Last month (April 2018) WellthyFit turned 2. With that, I enter my third year of blogging too. I don’t write very many personal blogs. But then this has been a journey I would like to document. This blog is not about why I run or do yoga.
This is about my blogging journey and I don't know if you will reach the end of the blog. You must. You have nothing to lose. I couldn't cram this piece into a 300 word document - not this one at least!
I have no background in blogging.
With an MBA degree, 7 years of dabbling in marketing in education, banking and public relations – I basically ran my career around my husband’s. Am blessed with the good knack of finding good work for myself everywhere I go. A true-blue dabbler that I am – from calligraphy to pottery to carpenting to singing – I like to fill my life with what excites me.
But I have always written - my travels in South America, India, South East Asia, my treks, about the best days of my life, the complicated ones. I wrote many letters to my daughter and son, right from the day they were born and continue to write emails and letters to them.
And so the point is that I have always written. But…….. blogging is not writing. And writing is not blogging. Will come back to this later.
The genesis of WellthyFit.com
In Feb 2016 – I was offered a job with a leading school in Gurgaon and an upcoming education outfit. By now I was a mother to two small kids. Needing 'unreasonable' amount of flexibility to be around them, it was finally coming out clear that I wasn’t ready to trade my time as a mother outside the house. I craved stimulation and meaningful work!
Did I really want to be a BLOGGER ? Already into running and yoga – I was a regular visitor to many blogs. I remember going through – Fit Bottomed Girls webpage – and feeling like I could do this too! It was interesting to read pieces with a relevant personal touch and practical information! For a couple of weeks I kept questioning myself- if I really wanted to do this – be a BLOGGER?? Have my own webpage?
Everytime I thought about it – a sinking feeling came in – which is what I liked! I create my own content and use it on my own platform! I decided to write about something I was loving to do – Running! And something I had built a great learning experience of – Yoga!
And so Wellthyfit was an emotional decision. One that was born out of love for writing and fitness in equal parts. No, I did not start it to just inspire people. We don’t drive our lives with the sole purpose of inspiring. 98% of what we do is for ourselves or something we believe in. At least I do.
With a serious urge to stay connected with the world, create and share something that excited me and my reader and with no skills in blogging – I took the plunge!
The First Year of Wellthyfit.com
I started with nothing – no mailing list, no experience, no Instagram, twitter. My social media interaction was limited to Facebook.
I used every spare minute off my kids to scribble on my next topic. I was calling my parents to look after my kids more often. The blog needed me to –sit, think and plan my content. I wanted to try everything on my blog. I wasn’t scared at all. Again – I had nothing. No team of editors or graphic designers. My friends would help out as and when needed.
The thrill of the unknown, the excitement of where my hard work might take me, of making good content and having my own work and life beyond my kids – kept me going every single day of the first year. As someone who can’t distinguish between passion and profession, I do things only because there is something about them that makes me come alive!
Within 5 months of WF – I had gotten my first paid review, a leading sports company wanted to sign me up as a brand influencer, my readership was going up and my focus was still – Great Content!
For the month of January 2017, WF had hit a readership of 18k! It is an awesome readership for a blog that sells nothing and still didn’t have a mailing list of subscribers! Passioned runners contributed their articles to WF. Their energy, knowledge and writing skills – fuelled WF’s growth every single time they wrote! I did short projects with upcoming and leading sports brands! I looked for synergy with the people I worked or endorsed.
I stayed stubborn all throughout this period…
- I didn’t get into a contract with any sports brand. Why? Because I was sure to lose my freedom of writing on WF – limiting myself to the whims of the brand I would sign up with! I could see that happening around me to many bloggers.
- I stuck to my area and the theme of WF – Health, Fitness, Mind and Body. Which basically meant I refused every single offer that didn’t belong to any of the above areas!
- I refused to promote health products that were nothing but chemicals even though they came from organisations that had great marketing budgets.
In the bargain….
- I had to constantly answer people if I my blog had started monetizing even though it had been only 5 months.
- My critics would tell me to get real and take up any kind of endorsements either for the sake of publicity or money. ( I wanted – success as a blogger)
- I was constantly compared to other bloggers around me. The more they succeeded, the more I was questioned and compared.
- I was told that good content sells only if it has good pictures! It’s been two years and still don’t believe this.
- I was told – blogging is not a real job! I agree – blogging is a highly creative and fulfilling activity!
But I wanted to make WF something special. I didn’t want to fall into the trap of reviewing the same products like other 100s of bloggers. I call it a trap because the money, the publicity etc. is good enough to make you mediocre and take away your originality!
My first year of blogging stays epic! Wellthyfit's readership for the latter 6 months of the year went from 4k to 8k to 15k+ monthly! I still hadn’t explored platforms other than FB and whatsapp! These two platforms gave me good readership and I decided to work on better content. Of course, increasing the readership was always important! I lost sleep, my mind was thinking every second of the day – on how to make my blog better and better.
Learnings from year 1
- If you are serious about it – get/ build a team. You can’t be doing everything. From ideating, to writing, to promoting to Instagram, FB, twitter! Can you manage it all? Writing, promoting, reaching out – everything?
- Never do free work for the sake of publicity. Charge - less or more. There is a reason people are reaching out to you and that is because you are good! So always check on commercials!
- Content is king! No compromise here!
- Writing your blogs is one thing. Promoting them is the biggest thing. A new blogger must reach out shameslessly again and again, in more and more forums and on relevant social media platforms.
- Work on your mailing list from day one! One email a day is also great!
The biggest learning from year 1 of Blogging:
Blogging is not writing. Writing is not blogging. Writing is probably the smallest part of running a blog! Creating great content is the hard job. Getting readership to the blog is the hardest. And promoting your work and yourself – an embarrassing, shameless task! But all of this I know now!
WellthyFit – Year 2
April 2017 – WF and I entered our second year! Our mojo strong. Great readership. Good content. Three blogs a week! Still very choosy about what I picked to endorse. With great pride, I called myself a – Full Time Blogger!
WellthyFit was/ is my baby no. 3! It gave me a whole new life. I met fabulous men and women who inspired the running and fitness community. Writing blogs on them and with them was something I looked forward to.
Fitness, health and sports companies happily sponsored contests by WellthyFit. My interaction with the community grew. Beautiful set of articles on running, nutrition, health and yoga were regularly featured on the blog.
With this new life, also came a whole new set of critics and challenges. This is what my commercial success looked like…
- I started getting Yoga workshops in organisations.
- Guest blogging opportunities came my way often
- More sports organisations wanted to work with me
The readership on my page, got me work. My writing was getting better too. The social media experts I met promised me loads of commericial assignments but I could see that they didn’t understand my love for true blogging. The very few ones who did – I couldn’t afford them.
What did I learn in my second year of Blogging
- Success in blogging does not come fast or easy – It’s hardwork and constant hardwork!
- If you are blogging with the big and sole purpose of making money – then there are other better things to do. Honestly, we blog for ourselves. Making good content can be very satisfying. If you don’t enjoy your blog, nobody will, no matter what you do and you won’t make money.
- To be able to see endless possibilities can be bit scary. Having too many goals, in too many different directions, wanting to try everything – doesn’t work for too long
- Blogging is really like a full time job if you want success at it. But working on it full time doesn’t mean success is fail proof.
- Content is king! No compromise here!
- Shamelessly promoting your work is what you have to do! Look at the best bloggers ( best means – the ones with awesome content). They promote their work unabashedly! They work on creating good content. They work harder on promoting it.
- We try, but not every article can be top shelf. So stop getting annoying about the readership numbers.
There is nothing wrong with blogging being a commercial activity –
- We bloggers create free content but that does not mean that we starve! My blog’s readership gave me commercial work and a way to generate revenue. But I faced tremendous mindset issues about this in my second year. I recall moments of frustration listening to people why they thought I ran WellthyFit for timepass!!!!
- I refused to do unpaid and meaningless work. It was at times petty for me to explain that blogging is not a free activity. And I won’t do it for peanuts! For a lot of people I come across – Blogging for them is not ‘real work’ or a real job!
- The truth is that growing a genuine and returning audience for a blog is hard work! And making a business out of a blog, takes time. Sometimes I have blogged for myself, but I know I can do a much better job of it and take it somewhere big! It’s not a short lived love, it won’t come without its twists and turns.
It's year 3. I strive to bring in genuine readership, subscribers and reach out with something special and build the blog to profitability. Remember …endless possibilities is not always a bad thing!
......and the wandering feet in the picture above...are mine !
It's tiring, it's frustrating, it keeps me on my toes, it's challenging, a lot about it sucks, and in these 24 months of non-stop blogging - I have changed so much ! A lot of what goes up on WellthyFit is written by some fabulous people - people who love writing, who love sharing their knowledge, who want to become bloggers and writers - hence Wellthyfit is a collection of higher thoughts of many of us!
I've come too far into it....and now I can't stop!