June 2022 marks my first full year of being a blogger.
I started out using a completely different platform and had no clue what SEO was or how to get eyes on my blog.
In October 2021 I moved over to WordPress and honestly, I haven’t looked back.
It was a good decision.
I have learned a lot and my SEO has improved along with my writing style and website overall!
But that doesn’t mean the year has been completely smooth sailing.
And I’m starting to realise that maybe things need to change in my life and my website may need to start moving in a different direction.
Knowing when to change things is important
Anyone who lives with mental health problems, a chronic illness or any other mental or physical issue will know all too well when they’re not doing so great.
It’s like having a chain wrapped around you that keeps tightening even when you’re trying to break free.
Sometimes we can put on the adult pants and get on with it.
Other times we need to look at the whole picture.
Last week I shared some journal prompts and some of them were focused on prompts for businesses.
The two that resonated with me were “What is it you want from your business?” and “What is your long-term business goal?”.
When I sit and think about it, I realise exactly why I’ve been finding it so hard to be motivated lately, despite having had a couple of breaks from both my job and the blog.
It’s because my 9-5 job means I’m sitting behind a computer all day.
Coupled with running the blog which means more of the same, I’m computer fatigued.
I don’t want to sit and write on my laptop when I’ve already spent the day doing the same thing for my job.
You might ask, why not write notes the old-fashioned way with pen and paper? Because, honestly, I don’t find it helps me when it comes to blog writing.
Journaling is one thing – it’s a release and an escape for me. It’s for my eyes only and isn’t business related for the most part. It helps me the same way talking therapies may help others.
My job and blog (which I wanted to be my job) are not the same thing and I feel that writing blogs on paper only to re-write them up on a screen just isn’t logical to me.
How has my business plan changed?
When I started out with my blog, I wrote about the things I wanted to write about.
I wanted to share a piece of myself with the world, open myself up to writing opportunities and build myself up gradually so that I might monetize my blog and earn a living away from the confines of a standard 9-5 job.
Initially things were going ok. A few people I knew were sharing my blog links, commenting and a couple made donations. I even got accepted onto a few affiliate programs and got Google Ads running smoothly.
After a couple of months and initial flurries of interest, this quickly started to tail off.
I kept telling myself that perhaps I needed to up my game and press on – after all blogging takes time.
When I moved over to WordPress, I invested in some self-hosting with Lyrical Host, and I got a bit more serious and niched down into the Mental Health and Wellbeing space.
As someone who has and still does live with both, I had a lot to say. I still do in many respects.
I joined a few Facebook groups for some help and direction and learned a bit more about self-hosting and SEO.
But here’s the tricky bit…
Although the audience was growing slowly, I was learning how to market my blog better and my SEO is improving, I realised I am not making a dime.
I may have a 9-5 job, but the increases in living costs, paying off my credit card and trying to actually have a life and make memories makes it feel unreasonable for me to pay for courses or coaching for my blog when I have no return on it.
My initial business plan was – and to be honest still is – not going anywhere.
This has led to me having a very tough talk with myself.
Was my initial business plan even right for me? Was it strong enough? After months of stagnation, am I even enjoying this any more?
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE writing! When I’m motivated to, I can write forever and a day! I thought this would be enough to make me want to keep going.
But with that motivation waning as I realised all I was doing was sitting behind a screen, I knew something was up.
A new plan came to mind.
Change is terrifying.
Looking to go forward with a completely new business plan is scary.
And being on the edge of the unknown makes it even worse as you stare into the deep, dark abyss of imagining all the things that can go wrong.
But being a blogger is a long game and is hard work. It’s almost as much work as my current 9-5 and replacing screen time for screen time doesn’t feel like much of a payoff.
I have affiliates. I have my own store on RedBubble to showcase some of my photography. I have the option for people to donate to the blog to keep it going, and I have Adsense helping me out.
But I realised recently that perhaps I was juggling too many plates.
My blog traffic numbers have been static or wavering for a long time. Despite implementing some great advice, I’m just not seeing changes. I’m posting everywhere reasonable, but views remain dishearteningly low.
I needed a distraction.
And fate stepped in to lend a hand.
Enter KelzoJewellery. A shop and couple I have been following for some time and have always had a great relationship with!
Their earrings are stunning and their ethic of everyone included is something we should all be striving for.
As part of their Pride Launch this year, they sent a lucky few of us a make-along kit before the main launch. This would enable us to make a few pieces of our own jewellery.
And I loved it. I felt inspiration creeping back in. Something I could physically concentrate on away from being stuck next to a screen. Something I could physically see and admire.
It dawned on me that this was something I could do.
Something I wanted to pursue and something I could make my own timetable for as a small business owner.
I would have to do a little research and invest in myself, but I felt a spark to do it. I haven’t had that same spark with my blog in a long time.
Next steps will be baby steps
There will be a financial risk in setting up my own jewellery store. I’m no stranger to the costs of investing in such a business. I’m not so naïve as to think it will be cheap.
I also know that I will have to hold out with my 9-5 job for a while longer to ensure I’m not suddenly financially unstable.
But when you hear a call this strong, you should follow it.
Is this the end of Diary of Discovery?
Yes and no.
My feeling is to pull back on writing blog posts, perhaps scaling back to once every 2 weeks rather than my current weekly schedule and spend some time making jewellery for a soft launch.
Once I’ve got a feeling for if there is any desire for handmade jewellery, I can make a further decision from there as to whether to continue with both or re-evaluate again.
Don’t be disheartened if you’re on your blogging journey.
If you are a blogger yourself and want to make it a full-time gig, then my love and heart are with you all the way. I sincerely wish you all the success in the world.
What I am trying to show in this post, is that sometimes our plans change. We realise that what we thought we wanted might not be right for us at all.
And that is ok.
Lives, situations, and motivations change all the time and there is nothing wrong with that.
Change is scary. But for some, it can be necessary.
Now is just my time. I will always love writing. But to try and turn it into a career has just been too much for me in the end.
Stepping back from the blog is not me being hypocritical. It’s me learning who I am.
Having spent years in the shadow of others and being too afraid to believe in myself, I’m starting to learn who I am and give myself some credit. I deserve to be able to believe in myself.
And I want to follow that journey. I want to be true to myself. Finally.