Since reaching my sixth anniversary as a blogger this past March, I’ve felt a little more settled in my role. Reflection has sort of become a weekly part of my routine, and I’ve thought extra hard about what the past has shown me and where I can go from here. The blogging industry is so young compared to nearly every other job field, and it still blows me away that I’m able to support myself and our family on my salary, but I can! That milestone alone is worth celebrating, but I think the things I’ve learned along this 6-year path are only the start of where I’m headed.
Will I be blogging until retirement? The truth is that I don’t know, but the other honest reaction is that I hope so! I love my job. I love the little community we’ve built here together, and knowing that I get to have conversations with all of you on a near-daily basis gets me out of bed every morning. Whenever I have a weak moment and wonder about going back to a traditional job, I just think about how much I would miss you guys, and how much I love empowering you to test your own skills with DIY projects and interior design. Even if I didn’t make a dime, knowing that I’ve been able to inspire even one of you is all the profit I need.
Today, I thought it would be fun to share a list of the five biggest lessons I’ve learned since writing that very first blog post back in March of 2011. Some are a little sappy, while others are more practical, but one thing’s for sure: blogging has taught me so much and has absolutely shaped the person that I am today.
5 Things Blogging Has Taught Me
- Community is everything: Probably the biggest thing I’ve learned is that camaraderie is the fuel that keeps us going. I’ve had the opportunity to meet so many fellow bloggers in this niche, and with the exception of maybe one or two people out of hundreds, nearly everyone is anxious to cheerlead and quick to lend a helping hand. The outpouring of support from all sides has taught me the power of community, something that was absolutely non-existent in any of the jobs I had before blogging. This experience and learning to support and be supported by fellow bloggers has changed me for the better.
- “Picture perfect” isn’t always best: I started out my role as a working blogger taking crappy photos, sharing half-completed room makeovers, and with little to no handle on proper grammar. Then, a few years in, I decided to up my game and tried to share nothing but perfection. Of course, I’m using that term loosely since I’m not perfect, but I definitely edited, edited, and then edited again until things just didn’t even look or feel natural anymore. Fast forward to now, and I think I’ve learned to embrace a happy medium. Imperfection is real and it’s humbling and spotlighting things around our home that might not be “picture perfect” or admitting to past mistakes is now something I don’t mind embracing. Imperfection is a beautiful thing.
- How to use a camera: I still don’t know everything about cameras (far from it), but constant use of a digital camera since 2011 has allowed me to hone my familiarity with one. I may not be blogging for the rest of my days, but this particular skill I’ve gained is one I’ll be able to use forever, whether snapping family photos at the beach, or just documenting our time in and around Waynesboro.
- I trust myself: Being your own boss is a major challenge in so many ways. I have no one to answer to, which can be great, but it also means I have to bear the brunt of an incredible amount of responsibility. Since I don’t really have anyone to bounce ideas off of, I have had to learn to trust my instincts when it comes to just about everything—post topics, brand partnerships, scheduling, hiring help. Six yours later, I still feel a little like I’m just treading water, but at the same time, I also feel like a stronger, more capable person.
- Celebrate! Another big thing I’ve learned is that celebrating successes is key to progress. Once I’ve reached a milestone (ex. making a big deadline, hiring my first employee, etc.) it’s so easy for me to forget that I need to stop and celebrate the achievement rather than focusing on the next big thing. Celebration is really almost as important as landing a big deal. Without it this job would take everything out of me and I would burn out in a matter of weeks. When I first started out as a business owner, I never would have anticipated how important this lesson would be.
Because this industry is so new and so strange for most people to even grasp, I take things one day at a time and have learned to be adaptable. Accepting the constant change is something I’m still learning to handle, but it sure keeps life interesting. I couldn’t be more grateful for the grace and patience that you guys as readers show me every day, and for the support of my fellow bloggers in this community. Here’s to year seven!