Shot forth into abyss… That’s how it felt when my blog turned into a business.
When I left school 10 years ago “Blogger” or “Social Media Manager” didn’t exist as a profession. In fact, my preferred career choice of “Photographer” was deemed a hobby by most unless I became an assistant or worked for a newspaper as an assistant and slogged it out for 20 years before I built a reputation.
These days there are photographers around every corner who have steady incomes, work from home and do what they love. I wonder how different my life would be if I was graduating this year with those same passions but in this technical environment. I have no regrets for I’m happy with where I am today.
My life is reflected daily in my work and I’m passionate about it. I’m isolated by location but the growth of the internet, it’s usability and our willingness to reach out to others further than our families or neighbourhoods has enriched my life. I’ve made lifelong friendships that would never have existed without it.
That in itself is truly amazing.
The thought of disconnecting and working 9-5 in retail wasn’t appealing. I wanted to put myself in a position where I could do what I love and in bring in a little income but the trick was figuring out how I could do it my way. Sure I could write for other sites or be hired as a social media manager but I really wanted freedom and I was willing to put in the hard work to make it happen.
For the past 3-4 years I’ve been working on my content, expanding my reach and through the journey of writing, really discovering and pin-pointing topics I was passionate about sharing. I’ve written about my house, my wedding, infertility, pregnancy, motherhood, loss, love, struggle, travel, fashion, beauty, the mundane and the thrifty.
My blogging “career” is in it’s 7th year and houses some of my my fondest memories and photographs. When I started there was no one to lead by example, I just had to forge ahead and work it out as I went along. I have the pleasure of waking up everyday knowing that my energy and time is being invested in something I believe in. I feel lucky. Lucky in that I had the sense to believe in myself and make things happen.
Building relationships with brands was crucial to make it work. There is not a single suger daddy, rich relative, trust fund or an obscure affluent overseas investor in sight so I understood early on that finding a way to tap into marketing resources whilst utilising my storytelling skills would be important. Finding a way of providing useful, thoughtful and engaging content was and always has been my objective.
Most of the profitable connections I have now are with people who were simply interns years prior who have gone up the ranks. They fight for me in meetings because they know me, how much I care about the message I put out into the world, how I work in a professional capacity and how I’ve helped them in the past.
Be kind to interns.
In the last twelve months or so something shifted within the blogging community and everything got quite serious. Brows started to furrow and suddenly everyone had an opinion on what was the right or wrong way to go about business. It was no longer a matter of “each to their own”, there were talks of forming a governing body and blogging specific hate forums began to flourish.
I tried to keep my head down, work on projects that inspired me creatively, whether branded or otherwise but in an industry as small as it is in Australia, it was unavoidable. My blog was a blank canvas that I could delve into and explore everyday but suddenly I felt a million eyes watching me, critiquing my every move. Inevitably the walls went up.
Word spread about my site, traffic increased and touching, emotional emails from readers poured in. I knew I needed help to navigate my workload and contractual agreements but I wasn’t sure how to go about it. In an off-chance meeting I got my answer and I’m happy to report that my work/life balance has shifted in a positive way and I’m finding more time to create and just be.
Never under estimate the power in asking for help.
As I mentioned last week I’ve been doing that a lot lately. It’s more difficult than I thought it would be but I’m realising that sometimes you need to prioritise and delegate. Having someone in my corner who understands my individual needs, respects them and has my best interests in mind means less pressure on my shoulders.
I wish more than anything that I had a creative mentor. Someone older, outside my immediate social circle who understood my dreams and ambitions and was willing to take the time to help me reach them. I may not have had that opportunity but I know I’m in a position to be that person for someone else.
I’m excited to tell you that I’ve been named a blogging ambassador for the Life Changing Experience’s Foundation run by the SISTER2sister program. An initiative that allows to me expand my work and passions further into a community of young women seeking guidance, understanding and inspiration. I can’t wait to share more of that journey with you over the next few months, without a doubt it will be an emotional one.