This post about my blogging purpose and direction has been a long time coming! In my last blog post, I opened up about my current blogging struggles and asked for y’all’s input in my vision survey, and I can’t wait to share some important thoughts with you!
First of all, thank you to everyone that took the survey. I was blown away by the amount of responses I got and so very, very humbled by the kind words and encouragement I received. I definitely didn’t put the survey out there just to receive compliments, but I must say – hearing some of your uplifting words was just what I needed and a great reminder of why I do what I do.
(PS, congrats to Erika C. for taking the survey and being the winner of the $50 gift card!)
I’m going to break down my thoughts in a few sections in this post for ya (and also to keep myself organized because I’ve been thinking about this post for a while and have a tendency to ramble…):
Happily Howards’ Vision, Purpose, & Mission Statement
When I first started my blog, I really didn’t know where I was going with it. It was just a fun side hobby while I was a full-time elementary teacher. I started doing more and more posts (especially during my summers off) and realized that I loved the creative, thoughtful side of blogging. However, I didn’t set a clear vision or mission statement for my blog until last year. And, my oh my, was that helpful!
Happily Howards’ purpose/mission statement is: Happily Howards is a lifestyle blog that inspires women to live intentional lives, encourages self confidence, and spreads truth and goodness. I want everyone that visits my blog and social media to be encouraged that living a purposeful, fun life with the ones you love is possible!
Obviously, this mission statement evolves ever so slightly year after year, but it’s SO important to create a purpose for why you’re doing what you’re doing day in and day out. Without it, it’s so easy to get lost. Which leads me to…
How I Lost My Direction & Voice
To put it simply, I lost myself in the rat race. I got caught up in comparison. I was constantly trying to measure up to fashion bloggers doing things I ultimately didn’t want to do. Is fashion blogging important? Absolutely. I believe it inspires confidence in women and gives fashion advice to those that feel lost. And I love that! But it’s not the only thing I want to do here.
I think what’s been so hard for me on my blogging journey is that there aren’t a ton of bloggers out there doing what I ultimately want to do. Or if there are, I haven’t been following them. Instead, I’ve been following other bloggers and watching their success and thinking that I have to do exactly what they’re doing to be successful. But hello, Erin! I don’t know of many successful people that have just copy-catted their way to success.
And here is where I struggled: I was stuck in this rut of creating quick, “easy” content by posting tons of outfits and not saying as much as I wanted to. When I was talking to a friend of mine about this several months ago, something she said stuck with me: “Your readers can tell when you throw something together quickly and carelessly versus when you actually care about a topic.” I know that’s one of those “duh” statements, but it hit me hard. Why am I spending time creating content I don’t really care about? Shouldn’t I be talking about the things that really matter to me? It’s so evident that my readers love when I share struggles, relationship thoughts, and life happenings versus simply posting my #ootd without any other content or thoughts. (Remember, I’m not saying ootd’s are bad, they’re just not what I originally set out to do on my blog!)
Anyway, when we traveled to Italy in October, I realized that I wasn’t super pumped about my blog anymore. I wasn’t waking up excited to do what I do. And if I’m not waking up with a clear purpose for my job, then why am I doing it? That question was one Jay and I talked about the entire trip. He helped me realize that I lost my voice and fell victim to the comparison game and the trying-to-keep-up game. Which is exhausting in case you’ve never played! He pointed out that I was spending hours building up a brand (only fashion) that wasn’t even what I wanted to do in the first place. He helped me realize that even if I got to the top of the top of the fashion realm, it still wouldn’t be what I was most passionate about.
SO, I decided to give myself a little break, refocus, and pray about my career and future. I’m not ready to let blogging go. I think it’ll be really fun to continue doing this in the future when we have little Howards running around. I still enjoy the creative outlet. I still enjoy sharing the things I’m passionate about. And I most of all still enjoy that I’ve graciously been given a platform to share my life and positivity. I just had to narrow down what I most enjoy blogging about and what my audience cares about too. Which led me to the infamous survey!
The Survey Results
I’m not going to go into crazy detail here, but here are some helpful points I’m taking away from the survey (along with my thoughts about them in parenthesis):
1 || When I talk about relationships (with friends, family, or significant others), you enjoy it. (Which makes me happy because I’m passionate about that if you couldn’t tell!)
2 || You still love the fashion posts, especially when it’s affordable! And you’re still loving those styling tips. (I love this because it fits into “encouraging self confidence”!)
3 || You absolutely love lifestyle posts (this was the most popular category!). You’re curious about what I’m doing, wearing, reading, etc. and love to hear how I (really, other women in general) live. (I absolutely love this because it fits in with ALL of the sections of my mission statement!)
4 || Photos and written content are your fav. (I’m thrilled to hear this because videos and printable resources take for. e. ver. to create!)
5 || You love the idea of me asking questions on social media (Instagram, Insta stories, and Snapchat), tallying up the popular responses, and sharing them in my blog posts! For example, when I ask random questions like “What are your favorite dry shampoos?”, I get a ton of answers. And I even get people asking me what other people are saying (which goes back to you guys being curious about other gals’ lifestyles!). Now, instead of keeping that information all to myself, I’ll share a few of the top answers on the next blog post I do down at the bottom (i.e., blog post title: “My Favorite Hair Products” with y’all’s favorite dry shampoos listed at the bottom of the post!) So fun!
Where I’m Going From Here
The survey gave me a lot to think about. I realized I was trying to do everything. I was trying to be a fashion blogger, a beauty blogger, a travel blogger, a vlogger, a relationship expert, and an interior decorator. And helloooo, I obviously can’t do all of that and blog about it. When I was listing out all of the categories I have on my blog for the survey, I recognized that I’ve been putting these crazy expectations on myself. Since I set my own goals and agenda, I’ve come to realize that I’ve been my own worst critic. I’ve been telling myself that I’m not enough, that my content doesn’t compare to so-and-so, and that I should keep doing more and more until I’m totally burnt out. Like, what? I obviously needed to stop!
Basically, I’m going to just chill. I’m going to be myself and share my life… not just what I think I should be sharing because I’ve set these weird expectations for myself and am playing the comparison game. It’ll just be my thoughts and experiences that ultimately encourage and inspire my readers. And I’m sorry that I lost that focus to begin with!
Very practically: I’m going to put a heavy focus on relationships – not just romantic, but how to put energy into every relationship in your life to help it flourish. I’m going to focus on sharing more about my life and be super intentional about creating content that I’m really passionate about that reflects positivity, truth, and encouragement so that people can feel inspired and uplifted after visiting. Fashion, hair, beauty, and travel will still be around, but they’ll be under the umbrella of relationships or lifestyle since those topics are what I most care about.
|| WHAT I’M WEARING ||
Anyway – If you’re reading this post, thank you! Whether you’re brand new and are wondering why I’m rambling so much or if you’ve been with me every step of the way, I appreciate you. Thanks for walking with me on this crazy journey, and I hope you’ll stick around!
Lastly, I deeply want to interact with you and build a community online, so leave a comment, find me on Instagram, send me an email, whatever! I’d love to hear from you and start to build an online friendship!