Ok. Crack open the champagne and blow up the balloons… it’s my birthday.
My first birthday.
Can you EVEN believe it? I have been blogging (on my own site) for a year now. One year.
My first dash of analytics came 12 months ago. My first foray into blogging, bloggers and this crazy industry I now call home.
I didn’t know any of you yet, we hadn’t met, yet a year later here we are, and (forgive me if I am wrong) I kinda feel like we are pretty good friends these days.
So, as bloggers do, I want to immortalize THIS day in my Blogging timeline. I want to make it important and impactful.
I would have loved to give away a million dollars or something equally mind-blowing… but it hasn’t be THAT great of a year.
So, what has happened? Let’s roll through it.
Sept 12: I moved my little “story” about our move over to my own URL. I left a business I had helped start and I cleared my plate of virtually everything. I was literally starting my life with a blank sheet. I knew nothing about blogging and I knew very little about social media, but I remembered that I “used” to know how to write, and I could always create and then sell amazing things. . . so.. I had my fingers crossed that something cool would happen.
October 12: With my blog barely a month old I landed a sweet little spot on Marilyn Dennis. What did that matter? Well, It bumped my weeny little site up to the 5 figures in a day and it also helped me meet a whack load of people at Blissdom Canada. It gave me a base readership, and a tribe of BBFF’s (bloggy best friends forever) that would carry me through the slim months ahead. These gals were there to bounce ideas off of (and also created a teeny bit of healthy competition for me as well) And they have all been with me for the year, working with me on campaigns and projects, answering the phone when I really, really need them. They are “my” foundation. My rocks.
Nov 12: we took off. We hit the beaches of St. Lucia (thanks TomTom) and explored and ate and swam and sunned. Two weeks of bliss had this blogger learning the hard way how to manage a blog from a remote location with sketchy wifi. I was pretty excited this month as it was my first time ever getting to do a giveaway and review for someone outside of my immediate circle. It wasn’t a paid campaign, but I did have to apply, and I got to work with this awesome guy! This is also the month I got signed on to an Ad Network. I WAS MONETIZED… but small. So I was monetized with small change (but still monetized)…
Dec 12: December I spent looking at all the other bloggers and being amazed by all the holiday posts they were doing. They all looked so ORGANIZED and I felt like I was fumbling around with telling kindergarten stories… but then, I GOT A SPONSORED POST. This was a big deal for me. I had sold advetorials on my other sites before, but never my personal blog. . . it was my first taste of the blogging Kool-Aid… and I liked it. This was the month I also learned a little more about SEO and titles. I figured out the crazy science of how to write what people are actually looking for… (insane, I know) I started to get a feel for the industry, the expectations and the opportunities.
Jan 13: I took the new year, new plan to a whole new level. I launched. I had spent the last 4 months sorting my head, licking old wounds, re-building my confidence. . . 2013 was the year I was going to stop exploring, and start applying. I set the intention to simplify my life and use what I have learned. No more thinking, it was time for doing. And I did. I conceived the idea for BLUNTmoms while I was sitting hung over on our couch New Years Day. I was feeling limited in the things I could share on my personal blog and wanted a place to clear my brain and talk out all the other junk in my head. I thought about it that morning, and 3 hours later, purchased the domain. By noon on January 2nd the site was built and by January 3rd, we had a team of writers eager to contribute. We published our first post January 4th, and have kept going ever since. Since then, we have shared over 230 posts and had over 50 writers from around the world work with us. It was a good day!
Feb 13: This is the month I started to get smart… I applied (and was accepted) as a Blogwest ambassador. I started selling campaigns… and then started selling Integrated campaigns instead. I launched Three chicken Consulting and learned right alongside my first clients. I was still terrified, but I knew I was on the right path. My steps were becoming more confident and I felt like I was “coming back” to who I used to be. And I started writing about food. This is a huge thing (not being a foody, or photographer) but I was able to find “my” way to share recipes.
Mar 13. What a lovely month was March. More campaigns, more clients and a more of finding my voice on my site. Life was busy and good, and I was getting into a rhythm. My contacts were growing and I was pitching and exploring opportunities. I was paying the rent. . . for the first time in a really, really long time I was paying bills. I hit Blogwest and ended up speaking at the conference and connecting with inspiring brands and bloggers alike. We giggled and ate the most amazing mexican food! I re-launched my JulieNowell.com blog to 3Chickensandaboat.com, cleaned up my site, and added a fresh theme. I applied everything I was learning, and teaching… and it worked.
Apr 13: An even higher month… april was the motherlode of the blog campaigns. I got my first ad network sponsored post, (squee) and was continuing to build my life, and my businesses. Things actually felt balanced. I was a Bloggers and Brands conference ambassador and speaker. I was learning more about the industry and being reminded that like all industries, there are politics.
May13: May exploded somewhere, I’m not sure where. Balancing wasn’t working anymore and I was starting to slip. I was sick, sick, sick. Strep throat, stomach flu’s everything. I started getting more campaigns from other networks (yay) and still had a full roster of clients. I had picked up more sub contractor work and was co-hosting a weekend conference in Whistler. And I was learning. Learning more than I could have imagined. Ins and outs and ups and downs, details and big pictures. . . learning and learning and learning. And with my body exhausted, I forced my mind to stay open so i could capture everything. One thing we never know is how things will work out, but if we can learn along the way, it is usually worth it, no matter the ending.
June 13: This month was all about the bigger brands and the bigger campaigns. I was doing more back end work than blogging and it was taking it’s toll. The kids were winding up with school and I wasn’t sure how things were going to work out in the summer. I hadn’t made any plans. . . but I knew I had a pile of work and no way to do it.
July 13: CHAOS. Schools out, the sun is up the beach is calling. Kids and chaos, a clingy 3 yr old, fighting and irritability. Every single thing I did was rushed. I rushed through work, I rushed through life. I didn’t have time to put my attention anywhere for long. Nothing got all of me. . . including me. I got a really, really bad haircut. I ended the month at Blogher in chicago. I started to remember how much I loved to write, and hang out here with you. I realized I had lost my voice in distraction (again). It wasn’t working.
August 13: I tried. I really tried to do it all in August. I tried to be the mom, and the business person, and the blogger and the wife. As we all know. . . that is impossible. I knew it was time. I cut the stuff that wasn’t mine. I cleaned the house (literally) and I started to live again. And just because of that, I started to write again. I made it a goal to write every day, and I did. I committed to 1 sponsored post for every 5 unsponsored. I wrote, and I wrote and I wrote. And I felt happy again.
September 13: Well… this is all pretty fresh isn’t it now, but I am sure there are still things you don’t know. September I came out about BLUNTmoms. I owned it, and I started to mold it again. I found my love for all the things i have created again. My love for my blog. My love for my business and my love for BLUNTmoms. I had the time to work on integrated campaigns again. I had time to work on my blog, and do better than good enough.
The year had brought me full circle (as it often does) and back to a place of clarity and simplicity. My goal last year was that I would keep blogging for the year, and I made it. I saw it through the ups and downs. I learned lessons (yes, hard ones) and my brain took in more than I thought possible. I got a dose of industry politics and then made the decision not to play. I said yes, I supported and I stuck to my honest track.
I am a 1yr blogger. I am fully monetized. I work with multiple networks and also sell my own integrated campaigns. i do pay my families bills with my work. I am passionate about what I do. I am a writer. . . And I believe it all happened because of hard work, courage and creativity. And you know what else?
It is working out, not like I thought at all, but better than. I am being given a forum to share my ideas (and ideals) and am excited about the coming months.
Speaking at (two) upcoming conferences, new clients and new opportunities. Winter approaches and I have a whole new page I will be welcoming in in 2014 (and a few things to come clean on that I haven’t shared yet)
I have a new project (are you surprised?) that will be launching in January, and my hope is that I will be able to continue offering something back to the blogging community, while still immersing myself in it’s awesome-ness.
and I can NOT wait to see what else will come up (because I am certainly not done yet!)
(and since it is my birthday, can you share a vote for me to be one of Canada’s Top mom bloggers? It is like a gift.. but doesn’t cost anything!)