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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Blogging Full Time... One Year Later

I've been contemplating this post for months now.  Let's keep it real, my one year "anniversary" was technically back in July and here we are now in October.  It's been one hell of a year though so although I started writing this post in August, it has remained an open document since then.  I would add things that I felt were necessary truths to share then delete things that I felt were too personal.  Here in this Blogosphere, it's so hard to draw that fine line where you go from informational + helpful to oversharing.  Some of you may think, well you put it all out there anyways so just dish the dirt!  Truthfully, I put about 25% of my life out there.  LOL.  There is so much that I choose not to share from my husband to my friendships to my business relationships.  Certain aspects of your life deserve privacy in order to flourish.  So how has this first year of Blogging full time been?!  Where do I even start?!?!

Straight out the gate, I jumped into projects and campaigns with brands.  I figured this would grow my audience fast and get those numbers popping.  Numbers were BIG to me back then.  Some months, I worked with up to 4 different brands promoting their products.  Notice how I didn't say "sharing" their products with my audience.  My Sales Funnel was full and my PayPal App was constantly dinging on my phone.  One would think that I was living "The Dream", right?  But whose "Dream" was I actually living because it didn't feel like anything I envisioned for myself.  Working with different brands, yes... but not pushing products and lines to my online community that I didn't even have history with.

My turning point came when a really popular account/brand asked me to review their product and provide content for them.  In my heart, I didn't really believe in the product or it's need in the Natural Hair Community but I accepted the deposit and began working on the content anyways.  Some time while I was filming I looked at myself and said "what the fuck are you doing, Candice?!".  Turned my camera off, went over to the computer and wrote a passionate yet professional email apologizing that I would not be able to fulfill my promise on this project.  Immediately, I pulled up PayPal and refunded the deposit they had given me and just like that, everything changed for me.  I knew that from here on out, I would not and could not keep down this path.  Sure, many other Bloggers had found uber success doing just that but those weren't my dreams.  Unlike many other Bloggers, I resigned from my job not only to Blog full time but to also spend more time with my family.  Although I was at home during the day working on #blogshit, I wasn't at all present.  My days were spent taking pictures and filming while my nights were spent catching up on Social Media.  THIS wasn't my dream.

For a few months, I stepped back to reevaluate what I wanted to do.  During that time, I received the all too common "where you been, girl?!" and "is everything okay?!" texts from those that noticed my absence online.  Some I responded to and some I didn't.  I began to care less about what people thought, and more about what I thought of myself.  At the end of the 2016 first quarter, I went through a major health crisis that definitely shook things up for me.  I've kept this super quiet and when I'm ready to share I will but not now.  Little by little I did share what I was going through with friends + family.  Notice I didn't say Blogger friends because there's a difference (we'll talk about that later).  The health crisis made me realize that I was taking an amazing opportunity and squandering it away by trying to "keep up".  When I finally reemerged, I felt confident as ever with the brand and person that I presented to my online community.  It wasn't those Blogger Friends that I needed to impress but rather my friends that encouraged me, prayed for me and was there for me to lean on.  They were truly the ones rooting for my success!  It was during this time that I was easily able to see who was a 'Blogger Friend' and who was a 'Friend'.  Blogger Friends are like colleagues, they don't know know you.  Most of my actual Friends didn't need me to tell them something was going on personally.  They had a feeling.  I wasn't receiving messages from them asking me to go like their latest YouTube videos, Comment on their Instagram posts, or like their Facebook pages.  They called me.  Yes, they picked up the phone and called me... and when I didn't answer because I was so blown about what I was going through, they called my husband.  One thing we need not to forget is that there is real life and then there is everything else here online.  I was being put through one of the hardest tests of my life and God made it very clear that I had to make some changes.

Did I lose money during my time away, of course!  Something I remembered though, was that money never drove me to do things out of character.  Even in the corporate world, if it challenged my happiness then I would be quick to pull up and start looking for something else.  So yeah, during that time I lost money but when I began working with brands again something amazing happened.  Instead of working with 3-4+ brands per month, I was working with 1-2 brands and making double sometimes triple the amount that I would before.  What I had totally forgot about was the value in ME.  I had put all this value in numbers... everyone is big on numbers but let me tell you something about those numbers.  There has to be MAJOR value behind your numbers!  After speaking with other Bloggers, I realized quickly that I was now being paid the same amount as Bloggers who had 4-5 times the following!  AND.  AND.  I was doing it all on my own terms!

I will say this... evolving is necessary.  If you look at what you're doing now and it looks EXACTLY the same as what you were doing last year then what are you REALLY doing?!  You're on a hamster wheel.  If your dream is to work with all the popular brands and be on all the campaigns the popular girls are on, that's cool!  I'm not knocking you for that.  Do you, get money!  LOL.  It's just not MY dream.  I began Blogging to share my experiences with other women online and because I was a beauty junkie at heart, I also influenced purchases as well.  That's the path I want to stay on and stay true to.  At one point, I desired to take the path to big numbers and popularity because it paid.  Now I'm realizing that if I reach big numbers and uber popularity, that's cool, but I want to do it in a way that is genuine to who I am.

Cheers to Year 1.

Shoppe Owner


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