It seems every superhero has a secret power that helped them become who they were truly meant to be. For example, Superman isn’t bound to earth’s physical rules, Spiderman has spider powers (obviously), and full-time bloggers are free from the confines of the standard office – yes, I see successful bloggers as superheroes!
Well, we know Superman is an alien from Krypton, and Spiderman was bitten by a radioactive spider, but how do the bloggers do it? The key factor, it turns out, is that they often teamed up with a mentor.
When I was first advised to get a blogging mentor, I scoffed at the idea – largely out of pride. I’ve since changed my tune! To spare you the same heartache, I’ll share three ways a mentor could have helped advance my blogging career from the beginning, then discuss how you can find a mentor of your own. However, before that, let’s look at why having a mentor is a good idea.
Why a Having a Mentor is the Key to Blogging Success
In short, a mentor is a blogging expert who is willing to take you under their wing and share their success secrets. They offer useful advice to help you avoid the mishaps they made, while guiding you through your own. Most importantly, they’re already privy to the other secrets of successful bloggers.
For example, famous blogs such as The Minimalist Vegan were grown under the mentorship of big-time bloggers such as Leo Babauta from Zen Habits. It’s no secret that building solid relationships can help you find success – mentorships simply take the idea to the next level.
The thing is, anyone out there with access to the internet can be a blogger. It’s incredibly easy to get started, but much harder to do be successful and earn money with it. Having someone who knows how to make it in the industry may be invaluable to your journey.
3 Reasons I Wish a Mentor Had Been There at the Beginning
Finding mentors to connect with (and learn from) is one of the major reasons I finally started finding blogging success over the last few years. Let’s take a look at three reasons I wished a mentor had taken me under their wing from the start!
1. I Didn’t Believe Blogging Was a Viable Income Option
Initially, I thought of blogging as simply a way to attract attention to my other areas of expertise. It never occurred to me to actually pitch myself as a freelance writer for paid work! However, once people began to notice my personal writing and ask for help on their own blogs, I was clueless – and I dismissed the attention as something else entirely. Five years later, I finally realized I could be earning a living through writing.
Mentors can essentially give you a head start on blogging, and you can get years worth of advice distilled into just a few weeks or months. In my case, they would have knocked me upside the head for not realizing the potential blogging holds, and encouraged me to take on clients.
In the same way, a mentor will help you understand what is possible with your work. They’ll help you realize it’s okay to take your blogging seriously and charge money for it.
2. I Didn’t Understand How to Monetize My Work
As it turns out, blogging is a multi-faceted income source. For years, I primarily used blogging as a way to establish authority in the various industries I’ve worked in. I’ll admit, discovering every monetization technique has been a slow process. Embarrassingly, I haven’t even began to cultivate email subscribers – the lifeblood of any blogger – until fairly recently.
The obvious source of blogger income, as we’ve already touched on, is freelancing. However, you can also earn money through ads on niche blogs, for example – or even create sellable items from your existing content. My first foray into publishing an e-book wasn’t until 2015 – that’s eight years of potential revenue lost.
Of course, instead of treating blogging as a hobby, I could have been strategizing blog-based sales funnels for all my various projects. Of course, it was all part of my learning process, but it means I’m only now getting started with the serious work.
A mentor would have shown me the light from the beginning. They would have discussed how I could have been making my work earn for me, instead of letting it run wild without purpose. In the same way, a blogging mentor will help you understand the best way to monetize your unique situation. Don’t let all those years of effort go to waste!
3. I Had No Direction for Long-Term Sustainability
Once I discovered that blogging could be a real source of income, I still struggled to identify as a writer. I continued to ignore blogging as a way to build up my own writing business, and it took a long time to break through the mental wall and begin applying for writing jobs.
Mentors aren’t just there for advice – they’re great for encouragement, too. I don’t mean in the way a parent tells you how wonderful you are, but from someone who has been there and bought the t-shirt. Their experience means they can give you objective feedback.
In my case, a mentor would have helped me break through my discomfort and guided me to pitch for new writing gigs more frequently. They could have helped me establish good habits and cultivate a business around my work. Most importantly, they could bolster your confidence, even where you don’t realize it’s lacking.
How to Find a Blogging Mentor
Now I have my mentors in place, I can’t help but look back and realize all of the ways they would have boosted my progress from the very beginning. As for finding your own, there are a few places you can seek them out:
- Look within your own network. Most mentorships stem from relationships built over time.
- Join a mastermind group of people with various backgrounds. The collective experience of the group will have a similar effect.
- Join a mentorship program, which offers all of the benefits of having a mentor, but with greater convenience to you.
Once you begin your search, you’ll uncover plenty of help, so what are you waiting for? Get out there and find your mentor!
Cutting it on your own as a blogger is hard work, but don’t be fooled into thinking the most successful bloggers have made it alone! If you dig into their interviews and stories, you’ll find one of the key secrets of successful bloggers over and over again – finding a mentor who could show them the ropes.
If you identify with any of the following situations, you may find a mentor invaluable:
- You don’t believe blogging is a viable option for income.
- You don’t fully understand how to monetize your work.
- You’ve no plan for long-term sustainability as a blogger.
What still concerns you about getting a mentor? I’ll be here to help out in the comments section below – it’ll be good practice for both of us!
Image credits: Kristina Flour.