The launch of the Kenzo x H&M collection a couple weeks ago was a humble reminder of this time one year ago, when I was so desperate…errr, excited, to shop the Balmain x H&M collection that I did one of the craziest things of my entire life: camping out at the mall. I waited in line for more than 13 hours, including sleeping on the freezing cold Toronto Eaton Centre floor, just so I could be one of the first people to get dibs on the exclusive merchandise…or so I thought. I later learned that some lucky fashion bloggers got to preview and shop the collection before the rest of us plebeians, and it was pretty disheartening and unfair to me!

I consider that to be the final straw that broke the camel’s back. It was the last push that I needed to start blogging, which is something I had been wanting to do for years. Suddenly, I was ready to let go of the fear that previously held me back, since I knew I never wanted to spend another night sleeping on the floor at the mall so that I could throw my hard-earned dollars at a designer.

Well, I can’t believe it’s already been a year! I feel like I’ve come so far, but I know I still have a looooong way to go. Nevertheless, I wanted to share 10 personal reflections on blogging, gained from my first official year as a blogger. This is not meant to be a guide on what makes a successful blogger (as I’m still trying to figure that out) – these are just my own musings on the topic.

1. Be Thankful

First and foremost, be thankful for each and every opportunity that comes your way, big or small, and for every single follower or subscriber that you have. Things can change at any time. As an example, Instagram changed its algorithm a few months ago and all hell broke loose. Bloggers became worried about lower engagement, and therefore, less opportunities. Things eventually were fine, but it’s a reminder that the platform can change at any time. Marketing through influencers may fade into a thing of the past. So make sure to stop and remember that it truly is a blessing and a privilege to be a blogger.

2. Be Kind

Be kind to others. This includes the brands and PR companies that you work with, your followers, and other influencers. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to an event and have been snubbed by people that I’ve met like 3 or more times in the past! This is a community, after all, and a small one at that! So don’t go around acting like your shit doesn’t stink, no matter how many followers you have.

3. Be Professional

This means treating blogging like it is your job, even if you already have one (credit to you if you’re lucky enough to do this full time). Treat every single project and collaboration with the same amount of respect and dedication. Respect deadlines and be timely in your communications. Try to exceed the expectations of the people you work with and be gracious.

4. Know Your Worth

Don’t be demanding, but at the same time, know your worth. If you don’t feel like something is worth your time or doesn’t meet your rate (and we all know how much time goes into creating and curating our content), then politely say no. Don’t undersell yourself, or even worse, provide your services for free when you really shouldn’t be*. This undercuts the market and negatively affects the rest of us.

5. Don’t Rush

Rome wasn’t built in a day, so don’t try to rush anything. Being ambitious and driven is great, but being aggressive or unethical isn’t. This will just rub other people the wrong way – brands and other influencers included. Nobody wants to be associated with someone who buys likes and followers.

6. Believe in Yourself

Okay, I’m 100% guilty of not doing this (more on that in another post). I’m a notorious self-doubter and I let negative thoughts take over my head far too much. But if you don’t even believe in yourself, how will anyone else? How will you be able to sell yourself to that PR company or brand to get the opportunity you want if you don’t have faith in yourself? Think positively, focus on your achievements rather than failures, and try to drain out the negative thoughts/doubt as much as possible. I’ve said this before in my interview by that, “Ships don’t sink because of the water around them. Ships sink because of the water that gets in them.”

7. Don’t Compare Yourself to Others

Every blogger has a different path. That blogger over there might be growing faster than you, or that other blogger might get an opportunity that you want. But you are only doing yourself an injustice if you compare yourself to others. A little competition is healthy, but don’t constantly compare yourself to others.

8. Stay True to Your Brand

Think about who you are, what you represent, and what you want to say to your followers. Don’t jump at every opportunity that comes your way, especially if it’s not related in any way to what you’re all about. Your followers will know that you’re not being authentic. But at the same time, there is absolutely nothing wrong with experimenting and trying different things to see what you like best. We learn through trial and error and sometimes you have to do different things to challenge yourself, think outside the box, and push your creative boundaries.

9. Learn How to Say “No”

Don’t worry about offending someone by saying “no”. If you are too busy to take on a project, then there is nothing wrong with declining. Don’t stretch yourself too thin. If you try to do too much, you will never be able to do your best at any given task or project.

10. Have Fun!

Most importantly, stop to smell the roses and have fun with what you’re doing! Even though it can become overwhelming at times, don’t ever forget that you are doing this because you love this and you’re passionate about it.

Shop the Look

Jacket: old (similar, similar)

Dress: Aritzia (purchase here, similar)

Turtleneck: Topshop (purchase here)

Boots: Topshop (similar, similar, similar)

Ring: Mejuri (purchase here)

What are some of your own thoughts and reflections on blogging? I’d love to hear from novice and veteran bloggers!