Today makes 9 years since I’ve started blogging (I became a full time blogger in June 2015). When I started blogging, I didn’t really know what to expect. I knew I wanted to do it on a full time level and eventually start a business because of it, but really did not know what I was doing. I just watched what the people I liked did and tried to make my version of it.

PHOTOGRAPHY // Erica Simmons

Now, that I’ve almost been doing this for 9 years I can easily say that it is way harder than I thought it would be but I wouldn’t want it any other way. Essentially, I get paid to be myself, but be clear it is still a lot of work. But for the last 9 years, here are the most important things that I’ve learned:

 

CONSISTENCY IS EVERYTHING

To grow as a blogger – just like anything else – you have to be consistent. This is very important. Especially if becoming a full time blogger is the goal. It’s even a lesson I had to revisit myself. Because if you’re lucky enough to monetize your blog, you’ll think that you only have to show up for the paid or sponsored content and forget about creating content you love. It’s important to me to balance both and show up for my readers.

Being consistent is hard – very hard – but the thing that’s helped me is being clear on why I’m committed to blogging in the first place. It has been and still is important to me for women who look like me to see themselves represented in the blogging space. I’m also really dedicated to helping others be better everyday.

In the seasons of my career when I’ve been most consistent, I’ve had an editorial calendar + schedule that allowed me to write, edit and format my content in a timely fashion. I’m lucky enough to have a team who helps with that now, but I am still the sole writer on this site, so it’s still quite the workload.

At the end of the day, consistency isn’t rocket science, it’s commitment. And if you want to be a full time blogger, you have to be committed.

 

START AND GET BETTER AS YOU GO

It’s so easy to get caught up in overthinking. I’m not gonna post this because it’s not perfect. Let me reshoot this because I saw how someone else shot it on Instagram. Let me overplan this post for the 20th time because planning allows me to procrastinate actual execution which is what I’m afraid of.

SPOILER: you’re going to suck when you start. Because everyone starts at square one. It’s about getting better as you along. The reason why most people fail at blogging (or anything) if because they never start. They plan, plan some more and overplan themselves into being paralyzed.

I was really bad at blogging. Really. In fact, you can see here. But in hindsight, that was such a short amount of time of being bad compared to where I am now – a full time blogger & influencer.

For anyone who has planned their launch (or relaunch) over and over again, stop. And then actually start. Figure it out and get better as you go along.

 

BEING YOURSELF PAYS OFF

After doing a little research, I realized that I’m in the 4% of bloggers who make a full time living from blogging. That’s crazy. I don’t know why I thought that number would be higher, but I totally understand why it’s so small. Becoming a full time blogging is no easy feat. Blogging is hard work and when you’re scrolling Instagram and blog timelines and seeing everyone’s picture perfect take on their life and business, even the most secure person starts to question if you’re doing enough – or even worse, if they’re good enough.

The short answer: you absolutely are.

And you don’t have to fall into the cookie cutter, overly filtered Instagram standard to be successful as a blogger. You can work with household name brands, get paid well and be your authentic self. It’s not impossible. But you have to be very clear on who you are and who you want to be and do the necessary work.

I use to try and copy all the top bloggers once upon a time and once I stopped and decided to be my true self, I started creating the kind of content people were willing to pay to be a part of. Not only that, I started showing up for myself every single day to create content because I really like who I am.

That’s the big secret. Be yourself. And work your butt off. It pays.

 

Looking forward to another 9 years of blogging – if that’s what He calls me to do. Cheers!