It’s Colour Me Happy’s one year anniversary!
6 months before starting my own blog, I didn’t even know what a blog was! Prior to the weekend I started writing, I had spent a couple days with another designer friend listening to an on-line course about the business of design. One of the modules talked about blogging and how important it was to any designer’s career, so I decided I better get started!
Here are the 6 ways I’ve grown in the last year through writing this blog:
1) I have found a vehicle (this blog) to express myself through writing!
At the time I started writing this blog I was clear I was NOT a writer. If I had to send out a professional letter, it would take me hours to edit and double check it for grammar and spelling. Now 251 posts later, I’m clear I am a writer. I wrote my first post on a Friday afternoon and barely slept the rest of the weekend I was so inspired. I wrote 7 posts that weekend including ‘The Best Trim Colours—NOT Cloud White’ which is still my second most popular post next to ‘White Kitchen Cabinets’.
2) You can’t force someone to do something they are not naturally inclined to do.
I didn’t understand this concept until I started blogging because in the beginning I thought everyone should have a blog. I was a walking, talking advertisement for blogging. Then when one friend asked how long I spent on my blog every day and learned that it was 2 – 5 hours per day, that was the end of our friendship. So now I limit my blogging obsession to others that understand it.
Something’s Gotta Give; Image from Cote de Texas
And I stopped saying “You too should have a blog”. It would be like being a writer and saying to your friends “You should write a book”. It’s either in you to write a blog or a book or it’s not. And I most certainly do not want people around me to feel diminished in some way because they don’t have a blog.
Does it really take that much time you ask? Yes. Not only is there the actual writing aspect of the posts but then there’s the time that it takes to comment on other blogs, (read my post here about blogging etiquette), responding to emails from my readers, analyzing traffic, keywords and more.
As Gary Vaynerchuk would say, “You want this life? You want the bling bling, the jets, the nice clothes? You have to work. It’s as simple as that. Stop watching &%@* Lost!” (I love that line, sorry about the language :).
Bottom line, I don’t watch TV anymore. Instead I blog. It took me 7 hours on a Sunday to write “How to create a Tablescape” which made it into the Washington Post (for the 4th time) the following week. Was this a chore for me? Did I feel like I was missing out on my weekend? No. I loved every second of it. I was away this weekend, and made a point to cut my weekend short and be home by noon today (Sunday) so I could write this post and I couldn’t wait to get started!
By the way, I started writing this post at 12:30 pm and it is now 4:45 pm and I still have to proof read and set up my links which will take another half an hour (making this a 5 hour post and then I need to spend the rest of the evening responding to emails and commenting) making this an 8 hour blogging day.
Tablescape from Something’s Gotta Give
Is it necessary to be as obsessed as me to have a successful blog? Well it depends on what your definition of a successful blog is. But I think the most important piece about having a blog is that it’s so much better than just a website which is static.
A blog is alive, because it’s updated on a regular basis giving your clients or customers a real sense of your personality. You’ve noticed that, right? It doesn’t take long to ‘get who someone is’ just by reading their blog. Anyone who’s been reading mine certainly gets who I am!
Early this Spring I emailed BC Home Magazine asking if they would be interested in publishing my work. The editor took a look at my blog, (saw that I could write) and asked if I would write an article for the Alberta Home magazine about Decorating with Yellow. Then she published it again in BC Home the following month. And in the same email back to me said she would be delighted to publish one of my projects in their September issue.
Which is exactly what happened. Click here to read the article. So before you think, “It’s the magazine, she could have got into that without the blog”—maybe—but I only received one design job from it, plus a few colour consults. All the other business I have is from clients that found my blog through google searches!
4) I’ve grown as a designer by discovering my ‘Signature Look’!
Interior by Maria Killam
Now that I know what it is it seems so obvious, however, consider if you spent a year ONLY posting images on a blog that you loved, you too would start to see the pattern to discover for yourself what your look is! Even if you are not a designer but perhaps someone that is about to build your dream home! It’s like creating your very own ‘look book’.
5) I have grown as an Expert in my Field
When I was a new designer, I pretended to know much more than I did. And of course, we all know that being ‘new’ requires some ‘faking it until you make it’. However, then you get to a point where you find out what you are good at and you develop that. Then when you get really good at your specialty, you can make more money doing it because you become the expert.
As Mary Knackstedt says in her book The Interior Design Business Handbook (a must-read for anyone interested in starting their own design business), “Specialization most often leads to better profit. Specialists know their work; it is easy because they have done it many times. The basics stay the same. You can vary certain facets of the design, but you do not have to relearn 80 percent of the process. This lowers the risk of error and speeds up design production.”
A review of design publications of the past 10 years shows that less-qualified design firms can and did take the market share from ‘better’ firms just because they were very clear in stating that, for example, they only ‘do’ offices, or medical facilities, or restaurants.
For example, I am not a kitchen designer. I would not be the one to give advice on the best footprint for your kitchen. However, I can advise you on your kitchen finishes and whether they are the right colour or undertone to go with the rest of your home. I can decorate your home from the right colour on the walls to drapery and furniture, all the way to the details like a vase with an orchid for your dresser (above).
6) I love to make people happy!
When I first meet someone new, I share The Landmark Forum with them. Just like I did with you in this blog not long after I first started writing it. It is the biggest reason for the life that I have now versus what my life looked like 10 years ago when I started my creative journey.
When I solve a colour or design dilemma for a client or finish decorating their house, it makes them happy! And I love that! One of my favourite comments was from a client not too long ago who said “I’ve always considered myself to be a messy person until you decorated my home! Now because everything has a place and it looks so beautiful, I like to keep it that way”.
If I see that something is missing and I can contribute in some way, I’m quick to jump in and say or do what’s necessary. That’s obviously why I’m always teaching something when I write this blog (even though I didn’t know it was going to look like that in the beginning).
I have met so many other talented designers and bloggers through writing this blog, it’s by reading your blogs that keeps me on the cutting edge of what’s hot and what’s not in the design and colour world! Thank you to all my readers who inspire me daily and encourage me to keep writing with your wonderful comments! I have a special place in my heart for everyone that reads my blog as it is such a huge part of my life!
These are my new glasses (above), what do you think?
If you would like to transform the way you see colour, become a True Colour Expert.
Happiness image from flickr
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