Today marks 6 years since Kayla in the City was born. Holy. F*cking. Sh*t. And sorry grandma for cursing…
Six freaking years, man! It’s the longest job I’ve ever held. Uh, by a landslide 🙄
When I first started blogging I did NOT know what I was doing. At that point in my life I hadn’t heard of SEO. Instagram was this relatively new, confusing social media app. And influencer was not a word. Oh how things have changed over the last 6 years.
The Real Story behind KITC
I recently came to the realization that I really started blogging because I felt alone. Yes, I wanted to inspire people with my passion for fitness. But I also felt super lonely in my wellness journey. I hadn’t found many “like-minded” people yet. I didn’t have anyone to discuss trendy group fitness classes with. Or what the best dairy-free milk option was. It was 2011 — people didn’t even know what the eff almond milk was.
One day, senior year of college, I stumbled upon at fitness blog. It was Jess Underhill‘s… who eventually became my run coach for the NYC Marathon in 2015. She wrote reviews of workout classes in NYC and talked about achieving fitness goals. It was comforting to find someone talking about these things. And suddenly I didn’t feel so alone, I wasn’t the only fitness loving weirdo out there! So, I started following bloggers all over the country and felt a sense of camaraderie.
Through blogging and social media I found my tribe. And not just those bloggers I’ve followed from a far for all these years, but also some of my closest friends.
Even as this blog grows and evolves as I’ve continued to grow and evolve, some things never change. Over the years my most popular posts have been the ones that point out we are not alone. We’re all figuring it out. And faking it ’til we make it in the interim.
6 Years Later: Blogging Thoughts, Reflections & Lessons
▶︎ Just start.
I’m pretty damn proud of young Kayla for pressing “publish” before she was ready.
I didn’t wait for my blog to look perfect. I didn’t even own my domain at the time. But I leapt before I was ready, something I struggle to do in general. And you know what? Thank freaking god I did. I never would’ve felt ready to press publish. Hell, there’s still a million and one things I’d like to tweak on the blog. And I don’t even love the name Kayla in the City but I’ve yet to come up with something better 😂
As the cliche statement goes, perfect is the enemy of good. And I’m glad I didn’t let perfect be the enemy of Kayla in the City. I pressed published and poof, a blog was born.
▶︎ Share before you’re ready.
It took me awhile to tell ANYONE that I had started a fitness blog. I was SUPER self conscious. Will people think blogging is weird? Will people think I’m weird? [Uh earth to Kayla, you are weird. Ya went to THEATER SCHOOL!]
If I could tell Kayla of 6 years ago ANYTHING, it would be to start sharing sooner. Share your blog posts on facebook. And twitter. And join some blogger support groups. Putting yourself out there is SCARY, but you’ll reap the benefits.
▶︎ Do it for the right reasons.
A year or so ago an old work acquaintance reached out to me asking for blogging advice. She wanted to started a fashion blog, but wanted to know if she would definitely make money. Because if she wasn’t going to make money from it she wasn’t interested.
If your sole purpose of starting a blog, or an instagram account is to make money, don’t.
Do it because you’re passionate. Do it because you love writing about the topic. And do it because you feel like you have something to say and you’re f*cking ITCHING to say it. Don’t do it because you think it will be an easy way to make a buck. Because it’s not.
▶︎ You don’t need to say yes to everything.
In the early days of blogging I said yes to EVERYTHING. Free protein powder? Yes please! Free fitness class in Brooklyn? Okay! It left me drained and with way more protein powder than one tiny human can consume.
Over the years I’ve gotten more and more picky about what I say YES to. I don’t say yes to all the free product offered to me — for starters my apartment isn’t big enough. I also don’t say yes to all the companies that reach out to me for partnerships. Sometimes it’s because they aren’t a good fit for KITC. And sometimes it’s because they don’t want to offer me proper compensation (more on that below).
It’s really scary as a blogger [and human!] to say no. There’s always this fear that it will be the last opportunity that comes your way. But I’ve learned over the years to focus on partnerships and opportunities that excite me. Not just anything and everything.
▶︎ Know your worth.
Oh man, what an important lesson in blogging AND life. No, you shouldn’t start a blog with the sole purpose of making money ASAP. BUT when the time comes that companies start reaching out to you, know your worth. And ask for it.
▶︎ I have mixed feelings on sponsored posts.
Both as a blogger and blog reader. It’s something a few of you brought up in my recent reader survey.
And I’m torn.
To put it bluntly, I want to be able to make money off of KITC because of the heart, soul and TIME I pour into this blog. A lot of work goes in behind the scenes of a blog! And it’s something I’d like to devote more of my time to in the future so I can produce useful, high caliber content. But I also have to pay the bills.
My promise to you is that I will continue to only say “yes” to brands I truly believe in. To products I believe in. And I’ll also of course continue to share products and services I love in non-sponsored ways.
For more on sponsored posts, I really loved The Healthy Maven’s blog post that dives in deep.
What’s next for Kayla in the City.
Not gonna lie, as I get more and more frustrated with the instagram algorithm, I fall a bit more in love with blogging. Writing is my jam. And I hope this comes through in each and every blog post I publish.
I’m grateful for a place free of algorithms. And a place I get to continue to share my story and thoughts.
I’ve been toying around with the idea of launching a podcast for a while now. Just typing that out scares the crap out of me. And I’m scared to even tell you guys it’s an idea I have when I don’t have a solid launch plan in place.
If this is something you’d be interested in, though, holla at your girl 😜 Or like… send me an email / message/ etc. and tell me your thoughts.
And I wanted to finish this long ramble by saying a HUGE thank you. Thank you for reading the words that I write. For sharing your stories with me. And for letting me share my rambles with you over the last 6 years ❤️