You know how you’re looking for something inspirational and you just don’t find it? Because you’re looking to hard, right? Then the moment you stop looking KA-POW! The most interesting stuff falls dead on your lap and you’re like, “Oh my goodness this is the best thing ever!”. Today I want to share a really cool find with you discovered via Instagram. Lena Terlutter: She’s somewhat of a social media queen here in Germany, a blogger, a fashion model, mother of a 2-year-old daughter and wife living in Cologne, Germany who turned her online presence into a series of concept shops both in her city and online. With four stores and a book in the works, you have to give this lady a ton of credit for pursuing what she loves and juggling it all both online and off.
In fact, I love watching clever ways that blogger’s monetize their sites to keep what they’re doing front and center, as a career, as something they can enjoy doing for a very long time. I’ve been wanting to open a shop in Hannover since 1999 when I first visited and met my husband! That’s a long time! Now that I’ve been living here for five years, I definitely imagine being a shop owner mommy with baby Aidan playing closely nearby as I write and produce my books and open the shop on Saturdays with new and exciting things each week – I have such a lovely concept with such special things planned – I will see my dream eventually, I just know it. But for now, I’m living vicariously through others like 31-year-old Lena Terlutter and one of her three shops in which she is the face of, BB Loves, Super Store, Boutique Belgique and Salon Sahnestück – all in Cologne!
What do you think about blogger’s opening retail shops?
(images: lena terlutter)
Hello everyone! I’m quickly dropping in to wish you a happy weekend with hopes that the weather is as beautiful where you live as it is here… Feeling so blessed! I also want to tell you about an exciting online teaching gig. I thought I’d cast a net to see who replies because we’re currently hiring, yippee!
But first, some personal updates… We are all doing really well, Aidan will be 4 months old on June 9th so I’m already preparing an outfit for him to wear for his monthly photo shoot because I’m a crazy in love mommy like that! Thing is, he’s such a doll, I’m totally smitten! I’ll write a big post all about Aidan with updates and photos when he turns 6 months old so you can expect that in August, but if you want play-by-play footage until then, please follow me on Instagram @decor8 because I post lots of pics from my daily life there which often includes my little sweetheart baby boy.
Okay, now to the really cool job stuff. I shot this photo of my mood board above just last week after we just wrapped up another Blogging Your Way e-course and it was a huge success – we had lots of fun, I helped design some prints that you can see on my mood board which we gave away to our students that said, “Blog what you love, love what you blog”, and we also had a final exam in which students could earn a bonafide certificate – I know, so cute, right!? You can see mine printed out (top right) on my mood board. Anyway, we’ll be teaching again in September with a VERY SPECIAL and quite famous designer who will solely lead an amazing class for us then in October/November, I’ll lead another blog class online with two guest teachers. Blogging Your Way is the web’s first e-course about blogging and we’ve been growing and going strong since March 2009 when we launched, with over 7,000 students taught worldwide so far. I can’t believe we just celebrated our 5 year anniversary!
If you would love to teach for Blogging Your Way, please write to our project coordinator, Jessy Senti, with topics you’d like to cover and tell us why you’d make a great teacher. You can send a video submission, a sample teaching post, a list of topics you’d love to cover, etc. Her email is jessy [at] decor8blog [dot] com. This is a very well paid opportunity and for the most part, a one-time teaching gig as we like to switch up our teachers with each course, but this doesn’t mean we’d never call you back to work for us again – we always keep the doors open. We are currently seeking teachers for the October/November 2014 intermediate/advanced blogging class in which a co-teacher would teach two Fridays online and you’d need to be available to answer questions in our forum for a two week period. We can give you more information via email… I can’t wait to see who writes in, maybe you?
Have a wonderful weekend everyone!
(photo: holly becker for decor8)
As my blogging e-course wraps up, I left our students with a pretty heavy duty podcast called, “The Future of Blogging + The Internet” where I made some big predictions on where I see blogs in the days ahead. Yeah, I’m not exactly the kind of person that quietly exits a room. Go big or go home.
Thing is, I wanted those 350 students to walk away from class really thinking about the future and what they can do to create something interesting, not just go with the flow and passively let blogging morph into whatever. I don’t want them to think that it’s okay to just sail away into the sunset and do what’s already working. Think of the WHAT IF.
If we get honest for a moment, blogs have become too same-y. If we are lifestyle bloggers, we think taking it “up a notch” is to work with sponsors, hire contributors, and have columns that feature recipes, home tours and DIY stories. Thing is, what was fresh once isn’t fresh today. Add stuff to your blog that you are good at, and have passion for. Not just because you think that is what you have to do. Taking it up a notch isn’t about adding something to our blog that is already happening everywhere else, it’s about adding something valuable to set us apart. Funny thing is, this also takes the pressure off because some of us don’t want to do what everyone else is doing but think we should to be hip and cool. Blogging is about being unique. Be innovative. There are so many new things we can introduce if we just sit down for a moment and brainstorm.
I’ve been thinking about all of this SO MUCH in the past year. In fact, right before I got pregnant I sat down with my career coach and told her how I felt about blogging and the many ways that I want to evolve decor8. Then I got pregnant and my focus became my baby. He’s three months old now, we’re over that newborn “hump”, so I’m back to thinking about my company again and where I want all of this to go.
We as bloggers each have a huge responsibility to ourselves and to this community to get smart and creative again. This is the internet, anything is possible. How can we reach our audience, what are we really good at, what is missing? Blogging needs to evolve beyond just template changes and new logos to feel relevant. I told my students today that we are only as strong as our weakest post. Let’s use a photography portfolio as an example. Pretend you have 10 amazing photos to show perspective clients but you think you really should have 25 (quantity is important, you think) so you pad your portfolio with work that isn’t your “best” just to look more professional by having a lot of photos. Thing is, 10 of your strongest photos would’ve been better. Those clients will only see the weakest work and judge you by that. Same with our blogs. Sometimes we have to admit what we suck at and get rid of it. What isn’t working? We always try so hard to improve what we’re bad at, well why not improve what we already are good at so we can became damn good – great even?
I’ve taught blogging e-courses and in-person workshops for five years now to over 7,000 students worldwide. I’m only throwing numbers out there so you know that I’m not just making this stuff up — I know what bloggers and readers want to learn, what they like currently, what they don’t, and what they want to see in the future because they candidly say so in our private forums. In my current class, I asked my students to list 3 blogs they love and why and also to list what things about those same blogs that could be improved. To be fair, they each had to critique MY BLOG TOO. Dear God. To say it was humbling is an understatement. I’m glad I have a thick skin and a big piece of chocolate nearby as I read through them. But don’t we need that now and then? To be shown the truth? What I learned from my students is that most of them know what works (and what doesn’t) on their favorite blogs. And most of them are right! We need to ask these questions more, even to our own readers. What can we improve? A good business must ask the hard questions now and then. We can’t be satisfied with where we are no matter how hard we want things to stay the same, they just won’t. Especially online.
A final bit I’d like to add is that we have to remember our humble beginnings, especially those of us who started blogging before Facebook went public, before Twitter, Pinterest, Etsy, Instagram, etc. were even on the map. We are the pioneers, the renegades, the risk takers. We started blogging without a clue about what was about to happen - then fame and money entered the room and the dynamics of it all changed. A question I ask myself and my students often is how are we going to change the game? How can we as a community drive blogging into the future as a relevant way to still reach others? This rests in our hands. This is our movement, we started it, we have some control over where blogging is heading because most of us who have blogs also read them. Maybe I’m just being naive but I want to believe we still have the power to evolve blogging in exciting new ways. Isn’t the future of blogging up to each one of us?
So what do you think when you consider your future as a blogger? How do you see blogging a year from now? What do you think needs to change? What is missing? What works?
I found a new blog to love this week called Fantas-tisch. It’s in German so for those of you who cannot read it I have good news – you can still drool over the lovely photos and recipes. Fantas-tisch is a word play which is why it’s hyphenated. “Fantastisch” meaning fantastic and “Tisch” which means table. The blog is about food and table settings, parties, etc. so Fantas-tisch is quite a sweet and fun name for it I think! Here are some of my favorite posts from this gorgeous blog written by Anke.
How did I find this gorgeous blog? She reviewed our Decorate With Flowers book (in German it is called Wohnen mit Blumen) and I noticed a few click throughs! In fact, the flowers shown above floating in the white bowl were inspired by the cover of our book! I loved seeing that – it made my day (thank you Anke!).
Have a nice weekend everyone – see you next week!