12 Months of the Girl with The Green Sofa Blog
It's here, my first blog anniversary!
I honestly don't know where to start when writing this piece, as it has been such a wonderful and crazy year and not for be second did I expect to be here. Sanity intact!
Okay, Sanity semi-intact. (You don't write a blog with a full time, full on job without sometimes burning the candle a little too much).
Well, when I started my blog, later, much later than most, I wondered if anyone would read it. I wondered if I would just disappear into the ether and have to pretend that I hadn't started, to brazen it out.
I mean, come on, there are loads of interiors blogs, so what would make mine different?
When I launched on 6th August 2017, I intended to write about my home, interior design and things that interested me, perhaps some DIY or working with brands.
But then I paused for a second, and realised that I could do something a little different, I have a business background, I'm a female entrepreneur turned investor, after all; on a daily basis I'm called upon for business advice, to handle problems, to help grow businesses, and I decided to focus on creative businesses. Not exclusively, but as a fairly large part of my blog.
If you look back at my first post here, this is what I wrote
"Perhaps more importantly to me, there will also be a showcase on small creative businesses, a marrying of my day job (as an investor in small high tech businesses), with my hobby, but rather than just blathering on about business stuff I want to share each business owner's journey, so that you can see the challenges, what they did right, why they started, and I hope the blog will evolve into is a place to go to find out advice and to look and see how other people have done it before, if you are starting out yourself. "
and this is what I set out to do, alongside some "business blathering" from me.
Naturally, business stories do not interest everyone, although they are also great sources of shopping inspiration, if the journey is not for you, so I also wanted to feature homes that have really inspired me.
Of course that wasn't it.
What I quickly realised is that the Business Spotlights are very popular, I have written 81 over the last 12 months and I'm fully booked until February 2018. That certainly doesn't equate to one a week!
I have also written 67 home tours.
There have been brand collaborations, as my blog became recognised and of course the blog has evolved. I've been asked to feature a small number of events, if I couldn't squeeze someone in on the Spotlights, I wrote about them in Trends. I evolved the spotlights to feature People, Bloggers, Influencers journeys, I've opened up my blog to take Guest Bloggers and in between all of this I've managed to do a bit of DIY and write a bit about my home.
A grand total of 205 (206 if you count this one) blog posts in 12 months. Yes I need a lie down just thinking about it!
Despite the huge workload involved in this first year (some of it self imposed, don't get me wrong), for me, it is deeply satisfying to have created this business community, given what I do in my day job. I'm also humbled that people (81 people) were willing to open up about their journeys, so honestly, to give their advice, even if it has been talking about things going wrong. Because, while in America, failure is celebrated, as almost a badge of honour, to learn from and come out better, here our stiff upper lip does not always allow us to admit to it. When you start out in business, there can be an overwhelming number of things to learn, nobody can be expert in all, and so if this blog helps a little, then I will have done my evening and weekend "job". Please read here for a summary of the major trends through these business spotlights.
I have also loved sharing so many wonderful homes, a wide range of styles from countries all over the world, and people that inspire me on a daily basis through their Instagram posts. Bloggers, Designers, Content Creators, all have wonderful and interesting stories to tell.
And if I had one downside to this, it's that I wish I'd had more time to write for me, about things that interest me, design wise or more about my style and my interiors (which are often my most popular posts), but that will come over the next 12 months as I plan on changing the blog rhythm a bit to allow more time to write for me.
You've heard about the number of blog posts I've written, and how the blog has evolved, but I still haven't answered the question "does anyone actually read the blog?"
Facts and Figures
I'm actually thrilled to say Yes!
My blog readership has more than quadrupled since those early "heady" days when people read it because it was new, and I have a set of loyal readers who come back regularly, as well as several thousand new readers a month. I've had 40k unique blog readers and over 100k page reads in my first year.
If you don't believe me then Feathr capture worldwide blog statistics on a regular basis and in Q4 2017, I was awarded Best Newcomer and in Q1 and Q2 2018, Number 1 trending blog.
I have collaborated with over 100 brands in the last 12 months (some through Spotlights, some through direct collaboration such as styling products in my home) and my home and blog have featured in many press articles, including; the centrefold of Sunday Times Home section, Apartment Therapy here and here and here, Little Yellow Couch Podcast, 25 Beautiful Homes, CasaVogue, MADE.com/unboxed and on interiors blogs. I have some more press articles due out shortly.
and I still pinch myself everyday, that I get the chance to do this............
Blogging opens up many opportunities and I'd just like to focus on some of the things that have happened over the last 12 months. Before I do so, I just wanted to dwell a little on why I do all of this, because I have already mentioned "the day job".
I started my interiors journey a long time before it became popular to post on Instagram, in fact I have been a closet stylist for years. For me, it is the balance to my scientific/business job, which is full on, a stress relief, if you like. Frankly, the blog has become a welcome relief for my husband too, because whenever I am stressed I liked to paint, to re-decorate, now I have discovered I like to write. I guess 205 posts in 12 months, means it has been a pretty busy and stressful year, huh?
When I started this blog, my Instagram following was 33k, featuring other people on my blog has helped me grown to circa 78k in the last year, more than double. It is simple really, you spend the time to write about other people, they return the favour. In the days of the new algorithm, this has helped me to continue to grow, when it is often difficult to be seen.
I was also nominated in 4 categories at the UK Interiors awards, shortlisted in 1 (most inspiring social media) and highly commended at the event for "my tireless help of small business" and "inspiring blog and instagram account".
I have recently taken on my first Brand Ambassador Role at Redbrick, leading interiors destination in the North, where I worked with Redbrick to re-create my living room at the entrance to the complex, see below. It feels quite surreal that people can go and sit in my living room and that I have created a room that is now instantly recognisable.
This role will see me become involved in local events and promoting their brands, in fact I have my first dinner event this week. You can read all about this here.
As wonderful as all of this is, I am most grateful for the friendships I've made on this journey, the people I now meet for lunch or see regularly at events. The people I still "chat to" over DM, while stuck in a hotel room, away from home.
And right now, I'm not giving up the day job (and yes, I get asked almost every week), because my own career is so rewarding. I get a lot out of seeing a new medicine heading to market, helping entrepreneurs grow businesses, but then so is this "other" job, so for now I will continue to juggle both, until my sanity gives out!
The Girl with The Green Sofa