Our First Birthday! The Good, The Bad, and Everything Inbetween

A look back at my first year of blogging.  What I did right and what I would change

Hi Everyone!

Today is a very, very special day around here, today is our first birthday!  I can’t even begin to explain to you how excited I am to make this milestone.  It took an incredible amount of work to get here and I am so thankful I can share it all with you!  So today we are taking a trip down memory lane. There will be a whole lot of good and little bit of the bad.

Never give up on a dream because of the time it will take to accomplish it.  The time will pass anyway.  – Earl Nightingale

Starting Pocketful of Posies

I started Pocketful of Posies as a creative outlet.  From a very young age design and repurposing have been a part of my life.   If you know my mom, she will tell you a rather infamous story about the time I took a navy blue shower curtain and some safety pins and made a luxurious ruffled ball gown.  In that particular version of the story the dress will sound something that Princess Diana would have worn and less like shower curtain safety pinned to a 10 year old.  But hey, who am I to argue with my her?   The point is I have always always been creating something.

For years I toyed with the idea of starting a blog.  There was something about it that appealed to my soul.  But actually starting a blog requires a huge amount of faith.   When I started Pocketful of Posies I was leaping completely into the unknown.  I had no idea how to write code, or take a decent picture, but above all else I had no idea how people would react to my ideas.

The most terrifying thought of these was not knowing how people would react to me.   With the expansion of social media and the internet people have become more and more callous about what they say.  And those little annoying acronyms like IMHO (in my humble opinion) and BTW (by the way) are rarely followed by something polite.  The thought of putting myself out there on that kind of level was truly terrifying but I knew it was something I had to try.

Never allow waiting to become a habit. Live your dreams and take risks. Life is happening now
– Unknown

Fighting the Fear and Taking the Plunge

So with my new found drive I threw myself mercilessly at every Tom,Dick, and Harry with a computer and a Pinterest account.  Let me tell you it was rough.  Rough because my normally overflowing list of ideas suddenly were gone.  Rough because a large portion of my friends and family have no idea what I was attempting to do.  Rough because prior to starting this endeavor I somehow thought when I hit publish and pinned my first pin my content would be found.  (Wow, was that one ever untrue).  It was a hard few weeks, but somehow I kept my faith to keep going.

My First Month

When I published my very first post, The Top 8 Websites for Finding the Perfect Rental, one year ago I was so nervous.  Was my article any good?  Did anybody care?  Was it going to matter?  My mind and body were full of heart wrenching butterfly’s as my post went live.  Thank goodness my first post went off without a hitch.

My friends were all polite and clicked on my link, even if it was only to amuse me.  No one seemed to have any negative comments.  All of my worst fears seemed to disappear.  While it was definitely a win, it must have been the slowest win of all time.  After poring my heart and dreams out into 4 posts that first month I had 201 page views.  And let me tell you I beg borrowed and fought for every single one of them.

Month 2 – Taking Baby Steps

By the end of February I was up to about 400 page views.  After spending a decent amount of time stalking other bloggers and reading tons of their how to posts. I also discovered the miraculous world of link parties and started attending as many as I could possibly find.  To see my current list of awesome link parties check out my Link Up page.

Save on top name lighting at Lights Online

Month 4 – My First Feature

By the time my fourth month came around I was so frustrated with the whole idea of blogging I almost gave it up.  The really ironic part is the same project that almost made me quit was also the same project that helped me turn Pocketful of Posies into what it is today.  My UpCycled Fabric Rose Wreath became my first ever Hometalk feature.  And wow the power that feature had.  I jumped from 1,500 page views in March to 6,000 in April.  I was shocked, excited, and plain dumbfounded.  Everything I had worked so hard for, all the insane hours trying to figure it all out were finally starting to pay off!

This was also the first time I felt the power of negative people.  When Hometalk published my first feature I fell victim to a full blown attack from one of Hometalk’s infamous slammers.  While I didn’t know it at the time HomeTalk has a small group of people wholove to haunt their Facebook page waiting to strike at anything and everything.  It doesn’t matter to them how much time, effort, money and spilled blood goes into a project.  All they can see is what they don’t like and the negativity comes pouring out of them like a flood.  This particular slammer was one of the worst I’ve seen to date.  She accused of everything under the sun including stealing clothes from the poor to use in my design.  Seriously, can you imagine? Stealing clothes from the homeless to make a wreath.  Wow.   Her words were truly heartbreaking.

Overcoming negative nellies like her is by far one of the biggest challenges I’ve had to face in blogging.   It took me awhile but, I’ve finally learned the best way to deal with them is to simply kill them with kindness.  By simply thanking them for taking the time to stop by and adding a cheery note about different styles keep the world interesting I’ve managed to put a stop to their negativity.  In fact I’ve never had someone come back with a secondary negative comment afterwards.  By simply replying to their comment I am reminding them that I am a real person not just a face on a sidebar.  It rehumanizes the whole exchange allowing me to once again reclaim the power of my accomplishment.

Month 6 – My First Sponsored Post and Nationally Syndicated Acknowledgement

Sometime in May I was contacted by a company to write my first ever sponsored post.  This offer alone was completely inspiring.  The thought that someone out there liked what I was doing enough to ask me to write for them!  How incredibly exciting!     My Amazingly Real Stenciled Brick Feature Wall was ultimately crowned my number 1 most popular post of 2015.

Not only did my very first sponsored post go viral, it was featured House Beautiful Magazines website. What a truly inspiring moment.  It just goes to show you, even something that is designed to be mass produced like a stencil can have a truly unique and amazing outcome.

Month 11 – Healthy Sustainability and Continued Growth

After an extremely rewarding, although sometimes difficult, road I have finally reached a place where not only am I maintaining a consistent reach of 10,000+ visitors a month but I am continuing to grow above and beyond this every month.  I am no longer reliant on features for page views, (although a good feature never hurts!) Not have I finally found my voice but people are sitting up and listening to me.  And if that wasn’t good enough, they are coming back to listen to it over and over again.  There is no higher compliment then that.

Looking Ahead

While no one really knows what this new year will bring.  I know what my goals are and I have a plan in place for making those goals a reality.  Perhaps the most exciting part about turning one is that I am already taking major steps to ensure these goals do not fall by the wayside.  After all the sleepless nights, botched DIY, and negative nellies I have truly found what I love to do and I will continue to do just that.

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A look back at my first year of blogging.  What I did right and what I would changeA few more great reads


5 thoughts on “Our First Birthday! The Good, The Bad, and Everything Inbetween

  1. What a great post, Cat! Congrats on the first year, I’ve so enjoyed getting to know you and learning about the blogging world together!

    1. Thank you Tee! You’re so sweet for stopping by! And If I haven’t said thank you enough for my necklace, I love it!!!

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