Yesterday, I sent an email to my lovely tribe of people about something I've been struggling with lately. I feel like I've needed your help over the past few weeks, although it's taken me the last few days to realise it. Today, I want to talk to you about it.
Unlike the usual content you see on this blog, this post won't teach you a new skill. It won't be a tutorial and it won't have anything to do with social media or digital marketing. But it will be honest.
A Branch of Holly has lost its spark. It's lost its meaning and purpose. This online space isn't the way it used to be. Instead of staying true to itself, it's moved along with everyone else.
Over the past few months, I've been putting so much pressure on myself to turn my blog into a business. It's the only thing that's been on my mind. I haven't been creating content for my blog, I've been creating it for my business. It's made me lose all enjoyment for it. I've been creating this content because I have to, not because I want to. I've purposefully limited my time to myself or with my family, purely because I've always felt the need to do something to push myself forward.
But the truth is, I lost my why along the way. I lost the real reason for why I started ABOH in the first place.
When I started this blog, I had a really clear idea of how it was going to look and feel. More than anything, I wanted it to be a place of inspiration. This idea has grown and altered along the way, but the purpose has stayed the same. But for the past couple of months, I've not been happy with this space. I've not been happy with the direction it's been going in and I've not been happy with my attitude towards it.
Can I be honest with you?
I'm tired of it. I'm tired of going to my Bloglovin' feed and reading about how to do this or that. I'm tired of everyone posting about the same topics. I'm tired of reading posts that aren't personal - they're just business.
I feel as if 90% of what I read is telling me how to be more successful at A, B or C. Email lists, social media, making your own business - everyone is posting their own opinion of what works. And this has affected me. I've been more focused on building numbers, money and popularity rather than blogging for enjoyment.
On one hand, it's great that people build their own businesses and blog about it. There's nothing wrong with that. There are a lot of blogs I read that are like this. I love them and I'll continue to read them.
But it's the realness and authenticity that I love more. I don't feel like you can get that by posting about email lists or social media. What worked for one person doesn't mean it's going to work for everyone else.
Lately, I've taken in so much advice that it's affected me, my vision and ABOH. I'm tired of having to try new things because someone says they work. I'm tired of people posting about strategies, rather than just why they love something. I want this to be a home of inspiration, not a how-to machine.
I'm tired of the side hustle. I'm tired of coming home from a full day of work and knowing I can't enjoy my evening because I've 'got' to blog about social media, SEO or some other form of digital marketing. I'm doing it because I've got to, not because I want to. Whereas if I was spending my evening blogging to inspire people, or editing photos from my weekend that are beautiful, that would be much more enjoyable.
I miss the personal side of my blog. I miss writing posts from the heart. I miss writing about experiences that all 20-something's go through. I miss being an inspiration.
I miss being able to fill my weekends with fun, because I'm working on my blog. If my blog included personal posts, I'd be able to fill my weekends no problem. Fill your life, fill your blog.
I miss reading a magazine in the evening when I sit down for the night. It's got to the point where I'm a year behind on my Elle subscription - I'm currently reading Elle from July 2014.
So I want to bring more freedom to ABOH. I want to show more of me. I want to do things to inspire people and write about them. I want to be more creative and share this creative lifestyle with you. I know if I include more content like this I won't have a narrow niche anymore, but I don't care. Is that honestly what it's about? A niche? Please tell me it isn't. It's about having fun, documenting life and making the most of this blogging journey.
I know I'm rambling but I hope you're still with me. I still need to figure all this out. But I want ABOH to get back to its roots. So my question to you is this:
What do you think?
My plan is not to change ABOH dramatically - I still want to publish about social media, blogging and productivity - but I don't think I want it to be my business. I want to include more of my personality and more inspiration for you, rather than just another thing to try or add to your to do list. Ideas that just come to me in a flash. Ideas that are real. I want to be more creative and connect with you on a deeper level. Not just by telling you how to do something.
I still plan to monetise but in a different way - probably along the career route, by offering CV and covering letter reviews, and interview workshops.
But ultimately, I want to get back to my why.
So what do you think?
And if I could give you any piece of advice it would always be this - don't follow. Be true to you and your why. Nothing is more authentic than that.