The Melissa Creates story.
I’ve been asked 3 billion times how and why I started blogging so I decided to share my story. My goal is to inspire you and show you how hard this girl works. Here’s my biggest secret, ready??? I work really really hard. Did I mention really hard? I want to inspire pretty parties, fancy table settings, recipe creations that blow your friends away and all that entertaining related jazz. My passions shine on Melissa Creates and here’s the full how when and why.
In 2010 I was talking with a friend at work and she suggested I start a blog to show off my parties and cupcakes (at that time cupcakes were all the rage). I need to text her and thank her again for suggesting blogging. I had no clue how to blog and did no research, I simply jumped right in. I went to blogger, signed up and started sharing photos from my gatherings. Our annual wine party (we called it the Catalina Wine Mixer) was my very first post and I thought I would get 17389 emails about it. I got zero, but at that point in my life I was board. Gasp! Board?! My husband returned to college full time in a new city where we had no family or friends. When he had his nose stuck in books 24/7 and when I got home from work I had time on my hands. Here is where I need to share that I prefer to be busy all the time. It’s hard for me to just sit around or just watch tv, it’s not my nature. So, naturally I signed up for night classes to further my education, signed up for a Wilton Baking class at my local craft store and some how I still felt board so I put a bit more time into the blog simply for fun with no agenda. I loved setting a pretty table for the holidays and baking sweets so much that I could talk about it daily and that’s just what I did… even if only a few people on the interweb joined me.
One day I noticed people actually made an income off blogging and I was mind blown. How did I not know about this before I started my blog? Should I start all over? What did I do wrong? Instead of starting over I changed my blog name from Truly Chic Inspirations to Melissa Creates and did hours and hours and hours of research. I attended the Martha Stewart Dreamers into Doers event in New York City and my eyes where wide open after that. The Dreamers into Doers is no longer around but it was an amazing online community for creatives and I was lucky enough to snag a seat at the event! I learned so much about blogging and what it takes to run a creative business at that event and came home fired up! Later that same year I began writing content for a popular website. I was making money! Oh.my.goodness.
In 2012 I had grown my content, following and site stats enough to get sponsored content opporutnites on the blog. I had worked so hard for almost 2 years growing my little blog and was so proud to be at this place. Do I wish I would have approached things differently with more research on blogs? YES. But I am also proud to say that I did all of this myself without any assistance and with little to no money because I was supporting a full time student. *My parents paid for me to fly to NYC to the Martha Stewart event because they supported this dream of mine.
So inspired by what I had done from the ground up I created and hosted Blog Fete, an Orlando based conference for creatives from 2013-2015. It was such fun and it’s something I get to say I did, yay me! I know first hand how much work it takes to run a business and I wanted creative entrepreneurs to come hang with me and chat business for the weekend and we did just that!
In 2014 I attended Alt Summit in Salt Lake City and paid for the ticket with blog post earnings. The ticket to this event is a bit costly and then you have to factor flight and hotel arrangements so it was no small fee. I realized I have to look at events like this as continuing education as any career does and thankfully I was making enough money on the blog to cover all expenses. While the Martha Stewart event was a game changer Alt Summit changed my life. The content given there boosted my confidence like never before. I started to proudly share my abilities instead of hiding behind them online hoping to land work. After this conference I began to pitch myself to companies and learn that hearing no and no and no is ok! To grow my business and make a living I needed to have confidence and truly go after it and that means asking companies to work with you which isn’t easy to do. If you’ve sent an email that makes you nervous you’re doing it right, girl.
In 2015 I was making enough income off my blog through sponsored content and brand partnerships along with freelance work for other sites that I was able to leave my full time job and work from home. It was glorious and proof that years and years of hard work truly does pay off.
In 2015 we welcomed our first child and in late 2016 we welcomed our second child. In 2017 I decided it was time to give my energy to my little boys so I limited my work and took about an 8 month maternity leave from Melissa Creates. It hurt to take such a leave from the site but I knew I wanted to soak up that time with the boys. I don’t regret it, but I am so very excited to be starting 2018 diving back into all things Melissa Creates!
To sum it up, work really hard and you can achieve so much. If you have a passion for food, pretty tables or books or whatever your heart tells you go for it! Share it, share it and then share it. If your goal is to make your passion your career know that it doesn’t happen over night and that there isn’t a guide that tells you step by step how to do so. Give yourself grace, learn from your mistakes and don’t slow down on giving energy to the things that set your heart on fire.
Know that when I share content it’s done with so much thought and with my readers in mind. Know that when I’m sharing sponsored content of any sort that I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to do so because I’m providing for my family and showcasing companies that we all know and love too! I have landed my dream job, but I didn’t land it without working hard.
What’s to come for Melissa Creates? Each year I sit down and think about what I’ve accomplished and then think about the tons of things I want to do! In 2018 I hope to grow in leaps and bounds. My goal is to grow Melissa Creates even more to provide for my boys and to show them that you can do whatever you want in life.