In the past few months, since starting my blog in November, my eyes have been opened to a whole world I never knew existed. Between the endless amounts of effort that I had to put into my blog, the blatantly disappointing feeling of having NO ONE read your work, and the overwhelming joy from having your hard work recognised, it has been one hell of a ride.
So I thought, what better way to share how wild it has been, than to summarise the seven greatest lessons I’ve had in the last seven months. Whether you’re thinking of starting your own blog, or just interested in what the start-up process looks like, I hope you get some giggles, and a few warm and fuzzies from my reminiscing.
It takes A LOT of work
I wish I could just repeat this phrase in every possible way I know how, because it is something I cannot stress enough. Before I started blogging, I would watch rich beauty gurus on Youtube complain about how busy they were and how hard it was to get round to making new content. Uhm, how spoilt must you be to receive tonnes of free stuff and then still complain about it?
As it turns out, the content creating process requires a lot more behind the scenes work than I originally anticipated. First it’s the brainstorming process, then the picture taking, the picture editing, the article writing, the article editing, the article proofreading, the blog updating, the social media managing, the social media interacting… and then you still have to go to your day job (or worse, university).
You have to notice others before you expect others to notice you
Why is no one following me?!?! For the first two months, I was so incredibly frustrated that the effort I had put into my articles was reaching a grand total of my mom and best friend. I tried to keep my Instagram cool status by only following the 30ish top bloggers and maybe another 30 brands. But the whole game changed after I went on a serious following spree.
I went from following less than 100 people to over 400 in about a week. And although this is a huge jump, I was very selective about who I followed. I discovered as many smaller content creators as I could, that published stuff that I actually liked, and gave them a follow. I saw them through a different lens now. Here were girls and guys just like me, who had out so much work into their awesome articles/make up looks/videos/tutorials, and were just waiting for followers to find them. And by me finding them, they found me, and the wheels began turning.
When it comes to blogging, there’s a place for everyone
But who wants to follow another Instagram account posting makeup pictures, and read blog reviews of products everyone else has already reviewed? Many people, believe me. And they want to because you’re adding something to your picture, or your review, that is missing from all the other accounts and blogs just like yours.
Never underestimate how your little quirks, talents and abilities can add value to the content you’re producing. Perhaps your photos are super bright and filled with cheery flowers, like mine, or perhaps they’re candid and relatable. Whatever you have to offer is the exact thing someone out there is looking for. So don’t become disheartened when you see the sheer volume of blogs alongside yours, because at the end of the day you’re not competing with them, you’re running different races at the same sports day.
Your hard work will eventually pay off
Nothing is more sad and frustrating than spending hours perfecting an article, to have less than a handful of people read it. At the beginning of my blogging journey, I found it so hard to put in effort because I knew no one was waiting for my posts to be uploaded, no one was watching my stories, and no one was taking my product reviews seriously.
The key to this is believing that your hard work will pay off, because eventually, it will. If you keep providing quality content, with honest advice, beautiful pictures, and a sprinkle of personality, more and more people will stumble across your blog, and stay. You just need to keep up your standard of work until they do, because every time you produce a sub-par article, someone will decide to unfollow, or not read the next blog post, or fail to mention to their friend, who could be a potential follower. Consistency is imperative to success!
Sometimes, you’re surprised at what content people like the most
Sometimes you spend hours curating the perfect set of pictures. You have family members holding lights and robbing neighbourhood flowerbeds. You take 500 photos to get the perfect shot. All for… 17 likes and a comment from your friend’s mom.
And then other times, you know you’re going to be busy during the week, so you cram-shoot a whole load of vaguely beauty related images for stock photos, and receive over 2000 impressions on a picture of a foundation and a pot plant… when you had less than 150 followers. The world of social media is a strange place.
People are inherently kind
Honestly, in 7 months of being present online, I have not encountered ONE ‘hater’. I may have come across a few uninterested parties (read tonnes of uninterested parties) but everyone else has just been so damn nice. They are so free with their likes and comments and compliments, it truly has reinforced my opinion that people, especially women people, really are kind and loving at heart, with only a few bad apples among us.
One group of lovelies worth mentioning is my Instagram support group (@beebzonian, @simone_anordinarygal, @sugarspiceblog2, @fifi_elle, @susana_pillay, @justinejuzmakeup, @cocoaandcaviar_1, @baroque_girls_life, @contour_and_curls, @dailygoldrose, @kandidly.kerry, @theglogetter, @sheer.empowderment). It’s a group of 15 of the most supportive women I have ever come across, who provide me with advice and love and attention (they’re like a big group of Instagram boyfriends). They have become some of my biggest fans, and I theirs. One thing about joining the blogging community is that you will never again be short of compliments and support.
Starting a blog is the best decision you could ever make
To my dearest boyfriend and best friends, you three are the reason I went ahead with this. And I owe all the thanks to you. Sharing my opinions on beauty and makeup products was an idea I had toyed with for a while, but I would have never gone ahead with it had I not been pushed in the right direction.
Blogging has been so rewarding. What started out as a creative outlet has now become a huge part of my life. Seeing something you created being appreciated by strangers is just so damn satisfying! Knowing someone bought a product you recommended, helping another blogger get off the starting block, holding giveaways for followers who joined your journey at day one, it’s all been such an incredible ride.
I cannot urge you enough to start a blog, on whatever peaks your interest! Sharing a part of yourself with the world, however small that sphere of influence may be, is amazing. I would love to write more pieces giving advice on how to start your blogging journey, so if you’re interested, be sure to leave a comment below, or find me on social media to tell me that you’re interested in more blogging tips.