Advice #52: Does Blogging & Self-Promotion Make Me Vain?

Advice

Advice

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Hello, I’m wondering if you ever struggle with vanity. To run a blog like your own calls for a great deal of what they call shameless self promotion and self preoccupation. I am basically very generous person and I have a thirst to serve others with my presentation skills and other solution-driven aspects of my personality. The biggest struggle I’m trying to get over is allowing my own brand to be the outlet of all my creative gifts. It’s so hard because it feels so vain to me. I was just wondering if you’ve ever struggled with this?


I used to feel this way as well, so strongly in fact that I was afraid to start a blog on my own domain. It tripped me up for a long time but one conversation changed all that.

From 2001 to 2007, I blogged on Live Journal. Around 2007, I became more aware of my friends (including Gala) making the leap from Live Journal to their own domains. I liked what I saw but I wasn’t sure that was a good move for me. I had the mindset that if I wanted to be taken seriously as a designer, my website should feature only my portfolio. If I shared the rest of who I was, including photos and insights into what I was wearing, were I lived and what I did outside of designing, it would deflect from my work.

But I naturally like to share. And I’m more than just my job — I have other interests. Why should you or I feel shame in sharing what we like?

My turning point came during the Summer of 2007 when I was on a trip to LA. I met up with Star and spilled my worries out at a Coffee Bean in Hollywood. She assured me that things were quickly changing — sure, the established designers didn’t need to blog, they were already established! But the up and comers could benefit from social media and I should just go for it. Trust me, I was still scared but I just did it. A month after that fateful talk, my blog went live.

The shift from that decision happened fast. Within my first year of blogging, I was being approached by clients including Forever 21 and receiving multiple freelance inquiries a week. Sometimes, I still felt unsure though. I’m a pretty humble, modest person and putting myself out there day in and day out felt tiring at times. There were definitely days when I just wanted to design and go about my business and not be bothered! But I knew that if I quit, rebuilding momentum would be incredibly hard. So I kept on and I’m so thankful I did.

Blogging isn’t easy. Designers by nature tend to lurk in the shadows. I’ve never wanted to dance, act, sing or be in the mainstream spotlight. I’ve just wanted to be the best designer and blogger I could be. And if putting myself out there helps to support my business but even more importantly helps me connect with other creatives, I’ll continue to do so.

With blogging, there’s occasionally some bad mixed in with the good but overall, I wouldn’t change a thing. The friends I’ve made, the places I’ve gotten to travel and the thoughts, images and insights I’ve gotten to share with you, the readers, are priceless in a way. Blogging has made my life much more full and given me much needed structure.

Think of your brand this way: if you don’t believe in it, nobody else will. People are always going to judge you no matter what, whether you choose to put yourself out there or not. It’s human nature. Remember that truly successful people are fearless and promote what they value and believe in, even if that’s their own brand. That’s your choice and yours alone.

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