How the Blogcademy changed my life:
A BIG NEWS post…
THINGS have been happening here at LJL headquarters over the last couple of months:
1) A year passed since the milestone that was The Blogcademy.
2) This blog turned two years old.
3) I decided to quit my job and become self-employed.
I KNOW. Number 3 on that list is quite a biggie. And I wouldn’t have got to number 3 if I hadn’t experienced number 1… I’ve written before about how fantastic attending the Blogcademy was, and about how it gave me a load of amazing new blogcadet friends. But as time passes, I’ve been able to see the lasting effects that my attendance at the workshop is having on my life. Let me expand a little on what’s been going on, and what the future looks like…
Do you ever find yourself thinking ‘how did I get here?’
When I think back on the choices that have led me to where I am now, there are some key moments. All of these have involved me saying yes to something that scared me a little, Blogcademy included. I wasn’t sure if I was qualified to attend. I’d been blogging for a year, but I didn’t write very often or make any money from my blog… Would the workshop be full of glamazonian ‘Type A’s? Would they laugh at my little blog? Would I get too tongue-tied to talk? Screw it, I’d book my place and find out. And then I found My People. Aside from all the practical blogging advice, I found warmth, support and an infinite source of inspiration from the headmistresses Shauna, Kat and Gala, and from my fellow bloggers.
My confidence levels started to improve.
My shyness has almost totally evaporated over the course of the last year (check out my five top tips on this). I don’t care about what strangers think, and don’t feel the need to ask for permission or approval regarding my choices or feelings. Instead of feeling anxious, now I get a total buzz from going to networking events on my own and meeting new people. I’ve made my blog more personal by revealing things about myself, and made the leap last summer from being an anonymous blogger to putting my face on my ‘About’ page. I even went and got some professional photos done and visited a personal stylist.
Throughout 2013 I upped the ante for Lucy J Loves.
I also wrote guest posts for Offbeat Home, Sparkles & Crumbs, Fashionably Light, Ten Penny Dreams. I started getting invitations to amazing events like the launch party for The House of Peroni and this fabulous prosecco-tasting event. I started to get approached by PR companies with clients wanting to collaborate (news on something new and sparkly coming very soon), and have even been sent free tickets for a West End play. I finally figured out how to add social media icons to a page, and finally admitted that I don’t have the time or inclination to deal with techy stuff so from now on will be outsourcing it.
My stats were increasing steadily every month.
Then in autumn 2013 I took a new job I wasn’t 100% sure was right for me, because I wanted to take a leap. I wanted to improve my skill set, learn more about how art books are made, and I wanted that company’s name on my CV. It was extremely hard work, challenging and exhausting. It took up every inch of my head space. I had to make my beloved blog (and my stats) less of a priority in order to commit fully to it, but I learned as much in six months at that company as I had in the six years before. It was at once the best and worst job I’ve ever had.
And just at the point when things started getting easier, I switched it up again.
I’ve wanted to be my own boss for a Very Long Time, and I recently started thinking it was now or never. Time to bite the bullet. I didn’t have time to write up a business plan and wouldn’t allow myself to think too much about the risks. I knew I had great experience and a huge network of contacts…
I decided that if I trusted my own judgement, and didn’t let The Fear stop me, I WOULD be able to make it work.
I said my happy/sad tequila-fuelled goodbyes to my wonderful colleagues just six weeks ago. Since then I’ve moved into a new flat with a home office and set up a company called Head & Heart Publishing Services. I built a website, ordered a million business cards and set off to every networking event I could find, armed with nothing but caffeine and optimism. I already have a bunch of clients signed up, and more meetings scheduled in the next three weeks to discuss projects with more potential clients. Things are moving so much faster than I could have hoped, all as a direct result of having the cahones to just go and put myself out there. That’s right, the Blogcademy gave me The Gift of Big Balls.
What exactly is this Head & Heart Publishing Services thing?
H&H offers all sorts of publishing services, from editorial to production to design to project management. We work on books for publishing houses and self-publishing authors, and provide all sorts of help for creative, charitable and commercial organisations. I’m beyond thrilled at the positive response I’ve had so far and so grateful for the support people have shown.
And what’s next for Lucy J Loves?
I started out with such a full editorial calendar it was impossible to keep up – rookie blogger mistake, as it turns out. From now what you’ll see is going to be more focused on London life, new challenges and weird experiences, and passionate ranting and raving. I’ll be streamlining the categories and posting a bit less often, but will be providing stronger and more original content. There may be secrets spilled. There may be controversy. There may be… SHOCK HORROR… feminism. More details will be revealed soon…
I’m keeping the two brands very separate because they’re aimed at different audiences: Lucy J Loves is quite personal and H&H is strictly business, but you’re welcome to go have a peek at the H&H website to learn a bit more about my new venture, and see how I’m using blogging and twitter to promote it.
It’s taken a while to get this post completed as this has been the busiest month of my life. Exhausting, but in a very satisfying way. I’m finally publishing this post, sat in the beautiful light of our new flat. It’s quiet and clean and bright, we have space here to work or cook or entertain guests or just relax… My husband is pottering around, cooking up a giant breakfast and waiting for me to finish up and spend a couple of hours with him before I hit the grindstone… Working on a Sunday isn’t really work if you LOVE what you’re doing, right?
I’m in a place now (in terms of career, home, head space) that I’d always imagined when I thought about moving to London. It’s taken longer – 2.5 years to be exact – and a lot more hard work than I’d expected. But I think it would have taken even longer to gain the confidence needed for this recent leap, had it not been for the inspiration and encouragement of the Blogcademy headmistresses and the incredible group of blogcadets. Thank you. Diolch, gracias, danke, merci. x