This January marks the 6 year anniversary since I started blogging.
I stumbled into the world of blogging and social media six years ago and discovered an unexpected way to reach an audience of Canadians with my stories, recipes, restaurant reviews and travel guides, while making a bit of extra money to allow me to spend more time with my growing family.
People often ask me how to start a blog or how to grow an online audience. I don’t have the precise method but, aside from just getting started, here are some general concepts I have found to be helpful in any passion project you decide to pursue:
1 | Be relentlessly persistent in your pursuit
You will need an abundance of energy to keep going, every day, for a long time as you hone your skill or build out your project. Don’t expect instant “success”, and don’t get discouraged if you don’t see quantifiable results. It may take years to get to where you want to be. Ask yourself, do you enjoy the process? Is this something you would do even if you weren’t paid, or even if no one read your content? Some of the most successful people or projects are successful because they were relentlessly persistent. Having the energy to keep going is half the battle.
2 | Do something you genuinely enjoy and that flows
If you are passionate about what you are doing, that passion will give you the energy required to keep going. Doing something you love to do doesn’t feel like actual work; it just flows, as if time disappears. Ask yourself if you genuinely love to do what you’re about to do because it’s going to take up space in your life and will require sacrificing something else to make room for it (for instance, sleep or time). It will have to become integrated into your life. I love writing, cooking, connecting with others, and sharing helpful resources. I keep this blog and Instagram because it brings me joy.
3 | Bring something of value to others
If you do want to attract and keep an audience, think about what value you are bringing to others. Are you sharing useful tips, advice, or content that will make their lives easier? Are you contributing to your community in a meaningful way? Will what you create spark inspiration in someone? Will it connect with people in a way that gets them thinking? That sparks conversation, or a good memory?
4 | Be at the right place at the right time
This is obviously hard to control, but what I mean is put yourself out there. Put your work out there too. I never imagined that I would attract a large audience on social media or be asked to review restaurants when I started posting recommendations for where to eat in Toronto. But the timing lined up with other factors (like a growing Toronto food scene) and my audience started growing one day. You never know when that right time will be, or when your project will take off, but the likelihood of being at the right place at the right time goes up when you’re consistently putting yourself out there.
5 | Don’t be afraid to pivot
Being able to adapt and pivot will make it easier for you to keep going when your life changes, or when you change. Over the six years, I’ve rebranded when things felt dull, I’ve stepped away when it didn’t feel right, I’ve pushed pause when life got full with family responsibilities, and I’ve come back when the time was right. But overall, the trajectory has been moving forward and being creative in how I use this platform.
6 | Continue learning
With everything in the world changing a mile a minute, it’s important to always be learning and putting into practice what you learn. Recently, I learned to make short recipe videos, because more and more people are consuming video content online.
You can learn by talking to others, reading, watching videos, taking a class, or simply walking the streets of your city. There are endless ways to learn. Keep your eyes and mind open to absorbing trends and new information, because things change quickly. You will need to be able to adapt your business strategy, keep your content fresh, and capture your audience in diverse ways.
The biggest lesson
The biggest lesson I have learned is to believe. Believe that you were made to create, connect and contribute. When the voice of doubt creeps in telling you to quit, or that it’s the wrong timing, or that you’re not good enough, or that you are failing, it’s important to believe that you have something to offer thats of value. Believe that you’re good at what you do. Believe that what you put out there is worth it.
And just do it. It’s great to start new things just to see if it flows. Sometimes, you just might stumble into something that combines your talents, interest, abilities and passions into one – and that’s truly a gift.
Feature photo by Gable Mak Photography.