the road to 10k.

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I got 99 jobs and blogging ain't one. Ha, just kidding! It's the one job that I enjoy the most, pays me the least, and takes up the majority of my time {if I let it}, but I just love it SO DAMN MUCH! This is a post that is very near and dear to my heart as a lot of sweat equity has been put into this passion project of mine. I've been blogging off an on for about 7 years now, but I really got serious about it this past year. Why did I start? Why is this my third blogging adventure? What does 10k have to do with all of this? I'll try to answer these without writing a novel, so here goes...

WHY DID I START BLOGGING?

I started my first blog, "Obessesions of a Shopaholic" {I was so proud of the name} in 2012. I had just taken on a new job in finance {still not quite sure how I landed there} and after a few quick months, I realized that my creative side wasn't being stimulated enough. Blogging had just become a thing. At the time, I only knew of like three bloggers {two of which are mega-famous now Damsel in Dior and Pink Peonies}, and I thought to myself, what an amazing job...why can't I do that? So I went home and started a blog. I used blogger because that was a really popular platform at the time. It wasn't user-friendly at all, so I had to learn HTML code and find free programs for fonts to create my logo. It took SO MUCH TIME, but luckily, my job was very low maintenance, which left a lot of time to work on the blog. I was also in my twenties with little to no responsibility so it was the perfect side project for me to take on. Looking back, my photos were so horrible {taken on my crappy iPhone 4} and I had no consideration for background, lighting or the content of my feed. It was also right when Instagram came out, so I remember I had like 200 followers and I was so proud of myself. It was really a labor of love and something I did 100% on my own without anyone's help. And most importantly, without anyone telling me what to do. Hence, a monster was born.

THIRD TIME'S A CHARM?

After a year after I started Obessesions of a Shopaholic, I was promoted at work and everything blogging went out the window. I was so eager to be promoted that I didn't care if all my hard work on the blog was put to the wayside. Little did I know, a year later, I would be miserable in my job, but a surprise engagement and buying our first house quickly filled my void of blogging. I only wish I had kept up with my blog to document all the fun events that happened in my life during that time. Once the excitement of everything died down, I still felt something was missing - the blog. I realized how much I loved to write and I also how many people actually cared about what I had to say. All I ever heard was "What happened to your blog?", "I need your style advice, please come back". So, after one of my best friends moved to Seattle, we decided to start another blog, together and "Tater & Tot Style" was bornWe blogged together for about a year and the best part of our adventure was all the amazing people we met in the blogging community in Seattle. At the time, I had no idea there were so many bloggers right in my backyard and it was so great to connect with people who had the same interests as us. As luck would have it, we both got pregnant about 4 months apart from each other and again, blogging was put to the wayside. Towards the end of my pregnancy, I knew in my heart that I didn't want to return to work for someone else. I had worked so hard for the past 10 years in corporate America and quite honestly I was burnt out. I was so tired of being pushed around in a workplace full of empty promises and no guarantee that anything would ever be mine. That being said, I made the decision to quit my job, stay home with Tayler and really see what being a full-time blogger was all about.  

WHAT DOES 10K HAVE TO DO WITH ANYTHING? 

When I launched Styled Out West back in April of 2017 I knew that this would be the last blog I started so it needed to be the best. One of my biggest goals was to reach 10k followers on Instagram. You unlock some fun business features once you hit that magic number, but also it was a way to really motivate me to put in the hard work. With so many "influencers" on social media these days, it's really hard to stand out, so I try and produce content that I feel is helpful in some way and really project my true self. Reaching this milestone, just two months shy of my one year anniversary was surreal and also a bit anti-climatic. The day I saw that number I was through the roof with excitement and received the sweetest messages from followers and fellow bloggers congratulating me. But, the reaction from my family & friends was less enthusiastic. Unless you are in the industry, it's really hard for an outsider to realize what it means to have 10 THOUSAND people follow you on Instagram. It was countless hours of engaging with others, producing great content, figuring out the right aesthetic and doing A LOT of research and networking. All said and done, I didn't do it for anyone else, I did it for me and for that reason alone I am extremely PROUD. 

 10 balloons for 10k! C H E E R S !

10 balloons for 10k! C H E E R S !

My life has changed so much over the years since I very first started blogging and I have experienced so much more life. I have learned more about myself in these past few years than I ever thought and now more than ever, I want to share what I've learned with all of you. I don't think I know everything {far from it}, but I have accomplished most things I have set out to do and all it takes is a little determination and some REALLY hard work. Blogging is still not a full-time thing for me {yet} as financially I'm just not comfortable with the amount of money it brings in. But I do it because I love all of you and I genuinely enjoy helping others feel good about themselves, whether it's through a blog post or personal styling session. Not only that, but it has brought me so many amazing new friends, colleagues and opportunities that I would have never had if I hadn't taken a leap of faith and just did the damn thing!

So to all of you who quietly follow, consistently comment or send me private messages - THANK YOU! This celebration is just as much yours as it is mine as Styled Out West would be nothing without YOU!

 

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