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 aftershock 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 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, invest in the best Pinterest course out there, 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.


10 Lessons From My First Year Blogging

 An Evolution: 3 Lessons Learned From 2 Years of Blogging

Reflections & Lessons From 3 Years Of Blogging

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

127 thoughts on “10 Lessons From My First Year Blogging”

  1. 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

    1. 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!

  2. 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!


    1. 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

  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! ♥️

  4. 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!

    1. 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

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

  6. 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!

    1. 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

    1. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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!

    Laura @ http://www.cookwineandthinker.com

    1. 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!!

  9. 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!

  10. 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.

    1. 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!

Comments are closed.