blogger inspiration

20 bite-sized business lessons you need!

By Kate Toholka

The bloggers dream is to make a living from their blog, right? After almost three years of hard slogging, I’m finally at that place of personal and financial freedom. And what a joy it is. Along the way, I’ve realised that I have a wealth of lessons to share with others who aspire to go down a similar, online path. Here are 20 of these lessons for your entertainment:

1. You need to be clear on why you’re doing it in the first place. I’m willing to bet that it’s more than just making money. Be crystal clear on this and have this written somewhere visible – it makes it easier on those days you’d rather curl up in bed.

2. Know who you’re talking to. Wondering why no one is reading your blog or buying from you? The issue stems from not being clear on exactly who you are serving. Every time someone lands on your website, they are thinking ‘what’s in it for me?’ They will click away if you cannot articulately demonstrate that you can serve them.

3. Start with the end in mind. What are your long term goals? Where do you want to be in one year’s time? Start there then work your way backwards. It makes it easier to focus, be more efficient with your time and ensure your goals are being met.

4. Honour your time. Time is the greatest currency, health is the greatest wealth. There’s more to life than being an online business woman. Go on, spend some time living too.

5. Honour everyone’s time. Especially when it comes to emails, newsletters and asking to meet over a cuppa. 

6. Learn to say no. Know your work and life boundaries and make a commitment to stick to these. It’s ok to say no when it doesn’t feel right.

7. Have the courage to say yes. It’s also ok to say yes sometimes, even when you don’t know what the next step would be. If an opportunity is too good to pass up, say yes and figure it out later. 

8. Dress up. It’s easy to don the trackies because you’re safe in your home but try this: dress up in clothes that make you feel like a million dollars. And watch the ripple effect work its magic…

9. Practice makes progress. Not perfect, but progress. I follow the ‘fail fast’ motto – every time I try something new, regardless of how terrifying it can be at times, I know that I will gain a lesson despite the outcome. Let me put my grandma hat on and remind you that you never know if you don’t try, hey?

10. Take ‘implementation’ breaks. I see many, many bloggers spend lots of time in ‘learning’ phase. They join all the e-courses, ask all the questions, engage in all the Facebook groups, but then don’t actually implement anything they have learnt. Learning is important, but using it is what makes it valuable.

11. Strategy matters. Don’t release an ebook for the sake of releasing an ebook. Don’t spend thousands of dollars on an e-course when you haven’t even filled your coaching programs yet. Get your head around sales funnels and build one behind the scenes first. 

12. Focus. Focus. Focus.

13. Chase the money. Seriously, you want to do this full time right? Then it has to support your bank account too. There’s an art in chasing the money and sitting true to your authentic Why. Learn to master this dance. 

14. Share the real you. Don’t hide behind a persona. Be unapologetically you and share that with the world. Business is the art of serving people and we are trailblazers of the real, authentic online movement. Lead the way and lace everything you do online with elements of you. 

15. You are not your business. Yes, your business needs to be a reflection of who you are as a person (branding wise) but it isn’t a mirror-reflection of your entire being. You are a complex person with a beautiful unique history. You have many skills, only of which some you may use in your business. Even fewer that you would use in your marketing. Which brings me to the next point…

16. Niching is important. Too many times have I seen women held up by the notion of ‘but I’m so much more than that!’ Yes you are, but your business will not thrive if you try to be everything to everyone. Go with your key strength and start there. You can always branch out later down the track.

17. Mentors are vital. I can’t possibly fathom how I am here today, earning more than I was at my old job and happier than I have ever been, without the help of my business coach. Probably looking for a part time job and drowning my sorrows in wine I’d imagine.

18. Sometimes, you have to do things you don’t like. I get it, it doesn’t ‘feel’ right. Hate to break it to you but there are some very important, albeit ‘masculine’, things we need to do when we run a business. Hot tip: if you have to do it, make the process fun. I hate accounting and anything to do with numbers so I spoil myself rotten with delicious raw treats and pumping music to make the experience more enjoyable.

19. Growth hurts. I’ve come to embrace any resistance. It means I am expanding and growing. It’s temporary pain that I now welcome because I know that when I get through it, I’ll be better than I was before.

20. Breakdowns are really breakthroughs. Much like growing pains, but intensified to unbearable levels. The result? Bearable, quantum shifts that will below your mind.

Kate Toholka is a success coach for online entrepreneurs, #1 amazon bestselling author and creator of the happiness hub. After becoming disillusioned working in the mental health industry, Kate sought to use her unbridled passions for holistic living and psychology to empower women into their dream business and lives. She is known for her raw honesty and ability to help women to tap into their unlimited potential. Kate believes in the power of community, self-love, inspired action, the natural order and your phenomenal worth. Connect with Kate on her blog, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Photo Credits: Monika Berry

Behind The Blog Scene // Artist Lisa Congdon

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There is something to be said for women who lead, who pave paths and make their mark. In the world of blogging there are some names you keep seeing pop up time and time again  - for good reason. They are talented, game changers and Lisa Congdon is one of them. Lisa's blog, Today Is Going To Be Awesome is a staple but you may also recognise her celebrated art and illustrations that have been in collaboration for The Museum of Modern Art, Martha Stewart Living Magazine, Chronicle Books and more. A talented and very busy superstar, I was absolutely thrilled to have a few minutes with her to talk blogging and some strong personal milestones....

Describe your blog in 3 words…
Real life & encouragement
What is your blogging manifesto?
My manifesto is pretty much the title of my blog: Today is Going to be Awesome.
Top 3 blogging essentials?

  • Consistency. People who read your blog like to know that you are going to be there when you say you are going to be there. So develop a posting schedule and stick with it. People will appreciate your regularity!
  • Surprise people occasionally. Being consistent is important, but give people a surprise every now and again too. Write about something you don't normally write about or post a project that is out of your comfort zone and write about the experience. 
  • Authenticity. Write about stuff that resonates for you and feels truly inspiring or exciting to you. Readers can see through it when you are posting stuff just because a sponsor is paying you money or because something is on trend but you have no interest in it. Let your true passions and interests shine through!

My biggest blogging moment/milestone was....
When I got married, I wrote a post and posted photos of my day a few weeks later, and had more shares and visitors to my blog than ever before. It just goes to show you that when you show a bit of your humanity to your readers, they will connect with you the most.
Best piece of advice to a newbie blogger?
Give yourself the challenge of blogging five days a week and sharing those posts on social media. Do it consistently for two or three months despite whether anyone visits your blog or comments or shares your posts.
If I wasn't blogging I'd be...
I am not a full time blogger by any means! So I actually spend more time painting and drawing than I do blogging. I love all three (and all the other aspects of my art business) so I feel pretty lucky.
Behind the scenes of my blog looks like...
I am a full time artist and illustrator, and for me blogging is a way to share my work and inspirations, processes and even my frustrations. On Sunday evening I make a posting schedule for the following week. I blog once (sometimes twice) a day and I generally plan out what I'll write about for the week. Of course, that's flexible when it needs to be! And then I get up and write the blog post first thing in the morning, Monday through Friday. I only post ahead when I will be traveling or know I won't have time. My blog is very "real time" and I like doing it that way.
In 2014 I'm most excited about...
I started a series last year called Interviews with People I Admire, and I got busy and put the series on hold (interviews take a lot of time). I've started it up again and am pretty excited about getting it out there again. I love sharing the stories of other creative people -- and how they use their time and talents.

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Link Love // The Friday Files

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To say this has been a big week would be an understatement. We hit go on our holiday Blog Box and have been overwhelmed by the response - so thank you for all the kind words (and a quick reminder that early bird pricing ends Sunday!). I was filled with inspiration at last night's Mentor Power Hour and have the motivation I need to put my head down this long weekend and get shit done. I'm ready.

I've begun work on my first e-product which I'm announcing here today (cue public accountability)and will be revealing more info shortly but let's just say I'm so excited about being able to deliver a product I'm passionate about and that I hope will eliminate a lot of fear, confusion and frustration many of you bloggers and biz owners are experiencing at the moment. It's going to be a busy weekend ahead but I hope to sneak out from behind the keyboard to enjoy a bit of sunshine and encourage you to do the same. Sharing some link love before I sign off...

  • Fear is a liar. Amen
  • Holiday gift buying for bloggers just got easier.
  • Cure your SEO confusion once and for all.
  • The style e-course that could change your life
  • Photo tips for capturing the golden hour

Link Love // The Friday Files

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The weekend has arrived and with it the endless possibility for adventure. I'm looking forward to hosting our first make-up workshop tomorrow and then taking some time to kick back, enjoy some fresh air and catch up on some blog reading that has been neglected and that will most certainly provide a kick of inspiration.

I've made a few exciting decisions about Blog Society this week, some personal investment in energy and hard work that I'm both nervous and excited about - typically a telltale sign that you're moving in the right direction. Fingers crossed. It was a week of learning, of failing forward and getting back on track. It was also a busy week in the blogosphere and I had a hard time narrowing down which posts I wanted to share as there seems to be some great content out there at the moment - hope you enjoy this week's link love below and embrace the adventure this weekend...

Came across a blog post that stopped you in your tracks? Share below and don't forget to join our community and stay in the loop by signing up to our newsletter today.

Behind The Blog Scene // Jenn Elliott Blake of Scout

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If you're like me you have a few special feeds on Instagram that you rely on for instant inspiration. The ones that you adore, that you look at in a slightly stalker-ish way and think 'hey we should totally be friends. You know the ones. For me, that totally sums up how I feel about event designer, prop stylist and blogger Jenn Elliott Blake.  

Jenn hails from Seattle which makes her cool to begin with however her blog, Scout and endless circle of creative friends, will have you admitting a girl crush in no time. I finally worked up the courage to ask her for an interview and her response so warm and friendly I knew she was the real deal. Have a read below and get this girl on your radar, trust me...

Describe your blog in 3 words…
Colorful, communal, and adventurous.
Top 3 blogging essentials?
Time, dedication, and creativity.
My biggest blogging moment/milestone was....
When I made the decision to only share original content. The whole intention behind why I blogged made a huge shift and that decision made blogging feel like so much more - it became an authentic and intentional extension of my creative self and my business.
My dream collaboration would be?
Oh man...there are many! There are so so many folks and brands out there that I would love to collaborate with. My ideal collaboration always revolves around food, social gathering and a team effort.
Right now I'm listening to...
Pandora is my best friend. Seriously NOT joking. It is on 24/7. Today my 'stations' included : Billie Holiday, Mumford & Sons and Ingrid Michaelson. I'm into music that is soothing and explores emotions.
Best piece of advice to a newbie blogger?
Consistency and be original as much as you can. It's okay to share the work of others (be sure to credit!) but make sure it comes from a place of original thought. Also, blog on a consistent basis if possible - I used to blog upwards of 5 times a week but that has slowed down a bunch as my freelance styling work has picked up. Regardless I still make sure to blog at least 1-2 days a week.
If I wasn't blogging I'd be...
Oh my gosh. What a good question! I honestly feel in my heart of hearts that if I hadn't been encouraged by a close friend to start my blog all those many years ago that I would have never pursued my current creative endeavors. Blogging has opened so many doors for me that I could have never imagined possible. I might actually still be in nursing for all I know if I hadn't started blogging! Woah.
Behind the scenes of my blog looks like...
A total mess on most days. Since prop styling falls hand in hand with the work I share on my blog my office is typically a complete disaster with fabric, ceramics, DIY projects, tools and all kinds of other bits and bobs covering most surfaces.
This year I'm most excited about...
All of my travel opportunities. One of my favorite things to share about on my blog is the amazing places I get to explore and all the inspiring people I get the opportunity to collaborate with on creative projects while I travel.

Images via: Dorothee Brand, Jenn Elliot Blake, Dorothee Brand