The 5 Big Blogging Lessons I’ve Learned in 2016, plus investing in your business.
The fact that 2016 is coming to an end blows my mind. Yes we always get to this point and say these things every year… but for me this year is different. When you’re running a business, your mindset shifts and reflecting on the year (both the ups and the downs) can make all of the difference when preparing for the next year.
This year, 2016, was the first year where I’ve been able to fully focus my efforts on building my blog, Fit Mitten Kitchen, as a business. In May, Drew and I had just moved back to Michigan from Pennsylvania for his new job. I left my comfortable office job as a full-time dance costume designer with a lot of unsettled feelings about what the future held. Sure I could try making this little blog work, but at that time it was no where near a steady or full-time income. I knew a lot of work was ahead of me if I wanted to make this side-hustle passion a business.
What kick-started my frame of mind for building my blog as a business was jumping into the first virtual Food Entrepreneur Summit, hosted by Nicole Culver. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect. We were just getting settled into our new place the same week the summit started. I made it my mission to learn everything I could from the speakers and their videos. Everyone was so inspiring. And not only did we get to watch the videos and learn and take notes, but connect with the speakers and Nicole in real time in the Facebook group. This was an awesome experience because all of the speakers were so helpful and transparent. Anyone running a business as a solo-entrepreneur knows how lonely it can be at times, so having those speakers pop in the Facebook group to offer their advice and insight was truly invaluable.
Oh, if you’re not familiar with the Food Entrepreneur Summit, it is a virtual course for essentially anyone and everyone who is an entrepreneur looking to learn, grow their business and make connections with other like-minded individuals. You don’t have to be a food blogger–anyone can learn from this course. And you get to do it all from the comfort of your own home–no traveling expenses!
Fast forward a few summer months later after the slow season of blogging ended, and all of the sudden I feel overwhelmed again. I was still chatting with Nicole in her Facebook group, conversing through email, and joining in on her various training sessions. She could sense I needed some extra help–whether I wanted to admit it or not.
See, here’s the thing. I am passionate and driven and stubborn. I don’t ask for help often unless I have exhausted all of my resources. I thought “I can do it [running the blog as a business] on my own… other people do, right? So yeah, I can too…”
WRONG. Okay, well maybe not completely wrong. But “wrong” in a sense that if I wanted to run my blog as a business on my own AND accomplish the goals I had set for myself in the time I wanted to complete them, I definitely needed a little help. I just had no idea where to start or how to even remotely tackle everything on my list. So I joined Nicole’s membership site and started working with her one-on-one. Yes, it was an investment and I was a little leary at first (no offense, Nicole 😉 ). I thought to myself “Do I really need a business coach already…? I’ve only just hit my one-year blogging anniversary. Is this worth it?” But I knew I trusted Nicole, and I was ready to invest in my business with her help. Together we established solid, realistic goals and how exactly I was going to reach those goals. Not to mention she held me accountable that I was going to do my best to see them through. And through both the Food Summit and working with Nicole, I’ve learned SO much this year.
The 5 Big Blogging Lessons I’ve Learned in 2016
Everyone is on their own journey
Whether that be in life, relationships, or business everyone is on their own journey, doin’ their own thang. Everyone takes different paths to get to where they want to be. There is no need to look at what someone else is doing and start comparing it to what you’re doing, only to cause worry and anxious thoughts. Lindsay Cotter shared her thoughts on this in the first Food Summit and it is something I carry with me and reflect on each time when doubt and fear start to creep in.
Quality over Quantity
If you’re a blogger you have heard this before. This is not a novel concept. Even in my first several months of blogging I heard it… but I didn’t truthfully listen to this advice 100% of the time. I still thought I needed to get out as much as much content as I could, no matter what. Now of course there is a difference between just starting out and learning how to perfect the craft as you go. But if you know in your heart that as you’re putting a post together and it isn’t your best (not in the perfectionist kind of way, just that you know it could be 20x better) pause for a second and ask yourself is it really worth it getting the post up. OR could you take an extra couple of days to make it awesome, and give your reader something you feel 1000% confident about. Something that will help ensure you’re always putting out your best content is preparing a calendar weeks in advance.
Content calendars are
If you want to get serious about blogging, plan your content weeks in advance. This doesn’t mean every post is photographed, written and scheduled beforehand. It just means you have an idea of what the month is going to look like ahead of time. This way you can plan your photoshoot, trips to the grocery store (if you’re making recipes), or graphics ahead of time. It really will help make a difference in how each week plays out. And hopefully keep stress levels down.
Sometimes you just have to go with the flow
Being a perfectionist, this one is hard for me. BUT I’ve learned this year that sometimes no matter how much you think you’ve planned things out, life is often complicated and can get messy. So it is better to relax and just let things happen. It’s not the end of the world if you didn’t get the post up in time according to your calendar–unless of course it is a sponsored post with a brand. That you may want to make a priority. I can’t tell you how many times I had a post penciled in for a particular day and it never happened. Or I had to change things around in my calendar because of who knows what. Photographing and the weather forecast, most likely. If you feel a little frustrated that things are not going as planned, find some time to re-focus and get back on the horse the next day.
Celebrate your wins and BE PROUD
Again… perfectionist mindset over here. This one is tough! People will say “Wow you should be really proud!” And I say “Oh thanks! …But you should see what so and so is doing…” Wait, what? They don’t even KNOW about “so and so”. They’re congratulating YOU and what you’ve accomplished. But you’re not at the level that you want to be? You don’t have 300K followers Instagram? You don’t have millions of pageviews a month? Sometimes I feel like celebrating your blogging wins can be compared to celebrating non-scale victories during weight loss. Your value as a blogger is not defined by your numbers, just as your weight on the scale does not define you as a person. Find ways to celebrate your wins that don’t involve numbers. For example, “I reached out to this brand that has been on my list for months and we’re talking about a new partnership” OR “I’ve been making a point to truly engage with my community and am getting great feedback from them” or “Someone made one of my recipes and left me a comment on my blog. It made my day.”
Those are all little wins. And that my friends, is something I wouldn’t have done without the help of Nicole. Being a perfectionist can be kind of annoying. Nothing ever seems good enough and you always expect or want more. But she really pushes everyone (in her community group) to make a point to write down your wins for each month. Big and small, celebrating the wins keeps you motivated and on track to accomplish the goals you set out in the first place. I have this spot in my planner at the end of each month I use to track my wins, and it gives me more insight on what I need to work on for the following month. And of course I take a moment to just pause, reflect, and be proud for how the month went. It makes such a difference and keeps a positive mindset <3
So what’s on the schedule for 2017?
Well, as you may have guessed, Nicole is hosting another virtual Food Entrepreneur Summit and that is the first thing on my agenda for January 2017. The summit kicks off January 4th and is going to be packed with 18 masterclass videos, downloads and community fun until January 12th. I cannot wait to continue learning from and connecting with so many amazing entrepreneurs and business owners! Just look who is coming (some awesome freaking people, that’s who).
My favorite Canadian blogger Davida from The Healthy Maven.
My badass blogging babe Georgie of In It 4 the Long Run.
My new web designer (!!) Jenn Orcutt from Isn’t She Lovely Designs.
Plus so many more amazing people to learn from.
Still not convinced?
Nicole is offering a SPECIAL BONUS > Anyone who purchases tickets for this year’s summit will get last year’s course FREE (a $97 value).
Just use the code “fitmitten” during checkout!
And if anyone is considering joining Nicole’s membership site or working with her one-on-one, I can tell you it is 200% worth the investment. Nicole is constantly adding new courses to her site and has helped me in so many ways! I would not be where I am right now at the end of 2016 without her help.
One more thing!
This is my last post for 2016 as I use next week to enjoy time with family and friends, launch my new website, and prepare for 2017! I hope you all have an AMAZING holiday and enjoy time with friends and family this year.
NOTE: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase through the links, I will receive a small commission. Thank you for your support!