LinkedIn notified me that August 23rd was the three year anniversary of Elana Lyn! It’s amazing how much the website has shaped my personal and professional life. I was able to transition from the legal industry to editorial and marketing and landed positions at Levo League, Likeable Media, and now mllnnl. I’ve also had the opportunity to write for some of my favorite publications like Forbes, FORTUNE, Huffington Post, Business Insider, TIME, Women’s Health, and Mashable. I’m grateful for the more than one hundred inspirational women I’ve had the pleasure of featuring in Career Profiles. I’m also so appreciative of all the “blogger friends” I’ve made and, most importantly, the thousands of women who read the site each day.
Let’s rewind to the beginning. After graduating, I became a paralegal at a law firm in New York City. Amidst stacks of briefs, blue books and binders, I realized how much I missed writing, creativity, and truly having ownership of a project. Two of my freshman year roommates started blogs when we graduated. I loved reading their posts and decided to start a blog of my own. While I checked brief citations and compiled velo-bound documents, posts would go out filled with topics I was passionate about.
I’ve learned so much since I started blogging. If I wrote them all out, I’d be writing until the fourth year. Here are a few of the main lessons I’ve learned.
Find Your Voice:
Develop your own unique voice. Let your personality shine through! The posts will be more enjoyable to read and people are more likely to keep coming back because they feel like they know you. Being authentic and genuine is important in all aspects of your life. I think that you can only be happy when you are accepted for being yourself. Of course, strive to be the best possible version of yourself, but don’t try to be someone you’re not. You’ll be more successful if you embrace and celebrate what makes you, you.
Do what feel right for you — even if it goes against best practices. A lot of people have told me that I should choose one topic and stick to it. It should be career, job search, lifestyle, or wellness. I never took their advice. I wanted to find a site with personal and professional development advice for millennial women. I couldn’t find it, so I created it. Write about what feels genuine and authentic to you and don’t try to mirror other people’s blogs.
Don’t Compare Yourself:
This is something I’m working on in my professional and personal life. When you’re driven, motivated, and maybe a little bit Type A it’s easy to fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others. It’s especially easy in the blogging world. Instead of comparing yourself to them, it’s best to focus on doing the best you can do.
I love the Theodore Roosevelt quote, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Chances are there will always be someone that’s accomplished more than you…but that doesn’t minimize all of your accomplishments. Create your own standards of success. You do you.
Have a celebratory almond milk latte when you reach your highest traffic for a month, get a byline in a dream publication, or hit any of the goals you’ve set for yourself. Blogging is hard work so celebrate your success often.
Be Collaborative Not Competitive:
Helping someone else be successful doesn’t make you any less successful. It makes you a nice person. I feel so fortunate that I’ve found a group of “blogger friends.” We are all supportive of one another and share advice and lessons learned.
Try New Things and Ask for Feedback:
I’ve experimented with Elana Lyn’s strategy. I’ve tried adding contributors, new topics, and new series. You’re not going to know if something works unless you try it. I can make lists, meet for coffee with bloggers and women I admire, and brainstorm away. But at the end of the day what really matters to me is what is helping the people who come back day after day. I created a survey and asked for feedback this year and it was so helpful!
I always ask myself a few questions before writing and publishing a post. Does the post provide value? Will someone learn something new or be inspired by this post? Is this something I would genuinely want to read? If I can’t answer yes to those questions, I know the post is a no-go.
Always Be Learning:
There is always something new you can learn. I’ve benefited from taking blogging and digital media classes, reading countless articles, and asking people for advice. Luckily, I work in digital media so the research I’ve done for Elana Lyn ends up helping me be better at my full-time job and freelance writing too. For example, I took a Pinterest course this year and the strategies doubled my traffic and helped a client at work! It’s a win-win!
Image via Style Me Pretty