It’s been one whole year since I launched Physical Kitchness. I once heard that when you have kids the years fly by. And it’s true – but when you have child AND chase a personal dream at the same time, WOAH where did the days go?! I felt like this entire year was one of learning, growing, and finding ‘me’ in both motherhood and blogging-hood.
When people ask me what’s it’s like to be a blogger as my ‘job’, or friends reach out to me wondering if they should start a blog themselves, I feel like there there are a million things that I could tell them. So in the spirit of my one-year blogiversary, I sat down and reflected about this journey to answer all those questions and give you a little glimpse behind the scenes. Here are the things I’ve learned since starting my blog.
I’ve never worked so hard in all my life
Yes, I get that this may sound like a joke. I mean, how HARD can it be?! But it’s true, blogging is A LOT of work. Creating recipes (or re-creating them when they first fail!), writing content, mastering photography, trying and documenting new workouts, researching the latest healthy crazes, building relationships with other bloggers, promoting your content (and promoting your content, and promoting your content), editing photos, creating Pinterest pins, responding to comments, proofreading, and constantly trying to think outside the box is exhausting. My brain doesn’t stop after 5pm, during the holidays, or on the weekends – it’s always seeking out the answer to that question, “What next?” Luckily, I love what I do and write about. Because if I didn’t, there is no way I would have made it even this far!
There is a ton of work behind the scenes that I didn’t anticipate when this sparkly, perfect ‘plan’ came to fruition. And now, a year later, I’m finally starting to let some of the pressure go. If I don’t get out a quality post 2 – 3 times a week, so be it. If I don’t have thousands and thousands of followers on Instagram, it doesn’t devalue what I do. I am slowly learning to let go of some things and be THANKFUL I am able share my passion with the world while being at home with my babies. It ain’t easy making sure everything is continuously running, I have content ready for the weeks ahead, and I am plugged in to the social media circuit (what feels like ALL.THE.TIME), but it’s worth it!
Sometimes friends and family don’t understand
I’ve worked in a number of career genres – public relations, marketing, sales, lobbying. All easily explainable when someone asks, “What do you do?” Blogging is different. I used to feel awkward about explaining what I ‘do’. Like I had to justify my work. And although my family and husband has been supportive, sometimes even they look at me with glazed-over eyes when I try to explain it all. I mean, I can’t blame them when I start going off about Facebook algorithms.
I remember sitting on the patio with my husband after we got our nine-month-old down for bed and I told him what I was going to do. I wanted him to say, “Yeah babe! Go for it – I KNOW you’ll kill it!” But that wasn’t the response. It was more like, “Hu?” “You want to start a…blog?”, and “I don’t get it??” Even though at the time I felt totally deflated, it’s ok! Just because your people don’t always understand, doesn’t mean you owe an explain of your vision in order for you to take the reigns, work hard, and make it happen. If you want to make your passion a reality and the people around you just aren’t ‘getting it’, do not let it stop you! Confusion from your loved ones does not mean unsupportive.
Things don’t always turn out how you expect them to
I certainly did NOT start Physical Kitchness to become a millionaire, or to make money as the end-all-be-all goal. My love for fitness and food has been one I’ve had since I can remember, and for years I wanted to share my experiences and knowledge. But as I said previously, this is a lot of work. So naturally I hoped to monetize my brand and make an income to help contribute to my family. I was SURE I can make this happen – and at least bring in a part-time income while I sip my morning Joe and casually write as my son played in the living room. Then I’d have the freedom I wanted and the income for ‘fun stuff’….
HA! That’s a really comical vision now. Although I’m been SO grateful to be able to say that I’ve made some money for all of my efforts on this blog, it’s been minimal. I spent six solid months working 5-7+ hours EVERY DAY without a cent being made, in fact, I was in the hole with the expenses I accrued making this happen. Finally after Christmas, when I offered my free 30 Days of Whole30 Meal Planning Guide, I started to see the numbers of visitors increase (big win for any blogger). And later, my Banish Back Fat pin went viral on Pinterest (aka tons and tons of repins) which was also a huge win. My email subscriber list increased dramatically as did the steady stream of traffic (PS if you’re an email subscriber, THANK YOU for your loyalty and support!)
I’ve had some awesome opportunities to work with some major brands I love and celebrated other victories when my content was featured in Buzzfeed, The Today Show Food Club, The Stir, Greatist, and more.
Bottom line, I am not at the pageviews/income I wanted to be, but I’ve had some great accomplishments that can’t be valued in numbers, which motivates me to keep pushing for bigger and better!
I’ve said NO to a lot of things (good and bad)
This applies to my personal life and blogging life. An evening with friends, relaxing the entire Christmas vacation with family, hanging out with my husband to watch a movie without technology? I’m ashamed to say I’ve been guilty of declining these moments in order to work. Because there is ALWAYS something that needs to get done with your blog. This year I am hoping to focus on balance – maybe things online can wait, but my littles will only be little so long, my family and husband need more of me too. So bear with me!
As for blogging, “why yes, I’d love those adorable drapes for my living room. And sure, I’d be happy to receive compensation for an easy write up about those highly-processed cheese snack crackers!” (cue sarcasm). But, I am 110% committed to only taking opportunities that fit in with my brand’s mission. Healthy, fit, and relevant to my readers. So rest assured when I do receive compensation or products for a post, it was with careful consideration and absolutely 110% my own opinion!
I still struggle with stereotypes
Am I stay at home mom or working mom? Should I dress to the nines in Lululemon or should I sport my old Old Navy threads and look more relatable? Am I strictly a paleo or a broader ‘healthy recipe’ blogger? Should I inspire others to be a super mom or make you feel like we’re online bff’s? This year I struggled to define who I am, what I do, what my ‘title’ is. It might be one I always struggle with – but I’m also learning maybe we as women don’t have to fit into that one box. I wear many hats in my daily life of mom, wife, blogger, house cleaner, cook, friend, daughter….one I won’t wear anymore is wanderer. Sometimes what you do is unconventional, sometimes it’s easily explainable. But it should never be something that needs perfect definition to be relevant.
So for now, I guess I’m a health/fitness/foodie blogger trying to make big things happen, a wife trying to serve her husband, a friend that wants you to call when life feels out of control, and a good mom (yep, I’m not afraid to admit that and don’t feel like I’m boasting. So moms of the world – get ON the train with me and start believing you ARE a good mom too!)
If you want to start a blog, just do it
I waited almost FIVE years to launch Physical Kitchness. I had the dream in my head but was too scared to pull the trigger. I used lame excuses like not having a catchy name, not knowing how to make the site look professional, not having a perfect niche, needing a great camera….oh I could go on. But here’s the thing, I wasn’t ready in August 2015 either. But I did it. I just WENT FOR IT. Because if you don’t, you may be waiting all your life, coming up with more excuses to NOT DO instead of TO DO. So while there are still a bajillion things I don’t know and a bajillion things I want to do, I’m learning every day. And the lessons have been invaluable. As are the relationships I’ve built along the way.
One whole year….lots of kitchen messes, sweaty sports bras, about 8,934,043 photos, and late nights/early mornings. Thanks for sticking with me through it all and loving me for me. I can’t wait to see what the years to come bring!
If you want to read more about the technical/analytical sides of my blogging journey, you can read this post featuring me and my blog.