Have you ever felt like time is simultaneously flying by, but also going in slow motion? I have no idea where the time went this year. But the year also felt very full. It was full of some of the hardest struggles I've faced, but also full of travel, time with family and friends, growing my business and learning so much. When it comes to blogging and content marketing, this was nothing new. I've been doing this since before the term "content marketing" was really a thing. When it comes to writing your own blog and finding your own voice, however, it's much trickier. I still struggle with how much to share on a personal level, but I know that's basically a universal blogging struggle.
I launched my blog at the very beginning of last year, so I wanted to do a little roundup! Who doesn't love a good list? This year also marks year 2 of running my own business.
4 Lessons from my year with this blog:
- Focus on building community. Guest blog for as many (relevant) blogs as possible. I had some wonderful opportunities and met many great blogging friends this way, but I should have spent more time working on these connections. In 2015 I'll work on more guest blogging opportunities with other bloggers and MindBodyGreen. (So if you want to work with me, let me know!)
- Focus on consistency. Stick to 2-3 fonts and 2-3 colors. I knew this going in, but didn't listen to my own advice. I like playing around with details too much.
- High quality images are worth the time or expense. At first I didn't pay much attention to photos. Now I'm working on using stock or original photography, plus making sure they're sized as wide as my post text when possible. Small details like that can make a big difference. Improving my photography skills is a goal of mine for 2015.
- Give up the urge for perfection. Perfection really is an illusion. You should use good grammar, spelling, and a digestible writing format, but don't stress yourself over having everything perfect. You will make mistakes, and you'll learn from them.
3 Lessons from running a business (year 2):
- Track expenses monthly + know what you can claim. I found this list a few months ago and realized that I missed A LOT of things I could have claimed in 2013. Track everything, even if it seems little and insignificant. Little expenses add up and can make the difference between one tax bracket and another. I use Mint.com but am also going to start tracking with a spreadsheet because that's just how I am.
- Automate + simplify as much as possible. I resisted this all through the first year. I wanted to feel in control of everything. At one point I was so overwhelmed I had to give in. And it WAS WONDERFUL. I automated every bill I could, streamlined my invoice template and hired help during my busiest months.
- Write down your goals yearly, monthly + daily. For the past two years I've written down my financial goals and general goals for my blog and business, but I didn't plan out stepping-stone-goals along the way. When I started breaking my financial goals down by quarter and even month, I noticed I was exceeding my goal. It helped me stay focused.
Exciting plans for 2015:
- An ebook (in the works)
- Blog redesign (in the works)
- Video tutorials
- New services
- Exciting giveaways
Thank you all so much for supporting me this year! If you have topics you'd like me to focus on in the coming months, let me know in the comments.
Share one lesson you learned this year in business or blogging in the comments!