9 Things I’ve Learned After 3 Years Blogging Full-Time

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I created Fitnancials 8 years ago. I decided to go full-time on my blog 3 years ago. I’ve learned so much since then. 

Most of you know that I originally started my blog just for fun. It was a fun hobby that I spent a couple of hours a month on. A few years in, I developed an audience and readership organically. I had no idea I could blog full-time. 

This is a list of 9 things I’ve learned since going full-time on my blog. 

If you need more help starting your blog, I have a free How To Start A Successful Blog quick 5-day course that shows you step-by-step what to do AFTER you started your blog. This quick course is filled with a TON of value giving you everything you need to get started the best way.

1. Blogging is a real career.

I had no idea that there were so many people out there blogging for a career. I was also shocked when I found out there were people out there making six figures blogging. Since going full-time on my blog, I’ve attended 2 blogging conferences and was amazed to see so many people killing it in the blogging world.

What I love about blogging is your income isn’t capped. There are some people out there making $2,000 a month and others who have grown their blog to $100,000 a month. The earning potential is way different than say, working a corporate job and waiting for raises.

And another amazing thing I’ve learned is that earning $2,000 a month on your blog is no small feat. We always talk about bloggers making six or seven figures but don’t talk enough about the people who make $2,000 a month on their blog. These people started an online business out of nothing. I think that’s incredible. 

2. The legal stuff matters.

I was shocked to see that there’s a legal side to blogging. You have to have disclaimers and privacy policies on your blog in order to follow the law. This includes proper affiliate and sponsored post disclaimers. 

I recently interviewed a lawyer and blogger who shared great tips and resources for blogging without breaking the law. She goes over how to ensure your blog is legal, which blog legal pages you need, and so much more. You can also check out the lawyer’s legal bundle here for bloggers.

Bloggers do get sued, just like anyone professional can, so you want to make sure you’re doing everything correctly legally. P.S. I do not recommend copying a blogger’s legal templates and copying them to your blog. This does not count as adequate legal pages. 

3. An accountant is worth the money.

I did my bookkeeping and taxes on my own for years and I’m so happy to say I’m finally getting help with this. When my blogging income doubled and almost hit six-figures, I knew I needed a professional to help.

Earning a living as a blogger and freelancer meant that doing my taxes was a bit of a pain. You don’t just get a simple W2 as you do at a regular job. 

If you need an accountant, I recommend checking out AccountLancer. Eric helps with monthly accounting, personal taxes, and business taxes. You don’t have to feel like your on your own in your small business, Eric is there to help make the process easy.  

If you’re interested in becoming a work from home bookkeeper and helping bloggers like me, I recommend checking out Bookkeepers.com. Included there is a free class that shows you how to succeed as a bookkeeping business owner.

4. Spending money on a course you really want/need is worth it.

If you’re looking at blogging or in the blogging world already, you’ve probably been inundated with courses promising you amazing results, but courses usually cost a lot of money. I went a long time without investing in a course. In fact, for the first 5 years of having my blog, I never took a course.

Once I took my first course, my blog rapidly grew in traffic and income. I can say 100% I wouldn’t be where I’m at in my blogging career if it weren’t for courses, particularly Create and Go’s courses. If you didn’t know already, Create and Go is a blog created by 2 bloggers who successfully created a health blog that hit six figures in their first year. They went on to create the blog Create and Go, all about building successful blogs. So now they run 2 successful blogs! 

I went a long time purchasing another course after Create and Go. My mindset was, “Did I really need another course? I’m already making a lot of money.” That mindset kept me from purchasing an SEO course for about a year, even though I knew learning the ins and outs of SEO could take my blog to the next level. I finally decided to take the plunge and get the course, although I was a little nervous at first because it was an investment. 

But I can now say I am SO happy I made the investment because I’ve definitely seen the return. 

Which leads me to my next point. #5. SEO matters.

5. SEO matters.

I put off SEO (AKA search engine optimization) for so long. If you don’t know what SEO is, it’s using a method to increase traffic to your website through organic search engine results. 

If you’re looking to diversify your traffic sources and increase your blogging income, I highly recommend the course Stupid Simple SEO. You can see my results with Stupid Simple SEO here. I was able to increase my Google traffic by 552% and now it’s my main way of getting traffic to my blog. 

You can also get a free masterclass here that shows you the top 3 mistakes every blogger makes with SEO, the secrets to writing content that ranks on Google, and a 4-step process to scaling your traffic. 

SEO is huge in the blogging world (and for any business) because getting on page 1 of Google is huge. If you’re on page 1 of Google, you’re getting targeted customers. Not sure what I mean?

Here’s an example. Mary is a recent college graduate looking to pay off her student loans ASAP. She’s thinking about refinancing. Here’s a great example of when a personal finance blog would want to use SEO to land on page 1 of Google and publish a blog post about how to refinance your student loans. That blog post can include affiliate links with high payouts.

Or you’re a food blogger and you just created a blog post about 10 meal prep recipes on a budget. The 10 recipes included in the blog post all go to other recipes on your blog. You show up on page 1 of Google. You will get A LOT of traffic because you used SEO strategies to land on page 1 of Google.

6. Working directly with a company is usually better than working through a sponsored post network.

As I am writing this blog post, I’m on month 7 of waiting for a sponsored post payment from a sponsored post network. It’s not the sponsored networks fault, more so the brand not paying yet, but this has never happened to me when I work directly with a brand.

If you’re not sure what a sponsored post network is, it’s a website that lists a bunch of opportunities for brands to connect with bloggers. I don’t recommend these networks because it’s simply never as good as working one-on-one with brands. I’ve come into this problem so many times with sponsored post networks, that I simply can’t recommend them anymore. Plus, you earn less money because the brand has to pay for the sponsored post network to connect you guys. Not ideal. 

P.S. If you need help making money with sponsored posts, check out my free guide “How To Send A Killer Email Pitch To Brands To Land Sponsorships.”

Related: How I Make $3,000 Per Month With Sponsored Posts

7. Your blog can change.

If you’re an OG follower of Fitnancials, you know that Fitnancials was originally a health and fitness blog. I decided to totally get rid of that part of my blog for reasons listed in this Instagram post. I actually wanted to make this change for a while but I was scared because the health and fitness niche was a huge part of my blog, but I was so ready to let it go. 

A few years ago I slowly started to come to love everything personal finance, so the transition into making Fitnancials a personal finance blog was natural for me. I even ended up paying off $40,000 in student loan and consumer debt, and soon after built a healthy net worth for someone my age. More importantly, I learned how to love money and develop a healthy relationship with it. 

I’m so happy I made this change and I learned that it’s more than okay to make big changes like this. 

8. Email and marketing are crucial.

When I started taking my blog seriously and treating it like a real business, I soon came to realize that email and marketing are some of the most important parts of running a blog. 

Email is so important and I can’t stress this enough. I wish I had started my email list sooner. Email marketing is crucial and can take your blog to the next level because you have so much more power when you have someone’s email. Instead of relying on social media to get people to your blog, you can send out an email blast weekly and share your top articles, top tips, resources, etc. You can also sell products via email. Top bloggers credit their email list as a huge reason they earn a lot of money from their blog.

I use ConvertKit for my email marketing and highly recommend it. 

P.S. Some of my favorite marketing books are: 1) Expert Secrets and 2) DotCom Secrets. Both books are filled with tons of helpful tips that you can apply right away. It’s also a quick and fun read. 

9. Create your own products.

I didn’t create a product for my blog until last year and I still can’t believe I waited so long! I made sure to create a product that I knew my readers wanted – so I created a course about sponsored posts. You can learn more about Making Sense of Sponsored Posts here. I share absolutely everything you need to know about sponsored posts and we have a fun private Facebook group where you can ask me any question as well. 

I’m also currently in the process of creating 2 digital products and I’m so excited for those to come out.

Creating your own products is great because you don’t have to worry about affiliate programs ending or affiliate percentages being cut. I haven’t had this problem with affiliate programs, but I do have more peace of mind knowing that I’m more in control of my blogging income since I sell my own products. 

Final note

Do you have any blogging-related questions for me? If you’re a blogger, let me know in the comments if you can relate to any of these lessons as well!

P.S. Don’t forget to sign up for the free How To Start A Successful Blog quick 5-day course.

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