I’ve been meaning to do this post for ages now. I thought it could be fun to look back on how exactly I came to find myself in this position online, and it was of course through starting my blog. It’s funny because nowadays people’s online focus does tend to be more on their social media channels, as opposed to blog posts. Everyone is so busy these days that fast content is what people want, and I guess if you’re in the space, you just have to be responsive to what people really want to see each day. I wanted to bring it back though to how this little space of mine began just under three years ago, and why I started.
So, to paint you the picture…I had been working for less than a year on the Digital Media team in Glanbia when I decided to move to New York. I was moving over on the J1 graduate visa and I knew that I would be totally up against it when competing for jobs so I was trying to figure out ways that I could set myself apart. I didn’t have any impressive work experience or grades from college. I was an average student who just about managed to get the coveted 2:1. I knew that I wanted to work in the digital/social media space, and I definitely wasn’t going to be picky when it came to opportunities. One day I literally took out my CV and figured out how I was going to bulk up this piece of paper with relevant topics and skills. I wanted to try and cover as much of the digital and social spectrum as I could.
My undergraduate degree was in Business Information Systems so it wasn’t too relevant to this area of work, except for a few modules that I did in my final year. At this point, I was almost finished my online Postgraduate Diploma in Digital Marketing (more on that here) so I knew that I had a huge amount covered in that which would make me very employable. I also thought that Google Analytics would look good, so I did the online assessments and got certified in that. I tried to get certified in Google Adwords but ultimately got a bit overwhelmed so I bailed on that idea pretty quickly. This was all done in my spare time after my 9-5 job. I did have a lot of free time at the weekends, since I was saving like a mad woman, so I just threw myself into upskilling.
In the summer of 2015, I had the digital side of things pretty well covered. Given everything I was doing in work and in my spare time, I was very confident in my abilities. Social media was something that I was so intrigued by and something that was kind of just starting to take off here in Ireland. In my role in Glanbia, I spent a lot of time monitoring different athletes and their social media for the brands that we worked with. This was three years ago, so blogging was definitely a thing that lots of people were doing, but I myself only followed a handful of people. I was definitely interested in bloggers and watching them evolve online, but I never thought that I would have a blog myself.
How it started
One day I got it into my head that I should know how to build and design a website. I thought it would be a good idea to build myself a sort of online CV and showcase my abilities through that. I had done some research on different job specs in New York and this just seemed like a good skill to have. I thought that it might be impressive and help me to stand out a bit more. I bullied my friend Karen into teaching me exactly how to do everything, and that is literally how I learned how to use WordPress, thanks Karen!!! I found the design part really easy weirdly enough (would you believe that I was actually not bad at coding when I did it in my undergrad?!), so at this point I was absolutely flying! I had my website set up (albeit completely blank), and I was delighted with myself. Then things changed…It’s a long story, but one evening I was cleaning a handheld blender with my finger, and accidentally turned it on in the process. It was a messy affair and I ended up in hospital for a week, surgery to try and put everything back together, and I was in a cast (housebound as I couldn’t drive) for TWO MONTHS! I ended up getting sick leave from work though which was the dream. This time off work really was pivotal in my decision to start the blog.
Between the jigs and the reels of building the website, and the accident, somewhere along the way I decided that I was going to start blogging. I don’t remember how the idea came into my head exactly, but I remember thinking that blogging while I was in New York would be really cool to have to look back on. I also had two months off work to do nothing, so I started posting recipes on my website and that’s what I began with. After hours and hours of brainstorming with my mum and sister, we decided on the name Cinnamon Soul. I don’t remember who exactly came up with it but I knew I liked the sound of it. I was posting away and taking photos but no one apart from my friends in work and a few others knew it existed.
In the beginning
I remember so clearly the night that I shared the blog on my personal social media. My friend Sadhbh and I had just come back from a spa weekend and she just kept urging me to bite the bullet and share it. I am not joking when I say that the idea physically turned my stomach. I didn’t eat for a day and a half when I shared it because I was so paranoid and nervous, I was almost in tears over it! It’s so funny to look back on and think about how I felt, because those feelings have pretty much fully left me now. I think there will always be a tiny element of self consciousness in me but I’ll get over it!
When I moved to New York I started to post a lot more regularly, documenting my experience and talking about anything and everything that I was interested in. It was hard to keep on top of it all when I was working and enjoying life over there, but it was all part of the experience and I just loved every second of it!
My advice for anyone starting out
I definitely think that for anyone wanting to start a blog, it would be so daunting to start right now. There’s no denying that it’s a saturated space. But if it’s what you want to do, then I would urge you to ignore that fact, try and block out the noise and negativity at the moment, put your head down, and get to work. If you’re starting for the right reasons, are relatable and honest, good things will come, just be patient. I feel like things are only just starting to pick up for me now, three years later, but all good things take time. I think it’s really important to remember that as you grow and have more eyes on you, there is a huge need to be responsible in what you put out there, and if you bear that in mind I genuinely don’t think you will have anything to worry about.
I hope you enjoyed this post, I really enjoyed putting it together! If you yourself have a blog I would love to hear how you got started, everyones story and reasons are always so different.
Photos by Bríd ❤️