And thanks for sticking with me through this blogging journey. I’ve made it to the year blogging! If you aren’t familiar with my Blogging Diaries series, it’s where I take a step back and get real about the honest about running Millennial Life Admin. I try to be real in documenting my journey through adulthood and that doesn’t end with this blog because it’s a part of my journey and it’s not always effortless and easy. I don’t always have it together, actually most times I don’t and I like sharing this for anyone who’s interested in blogging or the behind the scenes parts of MLA.
2018 has been one heck of a year for my blog because I transitioned from multiple different blogs and finally launched Millennial Life Admin! I think I started this website in March(ish) but didn’t fully start consistently posting until June after I took the Perfect Blogger course by Sam Laura Brown.
It’s been a bumpy six months, filled as always with a lot of mistake, insecurities, and surprisingly some successes here and there. So I wanted to write one final entry for 2018 to reflect on everything that has happened this year by recapping my 3 biggest success and mistakes of 2018 and 3 blog goals for 2019,
Let’s get started!
Keeping Up Content
Okay so usually I’m the type of person that will save the best parts for last (like I’ll save the skin on a piece of fried chicken as the last bite), but this time, I’m going with the good first. I feel like my biggest success this year when it comes to my blog is definitely to keep going. Even when things go wrong, even when I don’t truly “feel” like it, I’ve kept writing. Sometimes it’s turned out well, other times, not so much. But even when it’s not 100% perfect, I’ve kept going. When I first seriously started blogging in June, I made the goal of publishing one blog post per week. I started this goal even though it was mid-year because, as I’ve written about before, I don’t believe you have to wait until the New Year to start a goal.
And I was doing really well with this goal too, until about the Fall when I knew I would most likely be falling behind on my blog. Starting in about September, I went back to school, had to start my bridesmaid’s duties, worked overtime for my city-wide elections, prepare for Thanksgiving/the holidays, and to top it all off, I was sick. It was a really intense period of time, where I was busy every single weekend, and because I’m so introverted, I started to really miss the time to myself. That’s when I kind of fell off the wagon and started to miss posting here and there.
However, as I was listening to Sam’s podcast The Perfectionist Project, when I create a goal, I don’t necessarily have to get hung up on the how and give up. I can focus on the effort I put into it.
So, I’ve calculated the time frame, and between June 15th and the end of the year, there are 28 weeks. I currently (as I’m writing this) have 23 blog posts up during that timeframe. So I’m not giving up. I’m going to try to post the 5 blog posts in the last 2 weeks so that I end the year with an average of 1 post per week.
It would be easy to just say “Oh well, it’s the end of the year so I can stop trying to achieve my goal because I wasn’t consistent enough throughout the year.” But I refuse to give up. It’s not about the details of a goal, it’s about the effort that I’m putting in. I’m honestly really proud of myself for how many blog posts I’ve put up this year, and my growth and journey behind writing every single post. I might change my content schedule in the future to make way for different projects, but for now, I’m fighting to reach that goal in the last 2 weeks to continue bringing high-quality content.
I submitted my first guest post this year for one of my absolute favourite sites (that I’ve referenced probably 7000 times) and that’s The Financial Diet. I was so nervous about sending them my first original piece their website, I actually sat on it for like a month before I had the courage to actually submit it. And it was published! And I’ve written for them many times since (with some articles being syndicated from MLA). It’s been quite a learning experience writing for another site, but I’m really glad I did it. It’s definitely given me a bigger audience and allowed me to connect with even more people that are going the same things as me.
Developing A Social Media Strategy
I struggled with this one quite a bit this year because as I’ve mentioned before, one of the most difficult parts about blogging is that it isn’t always about blogging anymore. Writing to keep up a blog can be time-consuming, sure, but it’s really promoting a blog that’s super difficult. There are so many platforms to learn, all with their own algorithms and functionalities, and then there’s Google Analytics which was a whole other learning curve. But I’m going to put this as a success for the year. No, I do not have that many followers on any of my social media, but I now have strategies on how I’m going to approach them and how I will promote them. This is going to be an ongoing learning experience, but I’m really happy with the waves I’ve made.
Not Prepping For The Overwhelm
As I mentioned in my successes section, I’m really proud to have kept posting despite falling behind and despite all my self-doubt. But I made a lot of mistakes in lot effectively preparing my blog to run on auto-pilot for a bit so I didn’t have to miss posts here and there or to scramble and rush a post to get it up in time. I could have written posts in advance and scheduled them out more effectively, but I didn’t.
Not only did my time-management cost me on my posts on my blogs, but it also cost me when I was guest blogging. Time management was a big mistake on my part this year because it made me rush through posts and miss them.
On that note, one of the biggest consequences of me not managing my time effectively and rushing to write posts is that I tend to skip over the editing process when writing a blog post. And I actually got called out for it.
Earlier this month, I wrote a piece for the Financial Diet and someone commented:
And you know what? It’s kind of true.
Whenever I write for another site, I actually have my best friend (who is like the best editor in the entire world) proof it before I submit it, but this time, I sent it without her reading it over. And the reason for that is because I already sent her the first draft and it was terrible. And it was good that she told me out of tangent I and incoherent it was before I submitted it, so I completely changed the angle of it and I like how the article turned out, but she didn’t have time to proof it before submitted it.
And honestly, I re-wrote that article so many times, that I didn’t want to read it anymore so I sent it without a full proof-read. And that is a mistake and takes 100% responsibility for. And you know what the worst part is? There was no deadline for that submission, I just got impatient and sent it, and I hope that doesn’t cost me in submitting for the site in the future, but I’ve learned my lesson.
I try not to take it too personally. I sent this as a reply right after but as of this date, it’s still a “pending” comment and hasn’t been approved. I’m not sure why, but then I re-read my article again and while I agree that there were some definite grammar errors in my article, I don’t think it was a “ridiculous” amount or that bad. So maybe it’s okay that my comment got stuck in internet limbo, because looking back now, it wasn’t that bad. And I think a part of me was quick to admit that someone else was right and blaming myself instead of examining the situation and truly thinking about it. Either way, there were mistakes and because I’ve always been good with constructive criticism (one of my strengths at work is to not have an ego), I downloaded Grammarly (the free version) extension to help me moving forward.
Lastly, I think it’s also just how I choose to write articles because I write very differently at work and in school than I do in articles or blog posts. This may not be very “professional” but I write like how I would talk to you. I write heavily researched papers with technical language all the time for school and memos/business documents with a lot of government jargon at work, so when I write for fun, I tend to write like I’m talking to a friend. And that’s not for everyone and that’s totally cool. There are lots of books and writers who produce killer content, but their writing style is just for me.
That’s the beauty of the internet, we all get to find a piece of it that works for us, and this little piece of it is mine. Not everyone likes my style, that’s okay.
Getting Caught Up In Design
I told myself I wasn’t going to do this, I even wrote an entire blog post about how I wasn’t going to fixate too much on the design of my blog/brand that it would interfere with creating blog posts, but guess what? I caved. I let it get the best of me and ended up getting too caught up in the design on my blog.
Earlier this month, I changed the template for MLA after weeks of researching different types of templates and to be honest, that’s one of the reasons I started falling behind on posting. I started obsessing what things looked like instead of concentrating on actually creating and promoting content.
And this didn’t just apply to my blog, it also applied to my social media. I began obsessing overboard pin covers on my Pinterest account and stopped Instagramming for a whole month because I didn’t decide on a theme/how I wanted to move forward.
I think design and branding definitely have a time and place. But this year, especially in the last couple of months, I let it win out more than I should on other things on my plate. Like heck, if I had time to redesign my whole website, I probably had time to edit my article, right?
Design: 1, Kim: 0.
2019 Blogging Goals
Better Time Management & Tools
I think a lot of my mistakes basically came down to poor time management. I didn’t properly plan out my content calendar and I got too overwhelmed, rushed, and then made mistakes.
So moving forward I’m going to put a bigger emphasis on planning my content and give myself more time to do things like properly edit. How am I going to do this? By utilizing online tools to get organized and by batch working.
As I wrote about on my Instagram, over the past month I’ve been kind of offline because I had to get organized behind the scenes and see what tools were working for me and what weren’t. So I started developing a system that works for me to plan out my content – I now use Google Calendar as opposed to a pen and paper, and Google Keep to organize a lot of my ideas (because Evernote was a mess). Finally, as I mentioned before, I’m going to be using Grammarly to help with my editing. The free version is all I can afford for now, but hey, if it works well I might buy the premium version as well (from my creative projects fund of course).
Lastly, I listened to this podcast by Jenna Kutcher about batch working and it’s truly changed how I work on my blog. If you don’t know what batch working is, it’s basically when you do a ton of work in an area all at once, instead a bit of work in a lot of areas. For example, batch working my blog posts. For the past few days, I’ve been primarily only focused on writing blog posts. I still things going on my social media that I had pre-written so I just have to post them. But for the past few days I’ve been focusing on batch writing my blog posts and right now, I have one blog post already scheduled, I’m finishing this one, have 2 half done, and the idea for the 5th one laid out. I’m really going for that goal to post 5 more blog posts before the end of the year. Batch working my Instagram posts, my blog posts, Pinterest, everything has made my life a lot easier because I can focus on one area at a time without constantly switching back and forth. It makes so much sense and my life is a lot easier because of it.
Looking Into Different Partnerships + Launching A Shop
You know that feeling when things are going really well that it actually freaks you out and makes you super self-conscious about your work that you actually stop it?
Well, that was my feeling a few weeks ago.
Like I mentioned, I kind of took a break in the Fall when it all became too much, but you know what the funny part is? It’s probably when my blog was doing it’s best and I didn’t know how to handle it. During that time, I actually got approached by 2 companies to start working with them. At first, I was excited, then hesitant, then freaked out, and then confused. I had to think about how I wanted to approach sponsored content on my blog because I literally had not thought that far.
I declined. Mostly because they weren’t companies I would be interested in working with but also because I honestly don’t want to have my blog be filled with sponsored content or ads. But I did have to think about how I wanted to approach monetizing my blog, not necessarily for the money, more to just even out what I put into it so I don’t have keep side hustling other things to fund it. It’s kind of funny how someone wrote about how when I wrote that article for The Financial Diet, they should “hire” better writers. To be honest I don’t get paid anything to write for them, or here. I literally write because I just like it and because I wanted a place where I could share what I learn and reflect honestly on my mistakes. Actually, I think one of the reasons that comment really resonated with me was because it confirmed the fact that people actually read what I write. I know it’s a weird concept to think about when I have and promote my blog, but because I’ve been in writing in journals since I was 10 (still have them, so cringey), I’m not really used to people being interested in my writing (but thank you!).
Still, these were things that were starting to come up so I had to think about how I was going to approach them. Recently, I applied to be an affiliate for Amazon because let’s be real, Amazon is my life. They don’t ever have to pay me to support them, I will do it indefinitely with my Prime membership and they’ve saved me so many times. But another avenue I thought about was actually launching a shop! I don’t have the kinks worked out just yet, but one of the reasons I wanted to change themes for my blog is because I wanted the option. I have some ideas, but again this will be a long-running goal for 2019 and it could fail dramatically, but then there will be another Blogging Diaries entry about that!
Creating More Resources & Work on Getting Email Subscribers
To tag along with the last point, I wanted to also work on my creating content and resources for my blog and email subscribers. I really value anyone who trusts me with their email and I have a running list of ideas of things I want to create for my email list (a note in Google Keep, of course). But I also need to clarify my strategy behind that, like what do I write? I think with the internet sometimes we forget that there is a human behind this blog post and I am literally just one person, who has a full-time job just like everyone else, with friends and family obligations, and to add on to that, school as well.
But I love connecting with people. And I love creating things so this is something I do wanna focus on in 2019. Most recently, I just emailed them an excerpt from my e-book (if that’s what I’m gonna call it!). If you read this and you’re subscribed, thank you.
Wow, that was long.
Thanks for sticking through it and being with me through the messy middle of me trying to figure out how this whole blogging thing works.
Lots of love,