My Biggest Mistake in 4 Years of Blogging…

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WHAT I’M WEARING

sweater: nordstrom | top: revolve | pants: jbrand | shoes: joie | bag: rebecca minkoff | glasses: karen walker

Last month marked four years of Little Miss Fearless—my fourth blogiversary! I remember writing this post after just one year of blogging and I thought I had “arrived.” Three years later and my perspective on blogging has changed as much as this industry has. Looking back, I was doing one major thing wrong…

I was playing the popular game.

In the early months, my blog started gaining traffic primarily from my photos being shared on Pinterest. It was exciting to get comments from new readers every day complimenting me on my style. I started to feel popular, which is a nice feeling. It’s just not a sustainable reason to do something.

I thought I was following the lead of my successful peers—bloggers who were quickly gaining popularity and didn’t seem to be overly available to their readers. (I assumed this because my comments weren’t always being acknowledged on their blogs.) So I followed suit. The mistake wasn’t just in the “too cool for school” approach, it was that I ignored the powerful opportunity to foster a community and make real connections with real people. And it wasn’t until I wrote about real topics, like the tragic story of Madison Holleran, my secret battle with infertility and my lifelong struggle with a negative body image, that I realized how much I love connecting. And that’s when I really started to get to know you.

Maybe I’m selling myself out here. But I don’t see it that way. In spite of my many fears, I’m strangely unafraid to talk about my insecurities if I’ve learned something from them that may benefit someone else.

So, what can you learn from this mistake I’ve made?

Whether or not you’re a blogger, do these 7 things better:

  1. Be a Real Person – Look beyond profile photos and URLs in your comments section and get out from behind your own. Find ways to get to know the real people who are reaching out to you. You don’t have to force friendships. You may not have things in common with everyone. But you’re selling yourself short if you don’t at least try to connect. You can never have enough good karma going around, so take advantage of the opportunity blogging (and social media) presents for each of us to support one another.
  2. Stay in the Eye of the Storm – Never get caught up in the chaos of what others are doing around you. You’ll quickly get tangled in appearances, instead of living in reality. Things usually aren’t as they appear because there’s more to all of us than the things we choose to share through social media. Stay focused on the real stories you want to tell about yourself, not who you want people to believe you are.
  3. RESPOND – Again, be a real person. When someone gives you a compliment, say thank you. Find ways to give them a genuine compliment back. You might find your soul sister by doing so (I’ve been lucky enough to find a few of mine simply by being myself and having the courage to reach out and be responsive).
  4. Know Who You Are (And What You’re Not) – “Fake it ’til you make it” may have it’s place in business, but in blogging, pretending will always be found out eventually. Even if you’re not faking who you are, you might be faking your habits (like buying a lifestyle you can’t really afford). If it’s not sustainable, you’re not being true to yourself. Let go of who you think you’re supposed to be and embrace who you are!
  5. Forget Yourself – Blogging is often about solving problems. So focusing on how you can serve others, how you can make someone’s day a little easier or bring some positive momentum and excitement to his/her life are a few things that will make them want to connect with you.
  6. Show up – As many of you probably know from experience, it’s not easy to blog 3-5 days a week consistently year after year. I learned this again when Benjamin arrived. Life is a constant realigning of priorities. And it’s not easy to show up for everyone in your life 100 percent of the time. But, if you’re at least consistent with showing up, even the minimum amount, your friends will stick around for you.
  7. Tell Your Story – This is the part that makes it all worth it. Share who you are and own your life. Don’t live in a state of constant reaction to what people around you are doing. Pave your own road. Be different, even if you’re not sure it will be popular. Live out loud (as my friend Lauren would say) and be a positive place for people to visit when their lives get stressful or when they need some inspiration from someone who’s real.

At the end of the day, I spent too much time as a new blogger thinking about myself, laser-focused on my insecurities, and not thinking enough about what I could do for you.

So now that I’ve put myself out there, tell me more about you. What do you do? Are you a working mom? Going to school? Trying to do your blog full-time? If you blog, share your URL. What drives and inspires you? And what would you like to see more of on Little Miss Fearless?

Let me know in the comments. I’ll be reading, and responding, to each and every one.

Thanks for a fun (and enlightening) four years. And to those who are new around here, I hope you’ll stick around for the next four! :)

Photos by Ashlee Brooke.

Amanda

Comments

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  1. Cindy says:

    Love your look and your advice! I started my first blog in 2008, and my ultimate goal was to be noticed and get free stuff. It didn’t work out well because the more I changed things to have the right ‘look’, the less I felt like me. It wasn’t a surprise that I lost interest in and felt disconnected from my own site. After a couple years off, I’m restarting at classicsidewalk.com. I’m using it to find my own voice again, and it’s so much fun for me to just be me. I don’t really worry if no one is looking, because I’m not going to change to make them look.

    Posted Sep. 27, 2016 | Reply
  2. Kendra says:

    Thank you so much for your transparency and integrity. I’ve read your blog for years and enjoyed watching your journey. I started reading because I liked your style and have stuck around because I’ve liked getting to know you, so thanks for opening up!

    I almost never comment on blogs but your words are inspiring me to do so today! To answer your questions: I am a SAHM to my 20-month-old son, Charleston. I was born and raised in Southern California but our family of three took a leap of faith and moved to Austin earlier this year. It’s been quite a big change but also a good one. I have been blogging for just over three years and am still working on being real and honest in what I share; it isn’t easy! And I agree that it’s so easy to make it all about me and forget about my readers.

    Thank you again for your encouragement and model of fearlessness. :-)

    Posted Sep. 27, 2016 | Reply
  3. Liv says:

    We all learn from our mistakes. Thanks for sharing such a helpful article.

    Liv

    http://www.livforstyle.net

    Posted Sep. 27, 2016 | Reply
  4. Amanda,

    Thank you so much for this post! I’ve been lightly blogging for so many years now, and every year I say I’m going to do it better, and then every year I disappoint myself. I think one of my issues is I love reading other people’s blogs that a lot of time, I spend more time browsing others than working on my own. It’s so easy to get caught up in what everyone else is doing and look at their blog design or their super professional photos and think “well mine will never look like that.” But your post reminded me that what first got me started was wanting to write and tell stories and not having a creative outlet. I also happen to like fashion, and then I felt a shift in not doing as much writing and focusing on making collages and how things “look.” I want to mix all my interests together, and I appreciate your very honest advice about telling your story and knowing who you are. Thanks for sharing :)

    ~L

    Posted Sep. 27, 2016 | Reply
  5. Thank you so much for sharing this Amanda!! I have been blogging now for just over two years and it wasn’t until the past 4 months or so that i have truly kept up with it and started to really fall in love with it! I will definitely take this post to heart. I appreciate you sharing and agree that we should always remember to connect! To me the relationships and friendships are the best part :) xx

    Karlie Rae
    http://www.xxkarlierae.com
    Instagram: @karlierae

    Posted Sep. 27, 2016 | Reply
  6. Amanda,

    It’s so refreshing to hear a blogger I admire admit that this industry can lead one to be so self-absorbed if you let it. Thanks for the wake-up call and the encouragement to continue reaching for your goals while always staying honest and “real!”

    Kassy
    http://www.kassyondesign.com

    Posted Sep. 27, 2016 | Reply
  7. This is the best post ever!! I love everything you wrote and not to mention you are so gorgeous!! Thanks for being so insipiring 💕💕 I can only hope that one day I can inspire people the way you do!

    Posted Sep. 27, 2016 | Reply
  8. Kailyn says:

    I’ve been following you for about a year now and I so appreciate your honesty. It’s much easier to connect to someone who is so REAL! I think I relate to your blog too because I had my baby girl soon after you had Benjamin. Thank you for sharing and being so open! You’re amazing.

    Posted Sep. 27, 2016 | Reply
  9. Natali says:

    Beautiful words and “on point” tips. Being open, true to yourself and inspiring others on your own examples is where the real beauty of blogging lies and that’s when you get the most connected with the people who are reading your blog.

    http://lartoffashion.com

    Posted Sep. 27, 2016 | Reply
  10. Kelsey says:

    Such a great article. I think way to many people on social media are pretending to be someone that their not. Or claiming that they live this perfect life style. Which I think in return makes others feel like they are failing or not good enough. It’s articles like this that make you feel good and that you can actually relate to. So thank you for putting it out there!

    Posted Sep. 27, 2016 | Reply
  11. I really appreciate you posting this! And happy blog birthday!
    I work full time while having a blog is my second job. I love the advice you gave though. All so very true. I try to reflect the qualities I see in other bloggers who I appreciate.
    The biggest struggle is seeing what everyone else is doing yet staying true to yourself. Keep up the good work–I love your unique style so keep the outfits coming! :) xx

    Posted Sep. 28, 2016 | Reply
  12. I’m a full-time orthopedic PA, 17 weeks preggo with our IVF miracle. I blog over at https://thedavisduo-owendavis.blogspot.com/ and have LOVED reading your blog. You provided me so much hope on our infertility journey! I love your honesty and openness <3

    Posted Sep. 28, 2016 | Reply
  13. Amy says:

    Amanda! This is a beautiful post. And now, I’ve been all over your blog, soaking in more of your posts. The honesty is refreshing. Congratulations on the baby boy + I look forward to following your journey (more than on Instagram). Love, Amy

    Posted Sep. 28, 2016 | Reply
  14. Whitney says:

    Hi Amanda,
    I love it when you post in this sort of reflective reflective tone! So glad you’re back!

    I’m in the process of starting my own business and realigning my work to be more “me” so that it’s more sustainable over time. This post came at the perfect time for me. :)

    Thank you!

    Posted Sep. 28, 2016 | Reply
  15. Lisa says:

    “When you live in love and light, you will not go unseen; ignite the world with every flame of your being” {Alexandra Elle} As a newby to the blogging world, I keep feeling pressure from a variety of sources to find my niche. I think your post comes at such a pertinent time, as there really isn’t a niche if ‘you do you’. We are all unique, offering the world something of our very own selves.

    Congratulations on your 4 year anniversary! I love following along, and hope to have wonderful reflections myself when I reach that milestone.

    Posted Sep. 28, 2016 | Reply
  16. Sally Joyce says:

    Thanks Amanda! Getting my hands into blogging soon, excited to see where this journey leads.

    Posted Sep. 29, 2016 | Reply
  17. Rosey says:

    I really don’t comment on blogs although I follow religiously. You are correct in every way! Relationships, connecting and treating people as people instead of the bottom line go a long way in maintaining a loyal fan base. PS-your son is just the cutest!

    Posted Oct. 1, 2016 | Reply
  18. Mary says:

    What a great list! I’m going to implement everything! Thanks for sharing, YOU ROCK :)

    Posted Nov. 25, 2016 | Reply
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