Negatives & Positives

One day you’re sitting at your computer and you discover that someone has attacked you somewhat casually online and for a brief moment you reexamine your entire existence. Initially you’re shocked and hurt, you question what would drive a person to say negative things about you in such a public and seemingly meaningless way. You consult your friends who rally behind you and suddenly the world doesn’t feel so small and the problem all consuming, soon it all just become silly. You brush it off and laugh at yourself for allowing a total random stranger to effect you that way. You’re stronger than that, you’re a grown woman and this isn’t high school.

That was me yesterday.

I’m over the short-lived drama but I did take something away from it. It made me realise that I need to be clearer about how I conduct business on the blog, how sponsored posts help fund bigger community projects and to also shed a little more light on my everyday life. Right now for instance, I’m writing from my couch whilst wearing a house dress and no bra. I’m not wearing make up and the humidity has made my hair so crazy I look like a cave woman. This is how I look about four days a week. I clean, I play and I write… emails.

If I was to make a pie chart of my workflow, the time I have to blog would take up a very small slice. Danimezza.com has become so much bigger than the blog and it’s amazing. I’m actually in a position where I can make a difference. I’m personally funding initiatives and projects, I even held a charity fundraising event. I’d rather put my time into those things as they help many, than blog about the mundane as frequently as I used to.

I made the decision to become more fashion focused on the blog around this time last year. I stopped writing about Aidan so much because I didn’t feel as comfortable doing so but I never explained why. In all honesty Aidan had a little fan club of sorts, women who felt they had some kind of warped ownership over him. I put it down as harmless but the random emails I’d receive from strangers telling me how I should raise him started to pile up. I’d write a post about how I was finding motherhood difficult, that I’d never felt so alone and almost instantly I’d get emails telling me to “Suck it up, at least you have a child…” and I no longer felt I could share my whole self. I didn’t feel safe and I didn’t feel Aidan was safe either.

Didn’t see that coming did you? Neither did I. I had to reevaluate my blogging life, I adapted. I wanted Danimezza to be a happy place, people loved my outfit posts so I decided to expand on it. This didn’t go down well with my regular readers. I used to blog raw (like this) and post photos of Aidan playing, sharing his developments, revamping old furniture and doing little crafty projects. I blogged about being a stay at home wife and mother. I got my blog a make over and I stopped sharing all those things. I lost over 80% of my readership.

80%… gone.

I had a meeting with Lorraine from The Remarkables in January, I’ll never forget the look on her face when she saw my stats, they were abismal. The timing was just wrong for me as I was in the middle of a huge change and I wasn’t even sure if people would like my new content. My Nuffnang rates dropped dramatically and even though Kidspot and Ford loved my video entries for Top 50 Bloggers competition my stats were never high enough to stand a chance. Now months later, not only have my stats grown but I’ve grown as a person. I’ve found my direction, my calling if you will and I’ve been head-down-bum-up ever since. I’ve been lucky to have very supportive friends (they know who they are) and I’m now apart of an industry that not only embraces my work but also values my opinion.

Going to NYC in June for FFFWeek played a huge part in my sense of self worth. There’s something to be said about leaving home to really appreciate it. I also made a lot of new friends who got me, who understood what I was about and were trying to do the same thing on their own turf. One thing I noticed was that in the US there was already an established community of bloggers in that niche. They attended plus size fashion blogging events, hung out together in their own time and they all knew that they were inspiring people.

Australia didn’t have that sense of community and it made me really sad so I was determined to do something about it when I returned home. I had spoken to most of the Australian Plus Size Fashion Bloggers but there was no collective voice. We all just did our own thing, rarely commented on each others sites and rarely met up in person. I started Aussie Curves and the walls we had subconsciously put up between us came tumbling down. Some of the bloggers understood the community spirit, the sharing of stories, the free tech support and how fun it was to talk about fashion with people who were just as excited about it as you were. Some didn’t and that’s ok.

I’m proud to stay that Australian women no longer have to look abroad to find curvy role models, they can find relatable women who wear and buy clothing from the same places they do. We all have different aesthetics and we’re celebrated for them. We all have our own body challenges, hang ups and highlights and we’re able to discuss them in a way that some women just can’t with their friends in real life. We’ve all inspired people and in some cases we’ve changed lives. I’m immensely proud.

It’s not all about make up, pretty dresses and prancing about in front of cameras, that just happens one hour a week. The rest of the time I’m emailing. I know some readers don’t like sponsored post but I like to think I’m pretty clear when it comes to disclaimers. Sometimes I got paid, sometimes I didn’t. Sometimes I got free stuff and sometimes I got free stuff to give to my readers. I’m a big believer in blogging karma, if I receive I feel I should give. I currently have over $1000 worth of prizes to be won and some of the giveaways I wasn’t even paid for but I took on the jobs because I knew you’d love the prizes. Sometimes I’m sent random products or vouchers and I wont use them, but instead randomly send them out to readers who support me. I just wanted to give.

In the last few months I decided to be open about my stats and my rate of pay, they’re updated monthly and anyone can look at them at any time. In the industry this is an unusual practice but it feels so freeing and honest. It’s not about bragging, there are many bloggers with bigger stats and a larger reach than me by far. I’m an individual with individual talents, I can’t be judged evenly in comparison to another and that’s one of the things I love about blogging. I set my rates at a level where I feel comfortable, where my time, talent, experience and reach are accounted for, also at a level where advertisers are comfortable to pay. It’s a tricky balance but I’ve finally figured out what works for me.

Where does all the money go? Straight back into the blog.

This time of year is pretty lucrative for a blogger who has a business mindset. Yes, that means I have a registered business, an ABN and do my accounts and taxes. Everyone has bursting advertising budgets and they all have products and services needing promotion before Christmas. The thing is, after Christmas the money dries up, usually until after Easter and it sucks. 2013 will be my fourth year in business and I’ve affectionately named that period “The Dead Zone”. Not surprisingly it’s usually when I do my best work, I have less emails to reply to and more time to just be.

Money makes the world go round and I rely on the pre Christmas influx of cashflow to keep me afloat in harder times. Three years ago I put up my first ad with Nuffnang and started doing sponsored posts. I made $4 a week on ads and was paid $110 for a sponsored post. Suffice to say the money didn’t stretch far. I bought business cards and paid for my domain name and contributed to the internet bill… life was simple. Now my blogging income pays for education (ebooks, conferences, etc), utilities (internet, phone plan etc), travel, supplies, software, camera gear and projects.

Projects? What projects? Well remember the time I flew to Hayman Island for a week? That wasn’t for a holiday. I don’t want to go into it too much now as it launches next week so you’ll have to keep your eyes peeled. Lets just say it was expensive, time consuming and I’m wet-my-pants-excited about it. Hosting a charity event doesn’t come cheap either. Plus Size Fashion Weekend Australia (which I’ll blog in more detail about tomorrow) was another thing I’ve been planning all year behind the scenes. It too was expensive, time consuming but I’m blissfully proud of how it all turned out.

My uncle Andy gave a speech at our wedding back in 2007 about “Bliss”. To follow it, trust in it and enjoy it, to keep it around us always. I’ve tried to apply that to my work as well as my marriage. My blog is no longer just a diary but it’s still a place where I share parts of myself, my passions and my fascinations. Sure it can seem a little vain, sure I post one too many selfies on instagram and sure I need to learn to share the bigger picture. But sometimes I get so wound up in the heavy things behind the scenes that it’s nice to be a little fanciful and keep the blog light and fun.

The money keeps the blog rolling, facilitates awesome projects I’d be unable to do otherwise and the little bit I can contribute to the home helps Steve justify all the time I spend on facebook and occasionally helps pay for annoying things like rego. This is my job, something I never even considered an option when I left school 10 years ago. It’s a job (no, a business) I’m proud to say I helped pave the way for in Australia over the last 6.5 years and something I’m keenly interested in educating other bloggers about.

So there you go, I wanted to give you a bit of an understanding into what I do and why. I love being a wife and mother who’s able to work from home. Is it hard work? Yes. Is it rewarding? Sometimes. Do I love it? Absolutely. I’m not going to sit here and tell you I have the magical calculation for life and work balance all sorted out, trust me I’m no where near but I’m trying. I’m doing what I love, surrounded by people who love and support me and I couldn’t feel more blessed. Thanks for taking the time to read this epic post and if you have any questions at all please feel free to ask me, I’m always happy to share.

Comments

  1. 1

    says

    You know how immensely proud I am of you. I look back to those marathon phone sessions we had about you changing your direction, and you have in a phenomenal way. People need to understand that this isn’t your hobby, it’s your job. You work bloody hard, and you are making a big splash babe. Love you xx

  2. 3

    says

    Busting with pride. Thrilled to be along for the ride.
    I must have come along about the time you made the blog direction change. I love all that you stand for. You’re an inspiration and gem in the blogging community. Much love x

  3. 4

    says

    love this – thank you for your vulnerability, for the reminder that we are all on a journey that has its ups and downs, and we can only be ourselves. I love what Aussie Curves is doing for the community – and even though I can’t join in, i love reading and lurking and just loving on how it is bringing people together.

  4. 5

    says

    I’m glad that you’re not letting the negativity impact on you. It is SO hard to see such awful things written about ourselves but I keep telling myself the old quote about how you can be the brightest, shiniest, tastiest apple… but not everyone likes apples. Sometimes it works and sometimes I just want the world to swallow me whole.
    You are bright, shiny, tasty apple, Dani, and I think your direction change was a huge gamble that will ultimately pay off in the long run x

  5. 6

    says

    Good on you Dani for not letting the negative stuff get to you. I guess for each negative thing that hits there’s hundreds of positive stuff that comes your way. You’ve done a great job and tbh, I think I read you more NOW than I did previously. I think you’ve done a FABULOUS job in creating Aussie Curves and getting other women in the “plus size” (hate calling it that) ok curvy category to join in and share their styling ideas. I love it! Stay focused and yes, while stats are important I do think what you’ve done so far is an amazing thing! xx

  6. 7

    emmaonafarm says

    Interesting post Dani, I guess if you think of blogging like tv or magazines no one likes a magazine full of ads or a show full of infomercials and it is about getting the balance right. I expect you stats will reflect what that balance is. I think it is the really honest interesting articles that people come for….and you do have to make your blog pay etc. but don’t give up on what your audience really love and that is you, not a product that you are promoting….so whilst now is a boom time for promotion…maybe mix in more of the “you posts” so your readers will stay tuned.

  7. 10

    Jess says

    Thanks for keeping it real, Dani! I’ve been reading (and loving) your blog since before you were even pregnant with Aidan and I’m so impressed with how you have worked hard to evolve, innovate and keep things fresh. You’re doing awesome things, don’t forget it! xx

    • 11

      Jess says

      Just had to add, I actually enjoy reading your sponsored posts – they are engaging and hit the right tone every time!

  8. 12

    says

    Haters gonna hate…. honestly, I think they’re just jealous.

    I have really enjoyed reading this, but I don’t think for a moment that you owe anyone (least of all hateful trolls) an explanation for your choices.

  9. 13

    says

    Hey Dani, I’m glad you got back up today and are feeling good. I’ve always loved your blog. Im not in the plus size category but I love reading all your posts anyway, because you’re savvy and most people, I, can learn a lot from you. Keep doing what you’re doing. It’s obviously you work bloody hard, and deserve all that comes your way.

  10. 14

    Michelle says

    As a long time reader who connected with you on a parenting and curvy level, thank you for this post.

    For a while now I have come back to read your blog and felt a bit…lost. The Dani (Steve and Aidan, crafty projects) that I had enjoyed reading about seemed to be a thing of the past. I can understand you wanting to keep things private and I guess I am getting used to that!

    Congrats on all you’ve achieved and I can see how much you have grown since I first started reading you 4 years ago!

  11. 15

    Kate says

    I’ve only been following your blog for a short time and have enjoyed all aspects of its contents. You are amazing to have started the Aussie curves feature, even though i’m not game enough to join i love following the series.

    Its a shame some ppl have tall poppy syndrome, its like they can’t handle others been successful in their lives. All i can say is keep you head held high and forget the negatives, as long as you and your family are happy, that’s all that matters.

    Keep up the amazing work.

    Kate

  12. 16

    says

    You know how fabulous I think you are! Right now I’m busting with pride, excitement and happiness for you! You work hard and you do amazing things! I love that you are doing what you love and I love that you being you inspires so many of us to do the same! It’s your blog, it Canberra whatever you want it to be and if people don’t like it they have the freedom to click away, it’s not like anyone is forcing them to read it… I don’t get people sometimes! You’re a great woman, a great blogger and a pretty fab friend in this girl’s opinion!

    • 17

      says

      They actually did not corotnl for different spellings (the reasoning being they were looking at the name the parents CHOSE to give their child and considered the spelling they chose to be a part of that choice), and this kind of thing has always bothered me a bit because it’s clear that many people really don’t care that much … so by this methodology Aiden and Aidan would be different (Aidan certainly insists that they are different because he always spell-checks his name tags!!)The key conclusion isn’t so much the sound of the name but the speed of its adoption by the culture at large … so I’m assuming Aidan will be gone in a few years because it seems to have appeared relatively quickly! I’d like to chart the data and make an exact prediction and then see how it pans out …

  13. 19

    says

    Brava Dani, well said! I found you via Polly Dolly ( which I so loved and miss! ) so I missed your more intimate days of Aidan posts etc. To me, you are the gorgeous, bubbly, talented woman doing it for herself!

  14. 20

    says

    Hi! That’s a really interesting read as I never really understood how bloggers make any kind of living from them. I have to admit that lately I have felt that your blog was one advertisement after another. Yours is not the only one though and as you say, it might be the season. It’s not a criticism but I’m not all that interested in reading it. Especially as I am from the UK and can’t enter the price draws or buy many of the products. It seems a catch 22 situation. You get the work because you have the readers but the sponsorship turns the readers off if there is nothing else to identify with. The events and projects that you have mentioned barely seem to factor on the blog and they you admit they only happen because of the sponsorship, which only happens because of the readers. Therefore the readers have an investement in the project. You can’t really have one without the other. That being said, I keep coming back to the blog as there is something about you that I find engaging. I’ve only been reading for 6 months so its only by back reading that I know the difference in content and I am happy just to read more of you.

    • 21

      Emmaonafarm says

      I have to agree I was so looking forward to reading all about your trip to New York and all the fab things you did but felt that there was hardly any posts about it …. Only because I was so envious and wishing it was me doing all the exciting things in NYC

  15. 22

    says

    Thanks for telling us all this, I am currently just starting a plus size blog here in New Zealand, I used to have a weight loss blog and have met many people from it with weekend catchup’s once or twice a year, and am still friends with most of them. I am hoping eventually we can get a community going here in New Zealand (I have not been able to find one here yet, maybe there is already one)… but because of you and many other blogs my whole self esteem is taking a turn, so be it slowly but it is happening. Because of my illness I can’t do a full-time job, so am using this time to work on a blog etc… and if nothing else it is making me want to wear nice clothes and purchase nice clothes rather than feeling like there is nothing nice out there for bigger ladies, and I want others to know that there are clothes out there for us plus size, even if we may have to purchase from overseas as NZ plus size are still so expensive, so once again thank you heaps without these blogs I would still be hibernating at home wearing the some clothes day after day. :)

    • 23

      says

      Oh and I am only a new reader like the last 3-4 months, so do not know what the old blog was like… but I learn so much from you, I don’t mind that it is a professional blog, cause I love seeing what is out there…. just wish they would open more competitions to New Zealand after all we are neighbors lol.

  16. 25

    says

    I think what you do is amazing Dani and a true blogging inspiration. People seem to forget that with all the time that is invested in a great blog should be financially rewarded. For me, your a great blog mentor and a truely good egg x

  17. 28

    says

    I love your blog. I hung around during the transition because I loved the new direction – seeing someone “normal” achieve her goals, her dreams. Your beautiful photography, your behind-the-scenes of the fashion world, your real-ness and honesty in every post. Even though I’m not into makeup and “beauty routines”, I still read your posts because they’re so well written, and such gorgeous images. Stay true to who you are. If you are happy, that’s what matters.

  18. 29

    Ainsley says

    To a woman who needs to know how amazing she is,
    I know that you have put a magical sparkle of positivity over the lives of so many women including myslef. You put a sparkle in my world when you photographed me in your bath tub. Your soul beamed and i found your passion just enchanting. Dont ever stop doing what you do. Every Aussie curves post you do i wish you had done the styling, the hair, the make up and given the pizzaz to me. The swimwear shoots you do i wish i modeled for you. Every photo you take i wish it was me infront of your lens. You give me the confidence to be a role model. xxxxxx

    DONT STOP!

    Your so talented Dani. So so so talented.

  19. 30

    says

    As your sister i hated the change, no more aidan, no more craft, card a week, polly dolly and even I didn’t know why. You like to keep things that hurt close to your chest.
    I’m glid you shared with me and everyone. I know uts been hard but where you are at makes me proud of what you have achieved and inspires me.
    I for one am happy to sit through an ad (sponsered post) to watch the good stuff on tv (reading about you and what your working towards)
    Plus I like to see how you can jazz up an item. Who ever thought an iron would get so many comments!

  20. 31

    says

    thanks for such a real post. well done for picking yourself up and dusting yourself off. Doesn’t matter what you do, there will aways be creeps that want to knock you. I love your blog, your confidence and the encouragement you have given me to lose my Mummy frump and start looking after my self again. x

  21. 32

    says

    I think I discovered your blog around the time of the change. I love reading it, and many others. And, it’s YOUR blog so you may choose to put whatever you like up. I have absolutely no problem with sponsored posts, I trust certain bloggers and have purchased quite a few things based on blogger recommendation. I would rather purchase something I have read about in a blog than seen on the tv. Keep doing what you do Danimezza, we love it.

  22. 34

    says

    This is such an interesting post, I can totally see why you changed direction and took your son out of the picture a bit. And so many people love fashion, it’s an area that will grow and be still so applicable when all our kids have grown up and left home. Just also wanted to say that I think it’s great you have your stats and rates public. I’ve done that on one blog, but it’s not current now. And I will get it done sooner or later on my main blog. I called a post ‘Bloggers, why so shy with stats?” as I just don’t get it. What’s the secret. I guess I come from a TV, mags and books background where it’s easy to get all that info. Anyway, hooray for you. And by the way, the fashion shoot is really amazing and it’d be GREAT to see more mainstream mags taking a leaf out of your book.

  23. 35

    says

    Getting started can be tough, but if you stick with it, post to forums, create a
    word-press blog or two, you can actually get webmasters and others to purchase your
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    you can even create as many “mountains” as you like.
    It is here that you are very likely to find content writers as
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  24. 36

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