If you read last week’s Biggest Blogging Challenges post, then you know that I am working to expand on my blogging tips section. I’ve been giving it a lot of thought and decided to turn this into its own series called, Behind The Blogging Scenes. I think this will keep me
inspired and motivated to create more of this content. These posts seem to do really well and they honestly get the most views and feedback, so I want to make sure that I continue to build on this. I want this site to be conversational. Reading your responses means more to me than you know, so please keep them coming.
As I move forward into my 6th year of blogging (wow time flies) I want to make sure that I keep evolving and that my content grows with me. This all ties back to my biggest blogging tip for running a blog. I’m paying attention to what you guys seem to be interested in and I believe this with only strengthen the connection that we already have. This series is for you, so please do let me know if there are any specific questions or topics that you would like for me to cover. Whether I touch on it myself or get another group of amazing bloggers to share their perspective, I’ll make sure that I give you answers. My goal is to do this at least once or twice a month so that this series stays consistent.
I am not a blogging expert by any means and even after all this time, I still struggle. I
struggle to grow, I struggle to keep my content fresh, I struggle with engagement on
Instagram. The list goes on. It can be really difficult and disheartening at times, even after doing it for all these years. Regardless of these challenges though, I keep pushing forward because I truly love what I do. I have a passion for it. I’ve learned so much through trial and error and if my own personal lessons can help an up and coming blogger or even someone who’s been in the game for awhile, then I am all about it. I think it’s a beautiful thing when we can all learn from one another. You should never have this “know it all” mentality when it comes to anything in life. Always leave room for growth and knowledge, even in an area that you’re already very familiar with. You never know what someone else can teach you.
I want to keep making this a space that’s empowering and supportive for everyone. I think that now more than ever, we all need that. The blogging industry has grown tremendously and because of this it can sometimes seem intimidating. How do you stand out amongst the crowd? How do you get brands and other bloggers to see you as more than just your social media number or IG feed? It can also come across as very competitive and cliquey at times. I don’t understand why it has to be this way as there is plenty of light for all of us. Seeing someone else shine does not dim your own light. Besides, we all shine brighter together. I am so thankful that I have met a bunch of amazing and inspiring women in this industry, all whom I admire and respect. I will continue to introduce you to more of them as I expand on this series.
Behind Naty Michele
In case you’re a first time reader and don’t have the time to navigate around my site for background info, I’ll give you a rundown of my story. This is the “short version.” Flashback to college, I majored in Communications with a specialization in journalism and I minored in English. I had no real idea of what I would do with this degree, but I knew that I wanted to write. It was difficult for me to get an entry level position after I graduated. After months of sending in my resume and getting no replies, an opportunity to work in sales came my way. Sales? I had zero interest, but I figured it would be good to take the interview. It ended up being a position in the financial industry and once I found out they wanted to hire me, I made the responsible decision to “pay my dues” and accept the job. I had to work. I had bills. I had to save money. This seemed like the only way. The plan was to stick it out for the first year and continue to look for work in media. Flash forward to almost 4 years later, I was still working at the same company, but I had changed positions. I was unhappy all of those years. Finance was not for me. I felt negative all of the time. I wasn’t passionate about the job and I knew that it would never become my career. I didn’t feel like myself. I knew that I couldn’t quit until I found something else. I was stuck.
The summer of 2010 changed my entire world. My father was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. It was extremely sudden and literally came out of left field. The cancer was already so aggressive when they found it and by that point it had begun to spread from his colon to his liver and to his lymph nodes. I held on to any bit of hope and faith that I could, but it wasn’t enough to keep him here. After three months of treatment and watching him
deteriorate, my father quickly declined and passed away in front of me on August 25th, 2010. I will never forget that day as long as I live. It’s still a vivid memory and always will be. At the time of his diagnosis, I found out that my company was laying off my entire
division across the U.S. Thousands, including myself, were going to lose their jobs. It was
actually a huge blessing for me because it allowed me to be there for my father in his dying months and it also pushed me out the door of a job that made me feel caged and
miserable. So there I was at 26. I had just lost my father and I lost my job literally at the same exact time. I had absolutely no idea what direction to take in my life. For a long time, I was in a dark place. Hope was fleeting. This had given me a fresh start though, I just didn’t realize it at the time.
I should have mentioned that during all of this, I was pursuing music. I’ve been singing
almost my entire life and at the time I was taking vocal lessons, dance classes and writing and recording my own music. I saw myself being in that industry ever since high school. I worked so hard on perfecting my craft. It was definitely therapeutic, especially during this dark period of my life. A year after losing what felt like everything, I was craving for a new venture. Singing didn’t feel the same now that my dad was gone. I needed a new creative outlet and form of self expression. I honestly just needed to find myself again. So after the push from a few people, one night in 2011 (December 4th to be exact) I created a blog called A Love Affair With Fashion that started with me taking selfies of my outfits. It was a way for me to share my love for fashion with others. I had absolutely no clue what a blog entailed or the possibilities of what it could become. I became obsessed with it though and put all of my time and energy into it. I wanted to get better at it. So after a month of selfies my mom started taking my photos with her Nikon. Almost a year later, I invested in my own Canon and then eventually got a better lens. It was gradual progress.
I was still not working full-time. I was only doing part-time work at a boutique and did a few freelance things here and there in the city. Nothing steady. I was just very adamant about never getting a regular 9-5 job ever again. I had such a strong feeling in my heart that I was meant for a different kind of life, I just didn’t know at the time exactly what that would be. I always knew though that the 9-5 life wasn’t for me. Somehow in the midst of my consistency, opportunities started to come. I kept learning and getting better and growing. Then more opportunities came. First it was gifted product and features and then it was paying gigs and winning contests. It started out small and then little by little, it grew. Before I knew it, my creative outlet had transitioned into a steady business. It all happened so organically. In a way, things really came around full circle for me. Flash forward to September 2016, I did a full rebrand to Naty Michele so that I could make the switch from a fashion-focused blog into a lifestyle one and it was the best decision I ever made.
So here we are today almost 6 years later and I get to do what I love. I somehow took the worst moments of my life and was able to create something beautiful out of them. As you can see, it was a long process, but what I’ve always appreciated is that it truly did happen in a very organic way. I never forced it. My goal or plan was never to make this become a job or career. I was just so passionate and wanted to build on this new idea. I made a lot of
mistakes along the way and I’ve learned SO much. If by chance you’ve been reading since the beginning days, then you’ve literally watched me grow via the Internet. If you’ve recently stumbled upon my blog for the first time, this is my story. I hope you keep coming back for more and I can’t wait to develop this new Behind The Blogging Scenes series. Thank you for reading and again, please send along any questions or topics that you would like me to cover here. All my love. 💛