June 29, 2015

The Business of Blogging

What does it really take to blog?

(I'm entering the #BloglovinAwardsxHM contest, and as part of its written piece, I've chosen to share with all of you my journey as a fashion blogger so far!) 

Urban Betsy started out of love and this wild flame for fashion and writing, partially a product of frustration from a lack of creativity at work – I guess like how all great things begin. What most bloggers tend to tell you is glory and fun in blogging - we're really good at making things seem effortless when it's really not. I think I should put more of a realistic spin on it for those of you who want this as a career. Because once you’re ready to hit that “create my blog” button, you must prepare for a life of two full time jobs. It’s indeed a lot of work and preparation to push out creative content– at least enough to keep a steady influx of readers to your site against the cluster of millions (not a ball park figure) of other bloggers out there. I’ve learned the hard way in 2012 in what I assumed would be just a hobby. I’ll tell my friends “oh, it’s just something I do on the side for fun” – well the work I put into Urban Betsy warrants more of a serious title, because what looks like fun in cute and pretty pictures is a behind-the-scenes of hard work and preparation. Putting out a calendar that must stay relevant to my readers, tracking analytics on the daily, emailing and pitching brands/ showrooms/ PR companies, and writing pieces that are concise but also true to your persona. Mind you I am nowhere near the success of some big shot bloggers you probably already follow on Instagram or on the feeds of your favorite brands. I am explicating from the other side of the rope, the striving blogger.

Late 2012 to early 2013 was a good year for Urban Betsy – I gained the momentum from readers looking for new and authentic content (along with my degrees of friends who are so loyal and helped me share posts – gotta love them to death). But then just like a business, once you become stagnant and nothing seems “fresh” anymore, you lose traction. That’s exactly what happened to me. People got bored. And as their interest dwindled, so did my monthly visitors. That bummed me so hard that I slowed down content production and became dismayed by the brutality of this fickle industry. I was putting out posts once every month (which if you ask me now, is like not having a blog at all – no one cares who or what you’re wearing when they no longer have excitement in trying to find out who you are). These random posts were more out of necessity than passion. That’s why I have to stress how important it is to be consistent and put your best foot forward in trying to sell your personality as you truly are, of course never what you’re trying to be like. As much as I despise the short attention span of the fashion industry, I love that everyone values authenticity nowadays. 

I had a year and half of very little to no site visitors on a bad day, and probably a few comments here and there on a good one. I became frustrated by my own inability to really decide what I wanted to do with Urban Betsy. Another epiphany struck me hard – why am I still doing this when I’m half-assing everything when clearly the success of this site is so damn important to me? I was lying to myself when I said it was just a hobby. I wanted to be successful with all this energy I was putting into it. Like a mother trying to raise a prodigy child, to put it dramatically if you will.

Just like any business there are opportunity costs – you explore your potentials with action, but risk the loss of the other important elements in your life. Like is it worth all that time? Is it worth occupying that segment of your subconscious constantly trying to come up with ideas on how to make things new again (because it’s all about that new new). Or sometimes running out during lunch or in between meetings to do a quick blog shot (all the while lugging a huge bag of outfits and having to find a public restroom to change) just for one more day’s worth of content? Not to add on four different social media platforms that need interaction? Or better yet, the subtle self-conscious turmoil of never being good enough to stand out?

It’s only been a handful of months since I’ve actually been able to monetize my blog slowly… surely. I can’t tell you what it takes to reach the top (since I’m not even there yet myself), but I’ve had a deeper understanding of what it takes for the climb – you have to remember to be yourself and people will always be curious and keep coming back. And I don’t mean that in a narcissistic type of way –tell them what you care about, what your passions are, & maybe even who or what you want to be in the future – your goals and aspirations – and your readers will grow with you. Don't overthink what or how they will perceive you (that really just drains your energy -- save it for something positive). Be you because the odds will be in your favor  later on when your followers value the same  things as you. It takes time and strategy. But you have to keep at it. Yes, there are many unseen opportunity costs when it comes to investing in a blog, but trust me it’s all worth it if you really want to get there and give it your all – without any pit-stops along the way (don't be sporadic like how I was for a good amount of time, but consistent and meaningful). Grab it by the horns (is that how Americans say it?) and go full force. 

Overalls: H&M / Top: Nasty Gal / Shoes: Alexander Wang

Photos by Azusa Takano

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  1. I am soooooo inspired by your post. It touched my heart and I can relate to it in every way, entirely! When you write something that comes from your experience and emotion (as you have), it reaches others in a way that really grabs at their heart strings. This is such a extraordinary creative piece and I wish you all the very best to win the H&M contest!

    P.S. Your personal style has the wow factor! xo


    adorn la femme

    1. Hi Lauren!! Thanks so much for reading my post, and it's comforting that someone else can relate to this struggle as a blogger lol. It's definitely not easy pursuing any passion. I LOVE your chic style and exquisite photos! Best of luck in the contest as well!! We bloggers gotta stick together.


  2. I loved this post you will get to the top just keep doing you


    1. Thank you for that heartfelt encouragement, Scarllet! Good luck with your awesome blog!

  3. I love that you're being so raw and honest here, Liz. It's SO STINKIN TRUE! This really does become a full time job and then some, so if you're starting it as a hobby, beware...you've gotta have that unquenchable thirst for more and an unstoppable passion to really "make it" in this crazy blogging world!

    Coming Up Roses

    1. Absolutely! It's fun to start one but another thing to manage and upkeep it. Thanks so much for dropping by my blog! Good luck with your beautiful blog babe xo

  4. Hi Liz,

    This is such a wonderful post with such a nice fashion trendz and great content, quality images this must be in blogging which you did perfectly. Please let me know if you can write some blog for our Indian fashion. Check out www.indiantrendz.com . I hope you will find great content for your writing.


  5. Such a pleasant read ! I love your point of view, you're so right about the fact that we're lying to ourselves saying it's just a hobby, nothing more because we all want to be successful (in different degrees), even if we started our blog for ourselves first. I've never really thought about it but now that you said it... I'm not in a place in my life where I can really work harder for my blog, so in this way, I let it be a hobby for now just because the timing isn't right and I don't want to force myself or I'll never continue it in the long run. But I will keep your post in mind when this time will come. :)


    1. For sure! It's gonna be at a pace we're comfortable at in our lives, and never forced - always meaningful. Because at the end of the day, it's gotta be genuine. Thanks for reading, love! And the best of luck to your blog xoxo

  6. I discovered your LinkedIn profile the other day. I love your genuineness. Yes, consistency is key - but it's so hard to do with everything else that needs maintenance and attention, so I completely understand. You're doing an awesome job so far!

  7. Your writing has a way of capturing the reader's attention. blogs