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{Advice} How To Take Your Blog To The Next Level...

It's been a while since my last blogging advice post, and since these days it feels like running AiF has become a full-time job, I thought another tips posts was overdue. So in my humble opinion, here are the top six things you need to do to take your blog to the next level, whatever that happens to mean for you!
1. Step out of your comfort zone.
To make blogging work for you as a career, you have to step out of your comfort zone and do things that scare you. For me, that meant public appearances. I'm ridiculously afraid of public speaking, but I made the conscious decision to put those feelings aside for the good of my blog. In the past year I've given several talks in front of hundreds of people and appeared on live TV — Something I would never have dreamed of a couple years ago! When it comes to your career, feel the fear and do it anyway.

2. Diversify.
Blogging is great, but regardless of how many ads you sell or sponsorship deals you make, there needs to be another layer to it if you want to pay the bills. Be it styling gigs or contract work writing, consulting or making public appearances, take a look at your skill set and interests and figure out how you can cash in on them. For the first time in nearly four years of blogging, I can see going full-time on the horizon and it's all thanks to using my blog to get projects like these.

3. Put yourself out there.
Make new connections, network like a crazy (and non-sleezy) person, utilize social media and, above all, be nice and genuine when doing so. You never know who might need your services in the future — or who might be able to recommend you for your next big gig — so be sweet and awesome, and let nature take its course.

4. Stop comparing yourself to others.
Seriously, this is a big one — Don't do it. You'll literally drive yourself crazy if you do. I've been guilty of this pretty much my entire life (blogging and otherwise), so I can tell you first hand how harmful it can be to your productivity and overall happiness. It's fine to admire what others have achieved, how they look or what they wear (fashion blogging can be particularly bad for that last one!), but calculating your net worth based on your perception of other people's value is just toxic. Don't do it... Ever.

5. Get organized.
Invoices pile up, emails go unanswered and deadlines get dropped unless you get diligent about your to-do list. When you're balancing blogging with a full-time job and other commitments — or when you're grooming your blog to be your full-time job — this one is a must. I make a monthly editorial calendar including any deadlines I have coming up; I make Excel sheets to track invoices and in-kind revenue, making notes of when I receive items, when they get featured on the blog and when I contact the company to thank them and share the link; I make detailed to-do lists each morning and I don't stop until the most important items have been crossed off — You get the picture. Figure out what system works for you and get organized!

6. Build a support system.
I've talked about this one before, but you need people you love and trust around you for encouragement and to bounce ideas off of, to give you a pep talk when you succumb to #4 (ahem) or to give you a reality check when your ego gets the better of you (hey, it happens). I'm lucky enough to have key confidants that I trust and whose opinions I value, as well as more amazing, ridiculously talented blogger friends than I can count. One of the best things you can do for your blog is to get to know some other bloggers in your area and arrange monthly get-togethers — It's amazing how much you can learn and grow from one another!

Image via stylemotivation.com


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