Throughout January we will be running our 31 Day Blog Challenge: 31 days to clean up, grow and improve your blog. What better time than the start of a new year to get things sorted and ready to go for a brand new year of blogging?
We'll be sharing 31 tips, ideas, and strategies for you to get things in order and make blogging easier. This is Day 29.
One thing that we notice a lot here at FBC is how reluctant bloggers are to invest in themselves. Sometimes it's for budgetary reasons but more often than not, it's something else. Sometimes it's a feeling that "this is just a hobby" or that there isn't any real value in it. Other times we hear that they don't want to invest until they start to see a payoff (usually financial).
Wrong, wrong, wrong!
First of all, investing in yourself or your blog does not have to involve a monetary commitment.
Second, nobody ever suffered from learning something new.
Third, if you ever want to get yourself to the next level in any aspect of your life, it requires an investment in yourself and quite frankly, you're worth it. We all are.
How To Invest In Yourself As a Blogger
Life is too short to stop learning. Take a class in knife skills or Lightroom or writing, or cake decorating. Not only do you learn something, if you take a off-line class, you will meet new people. And new people beget new ideas and new inspiration and new friends. So, how do you find a class?
- look on-line. There are lots of on-line classes like Lynda.com or Skillshare
- Check out your local community college or your school district's night school classes
- got a friend who excels at something you're interested in? Ask if they can teach you. ALWAYS offer up something in return (for close friends, I teach for cookies - homemade of course!). They may refuse but it shows you value their time and expertise.
- look on eventbrite at events happening in your area - it's usually packed with classes and seminars - many range between free and a $100.
- check out resource based communities (like FBC!). Many offer a paid level of membership that gets you access to classes or discounts on resources or large conferences.
- google. For real. It's amazing how many people don't try googling something first! But if you have a question, there's a good chance you'll find your answer there.
Take Time Off
It sounds counter intuitive but, we all need to refill our creative wells and the best way to do that is to walk away for a little bit. It could be a few days or a few weeks. Check out our post on ways to reignite your passion for food blogging for help. Your blog won't die and your new experiences will impact your work in the kitchen, behind the camera and with your pen in a positive way. And you won't feel burnt out.
Remember if your blog is "just a hobby" it should be a release for you, not a stress inducer. And if your blog is part of your livelihood it's still equally important to take that time away now and then (watch Stefan Sagmeister's TED talk on Taking Time Off)
It's Ok To Invest In a Hobby
Do you knit? Did you buy yourself some knitting needles? When was the last time you tried to make a sweater out of thin air? We're betting you probably bought some yarn at some point. Are you a photographer? I tried taking photos with cameras I made out of lego when I was 5. Didn't work. I had to buy an actual camera.
You get the picture - hobbies usually cost money on some level. We're not suggesting you break the bank but, hobbies are an important outlet for our mental health and they deserve a line in your family budget. Even Gail Vaz-Oxlade gives her hardest debt cases a line in their budget for entertainment every week.
It's Necessary to Invest in a Business
If blogging is part of your income then you need to invest in it (which in turn is an investment in yourself) to maintain and grow it. You can spend $300,000 on a house but if you don't budget a percentage of it's value for annual upkeep, you run the risk of devaluing your initial investment and making much costlier repairs later. Same goes with a business.
- invest in a good logo that can be used in multiple ways (header, business cards, print materials, other websites)
- invest in a decent hosting platform that matches your current blog traffic and that can accommodate traffic growth
- invest in a blogging platform that will give you the ability to grow and earn a bigger income and make your readers happy
- invest time. Make time to plan for the future with your editorial calendar, your goals and future income generating ideas
- invest in knowledge. Be a sponge: read. Not just about food but business, planning, art, photography, writing, travel, web design, SEO, marketing.. you get the idea
- invest in networking. Do NOT stick with the same crowd all the time. You own a business, you're not in high school. Expand your horizons and meet people who do things - not people who talk about doing things. People who do stuff are usually very interesting. They've had a lot of experiences. The food world is very small. Step outside of it regularly.
These are just a few tips and ideas. The important thing to remember is, you are worth it. Your blog is worth it. And it doesn't have to cost you a fortune.
In fact, you should go make yourself a cup of tea right now and take a few minutes for a mental break. Your mental and physical health will thank you!
What are some of your ways to invest in yourself and your blog?