Happy 2020! Wishing you all a most healthy and prosperous upcoming year! 2019 has been quite a wild ride for me – in February I began exploring social media as a hobby, and it is now my full time career! As an early one year anniversary celebration, and to pay homage to 2019, I have compiled the top 10 lessons I have learned over the past year!
1. Failure is a good thing.
The first blog/ Instagram that I started in 2019 was all about my take on mom life and honestly, it never really took off. I couldn’t find the right voice, nor aesthetic, and in hindsight that isn’t surprising. I am not the type to even READ mommy blog, so it makes complete sense that I wouldn’t enjoy writing one. I guess thought that just because I am a mom, that’s what my social media had to be all about. Wrong! While I love my son more than anything in the world, I have many other interests. When I began focusing on my other passions, like fashion and beauty, everything fell into place. I wasn’t struggling for content, I got more brand deals and it took less effort, because it was a natural fit. This meant having to invest some time and money to change certain things, but was definitely worth it, which brings me to my next point
2. Spend money to make money.
I’ve invested a fair amount of money into building my brand, and I have made it all back plus more. I have paid for : the initial set up of this blog, then changing it all, several editing, content planning and graphic design apps, participation in giveaways, frequent professional photography and 1:1 training with a well known influencer. Each of these things could be considered an initial risk – but the benefit has been well worth it.
3. Stay true to you.
When I first started, I agreed to almost any collaboration that a brand offered. Free stuff? Why not! Wrong. (Again) Now, I decline most offers I receive, because A. the brand wants me to work for free (more on this next) or B. they want me to promote a product that doesn’t fit into my lifestyle and isn’t true to me. For example, as much as I wish I was, I am not really into exercise/fitness, so it is disingenuous for me to promote workout gear or muscle building supplements.
4. Know your worth.
When I first started creating content, I would put in hours of work just for a couple free t-shirts (literally). And honestly, that’s OK – even necessary – to build a brand. Thankfully, I am now a position to negotiate fair compensation for my services and I will not work for free. Also, I’ve learned to ALWAYS make sure collaboration terms are clear and that there is a contract in place prior to agreeing on a collaboration. That may be obvious to some, but as someone with zero business acumen, I had to learn the hard way.
5. No one cares about your IG feed as much as you do.
The constant struggle of an IGer – having that perfect, well curated, cohesive feed. Some people do it so well, and it is truly impressive! Not me. I have tried so many themes – there was my initial mama/babe phase (not me), my highly saturated blue & orange summer theme (also not me) and my desaturated, white, minimal feed (gorgeous but not sustainable). Eventually, I had to stop trying to make my Instagram look like an art gallery because it just wasn’t working. I still use a planning app and a preset but I do not limit myself to certain colors or backgrounds. Honestly, people usually see your post in their own scrolling feed. They spend a few seconds in it. They (usually) do not go to your account and critique your feed for every minute detail and level of cohesiveness. No one cares as much as you do. Promise.
6. Prioritize quality over quantity.
I have continually made the mistake of posting on IG just because I felt like I “needed something to post” that day. So annoying. Finally, I realized that it is so much more effective to post high quality content a few times a week rather than mediocre content every day. By putting your very best content out, you keep your followers wanting more, rather than rolling their eyes because you’re over-saturating their feed.
7. Let go of toxicity.
Between running my brand and being a full time mom, I simply do not have the time, energy or desire to engage with individuals or activities that aren’t in line with my values and goals. People who are judgemental, cruel, unsupportive or otherwise toxic do not deserve a place in my life. Enough said. Bye-bye!
8. Make connections.
2019 was all about networking! You HAVE to put yourself out there, whether it is pitching your to brands or collaborating with local services. One of the best connections I’ve made was a woman from my son’s babysitting group, who also happens to be a very talented photographer. We work together consistently, and she has become a partner in several projects. You never know what skills others may have and how you can mutually support each other
9. You can’t do it all.
Well, maybe you can. But I know I can’t. Not only am I super selective about brands I work with, but I’ve also had to enlist the help of others. Hiring two babysitters for my son was a HUGE relief for me, and has been essential in being able to take my business to the next level without feeling like I am neglecting the other duties in my life, whether that is housework, appointments or errands.
10. Believe in yourself!
It is cliche, but true. I never thought I’d be a blogger or an Instagram influencer, but once I realized it was something I could do, I knew I wanted to do it well. In less than a year, I have worked with some amazing brands, made a surprising income, attended NYFW as a content creator, was signed by a local modeling & talent agency and landed a great job as social media manager for a business I love. I’m not saying this to brag – but I am really proud! I feel more like “myself” than ever, and it has all been from following my intuition and saying “yes” to the opportunities I have been presented. And I promise – if I can follow my dreams and make them come true – so can you!