Have you ever had a dream of starting your own blog or online business?
I’m excited to share with you today what I’ve learned in my first year of blogging. I’ve been getting some questions about how I started my blog and figured my 1 year anniversary is the perfect time to share my wisdom in hopes it can help some of you who also have a dream of starting your own blog or virtual business!
In May 2016, I bought my domain name, and a few months later in August, I launched Vegan Chickpea. I had a dream of having a food blog for a number of years, and finally said to myself, “Sarah, there is no reason NOT to do this!” I didn’t know much about blogging, but what I did have was a deep knowing that this was something I truly wanted.
I really enjoyed cooking and experimenting in the kitchen. I could look at food blogs for hours and talk about food with you all day long. I had been vegan for a year at the time (and gluten free for seven years) and felt inspired to spread awareness about this style of living. Finally, I saw that there were hardly any other bloggers who were both gluten free and vegan, so thought I might be on to something with my niche to help others like me who want both!
I started immersing myself in everything blogging related by listening to podcasts and doing countless google searches. At the time I had a bare minimum, 101 level of understanding of WordPress from when I built a coaching site and blog for myself back in 2013… but hey, at least I knew how to publish a post, right?! I also had been working in the virtual world for 2.5 years at that time with an organization where I supported their online launches and programs, so the virtual world in many ways was familiar to me.
However, blogging – and food blogging in particular – is a completely different world, and one that I have come to love. I still feel like a beginner in many ways and have so many goals and hopes for where I could go with my blogging career, and yet I can also see how much I’ve grown in a year and am giving myself a big ol’ pat on the back for that as we approach my one year launch anniversary! *cue celebration music*
MY TOP 7 TIPS FOR STARTING A BLOG OR VIRTUAL BUSINESS
Whether it’s blogging or something else that you’re interested in, find whatever you can in the field you’re curious about and start making time to research the topic with everyone’s BFF, Google. Listen to podcasts and webinars, subscribe to email lists from others in the industry, and start talking with anyone you know who is further on the path than you in that area, or who is at least interested in the same thing.
I’d listen to podcasts when I was doing dishes, cooking, getting ready in the morning, taking a walk, driving, or anytime I could squeeze in a few minutes! I became totally addicted to the Food Blogger Pro podcast and have now listened to just about every episode!
For me, it was important to get inspiration from those who had already created the life I was seeking. How did they do it? What do they like, and what are they challenged by? What is it really like to be in their shoes? I’d often imagine myself being the one getting interviewed one day in the future, feeling what that would be like and how our conversation would go. I haven’t been interviewed… yet… but still hold that vision of success for myself! 🙂
2. FIND YOUR PURPOSE
Why do you even want a blog or online business to begin with? Without knowing why you even want to commit to this in the first place will make this journey a whole lot harder and more scattered. Is there a certain need you want to fill in the marketplace where you feel like you can give your gifts? Do you simply want more freedom and to be your own boss? Do you want flexible working hours so you can spend more time with your family?
Whatever your reasons are, find them. You’re going to need to remind yourself again and again of why you want this when times get tough and you start to doubt yourself. Knowing your ‘why’ also helps define the rest of your strategy including your ‘what’ and your ‘how’. For example, someone who wants to make a little side money in order to have extra money for family vacations is going to approach this way differently than someone who wants a full time income.