It’s been one month since I launched Just Your Average Gal (wow, seriously?!) and time has flown! I’ve learned so much, not only about blogging itself but about all the feelings that come with taking a leap into the unknown: nervousness, excitement, fear, anxiety, frustration, happiness. And through all of this, there are five important lessons I’ve taken away from this experience so far:
1. Just start
For me, this is the most important thing I’ve come to realize. Without the action behind your great idea, that’s all it will ever be: an idea. There were a number of times I thought about starting my blog before I actually took the plunge! I had registered my domain name and purchased my WordPress plan months before I even chose my theme! I researched bloggers who wrote about the topics I’m interested in and made notes about the features I liked on their homepages. I went to Chapters and bought a book on blogging. I even googled some of my former j-school classmates to see if they themselves had a blog! I was constantly at odds with myself about how “perfect” mine should be, from everything to the site layout to each individual word in my posts. Allowing myself to be hung up on all of the little details certainly didn’t help get me get any closer to my goal. In fact, it only served to make me doubt myself and my efforts. And that is a shame! Never be afraid to start because, even if you’re still working out the kinks, you’ve taken the first major step in making your dreams and goals a reality. There is one thing I know for certain: I’ve never regretted starting, I’ve only ever regretted not starting sooner.
2. Don’t compare yourself to others
This is an important one. With social media as all-encompassing as it is today, it is so easy to compare yourself to those you see on your phone, computer screen, tablet etc. I did a lot of research before I started my blog and, in that time, I came across many accounts that I admired, but also envied! That beautiful Instagram feed! Those romantic presets! Those curated flatlays! That gorgeous dress, person, landscape! How was I ever going to stack up to these heavy hitters?! Better yet, why even try?! Yikes! It took me some time to come to the realization that these accounts weren’t just created overnight. These accounts were created by people who have worked incredibly hard to find what works for them (and their lifestyle) and are continuously striving to deliver that curated content to their readership. They have most likely spent years collaborating, networking and engaging with their audience and fellow influencers. It is a lot of hard work! I, myself, experiment with the things that I like from other accounts and sometimes it works for me and sometimes it doesn’t! And trust me, I know when it doesn’t! HA! As long as I continue to feel like I am being true to myself, I will try new things with my blog and social media platforms. Half the fun is fooling around with it while you figure out what your own personal style, message and/or brand is!
3. Embrace who you are
This one goes hand in hand with the point above. Like I’ve said before, we are all wonderfully different. And this means that our lives are different too. Don’t ever feel like you need to look, act, be or write a certain way to appeal to others. The beautiful thing about blogging (and writing, in general) is that you can express yourself in an open and honest way about the everyday things in your life. And now that you’ve taken that bold first step, why would you want to be anybody but you with your blog? Not to mention, it’s exhausting trying to be everything to everyone all at once! You are unique and you should feel free to write about those things that you are most passionate about. You shouldn’t feel like you need to alter your life to conform to what is “popular” or what might drive the most hits to your site. Don’t feel pressured to be someone you’re not, because you’re awesome just the way you are! The right following will continue to engage with your content with or without all the glitz and glam!
4. It’s okay to be a beginner
Embrace the learning curve! It’s okay that you don’t know it like the back of your hand yet. Heck, it’s even okay if you have no idea what you’re doing! I learn at least one new thing every day! There is not one person on the planet who didn’t start out as a beginner. Don’t beat yourself up if you haven’t quite figured out the right hashtags or how to get the most out of a certain platform. These things take time and practice, just like anything else. If you need someone to point you in the right direction, don’t feel embarrassed! Never be afraid to ask for help. Without a doubt, the people you turn to have been in your shoes at one point or another in their own journey. They are an invaluable resource in helping you get to where you want to be. It’s not stupid to ask them for advice, it’s smart! I’ve reached out to a number of bloggers and business owners in the last month and each person has been incredibly gracious in imparting their wisdom and advice on me. If you ever feel like you’re the only one who doesn’t get it, you’re definitely not! Our journeys may look a little different, but the fact that we’ve all started from scratch is universal.
5. Have fun! And remember why you started in the first place
Never forget why you started. I began my blog because I wanted to get back to my writing roots. I wanted something that would challenge me; something of my own I could be excited about. If your project ever starts to feel like a chore or something that brings you anxiety, then you need to take a step back and reevaluate your ‘why.’ If you ever start off doing something just for you, then why feel obligated to anyone other than yourself? If you need to take a break or don’t feel like posting, that’s okay! Who determines how much or how little time and effort you put into a personal project? The answer is, you do! If your passion project eventually becomes a side hustle, that’s amazing! Good for you! Your priorities and goals will naturally change with the evolution of your endeavour. If you decide to take it in a direction that will require you to engage with a larger audience, then I’m sure you’ll add a few business-oriented goals into the mix. Your ‘why’ might change but the happiness you feel when you’re doing your thing, shouldn’t!
What have you learned on your journey?! I’d love to know how you’ve grown since starting your venture and what advice you’d give to those just starting out! 🙂