Last week I did not blog. I scheduled out my posts, a few great guest posts and reposted a previous recipe. I did tweet a bit a lot. Because I just needed to stay connected!
I stepped back and looked at what has transpired over the past 9 months. I don’t write much about “blogging”, but I thought I’d share some things with you. I feel compelled to first share a little about how this ministry has transformed into a ministry-business!
A little history first…a little about what has happened since I signed up for the URL 5buckdinners.blogspot.com back on August 22, 2008. I wanted 5dollardinners.blogspot.com and signed up for it, but messed up the email it was connected to, so I changed it to 5buckdinners.blogspot.com. I really didn’t like that URL. I wanted the site to be 5dollardinners.com. I didn’t know then that I could buy the .com. For just $10/year. We were so tight financially at the time that I was afraid to ask my husband if I could spend the $10 to buy the .com. I had no plan or vision for the site, just seemed like the smart thing to do. And boy am I glad I followed my instinct on that one. And that Hubs agreed to the $10 investment!
After the site had been up for about a month, I learned about ad networks and applied to BlogHer. I was accepted and started running ads. About 6 weeks after I started the ads, I saw a post on Steph’s blog about how she subsidized her grocery budget with her advertising income. Now, I knew she had lots more traffic than I did, but I didn’t get it.
Was she kidding? Was that really possible? Wouldn’t it be AMAZING if I could subsidize MY grocery bill with advertising income? I emailed another blogger who write a very popular blog (Could I do that? Can I really write to a “big time blogger”? You mean I could even be friends with them!) to ask about advertising income and see what I was supposed to do. Naivete, are you seeing it???
I had yet to sign in to my BlogHer account to check the balance of how much I had earned to that point…yes, it had been 6 weeks! (Hello, naivete!) So I signed in and was SHOCKED. I could not believe that REAL money could be made blogging. It didn’t make sense! I did not know that this was possible. I’m very thankful for several bloggers who mentored me through expanding and diversifying the monetization of the site. It has been a STEEP learning curve!
I NEVER dreamed that I could/would make any money from the site, but as it grew and grew and grew, I realized the need for it. The time that it takes to maintain the site and the correspondence related to the site became more and more and I saw that yes, it was/is important for me to be “paid” for what I am doing. Today, the site is an official LLC business and I consider blogging a part time job. (My other part time job…writing a cookbook. Somewhere in there I am wife, mom, chef, photographer, gardener, chaffeur, novice speech and occupational therapist, etc.) I don’t feel guilty anymore telling my kids that mommy has to “work,” when I need to answer emails or write posts.
The opportunities that have come my way, I could never had dreamed of. The friendships I have made through this fabulous online community, never thought it possible. I still have to pinch myself to make sure this is really happening. I was recently listed on Nielsen’s Top 50 Power Mommy Bloggers earlier this month. WHAT??? Seriously? This is a HUGE honor and I’m so flattered to be on a list among such amazing bloggers…Ladies that I admire and look up to.
Pinch. Pinch. Really? When will I wake up from this dream?
Who knew the site would have done what is has, that I would write a cookbook, that people would want to hear and read what I have to say! Certainly not me! Huh?
I am so thankful that God has blessed us through the site and has given us so much more than we imagined possible!
(If you are interested in “blogging basics,” Andrea of Mommysnacks.net is working on a new series “Begin to Blog” that will start in June with TONS of helpful and useful information for starting, maintaining and monetizing blogs. So go leave a question so she can include it in her series. She is a wealth of information!)
So what did I learn last week…
1. Bloggers NEED to take vacations. At least a week long. I thought this “wasn’t aloud” or that everyone would run and not come back. Ha! I plan to take at least 3 week long vacations each year. I recommend you do the same…you won’t be disapppointed!
2. Social media (Facebook and Twitter) plays not only a key role in blogging, but life as well! Facebook and Twitter have changed my perspective on life and had a huge impact on my mothering, as I find I am not alone in the struggles mothers face. It is SO difficult being a stay at home mom, but Twitter and Facebook allow me to connect with other moms about “stuff.” And I need that. To stay sane. It’s so wonderful having an opportunity or two eight each day to stop in and check what my “in real life” friends and my blogging friends, many of whom are my “in real life” friends as well, are up to. And to connect and share about life’s experiences and drama!
Here’s an example…The other day I tweeted, “Am I the only mother in America who actually lets encourages her children to jump on their/my bed?” Um, no, there are MANY others! Even one whose daughter did flips off the bunk bed! That takes the edge off the “Am I a bad mother? guilt” that I was feeling for jumping on the bed with my kids before I put the freshly laundered sheets back on. (Yes, I was jumping with them!)
Community, I need it! I might not live next door, but I’m right here anytime you need me! I’ll sit with you laptop-to-laptop, have coffee and chat about monkeys jumping on beds,
3. A fresh perspective and time to focus on other things. I am thankful for the new perspectives that I took away from the week. Blogging is not my life. And I can’t let it take over my life. I must keep it balanced with the other important things in my life…my faith, my marriage, my kids, exercise, the cookbook, hobbies, hanging out with girlfriends, etc. Yes, it is my job, and has become a business, but it has to fit neatly in with the other things I value in life.
4. There is only so much I can do. I better understand my limits. I simply can’t do it all! Boy, do I wish I had a 3rd arm or 3 extra hours in the day!! Ask for help, accept help and just say “no!”
A little history. A lot of humility. Fresh new perspectives. And permission to jump on the bed, anytime!
Thoughts, comments, suggestions are welcome!