Should you start a blog? Here is my advice.

akansha-agrawal-blogging

akansha-agrawal-blogging

I had the chance to catch-up with Anna Stern, community manager for Collectively Inc. and we both came to the simple conclusion that blogging in 2017 is fundamentally different than what it was back in 2009, or even 2013.

The online space is much more saturated now and as a blogger, you need something that sets you apart. These days it’s not enough to post your outfit of the day or your latest smoothie bowl.  What will you provide that separates you from the other thousands of bloggers out there?

I started my blog about a year ago and truthfully, I had no idea what I was doing. I knew I wanted to share content around health & wellness from a South Asian perspective but did not have a strategy or method for getting there. I was overwhelmed and lost. Though I still have a long way to go, here are a few pieces of  blogging advice:

  1. Define your Mission and Stick to It: With a successful blog you need a clear focus for two reasons. Number one, to keep yourself accountable and number two, to give your readers a purpose. As a blogger it’s so easy to get distracted by the next shiny object and lose track of your original intent. Consistency and clarity will also help your readers understand what they will receive from you.
  2. Create a Community: I’ve created a successful community by creating a Facebook group for women interested in health and wellness. A Facebook group is more valuable than a Facebook page because your readers can participate in valuable, genuine dialogue. A community also allows you to conduct a bit of user research by finding out what matters to your readers.
  3. Approach Local Brands Proactively: Working with local businesses and brands is the way to go because you can lead with a warm approach by chatting in person. For example, if you are a fashion blogger, try hitting up your favorite retail store/boutique and discuss potential collaborations. It can be scary to take your blog from behind the screen to in-person but real life interactions can do wonders.
  4. Spend More Time as a Creator and Less Time as Consumer: I want you to do me a favor. Grab your phone, go to your settings, battery life and then check how much time you’ve spent on Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook. Those hours could instead be used to create valuable content! There have been multiple weeks where I’ve felt exhausted, mentally drained from “blogging” but in reality, I had not published a blog post in weeks!  I was completely caught up in the noise of social media.
  5. Stay in Your Own Lane: I believe the biggest factor that hold bloggers back is their mindset. It’s easy to be discouraged and overwhelmed if you start comparing yourself to those who have been in the game for years. The quality of your content is important but you don’t need all the fancy production elements a professional blogger may have. Your reader wants to see you grow authentically so don’t be afraid to take them along your journey.

I hope my blogging advice is helpful! Do you have a blog or are you planning to create one? I’d love to learn more about your own journey.

Why I’m Leaving My Job At LinkedIn

I haven’t talked much my full-time job as an Insights Analyst at LinkedIn much because it didn’t seem to be so relevant to a health and wellness blog (it kinda felt off brand, ya know?). That was my mistake thinking my personal journey doesn’t bring value to anyone else.

I want to share a bit more about me and my story because I think it’ll help you better connect to my mission and brand. And hopefully you find it interesting!

Soo my side hustle is going to become my full hustle. At least for now. I’m going to the wellness space for the next few months to see where it takes me next. Which means I’m leaving my job at LinkedIn in 3 weeks!

The background:

Like many of us in our mid-20s, I’ve always been someone who has had a plan and a set goal. It felt like life was all planned out for me until I started asking myself “Wait, is this how the rest of my life will feel like?” It was that nagging question that made me want to explore and take some risks. Which is odd because I’ve been so risk averse my entire life.

Though I may risk-averse, I am always honest with myself and those around me. If I’m feeling a certain way I can’t hide it. So when I started feeling a disconnected to my job (even when the company and the people were absolutely incredible) I knew I had to do something about it. I couldn’t fake it for much longer.

I knew I needed a change, and it took me a while before I figured out that I needed a HUGE change that makes me uncomfortable and pushes me to do something completely different. After months of thinking it through, I decided to quit my job to focus on my own wellness projects.

My wellness projects:

I have a feeling my journey will steer me in many different directions and there will be multiple ups and downs but there are three things in particular I want to focus on over the next few months:

+Growing the Citrus & Gold community: If you haven’t already checked out the C&G Girl Gang, you’re in for a real treat.
+Partnering with my mom to create a healthy Indian food recipe eBook: I’ll write a post on this soon!
+Gathering more knowledge: through certifications, consulting, and meeting others in the wellness space.

Sure I’m nervous, scared, and very uncomfortable but I’m also very happy & excited. This feels like the right decision and I am very grateful and privileged that I can take this leap. I encourage you to watch this space closely and I will be sharing many more updates and changes over the next few months. I can’t wait to take you along on this journey with me.