Happy Birthday, HTC! 10 Lessons from 4 Years of Blogging
FIRST OF ALL – WELCOME TO THE NEW HEY THERE, CHELSIE! I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate FOUR YEARS of blogging than by taking a HUGE step and hiring a designer to custom design my website. If you are in the market for a custom site, I cannot recommend Amanda at Alpine Lane Creative enough. She somehow took all of my random design requests and created this beautiful site that is better than I could have dreamed.
And let’s just talk about this being my 4th year of blogging. FOUR YEARS!?! FOUR YEARS?!?! I seriously cannot believe that I’ve been doing this whole blogging thing for four freaking years. Sometimes I get so caught up in the “now” that I forget to look back and see how far I’ve come in this journey. I’m so, so proud of all the things I’ve accomplished and the person I’ve become, all because I had a mid-life crisis in my early 20’s and needed a creative outlet to keep me sane.
When I started blogging, I had no idea that it was going to turn into a full-blown side-hustle and business. I was just content to write about my life with Rosie and the DIY’s I was attempting for my apartment in Idaho because those topics were safe and didn’t require much personal effort. If you would have told me back then that I was going to become someone who was confident enough to post outfit photos, someone who would open up about survivor’s guilt and anxiety, someone who could do makeup well enough to share tutorials, someone who would own a JEEP and see places she never thought she would be able to see before, someone who had FRIENDS beyond her sisters, someone who was brave enough to go to public events and network with others – if you told me I would be someone confident in my skin and proud of my scars and living a vibrant life? I would have laughed in your face and totally disbelieved you.
I know it sounds dramatic and cheesy but blogging has totally changed my life and it has saved my life. I can’t even find the words to describe how it’s changed me as a person. When I look back at all the things I’ve done and all the things I’ve accomplished because of this blog, I can’t help but feel so, so proud of myself. It’s been a wild ride and one that I’ve almost hopped off several times, but I’m so glad I’ve stuck in there.
I’ve learned so, so much about myself and about blogging in general, so today I want to share some of my biggest takeaways in four years of blogging!
- Always remember your roots & your why. It took me a little while to really find my “why” but when I did, everything else just seemed to fall into place. My blogging roots, my why, my reason for pouring so much into this space is to show and encourage other women that it is possible to live a vibrant life, despite your scars or past. Whether it’s through cute outfit inspiration, finding that perfect shade of pink lipstick, traveling and experiencing new things, or digging deep and facing your past and learning to grow from your trials, I always want the things I share here to be rooted in that reason. It’s really easy to get caught up in numbers, to get caught in the comparison trap, to feel discouraged by other’s successes that you can’t seem to get yourself, but at the end of the day your “why” is all that matters. Being able to monetize my blog is awesome, but that’s not my “why.” If I can help ONE person out there feel a little bit better, find a little more courage, feel a little more encouraged to try something new or step out of their comfort zone, then that is all that truly matters to me at the end of the day. I know how lonely I felt when I was trying to pick myself up out of the dark hole of trauma, and I don’t ever want anyone else to feel that way. Plus, not only is my goal to show others that they CAN live a vibrant life, but it gives me a reason every day to get up and do my best to live one. I’m not always perfect at it, but I know I would easily slip back into old habits and thought processes if I didn’t have a reason to pursue my own vibrant life.
- Investing in yourself is the best thing you can do – In the last year, I go super serious about investing in myself and my blog. It was absolutely terrifying to put that kind of money into something that I was responsible for and not know if I was going to see any kind of result. It was scary to actually invest in myself as a person because I know that I’m not always good at following through with things when it comes to my own personal goals. However, after I figured out my personality type and how to set goals to align with that, I began to invest in myself more confidently. I signed a year-long contract with a photographer. I paid for a new custom website. I paid for BossPitch. I bought a new laptop (and spent more money on it than ANYTHING else that I own, besides my house and my car.) I can confidently say that every major thing I’ve invested in has given me major returns. NOTE – This doesn’t mean that I paid the money and things happened overnight. I worked HARD and never let my investments go to waste. But I have seen actual results from my hard work and the money I’ve invested in myself and I know I wouldn’t be where I am if I hadn’t taken that leap of faith and spent that money in the first place.
- The Instagram Algorithm isn’t going to go away – so yes, while it sucks that under 1,000 of my 19,000 followers see my photos, there really is no point in complaining about it. It’s not going to change it. It’s not going to go away. I decided that I’m tired of stressing out about numbers or letting my frustrations about Instagram discourage me and assign worth to me. Yes, having a successful blog depends on having an active Instagram, but I’m learning that it’s not the end all, be all. Pouting about it isn’t going to do anything. So, I’m going to just stay focused on what I CAN do, continue to try new techniques and methods, and be as positive as I can about it.
- Ignore the Noise – easier said than done, but a vital lesson just the same. About a month ago, there was a massive movement on Instagram about social media (and Instagram) causing depression and negative feelings from comparing ourselves to other’s seemingly perfect feeds. And while I appreciated the conversation, it really took a toll on me watching it unfold. Other bloggers were getting bullied and threatened. People felt the need to unpack all their dirty laundry in an effort to be more “authentic.” And I truly felt for a small span of time that since I was a blogger who posted pretty pictures on social media that I must be part of the problem and that I should quit altogether. After a few days of literally crying from the anxiety of the whole situation, I decided that I needed to ignore the noise. I know my “why” and I know my heart and intentions in blogging. I had to put my blinders on, put my head down, and just not worry about it anymore. It was so freeing to let go of that noise and it allowed me to focus in on other “noise” I could cut out of my everyday life.
5. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results – I can’t tell you how many articles I read or courses I took on how to use Pinterest to leverage your blog and pageviews. Every course was the same – “create pretty pins and use Tailwind.” While I was seeing a little success, it was nothing compared to what I knew it could be. I realized one day that I had been doing the same thing over and over again for YEARS when it came to Pinterest and was expecting different results. THAT’S LITERALLY THE DEFINITION OF INSANITY! I knew I had to change everything about my Pinterest strategy. I started with this eBook, evolved it into my own strategies and haven’t stopped tweaking or trying things, since. I DOUBLED my pageviews in the span of a month (from 15K to 32K) and they keep going up. I consider this to be my biggest win in the last year of blogging, and also a huge life lesson. When I’m not seeing the results I want after trying something a few times, I need to change. it. up.
6. Unplug. You don’t have to be plugged in all the time to be successful. And it’s good for the soul to actually go out and HAVE experiences in order to write about them later.
7. You can’t do it all – so don’t burn yourself out trying to. When 2018 started, I decided I was going to try a new approach to my blog (see lesson number 5 for why) and stop trying to do it all. I was getting so overwhelmed by the video creation and the photography and the twitter and the podcasts. I decided to cut back and focus on my blog and two social media channels (Instagram and Pinterest) while putting everything else on autopilot or sourcing it out to someone else. I signed a contract with my photographer. I focused on just writing content and perfecting my Pinterest Strategy while being more present on Instagram stories. It’s been game-changing. Not only have I been able to really grow in those aspects of my blog, but I have energy and stamina again! I’m no longer avoiding my blog because of overwhelm – I’m eager to work on it!
8. It’s easier to say “Why the hell not?” – A lesson I learned from my best girl, Erica at Coming Up Roses. I used to come up with EVERY reason and excuse in the book for why I couldn’t do something. “I can’t ask this company to work with me because I don’t have a big enough Instagram following.” or “I can’t try this new method because I will probably fail.” I have learned it is WAY easier to say “Why the hell not” when it comes to trying new things or pushing myself out of my comfort zone. What’s the worst that can happen? I fail? I learn? I make a fool out of myself? Even if that does happen (and it does) I’ve become a stronger, more experienced person. As someone who deals with a lot of anxiety, this method of thought has been hard for me to adapt at first, but now it’s one of my number one business rules to live by!
9. Manifesting works! There is a lot to say about this, and I’m going to save it for another blog post, but I just have to say: manifesting is the bee’s knees. I used to think it was too Woo-Woo for me, but I’ve been practicing it since January and I seriously cannot believe the things that have been unfolding since changing the way I approach working my blog. I feel like I am more in alignment with what I’m supposed to be doing and instead of “working hard” and “hustling,” I’m finding joy and ease and success through visioning what the future of this space looks like!
10. The friendships are life-changing. I’m talking about my friendships with YOU! The people who read what I write, who give me advice on how to deal with migraines or keep my bedding white, the ones who leave comments and send emails. YOU have given me a purpose in life and YOU have lifted me up when I was going down. I don’t think I would have been able to pick myself back up after my miscarriage like I did if I didn’t have YOU. Your messages of love and support, the care packages, the food. YOU are the best thing about this blog and I can’t thank you enough for being my friends. I TRULY love you all.
It’s been a crazy ride, and you have been with me every step of the way. I cannot wait to see what year 5 brings!