It’s my ever continuing journey to find out what I really love doing in life and what I’m truly passionate about that has inspired me to write this article. Being able to share a little bit of what I’ve learned along the road with you, maybe you want to start a blog yourself or you already have one, is a great pleasure.
The following tips are all based on my own experience and even though everyone is different, sharing does give new insights and perspectives that can help to see things in a different light. It’s not often when I read ‘my usual’ blogs that I feel truly touched and inspired, because let’s be honest, most fashion blogs don’t get any deeper than shopping and well, fashion. There’s nothing wrong with that, but sometimes you need something else, you need to read something that leaves you feeling enriched and inspired. A few months ago, I read a very up front article written by Emma from The Beautiful Mess (here) that left me feeling exactly that. Why? Because she shares the REAL story. The story about her many struggles along the way before her blog became successful, about personal failures, doubts, what scared her. You know, those things that we all go through but nobody seems to talk about. Reading her story hasn’t only encouraged me personally, it has also motivated me to start writing articles like this in which I share my own experiences and thoughts in the hope to inspire some of you.
1. Start where you are, do what you can. It’s entirely normal that at very beginning of starting your blog you can’t afford the best tools ( DLSR camera + lenses e.g.) or keep up with what the ‘big’ bloggers are wearing. Remember that you are you and don’t compare your beginning with someone else’s middle or top. Like with every ambition or dream you’ve got in life, the most important thing is just to get started, even if you don’t have the financial means yet to establish something fantastic. People often think that there is a right time to start pursuing a dream, but there isn’t. The most important thing is just to get started.
2. Assuming that you aren’t a student and you don’t have the funds to dedicate a year to your blog without earning from it, you’ll have to work aside running your blog and that’s tough. But you know what? If you’re willing to work with passion on your blog after you’ve come home from 9 hour day at the office, you know that you want it enough. I personally go through this challenge every day. I come home exhausted and sometimes all I want to do is eat chocolate and watch TV. But then I remind myself that success only comes if you chase it, if you make sacrifices (it isn’t always fun!) and do your absolute, utterly best. No excuses.
3. Projects need time to mature. I started this blog without much strategy or consistency. To be honest I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, I just really liked fashion and along the road I started to like writing as well. You have to push yourself to evolve your style in fashion, in writing, in blog topics and you have to be ready for constant change. You’ll see that with time you create a routine that feels natural and you’ll get to know the voice of your blog.
4. Out of limitations comes creativity. I worked in the VIP lounge of a hotel for a few months. I did shifts either early in the morning or in the evening and three quarter of the time I was entirely alone in that lounge on the 16th floor, with nothing more than the guest list and a pen. That’s where my love for writing started and because I felt so imprisoned, uninspired and bored; I developed writing as an outlet. Most of those writings I’ve never published on the blog, but I might in the future. What I’ve found is that whenever I worked jobs I didn’t like, I got even more motivated to chase my dreams and work for it. Why do I tell you this? You might not be where you want to be right now, but doing something that you don’t like creates awareness on why you have to stay determined to pursue your ambitions.
5. Your readers will feel it when you’re a genuine and sincere person and that’s one of many things that will make them come back to your blog. Don’t keep your private life a complete mystery; people generally are very eager to get to know the person behind. I know from my own experience that I become a much more engaged reader with blogs where I feel I get to know the person behind. Personal articles enable me to connect and relate to them, almost a bit like a friend.
6. It takes time to build an engaged and extensive readership. It really doesn’t come overnight and if you think that for some people it does, keep in mind: easy come, easy go. Interacting in the blogger community can be a great help to get yourself out there, but 1000 comments on blogs with shorts words such as ‘awesome’ or ‘cool outfit’ aren’t going to help you. And yes, I do have to admit I’ve made myself guilty of this practice for a while too. But hey, it takes time to figure out what’s right and wrong.
7. Trust the process. Yes, you’re working hard for months in a row and no, sometimes that doesn’t pay off the way you had in mind. The most important thing however is that you keep moving and as long as you’re moving forward, you’re on the right track. Remember that no one’s blog success story is based on the same formula and you’re here to create your own. I personally don’t measure my progress on my monthly income from the blog per month, but I ask myself the following questions on a weekly basis. Did my blog traffic increase? (more on that topic soon), Did the quality of my posts improve? Have I been posting more consistent? Since I can answer all those questions with a full-mouthed yes, I know I’m doing the right thing.
8. Comparison is the thief of joy (and success). I know it’s very tempting as a blogger to keep a close eye out on what other bloggers are doing. What are they writing about? What do they wear? Who are they collaborating with? It’s always good to get inspired, but don’t overdo it. When you’re following other bloggers too closely, it’s possible that you’re getting too focussed on them instead of yourself. I relate to this myself, because for a while I’ve been reading blogs so obsessively that I couldn’t think on my own anymore. Force yourself to stop reading blogs for a few days and see what it does to your own creativity. When you focus on yourself, it’s a lot easier to find your authentic voice and come up with new and fresh ideas.
9. Don’t box yourself. Are you running a fashion blog but do you feel passionate about cooking or DIY too? Write about it. Do you really feel like writing a personal article and express how you feel? Do it. Because you’re calling yourself a fashion blogger, doesn’t mean that you can’t write articles on other topics or evolve other interests. Like I mentioned in 3, blogging is all about embracing change and if you find out along the way that you love writing about life related topics just as much as fashion, then don’t fight against it. Blogging is a bit like your life: it’s constantly evolving, changing, some people come, some go. Some of your readers might not like it that you’re starting to post other articles besides fashion, but maybe it will gain you a lot more other readers, right?
10. Be open to whatever outcome. So you had in mind to make a living from your blog within a year and it didn’t work out? Don’t let this be a reason to stop if you love what you do. Having my blog has brought me so many things I could never have thought of when I got started. I got my current job for an online store (marketing/social media) through my blog because I’ve got experience in building social media channels and because I can write and relate to an audience. Having this blog has also helped me to improve my writing and to discover that I really like it. Might be something I want to further discover later in life? Having a blog with an engaged readership on which you produce quality articles is basically worth half a resume if you’re interested to work in any fashion related job. My most important point here is; don’t be closed minded by aiming at solely one goal that you want to achieve with your blog. You never know how many good things it can bring you that you didn’t think of beforehand.
Source: photo 1 and 3 pinterest, 2 is my own.