A question I get asked time and time again, is “why did you start blogging?” Honestly, I had been thinking about starting a blog for about 2 years before I actually did it. I used to (and still do) read blogs religiously, like every single day. Discovering Pinterest only made me even more obsessed with them.
Back when I was doing my Ph.D., reading blogs was kind of an escape from the academic reading I had to do day in and day out. They were something quick and fun I could read for me, and they also doubled up in feeding my shopping habit. It was a complete match made in heaven, and the more I read blogs, the more I thought “I could do that!”
Looking back I am kicking myself that I didn’t start my blog when I first starting thinking about it, but it is (REALLY!) hard to put yourself out there and I was very reluctant to do so. I come from a very small area, and as much as I’d like to say I don’t care what other people think, subconsciously I did (and probably still do to an extent) so I held myself back for way too long.
Do I Regret Not Starting Earlier?
Absolutely! I wish I had gone for it the first time I thought about it (in 2010!). Blogging isn’t easy though, and I hadn’t a clue where to start or how to go about setting up a blog. I also felt like I didn’t have time to blog as I pretty much spent all of my time (weekends included) on my Ph.D.
So What Changed?
Well there were a few things. The biggest one being that I didn’t want a career in academia. After working so (painstakingly) hard to get my Ph.D. this may sound funny, but it’s true. When I finished my masters I really didn’t have a clue what my next step should be. I was lost and didn’t know what to do. I had always thought a career in academia could be for me, so when the opportunity to do a Ph.D. came my way I said yes… I mean how hard could it possibly be right? Boy was I in for a surprise!
I love helping other people and sharing what I know, but my Ph.D. made me realise that it’s not the path I wanted to follow at this stage of my life. Teaching only makes up a fraction of an academic’s life and I always thought my best lecturers were the ones who had real world experience before they went into academia.
So through doing my Ph.D., I found out something big… I definitely wanted to work in industry. Now here was the next problem. Industry doesn’t really care all that much about education. They want experience!!
Why Choose The Most Important And Busiest Year Of My Ph.D. To Start My Blog?
After becoming obsessed with blogs and coming to the realisation that academia wasn’t for me, I began to panic. I was coming into the final stages of my Ph.D. and the safety net it had given me for a few years was going to be whipped from under me. So what’s a girl to do? Blog of course!
There was also another reason. In September 2012 I had a little talk with myself (surely I’m not the only one who does this?). I made a promise to myself that I would submit my Ph.D. in 2013, and afterwards I could take a nice 6 week break traveling Australia. To do this I knew something had to give, and that something was going out or basically having any form of a life. So with the exception of Christmas 2012, I lived like a hermit for the next 14 months. I barely saw any of my friends or did anything for me.
In November 2012, after having one of my many panicked phone calls to my friend Siobhan, she told me enough was enough. It was time to bite the bullet and just set up a blog. She had also tried her hand at a Ph.D. and realised it wasn’t for her. At the time she was really getting into digital marketing and could see this was the future of the marketing world. By setting up my blog I could not only have something for me (to keep me sane while I finished my Ph.D.), I could also teach myself some invaluable skills for when I was out in the big bad jobs market.
I did It To Learn…
So my primary reason for setting up my blog was to learn and teach myself skills that would make me more employable when I went on the hunt for a job.
To do this, I have always made some very conscious decisions along the way. For example, my blog has always been based on WordPress (first WordPress.com and a few months later I moved to WordPress.org). Why? Because WordPress is the most widely used content management system (CMS). It’s also one of (if not) the best blogging platforms and if you can work WordPress, you will manage any CMS. I have since easily worked within HubSpot and Squarespace, with absolutely no experience of either platform. I have also worked on e-commerce sites, and none of this would have been possible if I hadn’t build up my skills and confidence through my blog.
Some of you might think why set up a fashion blog? This was an easy one. I may have set up my blog to learn, but it was also something for me. I LOVE fashion. I have always been obsessed with it and just wish my bank account would allow me to invest in the classic pieces my wardrobe needs.
I love fashion so much my Ph.D. was focused on fashion brands (this was a non-negotiable when I started it – it had to be on fashion). I also had a 14ft wardrobe about to burst with clothes, so it was a no brainer. It kind of tied everything nicely together.
Am I Happy I Did It?
Without a doubt, starting my blog was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Not only has it given me a platform to develop new skills, but it has also provided me with an opportunity to attend events and meet people I would never have had the opportunity to meet otherwise.
I have also made some great friends through my blog. If you follow me on Instagram and Snapchat (usernames @lcscloset) you might have noticed I spend quite a lot of my time in New York with Erika (we were even in Miami together last weekend). If it wasn’t for my blog we may never have met.
My blog also helped me secure a job in New York. I have been offered two jobs since I moved here 8 months ago (see what it’s really like to live in New York). The first one didn’t match the terms of my visa, but I got offered the job because I knew how to work WordPress. This was also one of the main reasons I was successful in getting the job I have now, where I am working in the Inbound Marketing world.
New York is the most competitive city in the world, but I stood out because I knew how to run a blog, manage social media accounts and I had also demonstrated my ability to write.
I want to make one quick point here. I am not in any way saying my education wasn’t valuable or hasn’t helped me. I learned so much through my Ph.D. (that I use everyday) and developed amazing skills, but at an entry level it is hard to get noticed outside academia. In industry, having a blog will make you stand out. It shows off your skills and also shows that you are passionate about your work.
I Want To Share What I Have Learned
It’s only when I look back to November 2012 that I realise how much I have actually learned since I started LC’s Closet. It took a lot of time, trial and error and hard work, but I know more now than I could ever have imagined.
Now that I am working in the Inbound Marketing world where the top guys share all of their blogging tips on a daily basis, I want to do the same. So I am going to start a new “Blog Tips” section here on LC’s Closet to share my blogging knowledge. I’m so excited to get started and plan to share loads of tips and tricks that I hope someone out there will find useful.
Have a great week,
p.s. If you are a blogger (or are thinking about starting your own blog) and would like to work together on your blog, feel free to leave a comment or drop me an email.