Can you believe that 7 years ago today, I hit publish on my very first blog post? I can’t even get over that I’ve been doing this for 7 years now. I am so proud of myself for keeping that promise of never giving up and just look, 7 years in and haven’t looked back. There have been many times where I want to give up and stop doing this but I wanted to honor and keep that promise. I didn’t want to have regrets or let myself down. But recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about this blog and my platform. (And it is a lot so grab a snack and enjoy)!
I started Naturalle Drea as an outlet for myself and somewhere to talk about the things I love. At the time, I was working part time, started learning about how to really apply makeup(thanks to my friend who worked at MAC at the time and Youtube lol), discovered beauty box subscriptions (Birchbox, Ipsy and Beauty Army at the time)and trying to figure out this natural hair. I was a new mom at the time and just wanted something for myself. I have no clue how I came across blogging but I thought it would something fun to do. I didn’t know at the time you could make money from it, brands would notice you and so on. I just wanted something fun to do and just an outlet to talk about these things.
I didn’t have the thought of trying to get noticed, getting paid for blogging or being an influencer. I wanted to connect with like minded women who felt the same way, who were going through some of the same things and just wanted to talk about beauty, life and makeup lol. I had no clue about promoting myself, utilizing social media and so on. This was just fun for me. I really enjoyed blogging. I loved taking pictures (they weren’t the best at times but I didn’t care), writing about new hair products I’ve tried, makeup tips and products I’ve learned about and what was in my beauty boxes each month. I started making Youtube videos a year after starting the blog with my old laptop camera. I had not clue about editing or anything, I just wanted to have fun with it.
After a while, I started to discover the other bloggers and influencers who did this for a living. I saw how much money they were making, the collaborations with brands, the PR packages, the trips and so on. I tried to not let this get to me but it did. I wondered how I could get on their level, get paid for what I was doing, go on those trips and so on. I was being told that I had good content, my blog was good, I should be getting paid for this, why aren’t you getting paid for doing this and literally drove myself crazy trying to reach those some what impossible levels until I had a break down one day. I was in tears late one night about my blog, my YouTube channel, my social media. I didn’t think I was good enough to be noticed by brands or get paid for blogging, I so badly wanted to hit 10K on IG to make it easier for people to get to my blog or Youtube channel instead of having to tell everyone to go to the link in my bio. I was watching people that were blogging as long as I have or shorter start receiving PR packages and getting opportunities that I wanted. At the time, I had no clue about pitching to brands or how to make your IG feed look pretty or dope editing skills, I taught myself everything from the beginning.
It got to me that some of these bloggers were younger than me and making way more than I do in a year with my full time job. I thought I wanted to be a full time blogger/content creator. I started to feel a little jealous and feel like I missed the mark with trying to be one. I know they say there is room and space for everyone but I started to feel excluded. I felt like no one was checking for what I was doing or putting out there. I thought that my content was crap compared to what I was seeing others produce and put out.I felt like I had to somewhat compete with others or find ways to stand out and get noticed because I felt lost in the humungous sea of content creators and bloggers.
As much as I tried to get back to my why and reasoning for blogging, I still tried to reach those goals. I needed to be patient and keep going. I was happy when brands would like my posts on IG using their products, I was featured on a few pages, blog posts, small brands reached out to send me products to review. I was happy that little ol me was even noticed and very thankful for it. It started to open up some doors. I was excited when I became a brand ambassador for some brands such as Fro Butters, Bask and Bloom and High Mane-tenance. I was happy to be accepted to work with a brand, especially black owned ones and learn so much. I am forever grateful for those amazing opportunities.
But in the back of my mind, that self doubt started creeping in. I saw how many more followers the other ladies had, how many likes and views and it started to get to me. I didn’t want to do what they were doing just to get those numbers, I wanted to keep doing things my way. I wanted to stand out but I felt so intimidated. I was so happy for everyone who hit 10K, had paid content, PR packages, working with more brands and so on but I honestly felt some type of way. I really had to take a step back and really think about things, my mindset and thoughts.
So it brings me to now. I had to really think about Naturalle Drea and why I started in the first place. It was for fun. I still want this space to be my outlet for myself outside of my demanding full time job, being a whole wife, motherhood and so on. I still want that space that is just for me and something I have a say in. I realized that I need to let go of the notion of doing this full time or making this my career, I never set out for that to happen. This is a part time, side thing for fun. I let go of the thoughts of being a big time “influencer”, having those big numbers and following, I just want to continue on doing things out of the enjoyment, not to stress myself out. The key word in this whole reflection post is fun and I honestly got far away from that. I want blogging to be fun for me again without the pressure of trying to get the swipe up feature on IG or have more than 100 likes per post, go viral, have crazy views and subscribers on Youtube. I just want this platform to be fun again.
I just want to let go of the constant checking of analytics, worrying about why certain people never comment on my posts but do so for others, why I haven’t been noticed by brands, why I’m not growing or no one is subscribing or following me, why certain people watch my IG stories all the time and never answer a poll or question but I’m actively doing so on their stories, driving myself crazy about figuring out how much I should be charging for reviews or worried about getting on someone’s PR list. I’m tired of the pressure to be something I know won’t happen. I want to just do this for fun again. I just want to create content because I love doing it. I love trying out different natural hair brands, try different hair styles and techniques, experiment with makeup, discovering and supporting black owned businesses and just be myself. I feel like I have gotten away from that chasing this “influencer” life that I’m not made for. I didn’t feel like I was being my authentic self, I was trying to be something I wasn’t. This just feel so good letting all of this go!
I also want to let go of the support system aspect as well. I know you can promote yourself to your family and friends until you are blue in the face but they don’t have to support what you do. It used to drive me crazy seeing my friends not supporting, reposting, commenting, liking, telling others about my blog but promote other things or people. I would see others reposting each other and it seriously got to me. I constantly had people tell me ” Oh I love your little blog” “Oh I read it, its nice” “I’ll check it out and support” and nothing. I had to let go of that. Not everyone will support what you do, not everyone is interested in what you do, everyone may not even care. I just got tired of hearing about support that was never there or never going to be there. It took a while to stop caring if people, family or friends will support what I do, if they will ever repost, comment, tell others…I don’t care about that anymore. I’m in this for my benefit and if you want to support, I honestly appreciate it. I have to let go of that pressure as well.
I’m letting go of the pressure and will just continue doing this for fun and make this about myself. Hey, if I get noticed by a brand or they want to send products to review, I am cool with that.If a brand wants to pay for a review, I am cool with that as well. I want to continue sharing my love of natural hair, bring awareness about Black Owned Businesses, review and demo products, do makeup tutorials, talk about my favorite products and talk about my life and goals. I am so thankful for the support and everyone who likes and comments. You do not go unnoticed and appreciate you all. I am just happy to let go of all of that and return to having some fun with this. Let’s have some fun!