(That’s me on page 68 of this months Jezebel Magazine. Still pinching myself that they asked me to be included. What girl doesn’t dream at one point of being in a magazine??)
So how does one stand out in a sea of so many blogs these days? I’ve had my blog and freelance makeup business for over 7 years now and I am still constantly second guessing if I’m doing everything correctly in order to get noticed. This way of thinking also has me falling into the comparison trap of other blogs and makeup artists whom I deem are more successful than me, which doesn’t do a lick of good in terms of me being productive.
I originally used my blog as a vessel for more people to find out about my freelance makeup business. It was a forum/hobby to share my knowledge of makeup products and techniques for others to see and share what I could do. Looking back, the early years of this blog some parts, from design to certain posts were really horrible at times to be quite honest. In the interest of transparency, it wasn’t really something I was super proud of until the last two years if you want to get down to it.
What changes have I made for the better?
- I finally got a website designer I was happy with (thank you Carolyn at Run Ruffian!).
- Switched to WordPress and paid to host my own website to gain more control.
- Purchased a decent DSLR camera (pictures are everything).
- Ramping up my usage of my affiliate links through RewardStyle with products I trust and recommend (this is how a lot of bloggers are able to monetize the products they suggest and use in order to keep their blog afloat and receive small commissions through each sale made).
- Became a member of a few blogger networks to help increase my visibility. I like and am a part of SheSpeaks, Conde Nast Sway, and Southern Blog Society.
- I started networking from outside of my computer comfort zone by attending other bloggers events and going to conferences and trade shows. (See my trip to NYC for the Makeup Show here and here, and the #SBScon I attended recently in Charleston)
- Most recently, I started a podcast, “Making It Up As We Grow” with my husband Scott. Actually it was his idea, remember this post here. It’s currently on New and Noteworthy on iTunes, which is a big deal and we are thrilled! Having another platform out there to promote my blog can’t be a bad thing and it’s been fun to see it come to life.
I don’t have the exact answer on how to drive 100,000 page views a day to my blog (but wouldn’t that be nice) or how to get Taylor Swift on my client list of celebrities I work with, but I can give one piece of advice in terms of how to have a successful blog or a small business in general you can be proud of….
Just be the best YOU you can be and succeed at that. As the old saying goes, “It’s all been done before but not by YOU.” And if you stay true to what makes you unique and you are consistent, you will get noticed.
How do I know this works? I received an email from Allison Mitchell, the editor of Jezebel Magazine, a couple of months ago whom I had met while networking at another blogger friends brunch event. Remember how I said to push away from the computer and go actually meet people in person?? Getting this email immediately confirmed that someone must have liked what I was doing. AND she wanted to share my story and put me in a magazine with my very own page. What?!!
Here is a look into the details of my photo shoot for the feature. They chose to highlight me on their Glam Patrol page, which is a featured page in every issue. I was able to offer up some of my favorite go-to beauty products covering all price points, to share with their readers – exactly the kind of thing I dig and what I’m all about as a freelance makeup artist. My photo shoot for the feature was held at the Heat Lounge in Atlanta where I got myself a pretty new hair-do and a glass of champagne (it was to help calm my nerves!). I’m a makeup artist, not a hairstylist, so this was the perfect finishing touch to my look, which I couldn’t do myself!My photographer, Michelle Wood of ElleWood.com, made this whole experience so much easier than I had expected! As exciting as it is to have a photo shoot just for you, it’s really nerve wracking because I usually do my own photography for my blog and it’s usually only from the chest up! No real posing necessary.
Michelle totally put me at ease and offered up some valuable pointers on the best way to stand, how to smile, and the biggest tip was : “pretend to laugh” (that’s a thing, and it looks remarkably likable on camera!!). Thanks Michelle for making me look good enough for the pages of a magazine.Details of what went into my look for the pages :
- Editor Allison Mitchell gave me a great pointer ahead of time in terms of what to wear – “a solid colored outfit with a pop of color in jewel tones looks best on camera.” So I chose to wear this Calvin Klein Scuba pleated dress (it’s got pockets! yes!) and paired it with my fun floral printed heels.
- For makeup, I started off by self tanning for a few days before the shoot to make sure that I didn’t blind the camera with my lily white skin! I’ve been using this Jergens Instant Sun sunless tanning mouse and it is an awesome inexpensive replacement to the pricier St. Tropez.
- My eye makeup was a mix of warm golds and browns from my Urban Decay Naked palette (the original) with Esqido mink lashes in style “unforgettable” as the perfect added glamour touch.
- Skin was perfected with L’Oreal True Match in shade N4 with my LORAC TANtalizer bronzing liquid mixed in to give my skin a warm bronze sheen.
- Cheeks were Nars “Orgasm” (of course) and lips were a combo of NYX butter gloss in “vanilla cream pie” and NYX lip liner in “nude “ with Buxom lip polish in “Dolly” to finish off on top and create a plumper looking lip.
- Nails were painted with OPI “My Chihuahua Bites!” which is warm bold coral based red that went well with my dress but wasn’t too matchy matchy.
- Jewelry was kept to a minimum and I wore this gold thin bangle bracelet, my go-to Stella and Dot “Nancy Studs” and Chevron ring.
I don’t believe there is such a thing as an overnight success in the blogging world, makeup artistry, or really in any business. So that’s why I encourage people not to get down and out if things aren’t “happening” as quickly as they ‘d like. Like I said, I’ve been doing this for 7 years and just now really feel that I’m getting somewhere with making blogging a viable business.
“Patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting.” Thanks Joyce Meyer.
Sometimes I need to heed my own advice here, wink wink.
As bloggers, you have to be persistent, consistent, and continue growing as a person and in skill, all the while never losing your voice and authenticity. We should all strive to build a strong brand identity which requires perseverance, and maybe fumbling a little along the way. Mistakes are great teachers.
I still don’t have all the answers on how to monetize my blog into a million dollar business, but I’m having a good time trying and I’m seeing the fruits of my hard work day by day. I’m willing to try new things and dream bigger than I ever thought possible.
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