If you ever want to start a blog, it can be LOTS of fun. Blogging can be an outlet, it can be a venue for many different things. It can even, in some rare cases, make you some money! I’ve been actively running websites and blogs now for nearly 4 years and so I thought I’d write a 10 part series on what I’ve learned!! This week, it’s networking, support and growth.
Very few bloggers start a blog for no one to read it. If you start something of your own you are naturally PROUD of it. You write, share, post, and yes sometimes blubber about things in your life, deals you find and pretty much anything you want. It’s your site. But, as you grow, you find that sometimes blogging is hard. Sometimes it’s not as fun as it looks, and in fact sometimes you find it’s real life.
In real life most people have at least one friend. Some have best friends some have friends that are mere acquaintances and some have just work friends and others may have just facebook friends. Those people, whomever they are, are your support. They often act as a sounding board. Getting with your friends to talk about your spouse, or how you have a big decision at work, or maybe your kiddos are being difficult, that’s your support structure.
It’s hard to imagine not having them, so why in the world do bloggers isolate themselves? For over a year, I isolated myself from others. It’s hard to do things on your own. Being responsible for something isn’t easy. There is amazing pressure to perform, to consistently deliver, to manage your sites correctly.
Don’t get me wrong, I had wonderful people around me, and tons of amazing people helping me with our sites and even more amazing people volunteering, but it helps to have someone who has walked a mile or two in shoes like yours. They understand the challenges. The late night wake up calls that the server is down, or the constant worrying that something would go wrong with the server when you are out and about. The incessant pressure to produce great and consistent content. It got to the point where I would dread going on vacation, because when I got home, my email box would have thousands of emails waiting for me. It was hard to do it all alone. I wondered out loud to my wife how others do it and don’t get burned out.
My initially curiosity lent itself to action, and I started to reach out to other people. Although they didn’t have sites exactly like mine, and I didn’t expect to be best buddies over night, slowly relationships formed. They often would promote something we were doing, and eventually I got up the nerve to just ask them about how they do it! How do they handle the pressure, what is their system, how do they manage their families. And you know what, they told me!! They struggle with the same things I struggle with, they struggle with the same fears I have. It’s comforting to know that it’s rare that anyone has it all figured out. Most of us are looking for support, and yes even big bloggers need support.
Today I find my support from many different places. For bloggers (and non bloggers alike) I find facebook groups to be extremely enriching. Bloggers big and small discuss struggles and support each other. Phone calls ironically are a great offline way to find support. Texting or typing to a moderator or member in our forum. Skype, email and even bulletin boards have become fantastic ways to network. Have you ever had a friend online or someone you admired? Speaking to them for the first time is extremely nerve racking, but go for it. Support is found in so many different places, just start searching!
Lessons I’ve Learned While Blogging is a 10 Part series. Next week’s article discusses why Balance is Not Dirty a Seven Letter Word