Martine de Luna - A Day in the Life Shoot - Photography by Lianne Bacorro-181

I am killing this blog.

There. I said it.

This blog has not been working and I couldn’t take it any longer, so I am killing it.

OK, ok, it all sounds emotional (and much like the beginning of a bad novel!), so let me take you back through the process of why I have decided to kill off some things on Make it Blissful.

First, a premise:

I am “killing” the way that I blog, not the blog itself.

If you’ve been following me for the past six years, you’ll know I started my blog in 2010, around the same time that I started offering my services as a freelance writer. I did this part time because I had other things to take care of, like a full-time job as a teacher (which I resigned from in mid-2010), a new full-time job as a content creator and copywriter for a startup, and a small family, too.

As much as the blog has grown, so has the work I have put into it. For perspective, here’s what the blogging journey has looked like for me so far:

2010.

The income from blogging started trickling in sometime end of 2010, beginning of 2011. Aside from my main job as a homebased content director for a company in the USA, I would take on writing jobs that I applied for on Craigslist and other online job listings. Combined with my regular work in the startup, I made a pretty good sideline income for the first six months of working from home that year. The blog was my “portfolio”, if you will. People could hop onto it, see my articles, and decide if they wanted to click my “work with me” tab and hire me.

2011.

Eventually, I started to take on more work related to the blog and being a blogger personality. I started to get recognized for my blog, too, bagging a 2011 Philippine Blog Award for Best Home & Parenting Blog, and a 2013 award by Little Steps Asia – Hong Kong for being one of their Top 10 Best Mom & Dad Blogs. It was during this time — mid 2011 to 2012 — that I did a lot of sponsored posts, branded content and gigs as a local blogger. Busy, busy, busy.

2012.

In 2012, I took on a new sideline around March, which I would call “blog coaching” because that’s what I felt I was doing. It began when bloggers would email me and ask me to critique their blogs. So I started to accept coaching clients once a week, doing blog critiques for them, and helping them to craft brands as bloggers so that they could attract their ideal readers and build their own influence. I got clients from Europe, Canada, Asia, and Australia, as well as the Philippines.

I felt good about doing this. It eventually expanded into a full service coaching package, complete with guided modules and a shadow-coaching collaboration with a network of website designers.

2013.

As I got more into blog coaching, I also started my first workshop that was on blogging in 2013. The workshops were successful, always booked out, always fun for me to do. Again, these were another sideline that turned out to be profitable and a good fit for those who were in the beginning stages of blogging.

2014 to 2015.

Between 2014 and 2015, blog coaching and blog workshops became a full-time job, and for the first time, viable income streams. From the start of 2014 to the middle of 2015, I was able to take around 40 blog coaching and branding projects. It was a crazy time of growth… and as it turned out, a growth that I could not handle.

Hitting the ceiling

It’s been three years since I had my first client for the blog coaching, and frankly, the business model isn’t working as it once was. Having a second child really threw me a curve ball, and I  had to reassess my systems (and lack of some essential systems, I should say.). The latter part of 2015 was the most difficult time in my freelance career, when I failed on projects that could have been carried out better. I failed clients and felt the effects of these failed projects. As a result, I didn’t feel like promoting myself or getting new clients, despite being in some of the best groups on Facebook, like Heather Crabtree’s and Jaclyn Smith’s.

(Still, new clients come all the time, and I am grateful for them. Thanks to my past clients, I have many referrals who are very happy with my coaching.)

I’ve also tried to “marry” the lifestyle blogger aspect with my being a blog coach, ever since 2014. It was manageable for a time, but for a while I’ve been feeling like I have one foot in, one foot out. I decline so many lifestyle engagements, endorsement opportunities, and private events for bloggers, because, well, they aren’t important to me. The “no’s” to RSVPs, the “sorry, I can’ts” to requests, left me feeling bad for the people who wanted to work with the “blogger personality” part of me.

I was divided.

I wasn’t fully committed to either.

And so, I came into 2016, not particularly confident as a blogger or a blog coach. I felt like a failure.

It affected blogging for me so much that I even wrote about my blogging sentiments, which went viral. It’s May of 2016, I’m still feeling the effects of last year!

But if there’s one thing I’ve learned about failure, it’s never to settle in it. John Maxwell’s adage, is to “fail forward” and let failure be a teacher, a motivator, a means.

In spite of the failures I had in the blogging department, I looked ahead to what could be done. I went back to the heart of Make it Blissful — to create something inspiring out of something imperfect — and looked to others. In spite of the failings with clients, the universe still looked kindly on me and kept me going.

As 2016 unfolded, I launched a new workshop series, one heavy on partnerships and community over collaboration. I’ve been so happy to produce events for my collaborators, and help grow the small businesses of others. It always feels good to lift others up!

On the blog coaching side, I’ve been working on my failures with my mentors (and soon, my business coach) to create more effective systems that will work with my clients, so that they will be completely satisfied.

Most importantly, I’ve been able to allot days l I don’t do anything blog and work related, so that we can homeschool (actually, unschool) as a family and live more slowly. This is something I didn’t balance well last year, and it affected both my work and the children. I’ve also worked up to having two days for real exercise, which is something I’ve neglected, too.

I am focusing on what matters.

I’m working with a very select few clients for the blog coaching, so that I can give the best of my abilities to them. I’ve screened the current batch of clients and made sure we were a good fit. It is absolutely crucial that I only work with clients whom I can really help. Not like last year, when I overloaded myself and failed certain clients because I wasn’t intentional about my on-boarding process.

Blog-wise, things are changing, too.

I don’t want to be a blog personality.

I don’t want to be recognized just for having a great blog, for having followers on Instagram and Facebook, and for having a nice social media feed. It’s just not me.

I am killing off my blogger personality. Her, along with a slew of blog posts that I believe are no longer relevant to the long-term plan of helping people.

I even have a eulogy:

Goodbye, Martine De Luna of the blogger-brand personality, the “dainty mom”, the “bloggy belle”, etc, etc.

Thank you for six years of blogging the way you’ve felt is best.

Thank you for your brand endorsements and sponsored posts. Thank you for attending the events and launches and media gatherings these past few years.

Thank you for making friends with bloggers (even though you lost some), and thank you for your years as a mommy-blogger-turned-lifestyle-blogger-turned-blog-coach. It was really fun, full of many memories, joys, heartaches and lessons. They shall be missed, but not in a sad way. They shall always remain a chapter in this blogging journey, and will serve as lessons for me.

It’s been great knowing you, and I am looking forward to the changes. I see only good things for you up ahead.

Farewell.

I am pruning. I am evolving.

It’s the right time for it.

Sometimes, it takes several tries and tests to see traction in a project, be it a passion project, a career, a business, yes, even a blog. It is like this because we need to improve our skills, learn from our failures, accept our defeats, and press forward to what matters most.

Sometimes, our goals, businesses, blogs, aren’t working out, simply because there is one thing in the way: Our selves.

“Self” can be a dangerous and toxic thing. Often times when we make mistakes and fail to learn from them, it is because of self: selfishness, self-hate, low self-esteem. Sometimes, self causes us to by-pass our potential successes and victories because we don’t want to work hard for them, we don’t want to sweat it.

Don’t let self keep you from going forward, past your mistakes and lessons. That’s being selfish. (I was being selfish!) Instead, keep working on making yourself better, making your blog or business better — unless you know in your heart that it is time to stop, “kill” it off and start over.

After all, resurrection only comes after death, after the lowest of lowest points.

You will never know until you try.

Have you had to “kill” off a part of you that wasn’t really letting you “live”? What did you do? What are you doing about it right now, if you (like me) are going through a shift?