It’s crazy to think that a little over seven years ago I sat down at my computer in my college apartment and started blogging at Life with Emily. What started as a creative outlet to share my day-to-day life has turned into so much more over the last seven years. It’s kind of funny to look back because the blogging world was very different, instagram wasn’t even around yet, and it was solely a hobby. Back then I definitely didn’t know what I was doing (some days I still feel that way haha!) but it’s been one heck of a ride for the last seven years, that’s for sure!
Little did I know that when I started this blog that I would be still updating it seven years later, and more than that, it would become my full-time job. Some days it’s such a surreal feeling and not a day goes by that I’m not immensely grateful to have the opportunity to do this full-time. I am so thankful for all of you, because you are the ones who allow me to wake up and do this on a daily basis. Your support, your kindness, and your friendship is so appreciated! Today I wanted to share seven things I’ve learned in seven years of blogging! There have been some hard lessons and a lot of trial & error, but I have learned so much along the way.
7 THINGS I’VE LEARNED IN 7 YEARS OF BLOGGING
YOU WON’T BE EVERYONE’S CUP OF TEA…AND THAT’S OK
As humans, we seek approval from others & we want to be liked by everyone. The reality is that there’s no way every.single.person we come in contact with is going to like us. You won’t be everyone’s cup of tea…or coffee… or whatever their drink of choice is! In this industry it is even more magnified…it can be incredibly discouraging when others say hurtful things about you. In the past I used to really let that get to me. Sure, I could mold into someone I’m not in order to convince others to like me… but what’s the point?! There will always be those people who, no matter what you do (or don’t do!), they won’t like you. And you know what? That is perfectly ok!
DON’T COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHERS. IT’S ONLY SELF-DESTRUCTING.
Ah, the comparison game. Even when we don’t want to play that awful game, we’re somehow pulled in. It is so easy to compare your life to others even though you know deep down nothing good can come from it. Anytime I compare myself to others I feel insecure, not good enough, and end up feeling terrible about myself. See? Nothing good comes from playing the comparison game. When I feel like I’m going down that slippery slope I always remind myself that everyone is sharing their “highlight reel” and nothing is as it seems. Is anyone’s life perfect? Hell no. Is it still easy to get caught up in the life they portray? Absolutely. But having that reminder allows me to get back in my lane, so to speak, and to focus on myself and to celebrate my successes!
MAKE FRIENDS IN YOUR INDUSTRY & EMBRACE YOUR COMMUNITY.
Hands down, one of my favorite parts of blogging has been the incredible friendships I have made. I am so thankful to have a close knit group of friends in my industry that I can bounce ideas off of, complain to (shoutout to group chats lol!), and even collaborate with! I’ll be honest, the blogging industry can be quite competitive and clique-y, but having that core group of friends makes a world of difference. I also make a point to embrace my community, whether it’s with local bloggers, FB groups, or industry conferences. Being with like-minded individuals helps me learn & continue to grow. QUALITY OVER QUANTITY
I used to think I had to put out new blog posts five days a week every single week. What I found was that I was losing a passion for what I do and I was wearing myself thin, in addition to everything I was tasked with on the back end. I also realized that sometimes I was posting something just to say I posted when in reality it wasn’t my best work. I was tired of keeping up with the Joneses, so to speak, so now I do what works for me.
I think the “quality over quantity” saying goes with follower numbers too. Do I have hundreds of thousands of followers? No. But do I have quality followers who trust me? Yes (and I love y’all so much!) To me, I have always believed in quality over quantity in most aspects of my life and try to keep that in mind with my job too.
IT’S OK TO SAY NO. BUT ALSO KNOW YOUR WORTH IF YOU SAY YES.
It is 1000% ok to say no to something that doesn’t align with your brand! When I first started blogging it was tempting to say “yes! yes! yes!” to everything that came my way. I mean, it was pretty freakin’ cool to have people sending “free” items to share on my site. Over time as my blog started becoming more of a business, I realized that a) I’m worth more than a free piece of clothing or accessory and b) saying NO is ok. I honestly think I was afraid of hurting the brands feelings sometimes, when in reality they’re understanding if it’s not a fit!
Want to know what else I’ve learned? My worth. You see, there isn’t really a “guide” for how the blogging industry works and sometimes brands try to take advantage of that (I’m sure bloggers do too…) While some brands are privy to how the industry works and they’ve directed their marketing efforts and budgets to include bloggers, some are still slow to change. Some brands will try to get you to work for free and some bloggers will gladly take an item in exchange for a post (which hurts the industry as a whole). I know that I am worth more than a bag, a pair of shoes, or a top. And that’s something ALL bloggers should know! I am picky with what brands I will work with now and I make sure that my time and efforts are being met each time I work with a brand.
DON’T PUT ALL OF YOUR EGGS IN ONE BASKET
With so many different social media platforms now, many bloggers are focusing solely on one platform while neglecting their blogs and other platforms. As a blogger it’s crucial to keep up your presence on ALL platforms. While Instagram is huge right now, it may not be in a year or two. If all of your time is spent focusing on one platform, your brand suffers. It’s important to work hard on all platforms and to really invest in your blog. At the end of the day your blog is the only thing you OWN. If Instagram were to go away tomorrow how badly would your brand suffer? This also applies to your income. Sure there are a few “big” networks, but I don’t put everything I have into one. I get collab offers and work with numerous affiliate and influencer networks in order to diversify myself as a brand and to diversify my income. As a business owner it’s always important to think about what would happen if XYZ disappeared!
BLOGGING TAKES A LOT OF TIME, HARD WORK, MONEY & RESOURCES
I can’t tell you how many times people have said something like “OMG you’re a blogger… I bet you get free stuff all the time. I wanna start a blog!” Every time someone says something along these lines I’m a little confused about how to react. I know that being a blogger does have a lot of perks. I’m able to work with dream brands, go on great trips, be invited to conferences, and try new products by my favorite brands. Believe me, I don’t forget all of those things. But while people see all of those things, they often don’t see (or know!) what goes on behind the scenes. I’m a one woman show over here! I handle all of my social channels, my blog, my emails and correspondences, etc. I do my own accounting every month and have to create and enforce contracts with brands. I have to hire a photographer (which costs money) anytime I need to shoot. And that’s just to start. Each month is different in terms of expenses and what we make. There are “slow” months and unexpected things that occur- like brands not paying on time. Needless to say, that’s not even half of it. There’s a lot that goes on behind the screen in order to make things run smoothly and effectively.
I would love to hear what you thought of this post & any tips you may have in the comments! Thanks for reading & stopping by! XO