If you know me well, you will know that Myleik Teele is someone who inspires me on the daily; not just because she offers proof that hard work reaps rewards (check out her awesome company, Curl Box), but also because she is real. Well, as real as anyone can be when you only know them via social media. I've been listening to her podcasts for some time now, but I really wanted to share some thoughts on one of her most recent ones, with the founder of the hugely popular gossip site, necolebitchie.com, Necole Kane. The subject matter is why and how Necole made the massive decision of leaving her site behind to start something new. My takeaways are a blend of personal and business points that really matter to me right now.
Turning a blog into a business is tough
Necole talks of when she made the decision to take more control of her web business. Instead of working with agencies to find advertising and paying them a hefty commission, she decided to take on her own sales team. Now not only did she have to pay the team, but that payment relied solely on the fact that the team actually got the sales in.
“Before all I had to do was put (meta) tags on my site and blog, and travel, and have fun, now I’ve got to worry about who we’re pitching the site to – this is a real business. This isn’t what I envisioned,” remembers Necole.
I think this realisation is something that none of us can be prepared for. I mean, we can ‘prepare’ in the sense that we get all our facts and figures all nice and neat in our brand new Moleskin notebook, but things turn real pretty soon when you realise you have an accountant to deal with, and staff to pay and interns looking to you for career development. At the same time, there also seems to be a belief that starting a blog means that soon you'll be making tons of cash - certainly not true for the average blogger.
Personally this was one of the reasons that I chose to go it alone; since working by myself, I feel that things have become more streamlined, and if I make a mistake, it’s completely on me. Yes, it sucks that I don't have an amazing intern who's there to help with just about anything, and maybe I don't get invited to as many events, and I no longer have a shoulder to cry on in the form of a business partner when it comes to business woes, but I do get to do exactly what I want. That doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t ever work in a partnership or a job again though (I hope you’re reading this Myleik!).
There’s value in being transparent
Necole explains that when she was running Necole Bitchie, everything and anything could be a story, so whether she was watching something on Snapchat or scrolling through Instagram, everything soon became work. She was constantly switched on, which meant she had zero time to invest in herself.
“I cannot tell you who I am as a person,” says Necole, describing how she felt once she left the site, and the scoops, behind.
Now, Necole didn’t have to tell us a damned thing about her transition from popular gossip blog owner to someone starting over in a similar yet different arena. She also didn’t have to tell us about her boob job, and her decision to take out the implants later on. Necole says; “I went to fix something…only made it worse, and ended up getting them taken out anyway.” Like I say, Necole didn’t have to tell us any of this, but I loved that fact that she chose to share it. I, like many women, including Myleik, have had times when we’re like, ‘when I get this, I’m going to change that’, but Necole is someone who has been there and done it, and is honest enough to say that it isn’t all it’s made out to be. In this day and age with teens getting implants and shaving their facial planes, it’s good to see the other side of things. Plus, the reality of having all this surgery and glam squads on call is that it costs MONEY.
Quality will always trump quantity
Necole breaks down when she discusses her transition, and admits that she went from one backbreaking business that cost her money, to jumping into another one, that also drained her financially. She was doing what she knew, and, because of where she came from, she was doing it big.
“I naturally felt like, I know how to do websites, so I’m going to create another website. But I went and created another website and gave myself twice as much stress as the last website. And that was so profound to me,” says Necole. “I got to the point where I was like, you have to restructure your business. Quality over quantity; you don’t have to put out eight to 10 posts a day…” she continues.
I think this is a major issue in the world of content. So many people blog, or write, or create but a massive percentage of them are creating things that really aren’t of much substance. Typos, and grammar that leaves a lot to be desired aside, we’ve become so used to listicles and top 10s that some of us are missing out on real stories that make us feel less alone in our own experiences. Don’t get me wrong, I know many bloggers, for example, make their money by constantly producing ‘something’ on a daily basis, but I believe their audience will soon switch off when they feel shortchanged.
(It’s the same with social media followers. I talk to my clients about organic growth, which takes time, yet so many prefer to spend cash on fast fixes. But when your followers grow swiftly from 3,000 to 10,000, yet your interaction level is still around 100 likes per image, it’s obvious that there’s really no such thing as a quick fix, and those bought followers will never stick or turn into paying customers.)
You can do something else
Even if you don’t know what it is that you want to do next, you might, like Necole, experience relief when you decide to walk away. Sometimes we just need to breathe.
“I felt like I was dying, every single day. This was not the life I wanted for myself,” Necole admits.
Your life will not fall apart if you leave something behind – even if it’s hugely popular and making you some serious money. Your friends will still be your friends, if they really are your friends. As Myleik says, ‘you just hope that you get to have a happy ending’. Well, staying in something that makes you uncomfortable/miserable/depressed right down to your core, isn’t getting you any closer to happy, is it?
Don’t worry about what anyone might say or think about your decision. Necole says she had a moment where she felt like she was failing, and the thought of going back to the start left her distraught. When she uttered these words I just sighed, and cried, because truly, this is something I’m still going through today; all I’ve ever known is that I love to write, and that I’m obsessed with beauty. But 12 years into a journalistic career, I haven’t found my home. I’ve tried – and ‘failed’ – at building a business, and I placed a lot of expectations on that. There were a lot of, ‘by this time we should be earning XXXX, which means I can finally do x, y or z,’ moments. So that not working out kinda left me feeling stranded. But, like Myleik says, “I am still here.”
Believe me, I could go on and on, but I'm on deadline right now! Please make some time and go listen for yourself; you will not regret it.
Visit Necole's new site, xonecole.com and for more of Myleik's podcasts, visit https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/myleik-teeles-podcast/id942696396?mt=2