I can’t remember the exact moment that I realised how important investing in myself was, but over the past year, I’ve taken it to heart. The nature of what I do, and what I love to do, means that I am always learning new skills and trying new approaches when it comes to developing myself, my blog and my business. I used to spend most of my income on “fun” things like clothes and makeup, but now I spend the majority of what I earn through my blog and my business on bettering what I can offer.
I call it an investment in myself, and my personal and professional growth. I don’t know if it’s because I’m a little bit older now than when I first started earning money for myself, or if it’s the fact that I no longer earn minimum wage in a shitty retail job that sucked all of my energy, but I’ve become a whole lot more focused on growth recently.
The thing is, it works. I’ve seen noticeable results in my “investments” and seeing these pay off only motivates me to work even harder on developing my skill set, mindset and more. Although some of the things I’ve spent my money on in the last year or so have been pretty large purchases – hello shiny new iMac that was totally unnecessary but beautiful nonetheless – not everything I’ve invested in has been a huge expense. Some have been free courses, some have been a few pounds a month, some a bit more – but they’ve (nearly) all been worthwhile.
Whilst a lot of my energy is focused on developing myself professionally, with most of my expenses being with the intention of bettering my business and my future career, there are a few things in particular that have revolutionised the way I blog. I’ve noticed a huge difference in my blog this year. My stats are higher than they’ve ever been which is lovely, but I’m also putting out content that I love and am proud of at every step of the way.
Working with a photographer
I’ve spoken a bit about this already over on the Blog and Beyond website, but working with my photographer, Claire, has been brilliant for my blog. Outfit photos used to be the bane of my life, particularly after Paddy moved away, but now I don’t need to worry about them. Claire helps me produce beautiful, professional images that I can use in my content. She’s an absolute genius and always gets it spot on. I feel so comfortable shooting with her, and now I have a bank of photos I can use to bring a bit more of “me” into what I post online.
Working with a photographer like Claire has made my life so much easier. I don’t need to worry about setting up shots or teaching someone how to use my camera. I used to spend hours flicking between hundreds of nearly identical shots trying to whittle down which ones were actually usable, then even longer editing them, but now I have Claire to do that for me, and I can spend my time doing the bit I love the most – writing.
Social Scheduling Tools
Scheduling social media is a huge time drain for me, especially for my blog. I spend so much of my working day scheduling social that the last thing I want to do when I have a spare moment is schedule more. There was a bit of an uproar a few months ago when Buffer removed the “rebuffer” feature from free accounts, but I’ve been paying for the smaller subscription plan – roughly £9 per month – for a little over two years now.
Upgrading to a paid plan means that I can schedule up to 100 tweets per account at a time, across eight accounts. Not only does this help me massively with work, but it’s a lifesaver for my blog. I schedule roughly 10-12 promotional tweets a day, which may seem like a lot, but Twitter is my biggest traffic source most months. It’s an absolute must for when I want to take some time off, as I can schedule a huge bulk of tweets with ease and leave my laptop tucked away for a few days without worrying about traffic!
Working with a Coach
At the end of last year, I made the decision to invest in one of Jasmin’s coaching packages, and it’s one of the best purchases I’ve ever made for my blog. Over the past eight year’s I’ve learned a lot about blogging, so whilst I know what I’m doing when it comes to running the show I wasn’t great at looking at the bigger picture. With my blog being such a personal thing I was far too close to it to see it from an outsider’s point of view, and working with Jasmine helped me see the things I hadn’t previously considered.
Jasmin helped me think a lot more strategically about how I run my blog and my business, which was a huge turning point for me. Working with Jasmin gave me so much motivation, and I’m looking at working with her again to consolidate some new projects I have in the pipeline and work on scaling up what I already have on the go.
One of the things that Jasmin really helped me with was defining my own coaching packages for bloggers. They’re focused on specific areas of blogging – like the content or social media – which allows me to help other bloggers really build their own blogs. It’s one of my favourite parts of my business, and I’m so proud of how it’s going so far. I’ve sold out of these packages every month they’ve been available, and I’ve just opened up limited bookings for June and July. You can find out more over on my website.
Like I mentioned, I ain’t very good at thinking about the bigger picture, but working with Jasmin encouraged me to practice what I preach and look at things a bit more strategically. I set myself goals a lot, but they used to be vague milestones or irrelevant to what I actually want to do in life. Now I look at where I want to be and work backwards, setting myself short, mid and long-term targets to help measure my progress.
This is probably more relevant to my business side of things more than my blog, but I do still use this approach on a smaller scale when looking at how I want to move my blog forwards. I’m really happy with how my blog is just now, and I still post the content that I want to post, but having a better idea of how each thing contributes to the bigger picture helps me move forward in a more productive way.