Hi. My name is Joanna and I am a broke blogger.
I've spoken about it briefly on my youtube channel, and if you haven't subscribed already, I'd be ever so grateful if you could pause reading for a short moment and subscribe by clicking here
Basically, I began blogging in the summer of 2016, and the reason I decided to start my blog and youtube channel was simply because:
#1. I had been wanting to do it for years but fear of putting myself out there held me back
#2. I was on maternity leave at the time and I wanted something to do, not only to stimulate me and keep me going mentally - but also I wanted an avenue where I could stay in the creative industry and potentially create an income whilst inspiring other women to do the same
When I actually started my blog, I didn't intend to spend hundreds of pounds on just stuff, but at the same time I knew it would take alot of investment.
I needed a camera, which my husband allowed me to purchase after selling our car, and every once in a while, as a fashion and lifestyle blogger, I had intended to buy clothes, shoes, make-up etc to shoot and review on my blog and my channel.
That was the plan anyway...
Not long after I started my joint venture, my husband was made redundant, and a few months following this, he also obtained a very serious knee injury which meant he wasn't able to work anyway.
At first it was whatever, because in my mind it was a very temporary situation, but when the knee injury happened it was literally like "Erm, what do we do now,"
On top of that, not long after, I discovered I was pregnant again. Can you imagine the thoughts that were going through my mind?
Please don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that to be a blogger you just have to spend money. Far from it. I believe there's so much more to blogging in terms of learning new things, learning how to be creative, meeting new people and stepping out in ways that you may not have before. And so far, I've definitely ticked all of the above.
But, maybe you missed the emphasis on my opening statement.
At this moment in time, We're not dealing with a case of "Money is tight right now,"
We're actually broke.
The last couple of weeks have been really tough and there have been times when the blog and channel have taken a back seat because of my anxiety, or my perceived lack of things to write about.
I've wanted to do more lookbooks. I've wanted to do more outfit posts and reviews, but I just can't.
Now you might be thinking, "Erm, Joanna, why are you exposing your business like this," but there is a reason I promise!
For a while, I was genuinely embarrassed because at 28 years of age, this is not where I imagined I would be. Especially, when at 22 I was working at one of the biggest online fashion companies in the UK. We all have dreams and aspirations, and for me I believed I would be so much further than I am right now, and it's frustrating.
That said, I also believe that going through this has changed me so much as a person.
Being in this position has pushed me so much to perfecting my brand image even though I haven't completely revealed all to you guys yet. It's also forced me to learn how to use resources I have around me rather than constantly buying things.
Not only that, but struggling on this scale has also helped me to finalise the business idea that I intend to run alongside my blog - because although I want this venture to work for me and I am putting in 110%, in my mind it's only a side job for me whilst I pursue this business as my main goal.
The past few weeks have been the toughest but they have also been the best in terms of helping me to focus.
Anyway, the reasons I'm telling you this is because I want my journey with you guys to be completely open and honest.
It is so easy to look at the success of others and compare yourself to them, and it's damaging. I have every desire to make it, but when I do, I want you guys to know the struggles I've been through, so if you ever find yourself in the same position you know that that is not the end.
Here are a few tips I've learnt which I think will help you and keep you going even if you feel your end target is nowhere in sight.
#1. DON'T COMPARE YOUR STRUGGLE TO OTHERS' SUCCESS
Honestly, I feel this is so much easier said than done. I follow quite alot of fashion bloggers on my instagram and twitter, and high profile ones at that. And sometimes it's as if every instagram post, tweet or youtube video is a reminder of where I'm not at.
It's also alot easier to compare yourself when you feel that even in yourself, you're not where you want to be at yet.
If you go back to my post on 'Preparing for a Productive 2017', I remember speaking about setting goals for yourself. Long term and short term goals. But when you feel like you're not even achieving your own targets, it makes that comparison syndrome even worse. It's been difficult but this is how I've managed to balance it out..
Alot of the top bloggers I follow have been in the blogosphere for years. One, they've got experience upon experience over me, they've had years to build up their credibility and their following, and not only that, but for me who's only joined their journey recently, the success is all I'm going to see. I missed the early struggle. I missed the grind and the graft. And even though it may not seem like it, they too would have gone through times of struggle and not seeing much return for their input.
Not to mention the select few that had struggles, but will never tell you.
As hard as it can be at times, use the bloggers or people in your industry achieving what you want to achieve right now, but use them as inpiration. If they can do it, so can you.
#2. DON'T SELL OUT TO BLEND IN
Now when I say don't sell out I mean sell out in two ways.
The first way is selling out on yourself. Forsaking who you are and what you believe in just to fit in with what everyone else is doing and saying. Or maybe not even doing anything but just staying silent.
One thing I've noticed in the blogging world is that although people are doing very similar things, people essentially follow the person behind the blog or channel, not just what they're doing.
If you're willing to let go of who you are for the sake of copying someone else, I think one, people will see you're not being authentic and two, you'll miss out on the audience that you could relate to just being yourself. It may take a while to take off at first but stay true to you.
The second way you could sell out is by, avoiding the struggle I'm talking about in this blog particularly, and doing everything you can to keep up with the Jones's - including getting into debt.
Sometimes going through hard times is what helps you to grow in ways you wouldn't have been able to if you didn't go through it. If you're always trying to find a way out, you'll never learn anything substantial. Eventually, if the worst does happen and you do hit rock bottom at some point, you wouldn't have learnt the ways or means to get yourself out of it.
Your journey is your journey and there's a reason for everything that happens. Don't be afraid or shamed of it - rather embrace it.
#3. ALLOW WHERE YOU ARE TO TEACH YOU THINGS ABOUT YOURSELF
If I wasn't going through this struggle right now, I wouldn't have pushed myself to come up with content outside of me just spending money.
For example, the blog post I did last week on the foundations didn't cost me a thing. I went into the shops and collected free samples, whereas if I did have the funds, I probably would have bought one or two just for the sake of being able to.
I realised that prior to going through this experience, I would spend money just because I had it and never really thought through my purchases. There's been many a time where I've bought clothes, shoes or various different items, and they've ended up in a box or under the bed collecting dust.
I know for a fact now, that when things do turn around for us, I won't be doing that anymore because one, I've learnt to value money, and two, I've learned how to be resourceful and make the most out of not always having it.
There are things that your struggle will bring out of you that nothing else can, and not only that but sometimes it's in the struggle that we find our biggest opportunities.
One thing I have to say I am really grateful for is my husband. In this period of time, he's supported me 100% and although I take it for granted sometimes, it really does mean alot.
The reality is, that when people think of my blog and my channel, they think me. But Matthew is the one who takes all of my OOTD pictures, does the filming for the lookbooks, sets up the camera when I'm filming for youtube, and teaches me how to use certain settings on the camera.
Literally, he's the manpower behind the lens and without him I wouldn't be able to do any of this.
This struggle has not only given us something to work together on, but it's allowed even Matthew to tap into talents he never knew existed.
It's safe to say that although 'this place' is uncomfortable for the most part, it's been the best thing to happen to us.
Lastly, The reason I said I wasn't the only one was because last week, as I was planning to write this blog, I discovered a video on youtube by a girl called Tori which basically is a filmed version of everything I've just written. You can watch her story here.
Honestly, I cannot remember the last time I watched somebody speak about something so candidly the way she did, and not only that, but touch and inspire people in the process.
I emailed her to let her know how her video impacted me and her response was so genuine and heartfelt, but again, would I have even reached out to her if my life was going the way I wanted it to right now? Probably not, so that tells me that not only will I learn things about myself but I will also have the opportunity to connect with some amazing people.
I know this blog is written but I truly hope it has the same, if not, a similar impact to the person reading this. And remember, if this is where you are right now, don't be ashamed of it - embrace it, because it will mould you into the best version of you you can be.