Friends! Happy Thursday.
Hope y’all are having such a good week! It is a busy one over here. I’m really excited about a few collaborations that I have coming up. First one is out today: Motherhood Maternity is featuring me this month. Today on their blog I’m sharing a day in the life (if you are wondering how we get everything done around here and my best tips for fitting things in) and tomorrow I’m sharing a lot more about Expecting and Empowered. Such a pleasure to work with such an awesome brand and the ladies that have been putting it all together.
Of course Maxwell steals the show with his cuteness. 😉
With some exciting opportunities coming up, I thought it was the perfect time to answer a question that I’ve been getting a lot lately. Women are reaching out and asking about starting a blog. I wanted to widen that topic out and talk about pursuing your passions and making your life one that you are excited about.
Are you happy and excited to get out of bed?
If you are trudging through life, waiting for something to get better or exciting…you might need to be the one that MAKES the change. I know, this is very millennial of me. 😉 Life is far too short to spend it at a job you hate, wishing you were doing something you were more passionate about. Now, y’all know I believe in financial fitness as a key to life. I’m not saying to jump ship without a plan. BUT, do not be afraid to put a little work in to get to a place that will make you more happy. I put two years of work into becoming a nurse (nursing school and CNA experience), but the payoff has been HUGE! Drew and I knew we wanted something more family friendly for our someday family and now I’m living it out! Working 3 days a week and time with my babies. AND no more weekends or holidays because of my switch to the clinic.
A lot of people ask if I started Expecting and Empowered so that I could quit my nursing job. No! I love my nursing job. It brings great perspective to my life, I work with some of the best people I know and I take are of incredible people. My sister and I started E and E because we were SO passionate about helping women through pregnancy. When E and E replaces my nursing income, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it and it will be an exceptional problem to have.
Maybe for you it isn’t a job switch. Maybe it is picking up a hobby outside of your current roles. That is what THIS blog started as. I have friends that paint, friends that blog, friends that hike every weekend, friends that ski, friends that hand make everything, friends that have a mid level marketing side hustle they love, friends that bake and/or cook (not just to eat, but as a true passion). Everyone is passionate about something different, but I find that those that pursue their passions are happier in their life.
Are you willing to get uncomfortable?
I just had this conversation with a friend yesterday. In the beginning of BalancedAmes, when friends or coworkers would ask me about it…I would seriously blush. I didn’t really bring it up in conversation and I did not have the confidence to say, “YES! I have a blog and I would LOVE for it to someday add to our family’s income.” I was more like, “Um, yeah….I’m excited….um, I’m just passionate about health and spreading the good news of it….” Just kind of stammering.
I’ve reached out to new bloggers in hopes to encourage them and I often get the same response. They COMPLETELY downplay what they are doing and how hard they are working on it. I know how hard they are working because I DO the same.
I think the issue is that we’re all scared to fail, so we’d much rather downplay it until we feel more confident/established in it. BUT, talking about it and sharing it IS how you grow. Talking confidently or suggesting a blog post to a friend IS going to peak their interest in it. This applies to SO much more than blogging. I’ve had plenty of friends do awesome things (like earn a Lexus from selling skincare). In the beginning they were much less confident in that choice that is now paying off big time.
Confidence doesn’t develop overnight, so don’t feel like you have to become this self promoting queen in a short time. Just realize that those people that you are stammering around and downplaying your dream to likely want to support you and will recommend your blog to other people…they might even shout it from the roof tops!
Are you willing to grow slow?
SO many women send me messages and ask, “How do I grow fast?” I should reply, “I guess I wouldn’t know, because I didn’t.” Sure there has been a recent burst, but those 2.5 years before that happened taught me everything that has helped me. If I hadn’t grown slow, I wouldn’t have learned the lessons that I learned and wouldn’t be prepared to be relentless. If you start a blog, there will likely be an initial interest in what you are doing from your friends and family. After that passes, you’ll have a period in which you need to find your tribe of readers. I had many blog posts that were read by under 50 people. This is normal and if you are serious, you’ll keep going despite your slow growing numbers.
If you are a blogger or wanting to be a blogger, here are my best social media tips:
- Although tempting, don’t take the easy roads. I see a lot of people wanting to grow fast and deciding to try strategies to help. Listen, I totally get it. It wasn’t ALL that long ago that I had 1,000 followers on Instagram (I remember during the summer Olympics my goal was 1,250) and was growing by like 10 people a week. I believed in my messages and wondered why I couldn’t gain any traction. I just kept freaking going. I didn’t do big loop giveaways, I didn’t join huge groups to send my pictures to for likes, I didn’t join groups that make you follow a bunch of other people so they’ll follow you, I decided after one Follow Friday that I didn’t even like that. Here is the thing: You want to find people that GENUINELY want to follow you and GENUINELY care about what you are posting. They’ll find you by hashtags, they’ll find you by word of mouth, they’ll find you by bigger accounts resharing you. When they come, they’ll cheer you on with likes and comments. I wholeheartedly believe that all of the grow fast strategies come back to bite you in the butt and screw up your algorithm anyway. Instagram is SMART, much smarter than all of these “trick” strategies that people are using. There is nothing that replaces genuine readership and follwership, so don’t go chasing waterfalls (not sure if that reference makes sense). Serve the people right in front of you and serve them SO well that they cannot help but say, “You should really follow this girl! She ____insert your uniqueness_____.” This is one of the BIGGEST compliments you can pay anyone you are following, so DO this if you are loving someone’s message! They are definitely working really hard to produce those.
- Be your freaking self. Man oh man, I can tell you this is another one I’ve fallen into in the past. After Max, I wanted to be like the other mama bloggers and take pictures in front of my garage door in a cute outfit. I wanted to up my photo quality and wear outfits in which I looked put together. When I started to do better, it was when I just completely leaned into being myself. I realized I’m the mama that lives in athletic clothes with my hair obnoxiously on top of my head. The mama that never has her kiddos out of pajamas unless we are leaving the house. The mama that isn’t afraid to share that parts of parenting are really hard for me, but I think of it as our beautiful mess. This mama doesn’t spend a lot on clothes and doesn’t have a perfectly decorated house, but has other things to offer. My friend Lisa told me I’m the queen of helping people find their niche. I don’t know about that, but I definitely LOVE helping people find the uniqueness in themselves.
- Ask for help! When you are on your journey, don’t be afraid to ask people around you for help. I’ll text my friends: “Describe me in 5 words” or “Do you have any blog post ideas that you could see me doing?” or “What would you come to me for advice about?” Sometimes OTHERS that are close to you can see your uniqueness better than you can see it. You can take these answers and help them to LEAN into finding your own voice in the sea of voices.
- Believe you are interesting. It’s funny because one of the women that I ALWAYS go to for advice recently said, “Raise your hand if you feel boring? Well, good. That means you’re normal and not an egocentric, self-infatuated human.” Dang girl, that is the first time I’ve really thought I COMPLETELY disagree. Why do we have to think we’re boring?! Is it that humble thing that is constantly shoved down the throat of women? I think I’m interesting and fun and unique. I don’t think that makes me egocentric and I do believe that makes me able to create fun captions/stories/blog posts. I do think loving yourself extends to how you feel about your personality traits and I can tell you I’m a spicy one. If you think your stuff is too boring to share, I’m not sure how you are going to create magic and grow.
Hope this finds you guys well and you start pursuing whatever passion that is uniquely YOU!