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Freelancing 101: Back To Pet Blogging Basics

“Woohoo! I’m a pet blogger!” Do you still feel the same excitement you once felt when you introduced yourself to others at a networking event? Do you still have a thrill go through you when, at a family party, someone asks, “So what do you do?” Have you lost your passion? Or do you still have passion, but the flames aren’t quite as bright or high as they were in the beginning? Are you a new-ish pet blogger who thought this pet blogging thing was going to be more fun, rewarding and action-packed? If any of these resonate, then come along my friends during these dog days of summer and let’s reignite your spark!

Freelancing 101 back to pet blogging basicsReignite your spark

Have you been blogging for a long time and wonder, “what am I going to write about next?” Believe me, I understand that. I have more than 350 blogs on my main site, close to 150 blogs on a secondary site, have been blogging for BlogPaws for years and years at least once a week–hhmmm that is way too “mathy” for me. You see my point, though, right? I have written millions of words on thousands of topics, all within the same niche. Am I burnt out? Some days I feel like I can’t think of another spin to put on pet blogging or time management, but then I uncover a way to do just that.

There are other mornings when I think I’d like to give my brain a rest and just become a coal miner or work in a garden. That lasts for about ten minutes because I realize that writing–pet blogging –is in my blood and I can’t imagine doing anything else.

Those days when my spark needs igniting, I look back at posts I’ve written and ask myself:

  1. Can they be repurposed? Could that blog post with its ten bullets be turned into ten videos? Can I take that blog post with a list of 20 items and turn it into an infographic? Could each, or any, of those bullet points be turned into its own post?
  2. Has there been some trend I can jump on with this topic?
  3. Did I try what I’d written about in this post and either found it worked well or realized there was no way it was viable? I can update it with my real life experience.
  4. What’s going on in the industry? Since I write about time and goal management as well as pets and writing how-tos, there always seems to be some “latest and greatest” way to look at a topic. I’ll test it out and blog about it. The very idea of testing out a new theory ignites my creative juices and reignites my spark and passion for my chosen career.
  5. I look to my evergreen blog posts and update them.

Regain your focus

It is easy to fall for every BSO (bright shiny object) that comes along. Been there. Done that. I sometimes get swayed by BSOs because I see a great blog post or read something interesting that a colleague is doing and think, “Damn it! Why didn’t I do that?” I have a friend who is incredible with helping women find their unique style and there are times when she blogs about it, I feel so inspired that I want to get certified as a color analyst and be just like Tabitha.

Then I realize, “I go to Tabitha for help because I have NO fashion or color sense.” She is so great at what she does and writes about it so convincingly that I am lured in and want to be her. Reality sets in, and I realize my strengths lie in my nit-picky attention to detail, my penchant for planning, my love of lists and my knowledge of the written word.

There’s no reason I can’t write a blog post about fashion or my favorite color or scarf or the time I wore a color I loved that really didn’t love me back. But do I want to learn to teach others how to find their fashion and color? Not at all. I don’t think it’s a bad thing to research, learn from a master and learn something new; just don’t lose the focus on what you do best and what you love most.

Finding what you do best and love most:

  1. Set a timer for 15 minutes and write (without thinking or censoring your thoughts) those items at which you are an expert. I don’t normally tout “expertise” because I find it a high-faluting concept, but in this case claim the title and write it down. For example, I am an expert at: writing, crocheting, Poodles, woodworking, dog walking, pet DIYs, etc.
  2. Write down those items that you love to write about whether it’s dogs, cats, ferrets, knitting, cooking, teaching others, hiking, biking, road trips… you see where I am going, right? On this list you are writing down your passions.
  3. Look at where your expertise and your passions intersect and determine if what you’re blogging about falls into that intersection. If not, why not. Does it just not really fit what you want to blog about? Do you need to become more of an expert in something about which you’re passionate so you can write about it with authority?

Lost your spark? Here's how to get it back with a return to the pet blogging basics! Remove obstacles

Not to get all woo-woo on you, but what are some obstacles that are stopping you from achieving at your highest level? Who or what is standing in your way? Do you feel:

  1. You’re not good enough?
  2. You don’t have enough time?
  3. There is a glut of topics being written about that are within your area of expertise?

I’m here to say, “get out of your own way!” If you have passion and knowledge, you CAN become “good enough.” The more you write the better a writer you become, is what I tell the wannabe freelance writers I work with. Wishing won’t make it happen, practice will.

Do you have a family member or friend or colleague who poo-poos your dream of being a pet blogger? Do they think or say you’ll never be able to make it as a full-time pet blogger? To that I say, “look at me now.” When I became a freelance writer it was out of necessity because my newspaper job had been eliminated. I knew I didn’t have the personality to be an employee at a “regular job.” I had to jump in headfirst to being a freelance writer. I sent out queries, contacted former resources from the newspaper, took on freelance editing jobs, published my own print magazine… you name it, I did it. “Selling” myself was not easy at first, but it got easier and I got better at it when I told myself that I was great at what I did and people would be lucky to have me write for them. It takes a bit of an ego to strike out on your own, but you need to be willing to tout your own accomplishments from the rooftops if you want to become known.

Strike a deal with your family.

Set a deadline for when you will start seeing income; this deadline might really push you toward success and it might also take away your family’s nervousness at your being self employed.

Work it in the off hours. 

If you have to have a job right now, get one! But commit to working on your pet blogging career on your lunch hour at work, after you get home at night, on the weekend. You need to work to make your dream a reality. It won’t come easy, but if you have faith in yourself, your abilities and your passions I believe it will come.

Where are you today? Are you new-ish? Questioning your path? Wondering if you’re still on track? Wanting to strike out on a different direction? Let me know in the comments.

Robbi Hess is an award-winning author, full-time writer and time-management guru.  She works with bloggers and solopreneurs and blogs at All Words Matter.

Images:  L. Nagy/Shutterstock.com and Maridav/ Shutterstock.com

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