In the next few weeks I will be celebrating my blogs 2.5year birthday (anyone else still celebrate half birthdays?!) and during this time my non-blogging friends and family and potential employers have constantly asked me the same set of questions. ‘How is a blog going to be beneficial in the long run?’ ‘How is that going to help you get a job?’ ‘That’s a waste of time!’ Okay so the last one is more of a statement than a question, but I have learnt to get used to it, because I can guarantee that it won’t change even as the months and years continue to go by.
People that are not in the blogging or even media/journalist world are completely blind to the positive effects that writing can have, not just in a personal and mindful way but also for the future and a person’s career. For one it’s taught me what IRL means- so we are off to a winning start already, (and for those non-techy obsessed, blogging, down with the kid’s readers that are reading this- FYI- it means In Real-Life. and FYI- FYI means, For Your Information.) Now that we have all that cleared up. Here are a few things that I have learnt through blogging that has helped me out there in the big ol’ scary real-life world.
It’s taught me how to be confident.
I used to be super shy. Like terrified to speak to new people or go new places in-case I had to speak to someone, kind of shy. I still get anxious, or nervous- don’t get me wrong. Blogging hasn’t just cured me of this ailment, even the bigger bloggers and influencers still get like that, it’s human nature. But I have definitely come out of my shell in so many different ways. There was a time where I would have NEVER gone to an event or a meeting by myself without knowing someone in real- life before. But since blogging I’ve travelled to new places by myself, met new (and wonderful) people and developed a sense of confidence to be able to actually get up and go and achieve what I want too. In order for me to make a name for myself in the blogging world, I really wanted to experience everything first hand- attending events, doing restaurant reviews, meeting new bloggers. And gradually through blogging, and the support from not only other bloggers, but by being able to write my thoughts and feelings down and have a reason and a purpose for doing these things that required confidence, my confidence grew- and it’s continuing to do so every day.
This has helped me so much in my day to day life. I’m confident enough to speak to new people when I am out and about, to showcasing myself during interviews for jobs or meetings with new clients and pitching ideas in my current work.
It’s allowed me to venture into new work sectors.
For those that do not know, I’m a trained chef- you could probably guess that considering food pretty much takes up 99% of my daily thoughts (and tweets). But it wasn’t until I required two operations on my hand and constant medical attention for my medical condition that I had to hang up my apron for good. Not wanting to leave the hospitality industry for my heart (and knowledge) was still very much gravitating around it. I went to UNI to study event and hospitality management. At the same time my Food blog kicked off enough for me to go Freelance after leaving UNI. I taught myself everything that I needed to know surrounding SEO and web optimisation, Social Media- how to monitor, grow, check analytics, follow trends, gain an organic following- all the stuff that was needed to grow and continue my blog.
This not only meant that I was learning new things that were beneficial to my blog’s use and growth, but also current and future relevant things that could help me gain a new career.
Since this I have managed to work for 3 different companies all helping them to manage their social media, and I’m currently working in PR (still in the food and drink industry though- the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree here!) These jobs that I have had (and loved) have not been even remotely what I was trained in, but by being able to gain valuable work experience and knowledge in these other sectors, meant that I could easily transition into new careers without having that qualification behind me- my portfolio and knowledge was enough.
It shows commitment and creativity which is important for any employer to see. Regardless of who you work for, what industry you are in, or what your job role is- potential and current employers love to see hard work, passion, creativity and commitment in your work ethics. By having and up-keeping a blog and creating it from scratch shows all the necessary skills that can be transferable into any job role.
My blog has always been a focal point when it comes to interviews, the interviewer is not only interested as a potential employer but as a general person. It’s a great talking piece that shows your individuality, creative mind set and patience as well as your hard working attributes.
I’ve learnt super important tax, money and budget lessons. (Or at least I’m still trying too)
Blogging is not all fun and games. It’s a serious businesss. In-fact 90% of running a blog comes with the important adult side such as taxes, budgets and processing, monitoring and writing invoices.
Since becoming a blogger that actually earns money through it (not as much as I would like though!) I’ve had to learn how to create invoices, stick to budgets (it’s hard to buy new products to blog about when the dollar isn’t always there) and more importantly how to run a business by yourself as a self-employed blogger and pay my taxes and other contributions. This is something that should be taught in every single school- it’s so important and is definitely more useful to learn than the square root of pi.
I’ve learnt the importance of ‘YOU’
It’s definitely tough trying to make it in a world that seems ‘perfect’- your online presence may seem incredible and instagrammable when in reality you could have exhausted yourself (both in a mental, physical and financial way) to create that post, and it’s really hard to find the line between online and in real life.
But what you need to remember is that your blog is all about you, a reflection of your personality, your creativity and it’s your story that people come to read.
It took me a long time to realise that looking after both our mental and physical well-being is just as important as learning the technical side of any job- and just like any job over-working, piling on the pressure and not learning the work/life balance is dangerous.
I have learnt to take a break, to look after myself and to allow myself enough time to recover between working- this improves productivity in both my writing and in my day to day life and makes my overall mood a more positive one.