OK, you guys rock! I appreciate your kind words and messages since my last post. And NO – I am NOT pregnant! Also, we are not getting another dog! You guys are hilarious – and I love you dearly.
So today, I’m going to tell you what “The Beginning” is. And since it’s Friday, I thought I’d do it in the form of a Friday Five! I’m so wacky.
In my last post, An End, A Beginning, and the Number Three, I talked about how I needed to take a break and refocus. My projects had not been going well, my writing didn’t feel the same, and I needed to figure out why. During that break, I thought about blogging – about the business of blogging and how it’s changed since I started in (gasp) 2012; and about me – whether I wanted to keep blogging or whether I should go back to my previous life as a lawyer and teacher.
I reached these conclusions, Friday Five-style:
(1) I love blogging and have no plans to abandon my blog.
I love blogging. I have no desire to stop blogging about what I love – DIY, home decor, home organizing, etc. I also have no desire to have a boss other than myself. I’m a hard boss to work for (ha!), but I’ve found that I really work well with me.
Seriously, though, I love my blog and I love blogging, but the business of blogging is something else. I’m not going to get into all of it here, but blogging is such a different realm than when I started. And that’s overwhelming because the changes aren’t small.
I’m still working through those changes and how to adapt. Not everyone reads blogs the way that people used to – there’s video and Instagram and all kinds of other things. And I’m not a videographer or a video editor. And, also, not everyone loves video. I actually prefer reading to video, but video is taking off in blogging and online generally, so I’m not sure I’m the right barometer.
In any event, the point is that I love blogging and DIY and decorating and have no plans to bail on any of that.
(2) “Remember why you started.”
I was scrolling through social media and I saw a photo from another blog with a sign that said, “Remember why you started.” I loved the sign, but also the message.
The reason I started this blog wasn’t to make money or go viral. I started this blog to share the projects I was doing in and for my home, and to show you that, if I can do these projects, anyone can. I started this blog to show you that you can have a beautiful home on a budget by doing things yourself, shopping smartly and thrift-ily (is that a word?), and repurposing items found at thrift stores, estate sales, yard sales, and trash heaps.
As I continue to blog, those reasons will continue to be my focus. Sure, I post recipes and crafts and other random stuff from time to time. (As a fellow blogging friend once said, “It’s your blog. You get to write about what you want.”) But the focus will be on DIY, home decorating on a budget, repurposing, and home organization.
(3) Blogging as a Job Means I Have to Make Some Money.
When I started blogging, I did so as a hobby and I had a day job that paid me a salary. That was good. Now that I’m blogging as my business, which is awesome, I do have to make money.
I have always paid my way. I got a job in high school so that I could pay for going out with friends and clothes and all those high school-y things. I worked through college. I paid for law school. I bought my first car with money I made waiting tables, dog walking, and doing other odd jobs for friends and neighbors.
Blessedly, I don’t have to make money because my family will starve if I don’t. But I do have to pay my way. I have to pay to have and run my business, I have to pay for supplies that aren’t provided to me as part of working with a brand or company, and I have to pay myself for the time and work invested in my business, just like any other small business owner does.
As a result, you will see (as you have before) sponsored posts from time to time. You will see affiliate links to Amazon and other retailers. Neither of these forms of income for me costs you anything (unless you choose to purchase something). But when you click on an affiliate link, I earn a little commission that keeps the ball rolling here at the blog.
Please understand two things about this: (1) I will NEVER endorse a product or write a sponsored post for a product that I haven’t used or that I wouldn’t use in my own home. Honest. Pinky swear. (2) The affiliate links not only help me, but I intend for them to help you, because they provide a link to the materials I used for a project all in one spot. It’s one-stop shopping. That way, you are helped by having all the stuff in one place, and I am helped by earning a commission from you clicking the link and/or buying the stuff. It’s a win-win.
Also, please know that I appreciate it when you click on affiliate links or on links in sponsored posts. Thank you for supporting my blog business, not only with encouraging words but with indirect financial support as well.
(4) Small Changes to the Blog.
As part of my new beginning/blogging after my summer break, I have changed and may still change a few cosmetic things on the blog. For example, the logo in the header was the same color brown as our Tudor bungalow house. And while that’s true to our real-life bungalow, I really didn’t like the brown on the blog! So, you may have noticed that I have changed the logo’s colors to green and blue, my favorite colors.
I’m also planning some other cosmetic changes and I’ll let you know as they happen.
In terms of navigating around the blog, I’ve tried to make that as easy as possible. There’s a search bar right at the top (on the left side) for searching for particular terms or projects. Also, I’ve made the menu bar simpler. To find a category of projects, just hover over “Project Index” and choose a category underneath it. Or click on “Project Index” for a gallery of projects and topics from which you can choose.
As always, if you are looking for something and can’t find it, shoot me an email and I’ll do what I can to help!
(5) A New Beginning for Projects, Too.
As I discussed in my last post, I had been spinning my wheels on my projects. After thinking about where I am and what I’m doing, remembering why I started, I decided to do a purge of unfinished or botched projects. I donated a ton of old doors and windows to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, I donated a ton of stuff to a local thrift store, and I tossed anything that wasn’t salvageable.
I also have sold or am selling a bunch of home decor items that were never my style, but I bought or built anyway (either because I thought I liked the style or for a post). For example, I’m just not a farmhouse-style girl. Sure, I can appreciate the design style and I can write about it, but that isn’t my design aesthetic and it’s not how I really decorate my home.
Purging all of those things was cathartic. It felt like a huge weight had been lifted to have all that stuff out of my shed, garage, attic, and home.
Also, I learned that I have a minimalist streak in me. I’m going to write more about minimalism on the blog later and, if you follow me on Facebook, you’ve probably noticed that I’m sharing more articles about minimalism. I have to say that getting rid of stuff has been amazing for me. More space and less stuff makes me happy.
OK, so that’s the part about The Beginning. Next up…the number 3!
Funny you should mention “Remember why you started”. I’ve been blogging since 2005. Back before it was a job, and nobody new what a niche was or SEO. When it was just a way to tell our stories and make connections. A group of those bloggers I used to read back in the day have started a ‘blog revival’ where we go back to old school blogging. We aren’t solving the world’s problems. We are just telling our stories.
It seems more people are going “back” to why they started. And that looks different for everyone because we all started at different times, for different reasons.
I am looking forward to seeing the changes you are going to make going forward!
Karen Cooper says
Exactly! I remember blogging that way, too, and I miss it. That’s what I want to get back to. Thank you!!
Ellen Pilch says
Smart idea to get rid of anything not needed and scrap projects you didn’t want to finish. I look forward top more posts on minimalism. I need help in that area, I was doing well, but over the past month a lot more items have come in than left.
Karen Cooper says
I have had that problem, too, Ellen! I’ve been reading a lot about minimalism and realizing that a lot of thoughts I’ve had – about decorating, organizing, donating stuff – are really minimalism, and I just didn’t know that much about it. I mean, I love some good home decor, but too much stresses me out, and I never knew why…until now. I can’t wait to write more about it and get your reaction!
Glad to see the FRIDAY FIVE back. I have always enjoyed it and look forward to what you have prepared for us each week! The good news is my daughter has been helping me purge, there have been many trips to thrift and resale shops, and it feels great. The bad news is the girl doesn’t have a sentimental bone in her body, but we agree to disagree on a few things, I have to “think about” before letting go! : ) We have taken a break this summer because the attic gets so hot, but come the cool Fall weather, we’ll be back at it! I am a self-proclaimed holiday decorating Queen (I blame the teaching career!) and some holidays have gotten out of control! I’m scaling back or “minimalizing!” All input, suggestions, and ideas welcome! Thank you!
Karen Cooper says
Thanks, Karen!! I am not much of a sentimental person when it comes to stuff, so I totally get where your daughter is coming from! We’ll all work on it together and, I agree, when the attic cools off!! Thank you again – I appreciate you!!
Wow, I enjoyed this post. Like you, I too love reading as suppose to vedio watching. I am so happy that you are going to continue your blog, because I so appreciate it, and love what you post.
Karen Cooper says
Thank you so much, Ivory! I really appreciate you!