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                How Blogging Has Helped Me Rebuild My Confidence

It’s been one year since I began blogging and boy has it been a Journey. Today I’d like to take a moment to thank all those who have supported and believed in me and my ability to succeed.

I’ve always kept a Journal for as long as I remember. I’ve recorded the good times, the bad and the ugly including the abusive relationships which damaged my self-esteem and self-worth for many years.

This time last year I was unwell with Adrenal Insufficiency, in bed and feeling really upset. I was missing out on my daughter’s life. I missed her nativity as I was too unwell and this was the last straw. I turned to my Journal to write how I felt and I had a thought. Why don’t I start recording my Journal online?

I spoke to my Husband who is quite tech savvy and he bought me a domain. John advised me to go self-hosted. Self-hosted? I did not know what that meant. I didn’t even know what a blog host was. I let my hubby set me up and we found a free template. I then started writing small posts and sharing them on Facebook.

I didn’t do very well. I had one or two views per post and a few google searches but that was it, nothing substantial. Then March the 15th came along. It was Mothers Day and I was once again feeling sad because I was unable to go to church with my husband and daughter and unable celebrate the special day. I was also feeling down because I wanted an Adrenal Pump to help improve my health and knew we could not afford one.

So I prayed. Now I know many of my friends are not religious, however I am and prayer is something I do. So I prayed and asked what can I do to improve my life? How can I earn the money to pay for the adrenal pump I need? How do I cope with the difficulties I am facing with my health?

The thought came to my mind to keep Blogging and it was from that day that I decided to take blogging serious. My husband bought me a pin board and I made a plan. I brainstormed and organised categories and built my pages online. I announced to my friends that I had a 5-year plan to become a professional blogger, raise awareness about my condition and get the Adrenal Pump I need.

Many people said, good on you and others (recently told me)  thought I was crazy. They did not see Blogging as a serious career option and thought to themselves, I was dreaming.

However I set to work and I learnt as I blogged. I met a friend called Becky The Cuddle Fairy, She was one of my first Twitter friends. I got into a conversation and discovered linkys. This is a way to share your blog posts with other bloggers and be part of a blogging community. I discovered some fabulous bloggers and started reading blogging tips.

I read about a Blogging Convention in London called BritMums. I asked my husband to buy me a ticket and off we went. I was in the wheelchair but we attended the convention. I learnt all about making money as a blogger. I learnt how to pitch, how to improve blog photos, how to publish and work with PR. I also spent a long time talking with lots of PR companies and brands.

At Britmums I sold myself to Parragon. I wanted to take part in the book buddy scheme and I told them about my past as an early years teacher and my love of books. They gave me two books and asked me to review one. I agreed. I then met another PR team who happen to contact me a few months later and are now someone I work with regular.

After Britmums, I got my first sponsored post. I reviewed the Parragon book and created a competition. After the competition I pitched to become a book buddy and was successful. We started to receive a monthly book to review. I wasn’t 100% confident in myself but I started to pitch regularly. Sometimes I was successful, other times I was ignored or rejected, but the little jobs came and I began to collaborate with brands. I got my first Ambassador role with a clothing boutique and more opportunities to review.

It was in July that I got an email asking me to travel to London to take part in a Health campaign. This was my first big thing! How could I say no! I agreed to go to London and meet Dr Pixie from ITV and learn about Cervical cancer. The only problem was, we had no accommodation, so I pitched to the Premier Inn to review a London Hotel and they said yes. This gave me a boost of confidence and I pitched to the people in charge of Buckingham Palace. They said I had to fill in an application and they would either invite me or not.

The day before we arrived in London I got an email inviting us to visit Buckingham Palace. I could not believe it! We had a wonderful few days in London and then I had a lot to blog about when we got home. My blog was growing at a good pace and I kept working each day to grow, join linky’s and improve.

I did all the work for the Boutique who agreed to have me as an Ambassador and when the time came for them to pay me there was no reply. I rang and emailed and rang again and each time the owner said, she would pay but she never did. I learnt the hard way, some people will just use you and not pay, however someone at BritMums said, what goes around comes around and If someone rips you off or breaks an agreement the word can get out pretty quickly and it can ruin reputations. I chose not to spread the word, although I am mentioning it here as it was part of my learning journey.

In August I was awarded a website award and then the local paper wanted to write an article about my blogging and health story. I got more work and started to grow my audience even more. I worked hard at twitter every day and neglected facebook as I didn’t really enjoy using it. For the first 8 months I only focussed on twitter. Then In October I realised the huge gap between social media following might not be a good idea. I started to work on Pinterest and Instagram and finally in November I started to try and grow my Facebook following.

In September I began to have a lot more page views than ever before. I had written a post about my health and it went nuts. It wasn’t viral but had about 50 times more views than the average post. I began to see what kind of posts got more views and what did not. I decided it was time to do more research and started studying more about blogging. At the same time I was fine tuning my blog and getting more and more opportunities.

One opportunity which I can’t reveal the company due to a non-disclosure agreement asked me to attend an online Meeting. I was part of a workshop with some other bloggers and we were asked lots of questions to help the company know how to run their campaign. This was an eye-opening experience for me and I learnt so much about how other bloggers worked. Things I never knew which would be really helpful for my own blog.

I then had two months which were very quiet. I did not hear much from PR and I decided to stop pitching as my health took a nose dive. Around this time I heard about DA. I was like, what is a DA? I had no idea. I studied and found out and later on wrote a blog post all about it. My new goal was to get my DA from 19 to 30. I asked a popular blogger how to do this and she advised me to just create good content each day and look for opportunities for backlinks. Blogging success takes time months and years and I was on the right path.

I have a lot of experience when it comes to writing. My first degree was in education and English and I did creative writing and wrote lots of articles and book reviews for uni. I decided to put my talents to work and write an article to submit for The Mighty. I was successful. They published my article and told me I was a great writer asking for more content. This was a huge thing for me and boosted my confidence.

I then saw that the MumpreneurUK Awards were coming up and I decided to enter. Why not give it a shot I thought. I got an email saying I was a finalist. I was quite shocked as I was competing against some brilliant bloggers. I was not expecting to win at all and was blown away when my name was called out. It was a moment I won’t forget.

My husband and my friends had been telling me for months I was a good blogger and that I had a talent but I had been in denial. I really didn’t think I was that good, my self-esteem has been low for years but the Award helped me to see that I am good at this and I slowly started to change the way I see myself. I began putting makeup on once a week and brushing my hair more often. I finally started to believe in myself.

I have really struggled with my self-worth for many years and blogging has helped me to learn to love myself once more. In December all was quiet for two weeks and then suddenly I was swamped. My DA was at 29 and the emails did not stop. I was offered some exciting opportunities for January.

I’ve had a nice quite break over the New Year and I have another show and a few small products to be reviewed. I’m about to have a major operation and plan to go slow over the next two months. I’ve written quite a few posts in advance and I intend to pick up and build my blog once more around March once I have recovered.

I no longer think I’m a rubbish blogger. I believe I have a talent and plan to develop this and work really hard like last year to continue building my blog. I feel more happy about my life and am pleased I’m helping others through my writing and experience sharing. This year is not going to be easy, especially not the first half, but I have the blog to share my feelings and help me through it all.

I’m finally putting myself first and loving myself the way I should. This was the first Christmas I felt comfortable having gifts, I used to feel awkward like I didn’t deserve them for some reason but this year I was happy and felt I did deserve them. I deserve to be happy and I deserve Christmas Presents.

I’ve finally broken free of the false messages I’d been given by certain men back when I was in abusive relationships and it has taken a loving relationship, making friends and my blogging journey to get there. Some people say “I can’t”. I’ve learnt to say “How can I?”. I’ve learnt that I am important and my dreams and goals are valid. I can eventually earn a full-time income blogging and become financially successful.

I’ll keep blogging this year and do my best to build upon the foundation of 2015. I’ll continue learning and fitting all the jigsaw pieces of blogging together and I’ll continue to grow my self-esteem. I’ll not let anyone tell me that I am worthless or rubbish or a failure because I’m not. I’m me and I love being me.

I may be physically unwell a lot of the time but I have a talent for blogging and so (with the support of my husband) I will blog as often as I can and those who think I’m crazy or that blogging is not a realistic career option can think what they like because I plan to be successful and I plan to get well and then earn a living doing something I love.

This is my life. This is my journey so far and I am really quite excited.

Angela x