This weekend marks the fifth birthday of ModlyChic. It’s crazy to look back and think I have been doing this for half a decade. On one hand it feels like I have had this blog forever and on the other hand I feel like it is still new territory. It’s funny how five years seems like forever at 15 and not so long at 30. A lot has changed in my life since I started the blog. I’ve lived in three different states. I’ve had a number of different jobs and yet am always returning to freelancing. Personally, I’ve grown, changed, matured and still at times I feel like that awkward 16-year-old that I was in high school, wondering if I’d ever do anything right.
Five years of blogging have given me the chance to learn a lot along the way. Some of the lessons were gradual, some were more difficult to swallow, some made me smile while others brought tears. It’s amazing how so many emotions and events can be wrapped around something as simple and seemingly-basic as a lifestyle blog. And yet all the good and the bad, all served as important and helpful lessons for both perfecting the blog (a continuous work) and perfecting myself (a life-long struggle).
What I’ve Learned from 5 Years of Blogging:
- Make each day better than the previous one. Sure, it’s a good life lesson too, but in order to grow, evolve, change and improve the blog, it needs to be a constant work in betterment. Each day, week, month, I try to make the posts better than the previous week’s. The change in post quality from the beginning to now is staggering, and yet I know there is still more ways to grow and improve. Part of this means studying the blogging world – learning how to do my own coding, experimenting with design, trying new things.
- I’m not everyone’s cup of tea. One of my favorite quotes is: “You are not a dollar bill to be liked by everyone.” How true is that? I know there are people who stumble upon my blog and don’t like it. Sometimes they leave comments, sometimes they message me separately, sometimes they leave me a brief messages on a social media platform. Whatever way they present their displeasure, is always difficult to take. But at the same time I keep going back to the knowledge that no one is liked by everyone. Heck, I know people who don’t think George Clooney is good-looking! Crazy, but true. We all have our personal tastes, likes, dislikes and preferences. And that’s okay.
- Photo quality makes a huge difference. Since I take my own photos and don’t have the privilege of having a spouse/significant other ready to take my outfit shots each day, I work hard to make sure the photos are the best I can get. Over the years I have learned a lot of photo quality, picture taking, focus, coloring, shadows, sun glare, etc… Again, this is one of those things in which I can see a marked difference in quality over the years.
- It’s not a matter of comparisons. When I first started out I read other fashion bloggers fastidiously and was always comparing myself to them. I wonder how my numbers compared, why they had more comments than I did, how they grew their social following so rapidly, what I was doing right, what I was doing wrong. Numbers became an obsession and in that I realized I had lost my love for blogging and my desire to be creative. Now I try not to compare to others. I do my thing, work my tail off, and let things happen as they will. It gives so much more peace of mind and brings so much more enjoyment.
- Connect with others, form relationships. It still amazes me some of the relationships I’ve developed via blogging and almost strictly online communications. This has to happen in an organic way for it to be authentic, but it makes the whole experience so much more rewarding and exciting. These relationships push me to work harder, to blog better, to stretch my comfort zone. We help keep each other on track and grounded at times. We are sounding boards and a listening ear when someone needs to vent. It’s pretty amazing.
- Lend a hand. I remember when I was first getting started I reached out to a number of well-established bloggers to connect and learn from. Some of them responded to me and offered amazing pieces of advice. Others ignored my emails. Now, I try to respond to questions and emails from beginning bloggers whenever I can. I think it is important to lend a hand and pay it forward.
- Learn to say No. Especially in the beginning, but also as I try to take this as a hobby to a full-time job, I find it can be so tempting to give in to any and every opportunity I am presented with. The money can often be attractive. But it is so important to think of the blog ‘mission statement’ and how working with that company works in conjunction with it or against it.
- Just like the human person, the blog is constantly evolving. ModlyChic today is not at all what it was when I began. Back in 2009 it was strictly an outfit of the day blog. Slowly that morphed into including more things that I cared about – fitness, food, and around-town-fun. Now, I no longer consider it a fashion or OOTD blog, but rather a lifestyle blog with a heavy emphasis on fashion.
- Editorial calendars are lifesavers. I only started using a calendar to plot out my posts about six months ago. Before that it was a little bit more, fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants style. But not I can’t live without the calendar. It helps me keep track of all the important things, the pending posts, the products I need to review, the dates in which I need to have a dedicated-content post, etc…