What I’ve Learned in 4 Months of Blogging

The end of February marked my forth month blogging. Blogging isn’t what I thought – I’d love to share what I’ve learned in 4 months of blogging.

What I've learned in 4 months of blogging

When I started blogging, I wanted lots of things. First, I wanted a side income doing one of the things I love most – writing. I worked as a writer in my teenage years and in my twenties. I even had a magazine at one point. But I was compelled to start a mom blog. I wanted to offer the help and support I needed when I first became a mom. I wanted to share my talents and knowledge (knowledge is useless if it just stays with you). Lastly, I wanted to generate a side income. But blogging has been a bit of a “culture shock” and I want to share with you what I’ve learned in 4 months of blogging.

It’s Hard To Gain a Following

Ugh. This is the most shocking thing to me yet. Don’t get me wrong, I knew it would be hard to get strangers to read my blog. But one thing I’ve been surprised to learn is that even your family and closest friends don’t email subscribe and follow you. (Enter shocked emoji here). I’m not sure exactly what I expected. I think I thought people I was close to would automatically support and follow the blog. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, about 97% of my email subscribers are strangers. I guess my point is that as a blogger, you work to win friends and family over too.

I’m not a fast writer. I take my time planning an editorial schedule and to create quality posts. But I have found the 80/20 rule is absolutely true. You spend 80% of your time promoting your post and 20% of your time writing it. You have to promote it constantly on all social media platforms. It doesn’t matter how good or helpful your content is – it’s really, really hard to gain a following. It can feel like you’re begging to get likes, comments, and shares. Can I say it? This is much harder than I thought.

Building Your Brand Is Important

When I first started my blog, I had absolutely no direction. It was a hodgepodge of fonts I liked and things I thought were cute. But I have found that to get a following, you really need to hone in on your blog’s voice. People begin to recognize your “look and feel.” What I didn’t realize, is that it needs to carry over on all your social media accounts. This means using the same font, the same layouts and even the same colors. It reminds people who you are. For example, since building my brand on Instagram, my followers have jumped from 850 to around 1200 in just a month.

The same goes for consistently posting blog posts. I have found that keeping to the same day and time for posts is very helpful for those who do follow the blog.

Laptop
Photo by Artem Sapegin on Unsplash

High Quality Photos Are A Must

Cell phones have pretty decent cameras these days, but it just doesn’t compare to shooting in RAW with a DSLR. I used to do photography as a side hustle about 10 years ago. But since becoming a mom, I think I’ve maybe only picked it up once. At first, I used my cell phone and just snapped a few photos. Who cares about the background, right? Wrong!

I’ve learned that your blog has to be aesthetically pleasing. Fact: people like pretty things! If it ain’t pretty, no one wants to look at it! I found myself having to invest in some backdrops, presets, props, and extra lighting equipment. I had to learn to master the flat lay. But I can also tell you it has directly affected my following. It does make a difference. If you don’t believe me, take a look at these two photos. The first one is from my very first month of blogging. The second one is from this month. What a difference 4 months makes.

See what I mean? I’ve come a long way. I’m excited to see how I will grow in the next 4 months.

This Is A Business

Blogs cost money. It’s hard to gain a following on a domain that reads www.wordpress.com/abeautifulmess. People don’t remember it. You have to invest in a domain, hosting, etc. And like I mentioned before, for good photos you need props, presets / editing software, backdrops, reflectors, tripods, and more. You need to find ways to help offset the costs of your blog. This means selling things like printables, e-courses, and other things.

Additionally, it means putting ads and affiliate links on your site. Furthermore, if you think it’s hard to gain a following, it’s even harder to get people to buy things! Did I mention how much time you invest in it? I have learned to be successful, you absolutely need to treat it like a business. It means dedication and investing your heart and soul in it.

There’s A Steep Learning Curve

That being said, you need to learn about the industry. I wish I had done more reading and learning before I launched my blog. There is so much I would do differently. Blogging has a steep learning curve. There are so many things to learn. Photography, wordpress, plug-ins, email campaigns, social media and their algorithms, SEO, blogger communities, and blog industry jargon. Honestly, it is a little more complicated than I realized. Duh, it’s a business. Yeah, I didn’t really know that. What can I say? We learn and sometimes the hard way.

You Have To Keep Your Dream Alive

I can’t tell you how many times I have already thought about quitting. It sounds silly, but the very first thing I mentioned was about how difficult it is to grow a following. Can I be honest? It’s depressing when no one is reading your blog. Or maybe more precisely, you don’t know if anyone is reading it. Again, it doesn’t matter how great your content is, if no one is reading it, it’s pointless. There are times when I’m ready to throw in the towel and then someone will say how much they enjoy reading My Beautiful Mess. In my mind I’m like, “subscribe then!” But I’d never say that! I have such a hard time asking for support.

I have followed Rachel Hollis for a long time. She is a well known blogger. Most people know her from her hit book, Girl, Wash Your Face. The sixth chapter in her book is entitled, No Is the Final Answer. Within the pages, she describes how many times she was rejected. She credits the secret of her success as refusing to accept the word “no.” I honestly don’t know if I have her will. I have a hard time bouncing back from disappointment. When you’re a blogger, there is no one motivating you to keep going. You have to remember your “why.” And as Rachel reminds us, you have to believe that no isn’t the final answer. Nobody gets to tell you how big your dreams can be, so go ahead…dream big!


This is what I’ve learned in 4 months of blogging. In the comments below, I’d love to hear what your dreams are and what you’ve learned on your journey.

How to Choose Job Interview Accessories

Please give a warm welcome to guest blogger Julia Alex Markle. In this post, she shares how to choose job interview accessories. If you’re a working mama or a stay-at-home mom reentering the workforce, I know these tips will help you! Please follow Julia on Twitter and on her website.

How to choose job interview accessories

Stats say that 65% of hiring managers choose the better dressed one between two competitive candidates. So, you know that your dress can make or break an opportunity for you. But how to decide which factors you should consider when dressing for a job interview? Tiffany Yannetta, who is the shopping director at Racked, says you should appear professional, fresh, and be comfortable.

Professional outfits

“You want to look professional,” she says and points out how, for women, it can be a little more challenging to decide what to wear. You should look serious about the interview and it should be clear that you have put an effort to dress too. Since your appearance will speak for you before your mouth does, be sure to make no mistakes here.

Since your appearance will speak for you before your mouth does, be sure to make no mistakes here.

How to ace a job interview

Job interviews can be overwhelmingly intimidating. You may find yourself overly anxious right before the interview and a wee bit too conscious during the interview. However, don’t let the nervousness trickling down your back make a home in your mind. The Muse recommends telling yourself you are excited rather than forcefully calming yourself.

The website also suggests you surround yourself with positivity and stop being overly self-critical. Apart from doing a good amount of research and prepping yourself up for the questions, put forward your most confident self in the battleground. Be there on time, be polite, and be smart. Maintain eye contact and ask your questions too. Oh and of course, don’t forget to dress the part.

Here’s how you can get ready for the job interview

What you wear depends on where you’re going. This is why it is essential to know about the dress code and environment of an office beforehand. A marketing company may require you to keep your look crisp and clean while a software house may not mind a laidback style. It all depends on whether the environment is business casual, business formal, worker or casual. Some tips that apply regardless of which environment the office has:

Candidates
  •  Less is more
  • Avoid being too loud with your outfit choices
  • Don’t expose too much skin

Typically, most offices require you to stick to formal style. So, let’s cut to the chase and discuss the main points of what you should wear for a job interview keeping that in mind.

1 – Dress

When it comes to what outfit you should wear to the interview, be sure you choose colors that are not too bold or popping. As per a survey, the best colors to wear to a job interview are blue and black. Orange, yellow, red, shocking pink and other similar hues are best avoided. You can also pick white and camel color. If the dress code is formal, go for a pencil skirt with a button-down tee.  Wearing slacks with a plain fitted shirt and a blazer on top is another good option.

Dress

2 – Handbag

The first rule that you should follow with the handbag that you can carry when headed to a job interview is that the bag should fit all your essentials. Don’t take a bag that is too sparkly or small. Avoid trendy handbags and stick to satchels and totes. Go for colors like nude, beige, brown, grey and black. Pastel hues such as powder blue and baby pink may also work depending on what you are wearing. Avoid clutches and cross body bags.

Handbag

3 – Shoes

Coming to what shoes you should wear, go for close-toed sandals that do not have very high heels. Never wear flip-flops for an interview and avoid platform shoes or very high heels too. In this regard, kitten heels are an appropriate choice. Slip-in pumps will also work well. Go for neutral colors, again nothing too flashy. Avoid shoes with straps or laces and give slip-on heels a preference. Make sure there is not even a slight trace of a design in the form of embroidery, a bow, etc. on your sandals.

Shoes

4 – Fragrance

Several people find themselves torn between whether or not they should wear perfume to a job interview. The answer is pretty simple – do not spray on a strong fragrance that annoys the other person. In some cases, there are policies that offices have stating that people should not wear fragrances. Be careful about that beforehand since several people are allergic to certain scents. Either don’t wear a fragrance but if you decide to wear one, go for a subtle scent.

Perfume

5 – Jewelry

Have you ever seen an employee wearing too much jewelry? We bet no. Therefore, don’t wear too many rings or bracelets. Just your wedding band and a watch will do. Keep in mind simple is sophisticated. Don’t wear dangling earrings or any ostentatious neck pieces, etc. Just wear small studs in your ears. Also, make sure the little jewelry you wear appears to be of high quality. Cheap jewels never leave a good impact. Lastly, don’t expose your tattoos.

Interview accessories

Things not to wear to a job interview

Wearing the wrong things is even worse than not wearing the right things. This is why it is essential to plan and prepare beforehand. To clarify matters more, let’s also jump into what you shouldn’t at all wear to a job interview:

  • Don’t wear something that makes you stand out but also doesn’t look boring
  • Strictly refrain from glittery or sparkly accessories
  •  Don’t wear clothes that you are uncomfortable in
  • Don’t wear clothes that not neat or smell of sweat or strong detergent
  • Don’t wear shorts or low-cut necklines
  •  Don’t wear low-rise pants. Your underwear must not be visible

Key takeaway

When headed for a job interview, appear serious and look professional. Don’t over-expose, keep it simple, wearing nothing too loud, and go for safe, solid and neutral colors. Appear classy but not so much so that you look over-confident. Be sure to be confident, though. Above all, know what the environment of the company is and if it has any set dress code in place. 

Author Bio: Julia is a self-motivated, having team player qualities with excellent communication and marketing skills and is self-employed from the past few years. Having vast experience in the field of marketing & Blogging.

The post, How To Choose Job Interview Accessories, first appeared on My Beautiful Mess.


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