When I write posts for IFB, they're often inspired by conversations I'm having with community members or my own personal thoughts. One that has come up a LOT lately is success– our desire for success, our resentment towards our own “lack” of success (or towards the success of others), and our desires for fame & infamy within our niche.
Many bloggers create a blog, wanting success from it. What they don't know, or sometimes even think about, is what that success is for them. Sometimes they overlook the planning and work that needs to go into it. Success as a blogger is equal parts luck and working your ass off. Before we lament about our lack of success, we need to KNOW what success is for us and what we need to do in order to become successful. Many bloggers see traffic as a means of and the path to success, but fail to recognize their own successes along the way.
What IS success to you?
- Is quitting your loathsome full-time job to write full-time? (Or even quitting your awesome full-time job to write full-time?)
- Or do you want to sell a few banner ads each month to support your shopping habit?
- You may be wanting to work with major brands to promote their products.
- It could be launching your modeling career, your design career, or your styling career (or insert career path of choice). Or even gaining a great internship with a company you like.
- You may want to pick up freelancing work to supplement your income.
- Is it owning multiple blogs and creating a media company?
- Or is it as simple as building a great, interactive following of readers?
If your definition of success is one of the above, there's a great chance that with a ton of hard work, great connections, and confidence, you can make it happen. If your idea of success is making tons of money, being the face of a brand, and becoming the next Fashion Toast/Cherry Blossom Girl/Sea of Shoes/Glamourai, chances are you're going to be let down. I believe that there is plenty of room for successful women in fashion blogging, but you're only going to be great by being yourself and building a business that is true to your values– not by emulating super bloggers.
A few great ladies shared with me their own personal goals and definitions of success on their blogs (via Twitter):
@shoedaydreams: All I want is some friends to talk to about shoes and clothes and fun stuff. No one here is really into it.
@myheartblogged: My definition is building an engaged community & creating discussion. I don't have an end goal of living off my blog. I do think my blog will evolve over time. So it's good for me not to put in a box, and say it's just one thing.
@mrsbossa: Personally? To become bloody good [at writing]. In a wider sense? To have helped people to think differently.
@madetotravel: Every click on a link I recommend is a success for me. I feature ethical brands & a goal for me is to get them more love.
@mmarzipan: Lots of inspired chatter. I'm all about the conversation starting. Then, I feel like I'm doing a good job.
@slowsouthstyle: Tough question because my goals change as I grow. Right now its achieving success as a (paid) freelance writer. The blog has helped me gain exposure & serves as a quasi online portfolio. Eventually I'd like to have sponsors in a full time capacity, but I don't want to sacrifice the integrity of the site with running just any old ad.
Christy of Slow Southern Style and My Heart Blogged both make a great point about how your goals and definition of success should change as your blog grows. As your site evolves, and as you meet your previous ideas of success, you should reevaluate what success now means and how to reach those new goals. When I first began my site, my pie in the sky dream was that maybe one day I'd get a free pair of shoes. I worked hard at trying to write regularly and meet other bloggers. Four years later, while I've gotten a free pair of shoes, my goals have become vastly different– to now include things like developing relationships with companies, picking up freelance writing work, and continuing to grow my blog network.
What is your own definition of success for your blog? What are your short-term goals to becoming successful and your long term goals?