Life As I Know It: 5 Years

Fashion Blogger Stephanie Hill from The Style Bungalow on her "Life As I Know It: 5 Years" today

Five years ago today, I published my first blog post (click here to see it). As expected, I’ve spent the day reflecting on all my trials and tribulations and how often I surprised myself with overcoming fears… and finding meaning and purpose again despite seeking a new career path as a blogger and no longer as a ballerina. What seemed like a farfetched dream five years ago is now my reality. Today, the stakes are higher than ever and my “new” goals and aspirations feel really scary. Like, really scary. Thoughts of designing one day, starting a new business or morphing The Style Bungalow into something greater than a blog are possible with the continued pursuit of grit, grind and hustle. Five years ago I barely knew how to operate the backend of my website much less build one – but I did it. Five years from now I hope to say the same thing about the next chapter in my blog…

Style Blogger Stephanie Hill on her "Life As I Know It: 5 Years" today on The Style Bungalow

So today I wanted to take a moment to share some of the biggest lessons I’ve learned since March 20, 2014; and the fact that it all materialized because I ignored my fears, saw past a breakup (that truly broke my heart), a terrible job and just went for it. But before I do, let me quickly explain what happened last year because it was marked with some incredible highs and very low lows. 

I started from traveling consistently, to losing my creative stride, to frantically restructuring my blog’s business, to ultimately finding real purpose and meaning in my work. I signed with management, nabbed some incredible partnerships and expanded my team. I traveled to countless locations around the world and went back to school for the first time since graduating college.

By now, I’ve pretty much tried it all and feel fortunate to have done it slowly. I was never the girl who gained hundreds of thousands of followers overnight and for that reason, am eternally grateful to have had the breathing room to make lots of mistakes and try different things…

Style Blogger Stephanie Hill speaks about "Life As I Know It: 5 Years" today on The Style Bungalow

Stephanie Hill speaks about "Life As I Know It: 5 Years" today on The Style Bungalow

Fashion Blogger Stephanie Hill speaks about "Life As I Know It: 5 Years" today on The Style Bungalow

So without further ado, here are some of my biggest lessons I learned along the way!

Delegating is hard

Great, you’ve grown. You need help. But do you actually realize what that means?

Possibly one of the biggest challenges I have faced revolves around delegating tasks to others. When you delegate, you essentially give up control which is easy to do when it’s someone else’s business – but really freaking hard when it’s your baby. I struggled with this for a long time because I was so used to doing everything on my own. Trust me it’s a very humbling experience, but in the end (despite the struggle) its worth it because you learn a lot about yourself and can finally scale.

Treat your blog like a 9 to 5

For five years, I have opened my computer religiously Monday through Friday from 9 to 5, even if I didn’t accomplish much (we all have off days). Being a blogger feels a lot like being an entrepreneur running a scrappy startup. Simply because you work from home doesn’t mean you get to Netflix and chill all day, seriously. Putting in that extra effort to answer emails in a timely manner, write that blog post, edit those photos and get the work done are key.

Know who you are

And your strengths! James Nord from Fohr recently spoke about this very candidly in his Youtube series, “Drink With James.” Just because you have a massive following doesn’t mean you have influence. And just because a Victoria Secret model posts 5x selfies a week doesn’t mean that’s right for you. Know your strengths and where to focus your attention.

Maybe it’s not the algorithm, maybe it’s you?

Ouch, this one hurts thinking about it because I have personally dealt with the issue. Specifically with my edits, my writing, my outfits, etc.

We’ve all made bad content. It happens. You get stuck in a creative rut, have looming deadlines laced with a lot of pressure or maybe the outfit was just off but blaming the Instagram algorithm on the above is not the answer. Sometimes you have to take a step back and remove your feelings from the picture to see what works and what doesn’t. While you should never create content for likes, you should keep in mind that you are running a business and need recurring revenue to sustain it. Think of ways you can be on the forefront of the ever evolving realm of media while staying true to your brand.

But don’t please everyone

“I don’t know the key to a successful blog, but the key to failure is pleasing everyone.” This is one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned on my journey.

Presets are cool but don’t focus on that

Yes, the way you edit your photos is very important to the branding of your blog but it’s not everything. The subject matter is more important! (You can read more about my thoughts on photography here.) 

Be tiny but mighty

Sometimes bloggers who have quick growth don’t always know how to manage their setbacks and failures later down the road. To my point earlier – steady growth through the years has allowed me to make mistakes without losing too much momentum. This is why being a relatively “smaller” blogger in the grand scheme of things can be a positive thing at the beginning of your blog career. You retain more control, you have freedom to experiment and try new things and above all, fail –  which I’ve done pleeeeeenty of times. It’s through failures that you grow the most. 

Don’t be afraid

Just the other day when I published my post on anxiety, I told my boyfriend I was afraid it would generate a negative response. It did well… I’m sure not everyone who read it understood why I was so open about my struggles but it felt right and that’s what mattered. My style, my experiences, my quirks, my likes and dislikes are who I am as a person. Do not be afraid to be yourself. Being different will always set you apart.

You have to create in order to evolve

The more you create content – good and bad – the sooner you will figure it out and find your Instagram groove. This process is essential to your blog’s evolution. Don’t be afraid to “test” out different locations, experiment with new outfits, edits, etc. 

Lastly, Don’t give up

This one applies to everything in life. The most successful people aren’t necessarily the smartest, they are the grittiest. Angela Duckworth, author of the book Grit, says “grit is passion or perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day in and day out — not just for a day, not just for a month, but for years — to make that future a reality. And working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

Style Blogger Stephanie Hill from The Style Bungalow shares her "Life As I Know It: 5 Years" today

Stephanie Hill from The Style Bungalow on her "Life As I Know It: 5 Years" today

Remember: don’t forget who you are, create constantly, work diligently (give it your all) and have the grit to stick to it. Always be open to new changes and have the courage to pivot because it can lead you to exactly where you want to be – you got this!

I’m off to toast the many successes and hard lessons learned along the way! I am eternally grateful for each and every one of you and promise the next five years of this journey will be just as epic as the first.

So so so much love today.

Xo, Stephanie

Bikini top: Johanna Ortiz

Pants: (c/o) Reveal Ten (also love these pants

Earrings: Zimmermann

Sandals: Schutz 

Bag: (c/o) Silvia Tcherassi

2 Comments

  • Absolutely love reading this post. It’s always nice to reflect back and see how much you’ve really accomplished. Also, this blog post is really inspiring for newer bloggers too. There are definitely days I’ve had it and I want to give up, but there’s always that little part of me that knows I’m going to miss it if I do. Thanks for sharing your experience and stories.

    May || https://themoderness.com/

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