Last Updated on December 25, 2020 by Kelly Thoreson
We’ve all seen the blogging income reports: $8,000, $50,000, $100,000 (!) per month from blogging! But … how do they do it? How do those bloggers take the idea of blogging as a career and turn it into a reality?
Successful bloggers all have certain traits in common, traits that you must develop if you want to make it as a blogger.
Below, I’m not only going to tell you what those 5 traits are, but also going to tell you how you can start fostering them in yourself today. Let’s do this!
KNOW THIS FIRST: All Traits Are Learn-able
If you have read my other blog posts, you’ve probably heard me talk about fixed vs. growth mindset.
If you’re unfamiliar with fixed vs. growth mindset, it is a concept posited by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D. in her fucking phenomenal book, Mindset: the New Psychology of Success.
This is what it boils down to:
Fixed mindset = believing that your traits and abilities are set in stone.
Growth mindset = believing that you can grow your abilities and develop desired traits with hard work and practice.
I’ll give you two guesses which mindset I subscribe to and a hint: it rhymes with “loaf”.
Ding ding ding! Correcto! I am 100% a firm believer in the growth mindset.
What does any of this have to do with blogging? Why am I bringing this up?
Because I want you to know that if you work with diligence and perseverance to develop the traits below, you too can make it as a blogger.
In each section, I’ve included tips for how to nurture these traits within yourself that you can start practicing them today.
Without further ado, let’s get onto the 5 traits you must have to turn blogging into your career!
Trait #1: Scrappy-ness
Successful bloggers are scrappy as hell.
They are determined.
They have a fire burning in their belly that drives them to keep going, even when it doesn’t make any sense.
People who have successfully chosen blogging as a career possess an unwavering belief in themselves and their blog.
This belief carries them through the part of blogging where you are a tiny guppie in a big pond (more like an ocean).
Eventually, just by sticking around long enough and learning the game, they become a medium fish or hell, maybe a big ole fat fish who makes $100,000 per month blogging (yes, there are bloggers out there who make $100,000+/mo).
If you are considering blogging as a career, you gotta get yourself scrappy real quick.
How to Be More Scrappy
BELIEVE in your inevitable success. KNOW that if you don’t give up you will find success.
I know I know, right now you’re thinking, “Great advice, Kelly, easier said than done!”
But trust me, if you tell yourself this every day, you will begin to believe it. You will start to negate your inner critic who loves to tell you that you can’t be successful.
Try out this guided affirmation to shore up your scrappy-ness:
Trait #2: Resourcefulness
Unless you happen to already write every day for fun and be a web developer and a marketer, blogging is going to be unlike anything you’ve ever done before.
“Blogging” is a giant umbrella term that encompasses all of the following:
- Social media manager
- Website creator
- Graphic designer
- Online marketer
And sister, that’s just the start.
Before you run away screaming because you are not all of those things already, know that no one is when they first start blogging.
You need to be able to perform the jobs above with at least mild proficiency until you make enough scratch to hire out what you don’t like doing, and in order to do that you’ve got to be super resourceful.
How to Develop Your Resourcefulness
Developing your resourcefulness is just a matter of telling yourself there is a way to figure it out.
Whatever it is.
When your inner negative Nancy tells you, “this is too hard, we don’t know how to do this, let’s give up.”
You tell her no.
You go get a cup of coffee, take a deep breath, then sit back down to figure shit out.
Thanks to the internet, it has never been easier in the history of womankind to be resourceful.
Don’t know how to do something in WordPress?
There is literally a YouTube tutorial for everything. (including my own YouTube channel that you can find here for blogging tutorials and tips!)
Have a crazy specific question about blogging?
There are umpteen bazillion Facebook groups about blogging just waiting for you to ask your burning question.
Here are some of my favorite ones:
- Blogging Breakthroughs with Faith Mariah (my favorite group!)
- Write Better, Blog Better
- Simple Pin Pinterest Marketing
- Milo Tree Mastermind
- Boss Girl Bloggers
Don’t know what to write about?
Head over to Quora, type your niche into the search bar and revel at the buffet of blog post topics that have been laid at your feet.
Being resourceful = telling yourself you can figure it out and then doing it. That’s it!
Love this post? Pin it for later!
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Trait #3: Patience
Do you want to know why 99% of all blogs fail? Lack of patience.
Somehow, the internet has gotten and perpetuated the idea that blogging is a get rich quick trick.
Blogging will not make you rich overnight. In fact, it is common to experience a financial loss (due to operating costs) during your first 6 months blogging.
- A newly implemented Pinterest strategy can take 4-6 months to see results from, and that’s if you’re consistently practicing it every day.
- The “Google Sandbox”, wherein Google doesn’t give a crap about your website because your too new, typically lasts 6 months. (For the record, Google denies the existence of the sandbox, just like Tony Soprano denies the existence of the mafia).
- SEO (search engine optimization) can also take 6 months or even longer, depending on your niche, strategy, targeted keywords and diligence.
Don’t take my word for it, let’s hear what self-made internet millionaire and best-selling New York Times author, Neil Patel has to say about this:
Yup, blogging is a looong game.
How to be Patient with Your Blog
some bloggers figure shit out lickity-split
and get lucky with a viral Pinterest pin
and stumble upon a niche that unexpectedly becomes crazy popular (think: extreme couponing boom after the 2008 economy crash)
and enjoy the traffic/income that comes along with it.
But most bloggers don’t.
Here are my suggestions on how to be patient with your new blog:
- Get comfortable with the idea that your blog will require copious amounts of effort with little to no gratification for an undetermined amount of time. If you tell yourself you’re going to make money overnight, you will be disappointed every single day that doesn’t happen. If you tell yourself you’re not going to see a yankee dime for a year, when you make a $40 affiliate sale in month 5 you’re gonna feel pretty damn good.
- STOP. COMPARING. YOURSELF. TO. OTHER. BLOGGERS. Every blogger’s journey is different. Pinterest may be super easy for one blogger and an enigma for another. If you haven’t made any money yet or are making peanuts, comparison will only make you feel like there’s something wrong with you and increase your impatience with your blog. Remember what Teddy Roosevelt said, “comparison is the thief of joy”. Word, Teddy … word.
- Think of your blog as a business. Cause it is. And you know what? Traditional brick-n-mortar businesses don’t make money for 5 freaking years. Now, 5 years is not the typical wait time for a blogger to make money, but the concept is the same. You are building something good here and that takes time, your blog is a business and as such is not exempt to this rule. Which brings me to the next essential trait …
Trait #4: A Business-Mindset
If you don’t think of your blog as a business, how are you ever going to turn it into one?
There is a common misnomer out there that bloggers are people who work 4 hours a week and enjoy drinks on a tropical beach during the other 164 hours.
Sorry to burst your bubble, blogging is hard fuckin’ work. It’s also an amazing opportunity to flourish while being our authentic selves, and being our own bosses.
You wouldn’t start a traditional business and expect to work a few hours a week and see success, right? Right.
So, let’s get your head straight from the get-go: your blog is a business, show up to it like a business.
How to Get in the Business Mindset
Okay so you get the idea that your blog is a business, but how do you nurture your business mindset so you can seriously consider blogging as a career?
This is how:
- Show up 5 days a week (at least). Make a commitment to yourself, that you are going to do something to move your blog forward, 5 days a week just like you would a normal 9-5 job.
- Set blogging goals. Would you launch a new café without a business plan? Hell no you wouldn’t! This is why it’s important to set blogging goals and review them on a regular basis. I’m not super great at long term goals, I’m more of a fly by the seat of my pants girl, so I use the CREATE One-Year Blog & Editorial Planner to keep me on track!
- Invest in your business. I hear bloggers say all the time that they don’t want to spend any money on their blog until they’re making money. I was one of the bloggers once. You know where that got me? A fat lot of NOWHERE. If there is a blogging course that you genuinely need (and are not just FOMO-ing about) – save up and take that shit. If you are spending countless hours messing with your WordPress theme (hours that you could be using to create content) – just buy one. Invest in your blog, invest in yourself.
- Stay edu-ma-cated. Continual education on blogging will help you stay in the business mindset. You will never have it all figured out. There will always be someone out there that knows something about the blogging business that you don’t. Don’t get comfortable and rest on your laurels after you’ve successfully published a few blog posts, keep reaching/growing/expanding and striving to build your blogging business.
Trait #5: (Slight) Craziness
If you’re considering blogging as a career, a little bit of cray is going to help you out.
Why? Because on the surface, choosing blogging as a career doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
Why would we walk away from a stable job plus bennies to roll the internet dice?
Why wake up at 4 am every day to write blog posts before the kids get up, even in the beginning when no one is reading the damn blog?
Why devote so much time, energy, and effort to an endeavor that looks like it may or may not pan out?
Because people who choose blogging as a career have an unreasonable, unwavering, and yes lil’ bit crazy confidence in their inevitable success.
How to be a Lil’ Cray
Oh lord, I might have a tad too much first-hand experience with this one…
Umm, okay … yes, your family and friends are probably going to think you’ve lost it.
They’re likely not going to understand the possibilities of blogging. The creative fulfillment, the self-confidence to be gained, the earning potential!
Unless they are also in the online space, they’re not really going to get it until it comes to fruition (i.e.: money).
Blogging as a career can get tough when even the supportive ones in your life start looking at you sideways cause you haven’t detached yourself from the laptop for 5 months and still have no money to show for it.
There was a point where I thought if my boyfriend heard the phrases, “Google sandbox” or “blogging empire” one more time he was going to roll his eyes so hard they’d never come back.
You’ve just gotta believe in yourself, even when it doesn’t make sense.
You’ve got to release your content into the world and when it falls flat, you’ve got to do it again. And again. Annnnnd again. Until you’ve found your sweet spot (and you will).
Put your mug up on your About Me page so your readers can connect to you.
Self promote like a maniac! Even if it makes you squirm.
Go on social media – LIVE, and don’t care what the haters say. Your new daily affirmation is, “haters gonna hate, I don’t even care” *hair flip and/or finger snap and walk the F away*
Each time gets a little less scary, I pinky swear.
Be a little crazy, take a little risk. No one who ever got anywhere awesome got there by playing it safe all the time.
If you’re not actively working on developing the 5 traits above as a blogger, eventually you’re going to have to stop and address them to move forward in your blogging career.
Don’t wait for that moment! Start nurturing these traits within yourself now using the tactics laid out above.
Are you ready to finally start your blog? Get started today (no more excuses!) with How to Start a Blog With WordPress in 3 Easy Steps where I will walk you, step-by-step (with screenshots and how-to videos so it’s super easy) through starting your blog!