Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. It is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead-end street. —William A. Ward
I cannot believe we’re in the last month of 2018! As the days go by on this blog, I keep thinking about what an incredible journey it has been.
I also think about all of the epic mistakes I’ve made and let me tell you, I’ve had a lot of Homer Simpson moments.
The blogging industry is so fun yet can be so hard and even lonely at times. And if I had it my way, I’d interview all of the successful bloggers I’ve followed for years.
Why? I’d create a short The World of Fashion Blogging: What Not to Do guide to keep as a reference.
I’m a firm believer in failing forward rather than doing nothing. Being afraid of failure or rejection and not progressing because of those fears is actually failing in my eyes.
Today, I’m sharing the biggest blogging mistakes and the most epic failures I’ve made as a fashion blogger. What I’m sharing with you are what I wish someone could’ve taught me. If I had learned others’ mistakes so I could know what NOT to do before I started blogging seriously, I know I’d be more successful today. And remember, it’s all about failing forward.
If you’re a new or an aspiring blogger, keep reading and take everything I say to heart with your blog/brand.
Here’s what I royally screwed up on:
EPIC FAILURE #1: I DIDN’T HAVE A CLEAR VISION.
If you’re a new reader, you may not know my blogging history. My journey into the blogging industry actually started during the Xanga years. However, my first outfit post was on September 6, 2012 on my first blog called No Boundaries. I wrote about everything. Actually, I wrote too much about everything. Even though I was new to the blogging game, I had no clear vision or direction.
And without vision, I was just sharing without real passion.
Lesson: It’s okay to create content you love. Looking back on my first blog, I was all over the place. What I should’ve asked myself was, “Am I providing value?” “Am I telling a story?” and “Is what I’m creating/sharing evergreen content?”
EPIC FAILURE #2: I WAS NOT CONSISTENT.
During my first year of blogging, I was extremely consistent. For my second year? Not so much. My blog posts throughout this past Spring and Summer have been sporadic. And if you’re looking at my Instagram right now, the last time I posted was nearly a four days ago and before that, seven days ago!
I’m not saying that taking a social media break is bad. In today’s day and age, it’s very much applauded. But, how on earth am I going to expect brands to find me if I’m not posting consistently? ::bows head in shame::
Lesson: Schedule and plan everything ahead of time in case life gets in the way (because it will). In short, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
EPIC FAILURE #3: NOT BEING ORGANIZED FROM DAY ONE.
I will preface and say that I created folders in my email to keep things organized when I first started taking blogging seriously. Sadly, I was not organized in other areas. In terms of shooting product and outfits and writing posts, nothing was structured to keep things going smoothly.
Lesson: When you were younger and mommy said to clean your room otherwise you can’t find anything, she was right. As a kid, it doesn’t matter much. As an adult? I believe it’s called complete and utter chaos.
EPIC FAILURE #4: I DIDN’T ASK FOR A CONTRACT WHEN WORKING WITH A BRAND.
I know. I deserved to get slapped, right? If you want your life to be easy, never trust or rely on verbal agreements. A brand, shop or boutique may ghost you and not hold up their end of the bargain. I’m not saying this happened to me, but looking back, I can see how much of a huge risk I took by not having anything in writing.
However, I did work with a brand and made the mistake of not getting copies of what I was receiving in exchange for doing my part. I just trusted them to record everything on their end and that I would get a copy of it. Now, it’s like pulling teeth to get them to respond to me. From the business side of things, this is my top epic failures as a fashion blogger!
Lesson: Get records of EVERYTHING! When working with a brand, make copies and if you must, have both hard and soft copies of everything. It’s not only to make sure you get paid, it’s to make sure you don’t get in trouble when it comes to tax season.
EPIC FAILURE #5: NOT BELIEVING IN MYSELF AND MY WORTH.
For the longest time, I didn’t understand the importance of believing in myself and my worth. I watched many others succeed while I didn’t believe that I could do it. In a way, my worth and my belief in myself is a form of self love. Don’t make the same mistake I did.
Lesson: If you don’t believe in yourself, no one will. If you don’t know and believe your worth, you won’t get paid for it either. Trust me, there are less intelligent people who are succeeding at blogging. And there are people who put minimal effort into their work and are getting paid. If they can do it, you can certainly do it!
EPIC FAILURE #6: I WAS AFRAID OF REACHING OUT TO PR AGENCIES AND BRANDS.
When I got my first handful of collaboration emails, I was so giddy. I thought, “Now, I don’t have to reach out. I’ll just let brands approach me.” At the end of the day, a few partnerships were formed and I had fun with those campaigns. However, I was not working with as many brands as I wanted to. I saw other bloggers work with brands I wanted to work with and wanted the same thing. The only difference between me and other bloggers was that they weren’t afraid of doing the “Hi, how are ya?!” and I was.
Lesson: The answer is always no if you don’t ask. You never know where your next dream collaboration will come from if you don’t try.
EPIC FAILURE #7: I DIDN’T FOLLOW THE 80/20 RULE WITH MARKETING.
I recently realized that I was doing my marketing all wrong: none. I was writing blog posts and sharing them once on social media. Instead of getting on camera and talking about my latest content, I was doing a “one and done” kind of marketing.
Lesson: How are people going to know what you do if you don’t tell them? There is no shame in a little self-promotion.
EPIC FAILURE #8: SEO WAS NOT A “PRIORITY” FOR ME.
In order for my work to be found, I have to make it easy for the online world to find it. I read one SEO article and I was so bored! Truthfully, I didn’t think it was a big deal…until I saw many business owners, entrepreneurs, bloggers/infuencers stress the importance of SEO.
Lesson: Success leaves clues. So if someone tells you to learn SEO because it’s important, there’s a reason. When many people say learn and apply SEO, you shouldn’t even hesitate. Learn it and apply it!
EPIC FAILURE #9: I DIDN’T LABEL MY IMAGES.
This epic failure is similar to #8. Because I didn’t label my images to be searchable in Google, I lost out on many people finding me. On top of that, if I didn’t attach a link that leads back to my work within the image, no one would know the image belongs to me. Many times I clicked on an image to find the source just so I could find that person’s work and/or follow them.
Lesson: Take the time to rename your images. People are more likely to share/click on content if there’s an embedded image. And if that image has no source, you don’t exist. Plain and simple.
EPIC FAILURE #10: I VALUED OTHERS’ OPINIONS MORE THAN MY OWN
I cared about what others thought and centered my content around that instead of creating what I loved and being patient for my audience to come to me. Newsflash, there will be people who like to follow you and see the content you create! Not everyone will, but there will be people who love your niche!
Lesson: At the end of the day, no one is going to do the work you do. You are one-of-a-kind. And if you think, “How can there be room for me? The blogging industry is saturated!”
Yes, but I’m here to encourage you! Just know there will be people that YOU reach that other bloggers can’t! How about them apples?!
And that’s my experience with failures as a fashion blogger!
If you’re a new blogger, I hope you took some notes so you don’t make the same mistakes I did. Here are some other posts that I wrote that I hope can help if you’re new to the whole blogging journey:
- Things You Need to Know Before You Start Your Blog
- What I Learned During My First Year Of Blogging
- How to Balance Blogging With a Full-Time Job
Like I said at the beginning of this post, to be successful, you have to fail. And if you can fail faster by learning mistakes from me and other bloggers, you’ll become successful much faster!
The only way you’re going to fail is if you do nothing.
If you’re a veteran blogger, what were your epic mistakes? And if you’re a new blogger, what are your biggest takeaways from this article?