One of the most common questions I get these days is how did I “become a blogger,” like it’s a religion I converted to or a new nationality I adopted. Blogging is an activity and these days an industry that is getting a lot of attention. There are so many women who desire to “be bloggers” (aka entrepreneurs) and with just like any profession, but particularly a fast-evolving highly misunderstood one, the road can be very bumpy.

That’s why when Hilary from Dean Street Society asked me to be a part of the Happy Hour Blog Tour where 30 bloggers/entrepreneurs share 30 stories for 30 days about our businesses, our struggles and our motivation I jumped at the chance.

social-1

Hilary created The 4-Part Entrepreneur Cocktail to be a toolkit she wishes she’d had when she first launched her blog and business just over two years ago. She structured her book into four sections: Motivation, Finding Your Strengths, Saying Yes to Profits and Saying No to Overwhelm and asked that every Happy Hour participant to write a on topic of their choosing. True to form – I couldn’t pick just one. As with most things in my life I was inspired by all of these topics and so instead decided I might share something related to all four.

I’ve titled it Why, Seven Years Later, I am Still A “Blogger”

Blogging is a fascinating thing. It’s a unique place, driven by your personal passions but it now can also be paired with your professional aspirations. This is both fantastic and a bit of a free for all. Anyone can blog. Start a blog and there you go – you’re a blogger. But not everyone should do it as their day job. I didn’t start my blog to be a business. Far from it. Apartment 34 started to help me get home decor and renovation advice and to be my outlet for a repressed creative side that was withering away behind a desk job. After college and grad school and years in the PR agency world- the business I thought I wanted to be in I wasn’t happy. But remember seven years ago there was no Twitter, there was no Instagram or Pinterest and I’d only just joined Facebook. Blogging was like shooting a flare up into a dark night sky and seeing who might respond to your distress call. If no one came, at least you’d have a log of your adventures for documentation.

But it was exciting and fun to see comments come in. Connecting with readers and other bloggers from around the world was such a treat. Dropping in to read blogs felt like I was knocking on a friend’s door to have a catch up sesh over coffee. The sense of community, commradery and friendship was really quite astouding. I loved it. I was so passionate about it in fact that I spent hours every night after my full time job doing it.

And then it began to change. I don’t espouse this to be good or bad – it just happened and we rolled with it. Suddenly new tools existed that could make your voice even more powerful. Suddenly people saw marketing opporunities. Bloggers saw business opportunites. Really smart, business savvy, brand savvy designers saw creative opportunities. Voila, an industry is born!

Some people like this and some people don’t. It’s inevitable for a personal blog to change once it becomes a person’s living. Suddenly a brand is tied to an individual and there are different motivations, different responsibilities and different goals at play. But if you have the motivation, if you can create a niche that plays to your strenghts, if you can collaborate to create campaigns that delight and you can overcome the overwhelm that any and every entrepreneur faces, then and only then would I advise “becoming a blogger.”

So do I still consider myself one? A blogger that is? If I must. I am a publisher, I am an entrepreuner, I am a communicator, a connector, a strategist. I am an amateur stylist, a wanna-be decorator, but probably most importantly a business owner in an industry that’s inventing itself as it goes!

So why do I still do it? Because even in the moments when I hate it, I still love it. Because it offers something new and different everyday. Because it’s on the cutting edge of marketing, brand building and creativity – three things I really love. Because it’s a little corner of the universe to call my own and I’m lucky enough that people have decided to come visit it.

Stop by for coffee anytime.

And be sure to check out the rest of the Happy Hour Tour! I loved Heather’s post and Chivon’s post and can’t wait to see Heather’s. Thanks again to Hilary for inviting me to take part!

What do you think?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

5 Comments

  1. Amazingly eloquent and lovely to read such an honest account of your journey as a blogger. Hard to imagine there was a time, not long ago, when we didn’t have Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. I’m excited to have started my own journey as a blogger this year and look forward to what next year will bring. Will I tank or will I prosper?

    1. I had the exact same feelings–still do! But this whole business of blogging is definitely an exciting frontier!

  2. This is good stuff, especially for a beginner blogger like myself. Blogging is so much more marketing than I thought it would be, and that is completely foreign world for me. We just launched in August, and I’ve already met some really cool people and awesome photographers. It’s an exciting new stage in my life .We’ll see where it takes me.

    atouchofmodernblog.com

  3. Erin, I just adore this! You so marvelously and succinctly described the evolution of this industry — one that few of us were a part of when you began. Most of all, I love how clear you are that bloggers are entrepreneurs and oh so much more. Or at least those who consider their blogs a direct tie into their full-time jobs. Just yesterday Whitney English said, “Blogging is still a Wild Wild West. A lot of people will fall away. There’s still gold in California because we’re still relatively new. The people who got there first haven’t corned everything, because there’s newness evolving all the time.” I thought that was such a fascinating perspective.

    So honored you’re a part of the Happy Hour Blog Tour and just thrilled to have your depth of wisdom and experience as a guidepost for those who’ve come behind you.

    with grace & gumption,
    Hilary