This blog post is part of a Summer Blog Series I am working on with Arin of Arin Solange At Home and Navy of Navy Berlin. They shared their own story on how they got started blogging so take a peek at their posts!
Let me start out by saying I am so thankful for you being here, reading, and visiting my space. I appreciate every comment, like, read, email or DM!
I have been blogging for just over a year so this was the perfect time to write about this topic!
How Did I Start Out?
Back seven or eight years ago when I was knee deep in early motherhood and we “only” had two kids, messy mom projects with the kids were my THING. Throwing the kids family parties at holidays was my jam! Coordinating outfits for pictures? Yes. And there was a rotating list of DIYs going around the house. Finding thrift store furniture and repainting items as my hobby- I was no craigslist stranger (well really, Jose wasn’t, because he was the one I sent to pick up all my weird stuff). And when we bought our first actual house, I made all our curtains out of white sheets (Target then wasn’t the Target it is now). We even had a faux mantel installed on the wall- it was 100 years old from an estate sale. Not sure if that was my best design idea, but it was fun.
“You need a blog” was said more than once to me, and the best one: “Do you have a secret blog you’re not telling me about?” I didn’t have any desire for a blog because I’m actually a private person (believe it or not)….and really, I didn’t need a blog back then. Because then I wouldn’t have had time for all those projects!
We had a few more babies, sold our home, moved in with my parents, designed and built our new home, and when all that was over and the dust settled (literally and figuratively) I looked around and thought ok… now what?
I started my social media account at the end of April 2018 with the idea I would “share some cute mom outfits” (that’s literally what I told people- cringe!) projects I was undertaking at my house (but I didn’t want to ever come across pretentious so I was hesitant), and maybe some cute kid stuff. My blog was sort of an afterthought…. more like something to seem legit if I was ever able to monetize my social media account.
After two or three months posting every day on Instagram trying to figure out who exactly my “brand” was, it became apparent that anytime I shared a photo of my home or a house project, it got a better reaction than anything else I was sharing. I began to slowly rebrand without actually calling it that, and finally by the fall I officially changed my name and tagline focusing on home and family. It actually felt like my purpose with my blog was aligning with who I felt like I was inside- so I knew this was right.
Fear of Sharing… or Over Sharing
One of my biggest concerns was how people in my real life who already know me would perceive my blog and social media account. Wouldn’t I look like I was bragging or full of myself? I am a major people pleaser, to a fault, and I never want anyone I love to think I thought I was better than, materialistic, or self obsessed. If you’re not a person who follows people they don’t know in real life on social media or frequents blogs, sharing so much with strangers can seem… totally weird. But I also had to get serious- if my end goal was to monetize a blog that was focused on sharing my home and our real life, than this blog was a business. And as such, I needed to be professional. My pictures should look curated and put together and I had to put my face out there. I also needed to share where I purchased items and tag brands. It’s totally awkward at first… but before you know it, it’s second nature.
In the end, the truth is that most people in my life are supportive (including those that don’t fully understand), and that there would be some people who just wouldn’t ever understand and wouldn’t want to understand, and that would be that. You can’t please everyone. You’re not an avocado. 😉
And honestly, I do cringe sometimes after sharing anything too personal about myself and I do delete things sometimes. But don’t you find it easier to connect with people when you are getting to see their real selves? There is a fine line between curated and just totally faked perfection- perfection is boring and a turn off! The more I put myself out there, the easier it is to connect with people. I’ll put my big sweaty (still filtered!) face all up in my Instagram stories and talk about how I forgot to get gas and my car stopped at the side of the road, and come back to find 25 DMs from other women who want to laugh with me about that. It’s so much better to keep it real.
Growing a Following
This is a hard one that I still don’t quite understand. I have three things I have learned for social media:
Following others who are around the same size and interacting/supporting them has been the #1 biggest help. What’s that saying- we rise by lifting others? It’s true! Community over competition helps everyone at the table. Make connections, get excited for their successes, ask them questions and share tips. Friends make everything more fun, anyways.
Getting reposted on social media by other large brands is always a lucky day, because it tends to bring in followers from your niche who are interested in what you are already sharing.
Consistently posting is super important. I love following people on social media who post almost every day. My end goal is to post on this blog five times a week. Which brings me to…
My Biggest Struggle With My Blog
Time. Time is my biggest struggle because I want so much for my blog to grow, but I also don’t want to miss these years with my children. Y’all, trust me on this one. Robbie, my oldest, is already 11 and the curly haired toddler he used to be is gone forever. There are traces of that little guy still in his current self that I catch a glimpse of now and then- and he is currently an equally if not more amazing human being to be around – but that doesn’t make it any easier to watch your kids grow older and lose who they used to be. These little babies + children do NOT last, and once they are gone they are gone for good.
My other children are 3, 5 and 8. I’ve set goals with my blog that I readjusted because until they are all in school, even with a sitter who comes twice a week I won’t be able to give my blog the time it deserves to be a success. So I do what I can right now with the reminder that my blog will be here waiting, but my kids will not.
I won’t regret spending this time with them- like actually with them, without a phone in my hand so I can post pictures later. 😉
The Mom Life + Work Life Struggle
I have been DREADING this summer for months. I usually love summers! No schedules- I love living in our bathing suits, doing whatever we want, etc. etc. But it was clear I was not going to be able to put time into my blog after a long day with the 4 kids all at home. The sitter and the camps were just enough for me to maintain sanity.
The only way to make this summer work was to scale back in specific ways:
For June, July and August, I have completely stopped taking on all sponsored posts except from a very few select companies. Less ads on instagram has been freeing actually… I feel more genuine. I also post less on instagram, and put my priority into posting on my blog instead since this is where my heart is.
I’ve said no to people and yes to my family for this moment in time, and so far I loved every minute of June.
Ok, I might also be enjoying my summer because I had a nice balance of camps lined up for my kids too- but hey, moderation is everything!