Watch: Marc Bale
To say that running Cubicle Chic is a passion of mine would be an understatement. I have many passions in life: my cats, listening to podcasts, reading, snowboarding, yoga, collecting anything related to the Volkswagen flowerpower bus, learning to surf… the list goes on. But those things I do to experience the thrill, or to escape from reality, or simply to have fun.
Blogging, as it turns out, is something entirely different.
For the record, it did start as a hobby. I knew I enjoyed writing and “dressing right” for work. So, naturally, I decided to marry the two and throw in a few photoshoots, a bit of web design, and a lot for social media figuring-out-how – Cubicle Chic was born. On the other hand, this endeavor was also an experiment. I was unknowingly trying to figure out the feasibility of a side hustle. It’s an on-going experiment even to this day! And regardless of how it started, one post turned into 10, one sponsorship led to another, and I just kept at it. Two years and almost 100 posts later, I am still here, painstakingly writing away.
Creating and writing for Cubicle Chic has taught me many, many things. It even helped me land a full-time job. It’s shaped my identity and allowed me to look at myself in new and unexpected lenses. It gave me possibilities that I didn’t know existed before. It changed me for the better in so many ways. But it also forced me to be creative when I was stuck, be relentless in my pitching efforts, learn from my mistakes and failures, and ignore the voice of people out there that are trying to bring my down. In this post, I want to share with you the many lessons that creating and maintaining a blog has taught me.
1. A passion is nothing without persistence and cultivation.
A passion, at its core, is something that gives you fun and bliss! And if that’s all you expect from your passion, then that is all it needs to be. But if you want to your passion to be more than just “something fun you do”, you have to commit to it. Learn new skills because of it. Sacrifice your free time for it. Take harsh criticism for it so you improve. Keep at it even when it stops feeling “fun”. To make a hobby more than a hobby, you gotta show progress towards it and become better at it over time.
2. Success requires some level of luck. But luck can be created.
Success is a topic I’ve discussed earlier this year, especially around how to define it. They say opportunities come to those who are prepared. It’s true. But to be noticed in hundreds of job applicants, to meet your future business partner at an event, or to be tapped by a brand to work together… all these things require an element of luck.
How lucky you get though, depends on how hard you are willing to work for it. While you can’t control the outcome of a job application, you can control how many jobs you apply for. You can’t wish a great business partner into existence, but you can show up at all the right networking events you can find. You can’t force a brand to work with you, but you can create amazing content consistently to attract ones worthy of your and your readers’ time.
3. “They can do that because they have money” is a thought that kills.
If you read my other post about the 9 ways fashion blogging ruined my finances, you’d know that there are a lot of things an aspiring blogger can spend money on that FEELs like progress. Naturally, people that have more disposable income (or more willing to stack up credit card debt) would seem to have a short-cut to blogging success. Similarly, in life, people that have more wealth, resources, connections, may seem to have an easier time getting ahead – education, place of work, material possessions, knowledge even.
But never underestimate the efforts behind the success people may have. They may have been waking up at ungodly hours every day for years, or they may have taken great risks in their business endeavor, maybe they have worked tirelessly on perfecting their writing… whatever it is, don’t associate success with what people are endowed with. Because that kind of thinking sends a demotivating message. If you accept people’s success as the result of their natural endowment, you won’t be motivated to work hard to get to that level of success.
Think of people as an accumulation of their hard work, and not whatever status, level of wealth, even race they may have.
4. Learn how to channel jealousy & envy.
The digital world is a mini reflection of the real world and designed for flaunting. Keeping up with the Joneses is at a whole new level now. What’s even harder is when you have goals you REALLY want to reach and you see people crossing your finish line left and right (that promotion you want, a car you want to buy, that elusive 10K followerbase on Instagram, or a dream sponsor to work with…you name it. Sometimes that envy and jealous can pull the rug out from under you and crush your soul.
One of the best advice I’ve gotten lately from “the blogger for bloggers” Brittany Grace at Not Another Blonde is when in doubt, stay in your lane and put on blinders and ignore everyone else – just do what you do best and keep doing it. This is the only way that will lead to your own success one day, and not minding how others are doing. I’ve applied this thinking whenever I feel like I am falling behind or that my peers are doing better than I do. I come back to the reason why I started blogging – I love to write and I am building a business for myself. I ignore how everyone else is doing and just keep writing!
5. Leave no room for haters and people who build their following based on negativity.
The more I made myself and my blog available, the more I open myself up for speculation. Anyone who’s seen my profile can say anything they ever want about me, about what I stand for, and about who I am. I experienced first-hand some vicious cyberbullying lately that really opened my mind up to how terrible human beings can be toward others when given the anonymity of the digital world. It took some self-directed pep talk but I brushed it off my shoulders. And I realize if I don’t change my mentality about haters, it will happen again and it will ruin my day again. I am determined not to let haters have a single second of satisfaction from hurting me. They will not. To all the haters and cyberbullies, go have your fun somewhere else.
Photography by Natalie Alvarado @ Stylenfuse.