As some of you may know I've been blogging for over ten years now and in this time the industry has changed massively. As the world of blogging has evolved, so have I, and if I look back over the years, which I do from time to time, I find myself with a few regrets. I personally don't see regrets as negative things, they are aspects within our lives that we learn from and more often than not they form us as a person. But in the spirit of honesty and sharing with you guys, as it looks like you're enjoying these kind of posts and getting to know me a bit better, I thought I'd share some of my blogging regrets...
With 3 YouTube Videos a week, 2-3 blog posts a week and daily posts on Instagram I really don't find myself slacking at this point in time but over the years I have gone through periods where the blog has taken a back seat. Now I think this would be fair if the back seat was to other important life things but it wasn't, it was just down to being lazy (and I don't even mean taking time for myself). When I first started I did an outfit every single day on my blog, this was just a single snap on a compact camera inside my apartment, it wasn't fancy but it was the start. There was no writing, just the outfit and outfit details, but people liked it. I guess it was a quick fashion fix and before the likes of Pinterest and Instagram were born I was providing inspiration in one single image. As the years rolled on, the blog developed and it became more and more work; shooting multiple images, editing images (now taken on a DSLR), finding outside locations to shoot in (horrific during winter), coming up with outfits constantly, the list goes on. I might sound like I'm moaning and I probably have moaned a lot over the last 10 years but I think that's only natural when your job revolves around, well, yourself (how much 'me' can I take?). Maybe my inspiration was running dry, maybe I was just bored, I don't know but I started to slack. Posts dropped to 4 a week, 3 a week, 2 a week, 1 a week...none for a month. This can happen in blogging as some of you will know, sometimes you just lose your mojo but my biggest regret is not constantly giving it my all. Baring in mind I started at the same time as now-super bloggers like Chiara Ferragni, Aimee Song (still a fave of mine and a lovely human being), Kristina Bazan, Andy Torres and so many other incredible women who clearly ceased their moments and worked damned hard to make something happen. I made excuses for myself that many of these bloggers started when they were in college and so they had the free time to invest into their blogs but I can't help thinking maybe they were just more determined that I was, more hard working throughout. Don't get me wrong, I have definitely worked hard to get where I am, and I'm not for one second ungrateful, but the Leo in me wishes I had done more at times. Funnily enough this point kind of links to the last so be patient with me here.
2. Selling out
Before I launch into this one I would just like to remind you all that this is my opinion about my own experiences, no one else's. I'm not here to comment on how other bloggers work and conduct their businesses as I think there are many different types of blogger out there and not everyone should be the same nor does everyone have the same circumstances. Ok disclaimer out the way, selling out, oh yes I have done this. I'm confident to say that I haven't done anything I would deem as 'selling out' over the last 3 years, in fact the opposite has now become part of the ethos behind my own brand and business, but I have definitely committed some hideous crimes of advertising in the past. I'm not going to reel off everything but one particular opportunity I was given sticks in my mind. It was about 5 years ago and I was offered an Instagram collaboration with a large car brand. The brief was that I needed to go to the display of their new car at Westfield in White City and take 2 Instagram pictures for posting on my account. If I remember correctly one post had to have the car in it, and the other post was up to me. They had a photo booth, job done. I was paid well over 4 digits for this collaboration and I'll tell you why I did it...because I wanted a new handbag. Oh. The. Shame. This is something I would never dream of doing now, because it wasn't the right fit for me, but 5 years ago I was barely making any money from the blog. I didn't even make enough to pay my share of the household bills (so yes the money should have gone to paying bills) as I had just walked out of my full time job so this was a big juicy carrot being dangled in front of me. Of course I swallowed that carrot whole, got paid my 4+ digits and then felt utterly shit about myself for doing it. Luckily I could delete all evidence of this collaboration 3 months later on, which I did, but mainly so I didn't have to look at it and feel the shame over and over again. I also used the money to pay bills, invest back into the business and not buy a handbag, because again it would have been another shame reminder. However this was a huge learning experience for me and it was the start of a new Emma from there on in, so it might be a regret but I'm glad it happened.
3. Making the wrong friends
I briefly touched on friendships in my recent post about wanting to be a better person and again I'm not going to go into too much detail in this post. I'm actually still working up the nerve to get all that down on virtual paper. Being a blogger (and now YouTuber) you guys see a lot about my life and who I'm friends with, and some of you are more observant than others, some of you are actual Sherlock Holmes' in the making, so of course you will have seen some friendships end. Lots of you have already identified me as a bit of a lone wolf, and you'd be right there. Some bloggers have really positive views on friendships within the industry, and I think that's bloody brilliant, I'm actually a bit jealous because unfortunately I have the opposite views (bar a few exceptions). Statistically friendships during my 10 years of blogging haven't gone very well, and I know this can apply to non-blogger folk as well, because friendships are tough no matter what job you have or what life you lead. However I have now come to the conclusion that I trusted the wrong people and unfortunately this has left me with a very bad taste in my mouth. Of course I do have those good friends which don't fit the 'bad taste' mould but it is very difficult for me to find friendships, especially any new ones in this industry thanks to past experiences. Maybe I don't help myself because I have a 'one strike and you're out' rule, which you might be thinking doesn't leave much margin for error, and we are all human after all. But this 'strike' is very specific, I'm not talking about borrowing a top and losing it, I'm talking about the ability to make me feel utterly shit. Exclusion, taking advantage, using, business sabotage (yes really), backstabbing, or any Mean Girls style bitching (about me on a personal level and about how I run my business) in a public place, where two of my followers overhear and inform me via Insta DM (yes that happened only last year, and I wish I'd never received that DM). When I am made to feel utterly shit for any of these reasons, my mind becomes consumed by it, my business starts to suffer and if truth be told so does my personal life, because I become impossible to work with...I'm not in the zone. It's for this reason that I have my 'one strike and you're out' rule and that's it, they're instantly cut out of my life. Everyone makes mistakes, girls bitch (it's natural), jealousy does crazy things to people; all very true but I don't have time for this shit at 32 years old and neither does my business or my happiness.
4. Being an absolute knob
I've probably had many moments where I've been a complete knob during the course of my blogging career. Being in your early 20's receiving a small amount of what I can only call 'fame' can and will turn you into a knob, it's what you choose to do after this point that really counts. There are numerous times where I got carried away and became too big for my boots but as with all these points in this post, I learnt from these mistakes. But there's one incident in particular which went on for months, and I look back on that now and think, 'Christ you were such a knob'. This was about 3 years ago and I started receiving messages from followers, brands, fellow bloggers asking if I was working with another blogger and if we were a duo because our posts looked so similar. Ok they weren't all asking if we were working together, in the case of the other bloggers they were clearly stirring the pot calling out copycat behaviour. Known fact, the blogging community loves drama, so long as it's someone elses'. If I'm being honest it didn't actually bother me in the early days but the more similarities that I saw and others continuously pointed out, it did begin to eat away at me. Cut a long story short I did the knobby thing of sending out passive aggressive tweets (something I now hate with a passion), not naming but still shaming insta stories, and a hell of a lot of WhatsApp bitchery. I deeply regret this because once I got over it, once the drama fizzled away, I remembered my first ever meeting with this girl. We were introduced by another blogger, a mutual friend, who approached me at a press event and said 'my friend wants to meet you, she really loves your blog'. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, the phrase that every blogger hates but you know what, there's serious truth behind that. I go back to my point that as young girls we are so impressionable and often idolise people that we want to be like, thats a natural part of growing up. Add social media to the mix, a place where we are forever comparing ourselves to others and it can leave us feeling unsure of who we are, or just wanting someone else's success or life. It's also notable that trends can emerge within the blogging community; maybe it's a certain way of editing a picture, using a specific camera, a Gucci t-shirt, a pose, the latest 'it' bag etc etc. These trends spread throughout the blogging community and chances are it's bloggers inspiring other bloggers or bloggers getting the same inspiration from the same source. It's only recently that I noticed history repeating itself over on Twitter, the hub of all drama. Although fair enough this instance was a much more blatant case of copying (in the word for word sense), but I wanted to shake those involved in this public witch hunt because I know what it feels like to regret certain actions. I wish I'd settled my matter privately, and I'd urge anyone else to do the same in future.
5. Comparing myself to others
I'm sure you all read lots of different blogs and I'm sure at some point you've read a post about a blogger comparing themselves to others, because it is the harsh reality. I'm not sure how different this tiny segment will be from those posts but it is a regret of mine. This is almost an extension of point number 4, in the fact that it's very easy to compare yourself to other people and then slip into a downward mental spiral of wanting what they have. I completely understand that this can be the case for any of you non-bloggers out there and this is why I constantly remind you all that you don't have to keep up with my shopping habits, because I'm not a 'normal' person. I myself have idolised other bloggers, more so for their achievements and the opportunities they were getting, 'why am I not getting those?'. It's very easy to think these kind of thoughts and to get sucked into the black hole of comparison but the truth is it will only leave you feeling pretty shitty about yourself. I wish in the past I'd channeled more energy and more time into achieving my own goals. Yes that trip to Coachella looked insane but I don't like crowds of people, I hate parties, I need to be in bed by 10pm (latest!) and I don't enjoy loud music (don't I sound like a boring old fart) so would I even enjoy it? Probably not, although to be fair I would have died if I'd seen Destiny's Child. I've improved on this front massively over the last 2 years, I now focus on my own goals, and I admire other bloggers for achieving theirs and it's a much better headspace to be in.