3 Year Blogiversary + 3 Things I’ve Learned

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Happy Blogiversary to Vogue for Breakfast! Three years ago, on January 15th, I began this journey with all of you. I had no clue how to start a blog, run a blog, or where Vogue for Breakfast would take me. All I knew was that I wanted to start a blog and there was no time like the present, so I did it. Head first, right off the deep end, and with no floaties. Or at least, that’s how it felt. I have learned a lot in the last 3 years, so for my 3 year blogiversary, I’d like to share the top 3 things I’ve learned.

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blogiversary-vfb1Coat: SHEIN Sweater: Old Navy Jeans: Articles of Society Bag & Shoes: JUSTFAB Scarf: Old Navy (old) Similar here & here Lipstick: Urban Decay Earrings: Christmas gift from my super stylish Momma 🙂 Similar here & here

TOP 3 THINGS I’VE LEARNED IN 3 YEARS OF BLOGGING

Invest in Your Blog – This was something that I did not do from the beginning. As I’ve shared in previous posts, the first pictures I posted were from my iPhone. (The camera technology on the iPhone has vastly improved in the last 3 years, but just think back to your iPhone 4. That’s what I was using). I used a free template from WordPress, and didn’t really think much about the overall aesthetic of my blog or Instagram feed. I quickly realized that if this was something I really wanted to do, I was going to have to make some investments.

Now for you, that might not mean monetary investments. It might mean making your blog a priority, and setting aside time every week that you devote to planning, photo shoots, editing, and writing. (This is something I am still working on, as I have a full-time teaching job, and I’m currently finishing up my Masters degree). But for me, it meant monetary investments. Investing in a good camera and learning about photography has been a huge asset for me. I do not pay a photographer to take my blog/Instagram photos, so I had to research and teach myself about photography. That is a journey that I am still on, but I love learning new tips and tricks every day! I also realized that I needed to step up my game when it came to my blog and Instagram aesthetic, so I had to invest some time there as well.

Since making my blog a priority, I have been seeing so much more growth. If you haven’t noticed, the market of bloggers is so saturated. You have to make blogging a priority if it is something that you really want. Because if not, there’s thousands of other enthusiastic, driven, and excited bloggers who are willing to invest, sacrifice, and prioritize, and they will be the ones to experience success.

Know (and Fight For) Your Worth – Oh how hard this is! I talk with other bloggers all the time about working with brands, and the common theme I keep seeing is that bloggers may know their worth, but they do not fight for their worth.

Back when I first started blogging, I worked with a lot of smaller boutiques who would send me clothes. I thought, “This is great! Free clothes!” But then, I started to realized that sometimes I would get in over my head. I would say, “Yes, yes, yes!” And before I knew it, I had piles of clothes that needed to be photographed, and not enough time to do it. Or, I would have a boutique that would send me items that they chose. The clothes would come in, and they would not match my style at all. I felt that I had to post them, but I didn’t like them and I didn’t put much effort into the shoots. That is lose for everyone involved. My audience did not see a genuine post, and the boutique did not get my best efforts. I’m sure there were other bloggers who would have LOVED those items, and would have done a much better job for the boutiques.

After a few rounds of, “I won’t make that mistake again.” I finally learned my lesson. I never never never want to share something that I do not truly love/enjoy myself. I promised myself around year 2 that I would never again put myself in a situation where I would mislead my audience into thinking I loved a product/item that I really did not.

It was around that time that I created my media kit, and it has been such a helpful tool when connecting with brands. My media kits communicates exactly what I am capable of providing for a company, so therefore the company knows exactly what they are getting.

Also, and this is a big one, it’s okay to say “No.” Let me say that one more time: It’s okay to say, “No.” Remember that, because it’s important. When a company reaches out to you, and you are not interested in their product, it’s okay to politely decline. Or, when a company reaches out to you, and wants you to advertise their product for free, it’s okay to negotiate. Know your worth. Fight for your worth.

A lot of people do not realize how much time/effort can go into just one Instagram post, much less a full blog post. When a company wants me to work for them for free, I have to weigh the options. First, I ask myself if the product is something that I really want or is it from a brand that I already love. Then, I ask myself if the product alone as compensation will be worth the effort of planning a concept for the shoot, styling the product, photographing the product, editing the pictures, etc., etc. If I feel that the product is worth the effort, I may agree to a few Instagram posts. However, I am very clear about the time frame, specifications, etc.

In the past, when agreeing to just a few Instagram posts, I was overwhelmed by the demands of a certain company. They had all of these specifics that they wanted me to include and emailed me constantly wanting to “check in.” After producing the deliverables for our collaboration, I chose not to work with them in the future. Because while I liked the product, they were not paying me for my time, and it was so stressful to constantly receive emails from them about what they wanted in return for a $100 item. I could have just bought it for myself, and saved myself the hassle.

If you feel that you deserve compensation for what a company is asking, don’t be afraid to ask them for it. And if they aren’t able to provide that, you can always decline. All they can do is say, “No.” But, you might be surprised by some of the “Yes” emails you receive. Don’t sell yourself short. If you don’t feel like you have a huge audience, share something else with the company that makes you stand out. Tell them why you would be a good fit for their campaign, and why you should be compensated.

Collaboration Over Competition – This is another biggie. Like I said, the blogging market is over saturated, but that’s okay. That doesn’t mean that you are in competition with other bloggers. You are unique. You bring something special to the table. No one else is you. Find what makes you stand out, and utilize it. Leverage your uniqueness to build your blog, and don’t worry about what someone else is doing. They aren’t you.

And while you’re trying to tap into your unique qualities and abilities, talk with other bloggers. This industry is all about connecting with people, so if that’s not why you want in, you might be in the wrong arena. I have found connecting with other bloggers to be one of my favorite parts of this whole journey. We can all learn from each other and share with each other. You may know everything there is to know about Photoshop, but need help pitching to brands. Talk with someone who’s been there and can offer you some sound advice. A great place to do this is by joining a community like Style Collective. I am a member and huge fan. It is a platform to connect with other bloggers and educate yourself on all things blogging. I have learned so much from being a member of Style Collective, and the founder, Annie, is amazing! Or, if that is not your thing, start a Facebook group for bloggers in your city, hold a monthly blogger meet-up, etc.

Wow, that was a super long post, but I hope these tips have been helpful. Is there something I didn’t address? I’d love to answer any questions you may have, OR if you’re a blogger, I’d love to hear your top blogging tips!

QUICK OUTFIT TIPS

This coat from SHEIN has been a favorite of mine over the last two years. I love the buffalo plaid design and the fact that it has pockets. I would suggest sizing up if you plan to wear it with sweaters because the arms are a little snug.

I rave about the v-neck all the time, so why not once more? I own it in every color. It fits true to size, is thin enough for layering, and is the perfect length. It’s one of my favorite purchases this season.

Links contain affiliate links which means I may receive a small commission for your click or purchase.

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