Hello my sweet friends! I am so glad to see you here as we celebrate a great milestone for the Nooks In Bloom blog! I realize one year may not sound like much, but for me, it’s a grand personal accomplishment. In this post I will open up about things I usually don’t share. If you allow me to be vulnerable for a moment, I will discuss some of the ups and downs of this experience and personal struggles I’ve had to face. I hope friend, you will accompany me as we look back on our first year.
Have you ever mustered up the courage to throw yourself into something so unknown it scares you? Have you ever stepped out of your comfort zone so far that you have felt overwhelming anxiety? Or maybe your dream is still in your heart but something keeps holding you back. I have experienced all of the above! It’s been a long road. Abusive relationships, years as a single mother barely scraping by, and dealing with the heart ache of tragic family deaths. I know we have all faced our fair share of struggles…because, let’s face it, life is not easy.
Allow me to clarify. Life may be hard, but it can also be oh so good. If I may take a moment to digress I’d like to share some valuable life tips I learned after graduating from the ever prestigious School of Hard Knocks. These tried and true lessons changed EVERYTHING.
1. Forgive. Especially those who have wronged you. It is an incredible personal release.
2. Gain self-awareness. Tune in to how your words and actions may affect others. It’s amazing how your relationships will improve and deepen.
3. Push yourself. If you want something, but you are afraid to fail or you’re faced with layers of obstacles, keep at it. Take a chip off of that iceberg one piece at a time.
4. Accept yourself and your shortcomings. Love yourself, especially as you age. Thank your body for all it has done for you rather than insult it.
I never would have imagined I would become a blogger, much less love it so. I had heard of blogs but didn’t really understand the concept. I just thought the word ‘blog’ sounded so, well, ugly…I still think we could juice up the name!
A couple years before my mom passed away, she mentioned ever so gently (a trick she used to plant seeds in my stubborn mind) that I should consider blogging. She thought I would be good at it. She believed in my creativity and writing skills. I simply shrugged it off and complained that there was no way I would ever have the time for something like that.
Over time that little seed began to sprout. My husband and I had successfully completed the process of owner-building our dream home and I was proud of the design process I was able to deliver from concept to execution. When others complimented my style and sought interior design advice from me, I started to realize that I could do more. Subsequently my refinished furniture pieces were selling very well at a local store. After much pondering and conversations with my husband I decided to do it. To create a blog.
I had no idea where to start. I began to study what other amazing bloggers were doing like In Honor Of Design, Love Grows Wild, and Salvaged Inspirations. I was in awe of the seamless beauty and abundance of content on their websites. The photography was out of this world. The tutorials were perfectly laid out. The interior design posts were like something out of a magazine. That’s when my anxiety and insecurities started to kick in.
Insecurity can be a crippling culprit. When you don’t feel that what you bring to the table will be good enough. In such moments, for me, it helps to take breathers. Table the task for a day or two. Resume when your mood has shifted. Surround yourself with people or a person who promote and believe in you.
My husband Ronny, my unceasing motivator, has helped me navigate every challenge. I am SO fortunate to have his engineering and technological expertise. Over the course of a few weeks, Ronny researched and crank started my website. Problem was I kept coming to him for every little thing. I was getting stuck at every corner. It was clear I was going to have to learn to build a website myself if I wanted to be efficient and independent. So I watched A LOT of youtube tutorials. And slowly but surely things became easier.
Good photography is the heart of a blog. You want your viewers to be drawn in and to connect with your work. This was an area that was definitely in need of serious help! Ronny bought me an online photography course for Christmas and it was game changing. I learned SO much and realized how many mistakes I had been making.
I knew that if I wanted to deliver a professional blog that I would need to invest in proper tools. Costs for cameras, computers, editing programs and props for posts can add up. It’s like starting any business. You will need some capital to get going. To keep things manageable, I made purchases over time. Every time I sold a piece of furniture we would reinvest profits into Nooks In Bloom. It’s a good thing that I love thrift stores because they became my go to place for finding staging props.
If you’re starting a blog or any other venture, understand what legalities are involved. The last thing you want is to infringe on copyright laws or end up with a lawsuit on your hands! Read the fine print for any partnerships you embark on. Be clear with your customers up front. Shipping methods, costs, return policies, quotes, etc.
I vividly remember the melt down I had when a customer was called me upset with the table I painted for her. I was overwhelmed with feeling so disappointed in myself. In all honesty I was never fully happy with the product I delivered. She provided the paint and it was not of good quality. I worked so hard on this project. I put in many hours beyond the quoted amount and tried over and over again to get a professional finish.
When she said an area of the paint had become discolored, I took it personal. Because I feel my work is an extension of myself. My husband went and picked up the table and I put in countless more hours, sanding everything down and starting all over. I didn’t charge her for the redo because her being happy with my service was paramount for me. The lesson in this for me was to always set clear expectations up front. If you do furniture renovations, disclose what products you are willing to work with or not. Quote realistically. Don’t undervalue your work. You’re going to have moments of customer dissatisfaction and that’s okay. Doing your best is what counts.
In our first year I am proud of the 54 posts, 28 pages, social media growth, and lessons learned. I’m proud that I’ve pushed myself out of my comfort zone to post pictures and videos of myself even if it makes me anxious. I’m most especially proud and grateful for YOU! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking moments out of your day to spend time with me at Nooks In Bloom. I look forward to having you join me on this journey as we embark on new exciting projects and continue creating and learning together!