too much of a good thing

It’s a new year, and nothing makes me want to start fresh like a 1/1 date on the calendar. 

I typically don’t think up resolutions, I set goals. 


My goal for this year is to filter. to narrow down. to de-clutter (in a greater sense than just my home).

This goal will affect my blogging, in a good way. I’ve learned a lot  about the business of blogging this past year, and want to share a few thoughts with you, my readers. After all, my favorite part of blogging is sharing ideas and learning from other bloggers or readers. It’s a community. It’s social. It can, and will, create friendships. It’s been an immense blessing to me. I love talking about hair, beauty, clothes, my cats, my faith. And I’m grateful to have a space where you come and interact with me. 

One of the consistent challenges I’ve had this year is taking on too much. I say “yes” way too much. I’ve learned to operate on an excessively busy level that has worn me down. In the most basic terms, I own & operate 3 separate businesses (one is co-owned with my sister). I own my own business doing hair in a private studio. No assistant, no receptionist. All me. And I love it that way. But it’s a lot. 
I run Elisabeth Ashlie Jewelry with my sister, and am always craving more hours to spend on it.
I run this blog, no virtual assistant (by choice at this time), no contributors, no editors (which I desperately need). 
And don’t hear this as bragging. This is nothing to brag about–because I feel like I’m operating each of these businesses at 60%. I wish I could do each one at 100%, or–better yet–just one of them at 100%. But I’m not ready to walk away from one yet.

So, for the time being, because I do really think with better time management and an organized schedule I can “succeed” doing all three, I’m going to strategically change a few things on the blog.

The biggest change is the sheer volume of giveaways and sponsored posts. I regret saying “yes” to too many things this fall. I do not regret working with each business on their giveaway, I simply regret how many I had going on at the same time. This was the busiest I’ve ever been with these things, and I learned what not to do for the future.

I really have a soft spot for small business, or even large business that I care about, and wanting to support them. And giveaways are a great way to spread the word about a business or product. And all of the businesses that were offering giveaways were wonderful! I was grateful that they chose my blog to offer a chance for you to win something. 

So I say yes. Because I want to help support them. Because I like them!

By mid October, I realized the error of my ways and that I said yes too much. I had Blogher sponsored posts, as well as multiple giveaways, and I was finding it hard to focus on fresh new content for the blog. 

So, for this new year, the amount of giveaways offered is going to change drastically. A maximum of 2 a month, with the goal being only 1 a month. It was difficult to make this decision as I want to continue supporting my sponsors like I have been, but I need to scale back. 

The amount of sponsored posts from Blogher will decrease as well. 

I want to spend more time on writing posts! I want to have more drafts that I can edit a few times before I publish. I want to take better photos and provide clearer links. 

I want to share more information about hair, as that is my main focus on the blog!

So, thank you for your patience. Thanks for sticking by during the busy fall. I’m grateful to have learned this lesson early on in my blogging life, and hope to provide a better balance from here on out. 

Comments

  1. says

    Totally understand where you’re coming from! I run a private music studio and had to choose to scale back on students in the new year because of feeling burned out and overwhelmed. There’s no shame in pruning down :) in fact it will probably make us more fruitful! All the best!

    -Katie
    Loverly She

  2. says

    I don’t know how you juggle such a successful blog and social media presence with all other aspects of your life (including the professional one!) You make it work (to us!) though I know it is probably draining at times. Here’s to realizing more balance for yourself :)

  3. says

    My goal this year is similar – to stick to the commitments I make, so this means I need to learn to say NO, too. It’s harder than it seems it should be to do that today, no?

    regardless of the number of giveaways, yours is still a blog I check daily. :)

  4. says

    Sounds like you need an Erin Condren planner! I know a lot of bloggers use them to plan out things, and there is plenty of room to run multiple schedules (or businesses)! Love your blog, take time for yourself and enjoy the new year!

  5. says

    Good for you! It’s so easy to get caught up in things that are really, really good to the point where you don’t realize you’re on the edge of burnout. Living a balanced life is something I’m working toward this year as well while I work on stabilizing my new business. Thanks for the reminder that it’s ok to say “no” sometimes!

  6. says

    Good for you! I look forward to your changes (not that I thought anything was wrong before)! As an outsider looking in, I don’t know how you do all you do and do it well!

    Happy New Year!

  7. says

    Great post. I love the content, but since I’m at work and haven’t had breakfast yet–I really liked the picture of the doughnuts =D Happy New Year Kate.

    classescasesandchaos.blogspot.com

  8. says

    Love your blog and have been following you for a long time. I think its great how you are minimizing the giveaways and putting more time into your blogs. I saw your giveaways and it seemed like you were always doing one. I never had the time to enter one though and didn’t really care to. I simply wanted to read and follow your blogs about hair, makeup, etc. I am excited for the changes you have implemented and for what 2013 will bring to you and your followers!! Thank-you!! :)

  9. says

    These are awesome goals, Kate! I’m the same way – I like goals a lot better than resolutions. I’m so happy that your blog has grown to what it is, and I think the changes you’ve planned out are going to be great for all the separate things you have going on and your life.

    I noticed you said that you need an editor (I assume one for content?) for your blog, and I wanted to let you know that I am willing to help! I’m sending you a follow up email. :)

    Thank you for all you do through this blog!

  10. says

    Love your blog and have been following you for a long time. I think its great how you are minimizing the giveaways and putting more time into your blogs. I saw your giveaways and it seemed like you were always doing one. I never had the time to enter one though and didn’t really care to. I simply wanted to read and follow your blogs about hair, makeup, etc. I am excited for the changes you have implemented and for what 2013 will bring to you and your followers!! Thank-you!! :)

  11. says

    I am so glad to hear that you are scaling back on the sponsored posts and the giveaways. I was getting a little frustrated to come on here and only see that kind of content. But, since it is your blog to post whatever you want, I would never have said anything. lol… Being a fellow blogger (albeit a far less popular one) I know how overwhelming it can be to post daily and how easy it is to fall back on stock posts and giveaways. I look forward to a return of a more personalized blog. :-) I refer a bunch of people here, and I know they love reading you as much as I do!

  12. says

    Wow! I really appreciate your transparency here, Kate! I’m also finding myself in overload. I don’t have people pounding down my door for blog features, but I did just get a new job that is REALLY tying me up (though I love it dearly). I think finding balance and function is one of my resolutions this year. We can choose what to prioritize in our lives to form “happy.” It’s also just about getting my butt out of this chair to do the things that make me happy!

    xoxo
    Emily
    emilyannestyle.com

  13. says

    I feel like this post speaks to me personally…I have somewhat of the same New Year’s Resolution as well. I need to learn to slow down and take in the moment! I hope it works out for you, and I can not wait to keep up with it all through your posts. I do have a question, how do you keep up with your shedules? Do you write everything down, use a certain app on iphone/ipad/macbook, or what? I currently am working two jobs and going to school full time…as well as plan my dream wedding, and I need to find a better way of keeping it all straight and keep time management under control?

  14. says

    I love your blog and I’ve been reading it every day for almost a year now! Happy 2013 to you and thank you for all that you share with us! I also wanted to Thank you for your lasagna recipe that you posted awhile ago…it had some nice changes that I’ve never done before and was a big hit with my family on Christmas Eve this year :)

  15. says

    I love your blog and have made several purchases based on your recommendations! I have been happy with all of them and love your hair and style content. Giveaways have never grabbed my attention in the same way that, say, a hair tutorial does. So, more Kate and less giveaways sounds marvelous to me! Bought some earrings from ElizabethAshlie, too, and my friends and I love ‘em!

  16. says

    Great goal, Kate. It’s always hard to say no but your readers will be happy to hear from you more often–after all, that’s why we read your blog! You are the expert that keeps us coming back! :)

    Still enjoying your blog more than ever! Keep up the great work!

    <3 Caitlin

  17. says

    Good for you Kate! I’m in the early stages of my blog and trying to manage that along with life behind the chair is difficult! I’m happy that you have clear focus for this new year and it will pay off for you with more time to spend on the things that are important to you! Happy 2013!

  18. says

    Hi Kate, sounds like a good plan, but I hope you won’t pair down too much on the makeup tips and techniques. You do a good job and are a beautiful model!

  19. says

    Taking control of your time and stress level is so important! I love your blog and I’m glad that you are re-focuing your energy. I think we all can take a lesson from your situation. In order to be successful you must always take care of yourself first and stay true to what your purpose is.
    -Katie @ http://www.thoughtfulology.blogspot.com

  20. says

    Last year I made the same goal – start saying “no”. It was so tough for me because I am such a people pleaser!! But I noticed that the more “things” I was able to graciously decline, the easier it got and even this past Christmas season was my most relaxing and stress-free holiday to date. Of course, now I just need to continue to not allow myself to take on too much!
    Good luck with your goals and learning to de-clutter more! :)

  21. says

    Good for you! I started saying “NO” more a few years ago and it changed my life for the better. I started saying “YES” to things I truly wanted to do and found that I was much happier where my time was spent. None of us can do “EVERYTHING” and once we realize that, the happier we can truly be. Good luck, love your blog, and can’t wait to read more! Happy 2013!

  22. says

    Hi Kate, I am so glad that you are making these changes. I have been a follower for almost 2 years. Over the last couple months I did feel like the blog became more about marketing and sponsors and less about your expertise. I found myself skipping more and more posts.

    I think if you can find a balance between the two, then that will be great for your blog and your sanity :)

  23. says

    I am reading your site for the first time today–You HAVE to read SEVEN by Jen Hatmaker if this is truly your heart’s desire. It will rock your wold and give you more purpose and help you find a way to fill your life with the ONE good thing, Jesus Christ. Hope you take up my suggestion, it’s a great read!

  24. says

    I’ve always loved your blog, and everything I saw this past year, but I love hearing that there will be more posts written by you! You have a wealth of knowledge, girl, that’s why we’re all here! I love your blog, and look forward to your entries this year!

  25. says

    Kate,
    I have watched your blog and love it. I hope you do continue with the hair and fashion. I think your style is very polished. Your hair tutorials are amazing and I look forward to them on a weekly basis, I have even watched them three or four times as I am in the process of growiing my hair out. Keep up the good work! Kerry

  26. says

    Happy New Year, Kate! I just recently discovered your blog and tried Aquage this morning for the first time–you have made a new customer out of me. :) Never have I seen that much impact from just one hair product. It’s been 12 hours and my hair still has tons of shape! Thanks so much for the tip, and I can’t wait to read and learn more in 2013. :)

  27. says

    So glad that you are going to scale back on all the sponsored posts…I really love your blog but, like one of the above commenters, I began skipping posts that were sponsored and a lot of the giveaway ones because they didn’t interest me. I’m glad that we will be getting more Kate! Happy 2013!

    –Laura
    http://caffeinatedpinkaholic.blogspot.com

  28. says

    My favourite posts are your newsy, sharing stories, just sharing you !!! Learning to say no, guilt free, is not easy but brings balance and peace. Happy New Year Kate !

  29. says

    I think that is so wonderful!! I am a teacher and have learned myself (the hard way obviously) I have to quit telling everyone that I will help/do/take care of/support everything everyone asks of me. Sometimes we have to step away from what we love so intensely and put our focus on other things! Happy New Year!

    PS. I am sure everyone will still L.O.V.E. the “less is more” blog! I know I sure will!!!

  30. says

    I have enjoyed reading your blog for a long time. I am happy to hear that you will be continuing! I don’t doubt for one minute it will just keep getting better.

  31. says

    YAY! I’m so happy for you. This sounds like a great plan for you and for us readers. It’s a win-win. I’m always amazed by the graciousness and talent in the Raleigh-Durham area. Keep up the great work, and do whatever it takes to be the best you – even if that means saying NO. :-)

  32. says

    Kate, I have been enjoying your blog for a few months and am looking forward to hearing more of your voice in 2013! Have a happy and blessed New Year!

  33. says

    Kate, I discovered your blog this summer when the military moved my family to Alabama and I found some extra time on my hands. I have always struggled with my hair and being altogether “girly.” Your blog has inspired me in many ways from fitness to beauty. Good luck in the future and I will continue to support your changes, whatever they may be!

  34. says

    If you ever need an editor, I’m your gal! But watch out, I’m ruthless.

    I have been a fan of your blog for a long time, having checked back often for new hair tutorials. I aspire to your link bait/pinterest prowess! I look forward to “meeting” you at the Blog Brunch tweet-up Saturday!

  35. says

    Glad to read that you’re going back more towards the basics… or small things, shall I say? :) while giveaways are awesome (who doesn’t love free stuff every now and then), your other posts are helpful, creative, and witty. Those are the types of posts that kept me coming back, not the giveaways. Best wishes for a healthy, happy new year!

  36. says

    Good move! Balance is so important. For the record, you have inspired me to get out of my “mom” rut and I am loving how much better I feel about myself! My favorite posts from you are your target outfits….it’s the only place I have time to shop at and have gotten some adorable outfits thanks to you! Keep up the great work :-)

  37. says

    I completely understand – I had wayyy too much going on this past year and not enough “me” time to refresh…and that’s my goal this year! Very excited you’ll be posting more and doing less giveaways; those were really fun, but I missed the content you provided the way it was when I first started following (also, I’m not good with change! Haha). I found an amazing salon I love because of you: it carries both Kenra and Aquage and if I hadn’t been looking for those two things, I wouldn’t have found it. Thank you!!

  38. says

    I completely understand – I had wayyy too much going on this past year and not enough “me” time to refresh…and that’s my goal this year! Very excited you’ll be posting more and doing less giveaways; those were really fun, but I missed the content you provided the way it was when I first started following (also, I’m not good with change! Haha). I found an amazing salon I love because of you: it carries both Kenra and Aquage and if I hadn’t been looking for those two things, I wouldn’t have found it. Thank you!!

  39. says

    i love your blog but also noticed that you had an overwhelming amount of sponsored posts & giveaways and it was turning me away. i’m glad you are changing the focus back to your own creative ways! that’s the reason i {and others} liked it from the get-go.

  40. says

    Kate,
    As a fellow wife, Christian, blogger, part-time fashionista, full-time nail polish junkie, and cat mom… (and overall lover of The Small Things Blog since 2011) I hear you. I feel you. And I am so glad that you are scaling back on the giveaways and sponsored posts.

    I have a feeling that you will (intentionally or unintentionally) come to see the overall excellence level of your occasional sponsored posts rise as a result, which I anticipate could lend to greater credibility to Kate Bryan/Small Things and to greater and more meaningful visibility to the sponsors. Good decision.

  41. says

    Hey, Kate! I have worked as an editor for about 3 years, and I would love to help you out with editing your blog posts. Email me if you’re interested!

    Megan

    P.S. I love your blog. It has made my hair more fabulous than ever.

  42. says

    I think you’re doing wonderful things (not only for your self and your sanity) but for us readers as well. I come to read your posts, entries and see your photos. We come for what you share with us. I’ve only been a reader since August but your blog is a highlight of my day and I’m thrilled you’re not giving it up yet. I hope this helps you have an easier, more restful and happier 2013! Good luck in each if your businesses and I wish you nothing but success and joy!

  43. says

    I faithfully read your blog, almost daily. I have been a follower for a while and I can’t say enough good about what you post. Not that you need it – but I’m supporting you 100% with this scaling back. I love giveways – but I never win, so I’d rather have the posts about hair, makeup, the Love of Jesus, decorating, and my word – the fashion. You’ve inspired me beyond measure. I fill in my eye brows now, and paint my nails nicely after your tutorial. You have a good thing here, and you’re doing a great job!

  44. says

    So excited about your changes. It’s always hard to say no to people and things but if it’s not bringing you pleasure than there is no reason to say yes. I can’t wait to see what 2013 has in store for your blog. I love reading all your great fashion, makeup and hair posts. Thanks for all your work in keeping your blog going for us readers.

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