Another week of self employed, girl bossing life is drawing to a close, my goodness do these weeks seem to be getting faster and faster!
Many times this week, and more or less every other week I am left feeling like there isn't enough hours in the day.
Time is quite literally flashing before my very eyes and sometimes I'm struggling to stay afloat with it all.
I started my blog four and a half years ago now, back when I was on my placement year at university and never did I imagine that I'd be sat here, at home, writing this kind of post at 2:23 in the afternoon. I've learnt a lot in the last 4.5 years and I thought I'd divulge you with some of the things I've learnt, that they don't tell you when the thought of turning your hobby into your career arises.
The question I get asked the most, whether it be from you lovely lot or from journalists and brand's a like is "How did you get into blogging" and whilst many a bloggers story is different, I find that mine seems to shock people the most, purely as it was totally by accident.
I was at university, on my third year in which we went into industry, interning at various different fashion brands and businesses. Half way through the year I remembered that I was supposed to be returning to uni with a diary for my tutor. A diary that documented the ups and downs of interning and exactly what I was doing and in-turn, learning.
On this realisation I crapped my pants and frantically Googled "Online Diary" 'cause if I was going to note down the past six months of diary entries I sure as hell wasn't about to do it by hand.
That's when Blogger was introduced to me, the answer to my internship diary prayers. I innocently tracked back through my time interning, documenting every little thing I could remember and sharing every crap iPhone 5 (maybe even 4) photograph to support it. I'd interned at House Of Holland and ASOS thus far and was currently undergoing my final few days on the PR team at Alexander McQueen, so someway and somehow people began to read my blog.
When I'd finally discovered that people were reading my private diary and after the panic had worn off, I stumbled upon Lily Melrose's blog. From first read, I completely fell head over heels in love with her personal style and the way she wrote as if she was chatting with a friend. I instantly thought "I can do this" and that is exactly what I did.
The blogging world had been turning for around 5 or 6 years previous to this and I was completely and utterly unaware of what was going on, behind the scenes of my industry. But all it took was for 10 people to read my internship musings, for me to fall in love with the way Lily Melrose documented her day-to-day style and to get my hands on a tripod and I was off!
I spent the first two years of my blogging "career" at the end of my mum and dads driveway, snapping my daily outfits on a tripod at around 730am, before heading off to my internship of the moment. I'd then spend my lunch break drafting up my daily outfit post and catching up on my new found favourite blogs.
From there I went back for my final year of uni, taught my then boyfriend a thing or two about photography and began to experiment with how I shot and shared my outfits.
Once graduated, I juggled working at ASOS and blogging more or less full time and really saw my profile and my love for blogging soar! After two years in London I took the plunge into turning my hobby into my job, moved back to Manchester (the best thing I ever did) and now work on my platforms, including Instagram, Twitter and more recently YouTube, every single day.
It's something I never, ever(!) saw happening. It's something I completely and quite naively fell into, blogging wasn't something I'd ever heard of 5 years ago and it definitely wasn't a career prospect of mine. However, I feel so insanely grateful and so thankful that I spend my days doing something I completely and utterly love. Something I truly enjoy and something I hope will grow with me, and with you for many more years to come.
However, having turned my hobby into my full time job just 19 months ago now I've learnt the hard way what it means to transform something that was once an outlet for relaxation and peace of mind, into something that is a 24/7 career.
And with that rather bloody hefty intro (sorry), I'll now share 5 things I've learnt since turning my hobby into a full time job.
1. The Ups & Downs
So first up it has to be said that not every day as a blogger is full of coffee cup moments, surrounded by big fluffy white pillows and pink peonies... In fact, I really hate peonies (YEAH I SAID IT, ALRIGHT!)
Yes, there are insane, out of this world highs, that leave you pinching yourself that this has actually happened. But there are huge lows too, lows that involve not knowing if you're financially stable from one month to the next, lows about how you should be filling your days and not feeling quite as full-filled as you wish to be, and the lows of losing out on an opportunity to work with your favourite brand.
They are all lows that all together can seriously break your day, leave you feeling unmotivated and ready to pack it all in. However, you can't have a rainbow without a little rain now can ya? These lows, however irritating and hard to overcome as they may seem, they're all learning curves that will leave us feeling and being a stronger business woman in the end.
Sometimes all it takes is a little cry to my momma or to George and of course writing a good ole fashioned list (I'm big on the power of list writing) to leave me feeling back on top again, granted with my fingers, toes and everything else crossed that something turns up soon!
2. Your Hobby Ain't a Hobby No More
So you've turned your much loved and much needed hobby into your career and everything is hunkydory. You've turned something you love, into your full time job and that is pretty much the dream right!?
However, what they don't tell you is how you inevitably lose that one thing that you loved to do, you lose your outlet, the activity which allows you to unwind, to switch off and to relax after a hard days work.
I love my blog, I love everything about it, especially writing and creating beautiful shoots in the hope that I can inspire you and your wardrobes. However, it can be a labour of love sometimes and I have moments where I wish I still just did it for fun. Fast, fleeting moments might I add, but moments all the same.
It's an easy problem to fix, I just haven't quite found a hobby I love as much as I do my blog. I'm trying to read more, but it doesn't take much for my mind to wander off into content creation or outfit planning, I'm also seeing a personal trainer which, even just two sessions in is helping a lot.
I think, in the new year I'm going to start a course, a course totally unrelated to my blog that I can get my teeth stuck into and hopefully fall just in love with as I have my little space on the internet.
3. The Work Life Balance
I touched upon becoming a workaholic in this post here and I have to say, I think I've learnt a little bit on how to best tackle this to get more balanced on the work/life scale, however this is something that has probably been my most trickiest of learnings since becoming a full time blogger.
Being a blogger is a 24 hours a day 7 days a week kinda job. If it's not writing then it's shooting, if it's not shooting then it's planning, if it's not planning then it's admin including inboxes full to the brim with emails and if it's non of the above then it's being constantly on the hunt for the perfect backdrop for today's OOTD. It's a relentless kind of job, that involves a lot of brain power. Much more than people on the outside realise.
I'm learning, the slow and hard way that I must give myself and those around me a day off. Sometimes Instagram can wait and sometimes if the words 'aint coming to you then you simply cannot force em. Being a style blogger is 80% reliant on somebody else to help you take those much needed snaps and that is my biggest motivation for taking some time off.
George is great, and I would never want him to come on board this train full time. It just doesn't suit us and my goodness does that boy have enough of his own stuff going on, so for now, I'll try and balance out the scales with one full day off a week where we can go out or stay in, sans camera.
Sometimes I wish I could keep my work brain at home on an evening or a day out but sometimes that isn't overly doable. It's a tricky thing to get right but I'm working on it and it is definitely something to consider before taking the full time plunge.
4. Knowing Your Worth
Making money in the blogging industry isn't something that we are taught and, like many career choices, it isn't something that is spoken about openly.
It's something we learn through trial and error, testing the waters and essentially winging it. I'm not a natural born business woman (as my accountant knows all too well) and I'm extremely British in the sense that discussing money terrifies me. For the first two years of my blogging career I didn't earn a carrot, 'cause I simply didn't know you could. When my first big break came, in the form of a television advert for a HUGE hair brand, I sold myself short... Extremely short! Something I only learnt I'd done since having a strong supportive team around me in the form of Gleam.
But it's all learning and I wouldn't change it for the world. The more we try it out the more we can gage and get to know our worth as a credible full time blogger. It's still something I am getting to grips with and something I will try and share as much as possible with you guys, should you be interested?
5. One Size Does NOT Fit All
And finally, the one piece of advice I would give any blogger is that when it comes to blogging, one size does not fit all.
In the past, I've spent many an afternoon reading blogs that are telling me to post consistently every single day, to do this and to do that, blogposts that instead of inspiring me have left me feeling deflated, like I am not good enough, like I could do more and work harder, which creates a huge cloud above my head that comes with a HUGE amount of personal pressure.
In the past year or so, I've personally blocked out these specific blogs and made the decision to not read them anymore, which is a shame, but it just wasn't doing anything for me, and I bet for many of you too. Instead I've learnt that when it comes to becoming a successful full time blogger, there isn't just one formula that works, it's different for every blog and for every blogger and you really can't compare yourself and your workload to others.
It's not a one size fits all community and thats what makes it so brilliant! You simply have to do you and do what works for you and the rest will fall into place.
So there we have five of the MANY things I've learnt since taking the plunge into full time blogging and becoming a business woman. I really hope you will read these and you will note just one or two of them down when deciding on whether to take the leap. I really hope you do take the leap, as there is room for all of us in here but if you don't take anything else from this post, please do listen to point number 5 and just do you.
Please let me know your thoughts on this in the comments below. I'd really love to hear what you think and whether you have any learnings yourself either as a blogger or as a business woman/man.
Lots of Love