This is a guest contribution from freelance writer Stacey Corrin.
It was a dark day in November 2012 when I first began to blog. Rain lashed the windows of the home we’d just moved into. Removal boxes lay strewn across the floor and the cries of my newborn twins rang shrill in my ears.
I felt trapped, with no escape plan.
Being a new parent can do that to you. It can make you feel like the only person in the room. It can sap your energy, your personality, your identity. Yet it can also put you on a path you might never consider possible.
Today I want to share how I got from that wretched point to my life now. Three years later, I’m now a successful ghostwriter, blogger and full time freelancer.
It Began As A Cry For Help
My foray into blogging began like most peoples does. It was expression, even a cry for help. Most importantly it was an outlet for the turmoil and confusion of young parenthood.
I set myself up with a free WordPress blog and proceeded to spend any spare time, jotting down my thoughts. Off they would go into the ether and I’d feel a little lighter, a little more relieved for having let it all out.
Little did I know that there were people reading my musings. They introduced themselves, faceless entities going through similar situations. They provided support, insight and friendship I’d never found offline.
These people introduced me to a whole community I never knew existed. People from all walks of life were doing just what I was doing. They were baring their souls to the internet and finding comfort in the practice. What’s more, they were making a living from it too!
I Immersed Myself In All Things Blogging
That realisation was a revelation to me. Immediately I set about learning all that I could about blogging, SEO, and how to build an audience. It wasn’t an easy process. I learned some terrible blogging habits along the way but I also found that there was so much help out there if you knew where to look.
I discovered sites like this one. I haunted the big names on Twitter and Facebook yet also took stock of the little ones who were making waves. Sites like Blogging Wizard who at that point was still fresh and new.
What was it that made them so successful? What were their secrets? What made them stand out?
And then it dawned on me. These people stood out because they didn’t follow the crowd.
Well, I knew a thing or two about that. Always the oddball at school, I spent the majority of my teenage years sticking out like a sore thumb. So how could I do that with my own blog? How could I stand out and make a living at the same time?
By this point I’d spent two and a half years figuring this blogging thing out. My twins had grown to the point that afforded me more freedom, so one evening I sat down with a notepad and wrote out the things I was good at.
Three things stood out at me:
A thought began to blossom. What if I did something drastic? What if I started all over again and built a new blog from scratch? This time I’d do so with the aim of sharing everything I’d learned over the last few years. At the same time I’d market my skills to those who needed them – my blog a testament to them.
How I Turned My Passion Into Profit
I realised that through helping others with their own blogs, I could show off what I’d learned along the way. Let’s face it, not everyone has time to write blog post after blog post, on a daily basis. Unless of course like me, you love to write. Thus blogging about blogging and offering my services as a ghostwriter seemed like a smart move.
Through the power of Selz, a simple and free eCommerce platform, I was able to create product listings for my services. People could buy these from my new blog. With a few clicks of a button they could get a ghostwritten blog post and within a matter of days, have it land in their inbox. All attribution would go to them, no strings attached.
The services I offered included:
- WordPress content management
- Virtual help
- Social media management
These were things that people needed. I knew I could provide them as I did those things every day and over time the word spread. Recommendations came in, people gave great testimonials and I built a small client base.
That was over three months ago.
In that time I’ve written over 80 blog posts of 900 words and over (excluding my own). My blog has grown from zero traffic and shares to posts with over 800 shares alone. I’m now in a place where people want to read what I’m writing. Not because they sympathise, but because they can learn something valuable from my words. Needless to say the clients have poured in too, coinciding with an income that’s sustaining five people.
How did I do it? I listened to what people wanted. Then I promoted the pants off what I created.
- Jump into Facebook groups and Quora discussions related to your niche and listen to what people are talking about.
- Talk to people on Social Media instead of just link dropping
- Offer up solutions through your blog posts, which answer people’s most pressing questions
- Forget word counts when you’re writing. A post should be as long as it needs to be, to get your message across.
When promoting your content:
- Join places like Triberr and follow tribes with similar interests. Here you can connect with influencers who will help your posts reach a wider audience.
- Use the power of imagery with networks like Pinterest. This can be a massive source of traffic if you create excellent visuals to go with your posts.
- Don’t forget your email list! Provide incentives like content upgrades for subscribers only. Follow up with personal emails that provide value to your list.
The best way of exposing my blog to new readers, was to guest post for other blogs. This has been my biggest source of repeat clients and traffic. By keeping some of your best work for other people’s blogs, you’re making a bold statement. You’re telling people that you care about quality, that you’re not just about self-promotion.
It’s Been A Humbling Experience
Looking back to that November day, I don’t recognise the person I was. Blogging lifted me from a hopeless situation into a life that’s rich, vibrant and full of opportunity.
If I can offer any advice to anybody, it would be this:
Always believe in the impossible. No matter how hard it might seem, there is always a way if you’re willing to dream big and work for it.
Stacey is a Ghostwriter and Blogger who creates content for influencers in the digital marketing and WordPress community. When she’s not blogging elsewhere, she hangs out on her own blog, sharing visual content and blogging tips.
Massive well done Stacey, I’m so pleased for you. You have a massive heart and a great writing style. Mich x
Thank you Michelle, your kinds words mean such a lot!
On June 24th I was suspended from work with no pay. I’ll just say after going through rehab, lots of reading, and listening to various podcast I have a new outlook on life. I’ve been back at work for almost 2 months and things are good, not great. While I was on suspension I started thinking of ways to make money. Blogging keeps coming to mind. I’m not a great writer but I like to write. While I was off I started writing writing about my life. I got about 5 pages in and stopped. Today I was listening to a podcast and something clicked. Blogging. I know my wife and family will probably think I’m crazy but it sounds like a good way to tell stories.
John, it sounds like you’ve been through a roller-coaster of a time. Personally I believe that without blogging I wouldn’t have come out the other side. Knowing that there are people out there who think and feel the same way you do, is a powerful kind of therapy in a way. I hope you take the plunge into blogging see where it takes you.
What an inspired story! I resonate with just wanting to be heard. Not a parent here but I know that feeling, in the beginning, where you want to connect with some living being that hears your story, or feels your pain, or that just will say that hey, you inspired them. What a neat journey.
I wish folks who say I’m really some type of blogging from paradise dynamo – pulling wool over their eyes ;) – can get, that I knew how to check espn.com and my email 5 years ago. I am not kidding. I was as qualified as a sand fly to run a blogging business, let alone a prospering one. Now I’m blogging from Bali. Or Fiji. Or wherever I want to blog from.
You have grown so wonderfully because you kept things simple: listen to your readers, and solve their problems. Also, no word count limits or restrictions. Or, no set word count to reach. When you write, to write, and to inspire, wow will those posts resonate with your ideal reader.
Congrats on your PB post Stacy, loved it!
Thanks a lot for sharing your experience with us.The way you have portrait your story can become source of inspiration for many newbies .
Very motivational story!!!!
Keep it up !!!!
Thank you for sharing your milestone with us, Stacey!
Keep doing what you like and what you love will end up with something profitable!
Well done Stacey! I stumbled across you on Triberr a little while ago and love the way you’ve got your blog set up – plain English and helpful. Thanks for sharing your story here – what an inspiration :)
Thank for sharing your true story. I am struggling in finding my a pass through. What you accomplished blows my mind. How this thing could happen to you and not me?
We all struggle in finding what we want to own. I started to see what I want to own as business after searching for years.
You set an example for me to follow!
Hi Guest Blogger,
This is really an inspirational blog post and i would certainly believe that you deserve it as you really make lots of efforts to reach to that point of success. I am too a newbie in blogging and very much inspired by your story.
Well wow’s that is an amaizing story. I’m now a the hosted wordpress.com site and love the support and community I have there. It was such an unexpected thing. I have now recently joined triberr and still seeing how that all works, currently working on just building a readership, via Facebook and Twitter.
As for thinking about what I’m good at, I think we all have our own paths to follow. I’m a creative soul and inject that personality into my blog. Blogging is really amaizing.
Hey Stacey, thanks for sharing your experience. It was truely an inspirational one. You know, people like us, we dream of being someone, of standing at a height, where we can shout out to the heart of the people. And that’s what makes us bloggers, makes us proud of being bloggers. Thanks a lot. :)
Niladri I completely agree with you, although I wouldn’t say I dream of being someone – more like I dream of doing something that makes a difference. I love your comment, “where we can shout out to the heart of people”, that’s exactly it. I think that’s the key to creating a blog that’s not only good, but great. I’m not quite there yet, but I’m trying :)
what should i say now.. this is kind of case of study you posted.. hats off to your efforts.. I am following your strategies :)
Write to write, write to inspire, write to change the world.
That’s my aspiration.
To change lives with the written word.
Yes, may be this is de ja vu. The point of recognition.
The point of discovery.
If only I follow through.
Great post inspirational story i also started blogging a while back and never intend to look back it’s always fantastic to share knowledge and influence on others. So keep up the good work and all the best for the future Stacy.
To Your Success
I know that feeling of becoming a parent and learning that the world is not going to be the same, there will be a set of responsibilities.
Perhaps, these things make us choose limited things to focus on and do them seriously. Been there, done that.
Loved every line of yours.
Your writing comes from heart and could relate to each word of yours.
I have started my blogging journey and am really happy that its working out for me with the efforts and hardwork I am putting in.
You know what these lines of yours inspired me a lot and could make me dream alot more too.
“Always believe in the impossible. No matter how hard it might seem, there is always a way if you’re willing to dream big and work for it.”
If you want something to happen in terms of making money from blogging and affiliate programs, you have to take the leap of faith and “do the transformation entrepreneurial work” at full strength. Have faith all the way, even as you continue to feel uncertainty. Starting instead of stalling is slow progress, which is better than no progress.
Whether you’re looking to make money online out of inspiration or desperation, never give up. There’s enough success to go around for everyone and an opportunity to make that money, so you can eat right and be happy.
There is no doubt that your tips will be helping bloggers sky rocket their business.
Thanks for always sharing good content and leading the way.
Blogging is such a beautifully overwhelming mess for me. I love it and have been doing it for years, but I still feel so amateur compared to all these wonderful sites and bloggers I’m finding. It’s a darn good thing I have a full-time job because I don’t see myself making money off of blogging. It is wonderful to hear stories like these and I truly appreciate resources!
I love the simplicity with which you presented the facts about how you started earning online via blogging. I have learn a lot from the post especially the links on promoting your contents which i plan to use on my finance blog site.Great post.
“My foray into blogging began like most peoples does.” Yikes- this is not a real sentence and you might wan to rethink the punctuation of “peoples.”
Congrats on your success, nevertheless. Pointing this out as a courtesy only. Not to be snarky.
Many these days are only hardly literate–some of the most “popular” bloggers make the same type of language crimes and style misdemeanors every time. But no one notices. People simply don’t read the Greats anymore–to know what truly is. Or study the craft before calling themselves “writers.”
Blogger and writer have come to mean two different things to me.
p.s. Thank you for sharing your story though. Much appreciated.
Thanks for the dose of hope. :Like you did, I have made a decision to start all over again. I am doing the groundwork for a new website to help people who are struggling to navigate their job challenges after spending two years chasing the seemingly elusive dream (for me) of making a subsistence online.
Very inspiring post. This post will boost moral of many bloggers who are trying to earn money from blogging.
Truly an inspiring and telling story. Thank you for sharing that with is.
Not following the crowd is a really good way to stand out. I only started blogging a year ago and until 4 – 6 months ago, I did everything everyone else did. I wrote the same way. Wrote about the same things. Followed their tone and their ways of writing. And that got me …. NOTHING.
Then, 4 – 6 months ago, after being frustrated, I said .. enough. And I decided to change up my writing style and write more the way I talk (without the little bits of profanity) and also talk about things, or have a different approach to writing things. And so far that’s been great for me.
I would recommend ANYONE just being themselves when writing.
I LOVE this point you made, “By keeping some of your best work for other people’s blogs, you’re making a bold statement. You’re telling people that you care about quality, that you’re not just about self-promotion.”
I just recently started guest posting and I love it. And what you said there is true. So true, in fact, that I have 51 drafts on my post and 35 of them are “potential” guest posts. They’re not completed, though, but they’re there in case I need them for a guest post.
Anyway great post and thanks for sharing a bit of your story with us.
Have a great day.
Very inspiring post. Thanks for sharing such a nice article, very interesting to read.
Go girl! You are doing it the right way! I don’t know you, but I can honestly say I’m proud of you and excited for you.
I was checking out your rates, and I saw your simply stated truth – “There are plenty of places where you can find $10 blog posts.This isn’t one of them.” That is awesome! As a ghostwriter who has worked at places that provide cheap articles, I understand the value that you have put on yourself, and that rocks!
You’ve inspired me. :)
Bellaisa that’s so great to hear! I’m a firm believer that people will pay for quality. I think any freelance writer has gone through his or her share of cheaper rates, but there comes a point where you need to move forward if you want to grow.
Glad I helped inspire you!
It takes a lot of perseverance to grow a blog and make an income that can sustain five people. Kudos. I guess one of the things that helped you reach that milestone and go beyond it Stacey is to keep trying new things, see what works and stick to doing something everyday that helps your blog and your client base grow.
Philos thank you so much. You’ve hit the mark there about trying new things. What’s life really but a process of trial and error and seeing what works? I think that’s one of the keys to growing in any area.
Hi Stacey (and Darren).
Thanks for sharing your experience with us. I’ve been enjoying your posts and it’s good to see the success that you’ve had.
I’m still struggling to be clear about exactly where my blog is going, but it’s good to see that it can succeed when I get there.
Packaging the services sounds like a good idea that has crossed my mind a few times. I’ll have to look at what I can do there.
Keep up the great work.