Hi again Society Letter readers, I am so happy to be here today, talking about why I started blogging. Before I get started, I feel like I left all of you hanging on my last post. I talked a lot about how I got to where I am today, but I didn’t really dive into what I am doing now that I’m here! You probably got that I am living on a ranch in a small town with my fiance, but there’s a lot more that I do on a day to day than just snuggle baby animals.
When we first moved up here, my sister tagged along, and spent the entire summer with us. I loved having her here, but by the end of the summer, she was more than ready to head home. Once she left, I felt very lonely, then on top of that, we got engaged. After getting engaged, and realizing that I was choosing the ‘ranch life’ for the rest of my life, I became very very anxious. I hadn’t had anxiety in a long time, but the realization that I was giving up a career left me feeling like I was missing out on a part of my “bucket list”.
And with that, Boxwood Avenue was born. I had known that I wanted to create an e-commerce shop that was separate from my etsy shop, offering customers more than just ribbon, but I had been too nervous to start one - and truth be told, I still am - but one day, I just decided, the heck with it, and did it. I don’t mean that I have my e-commerce shop up and running (yet), but I do have a long term plan that includes the eventual launch of an e-commerce shop.
I started Boxwood Avenue about 8 months ago, and boy have I learned so much about the whole world of blogging. Still, I try and learn something new everyday; my favorite resource is Pinterest. Even with loads of resources, one of the most important aspects of (successful) blogging is remembering why you started. Some start blogging to add additional income to their household, some start because they love to write, others, to make connections. I started Boxwood Avenue to make connections, even if it meant that those connections were virtual.
I guess you can say that I have achieved that goal since I have the huge honor of being a contributor to Society Letters. Getting to know each of the ladies who are part of this, has been such an uplifting experience, and taught me that real friendships can be made online. Besides making great friends, I’ve come to understand blogging in a whole new light, and I’m sure that a year from now I will say the same thing, but I wanted to share some of the simple lessons I’ve learned so far!
My first major piece of advice is: just do it! I think I can speak for Deb (founder of Society Letters) and Kate (contributor and founder of A Cut Above the Rust), that there’s never the perfect time to start your dream, you just have to take the chance and do it!
Adding on to that: The first step to starting a blog isn’t necessarily buying the domain name. It’s extremely important to have a short term and long term plan, even if it’s just on paper. Having a plan with attainable goals will help you make decisions as you decide on a name, branding, niches, and style.
This one's a biggie: As you work on growing your online presence, worry less about quantity of connections you make, and more about quality of friendships you build. Live your online life by AJK’s words of wisdom, “Networking is kinda gross, but making friends is awesome.” If I wouldn’t have worked hard at building real relationships within my social media accounts, I never would’ve had the opportunity to contribute to Society Letters! You just never know where a friendship will lead down the road.
With that being said, you can’t befriend everyone. I would say that I have a group of 25-50 bloggers that I stay up to date with. Meaning, I visit their blogs on a regular basis, leave thoughtful comments, and know their background. It would be impossible to do this with everybody, and I don’t try to! I make it a point to only befriend those who I truly think I would love having over for dinner. This not only helps me stay up to date on trends within my blog’s niche, but also builds true connections & friendships with those that I actually have many common threads with.
I will leave you with this for now: Write down your purpose, frame it, and live by it. There will be times when it’s tempting to advertise for a cool company that may not necessarily fit your audience or purpose. If you live and breathe by your “special purpose” (any Steve Martin fans out there?), it will be a whole lot easier for you to make decisions that will help build your brand. You wouldn’t want half of your house to be purple and half of your house to be brick would you? Well neither does your audience, so stick to what you believe in.
You may have heard some of these before, but I hope that some of my advice may help you as you grow your blog. If you have any tips or tricks you’ve picked up along your blogging journey, I’d love to hear them in the comments below!
Cheers for now!