Holy Moly! Today is Just A Little Blush’s first birthday. Pop the champagne and hang the piñata. I CANNOT believe it’s been a year. On March 20, 2016 I purchased my domain, started my WordPress site and wrote my very first post. Granted, I didn’t go live until late April, but still. March 20th marks the day I finally went for it. So, to commemorate this very special day, I’ll go through 5 lessons learned my first year of blogging.
+ The idea that blogging is a lucrative business for most people is ridiculous.
If you think bloggers are in it for the money, or you want to start a blog with the sole purpose of making money. THINK AGAIN. If money were the end game, I’d be 100 times better off being an Uber driver in my spare time, or working any minimum wage job. The amount of time and effort involved in running a blog is significant.
Any money earned from advertising or sponsored posts, is likely peanuts considering the effort involved. Any time writing, photographing, editing content, creating graphics, managing social media is work. The real income from a sponsored post can’t be calculated based on the time spent exclusively on that one post. It’s really ALL the time spent maintaining the blog so that you are even visible to do those types of posts. Bottom line: If you don’t have a passion for it & for what you write about, you’re toast.
+ Taking chances isn’t as scary as it seems.
For years I dreamt about having a blog, but feared the unknown. It wasn’t until I took the very first steps that I realized it wasn’t as scary as I made it in my head. Sometimes you just have to ask yourself, what are you so afraid of? I was afraid to put myself out there, that no one would read my posts, that people would laugh at me. And you know what? Those things may happen, but thinking about it is almost worst than having it happen. We tend to build everything up in our heads. Ultimately I’m doing something for myself, something I LOVE. So if there are people reading my blog, criticizing, laughing at it, I think that says more about them than it does me. They’re the ones clicking and visiting.
+ You’re capable of more than you think.
I’ve spent my entire life thinking I’m good at math, data analysis, logic & academics. I never thought of myself as creative or artistic in any way. I make a living working in accounting for Pete’s sake.
This is one of the reasons starting a blog seemed like such an insane idea. I knew nothing about websites, photography, editing or graphics. How would I maintain a blog? But guess what? You can learn to do almost anything. Sure, it may not be as great as other’s, but it’s better than nothing.
If you would have told me a year ago that I would be designing my own logo and branding I would have rolled my eyes so far back in my head they may not have come back. But here I am. It’s crazy what you can do just once you start opening your mind to it. Your brain can literally rewire itself in response to new conditions such as learning a new task. All you have to do is try.
+ You have to make time for things that make you happy.
This is one of those things we all know, but don’t always do. Like so many others, I was working a corporate job that I tolerated. I didn’t think I had time for anything else, and at one point I convinced myself that no one really gets to live their dream. We just have to suck it up and make a living.
What a horrible way to live your life.
I started my blog to share the things I love. But in the process, I’ve discovered how much I love styling photos & photography itself. It’s also pushed me to pursue that things I already loved (like makeup) even further. And when you love something, you find time to make it work. I still work full-time so I wake up 1-2 hours earlier most days to work on my blog. I spend most Sundays taking pictures or writing. I’m taking two weeks off work to get a makeup artist certification. My life is so much fuller now that it was a year ago and for that I’m beyond grateful. I know it’s not feasible for everyone to spend 10-12 hours a week doing something they love. But even if it’s just one hour a week, find something you truly love and make time for it. It will change your perspective on everything else.
+ Surround yourself with people who encourage you
One of the most surprising results of starting my blog has been the reaction of those around me. So many of my friends and family have surprised me with their support and encouragement. I can’t tell you how much it warms my heart to have those close to me comment on my Confessional Thursdays, ask me a question about a post, provide ideas, etc. When discouraged or disappointed, those people lift me up.
On the flip side, there’s the puzzled looks, the eye rolls, the complete lack of interest and negativity from others. It’s pushed me to rethink the kind of people I’ll surround my life with. Getting those reactions to something so important to me and that I love so much has made me reevaluate relationships. I want to surround myself with people who lift me up. I don’t want constant negativity. Lauryn Evarts from The Skinny Confidential wrote a post that pretty sums up my feelings about this. It’s appropriately titled: Screw the negative.
Of course, there are countless other lessons learned this year. Many involving technical difficulties and picture lighting problems haha. But, the above are definitely the most important.
Lastly, a very heartfelt thank you to my husband for being the one to push me to do this. He encourages me every single day. Whether I need him to read a post, help me select pictures, or simply hold my reflector while I photograph products, he’s there.
Just last week I was bummed that one of my very favorite shots wasn’t doing very well on Instagram. I kept checking my phone trying to figure out why it didn’t have as many likes as other pictures. Every 20 minutes or so I would relay how many likes it had and ask what the heck?. After sulking for a hot minute he said: If you like your picture, what does it matter that it doesn’t have a lot of likes? You posted it because you loved it, not because anyone else did.
At the moment I stopped caring about the likes. If it weren’t for him, I’d drive myself crazy over the littlest things. I love you babe.