I started a little side hobby called ‘The Darling Detail’ my sophomore year of college while working 3 jobs and taking 15 hours of classes. Skip forward 4 years, I now manage a team of four contractors and work in a leased office space.
I’ve been blogging for almost 5 years now. Whether it be via DMs, speaking engagements, snapchats, coffee shop run ins or late night emails — I’ve always encouraged every gal who has it on her heart to start a creative endeavor of her own. I most definitely believe it’s an exciting and *definitely* on-trend way to find your sense of style, meet wonderful people, and learn what it means to own and operate a business (not hearts and butterflies – I promise you that much!). But after doing it for this long – and growing from the age of 20 to 24, YUP – I’ve learned a lot along the way and it has shaped me and my journey.
One thing I’ve been wanting to open up about are some lessons learned through blogging and how they have shaped my business. LBH – I’m in my 20’s — meaning I’m growing, changing, and being molded like c-r-a-z-y, which means my business is being molded with me. There are some difficult parts about my blogging that are a challenge and I want to share some lessons learned with you girls. 1-2-3 go:
- The comparison game hurts: I don’t care what walk of life we’re talking about; if you are a blogger, a mom, or student … anxiety and comparison are real. When you live in the 21st century, social comparison (specifically due to social media) is a beast and feels almost unavoidable if you own a smart phone. Truthfully, I deal with it too — and as I find myself walking down that *very dark* road called comparison, it quickly turns into a never-ending black hole that’s incredibly hard to pull myself out of. Turning on your blinders and staying focused on your own lane or track in any walk of life is difficult — but worth the effort and resulting strength. Comparison is a daily struggle – something to recognize and be aware of, and something that will only bring you down, not lift you up. I conquer this subject and talk about how to beat comparison here!
- The best things in life aren’t things: I spoke with a book agent last January and she was a Bible study leader for girls at The University of Texas. We got to talking about how many “things” the blogging community owns. But her focus was not revolved around how many followers or likes I had — it was about how the young girls in college believed that they had to have a new pair of loubitins every day and a new designer handbag to go with it because… that’s what the message the bloggers are preaching. Right? Yes, my blog is revolved around materialistic items, sales, and fashion. But being one of those bloggers who receives the free “stuff,” the invites, and the shoes, I repetitively have learned that materialistic items fade and looking to those things for a road map to happiness just won’t simply get the job done. Clothes can make you feel confident, comfortable, and give you a sense of style – but these “things” aren’t the key that will unlock fulfillment; and it does make me sad that this industry repetitively repeats that message. Of course, this is my job and business and how I make money so the clothes are a necessity to The Darling Detail — but these are not the things that bring the ultimate joy in my everyday life. And I’ll share a secret: you betchya I’m on a continuous search to find a way to use this platform for something *much* greater. TBD – hold please! 🙂
- There is only one you; use it to your advantage: With the amount of saturation in basically any industry – but specifically blogging – it is hard to find a way to stand out and have a unique voice. Yet I’m always drawn back to the fact that there is only one of me, and one of you. Bringing out the individuality in what you do, your style, your hobbies, your photos, etc. allows you stand out from the status quo. Being unique and comfortable in who you are (even if it may be different than the rest) is a strong and admirable quality to have. Amplify that and use it to draw people in. Turn on those blinders, sisters, and don’t look to others for your personal brand image. Instead, emphasize your individuality.
- Social media is a good liar: Social media (and all its forms) wins the prize for its ability to paint the most unrealistic picture. What my photos don’t show are the 100 degree sweaty photo shoots, changing in cars with no AC, the masses of UPS cardboard boxes, invoices, bills, receipts, the accounting spreadsheets, dealing with taxes, working on weekends, and more. This is definitely applicable to any area of life — and when painted by social media, things aren’t always as they seem. I think this is a huge lesson to learn in any walk of life in the midst of our everyday culture – when social media is such a prevalent part of our everyday life.
- Business is business; don’t mix it into personal life: My parents always preached this growing up; but I have to say – I’ve had to learn it for myself. The first lesson I learned was about work-life balance because in blogging, you can become a slave to meeting the business’s needs instead of your own. My mental, emotional and physical health is just as important as my career’s health. When you are your own boss, you are the master of your time and creator of your boundaries. Saying “no” is a big key to success, allowing you to prioritize the right things and keep fueling your fire in the healthiest and most on-brand manner. One tip is creating a draft email that kindly declines those who aren’t beneficial to your business, so you can quickly copy and paste this and send them on their way in a caring manner. You have to learn to set boundaries (this post is super helpful) with yourself and with other people — two super-essential and difficult-to-learn processes in owning and managing a business.
- Excess weighs you down; it doesn’t lift you up: For most of 2016, I had a life coach (shoutout to my girl Christina Trevino – she rocks y’all!) and one of our biggest mountains that we constantly had to tackle in our coaching sessions was excess. I’m talking – my job comes with a million clothes, free things, clutter, just constant “stuff” to where I feel like I’m drowning in a sea of UPS packages. One of the coolest ways I’ve been able to eliminate excess is cleaning out my closet regularly (I betchya don’t hear bloggers talk about this a lot – read my post on how to do it here). I do this via donating clothes to charity, giving them to friends, and constantly being reminded that the excess that I constantly have can help someone — somewhere else. This adds a sense of fulfillment to the “things” I referred to above. You girls should try it!
- Trust is everything: One of my main goals in running The Darling Detail LLC, is making sure that what I post – I actually love and would wear myself. With the amount of bloggers’ instagrams, sponsored posts, and instagram stories being published by the minute — I think it’s difficult to discern if a blogger actually really loves each piece. When I style an outfit, each piece goes through quite the checklist – making sure that material, price, fit, sizing, reviews, brand, shipping/returns, and style is on brand. If I receive a piece and it’s not something I would love keeping in my closet – you betchya I send that baby back; each and every time (our returns are nuts – btw).
PS – I’m working on writing more of these Darling Days posts. Have any requests? Comment below!
image from The Glitter Guide / Sara Mueller / via Pinterest