Today’s post is an email I sent to my list last week. It received so many thoughtful and enthusiastic responses that I wanted to share it here as well. (Most of my emails don’t end up anywhere but in subscriber inboxes, so jump on my list to receive my weekly emails if you aren’t already subscribed.)
Today I want to talk about one of the negative aspects of blogging that you will probably run into at some point if you haven’t already. It’s something that most bloggers don’t talk about, but it happens to every single one of us.
One of the first pieces of advice I give new bloggers is to choose a niche related to something they have expertise in. This means training, experience, education, or that can’t-stop-thinking-about-it passion that causes you to learn everything you can about a subject really quickly.
Choosing a niche related to your expertise makes it easier to come up with content, and easier to keep posting for a long time. Which is important because I don’t think anyone starts a blog with the intention of tossing it in the trash after a month.
So what happens when you spend lots of time writing blog posts, posting on social media, and positioning yourself as an expert, and then have a day or week or months where you’re terrible at the exact thing you’re supposed to be an expert in?
Because like I said, if it hasn’t happened, it will. All of your beautiful pottery will crack and crumble, your perfectly organized closet will look like a tornado blew through overnight, your ebook launch will be epically disappointing, or you’ll continuously walk out of the house in outfits you hate.
And you’ll start to wonder . . . “Am I even good at this anymore??” “Why would anyone listen to me if I can’t make it work myself?” “Am I a fraud if I keep sharing tips and advice for this?”
Short answer: yes, yes, no.
First, this is not a problem only you are having (even though it feels that way because most bloggers won’t say they sometimes fail at their own expertise and that they feel terrible about that), hence this email going out to my entire list (and now being shared on the blog).
It happens to me too. Just when I’m promoting a webinar on how Pinterest is the most efficient way to bring in blog traffic, my pageviews will take a dive. Or when I’m promoting a post on productivity, I’ll feel completely unfocused and struggle to check off things on my to-do list all week long.
While this is a bummer in the moment, it’s important to not let those momentary off days affect how we feel about our own level of expertise. Pinterest still knocks out every other traffic source by a mile, and most weeks I am able to stick to my planned schedule and tasks.
Plus, there’s no better way for me to learn about how to be more productive than by figuring out what to do in the days and weeks that I am least productive.
I know it feels like struggling with our own expertise means we shouldn’t be sharing advice, but no one wants to learn from the gardener who hasn’t had an entire crop of plants eaten by rabbits because they’ll only be able to guess at the best ways to ward off pests. No one wants to learn from an aerialist who hasn’t screwed up a drop over and over because they won’t be able to share the slight body adjustments that finally made it work.
And it’s a total disservice to your audience if you, 1. Pretend you have it all together and know exactly how to do everything, because your readers will feel worse about their failures instead of knowing they have a role model who went/is going through it too. And 2. You stunt your ability to learn and therefore be a better resource if everything always goes smoothly.
Readers WANT to know that you’ve been challenged too. They want to see that you’ve had the same issues and the same struggles and that you’re a HUMAN.
No matter how great you are at the thing you do, some days you will be terrible at it or feel awful about it, and that shouldn’t be your reason for giving up or going in search of a different niche.
Your off days will make for more interesting and relatable stories and therefore better blog and social media content. And it’s important to remember that your webinar or blog post or email will STILL help someone whether you feel like you’re currently rocking your niche or not.
Stick with it!