Hey from Florida my loves! Happy New Year!!
This year, instead of doing a NY’s resolutions post like I always do, I really wanted to share what happens behind Ways of Style (WOS) and what I envision for this brand to be in the future. I really hope this helps future bloggers and also you guys, my readers to understand why I do what I do, my thoughts on things like money, social media, how I make decisions and what to expect from WOS in the future.
It’s also a BIG thank you note to everyone who is following and has followed since I started this incredible adventure 3 years ago.
A lot of people think that blogging is this super fun thing we do because we are bored and want to make money doing nothing, when in reality, blogging is very hard and uncertain. It involves a lot of rejection. It brings out insecurities you never knew you had. I feel like quitting every other month and I still have no idea what I’m doing. I’ve made more mistakes and have more failures than triumphs, but still, I wouldn’t change a thing.
Blogging is my full time job, and even though it’s super fun, it has more downs than ups if I’m being completely honest. It’s really hard not to compare yourself to everyone else and it’s even harder not to measure your success against the number of ‘likes’ you get on a photo or how much you get paid for a campaign (If you manage to get paid). It messes up with your head from time to time and it’s very easy to lose focus of what’s really important.
I like to keep my focus on my family, my relationship and my friends. I really don’t know what happened in Fashion Week nor what’s trendy out there. I have no opinion on these things, because I don’t know what I’m talking about. I’m not interested on doing what everyone else is doing. I only know about what I like and what I don’t. That simple.
Have I always known this? No, I have not. This year has been an eye opener to learn about who I am a little better and one where I really understood that despite being called a ‘Fashion Blogger’ I’m not really a fashion person, I just like to share my outfits, the products I like, my personal style, my life (The good and the ugly), my faith and the lessons I’ve learned.
That is all.
I know I don’t have the best photos, or closet or face or body… and I know there’s a lot of people that don’t get what I do and how I am a successful blogger. Want to know the secret? It’s because I’m REAL and you guys relate to that. I don’t want you to look at my photos and feel like they’re from a magazine or that you would never be able to pull off a certain look. It’s the exact opposite. I want you to feel like you can wear what I’m wearing and look and feel amazing.
I don’t look like a model but I still feel beautiful. I don’t have the most followers or the highest income, but I’m still living my dream and I want you to feel like you can live the life you dream of as well. I like to keep it real at all times, even when being real means baring my soul out to you.
Today will be no exception of realness. Today I’m sharing all the stuff everyone wants to know, but not a lot of people seem to be talking about. So, without further ado, here are my thoughts on some of those things…
I’ve been told that it’s rude to ask or talk about how much money you or other people make, but that’s not how it is in Venezuela and that’s why I don’t mind talking about it. I won’t ask how much money you make, but I will tell you how much I did. This year I ended up making close to 40k. So think again before thinking OMG what a great thing that you’re a full time blogger or that I’m just posting sponsored content for money! I legit post about products I like and use. Blogging is not that glamorous as you think it is. At least not for me.
I wish I could sacrifice WOS’ integrity and say yes to every campaign, I really wish I could, but that’s just not who I am. I could easily be making around 80k a year, and trust me it’s SO HARD to say no to some things, specially when you need the money, but I know it will pay off in the long term and I hope you guys value that. I’m constantly working on finding which brands are the right fit for WOS and then I have to convince them to work with me. And trust me, it’s not as easy as it sounds.
My blog grew so much in 2017 and I have big plans for 2018. I’m getting better at negotiating my rates and pitching my brand to the world out there. I would have never imagined I’d be making 40k by 30 and proudly bragging about it LOL. Yeah, I know it doesn’t sound like a lot, but WOS did grow over 300% in the past year and I survived my first year as a FULL TIME BLOGGER so hell yeah, I’m proud of that! I’m living my dream and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Also, where I come from 40K is a lot of money, like A LOT! I also have a very simple lifestyle, so I really don’t feel like I need much. I don’t want to sound like I’m settling, because I’m not, I just really try to value and cherish where I’m at right now. I’m getting paid to live my dream every single day and I don’t take that for granted, because honestly, who knows how long it’ll last?
I love what I do SO MUCH and I encourage you to think about the things you are passionate about. Think of something you would work on 60+ hours a week for just barely paying out your bills, and somehow still show up everyday with the biggest smile on your face because you can’t hide how passionate you are about it.
Live to find that. Live to feel that way. I promise you, it will be worth it.
Thanks to paid campaigns I pay my bills, so I do put an extra effort on these. As a blogger, it’s very normal to feel like a guinea pig. I receive and try a lot of products all the time, but the truth is, most of them don’t make it to my IG page and I’m sure this is true for a lot of bloggers out there. Sometimes the brand is not a good fit, or the product didn’t work well on me or I have a lot going on and I legit don’t have time to meet a certain deadline, but I promise you this; what I promote is because I’ve used it. There have been very few exceptions, like products I would definitely use if I had a car for example. Let’s just leave it like that LOL.
I basically stalk the brands that I use. I have a list that I update every month of the brands I bought that month. For food, beauty, clothing, tech, every single brand! And then… the stalking begins! LinkedIn, IG, email… You name it.
It’s not easy. I’ve developed a thick skin for accepting a ‘no’ as an answer, which sometimes I rather them be replaced by an un replied email, but it’s not always the case. I’m learning how to be ok with that. But again, not easy.
My day to day:
I work from home almost every day, aside from events and photoshoots. I wake up at 6 am, go to the gym and start working at 8.30. I used to finish like at 9 pm, but now that I live with Gordon, I try to be done by 5-6 pm. He helps me a lot with the blog, with all the business part and strategies, and thanks to him I recently started keeping track of my daily activities and how much time I actually spend on each campaign.
Data, data, data!
Doing this helped me realized that for example the things I’ve done with SHEIN are not worth my time. They only send me free product and are kind of demanding.. And they won’t even repost my photos! I used the value of the product they sent to me to calculate how much my hourly rate was while doing a campaign for them and it was as low as $5! No thank you! I do think they have super cute things, but since they are super affordable I rather buy them with my own money and invest the time I was spending on creating content for them, in doing things like applying for PAID campaigns!
Also, after working for FREE with a brand for such a long time, if they still don’t offer to pay you, I don’t think it’s worth your time. They are totally taking advantage of you, so if you want to promote their products, I think it’s better to buy them and post on your own terms.
I’ve learned that less is definitely more when it comes to blogging, and that it’s smarter to invest my time putting 1000% on campaigns I’m extremely passionate about, than doing blog posts like crazy every week that look nothing but average.
If you’re a blogger, learn how to say no. It will change EVERYTHING.
On social media:
Honestly… 100% completely honest? Growing my SM accounts is not my main goal. I have a solid website traffic and I feel like in this space is where people come to read what I have to say. People on IG don’t read LOL. I’ve published photos with super sad and insightful captions and people still comment ‘you look cute’ or ‘nice shot’ (I’m guilty of doing this too, sorry!). We just don’t like to read on IG and that’s the reality. That’s something I will try to change this year.
IG however, drives 50% of my monthly income and some brands only have a budget or solely want to focus on SM campaigns and not on sponsored content on the blog, so I still do it and try to keep it visually attractive. Lately I’ve been posting daily outfits to show you ways of styling a certain piece of clothing and I want to share a little bit more about my day to day too. I’ve been using a lot more of IG stories lately to get more personal with you and gotten a lot better about replying to DM’s (not the creepy ones though), but if you do follow me, let me know, what would you like to see more of? And less of?
Also, a little friendly advice. Be mindful of what and you who you follow on social media. You know that you get to choose who you follow, right?
The reason I’m saying this is because I hear so many bad things about social media and everyone complains about it, but seriously who are you following? Be mindful about that. If some of the people you follow just make you feel bad about your own life, then stop following them! (myself included). Seriously, think about this and declutter that part of your life a little bit. Think long and hard about why you follow who you follow, and how do they make you feel and do something about it. I recently stopped following more than 300 accounts that weren’t adding up to my life and I intend to make my ‘following list’ a lot more shorter. I want to find accounts that inspire me, so if you have any recommendations feel free to send them my way :).
We do spend a lot of time online, so you might as well choose wisely who you interact with.
On WOS’ future:
Honestly, I really hope to do better in 2018. I know it sounds like I didn’t make a lot of money but I’m proud of each and every campaign I worked on. Also, 2017 compared to 2016 was really good. I grew over 300% and was able to spend the whole year with blogging as my only source of income. That feels amazing!
Right now, I’m working really hard on signing long-term contracts with brands I’m obsessed with, so that way I can plan ahead and talk organically about the brands and products I’m passionate about. So there’s that for 2018 and the next three years. LOL.
My big master plan after that, is to help others… even more than I do now. I’m working so hard on creating this platform where I can connect with so many of you, because in the future I want to create something, still don’t know what it is, but I know it will be some kind of product. HAHAHA. I obviously have no idea. I just want this product not to be made in China, but somewhere where it can have a real impact in a community that needs it.
One of the reasons me and Gordon want to travel the world for two years, is because we want to learn about other cultures and what they have to offer, so we can serve as a bridge between underprivileged communities with the more blessed side of the world, aka the US. We want to go everywhere and we want to experience it all, so we hope you will continue to follow along!
Sounds crazy right? You may wonder why am I still here and it’s simply because I LOVE what I do! I love being myself and most important, I love showing YOU that it’s OK to be yourself too.
So sorry for the long post, but if you made this far, I truly want to thank you for reading what I have to say, I hope these words help you to understand me better and hope that you continue to follow along!
Do not hesitate to leave me a comment with your thoughts. It truly makes my day to read about what you think and it really helps me to be better at my job because I know what’s on your mind 🙂
Happy new year! Bring it 2018! Let this year be the best one yet!!!!