It’s been almost 8 years since I started blogging. 8 years! That feels like a very long time to be sharing my life online. I started my first blog Keeping Slim and Getting Stylish in January 2010 and I never looked back. I loved blogging from the very start, at a time when I was feeling a bit flat and directionless blogging gave me a way to get creative again.
Since then I’ve trained as a holistic health coach, started my own business and made my little blog into something I dearly hope has helped a lot of women, while also providing me with a way to make a living and support my family. This is a business – while I have made some mistakes in how I’ve monetised it (er, shitty sponsored guest posts I do hold my hands up), I am really proud of what I’ve created. My aims for my business are to help as many women as I can, while also making an income that allows me and my family to live a wonderful life.
When I look back at my own journey through blogging and it turning into a business I feel like there’s been a lot of change. My blog and business has always been very reflective of me and what’s going on in my life and in my head at the time, as much as I’ve tried to fight that and follow the right ‘guidelines’ – more on that in a sec.
Looking back over the past couple of years, particularly since I had Finley, I feel like I’ve pulled back from being so personal in blogging and on social media. I think this is for a few reasons but looking back I actually feel like I’ve had a giant vulnerability hangover from the first few years of blogging everything. Having Finley and all we had to deal with there just left me so depleted and without any bandwidth to keep it up. I stopped my weekly personal life posts and then stopped my monthly posts because on so many levels it was just exhausting to be that visible. When I have posted something more personal, the vulnerability hangovers have been huge.
Alongside this I’ve been playing around with much of the advice that is given out to people running an online business – always focus your posts on helping your ‘ideal client’, think about SEO, keep your blog niche and don’t write about random topics etc, etc. There’s also an impression that to succeed you need to be perfect – or at least have perfect photographs!
I even started a whole new blog and website over at lauraagarwilson.com where I’ve been sharing business type posts and woo woo topics as to keep Wholeheartedly Healthy only on topics related to health. I very quickly realised that no matter the advice, I’m not perfect and I can’t separate myself out like that. Plus I just don’t jive with the word healthy (and what that signifies in a blog in the current The time had come to figure out a new way forward that would work for me.
That’s why I’m rebranding as Wholeheartedly Laura!
If any of you have followed me for more than a couple of years I’m sure you’ve noticed my shift away from healthy living and movement towards more overarching wellbeing, mindset and self care along with a good dose of woo woo. These are the topics that are lighting me up right now, I literally can’t not write or talk about these things – this is the way I want to run my business and is more important to me than income – I need my work to feel aligned with who I am, and that is always going to fluctuate and change as I grow.
I’m so excited about the big website change, it’s so exciting for me! I honestly believe that in business and in life, being able to follow your passions is a gift.
For anyone reading this who is an online entrepreneur or who wants to be, here’s my advice based on what I’ve learned from managing your business when you’re a big part of the pie:
Find a balance
You need to find a balance when it comes to being helpful and sharing who you are. Having tried both ‘strategies’ (for want of a better word) neither alone works when you’re a central part of your brand. You have to find a way of sharing yourself and allowing yourself to be vulnerable because people need to feel a connection with you, but in a way that doesn’t leave you feeling completely exhausted and like you’re selling off pieces of your insides. This is the balance I’m working on seeking as I go forward.
Think about change before you start
From a practical standpoint, rebranding with a domain name change is a logistical nightmare and a mountain of work. It might well be worth starting your business with a name and domain that can contain you and the potential for changing and shifting as you go forward.
Don’t be afraid to break the rules
Don’t be afraid to break the ‘rules’ – what works for one business will not work for another. Find the sweet spot between what will be helpful for your ideal client, what’s helpful for you and what truly lights you up. When you allow the passion to lead that energy will come through and create real connection with your readers and potential clients and customers.
Remember you and your business aren’t the same
Ultimately, always keep a piece of yourself for yourself. In the time of the personal brand, the blogger and the influencer, when the invitation is to be your business, you have to remember that there is a line – however faint. You are your business, but your worth is not your business. Obviously, we get incredibly personally invested in our work whether we share our vulnerabilities or not, but we always have to remember that our worth as a person is separate from our businesses and can not be measured in followers, likes, ££££’s in your bank account or subscribers on your email list. This is something I’ve struggled with personally a great deal, but focusing on my own version of success has really helped with this.
Alongside this rebrand and rename (which should be going live at the start of 2018) I’m going to be starting a brand new podcast and I’m currently developing a new quarterly journal / planner / magazine which should also be launching in January. Plus, I’m busy creating a brand new online course! I’m SO EXCITED in case you haven’t already got the jist lol!
Watch this space!
Thoughts? Comments? Feedback? I’d love to know what you think about this shift. If you’re an online entrepreneur or blogger, how do you manage sharing yourself online? Do you ever get vulnerability hangovers?
P.S if you follow me on Instagram you’ll see that I’ve changed my username to @wholeheartedlylaura now ready for the change too!