What I've Learnt from Being a Blogger (And It's Not What You Think)
Happy Birthday Deals in High Heels!
It's been one year now since Deals in High Heels was launched and what a year it has been! I'm terrible at pausing to breathe and recognising my achievements, but now I am working for myself full time I'm making a special effort to celebrate each and every win.
I've stopped 'hustling' for a second to think.
My alter ego, boss lady 'Deals in High Heels' has opened me up to a magnitude of career opportunities. I have my own company now. At least 70% of my business development is now done on social media. I know myself better. Let me tell you more -
The Early Days
I'd explained in a previous post that I'd been wanting a side hustle a while and after a long, freezing cold Winter, bored senseless from watching Keeping Up With The Kardashians and Catfish on repeat, I decided I would start a blog. At the time, I was working in The Shard, London, so my wardrobe was full of chic, office dresses. Finally feeling like I had 'made it' after moving from NZ, then living in Melbourne and New York, I wanted to guide others navigating this confusing career world through my own experiences.
At that time, blog articles would take me days to write; each word was carefully crafted on my keyboard with two pointed index fingers. 20 'likes' on Instagram seemed an impossible feat (we are at 10.4k followers now!) and the whole 'blogging/ social media' thing was far more time consuming than I could have ever expected.
A few months later I was relocated to Dubai and, as I didn't know anyone at first, Deals in High Heels completely took over my life. Certain new friends would shy away from my lack of interest in brunching and going out. Weekends were isolated with my camera and laptop. Eyes half closed, I'd be up until midnight working on my social media accounts. Begrudgingly, I'd wake at 5am to upload my latest article before running to my corporate job.
Some entrepreneurs say they are 'opportunists' rather than 'passionate.' I digress. Opportunity doesn't wake you up that early. But, what passion does is fuel a fire.
It's easy to get comfortable and go about your day-to-day routine. I think it's also easy to convince yourself that you are comfortable being comfortable. Hey, I've been there, felt that when I lived in Melbourne - moving to New York was a game changer.
Here is everything I learnt in my first year of being a 'blogger'
The importance of having a digital, personal brand
With 87% of people Googling you prior to meeting you now and 97% of children under two already having a digital footprint, it's not a matter of IF you already have a personal brand, but more how will you guide and cultivate it? In today's digital world shaking someone's hand isn't your 'first impression,' your social channels are.
After I got the hang of my Nikon and started creating better content, I could see the impact that Deals in High Heels was having on new relationships.
- Business development - Last week I messaged an Editor from Arabian Business on Twitter and we are meeting next week, for example. Would he have wanted to call me if my digital presence wasn't a good representation? Probably not.
- Conversation starter - Imagine your client's surprise when they Google you and find an interview you were featured in or a thought - leadership article you wrote.
- New and better clients - Building an online personal brand is another way of marketing your service or product.
How to proactively drive your career
Starting my website forced me to learn everything from the ground up, including web set up and design, social media marketing, content creation, and branding which inspired me to get my digital marketing diploma. Entrepreneurs and business professionals started coming to me for advice on how they can market themselves on social media, which led to the birth of my agency, Briar Prestidge Consultancy. Just because you are working in a different profession entirely, doesn't mean you can work on your skill set out side of this to change. Take up that part time internship or online study!
Imposters syndrome sucks
Writing about my experience with imposters syndrome was hard but addressing and talking about the issue definitely helped. Every now and again I still get a wave of anxiety but since leaving the corporate world I feel surprisingly better off!
It takes time to develop your voice
Putting yourself out there and having an opinion doesn't come easy, in fact, it will take fine tuning and practice - this is applicable verbally in the work place and written online. Unfortunately, some people never spend the time to develop the tone of their voice.
Finishing with a prompt for call to action (CTA) is key in every business interaction.
Whether to entice engagement on social media (e.g. "I'm working on my crisis communication and ability to handle situations in business that aren't so favourable. What are you currently working on?")
Receive a response via email (e.g. "I look forward to hearing from you")
Or drive sales like in a previous post here (e.g. by getting your client to confirm a time and date for your next interaction, or clarify something with another member of the team)
The power of written words
I'd be lying to you if I said my mind was all zen, confident and sure. I hadn't really 'written' since high school and getting back into it really helped with my thought processes and retraining the way that I view myself. There are lots of benefits of writing things down, including clarity and direction, retaining information (I now always carry a little book around), reducing stress and getting to understand you and your life better.
Always add value
The changes in the social media algorithms (especially Instagram and Facebook) have made it considerably hard to grow your following. Unfortunately, many brands still look for a large following to work with you despite evidence that Micro Influencers have a more engaged and targeted audience.
As I'm a digital marketer, I get many messages from my community asking about how they can grow their social following.
First, you need to be your harshest critic - are you actually making QUALITY content that adds value? (See my previous article on creating content that connects here). Simply putting on a dress and saying you are wearing 'such and such' does not make you an 'influencer'.
Secondly, why do you need a huge following anyway? Your Instagram should be used as a supporting tool to market out you, your website, product or service to increase brand awareness and drive traffic to your website. Forget your following - keep making great content and spend your time contributing towards something bigger, like your personal development. The 'following' will come.
Who cares what other people think
Do you live your life for them? No. If I listened to all the people that said I couldn't do something, I'd probably still be on a farm in New Zealand.
It takes time to develop your USP
With an incredible amount of noise across social media, how will you stand out? Understanding the market and knowing how to promote what makes you, your product or service so special may take time to develop so keep this in mind when deciding on your branding (I rebranded 6 months in).
this year from Deals in High Heels
Here is what you can expect in 2018:
Collaborations with workwear designers. Chic, classy, sophisticated (and slightly out-of-the-box) office fashion.
Business support. In collaboration with our personal branding agency Briar Prestidge Consultancy, Deals in High Heels has auditioned and carefully selected five high-profile career, wellness and holistic health coaches to form the Coaching Collective - a dynamic group that will appeal to the discerning through their authenticity, expert regional knowledge and background diversity that will captivate the region’s entrepreneurial spirits in an integrated online/ offline campaign.
Interviews. We will uncover all the incredible entrepreneurial stories in the region to inspire you.
Networking. At our women's networking group, NBHH, we encourage deeper relationships and have built a community of driven, entrepreneurial women. Alongside these friendships, referrals for your business will naturally follow. Join us for our next event and learn how to overcome professional challenges with the right communication.
My promise to you
Where would I be without you guys?! Your feedback and support helps me know what to share - thank you for all your input into Deals in High Heels, your support and friendship. I promise to continue to listen and always be my most authentic self.
Here's to another year!
I love this fuchsia dress by Amri Fashions for the winter months. Be chic AND warm! The tie around waist gives a flattering shape and the material won't crease. Message them directly on Instagram to get yours.
Until next time,
Briar Prestidge xx
*This dress was gifted to me by the brand. As usual, I only post things I love - this dress is one of them!