Ok, so I'm ripping off the post title from Entrepreneur, which talks about, entrepreneurism, but I'm going to take the sentiment and apply it directly to what we all talk about here. Blogging.
When I started out blogging, I didn't know any other bloggers. No one in my immediate circle of friends knew other bloggers either. Since there is that layer of things you don't really talk about online or in public, there are things that I had to learn just by experiencing. And trust me, I am a knucklehead who enjoys learning things the hard way.
You may NEVER feel like you know what you are doing.
Sure you may get to know your readers, you'll get the hang of creating editorial calendars. You'll figure out what the difference between a press release and a blogger campaign is. But every time you think you have this whole game figured out, something will happen when you realize you don't know shit. Seriously. This has happened to me more times than I can count. All I can say is that that feeling like I don't know what I'm doing… is there because, well no one really knows what they are doing. If they do, well, good for them. Chances are they don't though. We're all figuring things out as we go along. All. Of. Us.
Sometimes you won't know you made a mistake until long after it happened.
When I first started my blog, I was seeing a career coach about changing my career. He really thought I was on to something with my blog, but he thought my photography was lacking. At the time everyone was taking photos of themselves in a mirror with a cheap digicam, so I didn't think I needed to up the ante by using a photographer. Little did I know that six months later bloggers would start taking editorial like photos and become mega popular. So instead of being a game changer, I had to adapt quickly. It was a hard lesson learned.
Sometimes you won't know if you are doing something RIGHT until long after you did it.
When I started IFB, it was just a thing where you could get a badge saying you were an independent blogger. It took years for it to become something resembling a career. Literally, years. It took a long time for me to realize that writing content that helps people was the right way to structure a publication.
Rules are meant to be broken.
Rules, schmules. There are a lot of “rules” out there, which clearly need to be broken. “Paying your dues” by being an unpaid intern, then working as an editorial assistant, then becoming an editor. Waiting for someone to give you a job. Fuck that. You can play your own game and do your own thing simply by just starting and doing it. No one has to give you permission to follow your dreams.
But some rules are there for a reason.
Back to that “paying your dues” thing. Sure, you can break the rules by not paying your dues the way they've been paid for decades. But in one way or another, you will have to pay your dues. Whether that means working on your blog for years without recognition, or learning the skills like photography or writing for years before starting your blog, or whatever, you can't escape the work no matter how you cut it. Even the “overnight successes” have paid their dues somehow, some way, if you really listen to their story.
You'll have to be competitive.
I know, I hate competition. I don't like being competitive, but if you ever do something successful, people will follow and try to compete (ie, when I founded the IFB conference, then all the sudden everyone started fashion blogger conferences). There will be times when you have to be competitive just to stay alive. It's just the way things are.
You'll have to be open to collaborating with others.
No one exists in a vacuum. Just because things get competitive doesn't mean that you have to shut out every other person out there. You'll have to work with others, because we all depend on each other for success. That is also the way things are.
You'll find the voice you never though you had.
When I first started blogging, I didn't think anyone would be interested in what I had to say. And granted at first my blog was not so interesting. But over time I was able to find a voice and the confidence to make it heard. That would have never happened without my blogs.
[Image credit: Shutterstock.com]