Wow! I honestly can’t believe I have been blogging for 3 years now! When I think about where I started and where I am now, I just have to give thanks to God for all of it. Never, did I ever expected to have any sort of success. I wished, dreamed and prayed for it, but thought anything “good” or “great” would take 15 years! This past year has been a wild ride. It has been fun, exciting and unexpected. I don’t how “good” or “great” it all was but I am nothing but pleased with all of 2017. Opportunities came my way that felt shouldn’t have. Relationships with brands were established, developed and have flourished over the years. I am beyond thankful.
Before I get into all the things I have learned I wanted to share my blogging career highlight that happened this year. I will never forget it. To me it was God’s little seal of “blogging approval.” I was at work one day, Ben was working in a different department across the way from me. I received an email from the marketing department of Home Depot. I thought, this cannot be real. I responded immediately asking them what their ideas were for collaborating. Within minutes I got an email back with another PR company CC’d in to help get the ball rolling. When the idea was presented to me along with payment, I fainted. I said, “Ben there is no way this is for me! Little old me with X amount of followers and reach! There is no way! It must be a scam.” When I sent over the contract to several trusted friends and professionals they confirmed, this is not a scam, this is for you. The project took a few months but it was so fun and rewarding to work on! Truly and honor and highlight for me this year! You can see the video here, the blog post on my site here and the post on Home Depot’s blog here.
Ok so on to the 3 things I have learned over the past 3 years! First up:
Define Your Niche
It’s really easy as a blogger to compare yourself to others! It’s an industry where everything is focused on imagery, creativity and words. It’s important from the beginning to figure out what you want your focus to be, especially since it is an oversaturated market. It took me some time to figure this out. A lot of this is who you are, and the other part is what your readers respond the most to. I love the polls on Insta-story, they help get valuable information from your audience!
I absolutely love fashion. I don’t know if I’m the most fashionable blogger out there, but I absolutely love putting outfits together. I also have a family. I married a Englishman and we have mixed babies and it’s beautiful. I’m also a strong believer in my faith. Jesus Christ is at the center of everything I do. Overtime I realized that people respond the most to my family and faith based-inspirational posts. Does this mean that I stop doing fashion altogether? Absolutely not. You find a way to tie it all in. Once you discover what your niche is, you put out quality work that you love and that your readers respond the best to. I do not believe in only putting out work that other people love, tere must be a balance. I do this because I absolutely love it. At the same time I would love for this to be my full-time job one day so I have to do what works. Defining your niche is what is going to set you apart.
As a blogger your readers are expecting you to be relevant. I remember when I was just starting out. I remember seeing other bloggers post these extravagant tablescapes weeks before Thanksgiving, have Valentine’s Day posts up before January ended and swimsuit options for all to see in early April. I quickly realized that my content calendar had to be planned out weeks in advance. Some things you cannot fully plan ahead for, like sponsored collaboration opportunities etc. But, any personal creative content that you want to do pertaining to a certain holiday or theme must be planned out ahead. You need to know what you want to do, make a plan and then execute it. This means gathering props, clothing, reaching out to brands you want to partner with on your idea, grabbing inspo. from Pinterest, magazines and other bloggers. Before you feel “ready” schedule your shoot! I would like to add that this goes for simple shoots or brand related content as well. Excellence requires planning and strategy, especially when you are involving other people, like photographers and florists. Nothing is “easy” with blogging but if you love to create it is worth it! There is something about the dreaming/planning process and then seeing my vision come to life that makes me come alive.
Focus On Your Strengths
If you made it this far into my post, congratulations because it was a long one! I wanted to invite you to dream with me in 2018. There is so much yet to be done, to see and experience in this life we live. I want to dare you to dream! Over the next few weeks I will be doing a series called “Dare To Dream” along with a few other highly esteemed bloggers in my book. We will be breaking down the aspects of living and dreaming big in 2018! Although I am celebrating 3 years of blogging, I truly believe that the best is yet to come! Thank you for reading and following along! It means everything to me!! HAPPY NEW YEAR!! Ps. If you wanted to see prior celebratory blogiversary posts, you can look here and here!
Special thank you to Sarah Schweyer for capturing these stunning photos and beautiful moments! I always feel close to God when I am with you. Thank You Shannon of Thistle And Honey Floral for sharing your beautiful flower arranging magic with me! You are a dream! And thank you to Shop The Mint for gifting me this BEAUTIFUL dress that totally expresses my celebration in its fullness!