10 Lessons From My First Year Blogging

beginning blogger tips, blogiversary 1 year, blogiversary ideas, start a blog

The Confused Millennial is One Year Old!!!!

What a whirlwind of a year it’s been!!!

I literally cannot believe that a year ago I was in the midst of a tailspin (< — TCM’s first post) when the idea for my little corner of the interwebs was born!

I was literally ranting at my husband that I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I had just invested thousands into a coach and felt like I was building somebody else’s dream. I was riding the after shock waves of my quarter life crisis when I said, “I have no idea what I am doing, I’m just another confused millennial!” And that was it. TCM was born. The light bulb had gone off and I immediately went to purchase the domain (which someone already owned), so I decided to purchase confusedtwentysomething and confusedthirtysomething before I finally realized I needed to just add a “the” and became The Confused Millennial.

I spent the next 48 hours designing the logo, building the site, setting up shop on social, and writing/posting the first four articles:

1. Hello World! <— but seriously, read that post, because it’s raw & real, but horribly titled.

2. Half Truths & Passive Aggressiveness: Putting Others Down To Elevate Yourself

3. Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop – Finding Your Purpose

4. 3 Painstaking Truths In Life & How To Overcome Them

 

Clearly, I was going through some stuff when I launched haha! But the amount of love and support I received from those initial posts was so encouraging and it pushed me to keep going. By month two, TCM had reached over 17,000 people! Today, TCM has reached over 100,000 people with 20% returning each month!

I am constantly in awe of this community, the love, and support you’ve shown me and TCM have been beyond my wildest dreams so I thank each and every one of you who reads, comments, shares, and e-mails.

From the bottom of my heart, none of this would be possible without you, thank you.

Millennial blogger shares life lessons from her first year blogging - the confused millennial

And you know it wouldn’t be TCM if I didn’t pick up a few life lessons along the way so without further adieu,

10 Life Lessons I Learned My First Year Blogging:

1. You don’t need to be niche.

I’ve always been defiant – you know, the one who goes left when the teacher says go right. I like the road less traveled and doing things “they hard way” and my leap into the blogging world has been no different. I know all the experts say “niche down” “define your niche!” “you need a niche!” but I say F* THAT!

Y’all, we are complex people, with many layers. I personally could NEVER go to a blog that wrote about the same thing every day (whether it’s fashion, business tips, or movie reviews), it’s simply not who I am. So I figure there must be other people out there like me, who like to play Russian roulette with their content consumption, and I think I am right!

Based on my reader survey last year, all the respondents except for 2 said they appreciated the diversity of content because it introduced them to things they weren’t previously thinking about. If they don’t like a post topic, they skip it, no biggie. And I love that!

If you are a blogger just starting out, get to know your audience, but also write about things you are passionate about. Passion and purpose will always win in my book.

Millennial blogger shares life lessons from her first year blogging - the confused millennial

2. Get clear on what you want.

Whether it’s with your blog or in life, you need to be trying out a lot of things to figure out what you do and do not want. It’s a lot easier to scale things personally and professionally when you have clarity. That clarity becomes part of your mission and becomes the lens you can filter many future decisions through.

Also if you are a blogger, and you are not niching down, then getting clear on your blog’s mission is a 100% must!

 

3. F* Fear.

TCM was born after dealing with the fallout of some very fear based people. Throughout this year, I’ve watched fear turn the most b0$$a$$ babes into insecure, fear based, nervous wrecks. EVERYTHING we desire in life will usually bring some level of fear (fear of losing it, fear of not being worthy enough, fear of (fill in the blank)), it’s our responsibility to say F* Fear and march through tough times with our heads held high, knowing we did our best. Every fearful moment we encounter is an opportunity to choose growth.

Millennial blogger shares life lessons from her first year blogging - the confused millennial

4. Embrace community – but set limits.

I am all about community over competition. I am a huge support of having a tribe that can help elevate your business or personal life, we NEED community. I would be nowhere without community. – And if you are saying F* Fear, then the only competition you should be in is with yourself! 

With that said, a quick little PSA: there are only so many hours in a day to get everything done, and if you choose yourself sometimes that’s okay. I think two big things are happening:

1) Please take advantage of what community means. Yes, I am all about community over competition, but I also make a living from my blog and from my coaching/consulting services. If you send me an e-mail asking me to audit your site or if you can “pick my brain” the answer is no. That has nothing to do with community, it has to do with getting paid for my expertise. Which leads me to…

2) A trend I noticed this year where people say “community over competition” as if those are the only two choices. Sometimes it has to be self-care over community. Sometimes we need to choose ourselves over others, and that’s okay. Which leads me to…

10 Life Lessons From My First Year Blogging - Millennial Blog, The confused millennial

5. Limit the amount of other people’s content you consume.

I’ve written about this before, but ICYMI: when we consume too much of other people’s content, it can be easy to fall into comparison paralysis and lose our own voice. Too often, I see bloggers or content creators getting upset about similar content to theirs being published –

side note: it’s become so commonplace for people to get upset about similar content that I actually got an e-mail last week from a girl starting a millennial blog asking if it was okay to have similar content and opened the e-mail with, “I have no idea… if you will want to slap me at the end…” she was afraid of offending others because her blog was going to be similar to theirs –

But the reality is, most of us are millennials going through shared life experiences and thus, are going to be writing about shared experiences. The issue comes in, when you are reading SO much of other people’s content, you can’t remember if you are writing from your perspective or theirs.

6. Be creative AND flexible

Whether it’s in the blogging world or in your day to day life, we are meant to express ourselves. We are meant to be creative and messy and raw and beautiful. It’s the fun part of #adulting. Butttt with all of that said, be flexible. Be ready to go from 0 to 5,000 in a milisecond. Be prepared to have a “yes” turn to a “no” so quickly you get whiplash. Roll with the punches because that is when you are upleveling your passion in life.

Millennial blogger shares life lessons from her first year blogging - the confused millennial

Excuse the bra strap – I was pretty much a hot mess at this point 😜

7. You will never stop learning – if you want to succeed.

Every time I feel like I am starting to get a pulse on something, I feel like it evolves. Which means there is always more to learn, and more to strive for. Find friends who can be supporters and teachers. You all will be thankful for it in the long run as you figure things out.

8. Get comfortable in limbo-land

This goes for everyone, but especially for those who are entrepreneurial. There will always be something else to work on, something else to learn, a new goal to reach. In blogging, and in life, there are a lot of balls to constantly juggle, goals to be working on, and things to be striving for. Remember to pause and enjoy the party happening around you because you will probably never feel like you have enough.

10 Life Lessons From My First Year Blogging - Millennial Blog, The confused millennial

9. You must invest in yourself

Whether it’s in your blog, in your self-care routine, in a coach, or whatever, it’s important to invest in yourself and your future at this stage of the game. Don’t try to cut corners because you will pay for it in the long run. A lot of you know about

A lot of you know about the headache I went through when I moved TCM from Squarespace to WordPress – I built TCM on a bad foundation of “grids” since Squarespace didn’t have the exact template of what I envisioned for TCM… which resulted in a lot of broken URL’s and 404 errors (and many sleepless nights trying to fix them all). Upgrade your hosting, get a consultant, hire a VA, do what you need to do to make sure your mind is at ease and your foundation is strong.

10. Have fun.

Blogging is more work than I ever imagined it would be. No joke, unless you are a blogger or are extremely close with a blogger, I don’t think you can really understand what goes into running a “successful” blog. If you aren’t having fun, it’s not worth the time (or monetary) investment. If things stop being fun, figure out what went south for you. Life is too short to spend it doing something that isn’t fun anymore.

 

>>>> GIVEAWAY!!!! CLOSED <<<<

 

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  • Happy blogiversary!!! You really have accomplished so much in your first year blogging and that is so inspiring. Also, I’m loving your pictures…so fun!

  • Yay! Happy First Blogiversary! AMEN to all of these, especially #1! <3

  • Happy Blogiversary! I got serious about my blog in January. I’m so proud of what has happened to it.

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  • This is such an awesome post! Congrats on turning 1! and thank you so much for sharing all that you’ve learned. It’s going to be great to keep these in mind as I move forward 🙂

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  • Michelle/cocowouldapprove.com

    As a new blogger I really need these tips

    • Glad they were helpful! good luck on your blogging journey!! it’s an amazing journey!!

  • Abbey Phipps

    Congratulations! 🙂 I love your point about only consuming so much of other people’s content. That has been key for me, because it helps me to focus on my own! 🙂

    • It really is so helpful! At first I tried to consume all the content out there for “inspo” but it left me with a dried up well of creativity!

  • I love everything about this! I definitely agree with your point about niching down. There have been a few times in my blogging journey that I’ve been convinced that I need to niche down, and I have NOT enjoyed it! But I also strongly agree that while a niche isn’t necessary, a MISSION is! Know what you want people to get from your blog!

    • For sure!! It’s funny i did that “peek” thing where someone reviews your site without knowing what it is and the person was able to get that it was a blog for people navigating their twenties easily!

  • Miss ALK

    GIRL! You’ve accomplished so much in year one!! Can’t wait to see what the next many bring you!

    xoxo A
    http://www.southernbelleintraining.com

  • CONGRATS on year 1! What success you have had 🙂 Also, I completely agree about limboland. That is exactly accurate haha. XO!

  • Anna Hubbard

    Congrats on your blogiversary! I love reading your posts!
    -Anna | http://www.fivefootandfabulous.com

  • Love this! Congrats on your first year of blogging, you are totally killing it, Rach!

  • Congrats Rachel! Your blog is great and I’m happy to see you doing so well!

  • Alissa Carpenter

    Congrats on an incredible year! You’ve accomplished so much and have worked your booty off! You’re a freaking rockstar!
    http://www.notokthatsokcoach.com

  • Anne Markey

    I love all these lessons so much!! I am slowly learning what the balance looks like for me and my blog. I sort of feel like that’s what the first year is all about. I don’t like to put myself in a niche either 🙂

    • Yay for no-niche’s!! Totally agree that the first year is all about balancing!

  • YAAAAAAAAAAS YAS YAS YAS YAS. Rach, this is one of the best lessons post about blogging that I’ve ever seen. I mean…as expected. 😉 But YES. I can’t even pick just one point to comment on because every. single. one. is so good. Cheers to many more years and less and less confusion! 😉

    Coming Up Roses

  • Lydia Graham

    Brilliant post, I’m at the beginning of my journey into blogging land and there’s some really good information there, thank you.

  • Congrats on your first year of blogging! I love the story of how your blog began!

    • Haha thank you!! It didn’t feel fun during it but looking back it makes me laugh haha! good things come from rough times!

  • Congrats on finishing up year one! And you’re correct – a strong foundation is so important!

  • I can’t believe your blog is only a year old – it’s so amazing and one of my faves 🙂

    • Aweee Krysta!!! Thank you so much! that made me so happy haha <3

  • Robin

    I am SO happy for you!! I’m about 5 months in and can’t imagine seeing all of the success that you have by the end of year 1, although of course I’m still going to put as much work into getting there as I possibly can! I totally agree with you about the niche thing – obviously, having a very specific niche means that that specific group of people will find you easily, and may be more engaged… but I agree with you, that wouldn’t be sustainable for me! The point of a blog is not just to attract other people, but also to enjoy what you do and feel proud of what you’re creating – so if you need to write about a broad range of topics, but with a specific perspective that people associate with you, I absolutely do not believe that that’s a bad decision. Congrats!!!

    • Exactly!! I want to feel happy and passionate what I am doing every day and build a brand around helping others through all the confusing times in life! Congrats on 5 months!!

  • I love this! Congratulations on one year! You have had an amazing first year! I completely agree with needing self-care over community sometimes!

    • For sure! I think too many people forget about that option! Especially with how easy it is to burn out with comparison in the blogging world

  • Jessica Bradshaw

    Congratulations on your first year!! Love your photos and fantastic giveaway.

  • Wait, what?! You’ve only been blogging for 1 year? That’s unbelievable!! You seem like you’ve been doing it for 10. Your raw talent (and probably years worth of work building up to this point) is truly inspirational! Congrats on your successes and thank you for the lessons 🙂

    Kim / simplylovebirds.com

    • Haha thank you so much! Haha I had a live journal back when I was 15-17 that I go back and read every now and then, and it’s definitely an example of what NOT to do haha so I was able to learn from that for sure!

  • I know everyone’s saying this, but I can’t believe you’ve only been blogging for a year! You’re such a professional, it’s like you’ve been doing it your whole life. Clearly you’re a very hard worker, and a talented writer!

    I appreciate you saying that defining a niche doesn’t matter, as I have no plans of doing so. I want my blog to represent me, and I love everything! I don’t want to limit myself; I want my blog to grow as I do, and go through the same things that I do. I love blogs that ooze personality, so that is what I aspire mine to be like!

    http://www.thesmalladventurer.blogspot.com.au/

    • Haha thank you!! TBH, I switched careers SO many times in my adult years and this has been the first one that feels “right” so I am over the moon others seem to feel the same, thank you! <3 – Don't niche down if you don't want to!! I agree, I only read blogs that ooze personality, otherwise I'll read a newspaper haha

  • Congrats on one year of blogging! I loved reading the story of how your blog began. 🙂 I can’t believe your blog is only a year old!

    • Lol oh gosh… those were a fun few days hahaha! And thank you!! <3

  • I’m so proud!! TCM is amazing and you’ve accomplished and learned so much in such a short time. Can’t wait to see how you grow in your second year! ♥️

    • Thankkk you Nicole!! Seriously, gentwenty has been such an inspiration for me, so thank you!!

  • YES to all of these! And can I just say that I can’t believe you’ve be blogging for only a year! You’re such an inspiration, and your blog looks so professional! I feel like I’ve been following you forever, haha. Congrats on one year of blogging, and here’s to many more!

    • Haha thank you!! My husband had his own company and I went through a few site designs and rebrands with him for that, so I think the design for TCM just came to me from watching and learning with him haha Cheers to more! And so happy we’ve been brought together from the blogging world <3

  • Claire Wieger

    Congrats to one year of blogging! These tips are so helpful for someone who hasn’t been blogging for very long!

  • Always learning is so key! That ‘yay’ balloon is too cute.

    Alix | http://www.apintsizedlifeblog.com

  • Casey Oakley Bennevault

    Congrats on your first year of blogging! Like so many other ladies have said, it’s hard to believe you’ve only been at this for a year. You’ve set the bar awfully high for the rest of us:) I absolutely love your blog, your content, and your honesty! Keep doing you:) You’re killing this blogging thing!

    • Haha thank you! It really has been a whirlwind and I don’t think I could’ve imagined it would grow like this! Happy its given me so many opportunities to connect with awesome people like you! <3

  • Congrats! You did an amazing job growing your blog in the first year! And I can totally see why! Your blog is so awesome 🙂

  • Bree

    ‘You must invest in yourself’ YES and something I still struggle with.

    • It can definitely be tough! But it doesn’t even need to be monetary! It can be in self care and doing what’s right for you and supports your goals. <3

  • Congratulations on the 1 year benchmark…great accomplishment

  • This is super inspiring Rachel, congrats on your blogiversary!!

  • Happy 1 Year! I love your reminder about being creative and flexible. That is so important!
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  • Megan

    Ah I just love this photo shoot! So cute <3
    You are so right on all of these things. You've done an incredible job on your blog for just one year. Good on you.

  • Congrats, girl! You have done such awesome things in a year! That’s so great! And this is an adorable shoot!

  • Rachel! You have killed it this year! I think I found your blog pretty close to your start up and instantly knew I was going to love your content. It 100% speaks to me!

    I agree, don’t niche down too much, don’t be afraid, don’t sell yourself short!

    I also agree with content consumption being a delicate balance, I found myself in a bit of a rut lately and that was 100% why, not only was I consuming TOO much content, but I was doing it for reasons that were too restrictive. Now i’m engaging with blogs I LIKE, which makes the process a much happier one,

    I can’t wait to see what the next year holds for you!

    xxox
    Laura @ http://www.cookwineandthinker.com

    • AHHH That is so sweet!! thank you so much Laura!! Seriously, it means the world! I was wondering why your content had been coming out slower! <3 So happy we've met on this journey!!

  • Courtney Richmond

    Good job! I enjoyed talking to you when you first started blogging and I mostly read in my email because of my busy life style. But you have truly been an inspiration to me!

    • Thank you so much Courtney!! You have no idea how much that means to me <3

  • I LOVED this post, Rachel, mainly because these lessons were so different from the typical ones I read. I love (and agree) with the no niche lesson – Lifestyle blogs matter! It’s important to have a general purpose or focus, but write about what you love. I lost the joy in blogging when I tried to niche down.

    • Thanks Chelsea!! I read the post you did on why lifestyle blogs matter and couldn’t agree more! I think I would lose the joy in it if I tried to niche down as well!

  • Kristine Circenis

    Happy 1st birthday to TCM, Rachel! I truly have loved reading your blog over the last year and have loved getting to know you a bit through it. Thank you for doing you and taking us along for the ride!

    • Awe thank you os much Kristine 🙂 Happy we’ve met through the blogging world!!

  • Oh my gosh congrats on your one year! I love reading your blog and I think you are doing great! I can’t wait to see what you bring this year.

  • mckenna bleu

    Happy 1 year of blogging! That is awesome! I love reading your blog!

  • M. D. R.

    I just started following your blog….I really like how real it is and I will have to set aside time after my midterms to go through your older posts. I really like the giveaway idea. Congrats on one year…..though it took me like five minutes to get it to let me post this comment…..

    • Awe thank you!!! Why did it take so long to post the comment? That’s so odd! Did you have to make an account or was it down?

  • Shani Ogden

    Congrats on one year!! I love the lessons you shared. I just kept nodding my head at all of them, especially the last one, haha!

  • sofieyah l

    I totally understand everything you’re going through! I’m glad you are doing so well in the blogging community!!! 🙂

    I actually just moved from wordpress to squarespace, and I actually prefer it more hahaha but your blog is gorgeous too 🙂 keep up the good work!!

    http://thesofieyahdiaries.com/bullet-journal/5-reasons-to-start-bullet-journaling

    • lol I loved squarespace but they didn’t have the layout I wanted for my blog and when I started to monetize, it scared the shit out of me that they can shut down your site without notice and you may not have it backed up!

  • Taylor Smith

    I love love love love your balloons. HAPPY BLOGIVERSARY!

  • Happy 1 yr blogiversary!!! How exciting!!! I agree on not needing a niche. I have way too many interest to put myself in one little niche (not that there is nothing wrong with having one). I agree that you should step out of your comfort zone at times and not worry about fear. When I first started blogging I was like what if people don’t like me if I write about this and that. If you limit yourself you could miss out on so many opportunities. I love the blogging community! It’s been amazing to me so far. Can’t wait to see what your next year of blogging brings you.

    • Totally agree! I love being nicheless and it’s what keeps my writing inspired IMO! Congrats on two years btw!!

  • Congrats Rachel! Happy 1 year 🙂 I reached two years the other day.

  • Marie Ernst

    I love #5 for sure. I can’t believe your blog is only 1 year old, it is amazing! Happy blog anniversary!

    • Thank you!! and yasss girl!! #5 is hugeee for me! It just sends me into a comparison spin when I read too much of other people’s stuff!

  • Congrats on one year! I’m “niche-less” as well, and I can’t imagine it being any other way. I write about what I want, when I want, without feeling like I’m in a bubble. Excited to see what’s to come with TCM!

    • Lol I love it! I actually got email responses to this post about why I should niche down and how it would help my “brand”! And I was like, what? my brand is literally “confused millennial” and if I niched down it would take away from that #SMH but that’s what you get from people who aren’t your target audience I guess!

  • Congratulations! I’ve loved following your story. You continue you to inspire me! 🙂 – Leah

  • Ashley Mason

    Congratulations on one year, Rach! I can’t wait to see what the next year has in store for you!

    • Thank you so much! And thank you for being a part of it!! Seriously, you helped me so much in getting off the ground <3

  • Such great lessons Rachel! I loved reading about your experiences through blogging. I’m amazed at your incredible growth in just one year. I hope to see you even more successful a year from now! Super cute photoshoot, too 🙂

    Kayla | kaylablogs.com

    • Thank you so much Kayla! That means the world to me from you!

  • I loved this post and I’m going to take you up on your offer to be your Insta-friend! 🙂 I’m just getting my blog started and I’ve been reading a lot of posts about what bloggers have learned and the advice they have to offer. You are the first blogger to say it is ok not to have a niche. I really needed to hear that because I don’t have one right now and it has been keeping me from blogging.

    • Haha yay! As long as you are passionate about what you’re writing, there will be other people out there who are okay that you don’t have a niche because they like your passion! If you are bored writing about something, readers will get bored too! (unless you have a super technical blog!)

  • Congratulations on 1 year! I just started following your blog and you are truly an inspiration! I recently started my blog because I’ve been searching for what truly makes me excited to wake up every morning and having my blog has given me that. I hope that one day I can make it my full-time gig and it is so inspiring to know that you started your blog because you were feeling the same way.

    Here’s to many more years of TCM! Congratulations again 🙂

    • Thank you so much! Your blog is very similar to my first year in business, and the initial days of my blog (I was actually a career coach until I decided to drop it because the blog was taking over!)

  • Kristin Thompson

    These are great lessons! Congrats on one year!

    Kristin
    The Blush Blonde

  • Lauren McPherson

    I seriously needed to read this. I’ve been so discouraged with my blog lately and I’ve only been doing it for about two months. I feel like I’m never going to learn everything and that it’s just a lot of work for nothing. Your blog is beautiful! I’m happy for you and your success!

    • You probably will never learn everything, and thats okay! I would look at your “why” as in why you started blogging, because it was for *something*, not nothing, and just focus on how to achieve that goal, rather than all the goals <3 let me know if you need anything!

  • Congrats on 1 year! Number 1 couldn’t be more true!

  • Kait M

    SO SO SO SO helpful and inspiring. This is what you are truly meant to do. I just started blogging about a month ago and it has been full of SO MANY ups and downs. I have made many mistakes you have mentioned and have changed what I wanted to do so many times. You give me hope! I also find it awesome I went to school with your photographer, Lauren! Your blog is fantastic and you’re going to only become more incredible as you continue. THANK YOU FOR THE INSPIRATION! xx

    http://www.lifeaskait.com

    • Omg no way! I love Lauren! and thank you so much for your kind words <3 seriously it means the WORLD to me! Stick with blogging, it really has been amazing!

  • Krista

    Thank you for sharing your lessons! As a new blogger, I found your take to be refreshing. Almost every blogger tells you to pick a niche, which I never felt really applied to me. I have a general overarching theme, but if I had to write about the same topic every day, I’d be bored to tears.

    Looking forward to reading more of your posts!

    • Thank you Krista! Yeah, the way I see it, stay passionate and hungry about the content you’re creating and the readers will feel it too! IF you’re bored, readers will probably be bored too! haha

  • I’m late to the game on this post but I’m just poking around your site and wanted to say thank you so so much for being a light in the blogging world! Your story is incredibly inspiring and I resonate with your journey.

  • This post makes me so happy! I just can’t wait to reach one year on my blog and have the same kind of knowledge you have on blogging. As for not “defining your niche,” I ABSOLUTELY agree. I’m a random person and I feel like its entertaining to read a blog that can talk about a range of topics! Great tips and its nice to know some of these “important” things don’t matter! xx

    with love, Jordyn | http://www.jordynpamela.com

  • I read past bedtime

    I am SO glad you said that about a niche. I can’t see myself narrowing myself down as much as people say you need to, I think the beauty of blogging is the flexibility!

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