I started Hey Eleanor about 18 months ago. At first, it seemed like no one was ever going to see it.
And then, they did. My traffic jumped from 10 people to 40. My Facebook page hit 100 likes. Someone tweeted a link to a post I wrote.
I love celebrating. Really, who doesn't? If you're a blogger, I suggest you get yourself a party hat and vuvuzela right now 'cause you gotta celebrate the little moments. All of them! Blogging is a daily grind. You might pour your heart and soul into a post and get nothing in return. Then the next day, you link to a stupid squirrel video and everyone goes bananas.
People say blogging isn't a sprint, it's a marathon, and while I hate cliches, that stupid one is especially true.
It takes a lot of small, incremental wins to be the next Pinch of Yum or Un-fancy or My Name is Yeh. I would know 'cause I am working on it.
So if you're new at this (or even if you're not), get ready to celebrate these super exciting milestones.
You think they won't happen, but they will. Trust me.
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1. Your first comment.
Nobody commented on my first Hey Eleanor post. And that's cool. But on day two, a friend from college told me "congrats!" for using a chainsaw. She did point out that I didn't mention what I learned from the experience, but oh well! If you're still reading Kate: I learned how to not die while using a chainsaw!
2. Your first comment from someone you don't know!
Almost a month into Hey Eleanor, I went skydiving. Tasha left a comment (who was about the ninth person to comment on my blog, ever). I'm 99.9 percent sure I do not know Tasha in real life! Whoa! Cheers!
3. The first time you get 100+ visitors in a day.
I will never forget this one. I was at my brother's apartment in LA, sitting on a blow-up air mattress in his guest bedroom when this post got, like, 137 views in three hours. By the next day, it had something like 400 views! I later realized it was because I accidentally tweeted a link to the page from Andrew Zimmern's twitter account (I managed his social media for six years... whoopsies!), but hey, it was still exciting and a ton of people commented on it via Facebook.
4. The first email you get from a stranger.
Her name is Ariana and she emailed me on 10/6/2013 to say she loved the blog and that I should go skydiving... which coincidentally, I was doing the following weekend!
An honorable mention goes out to Marguerite, a person I do know in real life, but emailed me saying my blog had inspired her to say yes to an opportunity to "give a presentation to 1,000 brilliant biologists (some very famous names) at a synthetic biology conference... in English (not my native language), in Germany (not my native country). And I am not even a scientist, I'm a designer. And I hate speaking in public." Go Marguerite!
5. Your first Internet friend.
If you're not connecting with amazing people through your blog, you are doing it wrong! Within the first few months, I'd met a handful of kick-ass ladies who gave me all sorts of helpful advice. Thanks Dr. Justine, Sarah, Katie, Jina & Sally!
That said, I lifted a champagne flute [of bone broth] the day I realized I had my first Internet friend. Which is to say, a person I met over the Internet that I still do not know in real life, but I consider a real-life friend. Na zdraví, Mel J!
6. Your first dollar.
People love asking how one makes money blogging. Great question. It's a mix of ads, sponsored content, affiliate links, ebooks and lots of other stuff I don't even know about yet.
But if you are planning on quitting your job to go bloggin' full-time, I got news for you. It turns out, getting rich from Google Ads or BlogHer isn't easy. In fact, the first day I ran Google Ads, I think I made six cents. But after a month, I'd made, like $13!
And you know what I did? I bought a fancy glass of pinot noir and celebrated. Because $13 is better than zero dollars and you gotta start somewhere.
7. The first time someone wants to meet you for coffee/drinks/lunch.
There is nothing more warm-fuzzy inducing than having a perfect stranger A) tell you they love what you're doing and B) ask if they can treat you to a cup of coffee. I say so long as you have time and they don't seem creepy, meet them! Why not! Who knows-- they might even send you some delicious cheese after the fact, like Hannah did (hi Hannah!).
8. The first time someone asks you for blogging advice.
Ha, as if I'm an expert or something!
But as it turns out, by the time someone asked me for legit advice for starting their own blog, I knew a lot. I had opinions about Word Press vs Squarespace vs Blogger. I knew about post frequency and photos and how to promote yourself on social media. I loved sharing what I've learned. And what's more, it felt awesome to reflect on how much I'd learned.
9. The first time you tell someone about your blog and they've actually heard of it.
This happened last fall at my friend's cookbook release party. Someone was all, "What do you do?" and I said, "I have a blog called Hey Eleanor!" And then they said, "I LOVE HEY ELEANOR!"
It was the absolute coolest!
10. The first time a stranger comes up to you IRL and says they love your blog.
I've been Hey Eleanoring for over a year and a half and this just happened last week. I was enjoying a drink at the most basic watering hole in the land (Green Mill on Hennepin... it's nothing special, and that's precisely why I love it!), and Clara-- who I don't know, but we have a mutual friend-- came up to me just to say she loved the blog. Aw, shucks!
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It's so important to revisit the small, simple reminders of how far I've come and how much I've accomplished. Two years ago, Hey Eleanor didn't even exist. I'm proud of what I've built, one post at a time, and excited for whatever milestones are next.
No matter how big or small.