Hey Kemi, I’m 16 years old and doing my GCSEs, and I started my own blog a few months ago. I’m a bit embarrassed to tell anyone at my school, but I also don’t like having to keep it a secret. How should I go about letting people know, and how did you do it?
My cousin made me my first free website when I was 10, I used templates to slowly teach myself how to code in HTML, and I guess you can say for the past 10 years I’ve had a whole lot of websites online, about all types of things, before settling on Skylish (which I only started to take seriously at the end of 2015). When I started secondary school, I thought having a website was pretty cool, so I told one of my good friends. But, you know how kids are… whereas now I can be very proud about my online side-hustle, back then, there was absolutely nothing cool about sitting at home, coding websites and writing blogs. I realised that very quickly when the friend I told started to spread it as if it was some joke – I officially drew a line between my life online, and my life offline, even deciding to go online by my middle ‘British’ name (Catherine), to make sure nobody from school knew I had a website…
I was absolutely terrified for a while about anyone ‘offline’ finding out about my blog – I told only my family and a few select friends (who also happened to have blogs). I was so terrified that I used to slice off my head in any outfit photos I’d take when I first started Skylish. I even thought about quitting blogging all together when I started university – I just couldn’t be bothered with hiding it anymore and I felt it might be time to just move on with my life altogether; until I got an e-mail from the The Body Shop saying they wanted to sponsor me and realised -“wait, this is actually pretty impressive.” The thing is, when you’re so used to naturally hiding something (as I did throughout my childhood), it makes it harder to eventually speak up about it even when you get older. By the time I started university I knew that I didn’t want to keep my blog a secret, but when it came to telling people, I always lost my tongue. Before I knew it months had past and it reached that stage where it was too weird to suddenly come out with the fact.
So, what changed? Actually, my boyfriend came into my life. Hiding my blog from my boyfriend and telling him I was going to meet *friends* when I was really actually at a press day (for example) felt like I was simply lying. So two months into our relationship, I told him and it felt like I was actually telling someone I was Hannah Montana. My boyfriend helped me get to blog to where it is now – I used to spend days showing him amazing blogs and gushing about how I wish my blog could be that good, and he told me it can. A little bit of push and motivation was all I needed to take my blog from one with fuzzy photos shot on my phone, with outfit photos taken behind my door, to one that is now (hopefully) a whole lot better, and still improving. He also told me that if I’m doing something good, why not shout about it?.
There’s really nothing embarrassing about having a blog. You’re telling me that brushing up on writing, photography, SEO and general marketing/social media type skills is embarrassing? You’re telling me that earning money from something I enjoy, working with brands I use regularly, and going to cool events is embarrassing? I beg to differ.
So, finally answering the questions, how did I finally come out with it and what can you do? Start off small – I started off simple by just adding my blog to my Instagram, Facebook and Twitter pages. Then, I just happened to be being featured in a few things here and there (such a Citoyenne and LSE’s Black Her-story Exhibition) so I used these as minor ways to let people know hayyy, I’ve got this little blog thing. From there, people I knew would ask me questions, and quite a few people I knew even started following me on my Skylish social media profiles. Slowly, I just became more comfortable with everything, and now I always let people know that I am a blogger – it’s something I’m proud of. Don’t be ashamed of your blog, you’re branding yourself and doing your own thing, it’s not embarrassing in the slightest. It can be tougher when you’re young as everyone’s so immature, but as you get older you’ll find that everyone just starts doing what they feel like (I know people on YouTube, doing fitness blogs, even drawing Manga books), and suddenly the script flips and it becomes ‘cool’.
Hope this could answer your question!