Long time, no talk! Since my last post, we went to Europe, I quit my job, and I started a company! It’s been such an incredible whirlwind, and I’m so grateful that life is busy. I can’t believe it’s been nearly two months since my last blog post, but I’m super excited to share that I’ll be adding guests posts to the site. The first post should go live later this week from a talented friend and fellow writer. If you’re interested in writing something for this site, shoot me a note at hello at ayanalage dot com. I feel blessed that I’ve had success with my blog, because when I decided to become a blogger, I was clueless. I tried to read advice online, but a lot of it was conflicting or really vague. That’s why I’m sharing things I wish I’d known before I hit publish on my first post.
You Have To Give Yourself Time
I dug through the archives to find pictures from the first weeks of my ~blogging career~ and man, can we take a minute to thank God for GROWTH? You won’t be @tezza in the beginning (or ever — who can compare, TBH?) but practice makes perfect. If your pictures feel unsatisfactory, read photography tutorials, learn how to compose good pictures (lighting / settings / posing) and sell clothing on Poshmark to buy a new camera if you have to. (It’s what I did, and I don’t regret it at all.) If you’re comparing your feed to big-name bloggers, of course you’ll feel like a failure. You’re looking at their posts 10,000 days in and comparing them to your day 1 progress.
2. Your Follower Count Doesn’t Matter As Much As You Think
If you’d ask me when I’d monetize my blog, I would’ve guessed somewhere around 50,000 followers. There’s no way I would’ve guessed that I’d be getting paid work with less than 5,000 people following me! WILD. I’m going to be honest with you: How many followers you have does matter, or else bloggers wouldn’t care about growth at all. There are opportunities I have now at 10,000 followers that I didn’t have at 1,000 followers. Still, it’s not an excuse, and so many people waste time focusing on their numbers. You can land gifted and paid sponsorships at any number.
3. You’ll Need A Lot Of Help
I naively assumed that I’d be able to have Vagner take pictures of me a couple times a month and leave him alone otherwise. Today, nearly two years in, my blog takes up a lot of his time as well. I know that some bloggers hire photographers or shoot with friends to avoid bothering their significant others, but this is the cheapest and most convenient option for us. Additionally, Vagner and I communicate really well and he’s able to take incredible pictures of me without much guidance! He’s a great sport about it, especially because my blog now consistently brings in good money, but those early days were hard.
One of the ways that I learned to compromise was by leaving him at home and going to influencer events with friends or by myself. Everyone always looks at me like I’m horrible when I show up without Vagner, but he’d rather be at home! I involve him when I need his help and try to use any extra blog money on things that benefit both of us (hello, Paris trip). Still, I couldn’t do it without him.
4. You Have To Fake It Till You Make It
Transitioning from being a normal person with an Instagram to a social media influencer is awkward. Your friends and family will wonder if you’ve lost your mind, your coworkers might ask if you’re okay, and strangers following you might decide to dip. Posting pictures of yourself all the time will feel weird; fake confidence if you don’t have any. Don’t only surround yourself with yes-men, but ignore any haters who think you’re silly for trying.
5. It Should Be Fun
If you’re consistently feeling miserable, something has gone terribly wrong. Maybe you need to take a social media break, or perhaps you should change verticals. Whatever the cause, burnout isn’t cute, and taking a step back is mandatory once you feel it creeping in. As you become more confident in what you bring to the table, it starts to feel easier. I used to pitch myself like this: “a 20-something blogger who loves fashion.” Now, I’m “an experienced writer and digital marketer who creates meaningful, high-quality lifestyle content across multiple platforms.” You can imagine which is more appealing to brands!
I’m still learning so much about blogging, but I hope that this guide gives a starting point to someone who needs it. You aren’t alone if you’re struggling, but better days are ahead!
Ayana Lage is a fashion and lifestyle blogger based in Tampa, Florida with a background in digital media and content marketing. She’s worked for Bustle, the Tampa Bay Times, the Miami Herald, and numerous freelance clients. As a blogger, she’s worked with 50+ lifestyle, fashion, travel and food brands. When she’s not blogging, she’s focused on her day job in digital marketing, watching Queer Eye, or laughing aloud at tweets from @dril.