Did you know that I’ve been blogging for almost six years? I was thinking about this the other day, I can’t believe I’ve been online for that long! Three of those six years I’ve been running my own business as well. I do get asked a lot of questions about blogging and running an online business, especially the health coaching side of it, and I thought it would be great to be able to share more of my knowledge in a regular monthly post.
Before I get into answering a specific question, I just want to set the scene a bit. As I said I’ve been blogging for almost six years and have been running a business for three of them. Back in 2012 I decided to train as a Holistic Health Coach with IIN and I registered my company, Uniquely Healthy Limited, the day before I turned 30. I continued to work full time for a year, then went down to part time work and then just before I had Finley in 2014 I went completely self employed. I now work around 3 days a week (sometimes less, sometimes a LOT more) and make almost the same income as I did when I was employed as a full time project manager at a charity. Although I never hated my job, I can distinctly remember driving to work and thinking ‘there must be more to life than this’.
Now I have a flexible way to make a living that I absolutely love. I can work around taking care of Finley and the other things that are important to me. I get to support the most incredible women in changing their health and their lives, as well as work with some fantastic health and wellbeing brands and companies large and small. I actually look forward to Mondays!
It goes without saying that setting up your own business isn’t for the faint of heart. I had no financial safety net, no high earning partner, just me, myself and I, but I can say the risk was more than worth it.
When I talk about living life wholeheartedly, your work factors into this hugely. If you work full time, that’s a huge amount of your life which can either be spent doing something you enjoy, or something you hate. Without a doubt that’s going to have a huge impact on your entire wellbeing. Is it any wonder so many people are stressed and unfulfilled? Of course you don’t need to start running your own business to enjoy your work, it’s enjoying what you do that’s the key, and not being too afraid to seek change if you don’t.
If you’re interested in the IIN course, or doing what you love then you might want to subscribe to my Do What You Love Letter here.
Now on to my first juicy question! Harriet writes…
I’m currently in IIN, I started the course in September and I’m absolutely LOVING it – but I’m not yet writing a blog or putting myself out there. Your website and messaging is so great (I’m subscribed to your mailing list and I always enjoy reading your content) I just wondered what your advice would be about finding your voice? I feel I have so much to say but I’m still unsure how to say it yet. I’m using Instagram mainly (@love_little_peach) and I started writing a blog but it didn’t feel authentic yet so I stopped. Did you start your blog straight away or did you wait until you felt like it was the right time? I hope it’s not too much of a tedious question. Would really appreciate any advice.
Firstly, thank you Harriet for those lovely words! This is such a great question and of course is applicable to anyone starting a blog for whatever reason.
As I said above I started my blog a long time before I decided to start a business. When I first started blogging it was purely something for me and there was nothing professional about it. The idea of blogging for a living was not on my radar at all, and I think this probably helped me to find my own writing style before the blog got more popular. Back then the blogging scene was a lot different, blogs were less polished, Instagram didn’t exist, and to me it felt like a much smaller community. Now there’s a lot more blogs across every niche and I think this makes it more difficult for new bloggers (or biz owners starting blogs) to find their own voice, authenticity and to feel like they’re adding something to the already very loud online conversation.
So to answer Harriet’s question, firstly I’d say don’t wait until the ‘right’ time because inevitably it will never come. If you want / need to start a blog just do it now! The sooner you start the quicker you’ll find your groove and your own voice which brings me on to the next part of my answer. I honestly think that finding your own voice comes with practice, so just starting to blog as soon as possible is the best way to develop that. Also don’t be afraid to just write as you speak. Whenever I write a blog post I’ll often try and imagine I’m talking directly to a friend or one of the ladies in my Fabulous YOU group. I think that conversational tone makes it easier for your personality to shine through.
As I said, this online world is very crowded and I think it’s easy for people to consume so much online content that when they come to blog themselves, it comes out sounding like other bloggers they admire. I don’t think many people do that consciously to ‘copy’, rather they absorb stuff and that’s just how it comes out. If you’re worried about this happening, maybe stop reading blogs! I’ll be honest and say that there’s only a handful of blogs I read now because in my own head I want to know that my voice is really my voice.
That being said, it’s the nature of things to be inspired and influenced by others, nothing is original anymore really. Never be afraid of blogging because you don’t believe you have anything original to share. The way you share something of value is through using your own unique voice, style and point of view, even if that topic has already been covered. If you have been inspired by someone else, remember to give them credit and link back to them and then share your own authentic take or version of what they created. Not only is that common decency, it can help you build community with other bloggers.
When it comes to developing your own message, this can take some time. It was almost 5 years before I could concisely communicate what I now call my wholeheartedly healthy approach. In the 5 years before my whole healthy living ethos changed, but I shared that process authentically and honestly. Never be afraid to share where you are now for fear of it changing!
I hope that is helpful for Harriet and many more of you reading!
If you have a blog, what are your thoughts on finding your voice and feeling authentic?
LOVE this! It def take time to find your voice – still on a journey with that myself but its so fun creating you dream job….terrifying most of the time but fun:)
Haha yes it is!
Great advice! Your blog is doing so well and I’m really pleased for you!
For me my blog is just a place to ‘deload’ my brain and as a hobby rather than a way to earn a living. I think it would take the fun out of things for me. That said, if anyone wants to pay me to run that’s totally fine ;-)
Thanks Anna! Great that blogging works in that way for you, I love being able to deload on here :-)
Well, I for one adore you blog and always feel like you’re right here saying it all out loud, and it’s like having a catch up with a friend! So, please take that as a compliment as having an authentic voice!
I’d definitely agree that the more you practice it, the more authentic your voice becomes but it does take time. Personally, I’ve always loved writing but it’s cool to look at my blog now compared to how it was a year ago – I feel everything’s coming along quite nicely : ) Finding your overall niche, and ‘mojo’ can definitely take a little while. When you start out blogging, it’s hard to know how to start as you just have that buzzing feeling inside you, where you just want to talk about anything and everything! Practice, consistency, and patience is key.
She’s So Lucy
Aww that’s nice! It’s always lovely cause when I meet people in ‘real life’ they say it feels like they already know me :-) Patience is definitely a good reminder!
I do agree that I much prefer reading blogs that seem like a real person, and not sponsored post after product feature- I like reading about new products and things every now and then, but too much and the person behind the blog just isn’t there.
Like Anna, my blog is really just my chance to get out all of my thoughts, and also keep a record of races and things. I know some people like to have a schedule, or certain posts every week, but that just doesn’t work for me. I post when I have time (and have something to say) and hopefully people still like reading it!
Yep I think those can become a bit like online magazines and not really blogs (something I need to remember to avoid on here!) I think people definitely like reading your blog, it’s great that it fits around you :-)