It’s been a couple weeks since my blog passed its one-month mark, so I’m excited to share a couple blog updates with you! And because beginnings are always the bumpiest, my blog has seen a lot of changes over the past few weeks.
Since this is the first blog update I’ll be writing, I’ll keep things simple. But, of course, I’ll make it as valuable as possible, so that you can learn from my experiences.
So here’s a quick look at what to expect in this post, in case you want to read ahead to some sections.
Note: This isn’t an income report. I will, however, be releasing some in the future once my blog ages a bit. This blog is just a month-old, after all!
Mica’s Monthly Blog Update: April 2018
April Wins (and how I got them):
- Narrowing down my niche to get laser-focused on who I’m serving
- Evolving my brand to embody my personal style and values
- Growing my email list by 2,275% in just 30 days
- Getting my first blog income (yes, just on the first month of blogging!)
April Fails (and what I learned from them):
- Falling into the trap of information hoarding (alternatively: When I subscribed to nearly 50 different webinars – and why that wasn’t a good thing)
- Not taking my own advice of comparison cleansing (and how I snapped myself out of it)
Plans for Next Month
- Beta testing my first intensive side hustle mentoring program? (Details to follow!)
Mind of Mica Stat Counter:
- Previous Month’s (March 14-31) View Count: 631
- Previous Month’s (March 14-31) Unique Visitor Count: 374
- This Month’s (April 1-30) View Count: 8,097
- This Month’s (April 1-30) Unique Visitor Count: 5,678
Again, if you want to skip ahead to a particular section, by all means, go ahead! Now let’s get this highlight party started.
Narrowing Down My Niche
This is a win for anyone starting any kind of blog or business. Because once you know who you’re serving, it’s easier to create content that caters to them.
When I started this blog in March – intended to be a hobby at first – I didn’t really have a niche. I’d initially planned to post about figure-it-out lifestyle topics, and when I say lifestyle, I meant my life. You know, blog about my favorite skincare, summer outfits, books I’m reading. (Nothing wrong with blogs like that, just to be clear!)
But as I was building this blog, I realized I wanted to help people somehow.
And, for me, that was helping people with one thing that changed my life: starting a side hustle.
I decided that I wanted to blog about side hustles and passion projects-turned-side hustles, not about my current eyeshadow obsession or the Zara outfit I’m eyeing. I was often asked how I started my own successful side hustles – and why I even started!
After all, I’ve been a serial side hustler since senior year at university. So I figured: hey, this is a topic I can really help people with.
Quick segue: you might be interested in taking my free mini course on how to start a successful and profitable side hustle! I truly believe in the benefits of having one over not having one, and my 5-day course (enroll by clicking below) teaches you step-by-step how to get started.
But wait! What happened after you niched down?
Long story short, I did a whole recalibrating on the purpose of this passion project.
Because of that, I trashed all the other categories I’d planned on writing about. (I find the need to mention that said categories were for topics like Style and Fitness. They’re two things that are still very close to my heart but are now unrelated to the niche I want to serve.)
And niching down has honestly already helped me! As I plan my editorial calendar, I know exactly what I want to write about and who I’m doing it for. So champagne flute clinks for this win!
Getting Clear on My Brand
In case you’re wondering what the difference is from the first win, let me clarify. Getting clear on my niche let me get crystal clear on who I’m doing this for. But getting clear on my brand meant a couple other things.
For one, I decided on (or maybe the more appropriate term is solidified) my brand persona. I decided on the tone I wanted to have everywhere. I came up with boundaries for my language – do I swear? (Only in certain cases); do I type in ALL CAPS? (Again, only in certain cases).
But I suppose one of the biggest branding factors I finally tried to nail on the head was the visual feel of my blog. For a couple weeks since I launched, I’d only been using default fonts and colors from my theme. I also didn’t have a unified look for my images – so you can imagine how cluttered my blog looked!
Even though the theme I have (that you can get 20% off if you sign up with my link, by the way) was doing all it could to keep everything in a nice and elegant layout, there was still some kind of disconnect with the way everything else fit together.
Full disclosure: that’s an affiliate link up there! Meaning if you do use it to get a discount, I’ll get a small commission – without extra cost to you, of course. These things really help me keep doing what I do in this blog, so I’d be ever-so grateful if you used the link. No pressure, of course!
Bonus if you purchase through my link: For anyone who purchases a theme through my link, I’d be happy to do a free blog audit, where I take a look at your blog and give you honest, constructive, and actionable feedback to make your blog better!
Besides, doing a visual overhaul helped me decide who I wanted to be for my readers.
So in case you want to see an example of what I mean for my visual rebrand, here are a few before-and-after photos.
My 2,275% Email List Growth
I have a confession to make: in the beginning, I didn’t quite know how to make the most of my MailChimp account.
When I launched my blog mid-March, the only people who signed up to my newsletter were a couple of supportive friends who said they wanted to stay updated with my blog. Which is so sweet of them, of course!
I’d always known you need to give multiple incentives to get target readers to sign up to your email list, but if you’ve ever tried to make more than one incentive or opt-in on MailChimp, you’ll find that – unless you know a lot of advanced coding – MailChimp has practically made it impossible!
You might say: “Why didn’t you just use a different email marketing provider then?”
My short answer? MailChimp is by far the most cost effective for new bloggers! I don’t need to start paying for my subscribers until I reach 2,000 people – and as a new blogger who’s never done this before, I didn’t really want to invest too much in the beginning.
Of course, the pay-off was dealing MailChimp making it nearly impossible for beginners to create multiple opt-ins. Sad face.
But how did I manage?
To be honest, it took me weeks of nonstop searching to find the answer to my MailChimp problems.
And that answer came in the form of this e-course my mom blogger friend Elna designed. I was so blown away by how easy she made everything, and the best part was she doesn’t tell you to buy any paid tools (a goldmine for a new blogger like me).
My favorite parts of the course was learning how to create multiple opt-ins on MailChimp, and even Elna even injected some beginner-friendly basics to email marketing, which I thought was a sweet bonus!
The course was so, so, so worth the small investment. Because the end result was that I gained over a hundred new subscribers who opted in to my list! Not bad for someone who’d never done this before, don’t you think?
Now in case you’re a new or aspiring blogger yourself – or a seasoned blogger that still can’t figure out MailChimp and opt-ins and what-have-yous – you can check out Elna’s e-course here.
(If anyone purchases the course through my link, I’d be happy to do a free blog audit, where I take a look at your blog and give you honest, constructive, and actionable feedback to make your blog better!)
And of course, one big reason I can’t stop gushing over this email list growth? Because that led me to…
Monetizing My Month-Old Blog
I’m going to be honest when I say I was probably one of the lucky new bloggers out there who manage to make money just a month into their blogging journey.
And even more of an anomaly? I don’t blog about blogging. I mean, I just told you what my exact niche is back in the previous section.
Besides, have you seen the blogs-about-blogging category? It’s absolutely saturated! Nothing wrong with jumping into that party, of course. But if you are interested in blogging, choose a niche that you care a lot about. If it’s not a blog about blogging, that’s totally fine. You can absolutely still monetize!
In case you want to learn more about getting clear on your niche, again I have this free mini-course on how to start a successful side hustle based on your creative passion. Niching down is one of the topics I cover!
And hey, I’m not here to brag about being monetizing a blog early. But before I tell you exactly how a month-old blog like mine put a few extra dollars in my pocket, I want to make a quick reminder that timing is different for everyone.
So no, you shouldn’t expect the same results. And no, you shouldn’t feel bad if you’ve been blogging for a year and haven’t made money yet.
I’ll say it again.
The timing for monetizing any project is different for everyone.
Just be sure to evaluate regularly and see why you might not be getting there as fast as others. While we can’t control the exact day and time we’ll make money off a side hustle (in this case, a blog), there are still things we can control.
But cut to the chase already! How’d you monetize this blog, huh?
Okay, I digressed a bit. But here’s the truth, no bullshit attached (told you I’d swear when necessary).
I monetized my blog with – drumroll, please – an affiliate sale!
The product was this gorgeous and super handy goal-setting planner by my fellow blogger-in-arms Nadalie. The reason I recommended her product to my blog readers was because: 1) I love goal-setting, 2) I love planners, and 3) her planner is a goal-setting planner.
So of course I couldn’t resist. Lately I’ve found that my usual weekly planners don’t cut it – especially when goals are involved. So when I stumbled upon a goal-setting planner, I caved. (Okay, what really tipped me over the edge to getting the planner was when I saw that it was form-fillable, meaning you can type on it as a PDF. #digitalnomad)
And I’m honestly not one to keep something that changed my life to myself – I mean, I started a blog to share the love for life-changing side hustles, didn’t I?
But yes, in a nutshell, it’s how my blog monetized in the first month. I’d talked to Nadalie about promoting her planner, and she gave me that affiliate link as thanks for wanting to do so. #WomenHelpingWomen, am I right?
(Bonus for people who purchase through my affiliate links: For everyone who purchases through my links, I do a free blog audit, where I take a look at your blog and give you honest, constructive, and actionable feedback to make your blog better!)
Falling into Info Overwhelm
Now onto the topic of my first-month blogging fails.
As a new blogger, I committed the one thing I tell myself never to do: hoard information.
You know what I mean. Researching article after article, saving tips after tips… But what really took the cake?
I signed up to nearly 50 different webinars. Granted, they were all about different – but related – topics, but still! Imagine every webinar is 60-minutes on average. And I kid you not, I attended all of them! Maybe a replay instead of the live version (#timezoneproblems), and every time I fell into the same trap.
Over and over, I’d tell myself: I really need the information from this webinar. But at the end of it? At best, I got 3 really good takeaways. Then nothing.
But the hours I spent info hoarding were wasted hours – hours I can never get back.
Instead of using those hours applying what I learned, executing and figuring things out as I went, I just sat there and hoarded all that information. Which honestly became a huge info dump that my brain nearly exploded. I thought I was being productive by attending these webinars. But I wasn’t!
So if you want to avoid making the same mistake I made, remember this: attend 1 webinar at a time – then immediately apply what you learn! Don’t hop onto the next webinar offer just because it shows up on your newsfeed. Attend one then shift your gears into action mode.
Not Doing a Comparison Cleanse
Another blogging fail this month was not taking my own advice to people (big no-no).
What I did exactly?
I compared my behind-the-scenes to other people’s highlight reels. And this is huge fail for me since I always preach to not. do. that.Even if friends of mine come to me saying they think I’ve made so far in whatever-this-is, I always tell them they’re seeing what I want them to see.
And the same goes for other people, other side hustlers, and other bloggers.
Most of the wins we proudly wave around more often than not meant fighting tooth and nail to get them.
In fact, everyone has more fails than wins anyway, so why even bother comparing? Like I said before, it’s all in the timing. There’s no one set “rule” for, say, monetizing your blog or getting your first freelance client. It might take me longer than other people – but I’ll sure as hell get there because I’m gonna fight to get there.
Wow, this update was a long one. And if you’re still here, you deserve all the gold stars in the universe!
So with April 2018 now behind me, I enter May with some pretty exciting plans!
Introducing Operation: Creative Solopreneur – for anyone that wants to turn their creative passion into a profitable hustle
The first one being I have plans to launch my very first mentoring program called Operation: Creative Solopreneur, and it’s starting a successful side hustle (and even full-time hustle!). This is different from my free mini course because here, I plan on going ultra-detailed on the steps and systems you need to get started!
It’s perfect for anyone with a current 9-5 looking to turn their creative hobby into a thriving side hustle – so if you’ve always wanted to sell something online, hold workshops, start a freelance career (and many, many other possibilities), then I designed this program especially for you!
What’s currently in the works for Operation: Creative Solopreneur?
- Lifetime access to 10 modules of actionable, systematic lessons and guides for starting a profitable, successful side hustle: from ideation to execution – and I won’t be confining you to “one” side hustle idea either, you get to choose and plan and execute your dream side hustle from start to finish! (Value: $195)
- Lessons on branding, marketing, and sales (without all the icky feelings that usually come with those terms!) (Value: $295)
- Bonus material on top tools for website- and social media-building – perfect for anyone who wants to get started in building their online presence, be it a blog or online store or portfolio (Value: $9)
- And – the most valuable of all – a full 12 weeks of me personally helping you, mentoring you, motivating you every step of the way. It’ll be like I’m holding your hand, I promise! (Value: $1,199)
- Total Value: $1,698
But since this is a beta test of the program, I’m giving the first 10 beta testers a take-all price of just $35.
*Values are based on the individual prices I plan to charge on these items separately after the beta run, as well as my hourly work rates.
What’s the catch?
- No catch other than you helping me improve the course further by giving insightful, honest feedback!
- I won’t be offering the lifetime access to the classroom in future runs of this program, so only the first 10 beta testers (I want to keep my first batch very small!) will have the chance to see all future improvements of the course for free forever
- To be clear, the program will run for 12 weeks, meaning I will be with you hand-in-hand for that time frame. Afterwards, even if you don’t have access to my mentorship, you’ll still get access to the course lessons and bonuses, again, forever and fo’ free
In case you’re interested, you can sign up to my waitlist, and I’ll be sending you an email once I get all the details up and running! (Signing up to the waitlist is totally free, of course.) Click on the photo below to sign up, and I’ll be asking you to confirm your email address!
Full disclosure: Some links above are affiliate links, whose small commission lets me keep this blog up and running. But don’t worry! You won’t be charged any extra amount by using these links – in fact, some give you exclusive discounts from the original merchant.