Today I’m excited to hear from Lisa Butler, the creative force behind Elembee. As a colleague and friend, I’ve been continually amazed and inspired by Lisa’s blog journey — trust me when I say, her blog and business as it existed several years ago is totally different than the clear, cohesive vision you see today. Many people don’t know that Lisa started off as a lifestyle blogger, whereas nowadays, she writes fantastic, useful content on running a creative small business. How did she make such a huge shift, and what was that like? Read on to get advice from a blogger!
When I first started blogging, I didn’t really have a vision for my blog — unless you count “use all fonts” and “use all Photoshop filters” as vision. At the time, I worked as an in-house designer for a non-profit, and I felt my creativity was chained to this thing called “brand standards.”
Over time, I really got in a groove with lifestyle posts — interviews on Mondays, style on Tuesdays, home on Wednesdays, etc, etc. I loved it. The more inspiration I posted, the more creatively fulfilled I felt. I started seeing the effects in all areas of my life — I had fun getting dressed in the morning, I enjoyed coming home to my own little decorated space at night. I guess you could say my vision for my blog during that time was to improve my life by searching for inspiration for the life I wanted. It was the creative outlet I had been craving.
But then, my business grew. Clients found me through my blog, referred more clients who also checked out my blog, and I finally decided to just combine my business site and blog. I came to realize that the heart of my brand was, well, me, and it clearly wasn’t hurting my business to share the more personal lifestyle posts.
The more design projects I took on, the more creative freedom I felt through my work, and the less I needed creative fulfillment through my blog posts. So I started writing about my work. Just one post a week at first — I was afraid my readers wouldn’t like the change. That fear was unfounded. I received more comments and shares on that weekly column than the rest combined.
As I left my job and pursued my business full time, I had all the creative fulfillment I needed through my work. Lifestyle posts became a drag. I no longer relished spending hours searching through Pinterest, carefully crafting a graphic, writing something about it, then adding all those links. I just wanted to write. That’s when I knew it was time to make a change.
So I simply started writing more about the work I do and less about lifestyle inspiration. At the time, I had committed to a year-long travel project featuring blogger favorites from every state in the U.S. By the middle of the year, it was the only lifestyle topic I continued blogging about, and only for the sake of finishing the project. In fact, most readers commented on my surveys that it was their least favorite!
The final post in that series was my last lifestyle post. These days, I simply write about the topics I’m dealing with in my business and answer questions I get from clients and readers. In June, I even stopped creating graphics for my posts so I could focus on writing — quite the 180 from my original vision!
I’m sure that I lost some readers in the process, but most of them stuck around — and overall, readership grew. The responses to my posts now continue to be far better than I ever experienced with my lifestyle posts. Plus, my posts attract like-minded clients to my business. Furthermore, I enjoy blogging again — and at the end of the day, that’s what matters most. You’ll never attract the readers and clients you want if you don’t enjoy what you’re doing.
What made the transition from my old vision to the new one work was the incremental changes I made over time. If you’re feeling discomfort with your current vision, make one small change toward a new vision — maybe just one post to test the waters, both for your readers and for yourself. You don’t have to overhaul everything at once. And don’t be afraid to lose readers — you’re just making space for readers who are more enthusiastic about what you do.