The Business of Blogging – Backstage

I recently got an email from a fellow blogger, whose work I respect greatly, reminding bloggers that the best part of this industry is the community vibe that inately forms around it. It’s true. Blogging is a little bit different than just about any other media source in that editors often share content, links and ideas. They openly support their competitors and happily push traffic in other’s direction.

To put it into perspective, it would kind of be like Martha Stewart Weddings giving a mention to Town and Country Weddings in their magazine, encouraging their own readers to go pick up a copy. Something that would most likely never happen.

With bloggers, it’s way different. Bloggers happily link to other bloggers, they list competition in their blog rolls, they give shout outs to competitors who are doing really cool things. It would seem, that despite working towards the same goal ~ to find success ~they aren’t terribly competitive.

Or are they?

I haven’t been able to get this email off my mind since I opened it so I thought that I would put it out to you guys. When I started Style Me Pretty, there were only a tiny handful of other wedding blogs. Although I had no intention of really building a business out of it, I quickly saw what an invaluable resource the wedding blog could be. Since then, dozens of other wedding blogs have gained popularity thus making content more difficult to find, making it more of a challenge to find unique and original ideas, making it nearly impossible to NOT think about the competition.

I have huge dreams and goals for Style Me Pretty. It not only feeds my creativity addiction, it also feeds my family. It’s a business that supports quite a few people, that brings vendors more money, that has created a handful of really fun jobs for those with a passion for weddings. So, on one hand…I am fiercely competitive. I want our blog to be the best, to feature the most beautiful weddings, to give brides the very best inspiration out there. And yet on the other, I totally understand the nature of blogs and the community feel that we all started out loving. So where is the balance?

I think that this idea might resonate with a lot of you. Those who are working in an industry where you totally and completely respect and love your peers. Where you root for them and love when you see them succeeding. And yet at the end of the day, it’s YOUR business that comes first.

So I am curious to know…how do you find balance in competition vs. community?

39 Responses to “Blogging: A Community or a Business?”

  1. Eliana B. says:

    Actually some of my greatest friends are fellow competitors. One thing Sean Low has taught me is that no one can compete with me? Although the content can be the same or service offering is the same, what I bring to the table is what differs. No one can be Eliana. The ideas, implementation, or general conversation is all generated from within. Once you remember that it will give you guidance on balance.

  2. Abby Larson says:

    That is SO true. My friend Haile said to me, a LONG time ago…know what you do and do it really well. As long as you are doing that, who cares if your competition is kicking some serious butt. Your own perspective will ALWAYS be unique.

  3. Autumn says:

    I’m not a blogger, but I just wanted to applaud you for taking on this topic – quite brave, actually. As a daily consumer of wedding blogs I am curious to see how this will play out as the field becomes more crowded, trends progress more quickly and social media continues to evolve. With the demise of so many bridal magazines (magazines in general, really) your contributions will no doubt become more and more important to the industry. Best wishes to you all!

  4. I’m totally in the community camp. When I started out, building a unique slant was really important to me, and I found that with a wedding-meets-design blog focus, but I wouldn’t have gotten anywhere without the support of other bloggers. Some of their advice was absolutely invaluable, and I’ve spent a lot of time paying back their kindness by doing the same with other new bloggers that email me regularly. I’m happy to take the time out to write a lengthy email about how I started, my constant struggles and successes, and am happy to offer constructive criticism and encouragement.

    I feel similarly to you – there is an element of me that is incredibly competitive. There are days I feel like IB is overlooked and I get a little down about it. I get bummed when I find something great and another blog posts about it first. I get frustrated when I think my stats aren’t where they should be. I think that’s just part of caring about something so fiercely though – I really do look at the blog as my “baby”. I spend so many hours on it a week it truly can be considered a second full time job.

    I’d never let that tiny part of me change how much importance I put on helping to cultivate the community. If I find someone doing something I respect and admire, and to some degree would like to benchmark, I have no problem linking them or adding them to my weekly roundup. I think to some degree bloggers need to realize it’s not just about them – it’s about the readers. A certain amount of ego needs to be let go of to do what’s best for the people they’re catering to on a daily basis.

    Thanks for starting this conversation – it’s actually something I think of a lot the more I interact with other bloggers in the community and see how they interact with me. I’m really interested to see how this conversation continues!

  5. Jen says:

    I agree with Eliana. And I think, even more than the business aspects, there’s a personal benefit to not letting competition take over. The stress and anxiety that comes from putting that sort of pressure on yourself has HUGE physical and emotional effects. Your health and mental well-being are always primary. You could build the most profitable business in the country but what good will it do you if you go home miserable every night? Or if (heaven forbid) your health deteriorates so prematurely that you aren’t even able to enjoy your success?

    I think it helps to keep that sort of big-picture mindset. Remember why you started your business to begin with and what success means to YOU – regardless of how your definition compares to others. Stick with what truly matters and that dedication and inspiration and peace of mind will show up in your work.

  6. Abby, sometimes it’s hard to always believe it’s true, but I just keep reminding myself that I offer something different that any one else can. Whether it be my personality, my style, or whatever reason my clients decide to hire me, they found SOMETHING in me that they did not my “competition.” The same is true for my “competition’s” clients. They are offering something I probably could never offer and something that their clients are connecting with that for whatever reason they are not finding in me and I’m okay with that. I personally LOVE working with a bride that gets me and I get her. A forced fit because I was overly competitive has never worked out in my favor and for that reason I just don’t the idea of “competition” much energy in that regard. I believe MY client finds me and loves me. If my “competition’s” client slips through the cracks, it’s usually a forced fit or possibly a client that doesn’t trust or respect what I offer in the same way they would if they would have just hired my “competitor” in the first place. One thing I do love about my “competition” however is the inspiration they give me to be a better planner, designer and entrepreneur. Without competitors we would never feel the need to grow or take our craft to the next level.

    I think the same is true in regards to your readership. Even though many blogs cover weddings, you each edit your content in a different way with your own unique eye. You each have your own style and your own voice. Because of this, you resonate with YOUR reader and begin to understand more and more about who your reader is. On occasion sharing another blog you love because you think your reader will love it too makes perfect sense. You are the only one that fully understands what your reader needs and holding back on these needs will ultimately leave them looking for other resources. The reason you share the love with your other blogs is because you always want to give your readers the best. In the end, this practice helps create loyal readers that know you will never hold out on them. AND, of course, these “competitors” probably also always push you to keep innovating the wedding industry for both brides and wedding professionals.

  7. I think we sometimes bury our heads in the sand and think we’re all being nicey nicey and linking to each other but secretly wishing we were still the best and had the most readers, were making the most money from adverting and had the most industry connection. However we really shouldnt feel guilty about that, it’s human nature to be competive and certainly healthy!

    One of the things that first attracted me to blogging was the sense of community I saw. when I was planning my wedding i read all the big blogs – smp, brooklyn bride, once wed, snippet & ink – and still do. I loved the idea of being part of the ‘club’ which was one of the main pushes for me starting my blog. I think what it’s important to realise is although we all have the same goal, we are all different and we all share different styles of equally beautiful weddings. There is certainly space for us all here.

    I guess what got *me* thinking about this whole thing recently was when i met a friend for dinner the other day and she told me about a new wedding blog she’d found…also from the uk…and with a very similar sounding name to mine. I felt competitive and instantly wanted this blog to fail. However after spending some time on this new blog I realised her concept and content was actually pretty different to mine and at the end of the day it was nice to actually see another blogger from the UK!

    Anyway I hath rambled. In conclusion I say competition is good but as long as we regonise we are all here for the same reason, to share gorgeous weddings, let’s make sure we all still appreciate each other for what we are and give everyone a chance to shine!

    MWAH!
    *Kat*

  8. You are right about the competition there are so many wedding blogs out there and more and more popping up all the time. It is after all incredibly simple and virtually free to set up a blog and start writing so I think a lot of people are thinking why not. Firstly I doubt you will ever have to worry as you are one of the most inspirational sites out there (everyone over here in the UK follows it too). I think Eliana has hit the nail on the head – ones blog/ site will always be unique to them and will reflect their style and tone of voice. People can copy ideas, designs etc but they can never be you. I think spend time on doing something that you feel passionate about and you enjoy and this will come across in your work… at the end of the day some readers will prefer you and some your competition. The most important thing is to enjoy what you do, share the love and as you said embrace the competition – otherwise blogging would be a rather lonely and sad job

  9. ps this could have been written by me: it’s exactly how i feel!!

    “I feel similarly to you – there is an element of me that is incredibly competitive. There are days I feel like IB is overlooked and I get a little down about it. I get bummed when I find something great and another blog posts about it first. I get frustrated when I think my stats aren’t where they should be. I think that’s just part of caring about something so fiercely though – I really do look at the blog as my “baby”. I spend so many hours on it a week it truly can be considered a second full time job”

  10. Abby Larson says:

    WOW. This is an amazing conversation. SO, so true about the stress of worrying about competition. I used to let it really bug me, but I have a totally new perspective now. It doesn’t even remotely phase me. I KNOW that the work that I am putting out there is authentic, it’s honest, it’s a real look at what I find inspiring and unique. And it’s found its own really individual voice and place it the wedding industry, which I love. Just like all of the other blogs that are succeeding have done.

    Can’t wait to hear what others think too!

  11. Abby Larson says:

    Kat…agree. I think that goes for anyone in a creative industry. Or any entrepreneur for that matter. So much love, time, energy and passion is poured into it, that it’s very easy to take things personally. I’ve made it my new motto to keep that same love that I’ve always had for weddings, but to also approach SMP as a business.

    My dad always used to say, “never fall in love with a car.” He would say it about anything and everything that I took too personal. It was a good lesson. I now can easily let go of things that aren’t working for Style Me Pretty even if I love them.

    A totally different Backstage topic that I could go on and on about!

  12. Courtney says:

    Ironically, I was at a Happy Hour last night where we were discussing the exact same thing!

    I think *healthy* competition is good! I know personally, it drives me to better my business, up the anti and continually push myself. Competition is the nature of the capitalist economy that we have the opportunity to participate.

    With that being said, I think it’s sad when we can’t respect and learn from our peers. I think that there a lot of people in this industry that don’t realize that we all are our own best resource! We can learn and grow from each others mistakes and triumphs.

    Although I am relatively new to this industry, I am thankful so much to those that have welcomed me and I already greatly appreciate the fostered relationships I am building.

  13. Molly says:

    This is a really interesting conversation, even for someone like me whose blog is just a hobby. Even without the money worries, the range of emotions is basically the same.

    I have a little little blog, but I am happier on the days that I have more traffic and disappointed on the days when traffic is sluggish. I too get frustrated when I see something fantastic and someone else blogs about it first. I often feel that other people are doing more sophisticated work (again, even though my little blog is just a hobby!) and it frustrates me that I have some major limitations to what I can offer. It also frustrates me to see the same major design blogs on people’s blog rolls when there are so many more authentic and less pretentious inspiring design blogs out there.

    On the other hand, I have met so many nice people through my blog and through Twitter that it far outweighs the feelings of insecurity. The community nature of blogging is amazing and gratifying, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It’s why I pour so many hours into my blog every day and week. I’m not making any money from it. I just enjoy it.

    I guess my advice to the people who are trying to grow their blogging businesses is to try remain as genuine as possible. There is nothing more annoying, to me, then to read blogs that constantly name drop and claim to have been a fan of an artist/shop/company since the beginning of time. Resist the urge to always be the coolest kid in the crowd. Just be you.

  14. Competition is motivating and pushes us forward each day.

    The difference in the blogging world vs the event planner world (I live in the latter and dabble in the former) is that blogging is super transparent. If you are not giving credit to someone who should be getting it (ie a competitor) then readers will know. And they’ll talk about it on social media and personal gchats.

    Good things come to those that give recognition when it is due. Strike a balance. Don’t give everything away, but generosity is contagious and refreshing.

  15. Foxy Wedding says:

    What a great conversation! Friends and I were just discussing this the other night! My blog is very, very small, and began as an outlet after my own bridal shop closed earlier this year. Foxy has now helped me find a new career path, for which I am very, very grateful. The blog itself remains a part of me, (I don’t take advertisers though through it I have begun freelance writing) and I admit that sometimes find myself feeling inadequate and overlooked. When I expressed this to my friends, one gave me some really great advice “Don’t let that own a piece of your life”. That really resonated with me, and made a huge difference on my worldview. When I feel those less than warm and fuzzy feelings, I remind myself that I am me and they are themselves, and it’s like comparing apples to oranges, and it helps to free those natural , healthy competitive feelings from the more treacherous ones.

  16. Abby Larson says:

    I love that…”resist the urge to be the coolest kid in the crowd. Just be you.” So well put.

    Let me just play the devil’s advocate for a minute. Some of the really big bloggers didn’t start out so big. They all have really humble beginnings…a laptop, a bed and some really god ideas. And the distance that they have come is kind of awesome. Take Design*Sponge for example. Grace has a cult following. She doesn’t seem phased by competition because she knows that what she does is totally authentic. So, if she shmoozes with the who’s who of the design world…hats off to her! Becoming as huge as she is, is definitely something to be proud of. To shout from the rooftops.

    I guess my point is that bragging isn’t good. Being self centered and obnoxious isn’t good. But talking about your success…for me…is inspiring. Totally motivates me to do better, to work harder and to put even more energy into SMP.

  17. I agree, Abby. There’s no shame in being successful, as long as you stay true to who you are from beginning to end. After all, a good portion of your success is how you establish yourself in the beginning, and if you walk away from that you’ll probably be alienating your following as well as new readers!

  18. Ali says:

    Why do women feel they can’t be competitive and proud of their work while being supportive of others at the same time? I often tell my women journalism students to “think like men” (meaning that men would never worry about being the best or promoting that fact) because they too often worry about hurting other people’s feelings, coming off as b-tchy, or asking for money for their work(!).

    Your blog is the best wedding blog, hands-down. Everyone knows it. Keep doing what you do, continue to innovate and make big bucks and be proud of it. All of the other bloggers surely appreciate the props you give out, but please only give kudos to those who truly deserve it. Too many new bloggers shamelessly kiss up to each other in an effort to get a mention on the others blog. That is a habit of (primarily) women bloggers that I find terribly tiresome.

  19. matt sloan says:

    i think competition, as far as it is fair and honest, is one of the things that will increase the value of what you offer and make the ones that have that inspiration to work harder to continue to flourish. :)

  20. But, I think that part of being the best wedding planner, best wedding vendor is the ability to offer the resources that your customer is looking for, even if it is with a “competitor”. My services include what I can bring to the table, even it’s a point in the right direction, elsewhere.

  21. Abby, I love your topics and the conversations you start. I love reading how each person, no matter what size blog, still feels the need for community.

    I learned the community lesson first hand during my first days working at Boxcar Press. Harold, the owner, instilled in me the mantra “what’s good for letterpress is good for Boxcar” and the other way round as well.

    Boxcar Press is a letterpress printing hub for so many letterpress invitation companies as well as home to Bella Figura and Smock. Best part? They print (flawlessly mind you) for both themselves AND their competition. They understand that they best way to survive is to help others thrive!

    We, Gwyneth Paige, we’re just a tiny blog right now. Our website is still in design and our invitations are still on press. But I squealed in delight this morning when my feedburner told me we had hit the 40 subscriber mark.

    We gained a few subscribes after I posted Delphine Press’ (a competitor) super cute Christmas card. If I had hesitated to show something really innovative and cute, just because my competitor made it, I would have lost those viewers.

    Each blog started small. Yours, Grace’s, Holly’s Kathryn’s and every one in between. Yet I believe they are successful because YOU are successful. I remember you being one of the only wedding blogs. I had a reader and my “wedding blog” folder had 16 blogs. Sixteen. Now? I follow over 120 wedding blogs.

    I would like to state that just because we are small, it doesn’t worry me. Not one bit. Why? A couple reasons really. First, I am doing something I love and I’m good at. that isn’t being boisterous, that’s how I feel. I put time and effort into being the best “me” I can be. Why even attempt if you aren’t going to bring yourself all the way to awesome??

    Second, while I know we are just another letterpress wedding invitation face in the crowd, so was Bella Figura, Dauphine Press, Delphine, Elum and others we aspire to be as big as some day. I write from my heart, I design from my heart and I truly, truly care about my community; both in the blog world, twitter world and letterpress.

    That says something. I know it does. You know how I know? Because we have had our active blog for two months. Two. Just two. In those two months we’ve had more views, more subscribers and more followers than I could ever imagine and we have yet to release our printed design. We are known simply because we are active members in our communities, genuinely dedicated to helping others (even our competition, succeed.

    What is good for our competition is good for us.

  22. I echo Liz! Some of the most respected industries know what they can and cannot do. There is extreme nobility in knowing your limits, expressing them and referring others in your place.

    If you know you won’t accomplish my task as well as someone else, I will go to that someone else with or without you. The difference? If you tell me, I’ll come back to you with something you CAN do!

  23. I think the biggest difference between blogging and magazines is that your readers are balancing something different when they choose what to read: with magazines, it’s money. If I only have $5, I can only choose one mag, so clearly MSW wants me to choose them. With blogging, reading your blog is free; I’m only giving up my time.

    The best blogs help me get to the content I want quickest. I love wedding blogs where I can skim quickly (read: lots of pictures), but the details are there when I get interested in something. If the details I care about are on someone else’s blog, send me there immediately! With a magazine, I can’t pay for only the content I really read; with a good blog, I can only spend my time on the content I’m interested in.

  24. Abby Larson says:

    This is SUCH an amazing conversation! Andrea…you are so dead on. I think that my husband Tait echos those same thoughts every single day. As long as bloggers are thriving and the industry is growing, we are benefiting. The more “competition” that you have means the more important your industry is becoming and that is REALLY cool. So if SMP can do anything to further the industry, to help it thrive, it’s a win/win for all. GREAT, great point.

    And Liz…you are so right. I respect vendors more that happily pass on work that isn’t up their ally and encourage clients to look at their competitors. Shows their authenticity.

  25. I’m a first time commenter on Style Me Pretty, but this is all so interesting and I really like everyone being so honest about what competition means to them. I think it is OK to be competitive, but I think in that we (myself included) need to be honest with ourselves about what it is that we are being competitive about. Who really is your competition? Just because I write a blog doesn’t mean that Style Me Pretty is my competition. And, just because I design wedding garters doesn’t mean that every other wedding garter designer out there is my competition.

    I wrote this post a while ago about what competition means to me – http://juliannesmith.wordpress.com/2009/09/09/competition-really/ – and it was surprisingly therapeutic to write. I felt better having put it out there. Perhaps that is what this blog post will be for you, Abby, and the others that have so thoughtfully commented.

    Everyday I think about something that Marcy Blum said at Engage09 in Las Vegas. Someone asked her a question about how to be unique and to be the best when there is so much competition. Marcy’s answer was so simple. She said (I’m paraphrasing): I don’t understand why you need to be unique or be different. Sometimes brides don’t want unique and different. So, just be you and the rest will follow.

  26. Michelle says:

    In terms of competition, a number of vendors in our Little Black Book have recommended their direct competition for placement next to them. Why? Because they respect their work and want to be kept in good company. In the blogging world, it would seem that one’s blogroll would be comprised of competitors, people a blogger respects. There is plenty of room for all, as long as each blogger maintains her individual approach and identity. When I see people copy SMP (and they do!), I pity that copycat-blogger because you can’t build your brand if you are piggybacking. If you are not genuine, it will catch up to you. Readers are smart. They know an authentic voice when they hear it. Abby maintains SMP’s integrity by not selling out, by being honest, by maintaining editorial control instead of becoming a pay-for-play site. She also loves what she does and it’s evident in everything she touches. And she does not copy! That is an essential component of her success. She strives to be original every single day. It’s a lot of really hard work, but her readers appreciate it and so does her team! (Great conversation btw)

  27. Glad to hear this topic has sparked such a great conversation. This is the reason the B-List bridal blogger group was started earlier this year – to foster the bridal blogger community and help each blogger grow as a business.

  28. I’ve been thinking a lot about Kat’s email ever since I got it, too. I really like what Michelle said — “In terms of competition, a number of vendors in our LBB have recommended their direct competition for placement next to them. Why? Because they respect their work and want to be kept in good company.” Our readers — all of our readers — are SMART. Smart smart smart. Having been an avid, objective blog reader long before I started at SW, I remember just how easy it was to compare blogging voices and features, as well as to see who debuted what first. I really try to keep that spirit — of blog reader and wedding junkie — with me even though I’m on the other side now. I think if we all really and truly concentrate on who are readers are and what they want, competition is not something to worry about. As long as your readers love what you’re doing and keep coming back for more, you don’t need to be constantly stressing about competition. Love this conversation!

  29. This is a great conversation, Abby. Thanks for starting the discussion. Here’s my two (or twenty) cents … I’m not sure that there IS a “balance” to be made between competition and community. You just have to be you. You cannot spend too much time thinking about your competition, or about how every little thing you do to help your community will come back to you. If you’re always helping others with an agenda in mind then it will show. I have contacted my direct competitors on numerous occasions to let them know that I have seen a knockoff of their design, or that a customer has contacted me asking me to print their design (which I would never do, of course). Sometimes I contact a competitor or a newbie to the biz just to say I admire their latest product. I don’t do this because I want props, or because I expect anything out of the people whom I have contacted. I do it because it’s the right thing to do.

    There will always be competitors. Some will rip you off. Some will make you wish you had come up with xyz brilliant idea. Some will make you cringe. Some will make you a little green with envy. Just be you, keep innovating, and don’t stress too much about the bad stuff. This last part is a little easier said than done; I have tons of my own personal horror stories (try opening a MSW and seeing your design credited to someone else; or competitors trying to pretend they are brides to get specific info about our custom design process; or catching designers from Big Box companies sketching your designs while in your trade show booth). But the good outweigh the bad. Hello Lucky, Boxcar/Bella/Smock, Green Paper Company, and the folks at Night Owl Press and Blue Barnhouse (to name just a few) have been more than generous with me: sharing information, insight, biz stories, trends, contacts, etc.

    I am in business to make a living for my family. This is how John and I put food on our table, how we buy toys to put under the Christmas tree. But I am in THIS creative business because I LOVE it. I truly love what I do. I love paper. I love letterpress. I swoon when I get a cute card in the mail. I literally dream about new designs. I will walk into a stationery store and buy competitors products because I like them, not because I want to copy them. I read their blogs because I think they have great style, not to snoop on what is going on in their business. I follow them on Twitter to chat, commiserate, keep in the loop, and, yes, get inspired.

    One of my favorite moments of the entire year is the last 2 hours of the last day of the Stationery Show: when all the buyers are gone and it’s just us designerds running around oohing and aahing and trading.

    When it comes to seeing competitors in the press, I agree with Harold at Boxcar: what’s good for letterpress is good for us. When I open a mag or see a blog post about letterpress I am grateful that the craft is getting exposure. Sometimes I sigh and wish it were my design in the photo, but for the most part I’m just happy that my friends and colleagues are all still around!

    And by the way, Abby, I think it’s good business to strive to be the best! Though I don’t try to please everyone, I do listen to my customers (and my competitors’) input … at the end of the day I trust my gut instinct and do what I think is the right thing to do, and that leads me to be the best I can be, to run the best business I can run, and to be happy with my life.

  30. Andrea says:

    Is there a way to give Erika a standing ovation on a comment message board? I wish there was.

    Extremely well put Erika. Extremely well put.

  31. It’s so funny because I wrote a post about this VERY thing on my blog about a month ago bit.ly/1FeDWK

    I am totally for community in all that I do and feel that competition with myself is the biggest form of competition that I engage in. I think this is the best way to make the wedding industry community as a whole a more lovely and progressive place. I know my place and my goals and I just want to stay true to that and be happy with the readers that I have. :) Honestly, I don’t want to be the BEST with the most ads and money… I just want to foster a community of people that is at IT’S best. I have been burned a few times now because of my inability to keep ideas to myself and overly trusting attitude, but I feel like everything comes around in the end and as long as I stay true to myself, I will be happy and everything else will follow.

    Is this too idealistic? I guess I just really like the idea of a wedding industry that is actually about LOVE. <3

  32. I am not sure it that bitly link works, so here is the post I was talking about if anyone is interested. http://sohappyberries.blogspot.com/2009/11/theme-vs-concept.html

  33. Totally agree with Sandra.

    I would think that finding exclusive content would be easy once you have a base of seriously devoted fans. As a wedding photographer, I always want to submit my work to Style Me Pretty first – and I’m sure there’re others like me.

    -A

  34. Camille says:

    The more time I’ve spent in this business the more competitive I become, and the less disappointed I’ve become when I ‘lose’ a job to a competitor. Partly because I’ve grown in my floral community and I have a warm, talented, respectful circle of floral friends that make my job better. And partly because I’ve grown in my own style and talent, and I am confident in my style and work. When I lose a job, but find out that so-and-so got it, sometimes I think: Oh, she’ll do an even better job than me. Other times I grind my teeth and pound my fist, thinking, argh! I would’ve ROCKED that one!! But the other designer had better marketing, better props, what have you. Can’t win ‘em all.

    Now that I’m a mom and my career has had to take second priority, I’ve HAD to be able to let those disappointments go and be less emotionally attached. Abby’s right: it is a business, not my whole life! Now I take the time to look back at my whole season and take great pride in my favorite events, that one bouquet that was so special, those centerpieces that could have only been made by me…and the work is fulfilling.

  35. Jen Erickson says:

    Wow…what a great question with (it seems) many *answers* or responses. This is not the first time I have seen this question posed in your blogs…you are a highly driven individual (obviously…look at you go) and I have seen you post polls in order to find out who your audience is, you have commented how many wedding blogs are out there and how you have to remain competitive, etc. You are business savvy…you understand how you have to run your *business*…you get the business, just don’t let the business get you…
    I think people (including myself) gravitate toward your blog because you have made your passion your career and people find the photos, the blogs, an inspiration for their wedding, but also because YOU are behind it all…you are a REAL person, not just a magazine by Martha Stewart, etc.
    I would take your website over the competition any day because your website is full of real people – real contacts – real vendors – real photographers – and the real YOU!
    Thank you!

  36. here here Abby!

    Let me just play the devil’s advocate for a minute. Some of the really big bloggers didn’t start out so big. They all have really humble beginnings…a laptop, a bed and some really god ideas. And the distance that they have come is kind of awesome. Take Design*Sponge for example. Grace has a cult following. She doesn’t seem phased by competition because she knows that what she does is totally authentic. So, if she shmoozes with the who’s who of the design world…hats off to her! Becoming as huge as she is, is definitely something to be proud of. To shout from the rooftops

    I love this discussion. being more open and honest about all this stuff can only make us better bloggers…and friends. there is nothing worse than feeling crap about your own work becuase others are doing so well. i am certainly guilty of this and it’s something i need to get the hell over!

  37. As a videographer in the wedding industry for over 15 years, I have found true lifelong friends who are also videographers and my direct competition. In fact, I dated two of the most talented and successful videographers in Los Angeles and we are still very close friends. For some wonderful reason… I suppose there is enough business to go around and so when we compete for the same client once in a while, we always speak highly of one another. Like many others have said, it’s about the right fit and I especially know when I’m competing for business with my associates/friends and even x’s, the client will make that final and right decision for themselves and frankly, I’m usually happy that it went to someone I know (and love) than to someone I don’t know at all (dinner on them… ha ha). Sometimes client’s decision is based on style, sometimes budget and often both. I have found and developed a whole new set of friends in this industry and so long as we all play nice – the balance will flow naturally.

  38. Duplicate: As a videographer in the wedding industry for over 15 years, I have found true lifelong friends who are also videographers and my direct competition. In fact, I dated two of the most talented and successful videographers in Los Angeles and we are still very close friends. For some wonderful reason… I suppose there is enough business to go around and so when we compete for the same client once in a while, we always speak highly of one another. Like many others have said, it’s about the right fit and I especially know when I’m competing for business with my associates/friends and even x’s, the client will make that final and right decision for themselves and frankly, I’m usually happy that it went to someone I know (and love) than to someone I don’t know at all (dinner on them… ha ha). Sometimes client’s decision is based on style, sometimes budget and often both. I have found and developed a whole new set of friends in this industry and so long as we all play nice – the balance will flow naturally.

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