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This post comes from writer Catherine, who’s been sharing her journey of quitting her job and becoming self-employed in just 6 months. She shares more about her journey on her blog, CatherineAlford.com.
It’s been well over a year since I announced on Careful Cents that I was finally self-employed. After six months of planning to take the leap, and sharing my journey every step of the way with the Careful Cents community, I was finally able to break out on my own as a full-time blogger.
How exactly? Well, I started by creating a website for free and blogging about my journey. A great resource to get started with your own blog is SITE123, which is a completely free website builder. You don’t have to be a designer to start building a website from scratch, so don’t let your lack of know-how stop you.
Along the way, I’ve received countless emails from people who wanted to learn how to start a blog and what topics to write about that will help their blog succeed.
Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom who misses her college writing days, or a highly creative millennial who just doesn’t fit in with the cubicle culture, many of you want to make the switch from working for yourself to spending your days blogging and writing.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to learn how to start blogging as a beginner, and takes a good bit of effort to turn a profit. Luckily though, I have some steps from my personal experience, that will help you along your way.
1. Push past the fear
Many people dream about becoming bloggers, so they can earn high-paying numbers like other successful probloggers. Back in school, maybe you had a teacher who told you that you were talented when it came to creating stories and weaving your life into words.
However, there’s one problem that’s holding you back: fear. Fear you’re not good enough. Fear no one will like what you have to say. Fear you will never get hired. Fear you’ll end up broke and on the street.
In order to be a professional blogger, or writer, you have to push past that fear. Decide to start, regardless of the outcome. Everyone has to start somewhere.
Every professional writer, blogger, or author was once a novice. Life is all about stretching yourself and doing things that are downright difficult in order to progress. Your blogging career is no different. Decide to start, and then never quit.
2. Build a portfolio
I teach an online blogging class, and one of the very first videos in the course is all about building a portfolio. My course is specific to teaching people how to produce content online for other blogs. Whether you’re an editor, writer, author, or coach, you need a blog to showcase your work.
Luckily, we live in the Internet age where anyone and everyone can showcase their portfolio for the world to see. Create some stories. Create blog posts. Offer to write guest posts for other bloggers. Build a reputation through guest blogging. Gather links. Share your work selflessly. Get noticed.
While you’re doing all this, ensure your online presence looks polished and professional, but also approachable and full of personality. You don’t want pictures of your cats mixed in with your high quality writing clips.
3. Create a solid network
Many bloggers think that they should spend their time at their desk quietly coming up with blog content, researching ideas, and writing out posts. Sure, that’s part of it, but as a professional blogger in the Internet age, you will learn that your job will be 20% writing and 80% marketing.
Not only that, but instead of viewing other writers as your competition, instead start to view them as your colleagues, people who support you while you support them.
Your network is everything if you want to get hired to write for blogs or for magazines or any other type of publication. I can’t count how many jobs I’ve received from friends of mine who are bloggers. Websites and publications constantly need new talent and fresh voices, and they love to ask their current writers for recommendations.
It would be boring if all the same bloggers wrote for the same websites all the time. Make friends with other writers and bloggers, and watch how they can help you succeed. Remember, they aren’t your competition — they are your most valuable resource.
4. Pitch blogs like you mean it
It will be a while before blogging jobs start coming to you. So until then, you’ll have to spend a lot of time researching, looking on Twitter, and pitching like crazy. I’ve been blogging for five years and most of that time was also spent writing for other blogs in addition to my own. Every month, I still have to send out resumes, pitch editors, and try to get higher paying clients.
Being a successful blogger means you’re in constant hustle mode, and because of this I find that many people get really burned out at this stage. After all, it’s hard on the ego to be ignored or rejected over and over and over again.
The great thing about blogging, though, is that there are countless blogs and niches you can pitch. There are countless websites that need content and countless businesses who need newsletters, copy for their emails, and the list goes on.
Sometimes, you just have to try, try, and try again before you get that first blogging gig. Once you learn the types of pitches that work for you and actually get you the jobs you want, your income is truly limitless.
5. Run your blog like a business
Here at Careful Cents, Carrie is on a mission to help other creatives overcome the financial obstacles that come with being a blogger. As creative freelancers we get caught up in the creativity of it all, and usually push the expenses and getting paid portion of the business to the side.
Even so, you have to push past the sticky notes, the scribbles, and the casually messy desks, and find a way to run your blog like a business — like the #girlboss or boss man that you are.
Even if you only have one blogging client, go ahead and open a business checking account. Order business cards. Call yourself a blogger or writer (because you totally are) and project that confidence into every email pitch, into every in person meeting, and into every word you write.
In other words, fake it till you make it!
The world will take you seriously as a blogger once you take yourself seriously. If you want to be a full-time blogger and learn how to start blogging, the great news is that the opportunity is right there for the taking.
Anyone with a love of words, stories, and a healthy dose of discipline can learn how to build a freelance blogging career, whether you want to become a writer for blogs or publish your own book series.
All it takes is an ability to think of interesting content, write, a lot of hard work, and a fearless attitude that keeps you going when times are tough.
Start your blogging career today, and get excited about a future where the only person you have to answer to is yourself. How?
Check out my new course that will teach you my very specific method to Get Paid to Write for Blogs and make money blogging as a beginning writer. As a Careful Cents reader I’m offering you the exclusive chance to get 15% off the full price!
Got a question? Leave a comment and I’ll answer.