1. Find Your Voice
The hardest part of starting a blog or business is developing a voice. I remember when I first started my blog (it was kaitgmiller.com). I tried blogging about everything under the sun…even fashion and it wasn’t me. I thought that I had to fit into a certain category in order to have a successful blog. But going through that process and blogging about lots of random things actually taught me what I truly love to do. It was such a good learning experience and my passion became stronger and clear. There was an 8-month gap between kaitgmiller.com and starting realfoodgypsy.com. We were driving home from Las Vegas and had just finished trying a few of their delicious restaurants, when “Real Food Gypsy” was born. I grew up driving two hours to try a new restaurant, studied health & wellness in undergrad + grad school, and loved learning about all things health related. I knew I wanted to not only do healthy eating, but healthy traveling as well. I had to stop focusing on what everyone else was doing in the blogging world, get creative, and dive in. It takes some time to develop your voice, but be patient…because when you do, it’ll be worth every second of the learning experience. Don’t forget who you are and why you’re doing what you’re doing – that’s what your followers will fall in love with!
2. Focus on Great, Authentic Content
Be true to yourself. Don’t try to copy or become someone else. There’s a big difference in learning from other bloggers and copying everything they do. If you want to start a business or blog, I encourage you to research what’s worked for other bloggers. Even look at other blogs to see what you like and what you dislike. I would also recommend investing in a quality camera, if you’re starting a blog (I use a canon 6d with a 35 mm lens). I took a one-day photography class to learn the basics and practice photography every single day. Also, learn to become a conversational writer. Going from scientific writing in grad school to conversational writing was the hardest thing about starting a blog. I had no clue how to begin but asked for help from other people that had gone through the same situation. It takes time, practice, and a ton of effort to create great content, but I love that there’s always something new to learn every day. Lastly, don’t care what people think. Be who you were created to be and that’ll show in your blog, social media posts, and everything else you choose to do.
3. Be Generous
If you have information to share with others…share, share, share. I can’t tell you how many times I reached out to bloggers for advice and got no reply. Be open with people and generous with your time and they will do the same for you. Find ways to give away what you know. The goal isn’t to make money tomorrow, but to build relationships that’ll last a lifetime.
4. Build Relationships
Partnerships, collaborations, and networking are the most valuable tools to seeing your blog grow. Sometimes I think we try to compete with other bloggers rather than learn from one another. When I actually began to look at the great blogs out there, I learned from them, discovered my own voice and design, and connected with people similar to me. Find their contact info and just ask about their experience. Remember, they were once in your shoes! Connecting with people and developing long-lasting friendships has been one of the greatest experiences of starting my own website.
5. Own It
Be confident and put yourself out there. Own it ALL, yep the good and the bad. Some days you will feel like an absolute rock star and other days you’ll wonder what the heck you’re even doing. But own those moments and keep pushing towards your goal. It can feel uncomfortable to be who you really are because if we share all of the stuff that goes on in life, there’s always a fear of rejection. Truth is, there is always someone out there going through the exact same thing you are going through. Being who we are made to be is the place to start. Only when we’re honest are we truly helping others and ourselves.