8 years ago today when I hit publish on my first blog post, I never could have imagined how much that choice would impact my life. I had just turned 30 and was at a crossroads in my career. A year prior, I’d made the extremely tough decision to leave an emotionally and physically draining career in digital media/advertising. Then after a little soul searching, I’d accepted a new role as the digital marketing manager at Los Angeles magazine. I felt at home. The people, the work, the bustling journalistic environment was everything I thought I wanted. Yet, there was still something missing.
I became friends with one of the marketing assistants who had dreams of starting a blog, and after I told her I’d been tossing around the idea myself, we decided to go for it together and created “Mayo and Moni – East Meets West, Where Food Feeds Fashion.” She wrote about food on the east side of LA, and I wrote about fashion on the west side. It was just what I needed – an outlet finally where I could get back to my love of writing (which I honestly had forgotten how much I’d missed), and a way to start honing my styling skills. Before long though she had found herself pulled in another direction career-wise, and I had been day-dreaming about starting my own blog focused just on fashion, beauty, shopping/styling and events around LA. We parted ways amicably and Cammeo HEAD TO TOE was born.
I know so many women struggle with their career path, whether you’re a 30-something single woman or a new mom just trying to find yourself again – I get it, I really get it. So this year for my “blogiversary” (Yes I know that word is kinda cringey, just go with it 😉), I’ve decided to list 8 lessons I’ve learned, not just about blogging but life in general, along the way.
8 Life Lessons Blogging Taught Me
Fear is Temporary
Some of my favorite sayings over the years have to do with the notion that, anything worth doing or meaningful in life is never easy. Think about it – if I had let fear talk me out of taking that leap and starting a blog, I would have missed out on 8 years of growth. 8 years of learning about myself, my passions, and ultimately what fulfills me. I would have missed out on truly connecting with others, and that’s been the most rewarding part of it all. I would have never felt the excitement of seeing another woman’s confidence shine through after helping her style her favorite shirt or teach her how to finally curl her hair. Or feel the honest bond with another mom after sharing those real and raw moments of motherhood. And no amount of fear, how long or short, should hold you back from doing something you’ve been called to do.
Vulnerability is not Weakness
Have you ever wondered about what others would think if they knew the “real you?” Not the social media packaged version of you – the real you. I think it’s safe to say we all have, because at some point or another we were led to believe that no one wants to see the messy parts of life. That somehow if we actually owned up to the fact that our lives were not perfect, and that God forbid we actually make mistakes, then we’d suddenly be shunned by all who knew us. Well somewhere along the way I decided, you know what – if someone decides they don’t like me based on my level of perfection, then they probably weren’t worth wasting energy on to begin with. So I started writing about my struggles with motherhood and postpartum mental health. I remember feeling so ashamed and like there was something so wrong with me, so much so that it took me until my first baby was 18 months old before I worked up the courage to share my story. I’m so glad I did and grateful for the opportunities it has given me to help and be helped by other women in my community.
Learn First, Ask Later
If there’s one thing I could repeat over and over again until I’m blue in the face it would be – hone your craft. The most successful people in life didn’t simply get there by magically knowing everything right off the bat. Sure there’s some level of natural talent, but instead of just sitting back and relying on things to come their way – they worked hard at it and developed those skills over time. I also guarantee they didn’t just go around asking other successful people to dump all their knowledge on them (for free for that matter). My point is, with all of the resources out there literally at our fingertips, there is no excuse for you not to simply learn and teach yourself about your craft. Whether it’s simply Googling relevant articles, watching YouTube videos, or paying for online courses – I mean it when I say, the reward is far greater when you can look back and say that you didn’t cut corners and you put in the work yourself. Just trust me on this one.
Know Your Limits
I realize I may sound like I’m contradicting myself, but hear me out on this. It’s also important to know your limitations and know when to hire someone else to do the work for you. No I don’t mean to flat out be lazy and not do any of the work, I just mean that over the years I’ve had to realize that I am much better off hiring a graphic designer or an SEO expert when my DIYing just isn’t cutting it. There is no shame in admitting you don’t know how to do something, and if you’ve done all you can to learn a certain skill and still need help or you simply realize there are not enough hours in the day – by all means, hire the help! I’m talking to you mama 😉
Kindness Never Goes Out of Style
I’ll be short and sweet with this one. If you’re ever on the fence on whether or not to be nice to someone, just be nice. It reflects more on you than them. Now I’m not saying I get along with everyone, but in general, if I have not-so-nice thoughts in my head that’s usually where I keep them. I’m also more so talking about how we treat each other online. It’s really easy to hide behind a computer screen and think that your words don’t inflict pain, but believe me – they do. I’ve known way too many people go down a spiral of emotions simply because someone chose not to be kind within a comments section. So listen to your trusty stylist when I say – let’s all wear kindness like it’s the next big trend, except this one never goes out of style 😊
Accountability is King
Remember when you were a kid and your parents never stopped talking about how you needed to take responsibility for your actions? Well they were actually trying to just make sure you grew into a responsible adult who understood the meaning of accountability. I’ve had to learn my fair share of lessons when it comes to accountability and one of the hardest ones of all was when I started working for myself. It’s easy when you have an office, a boss, coworkers, etc. depending on you to show up at work everyday – it’s another story when you are the office/boss/coworker all in one. I’ve had to learn that unless I treat my blog like any other traditional job I’ve had – it will never be as successful as I want it to be. Luckily there are so many ways to make being accountable to your work easier these days. Like using scheduling apps (ie. Asana), joining professional blogging groups, or I’ve even heard of other bloggers who use group texts where they owe each other a dollar if they don’t complete certain tasks each day. No excuses y’all 😉
Foster Your Friendships
As you get older, friendships aren’t just nice to have, they’re vital to your happiness. It took me many years to realize this, especially as it became harder to make friends after moves and having kids. Life just got in the way and prioritizing my friendships became harder and harder to do. I’m grateful to say though that in the past few years I’ve not only rekindled old friendships, but also fostered new ones both personally and professionally. Now there are many days, where I honestly don’t know what I would do without their support. I also learned how much I thrived on being a good friend and the rewarding feeling you get from helping others. So love on those friends of yours, and don’t ever be afraid to put yourself out there – you never know who’s just waiting to meet you.
I thought I would end this on a lighter note and say, that when all else fails, just laugh about it. Life gets too heavy sometimes, and I’ve found that in most cases a little humor goes a long way. I learned that actually from my late dad who was British and had a tactful way of always making light of a situation with his whit and charm. I also find that it takes the drama out of a situation real quick, which is something we all struggle with from time to time. I’ve also found that infusing my own personal style of humor into my writing and content has opened up a whole new area of creativity for me to explore. It’s also served me well during these uncertain times, and as my grandpa always used to say “If I don’t laugh about it, I’ll cry about it.” 😉
I hope I left you with a little bit of insight into what life has been like as a blogger, freelancer, and mother these past 8 years. I can’t wait to share some exciting changes – kicking off with a major redesign soon! Thank you as always for being a part of my community 😊