Blogging 101: Finding Your Summer Voice

Blogging 101 - Finding Your Summer Voice

Summer is in full swing, in case you haven’t walked outside lately. While we’re in the low 90′s/high 80′s which is very mild for Florida, it’s been very busy for me. I spent June pushing myself beyond belief so hopefully this July is a lot easier. One thing that hasn’t changed during this summer is that bloggers are pretty quiet. If you were blogging in the fall and winter, you may have noticed how active everyone was. Now it seems that readers are too busy enjoy vacations to read your blog, which might be difficult for you. How hard is it to blog when you know your audience isn’t as active? I’m going to share some tips on finding your summer voice to help you get through these traffic lows and keep your passion for your blog.

Stop Studying Numbers

If your blog hasn’t been around for a couple of years, you might be feeling really depressed at your summer traffic numbers. Summer, for me, has always been a little slow. It’s not a huge difference in traffic but statistically speaking, the summer months are my lowest. The numbers don’t matter! It doesn’t matter if you have 500 visitors or 50, keep blogging. Your audience may be smaller but you still have one. Allowing the numbers to affect the way you publish content is a huge mistake. Keep your blog true to your intentions and do what works for you.

Decrease Quantity, Increase Quality

If you’re posting five to seven times a week, you might do better by decreasing your posting schedule a bit. Spend more time focusing on the quality of your content instead of quantity of weekly posts. Having concise, premium content will always attract more visitors than several posts that aren’t offering much of anything. Figure out what works best for your blog audience. If you see more interaction with less posts, perhaps you can think of permanently changing your posting schedule. Summer is the best time to experience with new things!

Guest Posts

Connect with other bloggers and offer guest posts for their blogs. You can always connect with a new audience through some one else’s blog. It’s a great way to get new readers interested in your blog while offering your blogger friends a break from dealing with the summer slump. If you’re willing, accept guest posts on your space as well. Again, it offers you a break from developing content when you want to spend the day at the beach. Automating as much as possible with your blog can help you tremendously.

Experiment

As I stated before, now is the best time to experiment with new things. Start a new blog series. Offer a new freebie such as an e-book or an e-course. If you want to get an idea of how things will work out but you don’t want to overwhelm your audience, start to roll them out in phases. Do you have a redesign or rebrand you want to try but you’re not sure? Test it out on your blog one week and get feedback from your readers. Experimenting is a great way to offer something new to keep your audiences interested without throwing things off too much.

Most importantly, it’s important to just stay true to yourself. Don’t become overwhelmed or stressed about your summer traffic. Numbers are just numbers and you should enjoy your blog! Also, take this time to get out and take a vacation of your own. Seeing a new place may inspire you with new ideas!

How are you managing your blog this summer?

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Entrepreneurship & Friendships

Friendships & Entrepreneurship

If you’re anything like me, your friendships were formed before you made the jump into full-time entrepreneurship. Although I’ve always had a business, it recently became my primary source of income in the past year and it’s made some changes in my social schedule. Whereas before, every weekend was pretty much open for friend-time, now I’m scheduling friend-time around meetings, deadlines, and location. It can be pretty tough and if your friends require more in-person social time, you might find yourself in some rocky situations. I want to talk about some ways that I’ve been managing my social circles while still keeping my business afloat.

Making the Jump

When starting to transition into being more business-focused, I was still working a 9-5 which meant no time for social events during the week. It was a bit overwhelming having to decline so many invitations but it really helped my friends transition into my new schedule. I would make exceptions for really important events but last-minute hangouts were pretty nonexistent. In the beginning, it’s important that you’re communicating your schedule with your friends and helping them understand why this is the best decision for you. Here are some easy tips to remember when you’re starting your journey:

  • Not everyone understands what goes into owning a business. Try to be patient when explaining why it takes you four hours to answer e-mails.
  • Focus on the positives! While it may be easy to complain about e-mails, marketing, and bad clients, try to focus on the positive aspects of having your own business. It helps your friends understand why you’re spending your Saturday night bookkeeping instead of going out with them.
  • Talk about schedules early. Luckily, most of my friends are career-oriented or entrepreneurs themselves, so this part was easy. If your friendships are based on last-minute hangouts or coffee trips, you might want to be clear about the importance of scheduling meetups ahead of time. It’s just easier for everyone involved and it helps you transition into a new schedule.

Accepting Changes

The plight of the twenty-something is that friendships do change. When you’re running a business, sometimes that can be apparent very early on. Brand management is hard to do, especially when you have friends who don’t quite understand certain boundaries. I do a lot of social media work for my business and this blog so it’s important for me to make sure I’m setting a standard for my brand. Unfortunately, not all of my friends can understand that. It was time to set some boundaries and sometimes those boundaries can end friendships.

  • Keep your personal and business social media lives separate. I don’t have any of my clients listed on my personal social media accounts, like Facebook. If I do, it’s because we were really close friends prior to doing business. I do, however, occasionally add blog buddies and it’s important that I’m aware of what’s being tagged/posted on my wall. Can you imagine how stressful it would be if your clients were all your friends? Make a separate account for your business and make sure your friends know, it’s business only. They’re free to support it but you don’t need posts asking about grandma from your uncle on your business page. Trust me, I’ve seen it happen to a business before and it was embarrassing.
  • Address problems as soon as they arise. If you have a friend who makes really inappropriate jokes or seems to tag you in every chain image on Facebook, just let them know that you love them but it’s becoming a little inappropriate. Of course, this can cause conflict, but it’s easier to just stop problems before they get too out of hand.
  • Friendships will end. Come to terms when you realize you’re having issues with a friend who has issues with the changes you’re making. It’s easy to address it with them and share your feelings, but in the end, sometimes people aren’t in it for what you’re doing for yourself. It sucks but you’re better off and it happens, entrepreneur or not.

Remember the Small Things

One of the things that makes it easy for me to manage my friendships is that I love what I do. I’ve never been happier working on things, no matter how difficult it is. My friends can obviously see that and in turn, it makes them happy for me. I’m good at what I do so I can always take time to manage my social life while still keeping my business a priority. It’s the small things that count. Here are some things I’ve been doing to make sure my friends still feel like I care, because I do!

  • Cards are a girl’s best friend. I just love to give my friends cards, especially just because cards or to say thank you. A handwritten note of appreciation goes a long way. I love getting notes from my friends and I keep them all over my office.
  • Texting is amazing! Can you imagine being a freelancer prior to the days of instant communication? You’d have to pick up the phone, hope they were at their desk, or leave a message on the answering machine. It’s a lot of work! I send love messages to my friends with quotes or things that I’ve been thinking of that reminds me of them. If we haven’t been able to meet in a while, it just helps them to know, you’re always on my mind. I know some people enjoy e-mails or voice messages which all can work.
  • Do the impromptu. #TREATYOSELF Every now and again, just ask if a friend is available for lunch and drive out to where they work. Take an afternoon coffee break. It’s just important to keep the element of surprise in every now and again and accept a friend’s offer when they ask, especially if they really need it. I know how it feels to have a tough week and all you need is time to chat it out. I definitely try to make time for those chats. Just don’t feel obliged to make it an everyday thing but once a month doesn’t hurt.

I have crazy social circles and so some of these things work for some and some don’t work for others. It’s important to be able to balance relationships as it’s another part of growing up. Maybe in a few months, I’ll let you know how catastrophic things get when you add a baby into the mix.

How do you manage your friendships and your business life?

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July 2014 Wallpaper: Live for Freedom

July 2014 Wallpaper - Freedom

Thank you friends for all of your lovely comments, tweets, and e-mails about yesterday’s post. I’ve been a little overwhelmed with just changes in general but I’m hoping to dedicate myself back to this space, even if there’s a little one hanging out in my lap in a few months.

In the meanwhile, July”s wallpaper is a take of something I did from yesterday’s post. I’m living for black and gold again and wanted to do something easy for this month. Who doesn’t love florals in the summer?

Live for Freedom - July 2014 Wallpaper

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