Being confined to just the house this year has afforded me some opportunities to think. To reflect. I cannot believe that I have been working from home since March and we are already in November – where does the time go?
I have never been the greatest with words when it comes to helping myself. I realize that I am much better with helping others to achieve their goals and dreams. So in typical Jackie fashion, I am framing the lessons I learned as a tip for you in hopes of helping you too.
// Lesson 1 //
Embrace loving yourself + not living by the highlight reel of others.
Existing in the influencer space can be exhausting. It is extremely difficult not to look around and compare yourself to what others are doing while using that to beat yourself up at the same time. Each social media platform has different algorithms and requirements and keeping track of all that while creating new content, taking photos, editing and posting is a full time job in and of itself.
I constantly tell myself that what I am doing is not enough. That I should be doing more. I hate that in this world, other’s perception of your inherent value is based on the number of likes, new followers, and engagement. I am giving myself a break and allowing myself the opportunity to think differently and not be do dependent on those metrics every day. I have my favorite bloggers that I follow religiously such as @oliviajeanette_ and @inthefrow where I appreciate them and their content approach and will use them as a guiding light to what could be.
Personal Tip #1: For those in the same position as me is (whether its blogging, small business, hobby, or something you want to grow) — instead of comparing your journey to their current feed and reels, take yourself further down the feed to see what they were like when they were just like you and me. You might have to scroll for a minute or two. What did they look like when they were starting out while they were testing and learning about being a blogger? Were they experimenting with posts and captions? Was their instagram feed a color story or just randomly posted? That is a true read that you can look at for inspiration.
100% of the time I guarantee you that they looked very similar to what you are doing today and at some point that there was a noticeable pivot in their brand and strategy (before their teams were hired and empires built). That is where I find that I tell myself more and more that ‘I can do this too.’ I look just like they did and I can find my way too. There is a place for me to carve out in this space, even though I am moving at a snail’s pace — I am moving nonetheless. I am looking forward to creating my own highlight reel!
// Lesson 2 //
Don’t be afraid to start over. This time you aren’t starting from scratch – you are starting from experience.
I started this blog 5 years ago and it was an exciting hobby. I wanted to learn a new skillset in the digital space that wasn’t accessible in my day job. I also wanted a place to share looks, style outfits and great sale finds with my friends too. After the first year, work took precedence as I started to build my career. My 9to5 job consumed my days and weekends with work and my site suffered. The blog fell off and so did the traffic that I built over the year.
Looking back at my stats, I am surprised by how much traffic I was getting back then.
- I legit met the fabulous Stella McCartney and had a private interview with her here.
- This post about 10 Wardrobe Basics you need in your closet right now was everything I loved about my closet.
- My first time working with a professional photographer for my content here – Lorna you are a queen!
- And my first brand partnership with JORD watches – thank you JORD for considering me.
I kick myself all the time for not keeping up with it before the market became over saturated. Now I feel like bloggers have this reputation of only pushing product on people and sell sell sell! I get it and kudos to those hustlers out there that are using this as their only income (you are the rockstars that continue to drive this industry forward)! I on the other hand found myself trying to keep up with people who were moving at such a fast pace because they were monetizing, when I was not intending to do the same at the time. What a mindset change that realization was!
Personal Tip #2: Use your time wisely. I use what used to be my ‘commute time’ and leverage that to revive the site and reframe what I want to do with the blog. Think about how you want people to interact with your content. Is the blog site more important than your social media? How will you use all the tools to drive to your site? Lay out a plan that works for you and use the time you have to build that plan. Ps. Don’t be afraid to ask others for help.
I took the last few months and updated my site design, created new content, cleaned up my social feeds and I am finally back in a place where I can start to build again. I am not starting from scratch but rather using what I know to make something I feel proud of. I now have the confidence and freedom to build something I truly love. This is creative freedom if you ask me. Starting again is super scary but I hope that this time around I continue to make progress and rise above the fold. I want to be able to work with brands in the future to create some cool stuff.
// Lesson 3 //
Be yourself + be happy.
Is it just me or all bloggers starting to look and feel the same? It’s because the social sites dictate what you must do in order to climb your way to the top. Seeing a sudden increase in reels and videos? It’s because content will be buried if you don’t participate in the algorithm. Everyone is scrambling to make reels and videos so that their awesome content can be seen. #stress to the extreme.
For me, it felt like I needed to make 20 videos immediately or else I will fail! No, but seriously. So what I do now is consider how I can create content at the pace that I am comfortable with. What can I do with my nights and weekends that will bring value to this world and make people feel great about their personal style?
Personal Tip #3: Re-ground yourself and ask ‘What makes you happy?’ What makes me happy is styling and restyling items that I have purchased over and over again. I even restyled my wedding dress in the beginning of a series known as #afterthealtar here. As I am learning, the world of fast-fashion can be really damaging to the earth and I would like to contribute in my own little way to helping it heal. I started purchasing more ‘investment’ pieces that will live on in my closet for years to come and I am reselling gently used items on my Poshmark profile too. Big brands like Gucci and Prada have even started to shift from new collections launching each season to ‘season-less’ collections that can be worn year round. Kudos to them!
There are also many new sustainable + ethical brands (a great article here about it and each brand!) that are fantastic and starting to grow in popularity. For example, when I made my first Everlane purchase (blog post here), the entire order arrived in a recyclable envelope! Everything that came in the bag was recyclable down the tags on the garment. It made me feel so great to order from them and made me want to order again. I am starting to notice small details like this when I shop, details that make me smile.
Long story longer – Be happy with your choices whether thats how you style or purchase. Be Happy with what you have built and appreciate the time you have invested in the journey. AND Just be yourself and everything will fall into place as it should.
As you can see, this journey in 2020 has come full circle back the beginning my blog days. Believing in my brand and building it the way that I want to build it will be my focus in 2021. I hope to work with brands one day that think that I am different and that my voice is unique enough to stand out from the crowd.
Until then – a BIG THANK YOU to all those that have followed me and stuck with me since the beginning of this journey. I appreciate you and your support more than you know.
+ A BIG SHOUTOUT to my mister for being not only my blogtographer, but also my editor, sounding board, business partner and number one fan. I wouldn’t be able to do this without you. ❤