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I remember when I first started my blog in 2012. I was perched on my brown leather couch, my leg bandaged, my dog Hugo by my side, and I started writing. This blog wasn't my first. I've had a few over the years. But it felt different. This blog was a personal one. One where I would share my secrets and dreams and thoughts.

It could have been the pain medicine, after all, I had just gotten out of surgery after falling rock climbing and smashing my ankle into a million pieces, but I knew this was going to be something I cared about. I just didn't realize it would actually be my life.

This past month marks six years on this blog. This post marks my 1,377th post. And over the years I've written on lots of different topics. From my own life, the world, travel, moving abroad, my background in marketing and social media, to silly things like “blogger pillows“. Some posts have been downright dreadful, others have helped bolster my blog.

Over the years this blog has morphed and changed with me. Here are some milestones:

  • Quitting my job to go full time
  • Moving to Europe (this blog is sincerely part of the reason I was able to do that)
  • Adding my husband Michael as a full-time partner on the blog
  • Hitting 6 million pageviews
  • Reaching 50,000 newsletter subscribers

I don't blog for money or followers. I blog because I want a way to remember my life and what I care about. The fact that I was able to turn that into a full-time business is icing on the cake. Owning my own business means I work a lot of hours, but they've all been worth it because I am able to create a life on my own terms. So here's what I've learned:

Don't follow the rules

Every one tells you to pick a niche to be successful. And that's fine. And yes, that can work. But it's also incorrect. You can blog about multiple things and still be successful. This blog is about travel, blogging, social media, and me. Could I maybe make a bit more money if it was about one thing? Maybe. But I prefer to do things because I'm passionate about them. I think that in the end that is what keeps you going.

I've probably said the word “passion” on this blog a thousand times and I'll say it a thousand more. If you don't have that you simply won't want to blog. If you have a bit of passion you will keep on going. Maybe you won't be famous or super rich (or maybe you will!) but you will keep hacking away because you care.

The most important thing you can do on your blog is to be authentic. If that means sticking to a niche, by all means do it. But if that means writing about a conglomerate of things don't be afraid.

There is room for everyone

People always ask if the market is over-saturated. The blogging market. Instagram. Courses. My advice: please, just do it. The absolutely beautiful thing about starting a blog or online business is that it costs very little money. The money you spend might lead to nothing, yes. But the loss is small compared to what you could gain. And there is room for everything and everyone.

I fully believe that the world needs your voice. We all relate to different things and different people. It's imperative that you go out there and create. You will never know until you try. As long as you are willing to learn and grow you will succeed.

I recommend investing in this (I did, and do every year):

The Genius Blogger's Toolkit

Further reading: How to Find Your Blogging Voice

Write things you care about

You don't need to hit publish every day. Or week. Or even month. I used to blog 5-6 days a week. Now I hover around 1 or 2 a week. And you know what? I get more pageviews now than ever before. Quality over quantity is extremely essential. But there's another piece to it: you have to care.

I'm a nerd. I love numbers and figuring out how to grow traffic and increase engagement. I used to work at a company in Dallas where I set up Google ads, display advertising, and created SEO copy for various websites. I loved figuring out how I could move some one up on Google. It was exciting! All the while I had my own blog and never wrote about this. Then I realized, if I care about this, maybe someone else will.

I made a promise to myself to always write about things that I felt interest in. I believe that it's essential to create your foundational, or pillar content, (this post is three years old and still one of my favorites) that you can refer to again and again. And then sprinkle in topics that you have an extreme passion for. That passion will shine through in your writing.

Your blog will change. You will change. That is okay. As long as you keep writing about what you're passionate about and do it for your community, they will stay with you.

Take some risks

There is no straight line to a dream. You have to be willing to put yourself out there. I have failed many times on this blog. Most notably, when I tried to start a t-shirt business. I went about it all wrong. But when I failed I ended up taking a step back, investing in a course, and writing a business plan.

With a plan and some more knowledge, I ended up selling my first course, Instagram for Success. This course is still alive and well today. And goes on sale once a year, if you'd like to know when it does you can sign up here:

Learn how I tripled my Instagram Following with a FREE ebook:

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The exact steps I used to bolster my Instagram and go from 0 to 130,000 ENGAGED Instagram followers.

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You can't expect instant success but you'll never know unless you try. Try and fail. Fail again and then try again. If it sounds too weird or different I urge you to just give it a try. You might inspire or help someone.

Find your friends

Blogging is a weird hobby. Unless they are doing it themselves, your friends just won't get it. I can't tell you how important the friends I've made are to keep me sane and help me understand what's going on in blog land. I talk to Taylor of The Daily Tay nearly every day. We've only “met” in real life twice. Once was on her wedding day. That is the strangest thing to write but it's also so cool that the world allows us to connect with people.

Sarah, creator of Dallas Love List and Venus Trapped in Mars was someone who had just moved to Dallas and we casually met for drinks after finding each other's blogs. I now consider Sarah to be one of my closest friends.

It's so essential to not only connect with people but also feature those that have helped you on your blog. Christine of Live Love Run Travel does an absolutely phenomenal job of this. Collaboration can sincerely help you grow and increase your reach.

Blogging allows us to create a real connection. We are sharing about ourselves and people can read and say, “I totally get that!” I save every email I get when someone tells me that a post I wrote resonated with them. It makes all of this worth it. To me, the community aspect of blogging is why we all still go through the trouble.

Read more: How to Find and Create a Blogging Community

Invest in yourself

I used to be afraid to spend money on my blog. It wasn't until Michael opened my eyes to what I could achieve if I invested in some tools that I finally did. Every single cent I've put into this blog I've earned back ten-fold. Blogging is extremely time intensive. But there are tools, courses, and resources that will help you grow, make money, and save time.

The internet is constantly changing and so are the ways to make money. One of the best ways I've evolved my blog is to always invest in learning more. Every year I purchase the Genius Blogger's Toolkit because it's always packed with something that will help me grow or learn. This year is no different.

For just $97 you get 77 courses, ebooks, resources, tools, and more. The value is at over $5,000, but for just a few days you can grab this toolkit for under $100.

The Genius Blogger’s Toolkit is a digital collection of trainings and tools to help you on your blogging journey. It will give you step-by-step instructions to make your blog successful in 2019 and beyond.

Curious what it includes?

When you buy the Genius Blogger’s Toolkit, you’ll get access to:

  • 15 eBooks
  • 41 eCourses & videos
  • 9 printables & workbooks
  • 5 templates
  • 5 stock photo collections
  • and 2 membership sites

… all curated to give you a comprehensive blogging education that will grow with you as you hit each blogging milestone – at a price that’s too good to miss.

And it doesn't stop there y'all. If you sign up for the Genius Blogger's Toolkit using my link you'll get my SECRET list of services, team, and resources I use to grow my blog. I have never ever shared this before. Think of this as a rolodex directory of the best people, places, and resources to grow you blog. This will give you a list of the people I hire and outsource my business tasks to as well as tools and people in a wide variety of fields. This is invaluable! And it's yours free when you sign up for the Genius Blogger's Toolkit through my link.

So you get over $5,800 worth of products from expert bloggers and influencers for just $97. BUT THERE IS A CATCH.

This bundle goes away (and will never come back!).

I wanted to tell you some of my favorite products, because I've gone through almost every tool, resource, course, and book to tell you what I like best:

  • GDPR Compliant Blog – Surviving the GDPR: Everything You Need to Know and Do to Make Your Blog GDPR Compliant Before & After May 25th 2018 by Lucrezia Iapichino ($67.00) Who isn't stressed about GDPR?! This helps SO much. I suggest getting this toolkit just for this product. Yep, that good. A step-by-step guide for bloggers to make your blog fully GDPR compliant in 48 hours or less without much effort or investment.

 

  • The Ultimate Styled Stock Photo Bundles for Female Entrepreneurs by Elley Charles ($89.00) Perfect for bloggers, female entrepreneurs, influencers & business owners ready to make an impact in the online world, these sets of styled stock photos is going to help you level up your branding!
  • Exclusive ProBlogger Event Keynotes: The Best of 2011-2017 by Darren Rowse ($299.00 value!) The best keynotes from 7 years of ProBlogger Event featuring Jadah Sellner, Pat Flynn, Heather Armstrong, Brian Fanzo and Ruth Soukup amongst many others!

 

It also includes crazy amazing tools that I use on my blog: 2 months free of Convertkit (what I use for my 50k newsletter subscribers), Tailwnd (my holy grail Pinterest scheduler), and Podia (Podia makes it easy to sell online courses, memberships and digital downloads to your audience.) See all of the bonuses here.

To me, this is a no brainer. It makes sense and it will help you grow your blog and social media. Want to see all of the products? Check them out here.

Whether you're just thinking about starting a blog or have been blogging for a while and are looking to take it to the next level, the Genius Blogger's Toolkit can help. As I've spent time reading through some of the eBooks and listening to the courses, I've come away with fresh inspiration and a new outlook on my blog. I can't wait to implement the things I've learned and see my business grow as a result, and I can't wait to see you do the same!

If you want your blog to be a success you need the right tools. Period. I wish I invested in my blog from day one. I never EVER feel bad about purchasing something that I know will help me grow my blog. Check out the Genius Blogger's Toolkit right here.

Read More: 15 Best Blog Investments of All Time

No matter how long you've been reading this blog, I am sincerely thankful. I can't believe how long I've been blogging (this blog is 6 years old but I've been blogging for nearly 10 years now). While there have been many ups and downs, it's been one of my favorite journeys so far.

If you're interested in starting a blog here's my guide.