From blog to business and back again

Hello there lovely readers! I hope you are having a good day. I am here today to share some news about my blogging and this blog. If you have followed me for a long time you might remember how this blog all started. It was called ‘The Startup Wife’ and I wrote it at first as a way of getting my head around the crazy life of the wife of an entrepreneur who was working insane hours in London, while I went slowly mad in a small town in the home counties with our 3 young children. This was before we had 4 little ones. And before we’d worked out that my work was kind of important too! (Not that either of us every belittled anything I was doing at the time but the all in focus had to be on Stef's company at the time). 

I blogged to help me live my best life. I loved it. It connected me to people all over the world even on the days when I didn't venture further than the local park. As well as writing and sharing to keep sane it was also part of a bigger plan to build my own business. It was great for that too. Fast forward a few years and that entrepreneur working insane hours is now working with me full time from home! 

Blog to Business

The Start-Up Wife changed it's name to Makelight when I saw that my workshops were becoming popular and the work I was doing alongside the blog was growing. Along the way this blog had to grow with Makelight and I haven’t always been able to write what I’ve wanted to. The space has changed. I went from blog to business and it's amazing and wonderful that I did that and it's totally right that my blogging space became our blogging space and it moved from a personal space to a business space.

It all makes sense and I don't have any regrets about how I have build Makelight out of my blog but jeez I have missed having my own space. A space where I can write in a way that feels totally free.

This month we have been focussing on blogging in the Makelight Membership, so I have been really thinking about all of this a lot more than usual. I read this great piece in our new Makelight Medium Publication by one of our members, Bex of Cup of Tea and a Bex and I thought yes, this is what writing a personal blog is all about. I really remembered the importance of writing for myself....even if there is no-one reading it. I lead a very full life, our house is a busy one and sometimes I just need a little space to call my own...even if it is a virtual one. 

Blog to Business and back again : makelight

And back again

So, this blog is going to become my very own Journal (because for years I've wanted a journal instead of a blog .... totally the same thing of course but I do love the name so much more!) and Makelight will have its own blog where Stef and I will both write. Stef needs to work some tech magic to make this happen and we’re having a bit of a crazy week here, doing that stressful ‘startup life behind the scenes stuff that you can only talk about at some point in the future’ and also trying to get everything sorted before half-term begins on Friday afternoon. Sorting out my blogging space has understandably slipped to the bottom or our to-do list. 

But…in my true style I’m just going to get on with it as if the top of this page and the URL and whatever else may happen here have changed. It will change all in good time and I’m hoping that you’ll just imagine it’s all sorted and just enjoy the posts I’m going to share here! 

I hope you will stick with me! xo

Vulnerable Blogging

Putting yourself into the spotlight online can be quite a daunting experience. Now that we have kids, especially, we both have to think quite carefully about what we put online and what we don’t. But even if you don’t, just taking that first step and writing online can feel intimidating for lots of reasons.

One thing I know that worries first-time bloggers is that perhaps they’ll put something online and someone somewhere will take issue with it and they’ll end up with someone “trolling” in response, or even worse with ongoing harassment as a result.

That worry that one day we’ll have to deal with someone being unusually nasty is something that we both talk about from time to time. Bad stuff happens and from time to time you hear about a prominent blogger having to take a break from it as a result.

You could take a view that the best thing to do would be to have a very “at arm's length” approach to writing online. To reinforce yourself from any of that risk by being slightly impersonal in what you write. And that works for business blogs and if you’re doing “content marketing” rather than writing from the heart.

We’ve both learned, though, that if you write from the heart, and don’t just talk about the highs – how life is one long Instagram success-fest, well, you find a certain type of person takes note and follows along. 

That’s the approach that we’ve both taken – Stef is always tweeting not just about the successes, the wins, the highs, but the stuff that hasn’t worked along the way. Sometimes you can’t go into too much detail when things aren’t going so well, but it’s all part of the process. Without a little struggle, your whole story can look pretty dull from the outside.

Blogging is about telling a story, and none of the major basic plot structures of any well-known stories are entirely lacking in any form of struggle. In fact, the struggle is a big part of them!

So we’ve decided to be somewhat vulnerable in our writing over the years. To put ourselves in the spotlight occasionally, and not hold back from talking about some of the struggles along the way. But that’s in moderation. People equally don’t appreciate following along for someone’s constant tales of how things aren’t going well. You’ve got to have the right balance. Vulnerable enough to give people a sense of the reality of what you’re doing. Stand-offish enough to give an air of mystery and to help them something of themselves in what you write about.

I think people will begin tiring of the overly-polished Instagram life. There are so many apps that can remove all the blemishes, clone out the strangers in the background, fill in those shadows, crop out the imperfect world around your perfect moment. That’s not to say that we’ll all want to see every detail of the lives of others, but understanding how much of your own reality into your writing and how you represent yourself online is something I’d encourage us all to think about.

One last thought is about positivity. The world can throw things at you and your plans might not work out all the time, but you can still be positive through it without dismissing those events. We both try to be positive and support other people to do what they’re doing. That’s why we’ve made Makelight in the first place! If you can stick to something like that, where you’re able to balance up talking about some of the honest reality of your life, but putting that in the overall context that you’re striving towards things being awesome, you’re probably on a good path. 

At least, that’s what we’re always trying to do. Balance up being positive, talking about possibilities and futures as-yet-unmade, with a little reality, a little vulnerability and not being too self-involved along the way. It’s tough to achieve, and we’re not there yet by any means, but these are the things we talk about when we’re asking ourselves “what shall I write today?” Have a think – when were you last vulnerable in a post or are you mostly presenting a veneer to the world?

Anthropologie Workshop

Last year I was lucky enough to run an Instagram workshop in my favourite store and this year they invited me back to hold another one. What a total joy! Thank you for having me again Anthropologie, Regent Street. 

I am only doing a handful of workshops this year, so that made it even more special. 

This year I had a beautiful space one the first floor of the shop, overlooking Regent Street, with beautiful natural light from the big industrial style windows. What a joy! And like last year I was able to wander round the store with one of their big baskets, collecting beautiful props for everyone to photograph during the workshop. This year two Makelight Members, who had arrived early, helped me with this task, which made it even more fun. Thank you Vaani and Ju!  

During the workshop I talked about the importance of story telling in your images, developing a style, how to get the most from your smartphone photographing and tips for styling, composing and editing your images. This was followed by time to practise with the gorgeous Anthropologie props and then of course we couldn't finish without a good old chat about how to grow your following and reach your audience. 

It was so lovely to meet some Makelight Members for the first time, see some familiar faces and of course to meet some new people too. Thank you so much for coming everyone. And a huge thank you to Anthropologie for hosting me again. xo

Emily Quinton at Anthropologie : Makelight
Emily Quinton at Anthropologie : Makelight
Emily Quinton at Anthropologie : Makelight
Emily Quinton at Anthropologie : Makelight
Emily Quinton at Anthropologie : Makelight

Thank you for the photos above Vaani! xo

Emily Quinton at Anthropologie : Makelight
Emily Quinton at Anthropologie : Makelight
Emily Quinton at Anthropologie : Makelight
Emily Quinton at Anthropologie : Makelight
Emily Quinton at Anthropologie : Makelight
Emily Quinton at Anthropologie : Makelight