failing because you never tried. And with that in mind, at the end of January, I decided to quit my full time job!
January 2019: Handed my notice in at work
At the end of January 2019 I handed in my notice at my full time job in London! I was ready to leave this job and had been wanting to leave for over a year. I didn’t enjoy the role and I didn’t enjoy my 1.5 hour commute to work! I had a three month notice period so it was a long wait until I could celebrate my last day.
My plan was to save up a enough money to live off for a couple of months and find a local part-time job. This would give me the work-life balance I was craving and more time to work on my blog. Because despite my recent failure, I was not ready to throw in the towel!
March 2019: Changed adverts to Mediavine
In February I discovered Mediavine ads and I am seriously kicking myself for not finding out about Mediavine earlier. It took one month to get my blog approved by Mediavine and to get the adverts set up, but it has made a huge difference in my revenue compared to Google Adsence.
You can apply for Mediavine ads here. But to be approved you must have had at least 25K sessions in the last 30 days.
March 2019: Featured in Blogosphere magazine
In March 2019 my blog was featured in issue 20 of Blogosphere magazine as one of the most inspiring blogs! My blog was chosen to be included in Blogosphere magazine by a fellow blogger who I meant at the Debenhams event in June 2018. I have never been featured in a magazine before and I am extremely proud of myself for this achievement!
April 2019: Swapped full-time for part-time job
In April 2019 I finally left my full-time job! My plan worked out swimmingly, as I had saved up two months of money and found a local part-time job which I started one week after I left my full time job.
My new job brings in enough money to pay the bills and I have more free time to work on my blog without having financial stress hanging over me. Do I have less money? Yes, but I would much rather have less money to not spend on things I don’t actually need, and more time to live a life I love.
I wanted to mention this as when bloggers tell you that they have quit their full time job for blogging, I wonder how much of the truth they are telling us. Maybe they are genuinely making more money from their blog. But maybe their story is similar to mine?
June 2019: That brings us to now
June 2019, that brings us to the month of this post. I truly hope you have found this post about my blogging journey helpful, and it will make you think twice before you compare your journey to others.
As you can see my journey is not perfect, there have been ups and downs and after 2.5 years of blogging I haven’t yet achieved my goal of being a full-time blogger. But that’s okay because I’m enjoying the journey and looking back I can see that progress is being made.
I easily could have sugarcoated this post, it would of been all time easy to twist the truth and make my journey seem flawless and to make myself seem like some sort of blogging genius. But that wouldn’t of helped anyone. Not me and not you.
Enjoy your blogging journey and enjoy the process of creating, learning and becoming.
Comment below with your biggest achievements so far in your blogging journey!
P.S if you’re interested in starting a blog, I have a step-by-step guide here.