We Need Your Help

As you noticed, there were no posts last week. I had the worst bout of writer’s block I’ve ever had, to the point that I couldn’t form a cohesive sentence. My mind was blank. For five days I did everything I know to do to get out of a creative slump with no luck. I worked out every day, went for long walks, tried (and failed) to meditate, caught up on sleep and sat, for hours, starting at a blank screen. Always having to come up with a concept, idea or even a simple blog post is the most challenging and overwhelming part of being an entrepreneur and managing this site. Now and then I start to feel like I’m running out of fresh content, which is terrifying since it’s the very essence of my career.

There have been many days, especially recently, when I think it would be easier to call it a day and get a “real job.” Anyone who runs a business of their own knows that feeling all too well. It’s like a sinking feeling in your gut when you start to wonder what is the point of all the work, worry and stress. You start to fall into “the grass is always greener” syndrome. When I get to this place, the only thing I can do is step away and regroup. I never want to put out half-hearted content or post for the sake of posting. Giving my mind some space to breathe helps me take a step back to look at the big picture and tweak our strategy.

One of the internal conflicts I have with running a business in the world of blogging and social media is how to put myself and brand out there without looking like a fool, embarrassing myself and being disingenuous. I’m amazed that people still follow influencers who post pictures of staged homes, pristine kids and perfect relationships. I thought the ethos would have shifted by now, that people would be turned off by the stereotypical lifestyle blogger. But I was wrong. These bloggers and influencers are more prominent than ever and make it incredibly difficult to compete since I refuse to play by their rules.

When we relaunched the blog, I created a few guidelines. The idea was to create a set of standards to operate under, so when faced with an opportunity or decision to expand, we would be able to hold to our mission and integrity. The first was that I wasn’t going to post photos of my kids on the blog. The idea of commercializing their childhood and compromising their privacy makes me sick. In the day and age we live in, I can’t believe so many people do it. I’ll talk about them in the context of being a working mom and share little bits here and there, maybe share a slightly blurred photo, but you’ll never see them posing, or selling anything.

The second was that we would not be a site that depended on sponsored content to be profitable. If you’re not familiar with the practice of sponsored content, it just means a brand or retailer pays you a significant amount of money to sell their product in a way that seems like you’re making a personal recommendation. For most blogs, an overwhelming percentage of their posts are sponsored. It seems harmless enough, but it’s a slippery slope. It’s easy to say yes to the money and start to erode your reputation. After a while, it’s hard to see the difference between a personal recommendation and a paid one. Many readers end up leaving blogs they once loved because the feel like they are just being sold to every day.

Along those lines, I didn’t want this site to be solely consumer based. I don’t want to spend all our time talking about clothes. I don’t shop all day long, and I know you don’t either. When we create an outfit post, my number one focus is to inspire you, then provide product recommendations. I don’t expect you to buy everything we recommend, I’m assuming you might have a similar piece, so I’m merely giving you some ideas, and if you could use some of those pieces, I’ll point you in the right direction of where to buy. I pull from my experience as a personal stylist and try hard to offer a wide range of prices and sizes, but that is all relative. I’m very much limited to what retailers are offering so, please know if I don’t provide a plus or petite size, it’s because I couldn’t find a suitable recommendation.

Finally, and this is the big one,  I wasn’t going to front like I’m something that I’m not. To be successful as a blogger, you have to share so much of yourself and your life. I have a pretty fantastic life, but every time I’ve tried to use it as a backdrop to my social profiles, it feels try-hard and show-offy.  Also, it’s not consistently fantastic.  I may have vacationed in Croatia last summer, but I haven’t gotten out of my yoga pants since then.

When it comes to putting myself on the blog, I’ve tried to take outfit pictures of myself, and it’s mortifying. Taking the photo makes me jump out of my skin, and it doesn’t help that my photographer, (i.e., my husband) has the unique ability to take a truly terrible photo of me. I also don’t have the time or resources to organize a daily or even weekly photoshoot. Plus, my skin is not thick enough to read negative or mean spirit comments about my looks, which would absolutely happen because the internet is a terrible place. I barely survived it happening in grade school; there’s no way I could deal with it on a regular basis as an adult.

We Need Your Help

All of these self-inflicted “rules” help maintain our integrity but stunt our opportunity to grow, at least in the traditional way.  I won’t sell out for a dollar or contribute to a culture I find fake at best and dangerous at its worst. So I need your help.

I want this blog to be a success.  Probably more than any other venture I’ve ever started.  I believe that more than ever, society needs a positive, authentic representation of women.  And that women need a community that doesn’t pressure them to be perfect in order to be worthy and doesn’t limit us into one area of interest. I believe we can accomplish this by honing in on our message and developing a better understanding of our readership.

I write this blog every day thinking you’d like to look great and need some simple, straightforward, practical strategies to get there. And I also think (and hope!) your life is more interesting than just shopping and clothes. I assume, like me, you’re trying your best to live a full life. I know I want a fulfilling career, strong friendships, and a happy home and family. I also want to be healthy, and fit, and not so overwhelmed all the time.

Since we relaunched the site, I feel like we are getting on the right path with content, but it still needs some refining. It would be a huge help if you took a minute to fill out this survey.  The more we hear from you, the more we can fulfill our dream of creating a genuine, authentic community for women.

Thank you so much, as always for your continued support and encouragement.  I know there are more women like you out in the world and your participation in this survey will help us find them and make this site the best it can be.

 

Megan Kristel

Megan Kristel is an entrepreneur, working mom, and former personal stylist. Tired of the one-dimensional portrayal of women online, she founded The Well Dressed Life as a resource for other professional women.

7 Comments
  1. One thing: DO NOT worry about negative comments. The negative comments are NOT about you, they say everything about the commenter & absolutely NOTHING about you. We live in a broken world. Many people have “issues” and they lash out at anyone. I used to care very deeply about what people thought about me. Almost 8 years ago I became widowed and some awful things have been said about me just because of my situation. That’s when I realized people operate based on their own perceptions (or maybe insecurities) which are often not accurate. Please free yourself of this worry. You’re beautiful, knowledgeable & talented. I value your work. Unfollow & BLOCK negativity.

    1. Hi Carmen, You’re right and I’m so sorry that was your experience during such a difficult time. It really makes me wonder what would have to have happen to someone to make them so mean spirited and how so many people lack empathy and basic decency.

      When I talk about not wanting to deal with the negative comments, it’s not because I care what others think, if I did, I wouldn’t have lasted this long in business, lol. It’s because the criticism, specifically about my physical appearance is a big trigger for me. I was brutally teased and bullied about my “looks” for most of childhood, and it’s left some nasty emotional scars. I’ve done a lot of work to build up some semblance of self-confidence, but I’m not in a place yet when I would be able to manage it without it slowly undoing a lot of my progress. With time, I hope I can put myself out there in a genuine way that’s helpful for all of us.

      Thanks so much for your kind words. xx

  2. Please keep it up! I don’t like to follow most ‘social media influencers’ and ‘lifestyle bloggers’ for the very reasons you’re talking about. It either feels like total, curated, posed B.S. OR it makes me feel depressed about how my life, body, children, house, etc etc doesn’t look like theirs. Your blog was a break from the rest and that’s why it’s one of the only ones I return to regularly.

  3. Megan,
    I can’t convey enough how rare it is to find a site like this. You should be proud! It is not in the interest of most sites-and especially in the interest of sponsored sites-to tell women that their preferences, tastes, bodies are all okay. You let women know that they are okay, and give them tools to improve where they want to improve. You don’t make them feel hopeless if they don’t have $20 for a new accessory-but if they happen to have it, it’s really okay to do something for yourself. But don’t forget to take your own advice. Writer’s block? Take some time! Didn’t write for a week? Probably a few of us who didn’t read for a week. We, like you, prefer quality over quantity, which is one of the things so appealing about your site and your writing.

    When I cleaned out my closet recently, and donated a bunch of business casual clothes that I no longer needed, I didn’t feel bad about it. Both of my current jobs require scrubs. It’s what I Wear to Work. When I’m at home, I’m cleaning, cooking, doing laundry. I’m in jeans. So guess what? I bought more jeans. Including one pretty white pair to wear when I visit friends or go out with my husband. I stopped fighting with the trendy images of what I should look like. I embraced my ability use a scarf, jacket, and different shoes to make one outfit look like three. I make this happen so quickly that my husband has taken to calling me “Supergirl” when I get dressed 🙂

    If I had not started reading your blog, I probably would be continuing that old internal dialogue. You gave me validation that it’s ok to donate those clothes, it’s ok to replace them with the clothes that I know I will be wearing on every day off…and it’s also ok to set them off with a nice pair of Sam Edelman’s!

    So, from the lady who loves her jeans and sandals, a good workout, and mismatched dinnerware, I thank you! Keep up the amazing work and be proud!

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