I am inviting you to come backstage to Cubicle Chic, and see what it's like to be a blogger with a fledgling blog and all the struggles and inner demons I deal with on a daily basis.
I've been blogging for a little over a year now and I am JUST starting to feel like I have a good handle on it. Things like photo shoots, editorial calendar, the collaboration with brands, and the writing can get really overwhelming sometimes, but having had a whole year's of experience now really gives me more confidence now.
But the internet being how vast and unending as it is, I'm constantly reminded by how much more I could do, how much better I should be, and how much more amazing things would be if I just did that.
Honestly, a lot of these 'what if" and "only if" thoughts wind up having these crippling and paralyzing effects on me. I stop having new ideas, I stop being able to just write freely, and I stop feeling comfortable hitting that "publish" button. Today on Cubicle Chic, I'm sharing with you my very real, mostly negative self talks that send me in downward spirals. But also, the positive self-talks that I've learned through experiences that can have a countering effect to my inner demons.
The format below is structured as follows: My inner dialogue, explanation of my concern, and my countering positive self-talk. Sorry if I sound a little schizophrenic -this is the backstage, after all!
1) Is where I am ever going to be enough?
When I look at what I've been able to accomplish (close to 3K followers on Instagram, 350 fans on Facebook, and close to 400 followers in Twitter - it's taken a lot of hard work and hustling to get to where I am. But if I look ahead, the road to 10K, 50K, or 100K (if that's ever obtainable in my life time) is a complete black hole with no end in sight. Is there even a path forward?
Remember why you started this all: You love to write, and you like to share with people your passion in styling office appropriate outfits as well as tips and tricks when it comes to career development. You started doing this for fun. And as long as you are having fun doing this and that you are helping people along the way, it's all worth it!
2) What is my end goal?
How would I ever know I've "made it"? Is it going to be a certain dollar amount or is it a certain number of followers? And even if I reach those numbers, what comes after that? And if i can't even get this one blog post to get the traffic I need, how is the blog ever going to reach the audience I want to reach?
Think back on all the rewarding moments you've had from the inception of this blog; what do they all have in common? Yes, making a positive difference in people's life. When you know what you do has made an impact on someone, you feel like all your hard work is worth it. When someone takes up a product recommendation you've made, or try a trick you've taught them and end up with an interview, or practice reducing the amount of "up-talk" in their speech and become more confident in the process... that's all that matters. That is the end goal.
3) How am I going to get to the next level?
I know how I got from zero subscribers to where I am today - continuous production of content, reaching out to people who need my help, and networking with the right talent and meeting the right people. But is this what I need to do to get to the "next level", whatever that means, anyway?
You are where you need to be. Live in the present, and focus on the now. Acknowledge the future, and understand your path, but don't dwell on either. Everything I have done put me where I am right now, and that's all that matters. Enjoy meeting the people you are meeting, appreciate every single comment, and pat yourself on the back for having put in all the work you've put in. You know you have a voice, and that voice is going to be the one that carries you to wherever you're going to end up. Sometimes a little faith comes a long way.
4) Why are my stats not improving?
They say that analytics is where the crux of your improvement will come from. They say to monitor and dissect your traffic like a hawk. I do it with an almost obsessive attention and I'm still just left wondering - if I know a type of content just isn't resonating, what is it that I should be doing instead? Or if I keep trying to create different content, and nothing seems to stick... how do I change my approach? Does nobody care what I have to say?
You have a niche, so know that your rate of growth when it comes to follower base is just going to be slower. Also, at your current level, content distribution is limited by your own personal network. This mean you have to think about new ways of branching out. Think about re-structuring collaborations, and ask for guest blog posts, or volunteer to guest blog. Get out there and grow your network. And remember the people that have left you comments, paragraphs of comment, because they were touched by what you wrote. Never forget them, because they care about what you have to say.
5) Between collaboration and un-sponsored content, how do I balance?
I don't want to be a sell-out. But the truth is that feeling when you receive a free product in exchange for review, it's really hard not to take that as a form of acceptance and compliment. So on the one hand, I want everything I write to be completely un-biased and authentic, but I can't help wanting to accept free products and sponsorship just so I can get that validation. So then, what is the right mix, 50/50, 20/80?
As long as you are still writing about what you love, and that you feel a true sense of conviction about what you have to say. The moment when you are struggling for words and doubting yourself on the points you have, you know you are losing authenticity. You've always considered yourself a maven of information, so spreading words about a great product isn't selling out. But writing a post on false feelings or results from a product, very much is. So as long as you stay clear of the latter and always provide your most genuine and honest review, you are not a sell-out.
All photography by Natalie Alvarade