I write about being a blogger a lot. I guess it’s because I love it so much and it genuinely is a real passion of mine. In the last 4 years I have always felt the desire to want to sit down and write, and have personally got so much out of it all.
But – as I often say – even though there are plenty of bloggers and freelancers within the virtual world (and a great deal of online support networks) it can still be a tough industry to be a part of.
It can be competitive at times, as well as very isolated. Plus, when you don’t meet up face-to-face with the people you regularly engage with it’s harder to have proper working relationships with them as you would sitting alongside them in a workplace.
Also, one of THE hardest parts of being an influencer and blogger is putting yourself ‘out there’ day after day. When you’re the face of your brand, business, blog, Instagram etc there can be occasions when you struggle to stay empowered and confident. Producing content feels a REAL struggle, at times.
You start comparing yourself to others. Self-doubt creeps in. Especially when you feel as though you’re making a lot of effort but getting little growth or low revenue.
How am I being perceived by my audience?
Is what I am sharing, OK?
Am I on the right track?
Why am I not as successful as those other bloggers?
It is fairly easy enough to get feedback from other bloggers and influencers online though. I’ve made some amazing friends over the last 4 years and these ladies are SO lovely and helpful to me whenever I have a wobble or need advice (and vice versa). They pick me up and I have learnt a lot from them. There are also a lot of freelance networks available and local events supporting new businesses/freelancers.
But, recently something amazing has happened to me that has meant that I’m now feeling more supported, confident, happy, driven and focused more than ever before.
I’ve started a 1-2-1 mentor relationship with another blogger.
Rachel from The Ordinary Lovely blog and I met via blogging about 3 years ago when I lived in North Wales. We met up a few times, joined similar facebook groups and bumped into each other at various events. Our paths crossed quite a lot. We quickly started a friendship and would message each other via text (often to complain at how tired we both were as a result of our children getting us up all through the night!).
Rachel and I are at the same stage in life; she has two little boys who are at school, she’s at the same level in blogging as me, she has similar life goals, a similar corporate and professional background, and – most importantly – we have a similar sense of humour!
But more recently our relationship has now evolved from a friendship, to one where she is actually helping me creatively, as well as helping me to grow and manage my business.
What’s a mentor?
Pre-twins, I worked in Human Resources for over 10 years and often mentored employees myself. I also helped set mentor relationships up in the workplace too – usually for new managers, or apprentices, or for people looking to change job direction. However, (as I always found), most people at all kinds of levels gain a lot from having a mentor as it’s personal 1-2-1 support and development.
Within blogging there are no set structures as you would experience within an office. No appraisals, no line manager, no HR department and no team. A mentor is thus a great idea for anyone running their own business, setting up a new venture, or for anyone who works in a freelance situation.
How does it work?
Rachel and I catch up via FaceTime every fortnight and we usually talk for a few hours. The call isn’t terribly formal; we leave it open enough to chat about anything that both of us want to cover, but sometimes we will suggest something to the other person to consider giving feedback on. It’s friendly and based purely on support. We discuss each other’s blogs and social media channels and talk through what’s working vs what isn’t.
We’re both mentoring each other – and we make sure both of us feels able to equally support each other.
In-between the calls we also share any good blog posts, articles of interest, advice on new opportunities etc.
How do I get started?
If you feel as though you’d benefit from something similar (I highly recommend it) then I’d suggest reaching out to find someone who you respect and trust – because these two things are imperative to the relationship. This is often why online forums don’t necessarily work as well as having a personal mentor, because there isn’t the same feeling as being open and honest to a group as when you’re on a 1-2-1 basis with someone you really value…and who totally gets you.
Somebody who won’t let you down too is important; Rachel and I are very reliable and make an effort to have our calls.
If you don’t know anyone like this then I suggest that you start making connections. Suggesting coffee with someone local who works in a similar line of work to you is ideal – start making friends with these people. You may feel as though you haven’t got time for it within your busy week, but if you think of all the times you have a wobble, or want to quit, or feel down, or lose your way – these kind of relationships will keep you on track and help to keep you positive.
Having a mentor can assist you to develop key skills within your industry and help you to realise and work towards your goals and ambitions. Sometimes though, it’s simply someone suggesting or mentioning something to you that then ignites an idea inside that gets your creative juices flowing.
Once you start reaching out to like minded-people it is amazing how many do want to meet up and chat about making their own business work! Try it!
So whether you have a very successful enterprise, or if you are completely starting a new solo venture, then I can assure you that you will get something from having a mentor. I’m excited for how mine develops over this year and am already buzzing at all the creativity I am feeling from it!
If you have any more questions then please don’t hesitate to contact me via any of my social media channels. I’m always happy to share more.
Love, Jess x