Sometimes I Feel Inadequate

The truth is that sometimes, more like a lot of times, I feel inadequate here.

My views don’t always grow as quickly as I want them to.

My sales don’t always come as often as I want them to.

I don’t always get as many comments as I want to.

I become my own worst enemy when it comes to succeeding in the blog world far too often. I can take a minor mistake or a small slump in a portion of the business and turn it into a reason to quit completely. Obviously I haven’t done that, but it doesn’t mean that the thought doesn’t enter my mind and leave me feeling defeated, even if temporarily.

Sometimes I feel like I need to lead a different kind of life to rise to the top. Or that I need to like different things. Or that I need to dress a different way. All of these things making me fall short of my true life goal: to love who I am and the life that I live.

If there’s anything that this week and last week taught me, it’s that everyone has their own story on how they got to where they are today. Their own struggles. Their own triumphs. Their own heartache. Their own lessons. And all of these things make us unique. They make us stand out in a crowd instead of blending in. They make us a leader instead of a follower. They make us who we are, instead and out.

I know that my time will come. And it will be when I’m ready to appreciate what I’ve gone through to get here instead of just raising the bar every time. So here’s to waiting for that time. Here’s to appreciating my own strengths. Appreciating my own past. Celebrating and using my personality in my blog instead of trying to conform to someone else’s.

Here’s to being me and loving that person all the time.

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Share The {Handmade Biz} Love

This week is all about spreading the love throughout the blogging community, but I also wanted to extend that love to the handmade business community.

So for the month of April, I’m looking to swap shop ads.

What you will get from me:

  • A 120×120 or 120×60 button for the month of April (or probably April and the rest of March)
  • Shout-outs on Twitter and Facebook
  • At least 1 inclusion in the Friday Favorites post

What I ask from you:

  • An ad that is similar in size

That’s it! There will be a limited amount of spots available so the sooner you contact me, the better. Please keep in mind that  it is only for handmade, vintage, or supply shop ads only. Basically no blog ads will be accepted for this swap.

Leave a comment below with your shop link + email OR email me with the same info!

How to Stay Positive in the Blog World

Today’s 5 tips is a special edition in celebration of Blog Positivity Week. I’ve done a post on how to handle negativity in the blog world, but today I’d like to focus on the positive and how to keep your momentum going, even in the face of adversity.

1. Stay focused on YOUR goals

How many times have you looked at a bigger handmade business and/or blogger and thought that’s what I want or even why am I not that successful or maybe if only I got the chances they got, I’d be big like them. There’s a reason why your success isn’t like theirs: your goals do not equal theirs. No matter how similar they are, they are not the same. Which means you have a totally different journey waiting for you. You’ll have different opportunities knocking at your door. And you’ll have different experiences. Unfortunately that means you’ll always lose the compare and contrast game as it’s not meant to be won. Focus on you. Focus on your goals. Focus on your dreams. And do what you can to make them possible as you celebrate your big (and small) triumphs along the way. It’ll leave you appreciating your blog, your business, or most importantly, yourself.

2. Be true to yourself

Similar to staying focused on your own goals, you have to stay true to your own personality. We all have our quirks and flaws. But they’re our quirks and flaws. They are what make us who we are today. The more time you spend doing things that reflect the true you, the less time you spend agonizing over who you should be to fit in. Love yourself. Love your personality. Love everything you have to offer in your blog. And remember that if someone doesn’t exactly like what you have to offer, it’s their loss. You have something special to bring to this blogging community – you just have to find the right audience to share it with.

3. Accept the differences

Like I said above, not everyone will like your blog or your products. It’s just not meant to be. How boring would this world be if everyone liked everything? There would be no need to change and grow because everything was already acceptable. Everyone is different and that’s what makes life interesting. So accept those differences and choose to agree to disagree. Treat everyone how you would like to be treated, even when they aren’t doing the same to you. It may be hard sometimes and honestly, it may seem like it’s not worth it at all. But it is. Continuing a negative situation only makes it worse for everyone involved. It can leave a lasting impression on your emotions, your physical health, and your reputation. So be the better man, or woman, and accept our differences.

4. Lose your focus on the numbers

If you didn’t have statistics to look at on how many people viewed your blog this month, or Google Friend Connect/Bloglovin/Google Reader didn’t exist, how would that change how you blogged? Would it no longer be to increase those numbers and instead be on creating content worth sharing with the world? Would you stop having giveaways or link-ups because you only do it to increase those numbers? Think about it. Think about what you do just so you can increase those numbers. Then think about what you wish you could do if the numbers didn’t matter. And then change it up. Stop doing the things you do that are only done to increase the meaningless numbers. And start doing the things that you wish you could do. Blog for you, not for the statistics. It’ll allow you to have a blog that you think is worth reading which in turn shows others just how great it is.

5. Spread joy

Negativity and positivity are fairly similar in a sense that they catch on like wildfires. However, negativity latches on a lot tighter than positivity does which means we just have to work a little harder when it comes to staying positive. So spread joy wherever you go. Leave encouraging comments. Share the love with other blogs and/or businesses. Send kind emails/tweets/FB messages. Do things for others without expecting something in return. And if any of these things are done for you, pass it forward. Keep the positivity going by doing the same for someone else and keep this cycle constantly moving forward. Not only are you brightening someone else’s day, but you’re leaving a positive mark on your own soul by doing these acts of kindness.

The How-To/5 Tips is a weekly series, dedicated to answering some of the most popular questions I’ve been asked through consulting and on my blog. Want tips on something similar in nature? Or maybe you want more personalized advice? Send me an email at

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Blog Positivity Week: The People I’ve Met

Recently, I added a Blog ♥ section on my blog that I’ve been slowly updating with some of my favorite bloggers in the blogging community. Without these people, the blog world just wouldn’t be the same for me.

These are the people that have kept me here when I thought I should give up.

People that have offered a helping hand with my blog, business, or personal life.

People that have inspired me to do more, be better, or just be patient.

People that have been a shoulder to lean on when times got tough.

People that understood me in a way that I thought wasn’t possible.

People that I have gotten to know on a more personal level in a “behind the blog” way.

People that I would love to meet in person some day.

And of course, all of you. I may not know you like I know them. In fact, I may not really know you at all if you haven’t commented or we haven’t really chatted. But that doesn’t mean you don’t matter. And it also doesn’t mean I don’t want to get to know you. I write to connect with people so without you, it’s impossible.

So today I want to say THANK YOU.

To all of the wonderful people I mentioned above. To everyone that has commented, even once. To everyone that has sent me an email. To everyone that connects with me on Twitter or Facebook. To everyone that’s recommended my blog to someone. To everyone that’s posted my button on their blog. To everyone that has participated in one of my many projects (this one included!) To everyone that has sent me well wishes or kept me in their thoughts when things got a bit harder for me/my family. To everyone that has bought something from my shop. To everyone that has recommended my shop to someone else. To everyone that’s sent me snail mail. To everyone that’s offered advice, shared their story, or left some words of encouragement for me. To everyone that reads, even if you haven’t had the chance to comment. To everyone that’s sponsored me.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart. And if we haven’t chatted/emailed/talked/connected already, I would love to. I’d love to be able to give you a much more personalized thank you for your support and get to know you.

You can send me a tweet on Twitter: @afterninetofive

You can leave a note on my wall on Facebook

You can send me some snail mail: PO Box 10032 Green Bay WI 54307

Or probably the best way . . . send me an email

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So tell me some of the favorite people you’ve met

leave a comment with a couple of your favorite blogs to help share the love!

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Blog Positivity Week: Why I’m Here & Why I’m Doing This


My blog started in November 2010 as a way for me to kill time. It grew into something that allowed me to share my passion for life. And even more so, it spawned an idea: to share my triumphs and struggles of an entrepreneur to help people. That idea was by far one of the best choices I’ve made in my life.

So what started out as merely a hobby, killing time with a blog post here and there, has transformed into something I live, sleep, and breathe. I go to sleep thinking about it some days, and wake up thinking about it some mornings. I do things just so I can write about them here and I tell Nathan “just five more minutes” over and over again so I can finish up a post, or send out a tweet, or email someone. I’ve lost sleep and cried over this blog. I’ve spent quite a bit of money on my blog and blogging resources.

But why?

Why do all this seemingly negative things for my blog? After all, to some people I’m just a blogger. And to others (even bloggers themselves), it’s not really that important. It’s just a blog. And that’s true. For them, it is just a blog. I am just a blogger. And at the end of the day, the blog isn’t a big deal. But for me? The opposite is true.

My blog is a place where I’ve met some of my best friends that I’d never have met otherwise. My blog is a place where I’ve learned more about myself and what I want out of life in the past year and a half than I have for the 23 years prior. It’s where I got to share my passion for living my dreams and helping others do the same. It’s how I documented my life for the past year and a half, remembering those special moments that I never want to forget. It’s how I stopped feeling limited by employers and fully accepted the sky as my limit. It’s how I came to terms with my past (just last week!) It’s where I realized how much I loved certain things like photography and cooking.

And that’s just my blog.

The blogging community has offered me SO much more. I’ve learned new things and tried things that I’ never would have tried before. I discovered new places, new recipes, new stores, new movies, and new ideas in the blog world. I’ve met people I’d never meet and learned about their cultures, religions, and beliefs. I’ve won giveaways and been given opportunities just because I have a blog. I’ve gotten deals and saved time, effort, and money just by being a part of this community. I’ve learned more than I did in school about certain business and marketing aspects. And most of all, I’ve realized I’m not alone and that my dream of helping other people can be achieved quite easily.

So when someone tells me it’s just a blog, it’s hard for me to agree because of how much I have gained for myself, and even my family, through blogging.

That is why I’m doing this.

Because my blog means a lot to me. Because it’s provided a source of income as I grow as an entrepreneur. Because without it, I feel like my life would be missing something.

And I don’t want the negativity to take over the blogging community. I don’t want the anger, frustration, sadness, or whatever else there is fueling the negativity that’s been here lately to win. I don’t want it to make me (or anyone else for that matter) regret starting a blog or being a part of what is otherwise an amazing community filled with even more amazing people.

I want this week to remind us all that there is good to be found here. That we should support one another. That we should be kind and accepting. That we should be able to share our views, struggles, triumphs, etc. without someone being rude about it. That we should treat everyone on here how we would like to be treated ourselves.

My hope for this week is to let both new and older bloggers know how wonderful of a place this is, be it through my blog or those that have joined forces with me this week to show you this.

But I can’t do it without you.

So tell me . . .

why are YOU here?

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