I left off my last Disney post with the how. How do you plan for Disney? If you think you’re just going to show up and have fun, then either you’re someone who is very easy going and not easily disappointed or you’re nuts. I have debated heavily if I should supply you with my 10 tab spreadsheet. I finally decided I should share my wisdom and savvy with sheets with the world, and then someone gave me some potentially good or horribly bad advice, stop giving stuff away for free.
When I started this blog it was to give me something to do while I waited for the pandemic to end and my consulting business to come back to life. But since then Socii LLC, has shuttered its doors. Ok we never actually had a building with doors, but we had a successful and profitable business, that I just can’t revive at this point. It was hard to know what to do at first. It’s not like I could go get a job right now with Scarlett at home and concerned over how high risk she is I just couldn’t see myself having a new job that would take my focus off keeping her safe and emotionally secure. So now what?
For a while I threw myself into my blog. I wanted to see how far I could take it. I wanted to provide consistent and varied content. I wanted to create a viable lifestyle brand. I shouldn’t say wanted, I want to turn my creativity into something profitable. I have a tendency to take on too much. Like many entrepreneurs I had to take on side gigs to pay the bills while I developed my brand. I am even selling makeup, SEINT, for reasons beyond finances. Beauty and authenticity are part of my identity and thus I started this Beauty Facebook Group. But like I said before, I have been told repeatedly to stop giving away information for free, it was a natural outreach of behaviors I was engaged in, live videos timing myself, racing against others to get my hair done with L’Ange wands (this is my holy grail beauty item), T3 Curling Irons and the SEINT makeup, attempting to profit off those behaviors.
If you’re a regular reader you know that my brand reaches beyond beauty to travel and food and beverage. Rather than sticking in a lane like the experts say to do I wanted to create a blog that reaches as far as my interests do. The question is could I have an audience as varied as I am? The answer so far has been yes. My best performing posts aren’t about beauty and fashion, although that’s what generates income, they’re about me. My life, my heart, my soul, and my constant over sharing.
I made a comment to my sister the other day that something was in the post about spring break that I knew she hadn’t read. She clapped back and said actually I did, and not because of that silly click bate photo you used, but because I read all of your travel and booze posts. I look at your content and I choose what I read and don’t. There’s a dad on the soccer team who reads every beer post. Booze, does better than beauty, fashion does better than booze, travel does better than fashion, but the heavy hitters are the temper tantrums I throw on the internet. How fitting since I do that so well. Maybe it isn’t so surprising that my best work is my greatest skill. My best post was me talking about having horrible self esteem issues with my covid body. Guess I am not alone on that one.
But here’s the thing. No one pays me to be brutally honest. I get paid to model clothes, apparently there’s a new term for my covid body, “mid-sized.” There is plenty of demand for that. I am done with it though because the manufacturers I have been working with want too much of my time and energy for too little pay. Or more importantly it brought me so little joy. That’s kind of how starting a new business goes. You try some things and they don’t always work out so you have to pivot while maintaining your core. My core is authenticity. I am done saying I like clothes that I don’t. That I am ok with you calling me a XXL. Even if I am, I am not ok with it. Most importantly, it required virtually no creativity.
So how do I get from point A to point B. How do we get paid for things that bring us joy. Most people can’t just quit a job they don’t like because they can’t be creative. I’m still on LIKEtoKNOW.it and I have more freedom over that, but boy is it tedious and it’s hard to make more money influencing people to buy the clothes then it costs to wear them. It’s also about building a following, posting constant continent and being somewhat reliable in what you are pushing. I recently blogged about being fashionably confused but it’s become part of my brand. People are starting to know me as someone who wears expensive shoes and jeans and Target t-shirts. I play with neutrals from time to time but generally bright colors are my jam and my closet/office/inspiration space, backs that up.
I once got into it with a reseller who wanted me to post photos on my instagram account, for their use, that were very off brand and it was the straw that broke the camel's back. I said you’ve wasted both of our time. You should have done your homework in advance and recognized that was very off brand for me. Maybe if I didn’t have April in my ear, actually on my car Bluetooth, I would have given them the photo they wanted. If it weren’t for April you’d be getting all of my planning details right here, for free, without me profiting one dime for my knowledge and hard work.
Maybe 300 views is the best I am going to do, maybe Not So Secret by Mandie, my overarching brand, is going absolutely nowhere. But I won’t know if I don’t try. My Disney posts have done relatively well. I only lost a few readers from the first post to the second, however, the first post was more generalized and the second quite specific. I have been told from many sources, this was the post people were waiting for, this one would reach well beyond my loyal fans. So I had two choices. Post it and hope it I gain a substantial new audience or hold it back and leave them wanting more, while finding a way to monetize that knowledge and creativity.
I decided to choose the latter. I have started working on a digital course on how to plan your perfect Disney trip. There is a lot of information out there and I much like my first two posts, all my travel posts, I stress knowing how you vacation. Planning a trip should be family-centric and not about doing what everyone else does. But of course for many people a successful trip is a well planned trip. If you didn’t know I actually have a degree in digital instructional design. It will take me 6-12 weeks to develop this course and beta test it. So in the meantime I have thrown a bunch of irons in the fire, from LIKEtoKNOW.it, to SEINT, and coming soon, an ETSY store. I am a busy bee these days, but the most important and enjoyable iron is Mandie’s Not So Secret Diary. Like I mentioned before, throwing temper tantrums on the internet is my specialty, so for those of you who read to the end, thank you for indulging me.