2017. What a ride. I left my corporate job of 5 years and took a risk partnering with my cousin in her interior design business. I was blessed to visit many places both domestically and internationally with some amazing people. I attended RStheCon (RewardStyle Conference), which had been one of my biggest goals when starting my blog back in 2015. I joined an amazing church group full of people who aren’t afraid to share and be vulnerable while creating a deeper relationship with each other and God. I took on the challenge of organizing a blogger retreat with some amazing ladies I’ve looked up to in blogging, and now call some of my closest friends.
I could go on and on about the amazing blessings I experienced in 2017, but wanted to share some of the important things I’ve learned in this blogging journey as well as some goals and resolutions moving forward in 2018.
Lessons from 2017 + Reflections
- Relationships and networking are everything in growing a blog. I get asked all the time how to grow a blog and create an audience. I can’t say it enough but one of my biggest lessons this year has been collaboration over competition. When I was willing to be vulnerable in my blogging relationships and share knowledge, that is when my blog started to take off. Not only did I create some amazing friendships in the process, but I learned things I never would have on my own. Blogging is such a new industry, and we’re all going through it and learning how to be successful/make mistakes at the same time. There are no text books in blogging. We must be willing to share and learn from each other.
- It’s okay to take a break. One of my biggest challenges in 2017 has been balancing blogging and personal life. A big reason for that is that my husband, Drew, takes all my photos and is always very willing. I see a great photo opportunity when we are on vacation, and it’s easy to turn to Drew and ask him to take the photo. Though that is the biggest blessing, it’s always very much a burden and can take a toll on both of us. I’m learning that taking a break and enjoying the moment is far more important than the perfect shot, but it hasn’t been easy. What has helped the most is scheduling everything out so that I’m prepared and can post quickly and having a cutoff time/setting boundaries for when it is appropriate to be on my phone. In doing this, I’d say we both agree there have been improvements, but it’s still something I’m working on daily.
- I can’t do it all. Because I work full-time and blog full-time, I’ve had a hard time ‘doing it all.’ Often the blog takes the back burner because I have to do something for my day job, and I feel like I’ve had a lot of missed opportunities because of it. The only thing that gave me peace is realizing that I am one person and I’m not going to be able to do it all, all the time. In addition, it’s good (and necessary) to ask for help when you need it. Realizing this felt like a huge weight off my shoulders because I don’t have to carry the pressure of not being able to do everything. My followers will understand, and they’ll continue to be loyal despite falling short.
- Being vulnerable. Believe it or not, I’m a very private person despite being a fashion blogger. I have a hard time opening up on social media and sharing my ‘real’ self with you all. Stories are especially difficult for me. It has been so challenging sharing with you in that platform, but when I do, I always receive the most positive response, and it’s a huge relief. It makes me realize you truly do care about getting to know me and it means the world. I’m learning vulnerability is key to connection, though it’s still something I’m working on.
- Learn to celebrate reaching goals rather than setting the next one. This is especially true in blogging because there is no ceiling to growth. You can grow as big as your content and imagination will take you. I have a hard time reaching goals and being proud of the accomplishment rather than saying “If only I could reach this….” That mentality is incredibly discouraging, and can lead you down a rabbit hole quickly. This year I’ve learned to set reachable goals, and reward myself with each milestone.
2018 Goals + Resolutions (both business and personal)
- Be more willing to take risks. I am by nature, very risk averse. I tend to lean on the side of safety and analyze every decision several times before making a choice. What I’m learning is the possibility of failure is better than never taking the risk at all. I’ve been heavily rewarded in the past by taking risks and just going for it. I want to be more open to this in 2018, which means being open to failure, too.
- Hire an intern. This goes back to the asking for help reflection I wrote above. I’ve realized I can’t do it all and really need help to continue managing my work load. I hope to hire my first intern/employee for my blog in 2018.
- Become more consistent at my fitness plan. Because I am so busy, my workouts often get pushed to the side as an after thought or may not even happen at all. It’s definitely the first thing to go when I approach a busy day. I’m realizing that I’m not my best unless I care for myself first, and that means working out and feeling healthy. Self care is a huge goal for 2018.
- Be more present. If you blog, you know how difficult this one is. I want to be better at balance and planning so that I can put my phone down and take in the moment. Social media is 24/7 and you can always be participating. I want to become more at peace with stepping away and enjoying things in real time.
- Focus on family. Looking back on 2017, one of my biggest disappointments is my lack of time and effort put towards extended family time. What’s even more sad is I live 30 minutes away from my mom, brother and sister, a distance some people only dream of. When you get busy, time passes so quickly and you don’t realize the missed opportunities in the moment. I want to be better at dedicating time towards get togethers, celebrating birthdays and spending time together.
- Hit 100K on Instagram! And just blog growth in general. This is more of a concrete goal, but it’s always been something I’ve bee reaching towards on my blog. It’s such a huge milestone, and I’m really hoping I have this opportunity in 2018.
What are your resolutions in the New Year? I’d love to hear so we can keep each other motivated and accountable. Most importantly, I want to say thank you for following my journey and supporting me along the way. It is because of each and every one of you that I get to continue to pursue my passions. I hope you have a wonderful start to your New Year!