Very little has changed in my life since October 2011 but so much growth has taken place. Five years ago I had no idea what to do with this space just that I needed an outlet. I had been reeling for months after a painful heartbreak, shopping excessively and mostly in need of finding myself. But I have already told that story before in this post here.
Today I am celebrating 5 years on the blog!
Like I said, not much has changed from the story on this post. 5 years is a long time. I have experienced so much growth and learned life’s lessons some harder than others. I am in a good place, not necessarily where I would have liked to be but working my way there.
This journey has taught me lessons and along the way I have had a few regrets, made mistakes and downright fucked up with the blog. I will be sharing with you my TOP 5 REGRETS OF BLOGGING so far so that you don’t make the same ones I did:
1. THINKING I DID NOT DESERVE TO BE ANYWHERE
If you have followed me on social media since way back when you will know that I have always attended events and been part of some enviable projects. Remember STRUTIT AFRIKA FASHION WEEK, DEACONS FASHION BLOGGER CHALLENGE, COKE STUDIO AFRICA SEASON 3 among others?
I was a part of it all and I loved every bit of the experiences and exposure. The only thing they do not tell you is that sometimes especially when you are just starting out with something, when you are still unsure whether anyone will buy what you’re selling or if people even take you seriously you tend to shut up and act like you should not be there. Anytime I meet a creative who introduces themselves as an “up and coming” something say stylist, make-up artist, blogger, writer, musician I always tell them to drop that term.
Simply put if you take a title and own it that is what you become, which means if you let yourself be described as “up and coming” something at which point do you stop and just be an artist, stylist, musician! Who dictates it if not yourself that you possess a certain skill! For the longest time I shied away from people at events, stood in a corner not building bridges because I was up and coming. What I did not realize then that I have come to learn now is that everyone at that event is probably just like you or looking for someone like you.
Get off that wall, get a drink in your hand and say hi to a few people especially if you are in a similar industry and you know they can help you get to the next level. You deserve to be here!
2. FAILING TO BLOW YOUR HORN
Blowing ones horn kind of works the same way as flirting. The art of bragging is something most if not all men have successfully mastered. Do it subtlety and in the right doses just enough to create an interest with whomever you are talking to that they want to know more your work or work with you.
As I said above, sometimes when creating a network you do not realize that the people you are not talking to are looking for you! If they do not need you they might just be able to connect you with someone who does or alternatively admire you passion and create a need for you and your skill where you least expect it. It has been said that your dream job probably does not exist and that you should create it.
Don’t overdo it though; you do not want to bore people with details about anything and everything.
Before I used to think that some people do not deserve an opportunity but got it until I realized that talent without hard work does not pay. Nobody will know you are a great writer, footballer, DJ unless you show them. Brands and personalities are often more inclined to work with you if other brands already have. I used to be quiet about what I do when I meet people. These days I am not afraid to speak up and explain more.
I have a friend who depending on the circle will introduce me as a Lawyer or Fashion Blogger and go ahead and drop a few names in terms of who I have previously worked with. I am shy but usually it will instantly draw one or more people to me who already feel like they can trust me to give them advice based on whichever skill I have to offer.
3. HAVING NO PURPOSE
Blogging started as hobby, a release through which I could rediscover the things that I love. An adventure through which I have acquired new interests, tastes and friends but most of all it has become a full-time job.Initially, I used to just wake up and blog whenever I feel like it. This meant that photos were not always the best quality, some posts felt rushed or ill-prepared and often there were long periods of no activity on the blog.
Over time I have come to appreciate the value of hard work and time that comes with putting up a single blog posts.
2015/16 has been an entirely different ball game. Sometimes I can work on logistics for a month plus before I even take pictures of an outfit, other times I have to make calls and part with some money in order to acquire the right location for a certain look. In order to preserve all these ideas I keep notebooks everywhere that way when I’m uninspired I can go over them and see which one to execute.
I finally started to approach every aspect of the blog with a purpose. From my social media posts to the content in the blog. Working with a purpose has made it easier for me to appreciate any progress and address any challenges. It is also very professional to be organized in your planning. This helps you to engage with other brands and work with proper timelines.
4. NEVER STOP
That break from blogosphere is oh so tempting! I have fallen prey to it so many times.
Let’s take a break and focus on that school project, take a break and do my exams, take a break because I have no inspiration! It is all just excuses, the more time you allow yourself to be away from it the more time you are losing out on current and potentially new audiences.
If you are blogging with a purpose it means that you have created calendar, your posts should appear regularly and consistently like the Sunday Nation articles you look forward to (mine are Mwalimu Andrew and Surgeon’s Diary). Even with events and exams coming up you should already be prepared for those periods.
I have people that always keep me in check and ask when I will be posting. Unless I am going through monumental changes I try not to make excuses. Keep friends that have their own things going for them, that way you can all push each other, a WhatsApp group of like minded individuals is helpful.
While I said you should never stop, I did not mean that you should not take social media breaks. The interwebs can be overwhelming all of it can more or less be lies, after all people only show you what they want you to see and not really every aspect of their lives. But even on your break write ideas that you want to work on when you are back.
5. NOT ASKING FOR HELP
You can’t do it all, nobody can.
I am bad at the business side of blogging, I won’t lie. I would rather someone else handle the pitch, emails, meetings, presentations and logistics while I focus mainly on creating. God bless my friends who have gone the distance with me and are now part of my team, they make the entire experience that much easier to cope with.
Your favorite international bloggers more often than not have office space with a full management and production team working behind them to ensure that their work, travel life is balanced. Blogging is a machine that only works when its joints are well oiled.
Unless you have proper knowledge on photography, hair & make-up, SEO and web developing you definitely need to research, consult, pay or beg (HA!) for assistance. The world would be a better place if only we asked for help when we need it.
If you are organized and disciplined you can probably manage but over time especially when your audience begins to grow you will need help. You should be able to ask your friends to help you out and when you can hire help don’t hesitate. I have had to climb up rocks with bags and bags of things and the fact that a friend was there to remind me to touch up my make-up or run all the way back down and pick something I forgot has helped more times than I can be grateful for.
PHOTOGRAPHY: WRITELIGHT AFRIKA
NECKPIECE & BELT: DUBOIS ROAD
EARRINGS: ROBERTO PAGGIO