Darling Days

My Personal Story & Blogging FAQ’s

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I get so many emails from all you girls asking alllllll about… blogging. And, I absolutely love it.

I wish that I had the time and the means to answer each and everyone’s questions, separately. After sending so many girls to my original blogging FAQs page, I decided to start answering more of your questions via the Darling Days column. Even if you aren’t interested in starting a blog, some of my personal journey may still resonate with you, as you start your own business or as you manage your career.

Today I thought I would incorporate a little bit of my story so you can learn some things about my personal endeavors. That way, you can learn through my 3 and ½ years of trial-and-error, too! Here goes…

When first starting your blog, what were your intentions? Was it just a creative outlet or did you have hopes of growing it into the business it has become?

My story: When I first started my blog in February of 2013, it was purely a hobby, purely. all. fun. Since Instagram hadn’t arrived quite yet, I found myself spending all my time searching the web for beautiful inspiration. And to be quite honest… I was bored with my college lifestyle. I learned that only going out, studying, and then participating in the nightlife scene wasn’t quite fulfilling my sense of purpose and passion. I was searching for something bigger, something more.

My favorite part about my story is that I had no intention of turning this creative outlet into a business. My intentions were innocently in the right place from Day 1— and that was to simply do what I love and love what I do.

Key piece to take from this: begin an endeavor because you love it, not for money, or a following, or influence. Do it because it makes you feel fulfilled, excited and inspired.

Are you a full-time blogger or do you have other supplement income?

I am a full time blogger. The Darling Detail team consists of myself, a brand manager, assistant and editor, photographer, and intern.

My story: When I first launched The Darling Detail I was taking a full load of classes at the University of Texas (hook ‘em, you guys!) and working long hours at Kendra Scott. Blogging was not cool, so I sort of shamefully hid it from a lot of people (haha, aw). Financially, I supported my blog through Kendra Scott paychecks. I was blessed to have parents that supported me with and throughout my degree at Texas, but mom and pops were not planning on financing my shopping habits (ha ha ha)!

There were a lot of hidden valleys in between where I fought to keep The Darling Detail alive. It required a change in lifestyle, a change in my dreams and plans (byeeee big city life), and even a change in friends. Welcome to the life of owning your own business! (Note: Luckily, I’m finally back in a season where I can introduce a normal lifestyle back in yet again (y-a-y) but it took a long time to get there.)

Key piece to take from this: running a business takes a lot of patience, a lot of perseverance and a lot of hard work. Often in life, you have to first get through the valleys to reach your personal mountain top.

When did you start accepting paid promotions? 

My story: As I approached graduation time in 2014, I slowly realized moving off to New York wasn’t in the cards for me. I joined the Camille Styles team (go check her site out, their team is uhmazing) and Kelly Wynne Handbags on the side (adore her to pieces – my fellow Austin gurl). In my personal situation, I was pressured to start monetizing the blog mainly because I began realizing that it was time to put my big girl shoes on and turn this thing into a business, simply because that was the season of life that was approaching. This is when The Darling Detail turned into a business and I was about 1 ½ years into blogging.

Unfortunately, this was one of the hardest times for me in blogging. When you add monetizing into the mix of blogging, it turns less into a pleasure and more into… pressure. I want to caution all my bloggers gal pals out there not to rush the process. You don’t want to find animosity in something because of financial pressures – when it’s meant to lift you up and make you happy (regardless of who’s reading). Often the means of monetizing doesn’t align with your interests and passions and this can force girls into blogging about things they never even intended to be blogging about. You can find yourself in a place that brings you no sense of fulfillment at all if you succumb to these pressures. Readers can sense passion, so be honest with yourself about what you are truly meant to be blogging about. What’s the fuel to your fire?

Key piece to take from this: I do believe that turning your blog into a business is a purely personal decision and there is no right or wrong answer. My best advice is to evaluate the situation you’re in and don’t look at what anyone else is doing. I waited a lot longer than most bloggers, and found the money elsewhere in the meantime, and I don’t regret it a bit. In fact I think it was positive, because it gave me time to nail down my brand before other factors came into the mix. You want to be incredibly confident in your product, before you start introducing partnerships. When evaluating sponsorships or affiliates, make sure to stay true to your brand, do not sacrifice yourself, your brand, or your voice in order to monetize. This is not where success or happiness lies, my friends. Keep staying true to yourself and your voice — and success will follow.

What life/job experience do you believe has helped you in the blogging/fashion world the most?

Experience! I got my first retail job working in fashion when I was 16 years old, and I honestly never really stopped working since.  This taught me how to work for what I wanted, and never stop working for it. Being able to hold a conversation with anyone is a necessary skill in blogging when it comes to meetings, phone calls, events, and sponsorships. Retail is a great way to practice these skills.

My degree! My business classes at UT were huge game changers. Blogging isn’t just posting pretty pictures – y’all, it is a cut-throat business and requires all the skills that any other business does.

Learn from the best! I worked with the Camille Styles team for a year. Camille is an excellent communicator and creative director. She, again, taught me that blogging is a business – not just fun and games.

What was the most challenging aspect of starting your brand?

The comparison game.

My story: At first, I definitely found myself measuring my success based on the success of others. The blogging world is so saturated and sometimes it feels nearly impossible to stay focused on your one lane track, without veering off path. My girls, take this seriously – staying focused on what everyone else is doing will only delay it all. You are now 5 minutes farther away from achieving your goal after Instagram-stalking those girls… Turn on your blinders and let your inner inspiration take flight. Yes, that last sentence was so cheesy – but I promise it’s worth it. I truly believe that I found personal and career success when I was able to turn the rest of the world off. Find my tips and tricks on how to do so here.

Key piece to take from this: Your voice, brand, style, and product are unique to you and you only. There is only one you, capitalize on that.

Looking back on your beginning days, is there anything you wish you had done differently?

When I started making money – yes. To be honest, I can call my younger self naïve for worrying what everyone else was up to. Again, stay on your own track here and don’t measure your success by looking at others’ success. This world is tough and it is competitive, and I do think it’s very possible and easy to lose yourself. Stay true to what makes you, you — and you’re one step closer to finding success.

On the other hand, no – in the sense that it was purely fun! I was in the blogging world for the right reasons – I was searching for something more in life and that was purely to fulfill creative desires. If you asked me if I ever would have made it a business, I would have laughed in your face! Funny now looking back, huh?

Key piece to take away from this: Blogging purely for myself allowed me to create a brand and a unique voice without having any pressure from outside facilitators contributing to my path.

I touch on a lot of other frequently asked questions here … so be sure to mouse on over to get more information. I understand these aren’t answers on how to take your blog to the next level, but I truly believe a blog should be grounded on a solid foundation – and these were the steps I took to get there.

What else would you like to know? Chat with me below! XOXO

*** I have announced the winner of my $100 Nordstrom Giftcard Giveaway (from last week’s Darling Days) here! ***

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25 Comments

  1. I enjoyed learning more about your path! I started my blog in February 2014 as a creative outlet and I love the adventure it has taken me on. It has been challenging at times, but the rewards are worth it. I’ve made many friends in the blogging community and it helped me to find my voice. I think blogging for the love of being a creative is great advice and a good foundation to start a blog with. Thanks for sharing!

    http://www.livinginsteil.com

  2. Hi Jessi! It’s no secret that I adore you! Your writing, your kind spirit, your inspiration, your kindness, your voice – truly one of a kind! You are such a “success” but still so humble, responsive, supportive of others, and incredibly attentive to your readers! Case in point: delivering this timely post in response to reader feedback. Super business savvy and just plain awe-some! I’ll stop gushing now, but THANK YOU! for being so genuinely you (and sharing with us gals)!!

    Also: I 100% agree with “turning the rest of the world off” – once I took a permanent vacation from Facebook, I felt 100% happier. One of the best things I could have done for myself!

    Lisa
    http://www.theeverydayelevated.com

  3. Loving this post and your honesty!! I love the concept of putting your blinders on and just purely doing “you.” So smart not only for blogging but for all apects of life, too!

    Thanks for being so real! XO

    @stylemelauren
    http://www.stylemelauren.com

  4. This was great to read! I am in the process of monetizing my blog and it really does turn into such pressure. It makes it so much harder to just want to blog. I loved hearing your story!

    xo, Christina
    http://www.christinabeex3.com/

  5. Such a lovely post. You are an inspiration and I loved reading about how you got started. You are right it’s not an easy journey. I’ve almost hit me first milestone of blogging and it’s been a lot of work but also a lot of fun! Keep up the great work!

    Paula- http://www.livingpaula.com

  6. I love this post! I love how honest, real, and beautifully written your posts are! I started my blog about one year ago with barely any idea whatsoever that I could possibly have a blogging career and honestly, that is the best way to start! I love your blog and admire your insight!

    Kalina | Simply Semisweet

  7. Love this post! Really really
    Inspiring! My blog partner Karissa and I launched a few months ago and are loving it so far!!! Xoxo sending love your way!

  8. Love this post, so inspiring!

    Question that you probably get all of the time: what camera do you use? I’m in the process of purchasing a camera and need some guidance. Thanks lady!

    xx Suzannah | withlovsuz.com

  9. Love this post, so inspiring!

    Question that you probably get all of the time: what camera do you use? I’m in the process of purchasing a camera and need some guidance. Thanks lady!

    xx Suzannah | withlovesuz.com

  10. This was such a good read. Pretty much everything you said you went through during the beginning is what I am going through now. Your such an inspiration! The post gives me hope that things will eventually start to look up if I just keep doing what I love ❤️
    xo-Lisa
    http://www.thatssodarling.com

  11. Thanks for the post! I would love to know more about what programs you use for editing, content creation, photography, etc. especially before you had a full team in place! I guess the more nitty gritty 🙂