If you’re new here, you’ll want to go back and read the first parts of the Becoming a Work-At-Home Mom series.
After we shut down the wedding business, I threw my energies into being a mommy to my brand-new baby and continuing to try to find a way to earn enough from home so we could stay out of debt and I could stay home.
I wrote more ebooks, I expanded our online bookstore, I started an eBay store and I worked on building up our customer base and email list. Every day, I tried to come up with a new idea to implement. I wrote as many articles as I could for various online websites in order to get our name our there and garner free advertising (because I couldn’t afford to pay for advertising!). I joined a Yahoo group where WAHMs could connect and exchange small fliers to put in each other’s packages.
Slowly, ever so slowly, I was starting to see a little fruit for my labors. We were having repeat sales and the website was receiving around 150 to 200 visitors per day. Even though I didn’t know what a blog really was, I had heard it was a great way to help build up a website. So I decided to add one to my online bookstore website.
Let me tell you, folks, that first year of posting was pathetic. I still make plenty of mistakes these days, but way back then, it was awful.
Have you ever been to a blog which had paragraphs the size of chapters? Long, run-on, meandering sentences? Was very, very boring? Had poor grammar? My blog had all those and much more. In fact, a few years ago, I deleted almost a year’s worth of posts from that blog just because I couldn’t stand to so much as look at them — let alone read them.
But you know what is so crazy? People started coming to this atrociously-written blog of mine… and they kept coming back! I don’t know if it was out of pity or if it was because they just were bored out of their mind, but — for some odd reason — I started building up a blog readership.
It began with a dozen people (probably all related to me!) and then there were 50 daily readers. And then 100. Within two years, I was averaging 500-1000 visitors per day.
We had some lively discussion on all sorts of hot topics, I stuck my foot in my mouth a lot and I learned that, in the blogging world, you better be prepared to back up every statement you make. I also learned that you can never please everyone and, if you’re going to make bold statements, you need very thick skin.
I look back on those first few years of blogging and regret a lot of things I said: I was too bold, too opinionated and too ostracizing of those who didn’t believe exactly like I believed. At the same time, though, I am grateful to have had the opportunity to have my beliefs and writings challenged and picked apart by those who didn’t agree with me. It forced me to really examine why I believe what I believe and whether it was in line with God’s Word. It also helped me to become less critical and judgmental of those who believe or live differently than me.
While I think it is wonderful to have strong convictions and beliefs, I also now think these are only good when they are tempered with a lot of grace and love for others. I can’t possibly criticize someone else for the decisions they are making when I’ve not walked in their shoes or carried their burdens.
In addition to building up the online bookstore and starting a blog, I also landed a job working virtually as the marketing manager for a large homeschooling magazine. How that came to be was a rather interesting set of circumstances, but I’ll have to save that story for next time.
…To be continued next Saturday