image by casey a. friese
I’ve been wanting to get this started for a while, whenever I host Q&A’s, this is by far the most popular topic, blogging, basically I want to be a blogger, tell me how. SO, I’m going to start this series with my story of how I got started, and as the weeks progress, I’ll get into more specifics and details about how YOU can get started and launch your own blog.
I actually started blogging 8 YEARS ago if you can believe that, ugh I’m so old. At that time, Brian was just by boyfriend and we were living in a little apartment in Darien, Connecticut. I was working in Human Resources and was VERY unfulfilled, empty and drained with the boredom I faced everyday with my tasks. As much as the work wasn’t stimulating, I had an incredible boss who became my close friend, and was always super supportive of my side-ventures, which leads me to when I started blogging. But before I jump into my start, I think this one particular event was crucial. I was about 2 years into this job and was seriously, SO miserable, maybe almost depressed. I think they call it a quarter-life crisis. I thought what the hell am I doing with my life, this isn’t where I’m supposed to be, I despise HR, etc…but I couldn’t quit at the time because I needed benefits and a paycheck to sustain my life. One day, I let my thoughts get the best of me and actually had a full blown panic attack at work. True story, so embarrassing. I was literally on the floor in a conference room. The only other panic attack I ever had was the night before my SAT’s when I fainted in my parent’s kitchen, anxiety much?
After that panic attack, I did a lot of soul-searching, lots of long walks on the beach, lots of long chats with my mom and Brian about what I could do, what change could I make in my career that would make me happy, and I was brought back to my artistic roots. I had always loved art, looking at it, creating it, collecting it. I was an Art History major in college went to Florence for my study abroad and soaked in as much art and history as I could in those four years. As a got into my adult years, I would devour magazines like House Beautiful, Domino was my favorite, Coastal Living, Sunset Magazine, Cottages and Gardens, all of the interior design I could get my hands on. I made binders of tear-outs of my favorite homes and trends, remember this is before pinterest and instagram (how did we survive?!), and right around this time, the world of blogging opened up and I wanted IN. I got online and discovered some of the early ones like Decor8, I can’t even remember the other ones I started following back then. I thought how perfect, I can actually do something with these tear-outs and channel this creative energy onto a blog! So I started with my very own little space on the internet called Shorely Chic. I decided on a niche (very important and this will be step 1 of our little course) and focused on beach interiors. I had a blast writing this blog, I spent so much time and energy on my little side-project writing at night and on my lunch breaks. Blogging was new and so everyone was really eager to meet other bloggers and I made so many connections. I went to events all the time in the city at various design centers, design store openings, etc… It was really fun, I loved it and got so much satisfaction that other people appreciated my point of view. I continued with Shorely Chic until I had Brian. This is when it all changed to Pure Joy Home.
I knew I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom and once I had Brian, beach interiors wasn’t really my focus any longer, it was on being a mother and a wife, keeping a home, and staying fashionable and on trend amidst the sleepless nights, spit-up, bottles and diapers. As a first time mother, I spent a lot of my time with my new little guy and learning how to be a mother, and I had also launched a paperie about a year before with the graphic design skills I had learned from blogging, so was trying to keep up with that as well. Blogging took a back seat at this time, and I was casually posting once ever couple of weeks. I was supplementing our income with the paperie, so that took priority over the blog.
Two years later, I had little Grace. With two kids, I was having major issues keeping up with the paperie. Customers were getting mad because I couldn’t put the product out quickly enough, I had little energy to design new pieces, and I kind of lost that passion along the way. I also DREADED the customer service piece, so not my thing. Side note: I do still work on a select few weddings per year, mostly for friends on bespoke pieces. Blogging had become an easier, more fun outlet for me because I love writing, and I could do it on my own terms, and continue to share with the world our little bits of joy, my inspirations, recipes, home decor, fashion finds, etc…
Around November of 2015, I decided to take the blog up a notch. I wanted to broaden my reach, and to be frank, start monetizing. I really focused on honing in on my niche, my aesthetic and staying consistent within that. I hired a consultant that I had worked with during my Shorely Chic years to help me rebrand and guide me on how to transform Pure Joy Home from a little blog and into a big blog (still working on that by the way, #thehustleisreal). Since the time I started back in 2009, the blogging world had BLOWN UP and I was trying to get back into the game. The competition was fierce, so how was I going to be different? We worked on this for a few months with weekly calls, a total website redesign, content, professional photography, and so much more. I owe a lot to her and don’t think I could have defined what PJH was going to become without a second set of eyes and ears from someone so knowledgable in the space. <3 you, Alexandra.
So my journey continues, I am constantly working at it, Pure Joy Home is my third child. I am forever and always working on new content, reading and researching trends to stay relevant, building my audience on facebook, instagram, pinterest, youtube, upping my page views, building my mailing list, networking with fellow bloggers, responding to hundreds of emails, it’s a lot, but it’s my passion and I adore it. It’s a full-time job that I do alongside being a full-time mom, with a little help sprinkled in during the week from babysitters when I can get them. I know there are many of you out there who want to do this, so I’m to share my experience, what has worked, what hasn’t and any knowledge I can give.
Next week, I’m planning on writing about finding your niche, does that sounds good? If you want to ask me any questions about my story, comment below!
I’m running out now, I wanted to write more but I have an appointment I have to get to and Grace is done watching Mother Goose Club! Talk later babes <3 OH, TGIF!!!