We all have different stages that we go through as bloggers. We go through periods where everything seems to be going right, and periods where it seems like the best thing to do is close down. We have times where we are excited and optimistic about the future, and times where everything just seems to be working against us.
They say entrepreneurship is a roller coaster, and it’s very true. However, only those who are able to hang on during the ups and downs are the ones who will see the ride through to its completion. As I share with you these 7 stages that all bloggers go through, I want you to think about whether or not you’ve seen these so far throughout your own blogging career. If you haven’t, I promise you will see them soon if you stay on board long enough.
It all starts with an idea.
Often at this point, bloggers have just come to realize all the benefits starting a blog can offer. They dream huge – imagining lots of money come in, lots of raving fans, and making a real impact on the world.
How quickly you transition away from this stage will likely give a hint as to how long you stick to blogging, and how successful you become later down the line. Every great entrepreneur is an action taker – it’s nice to have ideas, but until something is created out of them, they don’t do you much good.
Almost everybody will at one point in their lifetime come up with a multi-million dollar idea. Few people will become multi-millionaires.
2. Starting Up
Here’s where things get really exciting. You’ve transitioned from just an idea and you’re actually making something happen.
Think back to this. How excited were you when you first saw your website online? When you first installed WordPress? When your first piece of content was published? You know it felt good.
There’s so much to get done at this stage, but it’s encouraging because you’re seeing actual tangible results from your work. The future looks bright, and you’ve gotten farther than most people ever will already. It can only get better from here, right?
You’ve got your blog online. You’ve started publishing content, and you’re doing everything you feel you’re supposed to be doing. However, you’re not really getting anywhere.
Desperately, you start searching for more information. You realize that there’s a whole lot that goes into this whole blogging thing. What are you supposed to do, and when are you supposed to do it? How come this wasn’t as simple as I was told it was going to be? My content is good, why aren’t people flooding to my website?
Unfortunately this is the stage where most people give up. It’s understandable, because the reality of blogging is so much different than what we expected it to be. It doesn’t change the fact that it’s very possible for your initial hopes and dreams to become reality, but it is hard work. There’s no way around that.
The problem is most bloggers do not really have any structure. This is true for most new business owners.
Entrepreneurship is very different than the way most people have been trained to operate. Most people go through life working a traditional job, where they’re told what to do and how to do it. With blogging, you don’t have that at the beginning. You have to develop a structure for yourself, which is difficult.
Going from order taker to decision maker is difficult, but I’ve developed something that can help you get to where you want to be. I’ll share it with you in a minute.
If you don’t give up at the overload stage, you’ll eventually start getting some sort of results from your blog.
Even if it’s as something as small as an Adsense click or an affiliate sale, this can be incredibly encouraging. Because somehow or another, you did something right.
Thankfully, towards the beginning is where you do the most amount of work for the least amount of reward. As you gain more and more success in blogging, it does get easier. It really does. Not only do you have a better knowledge of what works for you and what doesn’t, but you also have more resources at your disposal working for you – more money to reinvest, more visitors to share your content, more backlinks, more customers, so on and so forth. Success perpetuates success.
Blogging results grow exponentially – never forget that!
I’d say blogging success is like a snowball, but the truth is that it’s not always so smooth.
The ball starts moving a little bit – the next small success comes quicker than the first, and things look like they’re slowly starting to pick up.
Then you get hit with your first major setback.
The scary thing is that the cause of these isn’t always noticeable. This can be very discouraging, and make you think you’re not really doing anything right after all.
Some examples include Google algorithm updates, unfair bans from platforms you’re working with, or issues with work-life balance.
I went through periods where I was putting in more work than I had previously, yet my numbers were still dropping. This can be very discouraging, and this too is a period where many bloggers drop out – often to start different projects.
Recovery does happen if you stick around long enough for it to happen. The problem is that the setbacks never really stop completely, regardless of how successful you become. You can work to minimize their frequency and their impact, but they will still happen. Setbacks are just a by-product of taking large amounts of action.
6. Massive Growth
Perhaps the most exciting stage of all is when you start experiencing massive growth, extremely quickly.
Everything feels like it’s coming together, you’re finally starting to make some serious money and your traffic is growing consistently month after month.
I still remember the first time I experienced this with one of my websites. I was growing as an influencer in my space, when one day I was contacted by NBC, one of the USA’s largest television networks, asking if I’d like to interview the executive producer of an upcoming television show. Long story short, I took advantage of the opportunity, started getting links from authority sites all over the place, and had more traffic than I ever imagined possible.
However, I don’t want to give off the impression that one certain event will trigger this. That’s usually not the case. The solution to your problems is not meeting the right person, jumping on the right opportunity, or stumbling into something huge. The solution is consistently taking large amounts of action for extended periods of time, working hard, and working smart at the same time. Reinvesting everything you can back into your business and your education. They say the harder you work, the luckier you get. In a way, it’s very true – after you begin doing something huge and you really start working hard, opportunities will come your way.
It’s nice to think that you’ll want to blog forever. However, regardless of how much you love the work you do, it’s still foolish not to have at least some sort of exit strategy planned.
This does not necessarily mean you have to sell or abandon your blog completely. It simply means you allow your blog the freedom to grow on its own without constant additional input from yourself (at least not as much as it took you to get it off the ground.)
This means setting up systems to cut out the work for you. Building up traffic sources that send people your way month after month. Developing a sales funnel that makes you money consistently on its own. Perhaps this even means outsourcing the bulk of your work.
Once you reach a certain point, more time will become more valuable to you than more money. Blogging is a great way to achieve freedom in life, but not if your blog is completely dependent on lots of work from yourself to survive.
You don’t need to prepare for an exit anytime soon if you don’t want to, but it’s a good idea to keep it in the back of your mind. The freedom of at least having that choice is very comforting.
Getting Through The Stages
As someone who’s been through these stages myself, I want to help make it as easy as possible to move through them. To smoothen the ride a little bit.
I want you to get to where you want to be as quickly as possible, without having to figure what works and what doesn’t through trial and error. It’s certainly good to learn from your mistakes, but it’s far to better to avoid making them completely and learn from other’s instead.
I have developed a blogging course that will show you exactly what to do and when to do it. Instead of scrambling around trying to figure things out, let me take you by the hand and show you the path you need to take to achieve blogging success.
I assure you that the hundreds of hours this course saves you will put you ahead of 99% of bloggers out there, so do yourself a favor and sign up.
Which of these stages do you feel you’re currently in? I’d love to hear what you’re going through so we can help either get through it or make the most of it! With enough work, I have complete confidence that we can get you to wherever it is you want to be.
It’s hard work! There’s no way around that.
You have to develop a structure for YOURSELF.
Wow! Great stuff James.
I’ve got so much going through my head I don’t know where or how to put it all down on paper. You have to almost be a reporter in order to be a good blogger. No kidding.
I want to help people but writing is a struggle for me. It’s hard to put pen to paper daily. Especially something that makes people glad they read it.
I like this post.
James Savage recently posted…How to Add a Child Theme to WordPress
Absolutely, even with a set structure you still have to put the work in. Having a plan laid out for you can cut out the time it takes to move through the various stages, but if you never take action, you’re never going to get anywhere. Who knows how many years I’d be ahead if this course was available when I started out!
Writing wasn’t my strong suit either for a very long time. Taking time to practice writing each day really helps, even if it’s only a little bit. You’ll find over time that it becomes a bit more natural to you.
Thanks for stopping by James and hey, is that a new website?
James McAllister recently posted…The 7 Rules Of Selling All Bloggers Must Follow
What a sensational post!
I’ve journeyed through each stage so I know how it feels. Oh do I really know how it feels. Each step. From not knowing how a blog works. Or what a blog was. To traveling the world for 5 years through blogging. It’s nuts; the 2nd day of my online career I wanted to quit. Overwhelm hit me immediately. But Kelli walked me off of the ledge. She told me to see it through.
Just the other day I chatted with someone about having one of my travel stories featured on National Geographic, on a few show. Like your awesome NBC feature, no one event set it up. Gliding through the stages, falling in love with blogging, and kinda detaching from outcomes 😉 helped us get to where we are at.
Have fun with this bit. Trust. And when you feel distressed and disgusted, read James’ blog. Seriously. He’s a knowledgeable and experienced young whipper snapper who’s got this online thing down cold.
Thanks for the inspiring share!
I think it’s very important to get through the bad stages as quickly as possible, and make the most out of the good ones that we can. A lot of people can’t handle the ride because they aren’t certain it’ll be worth it at the end. You and I both know it is.
Like you said, usually when great opportunities arise it’s not out of one action specifically – it’s out of persistent and consistent action over long periods of time. And they only come quicker from there.
Thanks again Ryan!
James McAllister recently posted…10+ iPhone / Android Apps Every Blogger Should Be Using
I have been though all the stages and it is like a roller coaster ride. I do believe that overwhelm can be a killer or a great teacher. When we reach this point, we want to just bolt. But instead, we take a few steps back. Then have to come up with a new plan. We realize we were doing too much too fast and that was the cause of overwhelm. It happened to me once and now I know the warning signs.
You explained what it is to be a real blogger. One that will “hang in there” because they will always be highs and lows. We have to be prepared mentally to control our business and blogging is a part of it all.
It is so wonderful to know NBC contacted you! I know your course will be one that is REAL. Teaching people what they really need to know to be a blogger. You walk the walk and have a great deal of knowledge about blogging, marketing, investing, and being a successful entrepreneur.
I agree with Ryan that you are a knowledgeable and experienced young whipper snapper who’s got this online thing down cold!
I’ll spread the news!
You are right, I have learned more about myself through the harder times than I have the easier ones. Even in recent times I still get overwhelmed sometimes. Like you I have begun to take notice of the warning signs and can make changes when necessary. I suppose that’s something that comes with experience!
If I remember correctly, that post I wrote about NBC was the first you read on this site – along with a lot of others. It really doesn’t feel that long ago, funny how time flies!
James McAllister recently posted…Most Bloggers Are Using Social Media For The Wrong Reasons
Hey there James,
Awesome post here buddy. I could definitely relate to the 7 stages you’ve mentioned. lol You pretty much hit the nail right there. Kinda felt like you were talking about me there for a moment. lol
Blogging is definitely powerful. I’ve been at it for 5 years now and looking back, I can confidently say that I made the right choice. I’ve grown and transformed. I’ve expanded my horizons mentally and expanded my thinking.
It’s definitely worth it and I truly believe that more people should be doing it…especially students.
Awesome stuff here man. Keep it up! You’re definitely going down the right path. Nothing but good things will happen.
PJ Zafra recently posted…Arnold Schwarzenegger: 6 Rules That Will Give You An Incredible Life [The Ultimate Guide To Happiness & Fulfillment]
As someone who’s experienced with blogging I’m not surprised to hear that you can relate. So many people give up at stage 3 so they never get far enough in the ride to experience the others. I’m hoping this will show people that it’s only temporary and they will get through it if they hang in there long enough.
I like how you mentioned the non-monetary benefits blogging brings us. Not all of the benefits are tangible, and some of the greatest rewards are things I’ve never expected. Like you I have changed as a person over the years and blogging has become a huge part of who I am. I am so thankful I found it.
Always nice to talk with you PJ, I’m gonna send you an email here pretty soon alright? Thanks man!
James McAllister recently posted…An Open Letter To Udemy
I believe I’ve been through all these stages myself. Even the exit strategy if you can believe that. People say I LOVE blogging and will always do it but I came into this knowing that I don’t want to sit in front of a computer for the rest of my life. I do enjoy blogging, I enjoy the experiences it’s brought me, the business that I’ve been able to build, the people I’ve met along the way, all of it. There are plenty of other things I would like to do with my life so we know that if you’re not consistent with what you’re doing then we can easily be forgotten.
Anyway, I can appreciate what you’ve shared here and I think that if you’re in this for the long haul then they’ll move through the phases of overwhelm and overload. It’s not easy, I’m definitely not saying that it is but it’s worth it.
I’m glad that so much has happened for you James and you’re doing so well. I’m pretty sure that anyone who would like to learn what it actually takes would appreciate having your course. I have no doubt it’s a winner.
I’ll be sure to share this post as well and you have a great day.
Adrienne recently posted…How to Blog Your Way to Success Your Way
I know that you’re very experienced in this area so I’m not surprised to hear that you’ve been through all of the stages.
I do think many people throw the idea of an exit out of their mind but it really is important to think about. Like you I don’t want to spend the rest of my life in front of a computer. I don’t think I will ever stop blogging completely, but that doesn’t mean I won’t prepare a soft exit – setting up systems that will reduce the amount of time I have to spend maintaining and growing the site. I have already been implementing these and instead just using that free time to build up other areas. However, I know that eventually I will tone off a bit.
I appreciate your kind words Adrienne. My course can not prevent the stages from happening, but they can help get through the bad ones as quickly as possible and make the most out of the good ones. I wish it would have been available when I was starting out!
James McAllister recently posted…The Ultimate HootSuite Pro Review
Hi James. I agree with your list of stages, and they apply to pretty much every business, not just blogging. If you stay in long enough you will go through many cycles of optimism, massive growth and setback, and those setbacks can come from both inside and outside of our business. For me, I’m currently in the optimism stage and preparing for massive growth after recovering from an outside setback that kept me mostly out of my business for two years or so. It’s very exciting when you see things start to come together and work again.
Ben recently posted…How to Be a Great Dad (or Mom)
Wonderful article James,
and oh so true.
I’m currently at the fourth stage of my journey- optimism.
I’m finally getting organic traffic to my site, but I know there’s more work ahead.
And I’m looking forward to it.
Thanks for the great read:)
Hey Nikola! Always happy when I see your name pop up here.
That’s wonderful to hear about the progress, and just as importantly, that you’re feeling optimistic about everything. Things only get easier from there – the beginning is the part where you’re doing the most work for the smallest amount of reward, so if you can stay positive and keep pushing onward, better things are sure to come.
Look forward to watching you progress even further in the coming months!
James McAllister recently posted…The Definitive Guide To Establishing Trust, Before The Sale
Great post James!
I am sure many bloggers can relate to these stages. I think the biggest problem is that most bloggers don’t stay persistent. It takes time grow a website and especially if you are launching your first website. It’s important not to get discouraged when you don’t see any result. Keep blogging and learn along the way and it’s just matter of time till you reach your goals.
Best of luck to everyone!
Martin Svec recently posted…Udemy Affiliate Program: How to Make $1000 a Month
Hey Martin, great to meet you!
I’ve noticed that as well, many people start with false expectations on just how quickly you can begin making money blogging. It takes time and especially consistency and persistence in order to actually get anywhere – especially in today’s day and age where you really have to work for every visitor.
Of course, if your business model is proven, it’s only a matter of time before you start earning a return on all of your time – and it’s always well worth it!
James McAllister recently posted…Starting An Online Business – What To Buy, Broken Down By Budget