Five years ago this week I sat down at my desk in my college apartment and started Life With Emily. After years of reading other blogs I decided to create one of my own to share my day-to-day life with my family and use it as a creative outlet to share my fashion and beauty favorites. When I first started my blog I had absolutely no idea what I was doing (some days I still feel that way haha!) Did I ever think anyone aside from my family would read my blog? No. Did I ever think five years later I would still be updating something I started on a whim in college? Absolutely not. But am I so happy that I am still here typing behind my screen five years later? Hell yes!
Funny story: I have the TimeHop app and the other day I was scrolling through my social media posts from that day and three years ago I tweeted that one day I wished that I could blog full-time. Little did I know when I was typing out that tweet that my wish would come true after a lot of hard work, a leap of faith, and a ton of trial-and-error.
I am so grateful beyond words that I get to wake up every day and run a business that I am extremely passionate about. I am so thankful that I have a supportive boyfriend, family, and friends who back me 100% and push me to reach for the stars. And I know that none of this would even be remotely possible if it weren’t for the people who read Life With Emily and keep coming back! I have loved getting to know my readers and many of you have become friends who I get to chat with daily (which I love!)Today I wanted to share five things I have learned from blogging with you! Click through to read what I’ve learned!
WHAT I’VE LEARNED IN FIVE YEARS OF BLOGGING
ONE | RESOURCES ARE YOUR FRIEND
As I said above, when I first started blogging, the blogging community was very different and still relatively new. I did everything myself from my blog design (lol at that!!!) to figuring out rewardStyle when it first came out. By nature, I am a very independent person. I don’t like seeking help whether it be from an individual or a book. I quickly learned that in a business where I work for myself that I have to learn to accept help and ask questions when I’m unsure. I have monthly calls with my account consultant at rewardStyle so I can ask any questions and we can talk strategy. I don’t hesitate to ask my blogger friends questions or their opinion if I’m unsure about something. I have bought e-books and joined in on webinars in order to learn more about a subject. Nowadays there are endless resources (webinars, pins on pinterest, youtube videos) for almost anything you want to know or learn. I highly suggest taking advantage of these and using what you learn to better your blog or brand.
TWO | DON’T COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHERS
This one is easier said than done. By nature, we all find ways to compare ourselves to others even though we shouldn’t. A quote that I try to remind myself of is, “I’m not interested in competing with anyone. I hope we all make it.” It’s a great quote to remember, especially on days when I am feeling a bit insecure and playing the comparison game! It is so easy to look at what someone else is doing and feeling jealousy or insecurity. But remember, many people share their “highlight reel” and don’t necessarily show everything that is going in their life. It’s best to focus on yourself and be proud of what you are accomplishing at that moment!THREE | IT’S OK TO SAY NO!
I will admit, this is something that I struggled with in the beginning days of my blog. Your blog is up and running and gaining traction and people are starting to reach out to you about sending you free things. Admit it, it’s hard to say no sometimes. Did I accept things that weren’t necessarily on-brand at first? Yes. (just being honest here) Did I hurt my own blog and brand by doing so? Yes. I think I was afraid to hurt people’s feelings by saying no. I learned that it is totally ok to say no to something that just doesn’t fit with your blog, brand, or yourself as a person. Now if something doesn’t doesn’t align with my blog, brand, or style I am upfront with them. I thank them for their time and reaching out, but I let them know that their product, etc. doesn’t align with my blog. Most of the time people reply back and thank me (whaaaat) for letting them know! So it IS ok to turn down stuff and to say no.
FOUR | DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR WHAT YOU WANT
Full disclosure: This is also something I struggled with at first (and sometimes still do.) Sort of like above, I was afraid to ask for what I wanted with regards to collaboration terms. When I was new to blogging it was extremely hard to approach a brand, company, or PR firm in hopes of working with them. It was hard to ask for what I wanted. Now after blogging for five years, it can still be hard to negotiate compensation for my work and time. In running a business I had to learn that I was selling myself short. I had to learn what I was worth. I had to remember that I couldn’t pay my business expenses in free clothes and jewelry. Simple as that. Just like if a brand wanted to be featured in a magazine, on a billboard, or any other form of marketing, they would have to pay. The worst thing that can happen is them turn you down. You never know the outcome unless you ask.
FIVE | BE ORGANIZED
Being organized is extremely important. Between deadlines, draft dates, and contracts, it can be very easy to forget something if you’re not organized. If you keep things up-to-date digitally, I suggest Fantastical Calendar for noting dates and important reminders. I also use Evernote (which syncs to my computer, phone and iPad) for keeping blog ideas, expenses, income, etc. I am also old school so I keep a paper editorial calendar (if you don’t have one, start using one ASAP). I keep a notebook with me at all times for jotting down ideas that I have. I keep my planner with me so I always know due dates. I’ll be sure to write a post soon about the ways I stay organized!
I could go on and on about blogging for days haha! I will be starting a blogging series on the blog soon so I can share my tips, tricks, and advice with you! I truly appreciate all of you hanging around Life With Emily (whether you’re a new or old reader.) To thank you all, there will be a lot of really great giveaways coming up this week. So be sure to stop by every day this week for a chance to win some goodies! xx