I have been blogging for over 2 years now. I devote nearly every other weekend to taking pictures, editing posts and finding new inspiration. It has become so much more than a hobby to me. Recently I have began brain storming new ideas to get more brand exposure and to take my blog to the next level. My dream is to make a career out of blogging. I am more than willing to take baby steps but I have been feeling like I have been taking baby steps for far too long. I spend a lot of time creating content, and blogging hasn't felt as rewarding as it once was. It was almost like I had a part time job for the past two years, but I haven't been making any income from it (what's the point of that, right?!). After contemplating for over 3 months I decided to release merchandise to sell on my blog. It was I way I could pick up some revenue and get my name out there at the same time.
I began designing merchandise that I would sell on my blog and promote through various platforms. To be completely honest, it wasn't something that I was making a huge profit off of. It was more of a way to get my creative juices flowing and to expand my brand by getting my name out there. I thought it was a step in the right direction. My first release was a camouflaged hooded sweatshirt with "ROSEWOOD" embroidered on it front and center. I was so proud of myself for creating a tangible product from computer cads and post it notes. I was planning to release the clothing on my website but I had to finish designing the online store. I was too excited to wait, so I began selling them through my Instagram account and also through word of mouth. When someone reached out for a hoody, I would meet them wherever was most convenient for them and sell them their hoody right from the back of my trunk. I kept all of my merchandise in my trunk because it was convenient to keep it all in one spot. I travel a lot for work and I am hardly home. I wanted to always have the merchandise on me so I would never lose an opportunity to make a sale.
One morning I walked out to my car to go to work. My passenger side doors were opened and so was my trunk. I looked in my trunk and everything was gone. I mean everything. Someone broke into my car and stole all of my merchandise. They didn't leave anything else in my car either. They took my spare tire, owner's manual, registration, insurance card, Givenchy sunglasses, car charger, lint roller and even my opened pack of sunflower seeds. I was devastated. All of the money I invested and time spent into creating my merchandise was ripped from me.
I began to give up hope, not just in my blog but in other areas in my life to. With the added stress in my personal life, I began questioning many aspects of my life. I began to doubt my skills, my potential and my passion. I questioned myself over and over again if I should keep blogging. I spend so much time and effort but felt like absolutely nothing good was emerging from my trials and tribulations.
At this point I haven't been to church in over a year. I once was a prayer warrior, and now I might only pray at family dinners or on a monthly basis. I was losing my faith in God and that is why it was so easy for me to give up after how far I have come.
I began praying more. I asked God for guidance and prayed that he would place the right mentors and connections in my life. I also decided to start going to church again. It felt amazing to feel his presence and realize he has been with me, even though I was not with him.
Opportunities started coming my way, and I wouldn't call it a coincidence. Shortly after I started seeking God again, I found out I was going to partner with a major brand. It was exactly what I was praying for and needed to help me find hope again. I was ready to give blogging another shot.
Last week I commuted to work in New York City. It was like any other Wednesday. On the way home from work a gentleman named Isaiah sat next to me on the train ride back to Philadelphia. If you commute to NYC then you know that people don't normally speak to you. Everyone typically just keeps to themselves. This man asked me to plug his phone charger in and we started talking about our jobs and our backgrounds. I began telling him about my blog. A typical quiet hour and a half train ride, turned into a hour and a half train ride that I will never forget. Isaiah helped me plan out my business. He taught me about website analytics and the importance of understanding data. He gave me different websites to reference and helped me expand on my ideas. He literally drew me a "mind map" out. It was amazing that a complete stranger sat next to me on the train and changed my whole outlook on life.
I was losing hope. I was ready to give up at any moment. I was raised in a Christian home, so I knew all along that I should have seeked God. I should have remained faithful to God and not lose patience in his timing. I wanted to share my story today, because not everyone knows to seek God when they have lost all hope.
Hope is easy to lose and it is a million times harder to find. Hope has a name and his name is JESUS.
Don't ever give up! - The best is yet to come.