One Year Blogiversary | 10 Things I Wish I Knew

one year blogging anniversary
Similar Free People Top | Polka Dot Skirt | Tory Burch Miller Sandals | Boater Hat | Leather Earrings, c/o Nickel & Suede | Heart Shaped Sunnies (only $14 and a Chloe dupe!) | Gucci Purse | Lips, color is Patina
Happy Birthday, Amanda's OK!

Well....sort of. This little blog has been around for over five years but I never dedicated much time to it. After a blogging hiatus, I decided to actually put effort into blogging and start trying to make something of myself and find some satisfaction in work. That "relaunch" happened a year ago in the beginning of May, 2017. It has been a hectic year filled with highs and lows, mistakes and growth. Some days I wish I never inserted myself into this over saturated influencer world but most of the time I'm so thankful for the experiences and friends that it brought my way! For me, blogging provides a creative outlet and a way to share things I genuinely love with the world (photography, travel, fitness and shopping). I know some people make fun of bloggers or think we are too into ourselves, and that's OK. Blogging makes me happy, so I keep doing it.

I listed a few "Things I Wish I Knew" below. Looking back on the last year there are a lot of things I could have done better at or been more successful with. I thought I'd share them incase any of you are interested in beginning the blogging journey! If you aren't, that's fine too, just enjoy my cute outfit pictures and tell me congratulations. ;)

1 year blogiversary

nickel and suede earrings

polka dot skirt and button down shirt

1. Blogging is a Lot of Work
I mean, it's basically another job. Every post is hours worth of work between finding an outfit, styling a shoot, taking the pictures, editing the pictures, writing the post, linking the outfit, posting on Instagram & Facebook, catching up on any blogger pods or comment groups, etc. etc. etc. Not to mention any brand collaborations with certain requirements to meet. I'm not saying this to complain, but I probably spend at least 15-20 hours a week on blog-related things - and I'm not a full time blogger! I'm a marketer, an advertiser, an accountant, a photographer, a writer, a web developer, a graphic designer, a stylist and more all rolled into one. Heaven help me!

2. It is a Balancing Act
Like I said, I'm not a full time blogger. I'd love to be one day, but for now I have a 40+ hour a week job, a blog, several fitness classes to teach each week, my own workouts to do, a house to clean, dogs to walk, friends to see, family to visit with and a husband to love. Whew! I've learned that sometimes, the blog needs to go on the back burner so I can actually LIVE. It's great to have goals (ex: 3 posts per week) but life doesn't end if you miss one from time to time.

3. It is Expensive
Oops. Sorry, C. Yes, bloggers get a lot of free stuff sent to them and occasionally get paid/sponsored post opportunities. It's wonderful when it happens, but that isn't the case 90% of the time. I spend SO MUCH MONEY on clothes, food, experiences, hotel rooms, etc. just so I can write about them. I mean yes, I love doing it, don't get me wrong, but blogging needs to be a part of a well rounded budget to keep your wallet (and husband) happy.

4. Pick the Right Collaborations
When I first started blogging, I'd say yes to any collaboration that came my way just to get exposure and have a topic to write about. Looking back, I wish I wouldn't have. First off, don't sell yourself short. Blogging is WORK and you should get paid appropriately. Second, only partner with brands you truly love and those that would benefit/match your personal brand. Basically, don't promote something unless you love it, it fits your brand and it matches your following.

5. It Won't Happen Overnight
Sure, there are a few select people out there that go viral and get a huge following after blogging for a few weeks. Good for them! But honestly, I think its fishy, and they are the exception, not the rule. Most of us (except for those who got into blogging before it was popular) stick it out, slowly but surely, and steadily grow over time.

6. Community > Competition
I can't emphasize this enough! Blogging is not a competition. There will always be people better than you and people worse than you. Supporting one another and finding your tribe will help you go so much further in the long run! I'm so thankful for the friends I've made, both near and far.

7. You Can't Do It All - Pick a Niche!
When I first started, I thought my blog was my blog so I'd write about what I was interested in. As much as I wish that worked, it just doesn't. To grow a true following, you have to have specific topics that they know they'll see each time they visit your page.

8. No One Likes a Copy Cat - Be YOU and Be Real
In such an oversaturated market, there's no doubt that you'll have the same top or the same pair of shoes as someone else. That being said, don't just straight up copy. Use other's posts or captions for inspiration and ideas, but make them truly yours. Put your spin on it! Use your quirky sense of humor. Share a real life story. Put an unexpected outfit together. Be authentic and transparent. It is much more memorable when someone is unashamedly real and upfront (think, Kathleen Barnes of Carrie Bradshaw Lied). Let your flag fly, girl!

9. It Takes a Village
I don't think C knew what I was signing him up for when I started blogging. What would a blogger be without her Insta-Hubby?! But seriously, I'd be lost without his constant help and patience, my parent's encouragement, my fellow-bloggers support and shared advice/help/info, and my photographer Lisa's time and talent.

10. It is V. Technical
I thought blogging would be all pictures and pretty things. WRONG. There is a ton of back end stuff involved. CSS, HTML, SEO, algorithms, accounting....the list goes on! Luckily I took a web design class in college so I had *some* experience and have been able to teach myself enough to get by.

shein polkadot skirt

festival look

what I learned in one year of blogging

All of that to say, my advice for any newbie bloggers or those wanting to take the leap is this:
Pick a niche, don't give up, be yourself, promote what you love, find a tribe, set aside time and money, don't be afraid to put yourself out there, have fun with it and use every experience, good and bad, as a learning opportunity.

ALSO, start a new Instagram account. Don't try to turn your personal account into a blogger Instagram. That is my #1 biggest regret!

Thank you so much for following along! It truly means to world to me that anyone cares what is going on in my life or values my thoughts and opinions. YOU help keep his blog up and running and for that I am truly grateful and appreciative. Here's to another year!

Photos by Lisa Mathews

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