It’s that time again! I’m about to hit another milestone on my blog, with my 9th blogoversary coming up the first of February. It has been such an amazing journey and I think I say that every single year. I had absolutely NO idea that I would be blogging this long and that it would become my career and producer of income. God has truly blessed me beyond my wildest dreams with this gift, at my age in life and I am so so grateful, 9 years later to still be here.
I’m not sure what else I can add to last year’s 8 year blogging post, but I will try to do another recap of the year from my own blog perspective. If you’ve missed my previous 8 part series of my blog story, it’s a pretty good read and you might want to start with Part 1.
Blogging has continued to change and evolve and I think that will always be the case. One thing you can count on in blogging is change. Change will happen every single year. Some good and some bad. I try to focus on the good changes and not so much on the bad.
There is still a lot of pressure to keep up out there. I know everyone feels it to some degree and being a full-time blogger definitely has a layer of stress that can be real and tangible. I try to not live with stress and my goal is to sort of hide myself away from the hustle and fast-pace of blogging and just do my own thing. So far, that has worked for me. If I try to keep up with what everyone else is doing out there in blogland, it just makes me feel like I’m not doing enough, changing enough, coming up with new ideas enough, or overall just not “being” enough. And that’s not a great place to live. It definitely didn’t used to be that way in the “good ole’ days” of blogging. Those days are long gone and I can’t complain, because it has changed my life. But, with the good changes come some of the bad.
If I listened to all the experts, I would be writing e-books one after the other, or writing a real book, or coming up with real and tangible products to sell on my blog. I’ve done none of those for the most part and at times, I feel like I’m missing out by not jumping on some of these bandwagons. But, I just haven’t felt the need to branch out and do some of these extras, on top of keeping my blog going too. I feel very blessed to be in a good position with blogging for so long, that I really don’t feel the need to hustle more and more. Things are really great for now and why change a good thing, I say? I may change my mind down the road, but for now, blogging is still my main area of focus and what still gets me up in the morning with a passion and enthusiasm to share.
Social Media is Still a Hamster Wheel of Performance….and Instagram is the new Darling
Social media continues to be my nemesis. I really don’t want to spend my life on social media and have to constantly keep up with the latest and greatest. This past year, I saw a huge surge in Instagram (I’m SouthernRhoda over there) and that is now the darling Social Media tool that so many are using. I’ve seen Instagram users soar with popularity from posting only beautiful pictures of their homes and keeping their feeds “pretty” all the time so that they will attract more followers. There’s nothing wrong with that at all, but I’ve always been a bit of a rebel on following the crowds in blogging.
I don’t think I’ll ever have a huge Instagram following and that’s OK with me. I do not want to constantly be on my phone to keep up over there or all over social media. I enjoy the interaction of Instagram, but do not want it to take over my life and I can see some of that going on out there now. Besides, I want to share family and real time adventures on Instagram and don’t want to worry that my pictures and feed aren’t “pretty” enough. That’s the rebel in me. If people do not want to see what I’m up to on a regular daily basis, then they will not be following me on Instagram. I am not a curator of only pretty pictures. I feel that daily life is special enough and do not strive to appear to be perfect or have a picture perfect life. Life is messy and not always pretty at times. I prefer to see the pretty and the mundane as well. Instagram doesn’t portray life in a real way much of the time and it can feel somewhat fake to me.
I’m still on Pinterest, but it too has not been a huge focus for me. Everyone got into pinning apps and have pinned themselves like crazy in the last few years. I finally sort of threw in the towel on that one too. I still pin my content to Pinterest most of the time, but do not get on the treadmill of constant pinning and trying to figure out what is going to go viral. I’m also over the heavily texted Pinterest collages that have been so in use the last few years. It’s just not something that I focus on, probably to my detriment, but that is just the way it is. I don’t want to be a slave to any social media, so that is not where I choose to focus my time. One thing I’ve learned in blogging, you can run yourself crazy trying to figure out which “mole” to whack next….remember that game? It’s a never ending feeling of chasing one’s tail and not how I want to live.
I’m extremely happy with where I’ve landed in blogging. I couldn’t ask for more and I’m still so very grateful that this is my business. I still rely on this blog for my income and every year, I wonder how long it can be sustained and if it can keep going. I wonder what changes will come about that might make blogging not work for me anymore. So far, so good, so I will continue to blog and do business the way I have been, since it has been working for me for the last 5 years (making a full-time income from blogging). It’s been 5 years since I lived in Birmingham and then moved back home to Atlanta. And what a wonderful 5 years it has been! It really has flown by, with getting my house, doing all the renovations and now I’ve been in my house for over 3 years.
I’ve written about how I make my income in some of the previous My Blog Story posts, so you can go back and read those in detail if you’re interested, but the main 5 ways I earn income is still:
- Advertising Networks
- Sponsored Posts and working with brands
- Writing for outside sources
- Affiliate Sales
- Selling Products (beadboard wallpaper is the only thing I sell)
I’m very fortunate that brands and sponsors reach out to me. I know that being a veteran blogger has its perks and that is one of them. I don’t have to be out running after sponsors to work with me. They just seem to find me and email me for opportunities and I never know what’s coming next. That is sort of thrilling actually, to not know what each year will hold, but to wait in anticipation of which door will open next. I’m so grateful for the opportunities I do get and the brands that I have the pleasure of working with. 95% of the opportunities that come my way have come without me reaching out at all and that puts me in a really great position in blogging.
I’m at a point in blogging now, that I can pick and choose those brands that I want to work with and share on my blog and I’m so grateful for that. I don’t have to chase every dollar that comes along and I can turn down the ones that are not a good fit for me (and for YOU, my dear readers!). I thank you from the bottom of my heart for being gracious and understanding that side of blogging. Blogging has evolved into a business for so many of us and working with sponsors is a huge part of that. I still only take on things that I feel would be interesting and beneficial to me and to my readers. You all have been so welcoming with the changes I’ve made on my blog these last 5 years, evolving into a lifestyle blog with more travel and fashion being added along the way. Those topics are something I’m very much interested in and I’m glad I get to share them on my blog. And all of you (for the most part) have embraced the new topics as well. It’s fun to mix things up and unless I take on another fixer-upper house sometime, I don’t have a lot of house projects left at this house. For now, I’ll be working with some friends on helping them with updates on their house and will be blogging that this year.
Blogs are an extension of real life people and I appreciate that you all get that. I can’t keep doing the same things over and over. Life changes and evolves and so will my blog. I appreciate you all staying with me and continuing to come and read my blog. My success has a lot to do with all of you too, so thank you all from the bottom of my heart. I truly do appreciate you all so much more than I can even express!
This last year has been a great one for me. I’m still with AdThrive as my ad manager and main ad network and they continue to grow and evolve too, helping bloggers make the most of our ad revenue. I’m so grateful to have them to handle all the behind the scenes ads that are on my blog. It’s been a pleasure to work with them the last couple of years and I’m happy for their growth in the blog industry. I made a move from BlogHer this year (after being with them since 2008) and now AdThrive is my main ad network and I think it’s been a good business move. Running a blog is a business decision too and I’m happy to have good people around that I can count on to help me. Ad networks have changed over the years as well and now sidebar ads do not pay as much as they did in the early years of blogging. The pie pieces have sort of moved around on how money is earned and from which source, but it is still working well. If I had to manage my own ads, I’d be in big trouble, so I leave that to the experts.
Some personal highlights for me this year, my guest bath finally got featured in Better Homes and Gardens Kitchen and Bath ideas and that was another big thrill for me. Being featured in a magazine never gets old.
In April, I had the chance to fly to Austin, TX and tour the HGTV Smart home out there. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing several HGTV homes in person since I’ve been blogging and that never gets old either. Getting invited by brands to participate in these fun events has been one of the most wonderful perks of blogging.
In May, my daddy got a new tiller from Troybilt and that was a happy day! I was thrilled to be able to do this for him from my blog and getting to share with my family is priceless. That you all continue to be interested in my family year after year is one of those things that I didn’t see coming, but it sure makes me happy and proud.
Also, in May, I finished up a really fun project in my backyard, the patio and that was a very rewarding project to complete.
May brought about another brand trip, this time to Mobile, AL with a group of other fun bloggers to see the Southern Romance house with Phantom Screens. We are all going back in February to see the finished house and I cannot wait!
In June, I headed to St. Augustine, FL for the first time for a media trip and had a great time taking in that historical city.
In July, we had the 4th Haven Conference at the Grand Hyatt in Buckhead and it may have been the best one ever. We are hard at work on #5 for this coming August and are excited once again.
In August, I participated in one of the most rewarding brand events ever, GMC’s Hidden Treasure adventure, where myself and several other bloggers drove GMC vehicles down the Longest Yardsale route and then decorated a Habitat House here in Atlanta at the end. That was such a blast!
In September, I opened my house for the 2nd time for an Open House for my readers and friends. Over 50 of you came out for that and it was a really fun and special time to meet many of you and for you to meet my family.
In October, I participated in a brand competition with Troybilt, where another blogger and I competed for a prize and showed off our pressure washing skills. That was very fun and I won the $1000 gift card from Lowes and finally upgraded my washer and dryer from the Craigslist pair I bought when I moved in. Fun times!
November brought the annual Gingerbread House competition at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC and I was invited for the 2nd year to be a judge. This year has been so wonderful and I am grateful for everything that I get to do!
I shared fashion with Lauren and also announced our big news, another new baby will arrive the end of April and it’s a girl! We are thrilled as you can imagine. We have more blessings to look forward to.
In December, I shared a friend’s house here in Marietta that I’ll be helping with ideas on updating their 1950’s brick ranch house that’s never been touched. I’ll be sharing all of those changes this year, as they move through their house with updates. Those are the sorts of projects I hope to be involved with more in the coming years. I dearly love to watch a house change and evolve into something better. Maybe one day I’ll do another fixer-upper myself, who knows!
December is a huge month in blogland I was privileged to work with a great company, Tree Classics, as a Brand Ambassador. I never know what’s coming next from year to year and working with wonderful companies such as this has been a huge highlight for me.
December wrapped up with another big brand partnership, with Carnival Cruise Lines and I’m so thrilled and happy to be working with this company into 2016.
Writing this blog has brought about so many exciting things in my life that I could have never imagined would happen. I don’t take it for granted at all, but I’m still so grateful that God chose to bring me through a really rough trial in life to a most contented and happy place. He has been so gracious to me over the last 5 years and I give Him 100% of the glory.
Thank you all again for continuing to support my blog, through all the changes and evolutions. I don’t take that for granted either and I know that where I’ve been placed is very special indeed. I continue to tell people that I have a dream job and I truly do think that every single day that I get to do this thing. It’s a huge blessing and one that I hope continues for many years. I have no plans to stop, so we will see what this year of 2016 holds for me. I’ll continue to blog and share my life as I have always done and wait expectantly for what this year will bring. It’s exciting and a little mysterious and makes life so much fun!
Here’s to a fun, adventurous, and exciting 2016!
P.S. So glad you hung in there with me to the bottom of this post….I officially have a new boyfriend! 🙂
So many others have echoed my thoughts. Yours was one of the first blogs I ever started reading several years ago, and it’s now the first one I read every day. If it’s a busy day and I don’t have time for much “interneting”, I always make time to check out your posts. You’ve done an excellent job, and you’ve stuck to what works for you and I applaud you for that. I’ve never signed up for Instagram; between the few blogs I read and Pinterest I figure that’s enough. I understand full well making money from a blog and think it wonderful that you can, but over the last year or so, I’ve simply stopped reading some of my favorite blogs due to the constant ads and pop-ups at the bottom of every picture they post. My patience with them wore thin, and it became more of a hassle to try and read them than simply sit back and enjoy their posts. You’ve stayed true to your style, and your blog remains a joy to read. I feel like I’m visiting with an old friend every time I read it. I wish you continued success and much happiness, both professionally and personally!
Nanci, I will never do the ads over pictures thing. It drives me crazy on blogs and I know it drives readers crazy. Won’t do it!
Buffie Baril says
Keep being led by God and doing your own thing. We love your blog. Chasing the other is only greed and insecurity. Who wants to live your life looking at a screen and chasing an illusion of happiness? Continue to live your joyful, interesting life and know that’s why we love you. Continue to trust God and He will give you increase, peace and joy.
Rhoda – congratulations on your 9 years blogging! I so enjoy your blog and truly love seeing you and your family doing everyday life. Your sweet testimony of God’s goodness is a blessing! Best to you in 2016 and much happiness for you and the new beau!
Carrie MkgLemonade says
Rhoda, you have always been an original and that’s what makes your blog so special and loved. I think it’s great that you don’t jump on trends that don’t fit your blog and yet find success regardless, and it speaks to your well-developed community and audience who loves you for you. Thanks for being a leader in the industry and I know you will continue to have phenomenal success doing things your way!!!
You are still my favorite blog!! I am glad you don’t feel the need to get into all the trends other bloggers are following. The others have become so commercial and I am sick of the emphasis on Instagram. Who has time for all of that! And I refuse to ever get started on Snapchat!
Thank you for being such a great encouragement and inspiration to me.
Please keep up the great work!
You are the best at what you do. I like that you stay true to your heart and soul. Love your blog, your insights, your gumption, and your faith that all will turn out for the best. 2016 will be another awesome year for you. Thank you for everything.
It seems like I discovered your blog about two years ago. It appeals to me for so many reasons. Many of the blogs that I read are written by young moms with young children. I do enjoy them but it is so easy to relate to yours. I am 65, retired in July after 38 years in the classroom and have been a widow for 16 years. Your topics are interesting and varied. I enjoy your fashion posts, even though I am not tall and slim and can’t wear boots! The most precious posts are the ones about your wonderful parents. Thank you also for not turning your blog into one big advertisement. You have remained true to your beliefs and produce a much more appealing product because of that. Congratulations on nine years in blog land! To. Paraphrase a song from Wicked, we’ve been changed for the better because we know you! Best wishes for continued success.
I’m so glad you haven’t turned your blog into one of those that sell, sell, sell—-themselves, their products and on and on. I love your blog just the way it is. I’m glad you have an income, and sponsors, but love that you don’t have to close an ad at every picture! Thank you!
I enjoyed reading your update today & I enjoy your blog everyday. It has been so fascinating to follow the changes you have made to your house & I think the biggest one was your new front windows. You should be so proud of yourself in the things you have accomplished through blogging. You are wonderful Rhoda & I’m so happy that you have a new boyfriend. You deserve the best! I’ll keep reading your blog just like I always do.
Thanks for a great blog! Yours is the first I read every weekday morning. I read others, but I have noticed that the blog writers that choose to write books tend to push their blog to a minor position, except to complain about how difficult it is to write a book. The blog is the important thing. to have readers that visit every day, that get to know your family, your friends, your home, and your life. This is what makes a successful column or blog. I appreciate your skills, talents and warmth, AND your ability to teach your readers so gently.
Almost 2 years ago I saw a mention of your blog in a magazine. Can’t remember which one. I wasn’t familiar with blogs then. But once I read yours then another would pop up and so it began. One begat another and so is on. I love yours. I got a little aggravated when everyone started the Instagram thing. So I basically stick to blogs. Thanks.
I have followed your blog for 7 years. I rarely comment but I read your blog every day. It’s very refreshing to know you don’t follow the “golden” rules of blogging. I had worked toward launching my blog for several months and I gave up. I read so much about the importance of being on social media all the time I decided I didn’t have the ability to keep up. Much continued success with your blog and I’m so happy you have a new special friend in your life.
[email protected] says
Happy Ninth Anniversary! I enjoy your blog so much. You are definitely an inspiration for us bloggers!
Kim R says
Good looking guy – congrats! I am thankful for the glimpses into your life from your blog and look forward to reading along through year 10. I’m especially excited to hear about your cruise experiences! Thank you for the daily moments when I feel like I’m visiting with an old friend.
Jane @ Cottage at the Crossroads says
Wishing you the world of happiness with this new beau! I saw the “Welcome Home” flowers he sent you on FB. Congrats on your 9th anniversary and just keep on doing what you do because you do it so well!
Janet (Shabbyfufu) says
As a seasoned blogger myself with 8 years under my belt, this truly resonated with me. I have been so frustrated lately with social media and how much work it takes to keep up. Loving your attitude!
lynn cockrell says
Your new boyfriend is very handsome. Congratulations on another great year of blogging!
Congratulations Rhoda! You are such an inspiration to me. I love your blog because you are “real” with your readers. Like you said, life is not all pretty. There have been so many blogs I have had to quit reading because they all seem to be bragging on their perfect lives. Some of the younger bloggers are really guilty of this and I can just imagine how it is making so many women feel inadequate and discouraged with their own lives. You are really a breath of fresh air out there in blogland!
Keep up the great work, Rhoda!!
Thank you so much, Anna! I appreciate all the words of encouragement and I will continue blogging as I have always done.
Anna, I agree. Sometimes I imagine these bloggers tap-dancing in their sleep trying to keep up and I wonder how their children will turn out. It’s kinda painful. Rhoda, I love your blog and your family. It’s fun and inspirational for me, and I hope you make a great living! Congratulations on the BF (he’s a lucky guy!) and tell your Mama and Daddy we all said” how you doing?”
Y’all are just the best! Thank you so much for your sweet words on the comments to this post. These personal posts like this bring out the encouragement and you all are wonderful to tell me to keep on doing what I’m doing. I can’t change now, so I have to just keep sharing as I’ve always done and will continue to do so. It’s going to be such a fun year, I know!
I’m so happy for you Rhoda, reading your recap made me smile at what a fabulous year you’ve had!!
As I was reading your words brought to mind that your blog has many layers, your renovation and design skills, your fashion sense, your generous involvement with charitable projects, your brand participation and of course your lovely family…….it’s like a layer cake. To now have someone to share that happiness with is the icing on that beautiful cake!!
You keep up the great work Rhoda, I will continue to support all your endeavors!!