Thursday, September 11, 2014

Do What You Love; Love What You Do

I'm stepping back from fashion, lifestyle, eats, and all that jazz today to talk about what lies behind it all (and why I started this blog). A friend of mine posted an article on my Facebook wall today, which focuses on a fashion blogger that is expected to make $8 million this year. Just this year. (#wtf)

Chiara Ferragni (below), who writes "The Blonde Salad," has turned her blog into a multi-faceted business, with opportunities (and money) stemming from every angle. Blogger, model, designer, spokesperson - Chiara does it all, and she started everything with a fashion blog back in 2009. Just look how far she's come.


The article about Chiara is a serious kick in the ass for anyone, including myself, to get things moving. To get empowered. To get motivated. To DO. Chiara is living her dreams - she is the perfect example of "Do what you love; love what you do". Whether you write a fashion blog, run a business, hate your life as an intern right now, are still in school..whatever it is!..we all have the same goals: happy, happy, joy, joy. It's as simple as that. (Thank you, Ren and Stimpy).

As for me, I've worked in the financial industry since 2008, when I graduated from college. A few small assistant positions to start, then I found myself at a larger company with larger goals and more of an ambition to really find out where I'm supposed to be and what makes me happy. Four years (and two promotions) later, I finally found myself on the right track - but something was missing. "Do what you love; love what you do"..I had the second half covered, but not the first. Enter: Instagram.

I joined the Instagram fad a bit late in the game, but I was hooked immediately once I joined and became fascinated by the connections and secrets that this social media outlet was hiding. The trails you can trace to find similar interests, the new companies and/or people you'll come across by clicking on someone's hashtag, the BLOGGERS. Oh, the bloggers. I was done for.

After following a few female bloggers and really starting to dig into the fashion-blog world, I kept thinking over and over to myself - I like this. I'm drawn to this. I could do this. The creativity, the photography, the writing (#englishmajor), the organization involved, the planning. It's all me. I could do what I love. So I did it - and that was that.

Nine months and countless hours of work later, I'm JUST starting to see my blog take off. After NINE whole months. (It's literally my baby)! Advertising affiliations with over fifty companies including J.Crew, Lord & Taylor, Nordstrom, BCBG, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Gap, etc. (the list continues), an audience on Instagram that grows every single day, being mentioned in tweets by Bloomingdales and Banana Republic, having Courtney Kerr (my favorite blogger) like one of my posts..it goes on and on. Not to mention the positive feedback from family and friends. It's all just re-affirmation that I'm doing what I love, and I'm on my way to who knows where!

Caught in the act - always instagram-ing. Always blogging. The work does not end.

Every single moment thus far has been a "pinch me" experience, but let me tell you, this is a LOT of work. I spend hours each night scouring websites, Instagram, Pinterest..you name it..for ideas on what I'm going to write about that night and post the following day. I literally work two jobs, and it's tiring, exhausting, and WONDERFUL.

I constantly have a lot of people asking me detailed questions about how things work and how things get done, so I'm answering a few of those questions here. (I myself had the same questions in the beginning; I had to deal with the "where the hell do I even begin?" issue). Here's a quick list:

1. I do everything completely alone (aside from taking the pictures of myself - that would be impressive. And odd). I had no training or experience whatsoever in the digital marketing/media world, and I started with blogger.com as a default template. However, I taught myself HTML and CSS coding during the process of really building out my site, which makes it appear exactly the way I want it to - from the layout, to the colors, the links, the photos, the borders..absolutely everything you see was designed and created by me.

2. My brother takes all of my "Outfits" photos. He also had no prior experience in the field, but we've come to learn that he has a great eye for photography, and he has me in stitches when he pulls out a French accent and calls himself Jacques as he tells me how to pose. (For anyone that knows my brother personally, you know his "voices". Wild and unbelievable not-so-hidden talent).

3. I try to post at least 5 times a week. Monday to Friday posts are ideal, but sometimes I run into timing issues (I'm only human - not to mention the fact that I do have a "real, primary" job), and I'll miss a day here and there. I typically try to take weekends off from writing a post, though I stay active on Instagram and Twitter all day, everyday.

4. Yes, I've spent a decent amount of money on clothing and other items since I've started blogging. However - I do not spend an absurd amount and am certainly not breaking my bank. I buy pieces, as usual, that I love and will wear anyway (to work, or out at night / on the weekends); I just find that now I often think to myself "Is this something I could blog? Would other people want to see this?" Even if that answer is no, I obviously do not deter from my personal style - you just won't see those pieces up on my site if they are not "blogable". At the end of the day, sex sells - and it's the same concept in blogging. I have analytic tracking on my entire site, and the posts that always get the most clicks are when I include pictures of a great outfit. (It's a fashion blog, after all, right)?

5. Yes, I make money from blogging. Bloggers make commissions through sales, advertising, and other affiliations with companies. I absolutely LOVE writing this blog, but at the end of the day, it's also a business.

6. My long-term goals, in short, are to collaborate with more/larger companies, to watch my following continue to grow, and to open up an online boutique with pieces that reflect my personal style and the style of the blog, which I continue to tweak every single day.

I started this site, because I knew something in my life (creativity and fulfillment-wise) was missing. I felt an itch, and for a while, I just couldn't figure out where to scratch - and then it hit me. If you find yourself in the same spot, and if it FINALLY hits you - full speed ahead. Don't think. Don't Wait. Just DO. Do what you love; love what you do.

xoxo
Kerry

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