Has blogging changed me for better or worse? The verdict is still highly, arguable. As with anything in life, there are upsides and downsides to blogging as a career. Now, having blogged for five years, I can see how different I am in so many ways.
The upside of blogging is amazing. There are so many it would take a few blog posts to name them all. Of course, the creative and inspiring people you meet along the way in the blogosphere have impacted my work life as much as my personal life so much. I have made life long friends through blogging. As an expat, I didn’t have a group of friends that had the same passions or motivations as I did. Blogging in a certain niche really does build these type of personal relationships. You can share what you love to do while you do it with others that love to do the same. It’s like having virtual coworkers. You can ask for their advice, guidance and support on work or life. The blogging community really is so supportive. Some of my blogging friends are my true rocks when I need a friend to lean on.
Over the years, blogging has given me stronger skin and provided me with personal challenges of not being such a people pleaser. It’s a work in progress as with anything when we are trying to be the best we can be. I used to be a “yes” friend. The one that always makes the calls, makes the plans, takes care of others on a night out, says yes to everything, stays in touch and pretty much most of my friendships were 80%/20% reciprocation. It’s not a good quality to have. You get walked on a lot and used by those that actually don’t care about you or eventually forgotten. With your life completely online, you have to tough up a bit. Know who the trolls are and ignore their horrible ways and rise above it at the same time as you can choose those that really are the positive influencers, literally. It’s the same with clients when you first start out, you will say yes to everything just to get work going, whether it’s undervaluing yourself or not. Slowly, over the years, I have learned what I should value myself and stick to it when I am approached or approaching a brand for work. I am learning to stand up for myself and know how hard I work. It’s hard to give yourself credit where it’s due but blogging is hard work. It’s 24/7 most days and weekends and nights too. Finding balance is the key with a family, and household to run but blogging doesn’t always allow for this with deadlines that might hit in the middle of a big holiday or clients wanting weekend or special promotions at certain times. You are at their mercy sometimes.
It’s a great career if you like change. There is never the same day with blogging for me. I am always working on a different project for a different client for a different reason. Whether it’s food styling a new recipe for a client which has me testing out new food combinations and playing with my food or it’s out for a day out with the family reviewing some new adventure and experience, it’s never dull. One week, I might be home styling my living room and the next be consulting a client on their social media. My job changes daily. Each morning when I open my emails I never know where they are going to steer me next and I absolutely love that. I love that I never get sick of it and I never tire from the constant variations of all that I do in my job. I used to find my office job, really frustrating, doing the exact same thing everyday, same time, same work, and used to get bored quite often if I had my work done early. I didn’t feel like I was doing anything special with my life or time.
The obvious upside to blogging is that I can work anywhere there is wifi and my family are a huge part of it. Without them it wouldn’t be a family blog at all just a lifestyle. They benefit so much from it as much as I do. I will always respect them when it comes to an age they no longer want to be in photos or part of it too. It’s something we love to do together and it’s working for us. When that times comes, I have other avenues to follow without them too.
It works around the kid’s school and sports activities too. I can work from home and be there for all their school events too. Something I remember my own mother not being able to do, bless her, and wanting to so badly. I love that I can still visit my family back in America, all summer, every summer with the kids and keep my business going. A little time difference get’s tricky on deadlines but other than that my work goes with me wherever we go. I am so grateful for it working out this way with another baby on the way. I can’t alter my work during nap times and after bedtimes so that I also get that special time with baby during the day while the kids are at school.
It’s made me more independent and self sufficient. Not that I wasn’t before, I always have been but more in terms of what I do, I get in return. If I want more work and more money I have to put in more hours and more effort contacting people. If I need to step back a bit, I can do. It ebbs and flows with me and what I need. My social media is very much the same way. I can pour hours and hours into it and see benefits and then when I take a break, I can see the drop. It’s one of those balances to find that I was talking about earlier.
Overall, I think differently than I did before I set up my own business and worked for myself. I don’t feel like I am doing nothing career wise or with my life. I feel valued and my work acknowledged in what I do. I also get to create such a lovely document of our family life for all my family back home to feel apart of it all being so far away and call it work. Being creative and writing has always been my passion and I am so grateful it’s became the main focus of my life. I feel more fulfilled in my career choice. I feel like I am doing something with my skill set.
I also feel like I have personally grown so much over the last five years of work long hours and hard than I have ever done. Nothing just happens over night and I learned that the night grouling hour way. The first year of my blog, I worked on it every night long pass 11/12pm. Even my second and third year, it was every day building my social media and learning what to do and how to do it. I learned as I went. Personally if I stopped tomorrow (it would be like losing a leg for me) but I know that I could go on to learn and do whatever I wanted. Something I don’t think I quite had the confidence to do.
Speaking of confidence, this is where I have really changed the most. I have always hid behind the computer and camera. Taking photos and styling food, homes, my kids and even photographing friends for various things but never feeling comfortable in front of the camera. Stepping out of my comfortable zone has been one challenge I have really worked on the last two years and through vlogging and meeting up with other bloggers to photograph me instead of the other way around, it’s been an eye opener. I never realized how self conscious I was and how critical I am of my own appearance. I learned to stop putting myself down and stop focusing on what I didn’t like about my body or myself and start appreciating and loving the good parts. This wasn’t the example of what I want to teach my daughter or any of my kids for that matter so I needed to stop doing it to myself.
I don’t know if I will still be blogging five years from now or if the internet will crash tomorrow and I have to start a new chapter in my life. But I do know that it has really changed some of the things I never liked about myself or wanted to improve for the better. It’s made me into a stronger, confident, well-rounded person through the amazing people I have met and the brands I have worked with and all the relationships I can take away into my personal life with me when I stop. I would like to hope it keeps on changing me for the better in all that I experience ahead and that I can continue to blog as for as long as it continues to be rewarding in my life.
We can talk about the downsides to blogging another day. Let’s keep this a motivating and positive post to focus on.