A few year end thoughts for 2021

Here we are again. The year end reflection post where I battle and struggle thru a mix of emotions. In truth, I have no idea what this post will entail. I have no outline or structure to how this post will go. But this post is needed. If not for readers, but for me – to confront, analyze, and reflect on what this year has taught me. My hope is at the end of this post I’ll have some sort of clarity. Some sort of vision or break thru.

Because honestly – I don’t know where TSS is going. I am burnt out. I love what I do. I really do. I love and thrive off discovering my own style and developing it in a way that coincides with my life right now. I love the process of development and proving to myself I can do hard things. I thrive on the adrenaline – Turning an idea I randomly have at 3am into styling something fun and innovative. Heck, I started this blog not knowing one damn thing about the ‘how to’ – so that process of proving myself to myself has become the driving force of TSS. Especially this year.

To start, all the thoughts I wrote at 2020s year end – they are still here. All of them. I still struggle with comparison. I still worry about numbers. Yes, I’ve grown some, but stagnancy still exists. I still feel buried in the industry. I still feel unseen. And while I reflected and ended that year end post positively – in truth, doubt rode sidecar in 2021.

But I kept going, because .. I didn’t want to be the quitter. I still don’t. For years I’ve started things, fail to meet the expectations I’ve set for myself and then search for new. I’ve struggled a lot this year with this idea that I really don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. And I know that sounds silly – but the thought of turning the big 4-0 in a few weeks has done a number in the ‘what have you done with your life’ department.

When I ask my kids what it is they think I do, their answers have been a potluck over the years – she used to work with numbers, she sells jewelry, she’s a Mommy, she makes videos and posts them on her phone. She takes pictures and styles clothes. She’s an influencer. And while I’ve taken pride in wearing every hat, there is a part of me that questions why I’ve taken so many roads in my said ‘career’.

Despite the doubt that accompanied me, I started 2021 hopeful. I gave myself grace when I needed it. I wrote the posts and curated content in the best way I knew how. I reached out and built relationships with brands. I did all the things the market says one should do to better your brand recognition. And while I knew that the quality of the content I produced was good, I still felt unseen. I sat discouraged and at times lost in a niche I knew I belonged. So come July, I took my own advice and asked for help. I reached out to a PR agency to delegate brand reach out and redefine strategy.

I am not going to type out the details of the conversation, as it forces me to relive feelings I’ve already sorted thru. And I refuse to give into the drama. But I will say that it left me pretty low. It caused me to question my why, my brand and my reason. The ‘state’ I was in was supposedly not up to their sign on standards and if I was going to see any growth I needed to broaden my niche into more lifestyle and motherhood content. I was even advised to do some more research in the PR field, because “there may be others that may be willing to sign you on, even if we won’t.”

I am no stranger to being told no. But this was a hard one to swallow. I understand the PR focus, but in no part of the conversation was I recognized as being human. I was scolded for feeling discouraged and told to go elsewhere. There was no sincerity, or compassion given. I didn’t realize I stepped onto the call as an interviewee and that I needed to prove my content’s worth. I am simply a Mom who started a blog, who loves to share style and place importance on staying true to ourselves. Yes, I’ve formed a hobby into a business, but why must I stray from the very mission I built my brand on in order to grow? There had to be an alternative.

You can bet that lit a fire in me. Cue the chorus. In NO way was a ‘professional’ going to tell me I needed to rebrand something I’ve so desperately put my all in. This blog may hold pieces of my life and talk about motherhood, but I’ve clearly placed style and fashion a focus here. If anything, this call was the catapult to redefining boundaries. Yes, I’ve written chapters here regarding my personal struggles and discovery – but still hold full authority in setting limits and deciding to keep parts of my life private. That’s the beauty of being your own boss. The lifestyle and motherhood niche may be more financially resourceful when it comes to brand collaborations, but my passion doesn’t reside in either. I’ll ride the risk and adapt to a difficult niche if it means staying true to who I am.

Instead, I sought out help elsewhere. I hired a VA to help with graphics and engagement. I dove deep into reel content creation and saw those 3am crazy ideas come to life. I defined my niche more into capsule building and I grew. I grew, y’all. I watched numbers rise. I reached more and more of you. I developed more deeper connections with you. I saw the value of TSS in a way that I hadn’t ever before.

I love – absolutely love – learning I’ve made some impact in your discovery of personal style. The messages you’ve sent me asking for help, or my thoughts on trends or styles. It’s an instant form of recharge; filling my cup in a way that far exceeds any other recognition or form of praise.

But truth be told, I am tired. I am wearing thin. The planning, the writing, the filming, the editing, the engaging .. it’s a lot on plate. And once you’re in good graces with the social algorithm, stopping or cutting back on any form of consistency will put you right back and the start. And that’s where I am at. December 2021, I am back to stagnancy. Back to low reach. Doubt has once again taken its sidecar seat. Choosing to prioritize my sanity, give myself a little grace, and take a break has put me here. Recharging one component of the business, runs dry another. And knowing how to balance it all is still up in the air.

This year has definitely been a ride. But contrary to 2020, growth did make an appearance. I learned some. I developed some. I defined TSS. And that is something to be proud of.

I know there is a purpose and reason for every season. I may not understand the reason for stagnancy or restless doubt. And who knows how long I’ll be sifting thru a fog of uncertainty. But something in me tells me to keep at it. To keep styling. To keep discovering my own. To keep digging and learning new. To roll with those crazy 3am ideas. To grow that list of ‘did thats’. To hang on, not give up, and run the risk – even if social media or industry professionals say otherwise.

Whatever it is you’re struggling with – the answer isn’t to eject. It’s to proceed with power. Get comfortable with your shadow and the doubt riding next to you. You will shift. I will shift. I will see change and growth and the benefit of my resilience in 2022. I believe that.

All this said, I plan to take a break thru mid January. At least on Instagram. The weekly capsules, seasonal capsules, styling sessions and everything else you seek to resource will resume, then. Balance is in store, I can feel it, for 2022. And delegating my attention to every part of what makes TSS – myself included – is a start.

Thank You for being here. Thank You for sticking with me. Thank you for reading and clicking and shopping. Thank You for accepting me, for Me. Thank You for resourcing style and everything it is that makes TSS, be. Cheers to 2021 – the resilience and the benefit of risk I learned is, for sure, coming with in 2022.

Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase.

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