5 lessons I've learned throughout this year!
Hi Everyone! So, this post is a little overdue as my blog’s birthday was back in May. I knew I wanted to create a post to celebrate the occasion but I just couldn’t figure out how to do so without being overly simplistic, sappy or self-indulgent. After rereading it, I realize that it’s a bit of all of the items I wanted to avoid but hopefully it’s helpful as it is a personal post.
To celebrate my blogaversary, I wanted to share a few of the most important lessons I’ve stumbled upon and embraced. You’ve probably heard many of these before but I just wanted to share a bit of what I’ve come to realize to be most important.
1- Be the goalie of your goals
Usually we start a blog with a goal in mind—i.e. build a stunning beauty blog that provides visitors with useful information and a bit of entertainment. After building a general goal then we take a look at what steps we need to take to achieve this goal. This is the step that takes a lot of work to create and even more work to monitor.
Hence what I mean by being the goalie of your goals is that you need to make sure you don’t forget about your goals once you write them down. Make a point of sitting down to revisit them every so often and reflect on what you’ve done, what the fruits of your work afforded you, and whether or not you were content with the end result. Being vigilant, while a lot of work is also really important as it allows you to revisit your strategy. Now, if you find that a few of your efforts weren’t as successful as you originally hoped they’d be, be kind to yourself. Don’t beat yourself up over it—it’s part of the journey we call life.
Maintaining a planner may be of great use to you here—and actually in many areas of your life. I found that once I started working on maintaining my own planner, I went from strictly writing down items for my blog to writing down everything pertaining to my life. It’s become quite a ritual and I’ve learned to really enjoy it. I’ve been thinking of starting a planning series as I really enjoy reading such posts. Let me know what you think of the idea.
2- Build relationships with your readers.
You hear this all the time because it is so true! Beyond working on the aesthetic of your blog and working on scheduling an endless amount of tweets or blog posts, working on establishing a relationship with those that read your blog is really important. These are the individuals you can rely on when you’re bumping against a blogging or life challenge. They will celebrate your milestones as well as help you assess new strategies if you need someone else’s perspective.
I’ve been blogging for a little over a year now and I still feel a little isolated when it comes to support from my family. They just really don’t get it. They don’t understand the need for blogging in the grand scheme of my overall life ambition, which is to run an event planning company full time. I understand their confusion. To some degree. I mean, the word “blogging” sounds a little odd and attempting to define it on the spot to someone who’s never heard of this venture before is really challenging—and trying to connect the dots for them as to how it relates to event planning is a bit more challenging. Honestly, there’s only one person I’m talking about having a hard time convincing here and that is my mom. My mom is so important to me and her opinion has always mattered to me. Thankfully, Ryan gets it a bit more, which is so great! I really don’t want to imagine what it’d be like if he weren’t supportive.
Thankfully, I have developed a good support system through my blog. It’s wonderful because I can access it by logging on to my computer and I can always rely on it for understanding. I am referring to a great group of ladies located far and wide. I hope to meet them and thank them personally one day.
As silly as this sounds, I never thought I’d make such good friends with anyone when I first started. I thought that relationships built via my blog would be passive or superficial at best, but they’ve been far from it. I think it’s because we’re in this together—sappy? Maybe. But, I think it’s really true.
3- Enjoy the ride!
No, it’s not an easy ride. Sometimes it’s emotionally draining to read a negative comment or two, or to see that your hard work isn’t being received, read or liked. Coming to any one of these conclusions may be discouraging, but it really is part of the ride. These are growing pains and they are inevitable. Instead of dwelling on them, embrace them—conquer them—and savior the journey ahead. Easier said than done? Don’t I know it!
The thing is, learning from your mistakes allows you to savior your triumphs with greater pleasure.
I think that many of us are in a rush to be the next big successful blogger and because of it, maybe we get discouraged when we don’t see a significant increase in traffic. As our expectations aren’t met we then start losing the inspiration that initially drove us towards creating a blog in the first place. Well…at this point I would encourage you to turn to your blogging community for support. You’ll be surprised with how incredibly helpful and important to your blogging career it can be to share your troubles. I’m not the best at making new friends or even at keeping them but I’ve found that it’s so different within the blogging community. We are all busy women; maybe we have a full time job and blog; maybe we are a full time student and manage our little blog; the possibilities are endless and the thing is it becomes increasingly more challenging to keep a social life as your blog following increases or changes. The blogging community is always awake whenever I need a little bit of support. I’ve casually reached out via a tweet or an IG post and have been surprised at finding a bit of encouragement from someone I: 1) scarcely know, 2) have never communicated with before, or 3) have come to know and trust within my blogging circle. Building these relationships is part of the ride—and it is oh so rewarding.
4- Embrace change!
Okay…here I’m talking to those that are similar to yours truly.
When I started blogging, everything was new to me—managing various social media accounts, understanding these platforms (still working on this), editing pictures, creating awesome titles for blog posts (ha! I wish this were something I’ve already mastered...), finding my blogging voice (this really didn’t come easy as I’ve been vigorously trained on how to write in the business world—which is basically to not show off my personality.), etc.. As if it wasn’t challenging enough to learn everything, adapting to change as my blogging career evolved was also quite challenging.
For those of you that have been with me from the start you know that I had a name change. My blog was originally titled Vivacious Events. I changed it because I found it limiting. I produced content fifty percent of the time that pertained to event planning and the other fifty percent was lifestyle and beauty. With such an event focused title I thought it more appropriate to rename my blog. That decision was such a challenge for me personally! I felt like I’d failed at meeting my original goal of creating an awesome event planning blog. Once I settled on making the change I decided on Kaleidoscopes and Polka Dots because it’s pretty vague yet it’s still girly, fun and it allows me to post everything I’d like without remorse. Wish I would have taken the plunge sooner but fear of change really held me back.
This is just one example but the same can be applied to so many different areas of blogging—trying out blog posts that you find a bit challenging (opinion pieces are something I’ve thought about but shied away from), embracing new social media platforms, etc.. Change contributes positively in life! Let’s embrace it!
5- Sometimes, it’s best to be selective with your content.
I think it’s a given that if you’re a blogger you lug around a notebook. One you venture into when inspiration hits, or that you reference when you are at a loss for something to write about. This is a great practice but sometimes it’s good to brows your ideas and think about whether or not they actually make sense for the overall goal you have for your blog.
There’ve been times when I’ve created and posted something that I now look back on and think, “Hmm…that really didn’t make sense for me to post…” or “I could have used my energy on posting about something that I really enjoy writing about instead of this bit…” Here I’m talking about my 100 Days of Happiness series. I started and completed it but I wish I would have done something more with it than what I did. It’s great for blogs that are more personal in nature, which is where I got the idea from, but part of my goal is to share more than just bits about myself. Through my blog I want to inspire. I strive for this space to be somewhere to turn to for a bit of fun—and honestly, my life isn’t very fun. It’s mundane and predictable and I like it that way but that’s not what I want for my blog.
Being selective of course also applies to choosing which companies to work with once you start to get noticed. I think it’s great to embrace these opportunities—so as long as they fall within the realm of what you want your blog to focus on. I could expand on this but I’m sure you’ve already heard all this before.
Hope you enjoyed this post—I’ve certainly enjoyed writing and reminiscing.