We just celebrated our four year anniversary of starting The Southern Trunk, and I just want to say THANK YOU! Thank you to everyone who encouraged me to start this, to keep going, and to stay true to myself. To everyone who reads, whether you just started or you’ve been there since the beginning, I couldn’t do what I do and what I love without you.
I couldn’t think of a better time to start a new series with you all then right now. I’ve been thinking a great deal on what is going on with “influencers” and social media – ways I can be more transparent with you and real, while still creating content I love and am proud of. So with that being said, we’re going to have some “Coffee Talk” from now on.
I really wish I could sit and share a cup a coffee with each of you individually, so while that’s physically impossible, this new series is going to be my outlet in sharing with you a closer look at who I am, what I am thinking and what’s on my heart. In some ways, my Thoughts on Things series has been similar to that, but Coffee Talk is going to take it a step further and a bit deeper. And I thought I would kick off our coffee talk and year four of this journey with – why I started blogging.
Why I Started Blogging
I am going to be upfront and say that this is often a question I get asked indirectly or people sometimes wonder about frequently. Blogging is something that kind of exploded in the past few years with the rise of “social influencers” and there are more bloggers and social media accounts than ever before. Honestly, when I first started this new chapter, I think I started on it for the wrong reasons. I really had a heart for marketing and loved the idea of creating something where Ian and I could express our creativity together, but it wasn’t until about a year and a half into it that I really discovered my purpose in it and my heart towards what I’m doing really evolved.
I should preface all that by saying, I have loved marketing since I was 14 years old. You can ask my friends from high school what I wanted to be when I grew up, and they would tell you that I wanted to either be in fashion and / or event management and marketing. Fast forward a few years and that’s exactly what I did.
I worked as a wedding coordinator, then retail and then as a Marketing Director, until I decided to stay home with my babe full time and make this blogging thing a career. It’s more than just what I wanted to do. I have this passion for it and always have. So when the blogging movement started, why would I not want to jump on the bandwagon? It fit almost all my categories of a dream job. At the time, I didn’t realize exactly all it entailed. It seemed like you just throw some pictures of yourself up on the internet and get paid to do it. I was definitely wrong.
Like I said, about a year and a half in, I realized just how much blogging was more than pictures and text on a website. First of all, it is an incredible amount more work than that. From creating / organizing content calendars to working and emailing with brands, press kits, website and social analytics, the taking pictures and making things look pretty part is just a small piece of some heavy lifting and long nights.
Secondly, I realized the weight of pursuing something like this carried. The first year and a half I would post about things that were fun and light-hearted, with a few thoughts on more important things here and there.
Then one day, I opened up my heart and shared something deeply personal on the internet with friends and complete strangers. Those next few months, I realized how sharing your story and who you are could open up doors to meet people all over the world, and how it could also be used to encourage and motivate others. You’d think I would know this… After all, I remember reading blogs and being so inspired or reading them and feeling like someone else out there understood what I was going through. But it all became so real to me at that time, and that is when I sat with Ian and said my heart and intentions with this need to change.
Every person on the internet has a platform. You don’t have to have a blog to be an influencer. Whether you have 10 followers on Instagram or 100k, 15 Facebook friends or thousands, you are influencing and impacting the people who you follow and who surround you. When you start to see the effects of voicing your opinion / beliefs, you really start to consider and weigh everything you put out there. How is this going to make someone feel? Am I self-promoting and posting in vanity or just sharing something fun about what’s going on in my life? Intentions behind something everything. People will have an opinion about you and what you’re doing NO MATTER WHAT you do, but if your heart and your intentions are right, that’s all that counts.
**Chrissy Powers does an incredible job of explaining healthy social media here. I highly recommend reading her post if you are using social media at all or know anything going on with the influencer debates right now.
Now you kind of know why I started and how my heart changed during that process. So where does that leave us now? Why am I blogging and why do I keep doing it?
I Love It
I am being 100% honest when I say I LOVE doing this. I wake up excited about new ideas and things to share. I love being able to share pieces of my heart, life and fun things like fashion and motherhood on here. I love being able to style, curate and make things pretty. And I love being able to do all of this and be at home with my son. It was really hard to leave my job, but I wanted to be at home with my baby more. Being a wife and a mother are still my first priority, but I get an outlet to create and market at the same time. It’s an honor to be able to work with brands, to travel with my family, to document our life and so much more. And I am still pinching myself and so grateful that it has gone the way it has.
My heart could explode, and we wouldn’t have enough hours at the coffee shop for me to tell you how much I’ve been inspired and encouraged by connecting with so many of you. I’ve made deep friendships through this space. I’ve gotten to know and pray for so many different ladies I wouldn’t have known otherwise. These experiences have brought me to tears.
I also get to have fun sharing about my favorite shops, products, sales, etc., like I have thousands of girlfriends. It’s so fun. When we first started, we hosted “trunk shows” on the blog where we would highlight our favorite shops and entrepreneurs, and now we still get to do that on a much larger scale, and that makes me so happy!
I Get to Help Support My Family
When I decided to stay home full time, I told Ian that I really wanted to pour a lot into this so I could still contribute to our family. And that was a slow start, but I am so grateful that I am able to do what I love from home and still make extra cash for us to use. Ian was honestly fine with me not doing anything and just staying home, but I knew that if I was going to spend the kind of time I was on blogging, I wanted it to be something that could benefit us financially too.
To be clear, money is definitely not what this blog is all about, because I can honestly say we didn’t bring in a dime until the day I decided I wanted to make money from it. But it is a wonderful blessing that I am able to help with things now.
Now, this is where I it get’s the trickiest or the most awkward. Because now is when people have to decipher whether I am being “real” or “promoting”. I know some feel like I am over promoting myself. But honestly, I have just learned to develop a tough skin. Well… I’m still learning. People make hurtful comments. Sometimes because they don’t understand, sometimes because they do and they just don’t agree, and sometimes I think it’s just due to the nature of putting yourself out there the way blogging does, but overall I know why I am doing it and like I said earlier, I am constantly checking my intentions and heart. Which leads me to my last point…
I Truly Feel Called to It
There may be a day where I walk away completely. I shut down the site and I live a life completely off the internet, but right now, I know that’s not what I am supposed to do. So until then, thank you for reading along with me. For all your comments, emails and for connecting with me.
I want to finish by saying that most of you know this, but this both is and isn’t my real life. What you see contains the highlights of our life and what I want to share, but it’s not everything. I love to wear pretty clothes, but I also love sweatpants and not doing my hair and makeup. I have a lot of fun days with my family, but I also have days where nothing goes right and there are a lot of tears.
Social media and the internet are surface level, and it’s important to remember that. I would be lying if I said that it hasn’t caused me heartache in the past, but one thing this whole gig has taught me is that it ISN’T everything. It isn’t where my hope lies and it shouldn’t be where yours does either. No platform, no pretty picture, no amount of likes, follows or page views will make you happy. So if we search for it on those outlets, we will always be let down. Let’s all be gracious and remember that. Let’s work on treating the space exactly how it should be and for nothing more. Martin Luther King Jr. said it so well – “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” We get to choose whether we carry the burden or not. You won’t hurt my feelings if you stop following me… I understand and practice what I preach too.
Love you all and until our next cup of coffee…
(Currently 32 weeks and all the outfit details below)