A Love Letter to Bloggers

Dear Bloggers,

You put your life on the line for everyone in the world to see. You create content that feeds your soul but that you know can help others. You share your personal stories; the good, difficult and personal. Every story you share will help other’s change their lives. Sharing any type of experience, you’ve endured takes courage and you have that. It’s telling yourself that you know you are not alone in what you’ve gone through. Your experience will not be the same as someone else’s, but you are a brave, strong and confident woman to share your story.

You take the positive and negative feedback along with the criticism. Everyone can give you their opinion but remember it’s only an opinion. What’s important is that you stand by your work. The work takes time, patience and thought. A new idea will appear from nowhere and must be acted upon, because if not it will continue to be manifested until released. Once released the idea may have grown from something small to more than you could have dreamed. Let go of any negative self-talk that says you can’t or shouldn’t do something and just start, that’s when all the ideas will flow. The creative process is an amazing art and it should never be washed down as if it doesn’t matter.

And you know those dreams you’ve had about the content you want to create? You should go create them. Stand up for your dreams. Be persistent in writing them all out, plan when you’ll make them happen and execute them. If you don’t, they are only dreams. Dreams were meant to become your reality, if you choose to listen to them. Visualize yourself within your dreams and take action. Dreams are your inner fantasies waiting to be released into the world. By sharing them, you open the gates to a world of people, to help them think differently and change their lives.

Being an influencer means reaching people all over the world with your work, which means you’ll gain friends from everywhere. Meeting your new friends is the best part about being an influencer because you can support each other in your work. Knowing someone else in the world can relate to what you’re going through because they’ve experienced situations like yours is important. However, not everyone will enjoy your work and that is okay, because the people who’ll stand behind you, will love you for you. This means you don’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. In fact, the more authentic you are, the more your personality will shine through. People will love you for you, so embrace those thoughts that keep running through your mind and put them into action. The harder you work at your dreams, the more likely you are to keep going. Remember, if no one ever executed their dreams, this world would be boring, so keep on making a difference.

Love Always, Amy Beth

A Love Letter To My Readers On The One Year Blog Anniversary

Today marks my one-year blog anniversary! Thank you so much to everyone whose read/commented/followed my blog! I’ve also loved receiving all your feedback around the motivation I post on social media – @stylestomakeyousmile Whether it’s a post about a barre class, what I ate for dinner or a quote, I always love hearing from you guys and finding out what helps motivate you throughout your life by providing inspiration.

Motivational Monday – This concept came from an idea I had of learning and sharing a lesson with you all each week. There is something to be learned every day, and I took the most important lessons I could think of to share with you all.

Love Always, Amy Beth – This is a new concept I’ll be sharing once a month -they are love letters to you, my readers ❤ I began writing them a few years ago in order to help me get through a difficult time in my life, I thought, what would the strongest version of me say to myself to help me get through this? So, I began writing in a small notebook and decided to write 12 of them, publishing once a month and I hope you love them as much as I do ❤

When I first started the blog, I wanted to be a lifestyle blogger, and I wrote articles on motivation, fashion, food and blogging. The more I wrote, the more I realized what I enjoyed the most was motivational posts. They came naturally to me and it is where I plan to stay with my blog and social media.

While it’s been somewhat of a difficult year in my personal life, I’ve found that blogging was always a way to stay positive and do what I enjoy, and I hope you all can find your passions in life. I find that on social media we all see the beautiful finished pieces of content people have worked on, whether it’s a musician’s music, a book, a popular Instagram account with tons of followers, sometimes we all forget how much work goes into gaining the popularity and the amount of work people do every day to get to a finished product. I’ve learned blogging is not just about creating content, it’s about making connection with others online and meeting them in person. I’ve been lucky to be able to meet some beautiful bloggers who are truly talented and wonderful people and are SO supportive of what I do, and I’m very thankful for them ❤ The other huge lesson I’ve learned is to be yourself online! You don’t have to create the same type of content as someone else just because you see that it’s working for them. You just need to find what makes you happy and share that with the world. Whatever that is is what you will excel at because it’s something that interests you and is what you are knowledgeable in. Nobody is you, has the same mindset as you or can create the same content as you!

I’ve learned that some of the content I’ve put online will take off right away and others won’t. You must put a lot of thought into planning your content and know what you truly want to say. There have been weeks where I won’t put out any content on my blog because I haven’t thought of a good idea or my personal life is too hectic, and I need a break. I’ve realized I’ll always come back to blogging because it is my happy place, just like going to barre makes me happy. The two are similar in that they push me to strengthen my mind by telling myself I CAN do something – hold a plank for 90 seconds or write a new blog post. Do I always FEEL like working out or blogging? No. Somedays I’d rather be lazy and lay on the sofa all day and binge Netflix…and sometimes I need those days or weekends. But I also know I’ll eventually find the motivation to get back on my feet because I’m passionate about what I do.

So, with all that being said, I want to THANK YOU for reading my blog, liking my pictures on social media, following me and engaging with my content. You all have no idea how happy it makes me! I started writing in my notebooks a few years ago and had the idea to create a blog but never went through with it because I wasn’t in the right frame of mind, but I’m so happy I finally started this blog. I’m so grateful to you all for following me on my journey and I can’t wait to share more lessons I’ve learned in the future.

Love Always, Amy Beth

The Style Collective Conference

Joining the Sisterhood of Style Collective has been one of the best decisions I’ve made since starting my blog. Read more HERE on why I joined Style Collective. As soon as I found out Annie, the owner of SC was holding a conference during New York Fashion Week I knew I had to go!

Style Collective has the best community! Right away after joining I met bloggers who I follow, support and talk to weekly. This attributed to wanting to go to the conference because I knew I’d meet more like them and even met a few during conference! It was amazing to be in a room full of women who all have the same likeminded values and goals for their blogs. Meeting the women from SC who I’ve been following on social media was a big deal because these women were exactly who they portray themselves to be online. They were friendly, nice and I got to know them on a personal level.

SCCon1

Being able to hear from speakers who are in the industry is an incredible bonus! Annie had a variety of women speak from influencers, life coaches and an author. These people are here for you to learn from and ask advice. None of the speakers held back on the truth about the blogging industry, they shared the ups and downs. One of the speakers I was dying to meet was Cara Alwill. She’s the author of Like She Owns the Place and has written seven other books, plus has a podcast-Style Your Mind. I’m a huge fan of hers because she’s honest and authentic.

I received a shout out during the opening of the conference from Annie which transferred onto her podcast, The Becoming Fearless podcast. This shows just how close Annie and I were before meeting in person. Annie is amazing in the way she connects with everyone in SC because she truly cares about you and your blog/business.

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There was a contest during the conference for posting pictures from the day and I won a beautiful blue Mon Amie watch! I love the color, the diamonds and that it’s iridescent. Also, we were provided an amazing swag bag of goodies!! We received everything from jewelry, makeup and skincare products from various vendors.

We received a workbook to write in during the conference. Inside were lined pages to write notes in and a quiz to help you determine the purpose behind your blog. I had written about five pages of notes, jotting down things that I wanted to remember that the speakers said, quotes and important websites to reference.

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Throughout the day we were able to get our hair and makeup done by Be Glammed. They also gave everyone a gift certificate to use at their stores.

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At the end of the conference, VIP members were to write a letter to themselves that Annie would mail to us. I literally sat in my chair frozen because I was so emotional. I thought to myself, I NEVER WANT TO FORGET THIS MOMENT. This moment of being happy and doing something for myself that was completely out of my comfort zone-planning a trip to NYC and navigating the city, meeting new bloggers (some I’d been following online for a few months and it was surreal to meet them in person, like they actually exist!), meeting Annie and the speakers and overall having a wonderful NEW experience. I learned in that moment that it feels AMAZING to allow yourself to be apart of new experiences. Yes, it can be scary to put yourself out there, but I met incredible women because I went to conference, so you see the outcome outweighs the stress of going. It can be so easy to freak yourself out by telling yourself all the reasons you shouldn’t do something, but if you just do it I guarantee it will be worth it in the end.

Will you be joining the SC Sisterhood ? I hope to see you at the next conference! Follow me online @stylestomakeyousmile & let me know if you’re an SC Sister and I’ll connect with you 😊

Lessons I’ve Learned While Blogging

Blogging is a never ending journey. It’s a place to always learn and create and always have lessons to share. So, here are some of the lessons I’ve learned so far after five months of blogging:

Consistency-I know this one of the things bloggers struggle most with (and I have too in the past). So, how I’ve found to combat this is to pick a day or two to write my posts. For me, those days are on the weekend. If I have a weekend with no plans I’ll spend the morning running errands, working out either in the morning or early afternoon, cleaning, laundry and then in the early evening I’ll sit down to blog. Because I’m mindful of knowing that I’m going to blog on the weekends, in the evenings when the house work is done, it helps my mind to be calm. I can focus on getting my blog content written and know that anything I still need to do can be done another day.

The other thing that helps with consistency is to know what I want to write about. I have my week planned out based on the topics such as: motivation, food, shopping, lessons or blogging. I then pick a day for each of those topics and write the article (this is where a content calendar would come into play). Within each topic I’ll think about a post I want to write. Sometimes I’ll write down what I want to say on paper and then transfer it over to the laptop-transferring makes the process fast because you’re just rewriting everything without thinking too much (just be mindful of errors or changes you want to make). Otherwise, I’ll write the post on my laptop.

Put the phone away-I have a rule when I blog and it is to leave my phone in another room. This helps to keep distractions limited because my phone’s social media and email notifications go off all the time. When this happens I normally click to: read the email, see who liked my post, who is now following me, etc. I also leave the phone on silent which really helps from having no distractions.

Be positive-The best part about blogging for me, is to show people a positive message in the world. I love to share that it’s okay to struggle with things as long as you come out of it with a positive message to say that something was really hard but this is how I made it out of that time in my life.

The blog is yours-I realized today that the reason I love my blog is because it is mine. I don’t have someone telling me, you should do this or change this to read like that. I love being able to choose my own topics and have others be interested in the same subject as me. Blogging provides a space of freedom for anyone looking to embrace their talents, let other’s learn from you and you learn from others. I never thought I’d love learning as much as I do from reading blogs, listening to podcasts and writing my own blog content. The best part is to make it your own, show who you are and help others.

You can choose your environment-During the spring/summer/fall months I write at a desk surrounded by pretty flowers, my favorite blogging mug, notebook, pen and a nice message written on a chalkboard to motivate me. During the winter I’ll write in my living room with the TV playing music to help motivate me. I also love working from coffee shops, being around other people motivate me to do work.

New blog post ideas-When I have an idea for a post my mind never stops thinking about it until I’ve written it. Normally, my ideas are titles for posts and then one or two ideas of content. I’ll write these in a notebook and come back to them when I’m ready to write. Once I begin writing the post all comes together and the ideas start flowing. I’ll stop either when the post is complete or when I need a break. Sometimes it’s good to come back to content either a few hours later or the next day to read from a new perspective.

What are lessons you’ve learned while blogging? I’d love to know! 🙂

 

Why I Joined Style Collective

Today is International Women’s Day! I’d like to give a shout out to women all around the world!
Since creating my blog, I’ve wanted to become part of a group to interact with other bloggers to gain their perspective and support on blogging. Through Instagram I found the group, Style Collective, run by Annie Spano. Style Collective is a place for boss babe bloggers/entrepreneurs to share their ideas, tips and advice to their fellow SC Sisters. Each week Annie goes on IG Live and covers a topic about blogging. She also has a podcast-The Becoming Fearless Podcast, where she’ll interview other bloggers/entrepreneurs about their advice, authenticity and more. Once I began watching and listening to these each week, I was hooked!

I joined the group late last month (when membership was open, other times there is a waiting list to join) and absolutely love being a member! Style Collective is a wonderful way to meet like-minded people who are interested in blogging. They even have a map of the world that shows where your fellow Style Collective Sisters live so that you can meet up to collaborate or say Hi on social media! Certain parts of the world have Regional leaders who plan meet ups throughout the year-such as: coffee dates, meetings or an event to give to an organization, like donating to charity.
Here’s what I’ve learned since I’ve joined:
-I’ve gained a community of fellow bloggers.
-There are yearly conferences in North Carolina and New York City (bonus, it’s during NY Fashion Week!) that allow you to meet members in person and gain an education on blogging and business.
-When you’re a member there are: forums to participate in, a chat room, blog posts and information about meet ups and educational E-Courses.

So, to all my SC Sisters, bloggers and boss babes around the world, I’d just like to say, Cheers to YOU! Keep pushing through all of your hard work and know that you DO make a difference in your follower’s lives ❤ And to Annie, thank you to you and your team for making the group what it is and being able to share women’s stories. I wish you all much success and happiness in the future ❤

Not a member of SC? Annie announced yesterday that membership is open today only for International Women’s Day! Follow them on IG stylecollective_

What I’ve Learned in One Month of Blogging

MM-Happiness vs. Passion

I can’t believe it’s already been a month since I’ve launched my blog. I thought I’d share what I did before I started my blog, what I’ve learned and things I’m still working on. If you didn’t do the things I did before I started my blog, you can start now!

Before I began my blog:
I researched A LOT! I searched everything I could think of about blogging on YouTube; what equipment to use, what is SEO, and a bloggers life to name a few. I would watch videos in the mornings before work. I listened to two Podcasts: The Influencer Podcast and The Becoming Fearless Podcast after work while cooking and doing dishes. I watched Live Instagram videos after work and during lunch and I watched free webinars on the weekends and took notes. I did all of this because I wanted to know how others were so successful at blogging and how I can be too.
I tried the WordPress website for free-I used the WordPress domain before purchasing my domain. This was so I could get used to using the site before I launched it to the world. Having a lot of things in place before launching benefited me, so that I could then work on other things the day of launching-like my Facebook page. I had my picture taken, a Welcome page, a background picture and two posts written and published beforehand.

I began an Instagram account two months prior to launching my blog (I heard this tip from more than one influencer in the blogging world). This helped determine if I enjoyed posting pictures every day AND if I liked the public to see what I was posting (prior to this I’ve never had any public accounts).

Things I’ve learned:
I love going to cafés just to get posts written for my blog (and buy a smoothie). I’ve found that I can zone into my work and work quickly (the pressure of getting work done before the café closes helps to work fast, even if I’m there for three hours, I treat it like a countdown). I also love working from home so I can cast YouTube music videos on my TV while writing my blog posts.
The only person who will promote yourself the most is you, so if you publish a post on your blog, promote it to your social channels so they can view it.

Things I’m still working on:
Creating an editorial calendar and sticking to it. I’ve tried to plan with a physical calendar and with an excel spreadsheet. Neither of these have stuck with me, yet. I feel like I need something to see visually every day that is inspiring. I’ve seen the idea of a white out board, does this work for anyone else?

Along with the editorial calendar comes with making sure every post is ready for the week-this is important if you have a very busy personal life or if some weeks are busier than others-planning is key! Use the calendar to plan a month’s worth of blog posts before this I would just determine in my mind what I would write about and then write and schedule it on the weekends.

Managing social channels-For now I have Facebook and Instagram and I’ve heard influencers say to work mainly in the channels you’re interested in. But one of the main reasons I picked WordPress as my blogging platform is to engage with the community, so I also have to be following, commenting and liking posts. I also just joined Style Collective so I have to keep up with those girls too. While this sounds like a lot, I really do love engaging with others in the blogging community. It’s finding the time to properly engage with everyone that I need to balance-I do most of this on my free weekends. Anyone have any free tips on this?
Diving into new social channels can be a little intimidating but I know that I want to try Pintrest because of all the beautiful inspiration!

 

I’d love to read in the comments what you did before you started your blog, what you learned and are still working on.