Blogging is scary. Putting yourself out there into the world in any way, shape or form is scary, but sharing your thoughts in a semi-permanent piece of writing takes a lot of bravery. That’s why blogging comes with a lot of fears.
There were so many worries that crept into my heart before I started blogging. Some proved to be irrational and others, I realised, were justified and took a lot of effort to overcome.
Despite these fears, blogging has become a hobby that I enjoy more and more with every post. As I approach my first blog-iversary, I thought that sharing my fears, and how I overcame them would be a great way to encourage those that are considering starting a blog, and the beginners who may seem daunted by the many obstacles one faces as they begin their blogging journey.
What if no one reads my blog?
They won’t. At least, not at first. In the beginning the responsibility is on you to put yourself out there. Every blogger starts with three or four articles that get read by their mom, sister and maybe their partner. Over time, your mom will tell your aunt, your sister will tell her friends, your partner will tell his rugby coach’s daughter and before you know it, your well-written articles will be read.
Depending on how far you go with spreading your message(your blog articles that is), you can gather incredibly large audiences. Places like Instagram make it easy for followers to click the link in your bio after you alert them of your new post.
Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Bloglovin and other social media platforms allow you to reach hundreds, if not thousands, of potential readers. By learning the tricks of each platform and dedicating a small but consistent amount of time to each of them, you’ll be reaching high page views in no time. You can read about my five top apps for blogging here.
What if I don’t get any/ a lot of followers?
Again, you won’t, at first. It’s hard for social media followers and blog readers to come across your content when you don’t have any social media followers or blog readers. Luckily, this is another area of your blog-life that is actually in your hands.
To be helped by some, you must be prepared to help many. I began my social media journey as a bit of a snob, following maybe a handful of other bloggers and only the high-end brands. I soon learned that I was missing a world of amazing content by only following people with +1 000 followers. There were accounts with teeny tiny followings that posted and wrote the most fantastic content.
I experienced my biggest growth in followers after I went on a following spree myself. Now I’m not implying that you need to follow 3 000 people to be followed by 3 000 people, but by following users on social media that targeted the same niche market as I did, and posted content I ACTUALLY enjoyed, I was able to step into a world of people with similar values and goals.
The golden rule is to only follow blogs/accounts that you would want to even if you weren’t a blogger. Keep your number of followers low enough so that you can interact with them genuinely. It will be the best way to grow your own genuine following.
I’ve spent a lot of money on blog related stuff, what if I don’t recover it?
You won’t (okay I’ll stop now). Before you even start thinking of creating a blog, you need to have your motivation and goals clearly defined. While I am friends with some incredibly established bloggers (who earn great money from campaigns), the only vision I ever had (and still have) for my blog is that of a hobby, nothing more than a means of creative expression.
Starting a blog to earn money is really hard, and can begin to feel like work when circumstances get tough. Leaving a job to blog full-time is nearly unheard of, and juggling a career AND a blog can see you falling short in one or both areas. Monetizing your blog is literally comparable to a 9 to 5 job.
Once you know where your blog is heading, it’s easier to accept the difficulties you may face. I know that because I have made the decision to NOT monetize my blog (no ads in sight) I will pay a certain amount of money every month in order to keep it going that I will not recover. I see this as a ‘membership fee’ that some people may spend on a gym contract, or a golf day. It goes towards my hobby, and my hobby brings me joy.
What if I say something that offends someone?
The world of social media is a terrifying place. It seems that not a day goes by without some YouTuber, blogger or influencer apologizing for an inappropriate tweet, unacceptable comment or distasteful joke. Putting yourself out there means that every word you say and every move you make is seen by your followers.
Honestly… I’m really scared of this one. I know that I come from a background that is very different to most of my followers. Whether we are different in a racial, religious, economic or cultural sense, I realise that there are many things that I may not understand about some of the people who follow me.
What if I put my foot in my mouth and say something ignorant? What if I make a joke that I didn’t realise would hurt someone? At the end of the day, the only thing I can hope is that whoever it is that I offend will see that my comment has not come from a malicious place, but only a place of misunderstanding. I believe that if one is open to apologising and ready to learn and change, nothing is unforgivable.
Sometimes life gets hectic, what if I don’t have time to keep my blog going?
Again, once you have clear direction for your blog, your conscience will be soothed by admitting how much you can truly dedicate to your site. If you have been realistic in your expectations (see how to set up a schedule here), you won’t feel guilty going quiet during exam time, or missing a post or two during your child’s birthday week.
The only key is consistency. That doesn’t even mean sticking to your three blogs a week schedule, it merely means that WHEN you do slip up and only post once, you have the ability to carry on and meet your goals next week.
Giving up entirely when things get busy is a trap many bloggers fall into. Everyone will have busier and more relaxed times in their lives, so try and plan to stock up on those relaxed days, so that carrying on during the busy days doesn’t seem so daunting.
I’m scared that people I know will find out about my blog, what if they judge me?
I didn’t tell my friends and acquaintances about my blog for MONTHS. Besides my immediate family, boyfriend and two friends, not a single person knew about my profiles or blog. It was my biggest fear that people I went to school with would find out about and read what I had written and laugh.
I kept setting new ‘deadlines’ for when I would post about my articles on my personal Instagram, or when I would allow my family to tell their friends. I remember being so embarrassed when my boyfriend told his family that I’d reached 800 followers. As I squirmed and blushed, his brother just raised his eyebrow and said “Why are you embarrassed? You have something you enjoy and you’re doing so well, you should be proud”.
This moment I had been avoiding for so long had gone way better than I had expected. Eventually I posted on my private social media accounts, promoting my site. I told myself that not everyone would want to follow a beauty account, and that would be fine. After a while, I even got messages from girls I knew, asking for advice on makeup or skincare.
It’s sort of like jumping into a pool and expecting it to be freezing, except the temperature is not nearly as low as you thought it would be. When I have a moment of horrible self-esteem, I think, if some girl (or guy) I vaguely know, is sitting at home reading my article on fake tanning and laughing about what I’ve written… it would say so much more about them than it would about me.
What if brands don’t recognize my hard work?
This has been a particularly difficult blogging issue for me. While I said just a few lines ago that my blog is only a hobby, I am the kind of person who does everything to the best of my ability. I’m not going to half-heartedly attempt something purely because it’s a hobby and not a job.
I see brands’ recognition as a measure of how seriously I am being taken in the beauty-blogging industry. And I’m really trying to change that. Blogging is, and forever will be, fuelled by the readers/supporters/followers of your blog. Despite the fact that brands may be the entities that provide you with products, they only do so because they hope that your audience will respond to your thoughts on the items you received.
It may be disheartening to not get messages, products or responses from brands that you approach (I know it is), but sometimes it’s important to step back and remember why you started. It’s not necessary to buy every makeup product that’s released in order to stay relevant, so not receiving every item doesn’t mean you’ll be behind in any way either.
How can I possibly start a blog with original content when there are already so many out there?
If I could give just one thing to take away from this article, it would be this: there is a place for EVERYONE! Whether you post creative, artistic looks, or review Dischem products only, or import international brands unavailable in South Africa, or create more natural looks, there is something you have to offer that is different to every other beauty blog.
It may take some time for you to decide what you like, or what you are best at offering your audience. I wish I was able to create ‘Instagram’ looks, with bold brows and heavy lashes, but I way prefer reviewing makeup that I buy. And that’s okay.
The blogging world seems fierce, what if the other girls are bitchy?
While I have been fortunate enough to never experience nastiness from the blogging/beauty community, I know many people who have. It’s a price that you pay whenever you put yourself out there.
My advice is this: try to be as kind, supportive and fair as possible. Be careful to give credit where credit is due, and to ask for help from someone you admire rather than steal their ideas. If you find yourself in the middle of a social media war, apologise for what you may have done wrong, and then hold your head up high if the other party refuses to return the favour.
Be above underhand, sly, bitchy behaviour. Don’t associate with girls who you can tell get involved in arguments. Rather say nothing at all than something you will regret. The beauty community is small and the internet is unforgiving.
In conclusion, what I want to say is that even though blogging is hardwork and often frightening, you can conquer your blogging fears and be left with a fulfilling, creative hobby (or even job). I cannot recommend blogging enough. It has been one of my favourite adventures, and I have met such wonderful people along the way.
If ever you have a blogging question, or just need a message of motivation, come and find me on Instagram and pop me a message.