Personal Note: adapt. react. readapt. apt.

*100 Schrute Bucks to anyone who gets that reference*

 

Let’s get into it. A few weeks (months?) ago I took about five full days away from IG and it finally gave me the space to realize what I want to change about how I interact with the app, what I bring to it, and what I takeaway. I feel like the internet is full of these “epiphany” style posts, and that’s not what this is, this is a pivot.

On a walk last night, I started to spiral into my “here’s where the blog is and here’s where I want it to go” chats and found I was repeating myself, and that I had been repeating myself for weeks. I don’t see the future of the blog on Instagram. Do I see a presence there? Absolutely. Do I see it being the money-maker, the main focus? Not at all. In the past few months, I’ve spent so much time worrying about it and focusing on it that it’s pulling from what I truly love to do: write.

The blog is my website. Let’s pause and let that soak in. It’s my website. It’s my space to create, write, edit, adapt, react, readapt, apt. I do everything here for you. I want to create something that is worth your time and energy to read. I want you to gain something of substance from it, even if that thing you gain is “she is so wrong and here’s why…” I don’t see that same impact on an IG feed post.

When I started blogging it was as a creative outlet and I think I viewed “making it” as having tons of sponsored IG content, brand deals, promo codes, etc. Money, money, money. I’m currently in that position, where I continually have to turn down brand deals because I cannot take on the workload being offered to me. I feel so fortunate to get to work with such amazing brands and the volume has allowed me to be highly selective in who I work with. I prioritize working with companies that are led or founded by women, particularly women of color, and love every moment. I never work with fast fashion companies. I investigate every company I work with and ask myself “Can I ethically support and encourage others to support this type of a company, brand, CEO?” That is absolutely something that I want to continue in the future. Sharing those types of brands with you all is incredibly important to me and I want to expand and share them not only on IG but here as well.

So, on Instagram, to sum up, we’re having fun, you look young…but that’s not enough (another TV reference I hope you get). I’ve spent the past few weeks shifting my focus from IG to the blog and I am more in love with this space than I have been before. I’m turning down a lot of brand deals because they don’t want content on the blog, they just want a pretty photo on IG. Which I find a little odd because sure I have 13.8K followers on IG but the exposure of each post is maybe 1.2K. On the blog, I have over 20K monthly visitors, with each post getting about 2.4K views.

In the future, I am planning on pulling back slightly on IG content, specifically on the constant stories posting and focusing more on the blog. I’d love to build to posting 3-4 times a week and if that means not posting every single day on IG or seeing my IG followers count fall then I’m fine with that. My heart is, and has always been, in writing and creating. I love writing and editing, designing shoots, I love reading your messages, I love chatting with you all, I love hearing how you’re implemented my advice. I love every moment of this world. What I don’t love is when a pressure to post something, anything, on IG to compete with an algorithm.

It makes me stressed.

It strips the joy of creating, which is why I’m here in the first place.

On Reflection: My First Year Blogging

The past year has been incredibly transformative for both me and the blog. What started as a little project with zero page views has catapulted into a truly amazing space where I get to share all my feelings, tips, and advice with more than 17,500 of you each month.

When I started with Molly I didn’t have a lot, nay any, direction. I knew I wanted to write, connect with a community, and share more than social platforms (IG and Facebook) allow. When choosing a blog topic I went with fashion & style because it was something that I liked to do and I imagined being able to build a blog around. It definitely wasn’t niche or intrinsic to who I am, but I decide to two feet jump in because what is the worst that could happen?

I have a habit of starting projects with a ton of gusto and then letting the fire fizzle and moving on to the next shiny project (s/o to my Aries Rising!). I had started and stopped blogging several times in the past and I was determined to make this time different. After settling on a blog name I purchased the domain withmolly.com for three years. I told myself that if I stuck it out for three years and then wanted to stop that at least I had given it a fair shake and I could move on knowing that I had given 100% of my energy toward something. For some reason having an “out” made me want to stay “in” and in truth, I couldn’t imagine stopping this project any time soon.

 

 

In the beginning…

I wrote tons in my first few months and enlisted a friend to take tons of outfit shots and overall had a pretty good time, but I didn’t feel like I was connecting. I wasn’t reaching into a new audience or finding my own way. I felt incredibly static. In the past, this would have been where I abandoned the project, but I had a deal with myself. I pushed on, posting weekly, and kept my three-year expiration date in mind.

In the Fall of 2018, I decided to branch into a new media and started my Youtube channel, something that had been a goal of mine for a long time. I knew it was going to be scary, I knew I was going to get judged mercilessly, and I just decided to go for it anyway. That was one of the best decisions that I made, not only because it pushed me outside of my comfort zone, but because it was so instrumental in evolving my blog from a style blog to where it is today. It was my mirror.

 

baby’s first YT video

 

When I started making videos I (again) didn’t have a strong direction. I just figured I would make videos similar to ones I had seen other YTers make and go from there. I started with a little intro video (above) and after a few weeks found that the videos I really wanted to make were about skincare, beauty, and makeup. I was actually forcing myself not to make too many of those in order to stay within the lines of a “style blogger” which I had dubbed myself.

 

Where we are now…

By Winter of 2018, I was over “staying in the lines” and decided to start blogging, chatting, etc about whatever I wanted to. I figured that if it resulted in a loss of followers, engagement, etc then so be it (at least I was being true to me and fulfilling my passion!). What’s truly remarkable to me is that this switch toward more inner and outer wellness, skincare, etc has resulted in a 0.4% uptick in my IG engagement rate (which is pretty massive). I’ve learned that the more authentic energy I put out the more people I am able to connect with.

I decided to ignore the lines completely when a new product launch from Glossier came out. I was so excited to share the new products that I had to, had to, had to post about them. Within 6 hours of their new product line launching, I released this video which quickly became the number one result on Google and Youtube. It received over 5K views in the first 24 hours and over 18.5K views in the first month. It felt like I finally had a foothold in the community I had been trying to join for a few months.

 

A little reflection…

One of the questions I get asked a lot is how I am able to feel confident when taking photos and putting myself out there on social media. Paradoxically as it is, social media has been amazing for my self-confidence. It’s forced me not to care about the negative comments or cruel DMs. If I listened to even one of them I would have stopped after my first month. I would have stopped when people I thought were my friends where sub-tweeting about me. I would have stopped when people I had just met scoffed at my dream of taking this full time.

I would have stopped because of someone else.

Where is the logic in that?

This blog has taught me over and over to listen to the little voice inside, to focus on me and my dreams, and to block out everyone else’s noise.

If I had stopped I never would have met some of the amazing bloggers that have become friends in the industry. I never would have worked with La Mer. I never would have found my inner voice. I never would have known how strong I can be.

 

most recent collaboration: La Mer !

 

withMolly.com currently gets 29,000 site hits and 17,500 visitors every month. This is massive growth in the first year and I couldn’t be more thankful to everyone reading this right now. It’s been an incredible year of stretching out in a new field, experiencing this side of marketing, producing content, and constantly evolving my voice. Today my blog is much more holistic and focuses on internal and external beauty and the intersection between the two. It was a long path to get here, but it was a path inward and I couldn’t be more excited to see what the next year holds.

 

xx,

M

Checking In: a new look, a new outlook

Hello 🙂

Things here may look a little different than you’ve previously seen on my site. I wouldn’t call this a complete “re-vamp”, but withMolly has definitely seen a few changes over the past several months.

About six months ago I found that using Wix.com was not conducive to my goals for the blog. Contrary to what their enticing Karlie Kloss ads will have you believe there are significant faults within the customization options of their site. And, because it’s built on a “drag-and-drop” model, the CCS and HTML coding is very sloppy which makes adding any custom CSS pretty tricky. This creates a fairly big issue if the customization you are looking for isn’t available through their interface. For example, they do not offer the ability to edit the font size of a blog post. How BASIC does that function seem? I truly despised looking at my blog posts for so long because I felt like the font was that of an “easy-reader” e-book.

So I go to work rebuilding my entire site on a new platform: WordPress.

While doing this I refrained from posting new blog content, which is why it’s been MONTHS since you’ve seen new content. While I wish this hadn’t been a side effect of the Wix > WordPress move it was necessary. Rebuilding and recoding the site took a lot of time, was very frustrating, and seeing content go up on my old Wix site would have driven me up a wall. Why dig deeper into the ditch you’re trying to escape at the same time you’re building a ladder?

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But thankfully we’ve come out the other side! In so many ways this site is similar to my previous blog (I did love the design), but in other ways, it’s very different! The overall design is cleaner with less manual updates required. Of course, there are branding updates (will I ever settle on a logo?) but I’m most excited about the footer – it’s so beautiful! The footer on my OG site was created through Wixes drag and drop features. This new site required actual coding which has taken FOREVER to get right. I’m sure you’ll still see minor tweaks to it in the coming weeks as I learn more about coding, but for now, it’s a huge source of pride for me. 🙂

When thinking up new ideas I knew that I wanted this space to be much more visual and pleasing to view (you all deserve it after that massive font — clearly that’s a sore spot for me!). I also really enjoyed this opportunity to get more into coding and use it to completely customize how everything looks, feels, and interacts with each other. I’m self-taught at coding so it’s been tricky, tough, and frustrating, but absolutely love when it works! (PS: if you have a solid strategy for importing a .JSON file into HTML or PHP please hmu…).

But, I digress … I’m very excited to step forward with this NEW and IMPROVED site 🙂 There are several new surprises coming down the pipeline for you all and I cannot wait to share every piece with you all.

Thank you all and I love each and every one of you!

xx, M

*if you are not seeing the new site please clear your cache and refresh the page!*