How fast a decade flies by when you’re having fun! It’s hard to believe that this month marks my 10th year of blogging. To celebrate the occasion, I thought I’d do a little reflecting by sharing 10 things I’ve learned (both personally and professionally) during this time.
–Nothing is as it seems online. You can make anything look pretty in good lighting and within a small frame. I can’t begin to tell you the number of styled shots I’ve posted when there has been loads of junk on the other side of the room. Since this is true for my life, I know it has to be true for (at least some) other people.
-There are some genuinely nice people in the world–and others who will never be satisfied. I’ve been very fortunate to have some of the most encouraging, nicest readers. (It always blows me away when someone sends me a kind note for no other reason than just to say thanks–and reminds me that I should be doing more of that for others.) On the other hand, I’ve had some not-so-nice experiences and the comments used to really irk me. I’ve learned that you can’t take it personally, since they don’t actually know me personally. And the crazy comments always give my family and friends a good laugh, so there’s that. . .
-Stay focused on what you’re actually doing–and Who you’re doing it for. . . I’m sure you’ve heard the saying that what other people think of you is none of your business. There was a time when I got caught up in all of that and it brought nothing good to my life or to my work. Having an online job can be a total free-for-all for outside criticism but “blinders on” continues to be my motto and Galations 1:10 continues to be my verse.
-Having a helper has made all of the difference–and it’s even better that she’s my best friend. A few years into this, I realized that I couldn’t do it all by myself. At the time, I was also trying to run a design business, take online clients and blog every weekday. I very timidly approached my best friend Katie about helping me some each week with emails, sponsors, etc. Both of us swore to the other that our feelings wouldn’t be hurt if it didn’t work out. Luckily, it did and she is literally my right hand (wo)man. It also helps that she knows me so well and tells me when I get overly excited and need to reign it in or say no to something she knows I’ll regret committing to a few months from now.
-I like blogging more than I ever liked to design for clients and don’t plan to ever go back to it. When I first started, I thought the blog was just a side to my design business. After babies #4 and #5 came along (at the same time), I realized something had to give. The “something” I wasn’t enjoying was the running around like a crazy lady and making minimal pay decorating for other people. I love to write. I love to make pretty posts. And, I love working in my sweatpants with dirty hair.
-Most people will never believe I have a “real job.” And, that’s fine. If I wasn’t in this crazy business, I wouldn’t be able to figure it out either. The beauty of writing a blog is that you can work 80 hours or eight hours a week. I never run out of things to do. And as with most jobs, the more time you put into it, the more profitable it becomes.
-It’s good to double check why you’re doing what you’re doing. It could be very easy to get carried away with your little self when you’re doing this for a job. There are fun opportunities and the ever-present need to self promote. I sometimes get sick of myself so I can only imagine how you must feel. . . I try to always go back to why I’m doing this in the first place. You come here to find decorating inspiration and a look at real life. I hope that’s what you feel you get most of the time.
-I enjoy being an island. Over the years, I’ve noticed that a lot of bloggers/influencers/etc. tend to join a group and stay there. I’m not criticizing that at all. I think having the support and ear of other people in a similar line of work is great for some. Maybe it’s my introvert side coming out, but I’ve always enjoyed working on my own more. I don’t know that this has always been great for my social media growth, but it’s just where I’ve decided I’m happiest.
-Separating real life and online life is a good thing. I’ve probably pulled back in recent years from sharing as much personally as I used to. Sometimes, I’ll whip out my phone to take a picture of my kids doing something that I want to share on Instagram and then I’ll never end up posting it. Everything seems to be so “out there” now, it just feels good to save some of it for only me–and my family.
-It’s okay to be content with where you are now. It took me several years to figure this one out, but how freeing it was when I finally did. I don’t want to write a book or travel the world or whatever it is I should want. I want to write about things that hopefully inspire you and I want to pick my kids up from school and tuck them in at night. I want to eat dinner at home, watch Jeopardy! on my couch and go to my kids’ games. It may not be ambitious by worldly standards but I’m grateful each day that I have the opportunity.