So you’ve decided you want to start or grow your blog and online presence. What now? I by no means claim to be an expert, because even I have lessons to earn, but I thought I would gather together some of my personal experiences since starting DoTheDaniel.com to help you understand the world of blogging. It should be noted that this is a fluid industry, and chances are that after I hit publish, it will change yet again. There are of course a few tips I can give you to help find some focus amid this exciting and ever-changing industry. Both from positive and negative experiences, the most important thing to remember is that your opinion matters and you need to do what you feel is best for you.
Yes, as cliché as that sounds, it’s true. When I first launched the blog, I would publish a post every day. I have tried to maintain that, but at a certain point the amount of drafts started to become too much. Even now, I have about fifteen open tabs of blog posts that need to be finished and I need to remind myself to try and post them more regularly to avoid the stress of being under the gun. Now, you of course have a life, so try to not be too hard on yourself when you fall off of your original schedule. Just take a minute, take a breath, and try again. The world will continue to turn, I promise. Try to always remember why you first started to create the content you chose to share with the world, and amend as you see necessary.
Inspiration, never imitation
This is a tricky one. I could never name names, because that would be a form of anger and negativity, but when something works really well on DoTheDaniel.com, ultimately we see it being duplicated by others. And that’s okay. I recently did an interview where I was asked who I wanted to emulate, and I responded that I never wanted to be anyone but myself. I use the example of Instagram and how I predict that it’s ultimate downfall will be that more and more people’s photos all look the same. If you have something to say, and something to show, do it in a way that you love. The rest will come in due time.
Avoid gossip and be weary of those who ask for it
Again, a lesson I had the learn the hard way. I have said before that this industry can at times be lonely. I have a lot of acquaintances, but not a lot of true friends, and I know I am not the only one who feels this way lately. We all look like we are BFFs online for the sake of appearances, but finding real people isn’t as easy as it looks. When you click with someone or a group of people, I encourage you to support them unconditionally. But, on that same note, pay attention to those people who take your support but offer none in response. It says a lot about someone. Trust me.
Never be afraid to ask
Three and half years later, I still send emails to new contacts for new experiences asking if they would like to work with us. Now, pitching is not as easy as it sounds, BUT with practice, you can make the connections you need to work with the brands you want. On that note, I did not make money for the first year and a half of my business. I attended a lot of events, wrote a lot of free content, curated a strong group of media contacts around the world that grew to trust me, and worked tirelessly to grow my business. This is not a million dollar industry at day 1 and you must understand that if this is your goal and passion, it will take time.
Resist the urge to cut corners
Fake followers. We all know they exist, and on a daily basis you will be tempted to buy your way to a certain tier of “influence.” Do yourself a favour and don’t do it. With free tools out there such as fohr card and social blade, you can very quickly see who has bought their “fame” with spikes of thousands of followers once or twice a week, usually in the middle of the night. The last thing you want is to be lumped into that group. Trust me when I say that behind the scenes, their “fame” is short lived and the age of fake followers is coming to an end. Once you are black listed from a media list, it is nearly impossible to recover. Be mindful of the choices you make, and understand that it takes time to build an audience.
There is nothing to be gained from FOMO
This was a hard one for me. But, when I stopped getting angry that I wasn’t chosen by X brand or to attend X trip, I realized that I can’t be chosen for everything. There are a lot of people and factors behind these decisions, and you’re not always going to be the right choice. Now, on the flip side, if you are the right choice, be mindful of how much work you take on. I’m currently in that boat, where I am playing catch up and trying to find balance again. It’s something we all deal with (even though we pretend like we aren’t), and I see no shame in admitting that I am overwhelmed with work right now. I also know that it has taught me my limits today so I can work to surpass them in the future.
You are not going to please everyone
This is a tough one for someone like me, because I am a people-pleaser. But this year, I had to sever some relationships that turned sour. Instead of being angry that they continue to tell the world I am difficult to work with, I chose to look at all the amazing people who now want to work with us instead. Focusing on the negative will only cause you to always be angry and bitter, and as someone who was stuck there for a long time, trust me when I say it’s not worth it. The moment I stopped being angry in order to focus on all the good, it ultimately opened more doors than it closed, and for that I am grateful. Business and personal relationships will come and go, as they do in life, but if you maintain a strong sense of self-worth I know that you can be a success.
There is no magic formula to becoming a successful blogger and online brand. We all have had our own journeys, opportunities and losses. But if you stay true to what you love and why you love it, I can assure you that the sky is the limit. I could never have imagined my tiny food blog turning into a global lifestyle brand. But I am so grateful for the good, the bad and in between lessons I have taken from my experience. Thank you for being supportive and following along with us!
For more behind the scenes of this and other amazing brands we are working with around the world, make sure to follow along with the #DoTheDaniel Instagram account. We would love to have you join on our adventures!
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Photos: All social media accounts listed above, Alexa Fernando & Daniel Reyes
Mobile photos will be taken with my NEW Huawei P10 Plus
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