I have learned a tremendous amount of lessons over the last 6 years. The truth is that I am still constantly learning every single day. That’s the beauty in making mistakes or making decisions that aren’t always the best. You learn. You grow. You get better.
And most importantly, you don’t make the same mistake twice. Or at least I hope you don’t.
After brainstorming different ideas for today’s post, I decided to shed some light on this topic. It was difficult for me to narrow these all down, but here are 6 important lessons that blogging has taught me. Some of these things have actually helped me out in other aspects of my life too. I hope they help you as well.
1. There is power in saying No.
When you learn to say no, your value increases.
It’s extremely important to turn down opportunities that are not a good fit for you. I have walked away from many partnerships that did not feel authentic to who I am. In the very beginning, I didn’t really understand this, so I signed on to almost every opportunity that popped up in my inbox. It came from this place of being so grateful and excited to work with brands that I didn’t fully see the importance of gaining and keeping the trust of my readers.
And your trust is everything.
Over the years, I have become way more selective of who I choose to partner with on campaigns. I would never work with a brand that I didn’t genuinely like or believe in, regardless of the rate. I actually try to focus on building longer term relationships that can lead to more than a one-off sponsored post. I personally prefer ongoing partnerships and find more value in them for both me and my readers.
2. Ask the right questions.
This sort of piggy backs off of the power in saying no. In addition to turning down projects that are not a good fit, I have also learned to ask the right questions up front before signing on to anything. I wish I knew this back at the very beginning, but again, all of this has been one big learning process.
Here are a few examples.
I always ask about digital usage rights and exclusivity clauses. This always plays a huge factor in determining my rates, so I like to get this information before quoting numbers to a brand. Will they be leveraging your content on their social media channels only or are they looking to create ads as well? I touched on this more in my working with brands post.
When partnering with a new beauty brand, especially one that I have never used before, I ask to have product sent to me to test it out before committing to a contract. I don’t ever want to put my stamp of approval on something that doesn’t actually work or that I myself have not even tried. If the brand doesn’t agree to this then they’re probably not a brand you want to work with anyway.
I also like to verify that I get full creative control over the content that I am creating. Some campaigns can have strict guidelines, so I like to make sure that my voice shines through authentically and that it’s not a partnership that will feel forced.
One of my biggest tips: Get on the phone! You can discuss this in greater detail than you can through email.
If you want something to grow, especially a business, then you have to nurture it. This means investing both your time and your money. It’s not always easy, but I do promise that it’s all worth it in the end.
In the beginning, I tried to do it all on my own. Sometimes, I still do! The reality though is that I just cannot do everything. It definitely took me some time to be at peace with that, but it was an important realization.
Hiring a design and tech team was the best possible decision that I could have ever made. It’s helped me tremendously and has relieved so much stress on my end.
A little tip: ALWAYS have a contract with your web designer.
I’ve also invested in my own photography equipment and editing programs, like Lightroom. I had to really take the time to learn how to use all of these things and truthfully, I am still learning. It’s an ongoing process.
For me, the goal is to continue to evolve and get better and the best way for me to do that is by investing in myself.
4. You have to have thick skin.
Here’s the ugly truth. People are always going to have an opinion and they won’t always say it in the nicest way. When you put yourself out there on the internet, it’s inevitable that at some point in time you will receive harsh criticism and feedback.
Social media is this incredible space where you’re able to connect with thousands of people, but it can also be very cruel at the same time. It honestly took me awhile to be ok with this.
In the beginning, I allowed every single thing to upset me. And don’t get me wrong. Certain comments still sting from time to time. I am human after all. Instead of letting it ruin my entire day, I allow myself a few minutes to be affected by it. I vent to a friend. I take a deep breath. And then I let it go.
Not everyone is going to like you and thats 100% ok because your community of supporters will outweigh all of the negative noise – remember that. It’s just noise meant to take you off your path. You get to decide whether or not you listen to it. So press that mute button and keep it moving.
5. You do not have to do what everyone else is doing.
Paving your way and finding your own voice in an industry with thousands and thousands of fellow creatives can be very challenging. I struggled with this in the beginning days and probably up until the 2nd year, maybe even the 3rd. Without realizing it, you can easily mold yourself into something that you are not.
It took me awhile to figure out what would set me apart from everyone else, but this was such a valuable lesson.
The best way to stand out is simply by being yourself. Yes, that’s a little cliché and probably a bit cheesy, but it’s the truth. Be organic in all that you do and never lose sight of who you are.
Things changed for me when I began to show my heart and share my struggles. Through my vulnerability I was able to form some pretty incredible connections with my readers. Not everyone chooses to open up and be as transparent as I am and that’s OK! Never do what you are not comfortable with. But for me – this is how I created my own path.
No one is you and that is you power. Say it louder for the people in the back.
6. Failure makes success taste that much sweeter.
There are going to be many setbacks, challenges and failures along the way. You can either let that stop you in your tracks or you can let it motivate you to push forward, stronger than ever before.
While I have seen much success over the years, I have also seen a lot of heartbreak. I can’t lie. There have been many times where I have thought about giving up. But I didn’t and I never will.
I constantly remind myself that failure is part of the journey. I’ve learned to give myself more credit for my accomplishments and instead of focusing on all of the things that I have not yet achieved, I remember to be appreciative for all I’ve done thus far.
Celebrate your small victories. Stop comparing yourself to others. Let all the disappointments fuel you to continue. If you don’t win, see it as a lesson, don’t see it as a loss.
Thanks so much for reading! I hope you also check out Knowing Your Worth, another huge life lesson I learned over the last 6 years. If you are a fellow blogger, what’s something that this industry has taught you? I’d love to hear about it!
Thank you for sharing the lessons you’ve learned. It’s been quite a journey. You’re right about having to invest time and money, this is something that I tell other bloggers. And yes, you need to have a tough skin. Some brands want the world but aren’t willing to pay you for it.
Thanks for reading Fatima! It’s definitely been a whirlwind of a journey with more lessons to be learned I’m sure. Happy that you were able to relate to this post! xo
Wow, amazing! Thank you for sharing these valuable thoughts. I soooo needed this.
Yay, that makes me happy! Thanks so much for reading love! xo
Great post Naty! All of them are dead on but definitely #1 + #4.
Thanks so much girl! #1 was huge for me!
Thanks for sharing your lessons learned. It’s espedially helpful to get perspective on the investment side of it. Thank you!
I love hearing #5. I think this is one of the most important aspects of blogging that is often forgotten or pushed to the wayside. In 2018, I will be striving to show my unique self on my blog.
Thank you for this post, I appreciate you sharing your wisdom. 🙂
Angela at My Ivy Closet
I love your blogging posts and this is another great one! I could not agree with you more. Thanks so much for sharing and PLEASE keep them coming!