December 30, 2011
Categories: Beautiful Mess
Be FAMOUS!
A few months ago, I was sitting in an afternoon training session at work. The message was all about becoming “famous”. I instantly thought of Nick Cannon’s song, “Famous” – don’t ask. Granted, the lesson was much more targeted around generating sales leads, but I found myself ferociously taking notes…more specifically, I found myself strategically thinking about myself as a photographer and a blogger.

I suppose I could have simply taken the notes and stored them away in my memory, but I’m Ashley Sisk…I like to share…and what better time to share what I’ve learned about blogging than my TWO YEAR BLOGOVERSARY? That’s right…as of today, I have officially been blogging for two full years.
Masked
So, you want to be famous? A famous photographer…a famous blogger…a famous musician…a famous artist…a famous writer. Whatever you are trying to be famous for, it starts with discovering an opportunity. It stars with focusing on one area in which you can be the best…and that means that you aren’t going to be the best in many other areas (I could give you an entire list of things I’m not the best at…including cooking and cleaning). 

I know that I’m not the best photographer and I know that I’m not the best photography/Photoshop/editing teacher. And although I look up to people like Ree Drummond (aka The Pioneer Woman) or Kelle Hampton, I hardly believe I’m the best blogger. I certainly didn’t start a blog with the intent to make money or become famous…I simply wanted an outlet to express myself creatively. I was inspired by bloggers who would willingly share their own experiences, lessons learned or free tools that would forever change the way I operated my computer, and I just wanted to give back a piece of what had been freely given to me. 

Being “famous” is less about skill and more about being “opportunistic of where you spend your time.” I will tell you that I spend probably as much time “blogging” (that includes writing actual posts, commenting, imagining future posts, etc) as I do working…for a paycheck. Granted, I have the time to do so right now since we don’t have any little ones…but I do feel as though this community we’ve created is a wonderful return on my time and commitment. I also believe that if my heart wasn’t poured into it, that blogging would have come and gone like many of my previous “hobbies.”
Ashley - nose and lips RS
Two years later and I’m convinced that blogging is here to stay. But, if you’re anything like me, you’re evaluating the past year and your time. Is blogging worth the investment you’ve made? Do you still enjoy it? Are you more or less focused…do you have a focus? Have you made friends…fans….are you a fan of your own work? These are all questions that swirl through my brain, so I’m sure I’m not the only one (and if I am, consider this my year end monologue). 

One thing I’ve learned over the past two years is that blogging is much like a business – granted, I don’t make any money doing it just yet, but I know plenty of people that do. Any successful business (and plenty of unsuccessful businesses) or blog for that matter has spent time building their brand. A strong brand not only generates leads, exposure and sales, but it also creates raving fans…or as we call them in the blogging community…”followers.” For some that means creating a blogging personso (ex. The Paper Mama and the Naptime Momtog)…for others (like myself), it means you expose yourself to the world. Either way, it’s important to keep your brand as consistent as possible so your readers always know what to expect.
Computer Lies - BW-RS
Still with me? Here are some other words of wisdom:
  1. Give credit where credit is due. Always link back to those who have inspired you…in the same way your teachers used to make you reference your sources within term papers. Pinterest makes it even easier these days to remember where the inspiration came from. On that note, I once had a college professor that told me I was hardly expected to remember everything, but she did expect me to learn where to find information.
  2. Refer Refer Refer. If for some reason, you can’t do something, refer the business to a trusted colleague. I would much rather connect an individual with the right resource than try to respond to a request that I have absolutely no business dealing with. 
  3. Give to get. Provide freebies from time to time to demonstrate your expertise in a particular area and further develop your brand. For example, I might share editing tutorials, Photoshop actions, Lightroom presets or textures. In the case of client work, I might under-promise the number of photos I will process in a given portrait session and then over-deliver on the contract. Consider what you have to offer.
  4. Bring in the experts. You don’t always have to be the expert. Where it makes sense, bring in guest writers to fill in the gaps. Furthermore, retain credibility by choosing wisely…only ask guest writers that you want your blog aligned with as it will be a reflection of you. 
  5. Connect with your readers. If you aren’t doing so already, use email, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Pinterest, Google + and other social media tools to create a community with your readers. Blogging is not a one way communication approach. 
What am I missing? 
Mirror Mirror RS
With that said, I want to thank everyone who has been a part of this blogging community with me for the past two years. I can assure you that there is a lot of exciting things to come in 2012 and I hope you’ll be a part of it. If you have any interest in sponsoring a giveaway or writing a guest post, please send me a message. Also let me know if there’s anything you’d like to see on my blog in the coming year – I’m always open to ideas.

In the meantime, Happy New Years! I wish you a year full of life, love, happiness, blogging and “being famous.” I’ll see you again on Sunday for Memories, Dreams and Reflections.
61 COMMENTS

    This is such an informative AND inspiring post. I’ve only been blogging and following you for a few months, so to learn more about you and your ideas motivates me. Thank you for sharing, and I look forward to learning more in the coming year.

    Kathy

    I think you’re TOTALLY famous. Congrats on 2 years, Ash. Here’s to many more!

    Wow! Happy Bloggy-versary! :D Two years have flown by.

    You’re pretty famous in my little world. I talk about you all the time. Not even kidding. ;)

    Hope 2012 is awesome for you and yours. :)

    Great post, I’ve been reflecting on my blog lately and almost deleted it. I just have no direction. I’m not really sure where I’m going with it, which urks the life out of me. I love your blog! How long did it take you to realize what direction you wanted to go?

    I have been away from my blog for far too long. Time to get back to it!
    Happy New Year!

    congrats on two years. congrats on knowing who you are and where you are going! congrats on the prospect of making $ from doing something you spend that much time and energy. excited for all that 2012 has for you!

    Happy New Year!
    Jill

    Congrats on two years! Love that first shot, too cute!

    Yay for TWO years!! It’s so worth finding yourself in love with what you do, glad you enjoy it as much as we enjoy your posts/photos!

    Happy Two Year Blog-o-versary! Thanks for the tips. :)

    Your awesome I have to say. I loved this blog also. Congrats. It takes all that you have put into this and so much more.
    Loved the photos also .Many Blessings in the New Year.

    I never had a desire to be famous, and I think I quickly learned that I would never be the best at anything I touch, but I still feel I have something to say and show. When I think about someone like Madonna, she’s not the best dancer or singer, but she has a grit determination to be the best she can, to be passionate about what she does. I admire that in a person, and I see that in you too. :) Without the pointed bra of course. ;)

    Happy blogoversary!! This was so well written! I love my followers and am often content with my humble corner of blogger and also wish I had a bigger piece and more of a following – thanks for this wisdom!!

    Congrats on the two years, these are such great shots (love that one in the mirror) and such an inspiring post.

    Happy blogoversary! Wow. 2 years and you still haven’t flown out to Oregon. Get on it! ;D

    Yu truly are a sweetheart, and so talented too. happy Blogoversary and a Very special New Year to you and yours!

    Congrats and thanks for Posting Ashley. So many of the things that you said totally resonate with me and I have been giving some serious thought to my blog these last couple days as we approach a new year. You are an inspiration.

    Happy blog-versary :)
    Lovely pics! …and I wish a happy new year!
    xoxo
    G

    What a wonderful post, Ashley! And congrats on your 2-year anniversary! Here’s to the next 2+ years! :-)))

    Very interesting information and good for those just starting out in the blogging world. Congratulations on your first two years! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and learning experiences. I learned a lot!

    Happy blog-versary and wonderful year of 2012.

    Congratulations! And yes, I feel like I know someone famous when I stop by here!

    Happy blogoversary :o)

    thanks for sharing your tips

    Hey Ashley-congrats on your 2 years of blogging. I always think of you as famous, and love giving you credit each time I’m linking up to SHS. I’ve written “if you don’t know Ashley, you should”.
    Your kindness in sharing is amazing and I’m certain serves you well. One of the things I like best-you do share yourself. You are real, you are not “selling” me, despite gathering name recognition. That keeps me a follower.
    Happy New Year and looking forward to traveling on with you in 2012.

    Happy two years blogging! I’ve learned so much from you! Thank you :)

    I LOVE your blog =)

    Your post reminded me of something my dad once said to me, “knowledge isn’t about knowing everything, it’s knowing where (and that you can) to find everything!”

    Sara
    http://iamtheonewiththecamera.blogspot.com/

    LOve this post and your wisdom expressed! Hugs and hope 2012 is even more awesome for you!!! :O)

    Happy blogiversary! I think what you wrote was really enlightening, thank you for sharing. I hope you had a wonderful holiday and have a fantastic new year!

    I totally thank you are famous and awesome and a true inspiration!! I love reading your blog everyday and you have inspired me in so many ways!! Thank you for the amazing work and posts you do and happy 2nd anniversary!! Looking forward to celebrating more!!!

    happy blogoversaty!! thanks for sharing your experience with us. xxo

    Happy blog anniversary! I have spent a lot of time lately considering the worth of blogging. It’s always been in my nature to blog and I will be doing it somewhere in some form for the rest of my life. There are a lot of things that I get out of my randomcreative blog like feedback, support, and community that are very valuable even though they don’t have a monetary amount attached. With that being said, with everything else I do online, it would still be nice to make a little money off my randomcreative blog. How that will happen is still in the works, but it’s one of my goals for 2012.

    I have so little time this week…but I’ll be coming back to this post. I accidentally took a bloggy break this week; and I don’t want to do that, but I do need to evaluate how much time I can invest and what direction I should go. This post will help me ask the questions I need to ask.

    I am very glad to be a part of your bloggy community.

    Congratulations Ashley. I hope to be reading your posts and learning something new for a long time to come. V

    Oooohh, I loved this post. So many great tips. I can not wait to take my blog to the next level in the new year. :) Thanks for the shout out too. Have a great weekend, I really need to get my post together for Sunday…

    Congrats and happy happy anniversary!! Wishing you the best in the new year!

    Happy 2 years of blogging and Happy New Years.

    Always enjoy your posts and hope to see greater things from you in 2012. :)

    Happy blogoversary!!! You are famous in my book ;)

    Happy 2 years Ashley!! You are a SUPA STAR to me girl!!! Xo

    Happy 2 years Ashley!! You are a SUPA STAR to me girl!!! Xo

    First of all, happy 2 year blogoversary!! I have very much enjoyed following your blog! xoxo

    What a great post. Great tips and insight. You’re totally right – if you are true to who you are through blogging, then the other “stuff” will fall into place (if being “blog famous” is what you want).

    Happy New Year!

    Happy anniversary ! Loved this post as I just started blogging and have not found my niche yet, thank you so much. I really enjoy reading your posts !

    Congrats on 2 years!!! Thanks so much for your inspirational and honest posts and your willingness to share your awesome photography knowledge!

    Cheers to 2011!!!

    WOW! Time flies when you’re having fun!!! Congratulations on two years!

    I am dying over that first photo!! Love it my friend!

    Happy BLoggy-versary!

    You will find where you want to be in blogging. Two years is usually the mark (I’ve been blogging for 6 years now and have seen people come and go) you will find your comfort zone and just go with what works for you. You just have too or you may come to resent blogging.

    As to making money – get going on your ads girlie! The very least your blog will pay for itself monthly! (hosting)

    Happy New Year and Happy Blog-versary! I love coming here and being inspired by you. Love your “incognito” shot. Good luck to you Ashley in the coming year.

    congrats on the 2 year mark. This is my first time visiting and I will be back. (found you via pinterest – love that time sucker!!)

    just starting to become obsessed with photography.

    Happy New Year!

    Happy blog-iversary! I just had mine about 2 weeks ago, 1 year and when I reflected about my last year, I found that what started out as just sharing moments with my camera that my camera actually taught me lessons about life.

    I have enjoyed getting to know you here in blogland and am excited to see where the new year takes all of us!

    Happy New Year!

    What a great post Ashley! And you certainly do inspire a lot of people with your blog, and give us so many ideas to spark our creativity! Can’t wait for Memories, Dreams and Reflections! :)

    Thanks Ashley! You are one of the most giving bloggers I have met and I am very thankful for your two years of blogging.

    I look forward to all the coming year will bring.

    Happy New Year and Happy Blogoversary.

    I’m not getting you on my reader. Did you get my post(s) this week?

    Anyways…I love this and the photos are so, so beautiful!

    Ashley, you are an inspiration to many and I am grateful for ‘meeting’ you through the blogging community. This year has been far busier than I ever dreamed and I have been remiss in reading everything I want to, or commenting on everything I should. Blessings and the happiest of New years to you! See you in 2012 – one goal is to join up with your Memories, Dreams and Reflections :)

    Tracey @ Inspire Me Photography

    Congrats on two years Ashley, you’re amazing with everything you do! Hope it’s a happy and exciting new year for you! Love the photos, especially the second and last one, so gorgeous!

    Congratulations on two years of blogging! You are truly inspirational to me … in photography, in blogging, and especially in expressing my faith. I look forward to continuing this journey with you in 2012. Happy New Year!

    Congrats my dear- it has been a wonderful journey. Looking forward to all you have in the future.

    Two Years! You totally rock, Ashley!

    what lens are you using in your first shot??

    A brilliant and inspiring post. You are my blogging hero.

    This is an excellent post. Thank you for it. Thank you for your photos and your positivity.

    This is a nice place to visit.

    Happy 2 years!

    (I’ve been a lurker for a while)

    This is absolutely stunning! So happy to have found this glimpse of fun and pretty today!

    great post! so true! Great photos! … I totally think you are famous! :)


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