#AskE – (Managing “everything,” Budgeting for splurge pieces, Growing on Instagram, + MORE)
FriYAY, we’ve been lookin’ for ya. Who else is kinda shook that this will be the last weekend before Thanksgiving 2017?? *we all collectively raise hands* INSANITY. Especially since next month is nutso with Christmas + holiday errr’thaaaaang, I wanted to throw another #AskE Q&A post in the mix to make sure I’m A’ing as many Q’s as you guys have! Which is apparently a lot, and I lovelovelove it. If you’ve got a Q you want A’d, make sure ya just drop it in this lil’ form right here, and it’ll be added to a future #AskE post! #EasyPeasy.
I think we’re headed to see a movie tonight…torn between Justice League and the Orient Express train thriller movie. Any recommendations?? There’s just something about Friday night at the movies that always feels right. 🙂 I also am always that girl sneaking wine or Chinese takeout in my purse, so if you’re ever in a theater and smell lo mein…that would be me. HA. This weekend should be chill then, too, prepping for Thanksgiving. AND AND AND…BossPitch enrollment closes this weekend! So for any bloggers in da house, if you’ve been on the fence…time to read some testimonials + get over the fence ASAP to make sure you’re in before doors slam shut.
OK SO NOW, another #AskE post! Woo! And with it, a super cute fall outfit that I think ANY of ya would/could/should rock like a champ. Let’s dive in to AskE…
Ivory sweater (sold out – similar option on sale here, here, here (OBSESSED with the criss-cross front!), here (under $40!), + here!) // Black distressed denim (under $40 + SO COMFORTABLE – come in Regular, Tall, AND Petite sizing! Super soft, stretchy material – doesn’t actually feel like denim at all!) // Leopard loafers (Toldja on Instagram I’d be not shutting up about these all season long…they’re just DA BEST, YO. Seriously, I’ve never been more impressed with a shoe in terms of comfortability + cuteness. These require ZERO break-in. No break-in, no rub marks, no blisters…ever. I’ve *ever* encountered loafers that can say the same. Actually never encountered loafers that could say anything at all since loafers can’t talk, but yannno…;) 100% worth it. // Louis Vuitton Neverfull MM (c/o) also here + here! // Gold initial necklace (SUPER cute Christmas gift idea!) // Gold hoop earrings (similar here) // Sunnies // Lipstick (shade: “Vintage”)
Fave fall accessory?
Right now I’m super into hats, leopard print, + vampier lipstick. Is lipstick an accessory? Nope, it’s an essential. Is leopard print an accessory? Not really – it’s a neutral. 😉 But all of the above are things I find myself reaching for continuously right about now! It’s still not really cold enough for blanket scarves (although it’s getting there…so here’s how to wear a blanket scarf 10 different ways for when the temps drop a bit more). So lighter scarves, fun floppy fall hats, leopard everything, + darker plum/burgundy lippies are where it’s at. Also, gold jewelry since it’s warm-toned like the changing leaves – so pretty! AND, little hints of festivity. Like these stud earrings that I recently added to my collection – oh so totally fun. 🙂
What do you think the hardest part of being a blogger is?
Staying in your own lane, and not falling into comparison traps. Also, just doing ALL THE THINGS, ALL THE TIME. I’m 100% guilty of getting sucked into comparing myself to others, far too often. Honestly, I think it’s just the devil distracting us from our true purposes. Because while comparing ourselves to others, what are we doing? Probably not working on our OWN games, cos we’re too busy focusing on others’. No bueno. There is an endless sea of bloggers out there, each with something to offer, and it’s one of the least transparent industries out there, I think. You see everyone’s finished product – you don’t see/know the whole story behind ANYONE’S “success.” So, it’s important to constantly remind yourself of the truth – which is that the only truth you know and/or can control, is your own.
Beyond that, doing #AllTheThings (or wanting to do it) is the struggle of the century. We’ve gotta do essentially an entire team’s work ourselves, which I think a lotta folks don’t necessarily get/understand. We’re the content creators, products, photographer, editors, writers, social media managers…an entire marketing team’s worth of roles, packed into one person. We’re also the administrators, negotiators, and managers, handling constantly full (slash seemingly urgent) inboxes that need tending in order to keep everything running at full speed. That’s the hardest bit. And if you ARE lucky enough to have a team of any sort, delegation can be hard, since it’s your own personal brand – how do you know what to give someone else to do when it feels like EVERYTHING is an integral part of your business? I think I’ve got a decent handle on that now, but it definitely took a hot sec to get used to in the beginning.
How do you manage everything?? // How do you do it all??? You’re amazing! // How do you get everything done??
There were 3 Q’s on the sheet that all pretty much fell under the same hat, so they’ed lumped together here justbecause. 🙂 First off…y’all are too sweet. Also, y’all are nuts. HAHA. Cos I’m simply *don’t* do it all!
I think one of the hardest (but maybe most important?) lessons learned post-college graduation (heck, maybe even post-high school graduation) is that notion of “doing it all” is legit impossible. Balance is a unicorn.
No matter how hard you try, you’re probably going to feel like SOMETHING is falling short. Simply because we are human, and we have 24 hours in a day, and when you’ve got a lotta things you’re into or trying to fit into those 24 hours…chances are, it ain’t all gonna fit. The plate will overflow at some point, and something will fall off a bit – or not fit entirely.
So first thing’s first: Get OK with the idea that not everything will get done.
Second: Get to prioritizing.
So I typically try to prioritize things from most to least urgent, and then from most to least significant. So, something “urgent” in work is obvi something with a deadline attached to it (usually a deadline imposed by someone else, not my own arbitrary deadlines – ha). “Most significant”, tho, would be the things most important for the long run – time with the hubs, a long phone call to catch up with a girlfriend, etc. So every single day, I need to make sure that my agenda has something urgent + something significant on it, to cross off two biggies. From there, I plan out my day using time “buckets.” (Sidenote: Would y’all want an entire blog post on this at some point??? I’m thinking it might be super helpful, if you’re interested, since it’s a really big part of my planning process!). So, the gist of it – I separate my day into buckets instead of planning by the exact minute or hour, so that I give myself flexibility within those buckets to get done whatever needs to get done in the general amount of time it will take. It’s not as strict as an hour-by-hour schedule, which I usually fail at since we’re reaaaaaally bad as humans at predicting exactly how much something will take.
Lastly…learn to say “no.” And learn to feel OK with saying “no” – which used to be my hardest struggle. I was never a people pleaser type who always felt the need to say “yes”…but I would always still feel a pang of guilt if I couldn’t do something for someone. But once you get truly A-OK with the notion that no will help you – and might help others, too, since you can then only devote time to what you know you’ll do right + well (important!) – your life will change for the better.
How do you budget for splurge pieces like a Louis Vuitton bag?
So, I actually have what I think is a *GREAT* method for this now, and I’m super proud of it + happy to share. 😉 I have now realized that I need to incentivize myself sometimes. Working for yourself especially, it can be easy to just get lost in the hustle and forget that you don’t necessarily have tangible things to work towards like you might in a more “traditional” 9-to-5 job, like raises or promotions. SO, since I have a few big goals on my list that’ve been there for awhile, I wanted to incent myself to make some serious progress on them ASAP instead of continuously working towards them aimlessly.
I have 3 big goals on my list.
I have 3 Gucci bags listed on that list, too.
With each big goal I hit, I’m going to reward myself with a Gucci bag.
Now y’all know…I’m not this heavy spender dishing out the dollah dollah bills on designer anything, really. I’ve got a Louis Vuitton (which I pitched myself to get for free – more on that in my course, BossPitch!), and I’ve got a few smaller designer things here + there, but that’s pretty much it.
But Lawdy…I really really reaaaaaally want a Gucci bag.
3, to be exact.
So, I wrote down exactly which bags are on my wishlist, and corresponded each bag to a specific goal, going in order of price with order of goal significance.
I did this at the end of last month, and wasn’t too sure how quickly I’d really reach any of them, since this was pretty experimental and each of these goals has been on my list for what feels like actually ever. But wouldn’t ya know…
On the third day of November, I hit one of the goals. Like, skyrocketed at it, hit it, and am now even farther beyond it than I ever thought possible. I SWEAR THE GUCCI GOAL DID IT. So now I owe myself a Gucci bag. 😉
In terms of budgeting, I try to put a little away/aside every month in a “TREAT YO’SELF” fund. Especially if you adopt a similar method of corresponding big splurge purchases with accomplishments as a sorta reward system, that should give you enough time to put in cash consistently until you hit the goal. The key: the goals need to be big enough to really warrant a big splurge like that. So make them BIG goals – the things that appear on your list month after month, that you’re not quite sure WHEN you’ll do – but you know deep down that you so totally CAN. It just requires more work, more hustle, more grace, more whatever than you’re used to dishing out.
How did you grow your Instagram following? I feel like I’ve tried EVERYTHING (engaged with new/old followers, use hashtags, coherent theme, etc. etc.) & I still can’t seem to gain followers. HELP!
Oh, Instagram. Honestly, IG is a unicorn. Any sorta rationality in it just doesn’t exist, I swear. One day I feel like engagement is great + sensical…the next, it’s totally whack. Tracking patterns is near impossible, I’ve found, since everything defies gravity with it.
The things you mentioned are really the most important/tried + true…engaging like crazy, having truly GOOD content + an attractive “aesthetic”, etc.
A few things to note: Hashtags don’t work the same way they used to. Honestly, that’s because folks started misusing them, putting popular hashtags on photos that didn’t actually fit the hashtag, in the hopes of being seen. So now, IG is rumored to use this photo-reading technology similar to Facebook’s, when they recommend specific people in your photo to tag – creepy, amiright? Meaning, they can scan your photo + see if it actually matches up with the hashtags you’re using, and deliver it to folks based on that – what THEY see it being about – rather than what YOU see it being about. Don’t just lovelovelove that Instagram thinks it knows you better than you know yourself? …
Really, the hard truth of it is this (+ THIS): Don’t put your eggs in the Instagram basket.
Keep doing what you’re doing – engage like crazy, produce at high quality, give your followers a genuinely fabulous experience with your content, etc. And beyond that…don’t sweat it. Which sucks, since that’s obviously not what any of us WANT to hear – it totally feels hopeless. But really, the thing is this: We’re seeing the struggle of IG, and so are brands. If Instagram keeps making it harder + harder for bloggers/influencers’ work to be seen, in the hopes of taking back the advertising dollah for themselves (greedy bastards…ha!), at some point or another, brands aren’t going to want to pay as much for promotional content because it won’t have as much ROI (that’s “return on investment” for them). SO, it’s REALLY REALLY REALLY friggin’ important (like, really) to focus on platforms BESIDES Instagram. Namely, the platforms you own. Which is really just one…your blog.
At the end of the day, gaining followers on Instagram really doesn’t mean much if you’re not actually REACHING them. It becomes a fruitless cycle. But no absurd algorithm or third-party social media platform controls your blog. YOU control your blog.
Generate as much traffic as possible to your BLOG. Get people interested in sticking around THERE, where there’s more room for growth/monetization ANYWAYS.
And rinse + repeat. That’s the tea. That’s where the dollah dollah bills will be for ya. That’s where you’ll find deeper/truer satisfaction in the long run anyways, since you can foster a true, genuine community there that is more robust + more dedicated than any one social media platform.
Fueled by strong coffee, loud laughter, a bold lip and sparkly shoes. Blossoming into our best selves together, to thrive in real life and live in full bloom. So everything is…coming up roses. More about Erica + CUR here.
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