Lessons learned from another year of blogging
I know… that title has the potential to make you squirm and roll your eyes doesn’t it? Seriously Amanda? Life lesson parallels from blogging? It’s okay… go ahead and insert an eye-roll emoji here.
But after taking time to reflect on the challenges and high points of last year, I think that there are plenty of valuable lessons to be learned from any business, not just blogging.
I guess it comes with that sense of accountability and responsibility that working for yourself or owning your own business brings.
But what I gather from friends and loved ones who work for other companies, large and small, the same still applies. The work we do sometimes teaches us things about ourselves and others that, whilst we’d maybe rather not know at the time, can prove to be pretty insightful on reflection.
H E R E ‘ S A F E W T H I N G S T H A T B E C A M E A P P A R E N T T O M E R E C E N T L Y . . .
Your priorities aren’t necessarily someone eles’s priorities
I’m a planner. Always have been and always will be. As soon as I began to take on paid work I became even more of a stickler for deadlines and delivering on what I’d promised.
Having been blogging for so long and working hard to get on the radar of certain brands, I hate the thought of letting someone down and my reputation suffering as a result.
Pulling together content across multiple channels and working with others takes a fair amount of organisation. As the blogger, I often end up with multiple deadlines with different brands and so my editorial calendar has to form the backbone of the “grand plan”.
It’s a fair assumption that each brand I work with will have their own schedule and will be working with multiple bloggers across various campaigns too. This has taught me to be flexible and instigate a new golden rule….
A L W A Y S H A V E A B A C K U P P L A N !
With the best will in the world you can be organised, complete the work, agree on the publish date of the sponsored post and put it in black and white in your editorial calendar. But just know that there WILL be the odd occasion when a brand misses or extends a deadline and at the last minute, you’re left with no content to publish that day.
If you’re already at full capacity and pride yourself on getting content published regularly, this is the kind of thing that will induce a mini meltdown during busy times – trust me!
The answer? Have a bank of new, evergreen content ready to go that you can turn to and utilise in such circumstances.
This is a total stress reliever if you’re as much of a content monster as I am!
Have faith that things will be okay in the end
I guess linked in with the above point, it’s really easy when you’re in focus mode and tied into a project, to allow your own stresses and goals to tie you up in knots.
The slightest hint of a hiccup is usually enough to send me into panicked, stress-monkey mode within seconds. But sometimes, even with the best will in the world, things do go wrong – it’s how you deal with it that has the real capacity to influence the outcome.
I tend not to be the most rational person when faced with a work-related crisis – just ask Mr OS who’s had to pick up the pieces many a time!
Slowly I’m learning what’s worth raising my stress level over and what’s not. Thankfully the “what’s not” category is slowly growing.
Communication and offering an alternative solution up front is the best strategy. Sitting in the corner, rocking and chanting “But what if… (insert your overblown fear here)…” is not.
Sometimes you forget where you’re
supposed to be heading
This is a slightly trickier one as it generally involves head versus heart.
When you work for yourself in a business thats ever evolving (and I would imagine that covers most businesses), there’s always a need to explore what works, what doesn’t, what floats your creative boat and how you might diversify your income streams in order to stay in business.
Sometimes this can inadvertently lead you to lose sight of the real stuff you loved in the first place and have a lot less time to devote to it. Which, in turn, can lead to frustration, stress and eventual creative burn out.
It’s so important to have a regular check in with yourself and your business and get back to the basics of where and why it all began. For me, having a brand style guide really helps with this process.
I’m not saying that as a freelancer you’ll only be able to take on the work you 100% love, 100% of the time… but don’t forget that’s where you’re aiming for.
Because it is feasible and I know of people who are managing to achieve it.
You need to try new things & not be
afraid to ask for help
There’s every possibility that I’m the original creature of habit! I love (and thrive on) routine. so to change things up on a regular basis or try new things kind of goes against the grain for me.
like a dog with a bone very tenacious and can sometimes end up flogging the proverbial dead horse in an attempt to make something work. When I really should have made like Elsa and “Let It Go” some five hours previous.
I guess the lessons I take from this are:
ONE: You’ll need to step out of your comfort zone on occasion and give that “something different” a go. Case in point – I always swore blind I would not go down the video/vlogging route as I was certain I would be hideously bad at it.
Turns out I’m not as hideous at it as I thought and my audience don’t want glossy perfection anyway.
They appreciate my fledgling You-Tuber occasional efforts and are willing to let me learn and develop my on-camera skills in front of their very eyes. (Thank you! I LOVE you very, very much for this you lovely lot!)
TWO: You can’t possibly learn to do everything in your business by yourself and sometimes its more cost effective to hire a professional in that field to help you.
This is far better than staring at a screen for six hours straight until your eyes have gone all squinty… and you want to pick up said screen and drop-kick it over the garden fence.
a bump in the road can turn into a valuable
lesson and show you the way forward
I recently experienced one of these bumps – in fact it’s possibly ongoing and I still don’t know how it will play out.
Meanwhile as I sit and wait, (after an initial few bouts of those mini-meltdowns mentioned above), I’ve been proactive about the best way to handle it and more importantly, taken steps to stop it from happening again.
In doing so, it’s forced me to be a bit more creative too so I guess there’s that silver lining.
Just wish me luck in banishing the darn cloud anytime soon!
Has the life lesson parallel thing happened to you?
I think that about sums up the key things I learned last year… and I’m fairly certain there’ll be more I can share with you this time next year!
I’d love to know if you’ve experienced similar life lesson parallels and turned them into valuable takeaways that help you move onwards and upwards – feel free to drop me a line in the comments below.
Wishing you a great week ahead!
Images: All via Social Squares – you need this fabulous styled stock photography resource in your life!