Most people don't know what they are getting into when they start blogging. (Heck knows I sure didn't.) But there are some expected results — you expect to get some readers, you expect to become a better writer, you might even expect to learn a few website building type skills or make a few bucks.
However, it turns out, most of the benefits were totally unexpected.
Who knew bloggers were so cool?
I've found that bloggers are the most helpful, friendly, giving people I know. I've never asked a blogging question and NOT gotten an answer. And typically it's way more than just an answer — I've had other bloggers spend hours of their time for free to help me solve some problem I was having.
If you ever get an opportunity to meet another blogger in real life take it!
Make an effort to meet bloggers in your area. If you are able to attend conferences, go. If someone mentions they are traveling and will be nearby offer to meet up with them. Meet every other blogger in person that you can.
Other bloggers in your niche are not your competition — they could turn out to be your best friends and actually make a huge impact on your business.
2. Marketable Skills
When I started blogging it wasn't a well-known way to make money. So the idea of earning money from my blog was a surprise to me. However, that's changed. So I won't put earning money on this list… but do think the fact you can sell your blogging skills is still a surprise to a lot of new bloggers.
If you know how to run a blog then you have a whole host of skills that other bloggers will pay for. As a blogger, it's fairly easy to get into freelancing. You have a lot of unique skills and you know a lot of other bloggers.
And really, these skills can only be learned by doing it. Can you take a course on social media and then become a social media manager for a blogger? Sure. But that's not the same as having actually done it for your own site and figured out the little ins and outs on your own.
Today, I'm a reasonably confident person. But that wasn't always the case. Back in 2005 when I started blogging I definitely wouldn't have classified myself as “confident”.
How did blogging give me confidence? It taught me I can figure stuff out when I need to.
You have to learn a LOT of new skills when you learn how to blog. Everything from setting up a website to marketing your content. And almost none of it is easy. Every single step encompasses a million other little skills you need.
But as you overcome challenges you learn you are able to figure stuff out. You learn to rise to challenges instead of giving up. Meeting challenges over and over again builds genuine confidence.
It's not a “I can handle anything” type of confidence. Instead, it's a “whatever happens I'm sure I can figure it out” type — and it's great.
Plus, you get to start something from nothing. Starting a blog from scratch and watching it actually become something that helps people is pretty amazing. Knowing you did that brings the confidence that you can do other stuff too.
4. Mastery of Your Niche
Most bloggers choose a niche that they love. Something they have a strong interest in and knowledge about.
I started a personal finance blog because I thought I knew stuff about money. I wanted to share that knowledge with the world.
Truth is, I didn't know crap. But starting a personal finance blog meant following other blogs in my niche. And that was the best education in personal finance I could have ever received.
Today, yes, I know a thing or two about finance. I'd even call myself an “expert”.
It's wonderful! First off, don't let not being an expert in your niche stop you from blogging about it. You 100% do not need to be an expert to start blogging. Your readers don't want to only read stuff from “experts” they want to read stuff from people they can relate to. That's you!
Secondly, be prepared for an education you can't get anywhere else. You are going to become one of the most well-versed people on the planet in your particular topic. How cool is that?
5. Amazing Opportunities
When you have blogging friends, confidence, mastery level knowledge about your topic, and the skills to make it known to the world — you get some cool opportunities!
I've managed sites that 10 years ago I was intimidated just to read. I recently interviewed for a job as managing editor for a site so big that I'd be excited if they even just linked to me. I've sat in meetings with people that have TV shows. (I was too shy to actually speak but I was there!)
But, of course, it's not just me. Once I opened a magazine and saw a full-page picture of a good friend of mine. She had been interviewed by a national magazine.
Another time I walked into my living room and another friend was being interviewed on the local news. Do you know how weird it is to randomly see a friend on TV? (It's super weird.)
I was walking through Costco and saw a book called something like “101 Money Tips for Regular People” and thought “oh, I bet I know some people in there”. And sure enough, as I read the tips, I recognized name after name after name. Heck, I have a whole bookshelf reserved for books my friends have written.
How cool is that? My friends are out in the world actually doing stuff! And you can too!
Most people start blogging for the expected benefits such as money and a flexible schedule. But the real benefits are actually unexpected, such as mastery of your topic and a lot of really cool opportunities.
Plus, blogging friends are the absolute best and it turns out you are actually learning a lot of marketable skills that make it pretty easy to start freelancing. And blogging builds confidence in yourself to be able to overcome challenges and create something new and helpful in the world.