Like my favorite video games Pokemon and Final Fantasy, I used to think there was a walkthrough for everything in life if you searched hard enough on Google. As much as you can navigate through the "related topics" on various search engines, you won't exactly find all of the answers that you need in one single article. And sometimes, that's the tricky part about life. There are some topics that you can research and various questions that you can ask people, but there will always be several things that you need to experience and learn on your own. All of the secrets to the blogging industry - I've learned the hard way without anybody to hold my hand or lead me the way. How to talk to business owners, how to design my own blog, and much more - all of this, I've learned on my own from Missmisschelle. So what have I learned within one year of blogging? There are no rules.
If you search on Google, there are plenty of templates, guides, and advice columns on how to become a successful blogger. However, nobody (including me) actually HAS the right answer if you ask us how we've gotten to where we are today, as every blogger takes a different path to grow his/her blog. Bloggers like myself will write from the heart about topics that resonate with us, but exactly what we say does not necessarily mean we are 100% correct all the time. We write about content that encourage and inspire others, but of course, remember to prioritize what makes YOU most happy and comfortable. Make choices based on your own happiness and not what society deems as "acceptable" or "trendy". After all, the bloggers who stand out to me are ones who aren't afraid to be themselves or limit their content to please their audience.
As I first began my blog, I found myself typing into Google random topics that I wanted to learn more about - "How do you gain more followers?", "What blogging platform is the easiest to use?", "How much do bloggers get paid per post?". I felt that everything that I read online didn't help me very much, as most of these topics are very opinion-based with no right answer to any of these questions. These days, I continue to do research on additional topics that poke my interest, but I don't ever take the advice I read 100% seriously. Every single answer applies differently per blogger and you just need to use your best judgement when answering these questions for your own page as well.
One reason why I convinced myself to write "There Are No Rules" was because of ALL of the rules certain bloggers created when telling their audience how they became successful and well-known bloggers. A while back, I stumbled upon one blogger's advice column regarding how you needed to follow approximately 350 people or less to look "attractive" or more "desirable" to companies. Past Michelle believed this nonsense, but nowadays, I honestly think this "advice" is total bullshit. Back in the days, I stuck to this rule because I convinced myself that THIS was the way to become a successful blogger and I ended up not following a bunch of genuine people that I've met at parties or events JUST to follow this stupid rule. Honestly, who you follow or however many people you follow doesn't matter - a company is more interested in your target audience and the theme of your page than who you follow. After all, I rather have a genuine page filled with an engaging audience versus a "business-model" page that follows a strict marketing strategy.
Also, I previously worked for a company who criticized me on writing too many words in my captions because it looked boring and lengthy. Honestly, I think basic 1-2 word captions such as "Good Vibes" bore the crap out of me if used in repetition. I feel that an original caption like this makes it harder for me to get to know people that I follow through their Instagram and/or blog. Some people may favor short captions and minimalist colors, but I choose to post what makes me happy - vibrant colors and lengthy captions. After all, I blog to showcase my genuine personality/interests and refuse to cater my page around society's standards.
So nowadays, I've realized that if you want to become a successful blogger, then it's up to you to make your own rules. Follow as little or as many people as you want, write as little or as much as you want, and be YOURSELF. A couple of months back, I asked Chriselle Lim, one of my favorite lifestyle bloggers and Youtubers, in person for one piece of advice that she had for an aspiring lifestyle blogger like myself. She simply told me to be unique - don't follow the trend, be yourself, and people will follow you if they like your style, your charisma, and your page. Once I stopped following other people's advice and started trusting my own instincts, I've found my blog to become more successful and inspiring with my audience. Believe me - as soon as you are happy with your blog, your audience will feel it too.