What a difference a year makes?! The Society of Harlow blog has officially turned ONE! My BABY is 1 year! Is this how mothers feel when their babies turn 1 year old? On March 8th, 2016, I embarked on a journey to spearhead my own lane into the blogger and influencer world [check out my very first post here]! In my first year blogging , I met some amazing people and did some pretty amazing things. More importantly, I learned some very valuable and tough lessons. This post is all about the 5 lessons I learned in my first year of blogging!
Fist Year Blogging… 5 Lessons Learned
1. Just Start
Duh, you already know this! So, why is it so hard for us to believe in ourselves and press the GO button?! Last year, I had the opportunity to attend Mogul Con, a female empowerment and entrepreneurship conference. A guest speaker at Mogul Con highlighted the profound point that anyone can be an expert as long as you can provide 5 helpful tips on a specific subject matter, ie. fashion, fitness, curly hair, tiny houses, cats, etc.
I have over 10 years of experience in industries across fashion, buying/styling, modeling, public speaking/teaching, corporate, event planning. So I ask myself, why did it take so long for me to start the Society of Harlow blog/brand? For my first year blogging, I wanted to hit the ground and run with force. I would fill my brain with excuses. Excuses that included doubt around timing/capacity, writing ability, and support (family, strangers, companies, etc.). I have learned, there is no such thing as THE perfect time, trust your dopeness, don’t be afraid to fail, and Just Start!
2. Set Vision, Goals, & Timelines
First, say YES to starting, after that do theses 3 things: 1) establish a vision, 2) set goals, and 3) create a timeline to execute. Establish your vision by asking yourself 3 vital questions: 1) What is the niche market (fashion, food, technology, branding, etc) that I am passionate about? 2) How does my voice/product differ from what is already on the market? 3) Where do I see myself/brand in 1 year, 5 years, 10 years? My vision for Society of Harlow was to build a confident and empowered community through bold and unapologetic fashion and style. Society of Harlow’s long-term vision is to expand the brand across fashion/style, beauty, fitness, branding/entrepreneurship, and merchandise.
Set S.M.A.R.T Goals
Secondly, set S.M.A.R.T goals. S – specific, significant, stretching. M – measurable, meaningful, motivational. A – agreed upon, attainable, achievable, acceptable, action-oriented. R – realistic, relevant, reasonable, rewarding, results-oriented. T – time-based, time-bound, timely, tangible, trackable.
Moreover, when I started the vision and goal setting process for Society of Harlow, I set goals for EVERYTHING I wanted to accomplish, no matter how big or small. I was intentional and strategic about what and how I was going to define success. For example, I set an Instagram following goal of 10,000. I surpassed the 10K goal and reached 15,700+ followers in year 1! Being featured on Fashion Bomb Daily’s site was a big and ambitious goal for me. As you would imagine I was thrilled when I found out I was named one of Atlanta’s Top Bloggers, within 6 months of launching Society of Harlow!! Set your goals high. These two examples provide clear evidence of the importance of vision and goals setting.
Lastly and simply put, you have to be disciplined with your time and set a timeline to meet and drive towards your goals. Be intentional with your calendar and planning. Here are some resources and tips that have helped me juggle my full-time job and the blog: 1) get disciplined and stay consistent. I have designated times and days that I focus on building my brand. 2) Use scheduling apps and tools such as Buffer for cross social media and blog scheduling and Planoly for Instagram scheduling.
3. Consistency is Key
Let’s talk consistency in terms of loyalty and expectations. Let’s use McDonald’s milkshake machine as an analogy. You fell deeply in love with McDonald’s milkshakes, but every time you go to buy a milkshake the machine is broke. You will attempt to get a McDonald’s milkshake a couple more times before you completely give up on their milkshakes and find another fast food joint. This is the same thing with your brand audience. If you do not deliver content/product on a consistent basis they (audience and sponsors) will loose interest and look for another option. I try to post on Instagram at least once a day or 2-3 times on typical days.
There are two ways you can view quality; first as the foundation of your brand or two, a challenge. The concept quality should be your number one priority when launching and maintaining your brand. On the other hand, quality should not prevent you from actually spearheading your plan. For example, the quality of your images must be top notch. Yet, I recognize that the average person does not have a professional camera, but most have a iphone or camera phone that takes solid pictures. If your only option is to take photos with a cell phone make sure lighting is great (natural lighting is the best) and your set up and concept is professional. Also quality includes your level of professionalism. You want to make sure your written and verbal communication is always maintained.
5. Invest In Your Self
Finally, it’s your dream/brand/business; make sure you invest in yourself. Every week, I designate about 5 hours to learn more about blogging, social media, and business/branding in general. If I see a free social media or branding class on Facebook or Instagram ,I sign up for it! I’m an eternal student. Finally, I want to learn as much as possible so I can pour as much knowledge and resources into Society of Harlow!
From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much for your continued love and support! There’s so much more to come with Society of Harlow! XOXO
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