And of course, grateful for you, the readers who stuck with my site through all the weird twists and turns. This is definitely a “navel-gazing” type post, but it’s weekend, which means I can say whatever I darn please. Actually, every day of the week is that way in the Miles For Family empire.
I’ve always been upfront about my struggles when it comes to blogging. It can be tough when you open yourself up for the whole world to judge, make fun of you or worst one of all: ignore. I wish I could say I’m strong and let all the stuff roll off my sleeve. But I’m not.
The late nights, lack of substantial financial compensation, the pressure to produce AMAZING content 5 times per day… It can all be too much at times. Add to it the general atmosphere of the hobby which can only be described as “strain of paranoia living in an echo chamber,” an expression I saw and it fits like a glove when it comes to our little corner of internet.
Well, today I’m doing something different. I’m going to list all the blessings that came as a result of this blog:
1. I get to be creative
Sure, it’s just a blog, but I put a lot of heart into my content, not to mention all the zany jokes! Some posts take a lot of energy and drain me mentally. But when I hit “publish,” it feels like I’ve actually accomplished something, that I didn’t mail it in. Not all the posts will be of masterpiece variety, of course, but the goal is to put out useful content that can potentially change someone’s life for the better. Is it crazy to have such lofty aspirations?
2. I really enjoy helping readers
I don’t view you guys only as customers. You are friends first and foremost. Sure, I hope you will support the site when it comes at no cost to you. My policy is and always has been to only recommend cards that IMO present value for a regular family. I also make sure to point out the good, the bad and the ugly in my analysis.
But my greatest enjoyment comes from answering emails, comments etc. The other day I got a note from a reader who wanted to thank me for helping him plan a trip to Hawaii. This is the best part about having your own site: you get to create a community of like-minded people. And I value each and every one of you.
3. I get paid for my writing
I’ve said before that the amount is quite small. Honestly, I would do much better working at McDonald’s. Still, I don’t have to drive anywhere, I can write from the comfort of my own home and I have flexible hours. Few days ago, I got 1099-MISC form from my affiliate company, and was pleasantly surprised. Even though what I make monthly isn’t all that much, it does add up to a substantial chunk by the end of the year.
I know there is a lot of hate towards credit card links and some of it is well deserved. But speaking from a point of view of a small blogger, these affiliate links have been a blessing. I get to write content that I believe is beneficial for a middle-class family, and make some money in the process.
4. I no longer view things as black and white
Nope, nothing to do with race. Having this blog has allowed me to grow as a person. I think it made me more compassionate and less judgmental. Don’t get me wrong, it took a long journey to get to that point. But before getting on a high horse, I try to put myself in other bloggers’ proverbial shoes. It can be a very tough balancing act for top dogs, no question. I don’t know if there is another industry quite like it. I doubt it.
Regardless, it’s important to separate a blog from a blogger. I’m sure this will sound lame to some hobbyists, but I think this industry needs more kindness above anything else. I’m not saying there aren’t issues, but they shouldn’t turn to personal insults. You can’t go wrong by being kind and reasonable. My goal from now on is to contribute more positivity to this industry.
5. Blogging has taught me patience and resilience
Well, kind of. I’m still the most impatient person in the universe. Unfortunately, when you get into a saturated field like ours, waiting for growth is like watching paint dry. It can drive you bananas! Plus, there are all these Google updates that seem to kill your well-performing posts literally overnight. I’m a SEO (search engine optimization) dummy, so that doesn’t help either.
Occasionally, there is a spike in traffic when another blogger links to you, but that too doesn’t last. What I started doing is focusing on small wins, specifically my email subscribers’ list. While not impressive in size, it seems to be growing steadily with a new reader added almost daily. In spite of occasional wacky remarks, folks don’t seem to be deterred!
I also learned that it’s OK to fail as long as you pick yourself up and keep going. And boy, did I have my share of failures.
So, to wrap up the rant: I will continue writing… for now. I make no promises that I will keep showing up indefinitely just as I wouldn’t expect you to make such a promise to me. Things change, travel style evolves and so on. But so far, we are having fun, aren’t we?