Hi everyone, I hope you’ve all had a fabulous Christmas and a wonderful New Year. I haven’t blogged as much as I wanted to over the past few weeks, mainly because I’ve been in total Christmas relaxation mode and enjoying precious time with my family which has just been so lovely. I managed to switch off and it was great not reaching for my laptop each morning. If you follow me on Instagram you’ll have seen photos from over Christmas and New year but here are a few of the highlights.
We had a wonderful family Christmas and played lots of Monopoly.
We blew the cobwebs off at the beach on Boxing day and got photo bombed!!
We did lots of snoozing.
Lit hundreds of candles!
Finally it snowed!
We went sledging!
Ate lots of snow!
Warmed up with lots of hot chocolate stops!
Threw a party on New Year’s Eve!
So another year has ended and I’ve been reflecting back on the past twelve months. In 2017 I achieved much more than I thought I was capable of including leaving my secure, part time job to concentrate fully on my Interior styling business along with blogging and creating content for my Instagram. I’ve worked with some amazing clients and brands and met some lovely people along the way but I can’t say it hasn’t been a struggle, I’ve really had to focus on pushing myself out of my comfort zone. It has been a huge learning curve for me in so many ways. I’ve always believed that you can do anything that you put your mind to but there have been times when self doubt, lack of confidence and lack of self belief have been a real struggle for me. Also procrastination, learning how to juggle projects along with family life, managing my time and the comparison game which is so hard when you are freelance and there are so many other amazing interior stylists/bloggers/influencers doing the same thing. Here are some of the self improvements I’ve made in 2017 thanks to blogging and advice I would have given to myself 12 months ago.
Cuisinart Promotion – May 2017.
Confidence – I’ve always been the quietly confident type meaning that I am a confident person in most situations but I’m not one to shout about it, I just get on with it. I’ve learnt in this business that sometimes you have to speak up and blow your own trumpet because no one else is going to do it for you and if people don’t know what you’re capable of then how will they know that they want to work with you?! So if you’ve been working on a big project then shout about it, let people know what you’ve done because more doors will open as a result of this. This is something that I’m still working on and is one of my goals for 2018.
Self-doubt – I constantly doubt the content that I put out there. Do people care? Am I oversharing? Will this post be useful to anyone? Is this just common sense and am I teaching a granny to suck eggs?! Is this caption boring or is it too long? I’ve found the best way to overcome this is stay true to yourself and write posts that you love and feel passionate about and hopefully that will come across.
Dyson Light Ball Promotion – Nov 2017.
Self-worth – As my Instagram account started to grow, small businesses started to get in contact to collaborate. I was sent lots of different items in return for an Instagram post featuring that product. At first this is obviously very flattering and as long as it was true to my aesthetic I would always jump at the chance. As my following grew I realised how time consuming it was, a hobby which was taking up every spare minute of time that I had. You want to do the product justice by styling and photographing it properly then editing and posting which all takes time. I knew that to continue doing this I had to start charging a fee because free cushions, candles, light shades etc… aren’t going to pay the bills! So this is an area that I found really difficult, especially naming a price and it has only got easier the more I’ve done it and realised that companies are happy to pay. About 6 months ago a large sofa retailer got in contact and asked if I would be interested in collaborating with them. They asked me to choose an item from their website to style in my home. So I looked through and thought well all the sofas/armchairs are a thousand pounds and above, I couldn’t possibly be cheeky enough to suggest one of those! So instead I suggested a rug!!! I never heard back, then a few months later I spotted a collaboration with the same company on another blog and they had chosen a sofa!! So my self-worth caused me to miss out, thinking that I wasn’t good enough to receive something of that value. I’ve since learnt from experience and also through talking to other bloggers/influencers that brands will pay, when you have a niche audience and a good following it is a fabulous way of advertising for them so you have to believe in yourself. I think this is definitely something that comes with time and the busier you get the more confident you are to name a price.
Revamp Restyle Reveal project – September 2017.
Instagram stories – This was a big one for me, we live in a world where we’re taught it’s bad to be confident and its a negative thing to self promote so it almost feels wrong at first to be saying “look at me”, “look what I just did”. I’ve learned its all part of it, looking back now it seems a bit crazy but I hated the sound of my own voice. Every time I turned the camera onto myself and started to talk I was speaking in this ridiculously high pitched voice without even realising, I think it was sheer terror! My Husband is a radio presenter so it is second nature to him and he tried getting me to take deep breaths before I started but it didn’t seem to make much difference. It was purely through practice and getting myself out there more that I managed to relax and speak more naturally without panicking and wanting to get it over with ASAP! When I was first approached to take part in the Revamp, Restyle Reveal project I read the brief and saw that I needed to post weekly YouTube videos!! You can imagine how I felt, I almost said no just because of this but then I had a little word with myself and decided it was the perfect push I needed to step outside of my comfort zone. So for anyone that feels the same and hates the thought of speaking on stories or video I would advise to just do it little and often at first and even if you just send it to your partner or your Mum until you feel more comfortable, it all helps and eventually it will start to feel more normal! Remember that to other people you probably sound perfectly normal as they’ve never heard your voice before!
Gallo Wine promotion – June 2017.
Comparison trap – Whether you’re a blogger or not I think everyone has compared themselves to someone else at some point in their lives. It could be someone with gorgeous, long, thick hair, or someone at a party with an amazing dress on, I think it’s only natural to compare yourself to others and think they have the perfect life but we all know deep down that the perfect life doesn’t exist. As a blogger or influencer you might see someone who’s only just started getting offers from great brands for collaborations or someone that constantly gets amazing engagement on Instagram. Especially if you’re having one of those days where your instagram post has bombed or you’ve published a blog that’s not been as popular as you’d like or you’ve lost more followers in a day than you’ve gained. The problem is you’re always going to find someone who is doing better than you and its better to try and learn and take inspiration from this rather than let the jealousy eat away at you. The best way I’ve found to deal with these feelings is not to focus on numbers too much because it can send you crazy! I’ve deleted any apps that tell you who has unfollowed you because why do you need to know? They obviously weren’t planning on sticking around anyway. If you start to feel anxious then take a break for a few days to think or new ways to be creative and get the juices flowing again.
The North East Mini Tour – April 2017.
Over the next few days I’m going to be setting myself goals for the Year ahead. I’m looking forward to growing more in confidence and growing my blog and Instagram further with some great content throughout 2018. Have you set any goals for 2018? What would your advice to yourself have been this time last year?