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December 31, 2016 was the anniversary of my very first blog post. I can’t believe how fast the year flew by. I had a lot of big wins in 2016. I was able to work with brands, collaborate with film and television actress Kimberly Elise for the launch of her book “Curly Halo”, and was even featured on Essence.com. I’ve also learned more about how much work really goes into blogging. Here are the top 5 things I learned this year .

Blogging costs COIN. Don’t let anybody tell you any different.

  • Domain name
  • Web hosting
  • Web design or themes
  • Photography / video equipment 
  • Photography / video editing software
  • Business registration
  • Copyright registration
  • Trademark registration
  • Taxes / accounting software
  • Your TIME away from family, friends and life events
  • Legal counsel and more

Yes, I said legal counsel. Which brings me to my next lesson learned.

You may need to seek legal counsel. 

Did you know that your blog needs a disclosure, privacy policy and terms of use? When I first started my blog, I had 1 out of 3 of those items. However, it wasn’t until after I consulted with an attorney that I learned about the other 2, among many other things. And guess what? You can’t just go to another blogger’s website and copy/paste their legal language and tweak it to reflect your information. That’s copyright infringement. Additionally, when you start working with brands for paid collaborations, you will start to receive Influencer contracts. If you don’t feel comfortable reviewing contracts on your own, it is wise to have an attorney review them for you.

Know your value.

Unless it is extremely beneficial for you to do so (and I do mean extremely), stop doing free blog reviews for brands. I had a brand send me a product to sample and then later request that I write a full product review including high quality images. When I agreeably responded to them with my price sheet, they sent me a “not so nice” response stating that they did not think they would see a return on their investment. Here’s the tea. If the brand didn’t think they would receive some type of benefit from you reviewing their product, they wouldn’t reach out to you, period. You need some type of financial compensation to keep your blog up and running. There is no shame in asking to be compensated.

5 things I learned after 1 year of blogging. Click To Tweet

You need to batch process. The life of your blog depends on it.

Because I have a full time job in corporate America, I rarely have time to take photos during the week. This is especially true during the fall and winter months when it gets dark at 4:30 p.m. and we lose that perfect natural light much earlier in the day. I spend most Saturday mornings either filming or taking photos of all the products I need to post for the week. Then, I schedule/automate my content using apps like Later, Buffer or Planoly. When I’m at work, I’m focused on work. When I’m blogging, I’m focused on blogging. Batch processing prevents me from getting burned out.

It’s not a race.

Even if you are only racing against your own timelines, stop it! Blogging is supposed to be fun! I used to pack my content calendars to the max and then ended up not posting for weeks because I was wiped out. I view blogging as a creative outlet. Spend your time putting out consistent, quality content. Consistent for you may be once a week. Don’t feel like you have to compete with other full time bloggers, some of whom have staff to help them push out blog posts and videos 3 or 4 times a week. Enjoy your journey and create a schedule that best fits your lifestyle. Like Shea What’s Real says, “you do what you want when you blogging.”

 

♡ Chelsea