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.
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.