It was one 2AM when I messaged my friend Myrra asking her if she wanted to collaborate and hold a blogging workshop with me. The next morning she replied saying yes without hesitations. We set up a call the following day and we talked about how we really wanted the workshop to go and in just two weeks, it finally happened!
With so many blogs nowadays, how do you really stand out? As long-time bloggers, we found out that the secret was actually simple (although we’re not gonna lie, we wish someone told us this earlier on!)
YOU HAVE TO ADD YOUR HEART’S PURPOSE =
YOU HAVE TO BLOG WITH PURPOSE
Before I got here, it took me 6 years of experimenting and trying out new things. I lost motivation after some time and I stopped blogging for more than a year. I thought I could easily go back but it was harder than expected – and that’s why I’m here, in this new space. Despite the good traffic and audience my old blog had, I feel like it just became a mess and that moving forward was the only thing I could do.
Let me share with you, however, that messy journey because that taught me a lot! Hopefully, you also learn from my mistakes.
You see, my blogging journey started in 2012 on Tumblr (hello Tumblr kids!) I used to take pictures of inanimate objects and put quotes over it. I would even spend my time creating those short stop-motion clips on the most random things like how to make a mango float cake or my flat shoes collection that had over 12 pairs.. that was a big thing for me back then!
I moved to my first blog in 2014 because I mainly wanted to help people pass the demo lesson for this online English school I was teaching at. It was summer and us 18-year-olds had to make money if we were going out, right? So I came up with the idea to write about the experience because my friend and I were first applying for the same company. We had to do a teaching demo lesson and unfortunately my friend wasn’t accepted. We did, however, take the feedback that was given to her and added it to what I already knew and was doing and we tried training another friend who wanted to apply too. That friend we trained was also able to make it.
That was the start of my first blog. I then wrote about other side hustles, gigs, finances and sometimes “adulting” even if I didn’t really consider myself an adult. One of the popular posts from before was how to get your TIN ID as an 18-year-old because believe me, it wasn’t easy. It was actually terrifying and I wouldn’t recommend it. If you have to do though, then, by all means, read that post first. I would also write about my other gigs like working as style dresser for the Style Origins fashion show or how I also became a writer for this famous magazine. It was all there.
A year after, I was running out of things to write yet I was dying to put out more content. I started venturing into writing about beauty and skincare. I would review products and write about them on my blog. Brands started reaching out to me too. They invited me to their skin clinic and had me use their most expensive services. I was trying facials worth more than 5k. (WHEW) Some makeup brands would also send me their products. I remember when L’Oreal sent me 30 pieces of lipsticks to swatch for one post. While it was fun, I again eventually got tired of it. Events had become monotonous and I’m not gonna lie, they aren’t as fun as I thought they’d be. I will share though that people were more on their phones than in the actual event. They were there to take pictures and not to create connections. I could be wrong and this could be an isolated case but let’s leave it at that.
The following year I traveled to Greece for a volunteer experience and people were asking me to write about it too. Even up to now, Greece related posts send the highest traffic to my blog. And although the experience changed my life and I was a hundred percent willing to share and talk about it, I have unconsciously started another phase on my blog. Soon, I was writing about travels.
But it was messy. When I stuck to one niche, engagement on the blog was high, I had readers and conversations over emails, but after I started writing a mix of finances, side-hustles, beauty, traveling, and even life, the engagement on my blog slowly died down. My blog was having an identity crisis and I think my readers were confused. When I was being invited to events, brands didn’t even know what to call me – fashion blogger (I clearly am not!), travel blogger, lifestyle blogger – they all called me different things.
So I learned that it was messy because:
WHEN YOU TRY TO TALK TO EVERYONE,
YOU END UP TALKING TO NO ONE.
I eventually lost my motivation and stopped blogging for more than a year. BUT I MISS IT and some people do too – at least I think, thanks to those who still email! 😦
So this year, I’m rebranding like I always wanted to. BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY, I’m now committed to writing with purpose.
In case you haven’t seen the first post (which I highly recommend that you do), you will know that I started this blog with the purpose and dream of helping and coaching YOUNG WOMEN (LIKE ME) to building their business – whether through side-hustling or opening a creative business.
I learned that this is something I will always love going back to. And while my dad is responsible for influencing me to become a creative entrepreneur (who was forced to invest her money in stocks and mutual funds btw! #IJustAppreciatedItWhenIGotOlder), I’ve been organizing events, working on creative business and side gigs ever since 18. I guess it’s something I really love doing.
My sisters and I run multiple businesses – two of my sisters (Pam and Kat) and I are running a skincare retail shop, while Kat and I are finally starting our events company (finally after organizing a lot of events in the past). Lia, my youngest sister, was also one of my partners in creating stuffed dolls and other cute stuff for kids her age. SO IT WAS BASICALLY ME, PARTNERING WITH MY SISTERS FOR BUSINESS. (LOL #WeMeanBusiness)
In addition, I’ve been also trying to manage my business as a freelancer by writing and working on creative services such as layout-ing (?) and video editing. Sometimes, I would coach and advice friends – no fees yet, but it’s a start.
I cannot emphasize enough how you need to find your purpose and work with it. IT WILL TAKE YOU TO PLACES. You just have to be patient enough and really, trust the process. As cliche as that may sound, 11/10 it’s true!
I also believe that your purpose will always shine through your reading. Your readers and community can tell whether you’re being your authentic self or not. While Myrra and I were talking and preparing for the workshop, I learned it from her that even though you might start a blog with a common niche (such as travel blogs, etc.), you CAN be unique and stand out if you write with your authentic voice. If you write and just express yourself freely, people will learn to trust and resonate with you more.
And even though we were the organizers of the workshop, listening to our participants’ stories, opinions, interests have inspired me all the more. I feel like my goals are clearer than ever. It’s such a fluffy feeling to be in but it is what it is.
I hope, you also find the same feeling. Whether if it’s building your blog or business or reevaluating/ rebranding it, I hope you find your purpose. 🙂
For those who missed out on our first workshop, we’re still finding the time and means to have a second one but YOU CAN SIGN UP FOR NOW BY JUST DROPPING YOUR EMAIL IN THE COMMENT SECTION BELOW! I promise I won’t spam you. You’ll only be receiving an email from me or us for future workshop details.
In the meantime, if you just wanna talk and/or could just use some advice, I’m literally always on twitter OR my email so feel free to contact me wherever.
I’ll be seeing you soon!
Always cheering for you,
melissaungco[AT]gmail.com | @_caramelyyy