5 Things I Learned After 6 Months of Blogging
You may already know that each month I share a Monthly Review as a way to recap what I’ve done each month. And I love these recaps because it gives you guys an inside look at The Content Bug. And it also holds myself accountable to the goals I set at the beginning of the year.
But here we are! 6 months after I officially launched my website and I thought it would be fun to share some stories with you about what I’ve learned along the way.
What you see is mostly what I allow you to see. And that shouldn’t surprise you. With the internet, you can be whoever you want. You can turn into a completely different person.
Now, before we get too far, I want to tell you that I have been myself on all of my social media and my website! This isn’t just one big lie!
But what you don’t see is my daily struggle and all the work that I put into this.
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You see, this website that you are on, I created on my own. I bought a domain, picked a template, learned how to code, and completely customized the site to fit my needs. And each week I continue to learn new things to make it more user-friendly for you.
But that didn’t come easy.
I’m not a coder! Nor do I want to be.
I’m a digital content creator. That’s what I’m good at. That’s my specialty. I could write for days and days and not get bored of it.
But yet with this website, I’ve found myself wearing more hats than I ever thought I would. I’m a website developer, graphic designer, blog writer, email marketer, photographer, entrepreneur, and investor. And those are just some of the things that I could come up with on the spot. I’m sure that there are more titles that I could tack on. But my brain is something similar to potatoes at this point.
Over the past few months, I’ve tried to do it all. And that was my own choice! So don’t think that this is some pity party I’m trying to throw for myself. Because it’s not!
I’ve loved every second of what I’ve been doing. I’ve grown in ways that I never expected. And I’ve learned things that I would never have learned without taking a leap of faith with this crazy website idea.
But I am most proud to say that I get to meet you here.
I get the opportunity to share my journey with you. And that’s a beautiful thing.
Whether you are just starting out or are a successful entrepreneur. It is amazing that I’ve created a place where all walks of life can meet to learn about the online world so that we can tackle it and make a success online together!
It’s so beautiful to watch this website grow and my community within the VIP team grow. I just love it!
What I’ve learned from 6 months of blogging
1. The difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org
When I first started out, I didn’t know the difference. And that is, to this day, one of my biggest mistakes.
You need to get the self-hosted version of WordPress. So I encourage you to go to find a hosting server first. I now use BlueHost because it is cheap and a lot of people recommended it! Once you have a hosting server, then you can install WordPress.
If you go straight to WordPress.com and buy your domain name and get their hosting, you will be months behind where you want to be! Trust me… I did it 🙁
2. The importance of knowing yourself
I know it might sound silly. But the true success in life comes from knowing who you are and doing what you love to do.
Everyone has a purpose. But yet so many just skate by life without ever realizing it or pursuing it.
For so long, I didn’t know who I was. I didn’t know what I was doing. And you can learn more about that in the section below. But since starting my website and trying to chase my own dream, I’ve started to find myself. And I’m not going to say that I’ve found who I am and I love everything about myself! Because that’s not true.
I am still amazed every day by how little I know about myself and how detached I am with my own mind, body, and soul. But it took realizing this to take the first step to working on myself for myself.
If I could go back to the very beginning of The Content Bug, I would tell myself that work is only part of it. You need to know yourself and care for yourself to see the rest fall into place. And that is where real success is born.
3. How to set tasks and achieve them
One of the later lessons I learned is that tasks are different from goals. I have 1 big goal: to work on my own. But I have 5 smaller tasks that I need to complete in order to reach that goal.
It took me up until a few weeks ago to realize this. I thought all of them were goals! And I saw them as something that was optional. If I don’t reach my goals, meh?
But today I now know that the smaller tasks are non-negotiable! I have to achieve them. No matter what it takes.
So here I am, 6 months after the official launch of my website and I feel about 5 months behind on these tasks.
Let this light a fire under your butt if you need it. Set a task and achieve it. Don’t work on anything else until that task is done! Do you want to write a blog post? Okay. Mark off 3 hours to work on that task and only that task until it is complete. Then cross it off your list.
Find a way to stay productive and don’t stop working on a task until you complete it!
4. Stop wasting your time on unimportant things
For a long time, I would spend hours a day on Instagram. HOURS! I’m not kidding. It was sickening.
I would open the app, scroll through until I’ve seen everything. Close it and then open it again 10 minutes later. And then I would get mad when there was nothing new!
Like, excuse me… Cathrin, why are you wasting your time?!
It took a big wake up call from Alex telling me that I was addicted to Instagram for me to sign off from my personal Instagram account.
And I have to say, that the first week was rough. I was so addicted that it was all I wanted to do in the morning and the last thing I wanted to check before bed. YUCK!
I wasted so much of my time on the unimportant things. I gave so much energy to people that I didn’t like, but wanted to know what they were doing. I wasted my time so focused on what other people were doing that I didn’t get anything done myself!
So whatever it is that you are wasting your time on that is not positively affecting you, tell yourself to cut the shit. And then take action to actually stop wasting your time and put your energy into something that brings you joy.
5. Promotion is key!
At the beginning, I was so afraid to promote. I thought it was weak or something. And I don’t know where this mindset came from. But I was afraid to promote on social media. It took me months to switch my Twitter account from personal to website oriented. It took me even longer to add my website to my Facebook profile! And I still don’t promote there.
Stop being afraid of promotion. You could have a really amazing blog, website, or product. But if no one knows about it, then it won’t grow. And you are just shooting yourself in your own foot.
So take a breath and get out there to start self-promoting.
I sent out a few emails this week proposing to guest blog on websites. It was scary as heck. And I second guessed myself more than I should have! But I did it!
Put yourself out there and don’t be afraid to be let down. Everyone will get let down at one point or another. But if you hide in your bubble, then you miss the chance for real opportunity.
Now, some of those 5 things may resonate with you. Others you may think that I am just completely crazy!
So to better paint you a picture of how I got to this point, I want to give you a walk through of my journey. And there was plenty of the good, the bad, and definitely the ugly. But I’m proud to say that I’ve made it to the 6-month mark and am ready to keep moving forward to completing my first year with The Content Bug!
Day 1: The start to The Content Bug
The Content Bug actually started on October 18th, 2016.
I was sitting at home on the couch with my dog, while Alex (the bf) was visiting his parents in Rochester. It’s those moments when I’m alone that I really get to connect and understand a deeper part of myself.
As I sat there surfing Pinterest, I realized that I was extremely unhappy. I didn’t like the town that I lived in. I wanted to be closer to a city. Something that was high energy and bustling every day.
I didn’t like my job. I hated the fact that each morning I would wake up and not know where I was going to work. I hated the fact that my life was so dependent on my 8 to 5 job simply because I needed money to sustain an “enjoyable” way of living.
And most importantly, I didn’t like myself.
I know. That’s a lot for you take in. But it’s the truth.
Over the past few years, I stopped taking care of myself. And no, don’t think that I didn’t shower or something! But I stopped working out, I stopped eating healthy and I stopped caring for myself as a person. I had junk food 80% of the time and I would eat ice cream every night. I noticed that I was gaining weight quickly, and I treated it like a joke with everyone around me. But it wasn’t a joke. I could barely stand to look a to look at myself in the mirror. I hated the look of my arms and would cover them up with long sleeves every chance I got.
So now let’s take it back to that couch. As I sat there, looking at all these “perfect” pins, I realized that something had to change. And the first thing that came to my mind is that I needed to break away from my job.
Crazy, right? Not really!
We spend an estimated 1842 hours working per year. And that’s with 5 weeks of holiday, which is unrealistic for most people.
Taking a look at my work schedule back then, I got about 10 days of holiday and only 1 work week (5 days) vacation. That meant that each year I only got 15 days off a year. With weekends, I have 119 days that are not spent at work. But the sad reality is that some weekends are spent working.
Now, when you really look at it, by the time that you are 50 only 35% of your life is spent working. So that’s not that bad.
But when you are unhappy with your work, whether it is the work environment, the people, or the actual work, this is a lot of your time spent unhappy! And what the heck is the point in that?
So I started to research blogs.
And one thing led to another and I bought a website domain. Just like that.
It took me less than an hour to have my own website. And once I bought it, trust me, I had a huge freak out because I couldn’t believe that I spent that much money on something that I didn’t talk to anyone (other than my dog) about!
Day 2: The freak-out
To give you an accurate depiction of how I felt on Day 2 of this journey, I’m going to share a something that I wrote on that day. Consider this a big step in our relationship. You’re peaking in my journal here…
And pardon my language.
At the time, I didn’t know that my future self would share this with the world! (Darn you future Cathrin)
It was on this day that I realized that I bought a WordPress.com site instead of a WordPress.org site. I knew from all my work in the industry that I wanted WordPress. But what most people don’t talk about is that there is a big difference!
So yes. There was more a freak out after this entry was completed.
But I took it one step at a time. I started to develop a website design. I started to create content that would be shared. I started to write blog posts so that there was content on the site when it was launched. And I worked on my plan. Just a little. Because to be honest, when I started this thing, I did NOT have a plan… at all!
Day 70: Switching from WordPress.com to WordPress.org
Now, after you buy a domain, you have to wait to switch it from one host to another. So when I first bought my website, it was through WordPress.com which meant that they were hosting the site.
I soon came to realize that I needed to find another host and then I would have a “self-hosted” WordPress site. It’s all pretty confusing.
So in December 2016, I officially transferred my website to BlueHost! And the fun began.
Day 79: Serious planning
Right before the new year is when my serious planning began. I was overwhelmed and frustrated with the fact that it had taken me over 2 months to really get started on my website because I didn’t do enough research from the beginning!
So I sat down in front of my iPad and I recorded a 15-minute video of me talking.
This video talks about a lot of things. And in reality, it’s more like a therapy session for me talking about everything going on. But this video sparked the creation of My Goals for 2017. This is when I created my 5 mini-tasks that were going to get me to the stage of quitting my job.
And it was fun to rewatch that video before I wrote this article to see just how far I’ve come as a person and with my website!
After that first video, I recorded a video every week until April. So now I have a string of videos that are a fun reminder of how far I’ve come.
If I’m smart, then I’ll start these again! The problem is storage. Darn you, Cloud!
Day 91: Website launch!
On January 17th, 2017, I officially launched my website to the world!
That was the first day that I announced that I had a website. And my launch only happened on Instagram. So honesty, it was pretty anticlimactic. Other than Alex being excited for me, of course.
Notice the clear mistake in my header… Yep, I forgot the word “to”. And that stayed up like that for a whole month! But it’s proof that I’m human.
Day 142: My first big gig
In less than 2 months after the launch of The Content Bug, I had someone reach out to me with an opportunity to work together! Now, I have to be honest. When I first got the email, something inside of me was screaming DON’T DO IT!
I was afraid.
I was only 2 months into my website and I still didn’t feel at a place where I was ready to expand my work. But what the heck is the point of starting this journey if I wasn’t really going to go for it!
So I responded that I would love to meet and a beautiful thing was born! I broke out of my shell and got the opportunity to work with another company guest blogging for them. It was awesome!
And because of this opportunity, I took a leap of faith and meet with another amazing person in the Rochester community. Both of these meetings, happened by chance. I didn’t do any work. They reached out to me. And I’m so thankful that they did!
Day 150: The start to my VIP team
At the beginning of March, I decided that it was finally time for me to adventure into email marketing. But this time, I wasn’t going to get the launch of something wrong. So I spent a lot of time researching.
What is the best email platform? What are the automation systems? Can I tag users and customize their experience?
This was all extremely important to me as I wanted to create some really big things with my email list! So I decided on ConvertKit and I thank goodness that I did!
This platform is amazing. I can do everything that I wanted to do with my emails and more! It’s truly the best platform if you want to take your email marketing seriously!
Day 246: I crashed my website… & launched my first product!
Just this past month, I decided to step away from the thought of becoming a blogger. I followed so many bloggers on Instagram and I just couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that I was a blogger. So I changed my category on Instagram from “blogger” to “website”. And I was determined from that point on to make my website a true resource to people!
And today I am proud to say that I’ve done just that.
On day 246, I successfully crashed my own website by trying to mess with the backend coding of the site. Now I know to never touch that again!
But more importantly, I launched my FREE resource library! I worked my tail end off to create a collection of resources for my VIP team to access whenever they want. This includes the free downloads that you get from other areas on the website. But it also includes workbooks, checklists, and other resources that aren’t shared anywhere else!
I’m so proud of this library and I can’t wait to watch it grow over in the future. More resources will be added to it regularly! And I’m excited to see what we can come up with together.
Day 262: My website redesign
I stuck with the same website design for over 250 days! Now, I’ve got to say, for someone like me who is always changing and evolving to try and put my best foot forward… this was hard! But I knew that the design was minor in the big picture of things.
So after some time researching and thinking, I knew it was time to put my face forward! Literally…I needed you to like me and my content! Because if we didn’t have a relationship, why the heck would you keep coming back for more! (Honestly, I wanna know…)
So after a lot of time successfully figuring out minor coding, spending breakfast, lunch & dinner at my desk, and not getting to bed until way past my 10 pm bedtime, the Home page of The Content Bug now has a beautiful facelift! (Is that okay to say because it’s my face…?)
But the most important part of this redesign is that it better establishes my Call To Action for new visitors and sets the stage of what I have to offer right from the beginning. And currently, I’m in love with it! But you know that it might change a little in the future 🙂
Day 273: Today
Today (July 4th, 2017) is day 273 of my journey with The Content Bug. It’s so unbelievably crazy that it’s been so long. And part of me doesn’t want to believe it.
I still have so far to go, yet I just can’t help but be so darn proud of how far I’ve come.
I want to thank all my readers, subscribers, followers, VIP team, friends, and family for following this website and supporting me along the way. You are all amazing and deserve all the love and happiness that this world has to offer.
Why, hello there! I’m Cathrin, the creator of The Content Bug. But since we are already virtual best friends, you can call me Cath. After working in the digital marketing industry, I decided it was time to share my love for online content creation, social media, and SEO with the everyday hustlers of the world… like YOU! You can almost always find me at a local coffee shop writing, reading and working on new things for The Content Bug. But when I have some free time, I love hanging out with my dog, going to a yoga class, and being outside. Stay connected with me on Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter to see what I’m up to!