Happy Monday, everyone! This week I'm excited to share a couple new things we're developing over here at TheLoDown! First and foremost, you may have noticed the new site design we debuted a few weeks ago. We totally dig it: it's more functional, it's easier to navigate and share content, and it's downright pretty. Yay! Second, our menu navigation has changed! This seemingly small update is actually quite significant for us as it represents both new types of content and a new voice. We've added both Wellness and Home to round out our lifestyle sections of Beauty, Fashion, and Food. Our NYC Guide section has graduated to it's own spot on the menu, and we've added Dear Lo (a new series in which I'll answer your toughest questions), Adventures (where we share what's it like to live in NYC), and Shop (still in progress but we're putting together some great looks for ya). Finally, we're going to start story-telling as we write, moving into the first person narrative in order to share the way we feel with all of you. We're pretty excited over here for the updates and we hope you like them too. Stay with us over the next weeks and months to get a taste of everything new! Leave us your comments and thoughts when you're so inclined.
With that in mind, I'd like to kick off this "soft re-launch" by answering your first question in our new "Dear Lo" category. I'm going to start taking questions on Twitter and in the comments of Dear Lo posts, but this week's question comes from a reader who stopped me on the street and she asked...
"Dear Lo, what is it like to run a blog?"
The short answer: it's complicated! The long answer: it's complicated in that everyday is different, but simple in that my mission is to consistently create and cultivate meaningful experiences for myself, my team, and my readers! It's my passion that has become a business, and while creating something out of nothing has not been easy it sure is fun.
Let's start with the basics. When I created TheLoDown I was doing it to fill a creative void in my life. I love to write, snap photos, cook and create recipes. Sharing all of these things was a natural next step, and so the blog was born. From there receiving actual human feedback, support, comments, and criticism allowed me to take things a step further. My stuff was being read and consumed! Human contact had been made (exciting for any blogger)! That in and of itself is a motivational and moving experience.
Expansion came next, I needed more minds on my team to allow me to move towards building out a larger, more meaningful blog. I tend to shoot for the stars when I think about ideas and projects, so once the seed of thinking big was planted there was no stopping me. That was last summer, the sweet summer of 2014 when I was finding myself single in the city, graduating from culinary school, and essentially jobless. That trifecta, while scary, was also incredibly motivating. My fear of the unknown has paralyzed me at moments in my life before, but I chose this time to instead go down a different path. I suppose that at a certain critical point, growing up isn't hard to do - it's simply mandatory.
So, the seed of growing bigger was getting bigger itself. I sent out a message for help: NYC-based interns needed for duty! And boy, did they show up. I hired Paula, Paige, Daise, and Chris - all young, fresh, and motivated to help me turn what TheLoDown used to be (a questionably designed Tumblr with little publishing regularity) into what it is now: new stories 5 days a week, gorgeous original photography, wonderful brand partners, and the best readership any girl could ask for!
I have both short-term and long-term goals that dictate what I work on everyday. Long term goals include expanding our readership, growing our social accounts, and developing TheLoDown into the ultimate source for New York-based stories, fun, adventure, and advice. We're working especially hard on building out our NYC Guide section over the next few months, and we'll soon debut street-by-street guides to the city in addition to our reviews of restaurants, beauty bars, and fitness studios. We live here and want to share our everyday happenings with y'all!
Short term to-dos include: determining what our editorial calendar looks like a month out and longer, managing collaborative posts with other bloggers and brands, helping my team accomplish their goals, and basically keeping the lights on.
Reflecting on your question, Alexis, has allowed me to realize more than anything that running a blog is a lot like running my life. Sharing who I am has always been my job, and while there have been moments of discomfort in that, I know that I wake up everyday in a very blessed position. I choose to continue to share who I am not only because it pays my bills but because I love the feeling of connecting with the world around me. It's hard work, time consuming, and a pain in my butt when I would prefer to watch Game of Thrones but it also allows me to live the best version of who I am, and that is somebody who loves to create, think, and share.
Thank you for your question and for helping me to kick off Dear Lo. I'd love to get your take on what it's like to run a blog if you have your own and please leave any Dear Lo questions (any topic is OK) in the comments.
Image via SugarandCloth.com