Yes it is most definitely jumper weather right now, and yes I’m wearing shorts and a kimono in these photos. They’re from a few weeks ago but I love the swishiness so what better post to accompany them than my 4 YEAR BLOGIVERSARY RIGHT? Should probably have a rose gold balloon in my hand but oh well.
4 flipping years. 48 months. 1460 days since 15 year old Lily thought ‘I fancy a go at this blogging lark’ and took over Joli House (it had previously been my mum’s blog – I’m saving a real throwback post for the 10 year anniversary this December – you’re in for a treat with that one). With every birthday (be it a blog or actual one) comes the inevitable reflective mood, so here we are with the inevitable reflective post. 4 years gives me a lot to look back on!
It’s been a big year for me, as it’s been my first opportunity to step away from timetabled education and into ‘doing my own thing’. Obviously I haven’t stepped away from education altogether, but taking this route has given me the opportunity to put far more time and energy into blogging than I’ve been able to before. The dreaded problem of wanting to take photos but only getting home once it’s gone dark? Gone! Tbh I had really high hopes that this would be ‘My Year’ when it came to blogging, and in some ways it has been my most successful year to date. However it’s also been the one where I’ve considered jacking it in the most, so swings and roundabouts.
Looking back on the past year & what I’ve learnt
Barcelona, Slovenia, Wales, Dublin, Hamburg, Tallinn, Rome, Lisbon, Austria, Cologne, Wales, Leeds – I’ve been lucky enough to get around quite a bit this year! Each of those have been a ‘blog trip’ in one way or another (press trip, accommodation review, etc.) and I’ve certainly learnt a hell of a lot about travel blogging along the way. The short version: it’s amazing and fun but HARD WORK. The long version: go read this post – 10 things I’ve learnt in my first year of travel blogging. I’ve had amazing experiences, met fascinating people, seen places I hadn’t even heard of (which is exactly why I don’t try to have a niche… take the opportunities as they come) and just all round had a good time. Worked bloody hard whilst having a good time too, of course! Last September also marked my first solo trip, a step I’m SO GLAD I took because solo travel is so much fun. 10/10 would recommend taking yourself on a lil’ solo jaunt overseas. I’ll be going it solo for 5 days in Croatia next week and I couldn’t be more excited.
Besides the travel stuff, I think another big step blog-wise this year has been learning to know my worth more, especially in terms of payment. No, I don’t have the highest following in the world, but it’s 100% genuine, I’m not a newbie, my blog stats are decent, and I put a lot of effort into everything I produce. Looking back I can’t help but think ‘I should’ve charged for that’ and realising how I’ve been ripped off in the past. Obviously sponsored content is a minefield full of learning curves, but this year I’ve gained confidence in asking for payment and saying no to campaigns that aren’t worth my time. In an industry without set rules we’re all in a similar boat here, trying to figure out what to charge and when… wanting to open as many doors as possible… but I really think it’s important to have a good balance between business mindset and personal. I’m getting there.
kimono: c/o Misspap | top: Miss Selfridge | shorts: old | boots: Forever21
Should I continue?
Like I said, this has been the year where I’ve questioned the future of blogging the most. Still can’t for the life of me imagine the amount of free time I’d have if I sacked it though! I’ve essentially grown up with this blog; pre-blogging Lily was 15 years old, and obviously those are pretty formative years. The thought of leaving Joli House after it’s evolved so much is just odd. However, the world of blogging has changed significantly and not all for the better, and it’s rare a week goes by without something frustrating the hell out of me and draining motivation.
4 years is a substantial amount of time, especially in this fast paced internet world. Many bloggers who are now doing this for a living started around the same time as me, and it’s difficult not to fall into the comparison trap sometimes. There are thousands of times more people than there are opportunities, and it’s important to remember that. Besides, my goal isn’t to become a full time blogger – I’d like to do something that utilises my degree more. You’d think this would mean it’s easy to not compare myself, but nope!
Why I still don’t have a niche/style
4 years should be long enough to figure out your style, right? I’ve questioned myself on this one enough, believe me. Everyone else seems to have sussed out ‘their thing’, and here’s me, still keeping my finger in as many pies as possible and changing my mind on the regular. Sometimes I feel like I’m just bumbling along without a clear direction, but I’ve already discussed why a niche just won’t work for me. One day I’ll want to write lots of short, chatty posts, another I’ll feel like everything I write should be more in depth. One day a certain blogger’s style will inspire me most, and the next I’ll have moved onto another girl. I’d consider myself (mainly) a lifestyle, travel, and personal style blogger, but it’s never going to be a consistent mix. My Instagram feed demonstrates this – one month it looks like I’m a definite travel blogger, and the next month half my photos might be taken in my bedroom. That’s real life though and whilst it might not be the best decision in terms of treating blogging as a business, it’s definitely the best decision for my sanity. Just gonna roll with it.
Here’s to year 5!
Lily Kate x