Good Monday morning to you! Like most of you, my prayers and attention have been on those affected by Hurricane Florence. Here’s hoping that the remainder of hurricane season is a quiet one (it ends in November – ugh).
Today our theme with The Blended Blog Asks is All Things Blog Related. I sure hope a lot of people participate and share what they know and what they do – blogging involves a lot of trial and error and it’s nice to share learning experiences!
*My blog is 2 years old (started in April 2016) and it sure has changed a ton! The first year I had a partner and it was a slow go and very disappointing. I won’t dwell on that but I will say that it was an eye opener. Lesson learned: If it is to be it is up to me!
*The importance of connecting with others cannot be stressed enough – linking up and commenting makes all the difference! Through commenting and linking up I have made some awesome friends. I love responding to comments on my blog and I love leaving comments – especially when they are responded to! Lesson learned: It takes a village! (to raise not only a child but a blogger too!)
*No matter how cliche it sounds, blogging is a lot of work! Ha! I remember when I’d read blogs and the blogger would be talking about all the demands of blogging and I’d think, yea sounds tough getting all gussied up and having someone take your pictures so companies can “reach out” to you and send you stuff! Little did I know, it is hard work, way more than I expected! Lesson learned: Some things look way easier than they are and also – don’t judge.
*Blogging costs money! Just to get started on this endeavor was several hundred dollars. When I finally decided to start the blog I followed a step by step guide from another blogger and bought all the services. I wasn’t prepared for how expensive it would be just to set things up (and that was before I purchased a theme btw). Lesson learned: Fully research cost and ask questions first – some things may not be necessary at first.
*Google is worth it’s weight in gold! I google how to do everything (I also ask Lisa). There’s no guide book for blogging, I have made so many mistakes along the way but I’ve learned a valuable lesson each time. Trust me, Lorie (my workout bestie) had to listen to my frustrations almost every morning I posted something. Sometimes I was so frustrated I was practically in tears! Lesson learned: Don’t give up: perseverance is everything!
*I kinda hate social media. I invested in an online blogging course and it was very helpful – I did this about a year in when I realized I needed to be better educated. The importance of strong presence on social media cannot be discounted; it’s the way of our world. It’s just not really me. It just doesn’t occur to me to whip out my phone and snap pictures of everything I do. When I do take a selfie? It usually looks so bad – my Iphone is old and I will not be getting another any time soon. I remember talking to Nolan about it one day and he told me I was in the wrong business because social media plays a major role in the success of a blogger. I told him I was going to make my way without it. That’s when I decided my success as a blogger needed to be defined by me. If you know me in real life you know I’m no fake. Success for me means having a creative outlet to share what I wear, what I’m doing and connecting with others I can learn from. Simple as that. I am not looking for huge paychecks or a million followers. Both would be nice but at what cost? Lesson learned: Be yourself and do what matters to you!
*While I am not a huge fan of social media I do engage. I share some of my outfit posts. Every time I publish a post a tweet automatically goes out and it posts to my blog’s Facebook page. I have that set up through WordPress because if I had to do it each time it would never get done. As far as Instagram goes I use Gramblr to schedule my posts. That’s because it’s the only way I know to post the pics from my camera to Instagram. Before I knew about Gramblr I would have my husband take pictures with my camera and then with my phone so I could upload them. Gramblr is a lot easier! Lesson learned: Find a way to make social media work for you!
*Once I purchased my theme from Pipdig last November (Black Friday special) I did receive invitations to work with a few brands. The majority of them I have enjoyed. One I did not and I will not do it again. No one has the right to ask to read my post and approve it ahead of time in exchange for a $30 dress. Thanks but no thanks. I am my own boss. I have had several brands reach out to me and after perusing their websites I have politely declined – something I never thought I’d do. Lesson learned: It’s okay to say no and know your worth!
* My plan and my goal for this blog have changed so much over the two years. I have realized that what I really craved was connection. At the time I started the blog a lot changed in my personal life. My best friend (the newly elected school board member – yay!!!) was no longer available to me as she was following her political passion. Nolan was a senior in high school and getting ready to leave for school. My husband has a side hobby that makes money but takes a lot of his time. I felt abandoned in many ways and realized it was time for me to pursue a passion. When my partner and I sat down and discussed blogging we wanted to share great fashion and make money. Now I want to connect with others, learn from them, and hopefully put some good out there in the world. Once I realized that was what I really wanted out of this journey great things happened – I was asked to join The Ageless Style group, The Sunday Showcase and more recently The Blended Blog. Lesson learned: Know what’s important and do that – what you focus on you get more of!
* The truth is I am not setting the fashion world on fire, I’m not getting invited to NYFW, and no one is offering me a brand partnership anytime soon. That’s okay with me. I work full time and blog 3/4 time. I am also someone who loves downtime! After dinner I try to stay off the computer, I read or watch Netflix. I have realized the bloggers who have great success work hard for it – they are determined and they know what to do to reach their goals. If my goals change I will know what to do – engage more on social media and put more time into writing better posts, take better pictures, learn to edit them, etc. But right now that seems overwhelming to me. So while blogging may look easy and you may see bloggers who have gotten offered some pretty sweet deals – travel, fashion, beauty, etc. know this – they have worked hard for every single bit of it. Success doesn’t just come to anyone, hard work and grit play a major role. Lesson learned: I am only willing to work so hard.
While I initially planned to jot down a few things about blogging, this turned into a major confessional of sorts. The blog has become somewhat of an online diary for me – yet another unexpected gift. I could honestly go on and on about even more on this topic, like the fact that I am not comfortable at all having my picture taken and how hard that is for me but who cares about that? I’ll say this – all my blogging experiences have been positive so far – I have realized that there are women who are kind and supportive of others. So if you are thinking of starting a blog I say go for it! Don’t let fear hold you back.