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When I began my business at 18, it was a fun hobby that was just enough to pay my small time college bills. I’ve never had to be an employee for anybody as an adult (that came with some struggles), but when I dropped out at 23 I knew I had to begin transforming how I ran my business if I wanted more [and consistent] money.

Before anything, my mindset had to be renewed. I talked about that in the last post.  You cannot renew your lifestyle without renewing the mind. Following my mindset renewal, these 3 things happened that changed the course of my income as a full time entrepreneur:

1. Starting + growing a blog with a clear focus

Before I knew what content marketing was, I didn’t realize the importance of blogging. I sucked at first, but when I got a grasp on what my money-making topic was (branding + personal development), it changed everything. I saw a consistency in readers and got an understanding of my audience. Back then, I was able to knock out 2 posts per week and that helped with the consistency of my traffic.

Read: How To Build Your Self-Hosted WordPress Blog or Website From Scratch

2. Using on social media with intention

I started becoming more intentional by following experts in my field instead of ranting about my personal life. People began to trust me as a resource rather than the girl that talked about how misbehaved her poodle was. I scheduled out my blog posts and used social media as my strategy to drive more traffic to my blog. I also made it a point to actually be SOCIAL with other bloggers, influencers, experts and my readers. This helped me to build my engagement with people who would support and eventually buy from me.

3. Investing in [non-traditional] education

Investing in tools & resources like Bluehost, Photoshop, and CoSchedule we’re no-brainer investments to help start and grow my online business. It was putting money into non-traditional education that was new for me.

I listened to a webinar by a guy who specialized in working with designers and techie people like me. He had an eBook and email course that promised to help double my income. By this time I was doing pretty okay, but if I could double my income… I mean, why not? The worst that could happen was I would be out a few hundred dollars. I don’t take $300+ lightly, BUT if I could make an extra $1,000+ extra a month? It was worth the risk. [You can’t be a successful entrepreneur without taking some risks and making investments.] It was my first and best educational investment in 2014. Essentially I had ended my relationship with traditional education and invested in non-traditional education to get non-traditional results (working for myself full-time in my early 20’s making actual money).

Those are things I’ve done to elevate my income, impact AND most importantly… my independence. I’ve learned so much along the way.  But I’ve also made some mistakes as a blogger and business owner since starting out. The main mistakes were:

1. Not clearly identifying who my audience was.

Before knowing who I was targeting, I had NO IDEA what to put on my website or my blog. I was attracting all the wrong people because the copy on my site wasn’t speaking to anyone. (When you target everyone, you target no one.) Your time will be wasted if you don’t know who you’re targeting.

2. Not starting my email list soon enough.

There’s a big MYTH out there that says you don’t need to start building your email list until you decide to sell something. FALSE. When I finally decided to set up a Mail Chimp account and offer a freebie, my list tripled in days. When I was ready to start consulting, I was so glad I had a group of people who I could share that information with through an email. It’s like having a group of people just waiting to pay you for something. Your money will be wasted if you have no concrete list to sell to.

3. Not collaborating with other bloggers and experts.

I was so nervous that everyone who blogged about the same topics as I did was my competition.  I soon learned that the blogging world is EXTREMELY FRIENDLY. Trust me when I say collaborating will get you further than competing. Being able to have a relationship with other bloggers allows you to share their audience and share great ideas. This is an opportunity for growth.

I don’t have many regrets, but if I did, one would be not investing in myself sooner. A lot of us have a “I would do anything to have that body” syndrome where we do absolutely nothing to have that body. We carry that same mindset to business where we “would do anything to have more freedom” or “do anything to make money doing what I love”, but don’t actively seek out and invest in opportunities.

To my “defense”, I don’t recall many non-traditional online courses and resources being easily available to me back in 2008 when I started my business. Social media wasn’t what it was back then, but now running an online business is more simple than it’s EVER been once you have the right guide. The moment I learned about education that actually interested me, I didn’t hesitate to invest because I knew the goals I had set for myself.

Growth isn’t about making decisions about where you are, it’s about making decisions based on where you want to be.

This means who you spend your time with, what you spend your money on, the things you think about. Decisions create the destiny you desire. Please don’t make the decision to continue wasting hundreds of hours and years of stagnant growth “trying to figure it out” instead of making a relatively small but vital upfront investment in get it right quickly.

My course Blogademics was created to help you jumpstart your online business and brand through intentional blogging.

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