7 Things I’ve Learned In 7 Years of Blogging

Seven years ago this week, I did something whimsical. After an evening of casual brainstorming, with the encouragement and advice of my husband and a dear friend, I bought a domain name and started this blog. I didn’t go into it thinking “OMG I’m going to create a brand and quit my day job and this will be awesome.” How could I possibly have guessed what this would have led to? At the most, I hoped for some free hair products and/or makeup, and the sole intention was self-expression.

And look at how it’s all turned out. Who could EVER have guessed? Not I, said the cat.

AfrobellaTurns7

On August 13, 2006 – we stayed up all night talking about blogs and what blogs we loved and it was suggested I should buy a domain. Afrobella.com was purchased. By August 14, 2006 I figured out how to post and I got my first ever blog post up – now it reads like a manifesto of sorts. I remember staying up until 3 a.m on August 15, trying to figure out how to embed a video for this post. 

I quit my day job in February of 2009 to pursue Afrobella full time. The rest is history. Almost every day I experience new opportunities that I’d never conceived of before. Every day I have to rise to a new occasion. It’s exciting and fulfilling and honestly, amazing. Sometimes I really have to ask myself, how did I get here? But I always know the answer – years of hard work.

This blog has morphed into many different things, but in many ways it remains the same. I’ve learned so much lessons in blogging and in life along the way. Allow me to share some of that, with you.

1 – it may sound like a BS cliché, but you really should follow your passion. If you’re really interested in something, even if it’s something people around you think is weird/boring/lame – don’t give up on it. Your interests are your niche, and if you stay engaged, they could someday become your area of expertise. And your area of expertise can become your full time gig, if you work hard enough at it. I’ve found that you work harder for yourself than you do for anybody else.

2 – your well-thought out, considered opinion may be more valuable than you think. Note I said WELL-THOUGHT OUT. It takes me forever to blog about heavy topics because I know what I have to say will be read and I want it to resonate. Never just throw something together to be first or to chime in. Make sure it’s well thought out, and well considered.

3 – your voice is louder and more powerful than you may realize. Your blog is a platform for your best work, and now thanks to social media, whatever you share can be amplified. Sometimes you think you’re speaking in a whisper to one or two people and you might be surprised to find out how many people are reading your work and being inspired by what you’re sharing.

4 – you are more capable than you think you are. When I first started this blog, I didn’t think it would become a career. I didn’t think I could interview the kinds of celebrities and influencers I’ve been allowed access to. I didn’t think I would become a business or a brand or all of the things I’m expected to be now. I didn’t think I’d be called upon for business luncheons with execs, or for speaking on important panels at conferences. I didn’t think I’d be a party host or a public speaker. I had to rise to all of these occasions and you know what? I was totally underestimating my capabilities the whole time. If I can do these things, I’m willing to bet you can too.

5 – that thing that you’ve been saying you really need/want/have to do? You should go ahead and do it. For real. You don’t know where it’s going to take you.

6 – just by living and being your own, authentic, genuine self, you can inspire people. More people than you might think. Don’t go with the tide and try to be what other people want you to be. Being true to you will take you further than anything else.

7 – Unexpected awesomeness awaits you. You just need to go out there and get it. Tap into your inner wellspring of courage and go after your dreams. And don’t be afraid to dream BIG.

 

Too often we limit ourselves from greatness. There’s always a reason NOT to do something. There are so many things I know I held myself back from trying, because of fear. This is one of the things I was brave enough to do, and look at what it’s led me to. Because of this blog, I’ve learned that it’s important to just put yourself out there and TRY. Because you never know what will come from your efforts.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me and helped me along the way. Thank you to everyone who’s read my posts, shared my posts, commented on my posts, or followed me on social media. I wouldn’t be on this most incredible adventure if it wasn’t for you!

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Comments

  1. So, so dope.

    Happy birthday, Afrobella. Here’s to 7 years, and the pleasures and excitement of seven more!

  2. Congrats on 7 successful years of blogging Patrice! Looking forward to following along for the next 7… :-)

  3. And I have loved you from day one! 7 years flies by fast! I feel so blessed to have been able to watch you grow and succeed. You are amazing and an inspiration to me (both then and now!) Your poise, grace and hard work do not go unnoticed!

    Much love!
    Shannon

  4. Cheers, mama! So very proud of you…always!!

  5. Happy Birthday! What an encouragement this article was. Thanks for sharing darling!

  6. Congratulations and I wish you many more blessed Afrobella years. *BIG hugs*

  7. I really need to read this right now. It’s just the kind of uplifting, inspiring message about what awaits me (who knows!) that I need. thank you!

  8. Again Afrobella/Patrice CONGRATS! I have found it a delight to have your site as my homepage and to be part of your email group.

    I also reread some of your older posts – they always seem fresh and relevant.

    I like that you give back and mentor – continue to do so.

    Wishing you many more of these. Hugs

  9. Congratulations lady!

  10. So HAPPY for you Afrobella! Started reading in 2008 and very inspired and amazed by your success…can’t wait to see what’s next :)

  11. Found this post on LInkedIn and love it! 7 great pieces of advice for any blogger. It takes Patience and Persistence when blogging. Happy 7th Birthday to this blog!

  12. Happy 7th blogaverary!! Wishing you many more. And Congrats on all that you’ve accomplished and done in 7 years. You are truly an inspiration to others like myself who are in the blogging business.

  13. Sarah Mock says:

    Happy Blogiversary!

  14. You are AWESOME! Thanks for sharing, inspiring and being so real!

  15. Such a great post, you are awesome!

  16. Thank you so much for your inspiration

  17. Congratulations! You are most definitely an inspiration! Thanks for writing this!

  18. Thank you Afrobella! Happy Anniversary! I fill the love all the way over on the west coast. You are so knowledgable.

  19. Mama Harris says:

    This was very inspiring, thank you!!

    Happy 7 years!!

  20. Thank you for this! I am inspired to keep doing what I am doing. It is going to be great! The best is yet to come. Happy 7th Blogiversary!

  21. So inspiring! Congratulations to you, and many more to come!

  22. Congrats to you and thank you so much for serving as an inspiration to bloggers. I appreciate you!

  23. Happy anniversary and thank you for blessing us with this post. I really needed this message tonight.

  24. Such an inspiration – stay blessed sis!

  25. Congrats ma’am! Happy blogaversary!! Great post and #6 resonates so much with me. Just be you and what is for YOU, is for you. Many blessings for more years of success and unexpected opportunities.

  26. Like many others have stated a truly inspiring post and blog. Many congrats !
    May you continue to be blessed.

  27. Congratulations on creating, growing, and maintaining this wonderful blog. Your distinct voice has appropriately amplified the message of self-love. Fitting it is, that you’ve made it to Year 7….7, the biblical number of completion and perfection.

  28. Thank you so much for sharing.Congrats on your big lucky 7.I pray that God grants you many more blessed years ,doing this successfully, so that you can encourage and touch more lives.Congrats again,and God Bless :-)

  29. Amazing advice! Congrats on 7 years!!

  30. Your seven steps for blogging were truly inspirable and amazing tips. I started my blog almost 3 months ago and honestly had no real clue which direction I felt i should go towards.With the help from my boyfriend and my minister horace huff I was able to focus and truly give myself to my blog. Thank you for your inspiring words.

  31. Congratulations! And happy 7th birthday!

  32. Happy Anniversary! You have been a great inspiration and your points are beyond valuable.

  33. Patrick Jnr. says:

    Congratulations little sister! I am looking forward to seven by seven years again! Thank you for all that you do and your ever inspirational advice!

    You are a star!

    Peace and love.

  34. Happy seven years! An inspirational read.

  35. Erin Glasco says:

    Congratulations! I echo the sentiments of everyone above; you’re an inspiration.

  36. Does your website have a contact page? I’m having trouble
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