Let’s take a time out from our “OMG I LOVE THAT SWEATER” talk and have a nitty, gritty discussion. I’ve tried for a very long to keep my feelings of jealousy inside but I realized that they were only growing bigger and surely someone else must feel this way. There is freedom in finally saying all of this.
First, I am eternally grateful for where I am in life. I love the companies I that have trusted me to partner with them. I am thankful that I am getting ready to graduate college. I am glad that I do have a college job that does pay me. I am grateful for my readers. I really, really am.
With that being said, I have to say that I have found myself being caught up in the numbers game. I absolutely hate it when bloggers brag about their followers but I realized it was secretly because I was jealous. I was jealous that bloggers seemed to get 1,000 followers overnight. I was jealous of bloggers who paired up with international brands. Heck, I was even jealous of local bloggers who partnered up with local stores.
Last week I had a conversation with one of my favorite teachers and she reminded me of several things.
First, you can try and do everything but most likely you can’t do it all, well. It’s better to focus on one aspect of your blog than it is to try and increase exposure, brands, partnerships AND connect with local boutiques. It’s better to be able to build an audience, know who that audience is, build a trust and then try and expand your brand.
In the super huge world of blogging, everyone is competing and measuring up their competition. Even if it is just a hobby, there is something very addictive about comparing stats and followers. My focus was NOT to start a blog and make money. It isn’t even my goal now. Yet I find myself comparing myself to bloggers who have had a blog for a long time, have invested their careers in their blog and people who have the luxury of not working.
There is no shame in just being OK with blogging for yourself. It doesn’t have to be commercialized. If you want that then cool, but know that you have to cultivate an audience if you do want to commercialize. You have to cultivate patience and understand that it’s not as easy as everyone makes it look.
I realized after our conversation that I needed to cultivate a community and find out who my followers are, be genuine and remain loyal to who I am before I can even consider taking the next step. No one respects someone who is always trying to sell something. I need to stick to what I love which is clothing. I need to remain true to my self and not compare my beginning to someone else’s middle.
I cannot afford to buy new clothes every weekend. I cannot afford to buy something just for the blog. I do not have big girl paychecks. There I said it. I make less than $410 a month and out of that I pay for living expenses, gas, school expenses, make a payment for student loans while in school, random food and an expensive bus pass. Whatever is left I can play with.
I don’t have parents that are paying for my education. It’s on me. I was so driven to keep up with such and such blog that I didn’t think. I just consumed. But, but somehow I have made it all about keeping up appearances. I don’t understand why I blog for fun and then feel guilty for wearing something twice. NOPE, not anymore. That is called LIFE! I wear things over and over again.
Blogging is great. But is can also be a big fat lying game. There is no way that everyone always has positive things to say. I try to balance venting and being happy but those who just have post after post of HAPY HAPPY HAPPY aren’t real to me. It’s ok to open up and say you had a bad day.
It’s OK to say you are frustrated and can’t keep up. Why? Because saying that you can’t frees you up to realize you don’t HAVE to keep up. You can do anything you want. You don’t have to keep up.