Wow! I can’t even believe that ONE YEAR has officially passed since I put all of my fears aside and hit PUBLISH on my very first blog post on Just Being Jessica! What a whirlwind of an adventure it has been! In true Just Being Jessica fashion—I love any reason to celebrate, so I find it fitting that my ONE YEAR BLOGVERSARY calls for a nice celebration. To celebrate, I’m giving away a $100 Visa Gift Card!
To enter the giveaway for the $100 Visa Gift Card–
1. Follow me on Instagram @jessicalayden, comment what content you want to see from me in the following year, then tag 3 friends under the giveaway post!
(Extra entry if you share my giveaway to stories and tag @jessicalayden)
2. Make sure you’re subscribed to my blog– form to subscribe is at the top of my blog. You just need to enter your email address so you don’t miss a post!
Oh yeah– This is a giveaway sponsored by me, so your odds of winning are high! GO ENTER NOW! It’s really simple![My giveaway begins now and closes Sunday, April 14th, 2019 at 11:59 PM EST. Winner will be chosen randomly using a generator and will be announced on Instagram stories and contacted via Instagram direct message. No spam or giveaway accounts will be considered. The giveaway is not affiliated with Instagram or sponsored by any brand. The prize is provided by Just Being Jessica. Once the prize is shipped, Just Being Jessica releases any and all responsibility for the prize won.]
Over the past year, many of you have reached out to me asking for suggestions and help with starting your own blog. Once our current home is sold and #thelaydenlegacy is complete, I promise you I will make it a priority to write a Blogging Series that I hope will inspire you to start your own blog if you desire. As I reflect on the past twelve months, I think it’s important for me to reflect on how far I have come–as well as set goals for how far I hope my blog will go in the future. With that being said, I hope you enjoy reading the “Twelve Things I learned in my first Twelve Months of Blogging”. If there is one thing I have learned about blogging, it is that in order to grow, you have to be constantly learning– and I can’t wait to share some of the things I have learned over the past year.
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1. I have learned that blogging is an actual business.
Who would have thought? The year is no longer 2008 people. The days of blogging for sole enjoyment with no monetary reward are extinct. Unless you’re living under a rock- it’s not a secret that there is money (and lots of it!) to be made blogging in 2018. Yes. I firmly believe you have to blog about something you are passionate about, but it’s okay if you are thinking about making money as a result! I remember when I reached out to bloggers months before I launched my blog, and every single one of them had the same response: “Don’t go into blogging for the money.” Really? You mean to tell me you want to work endless hours for free. Sorry. I’ll pass. I think what they meant to say was that money in blogging does not and will not come quick or easy. To get there– believe me– It will take time and consistency– and in order to be consistent and spend endless hours of time, you have to blog about something you love… but I firmly believe there is money to be made. Think about all of the hours you spend surfing the internet, pinning on Pinterest, scrolling through Facebook and Instagram. Reading blogs… Someone is monetizing because of the content they created! It is for REAL!
2. I have learned that some people don’t understand (and will probably never understand) what I’m doing– and guess what? I’m totally okay with that.
Can some people be convinced that blogging is a career? Nope- I will NEVER convince them. Will everyone support my blogging journey? Nope. Not gonna happen. Will everyone believe that money can be made through a blog or social following? Nope. Some people could see the numbers of how many people are reading this blog and probably still would doubt what I’m doing. Why? Because to some– internet marketing, content creation, blogging, and influencing is a foreign concept. With that being said, something I really learned this past year was how important it is to stay focused on an end goal (although I’m sure with a blog- there is actually no end… kinda strange, huh?) I have had to ignore others and focus on what I’m doing! It’s not a secret that blogging and influencing as a career is without a doubt a legitimate career option today. As we speak it is actually rapidly becoming a college major at some universities, and I know more will follow suit. Others opinions of me and my business at this point in my journey matter less and less. All I’m saying is that I have learned to not care what people think, and I have developed thicker skin. Again, staying focused is a huge way I have combated any negativity that has come my way.
3. I have learned that there are many ways to make money through blogging.
When I set out on this journey I had no idea what I was doing (heck, I kinda still don’t- ha!), and I thought the only people who would be interested in reading my blog would be my mom and husband. Turns out, to my surprise, there has been a huge interest in what I’m blogging about. I was at the theater a few months ago, and I looked around the audience before the show started. Nearly every person was scrolling before the show started. I would guess a large portion of people were scrolling through social media accounts, reading a blog, or searching up information. What does this mean? It means there is money to be made from not only advertising and affiliate links, but also through paid partnerships and collaborations.
4. I have learned that small consistent steps lead to big wins.
It’s true. Just like exercising for 30 minutes a day or saying no to the fries each week (who am I kidding? I seldom say no to the fries, ha.)… just showing up with an instagram post each day or a blog post even one time a week will eventually yield a huge result in the end. Don’t underestimate the significance of small consistent steps.
5. I learned to say goodbye to perfectionism.
Before starting a blog, I worried that my drive for perfectionism would be a major roadblock to my blogging success. Ironically, it turned out that blogging actually kicked perfectionism to the curb. With blogging there is always room for improvement and it’s helped me learn to embrace the areas of my life that are less than perfect. For years, I bought into the lie that in order to start a blog, I had to have everything in order, have a million bucks to my name, be a perfect parent and have perfect kids by my side. After throwing that lie out of the window, I learned that it is really is enough to start where you are, with what you have. It’s an amazing thought to think you probably have everything inside of you already to do what you dream of doing.
6. I have become addicted to the natural high of “growing” my accounts.
I have never been a numbers person… that’s my husband. But watching my blog readers increase and my followers grow has been a small enjoyment in my ordinary life. It’s amazing to see the reach of my blog on a worldwide scale and as small as I feel in the blogosphere, it’s amazing that the internet truly does connect us all!
7. I have learned that when blogging one must be vulnerable.
Why oh why is it so hard to step out of your comfort zone? It’s true though- that is where the change will happen, and it is most definitely relevant to the blogging world as well. I think of the bloggers and influencers who do not really inspire me. They usually don’t inspire me because they never share any hardships, and are always trying to portray a perfect life! Adulting is hard, and I think we all struggle and will all have some kind of cross to carry. I have found in my experience over the past year, when I was vulnerable and opened up about my struggles to my community– those posts have generated the most likes, comments, responses, and private messages. It’s surely not easy “sharing” so much at times, but my goal has and always will be to help and inspire others! If I can help even one person in one way, then my efforts are worthwhile. Whatever it is that you think you can’t say or talk about— talk about that!!! (I’m working on being even more vulnerable in the years ahead!)
8. I have learned to be aggressive… with growing my brand, my social media accounts, and my email list.
You never know when the “algorithms” will change. Approaching blogging aggressively is a surefire way to turn your hobby into money. And remember, if y0u never ask, the answer will always be no. I have finally grown my accounts and blog space to a place where I will soon begin taking partnerships with brands and reaching out. Develop a pitch and don’t be afraid to use it. And talking about growing a social media account (specifically Instagram), I never imagined it would be “so hard” to grow! I always thought the moment I made my account open, people would automatically want to follow me… boy was I ever wrong. As I stated before, blogging is a business and so is growing an Instagram account, and I think one of my biggest shockers was how difficult growing an Instagram would be!
9. I have learned to embrace my own journey.
It’s true that comparison is the devil and if you let it- it will suck the life out of you…. but I have learned that my own journey is mine- and mine alone. I have to stop comparing my journey of one year with someone who has been blogging for five or ten! I try to picture my end goal and envision where I can be in four more years if I show up and do the work. This has been great for me to avoid getting sucked into the comparison trap.
10. I have learned that networking, like any job, is the key to blogging success.
Sometimes it’s not WHAT you know, but WHO you know– and networking with others in similar niches has been invaluable to me. This is something I just figured out a few months ago and it has already been a major game changer! The best way to learn about blogging is from others who have been successful at it, and I have found that many of the bloggers that I look up to have been very helpful and eager to share their own tips and tricks for blogging success. I’m so excited to see where networking will take my blog this coming year.
11. I have learned to focus the majority of efforts on my own brand and my own blog.
For awhile, I got sidetracked from my blog space and started focusing my efforts on growing my social media accounts. The reality is though, the algorithms are going to always be changing. An email list and driving people to your blog space will always be crucial to success! I feel that social media is really just a driving force to get people to come to your blog. For this reason, I hope to focus more efforts over the next year on my own blog space and driving traffic to my own community. Thinking back on AOL instant messenger and MySpace are perfect examples of why it’s important to build your own space!
And LAST but NOT LEAST…
12. I have learned that there is still SO much to learn in regards to blogging and influencing.
With technology ever changing, blogging as a business will also be ever changing and it’s more important than ever to keep learning. I firmly believe that if you keep learning, then you will no doubt keep growing. It’s such a stimulating process and creative outlet!
So there you have it- The Top Twelve Things I’ve learned in the last twelve months. I can’t thank you enough for sharing this journey with me. What was once a pipe dream became more than I ever imagined, and it’s been such an amazing year. I can’t wait to see what’s in store but I know as long as you all are with me, it will be nothing short of amazing! Thank you so much for following along. Reach out anytime to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out my “Top Three” Posts of Past Year