The blogging world is one of those industries that you kind of have to navigate blindly on your own…if you keep working hard and producing good quality content, more opportunities come up and you feel like you’ve unpeeled another layer of the “unknown.” There’s no manual with all the answers, no secret recipe for “blogging success.” For me, it has been a ton of trial and error, vulnerability, embarrassment at times, great days, horrible days, you name it – I’ve experienced it. However, there are a few things I reaaaaaally wish someone would have given me a heads up about. Thus, if I can save you the grief by sharing this list, I am happy to do so! That said, let’s get to it!
1. A support system is key: I think the biggest thing I had ZERO idea about when it came to blogging was just how important it will be to have a firm support system in place. Not just emotional support, but blog support (aka, it’s not something anyone can do alone), too.
For one, blogging can be isolating (lots of alone time with a computer…day in and day out!), so simply having your go-to people on speed dial is a must. I’m pretty sure I call my mom and sister at least twice a day, ha!
Two, your friends/boyfriend/husband/mom/dad, etc. will inevitably become your Instagram photographers at times. (…At least, they have for me!). For example, if I am wearing a cute outfit to a coffee catchup sesh with a girl friend, I will most definitely ask her to snap a photo of me with my latte. Did she sign up for that? No, but it just happens!
On a similar note, did Blake sign up for being my photographer when I first started my blog? Definitely not…but god bless him for helping me out! (…Here’s the “save yourself before it’s too late” part) – Before you’re forced to learn the hard way (…and the very stressful way), a big piece of advice is not to expect people to drop what they’re doing just because you need blog content. Instead, find that go-to Instagram person, hire a photographer, work around their schedules and be upfront about what you need from the start. It’ll save you the stress of creating content on the fly and you won’t put strain on your relationships due to unrealistic expectations. For example, what I mean is this: while Blake helps me a TON with blog stuff, he has his own job and his own career goals that have nothing to do with the blogging world. He doesn’t expect me to drop what I’m doing and head to a biology research lab, so why should I expect him to drop what he’s doing and take some Instagram photos? See what I mean – be respectful of other people and how much they can give – and how much you’re asking of them!
On the subject of support systems – the blogging world can do a number on you psychologically (more on that further down in this post), so surrounding yourself with people who encourage, empower and uplift you when you’re feeling low is an absolute must. I would not have survived blogging without Blake, my family and close friends being my biggest cheerleaders – even when I had a mere 500 Instagram followers, these people continued to encourage me!
2. On your phone all the time: This one may seem like a no brainer, but SERIOUSLY, you will be attached to your phone. Given that our job is to be present online and through social media, bloggers are on their phones a LOT. I have to make a conscious effort to put down my phone and go walk outside, or put my phone on silent and pick up a book for a bubble bath sesh. Being on my phone so much can sometimes cause interruptions to normal life things – like going to dinner, per se. For example, if Blake and I head to a late dinner (…during the best time to post on Instagram), I have to excuse myself and go stand in a bathroom stall to post a photo (no really, I often choose to do it that way over posting at the dinner table…just feels too rude otherwise!). What I am saying is this: be prepared to stop everything you’re doing to use social media…because when social media is a major component to your job (…and producing content 24/7 is the norm), there will without a doubt be instances when dinner is put on hold so that you can post an Instagram. That said, you won’t be the only one experiencing that interruption – you’ll likely be at dinner with someone else and they’ll feel it, too. It’s just how it goes and the nature of the job, but something I was never aware of prior to starting a blog! Ps. I am in no way complaining, just sharing the reality of things.
3. Comparison game: I’ve written about the weird psychological stuff being enveloped in the blogging world can do to your head (aka, that whole “comparison bubble” that’s often talked about online – remember this post of mine?), and truly, I had NO idea just how bad it can be! I love blogging and bloggers for creating beautiful photos and so much style/interior inspiration, etc., but if you start to compare your life to those photos and let that inspiration work the opposite direction (aka, feeling inferior to those Instagram feeds), it reaaaaaally sucks the life outta ya! I have fallen victim to the comparison game one too many times and really can let it ruin my whole day if I don’t turn off my phone and go for a walk outside. I’ve recently been so much better about not letting social media get to me in that way, simply by being more consciousness as I’m scrolling through my daily feed, blog posts or Pinterest boards. Keeping in mind that blogs are here to provide entertainment, inspiration and human connection is key – it helps me to be inspired by those images, but not to take them too seriously.
4. Lots of hard work: The appeal of a blog is that it looks effortless, which is why we’re drawn to them in the first place…it all looks so simple and easy! I’ll be honest, when I first started blogging, I had NO idea what I was getting myself into! From the outside looking in, it looks quite simple and glamorous. But in reality, there is SO much more that goes into this little corner of the Internet! I am not just a “blogger,” I am also a writer, photo editor, accountant, photographer, stylist, negotiator, marketer and (very barebones) developer. Being a blogger encompasses so many other roles that I had no idea were part of the job description. It’s amazing to be able to wear so many hats and juggle and time manage to get it all done, but holy guacamole, it is a LOT of hard work! Two and a half years later, I am still navigating that whole time management thing and figuring out how to keep my load under control. I don’t think anyone could have prepared me for just how much goes into running a working blog!
5. Creating a business and blog from the ground up is the most empowering and incredible feeling: Aaand now for the absolute best part about starting a blog that no one told me about…you get to see your blog grow and become a working business, which in turn is something that brings about a great deal of pride, joy and fulfillment. I now understand the true meaning of hard work and what it feels like to juggle multiple jobs to turn a dream into a reality. When you work so hard and finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, no one can take that hard-earned success away from you. Even if my blog somehow disappears into thin air, I now know my work ethic capacity, enthusiasm and passion potential – and I will forever keep that close to my heart and always be proud of that. It’s a really beautiful thing to put sweat, tears, love and so much more into something you care about so deeply and wanted so badly – then to see the thing start to take off. I have so much more I want to accomplish with LL, but I finally feel like it’s the space I set out to create, and for that I feel so happy and fulfilled.
I’m sure there are plenty of others to add to this list – so feel free to chime in if you have some follow-ups! Hopefully this gives you some greater insight into the world of blogging and saves you a few days of grief if you’re on the track to starting a blog of your own!
What other questions do y’all have about blogging, life or style? Leave your questions below or send an email to me at livvylandblog[at]gmail[dot]com – I’ll try and get to them in my upcoming Weekly Chat posts! XOXO