Feb. 3, 2012
Starting a Blog
After the post of my advice about starting a business, I received several emails with questions about starting a blog.
Blogs are a lot of fun, but they can also be a lot of work. Several of my friends start blogging, only to quit to find it takes up too much of their time. BUT I do believe that blogs can be a good tool for business. You won't make money off a blog, and blogging won't pay the bills (the opposite, it will cost you money), and the days of being "discovered" because of your blog are long over... but a blog can be an online extension of your business, and a tool for drumming up clients.
I guess the question is if you want a blog to express yourself, whether its sharing what you're feeling, what you learn, etc. (Something that's personal and you do for fun/an outlet) Or do you want your blog to be how people can find you, how you can "exist" professionally online?
Ginny Messina's blog is a great example of how her blog is a tool for her business. Another example is Gena, who started her blog when she became a raw foods coach. Now she's back in school so it's taken a slightly different turn, now it's more of an outlet for her, but for the first two years she blogged, she blogged raw advice and raw recipes, and her clients and coaching services.
I use my blog to provide information (an extension/tool of my business) but also to occasionally let my supporters get to know me because who I am is interwoven with my business. A friend of mine that is a massage therapist, does blog posts mainly about therapy and massage and how to destress, but occasionally she'll talk about her husband or family, because her clients want to know the woman they go to for therapy. On the other end, another friend of mine does fruit baskets and gift baskets, and she'll post tutorials or tips, but she never talks about herself because that personal connection doesn't exist in her business.
One friend of mine told me recently she hadn't started her business because she hadn't found the perfect business card. I told her "you don't need a business card to start a business. Do your business, worry about business cards later!" I grew into Happy Herbivore. When I started blogging, my blog had a different name. Even what was on the blog, has changed over time. My website has been redesigned 4 times, and is going through another redesign now. So it's almost pointless to stall until everything is neat and perfect, because it'll change regardless.
I was never worried about getting people to follow me, website traffic, etc. because I wasn't in it for that. I'm still not. I know not everyone is going to like me or agree with me. I care about the people who I help. I care about the people that like and support me. Whether that is 1 person or 1,000 or 10,000. It's all about passion for me - nothing else. Not money, not fame, not glory, not popularity -- but helping people. I've always had the attitude if I help just ONE person eat better and live healthier, I've reached my dream and my goal, that was enough for me. Still is :-)
The best advice I can give is start a blog. Today. You just have to start blogging. If you don't know what kind of blog you want or where you want to go with the blog, start blogging and let it take shape. You just need to start blogging. Don't worry about a blog name, you can change that later. Don't worry about how'll you find time, you don't know the time commitments until you start. You just have to start.