Three years of blogging: update, growth, mistakes
The StuffwithSvet blog is coming up on turning three years old!!! What??! What a journey it has been!
With the new website launch coming up soon, I thought it was time to do a life/blog update: a recap on where the blog started and where it’s at now.
Below I will share some of the triumphs and challenges from the last three years!
- post university identity crisis
I moved away from Kelowna and went to play on a volleyball scholarship at a college. I was fresh out of high school (and free from living with my parents) and was figuring out who I was. Those two years away were such a whirlwind as I was playing volleyball almost seven days a week, taking a full course load, and trying to fit in a new social life. I then moved back to Kelowna (back in with my parents) to go to university. I remember graduating university (with a big sigh of relief) and still having absolutely no clue what I was doing with my life. I worked many different jobs and was having no luck with the degree I had just obtained. I didn’t know who I was or what I wanted to be.
- the “secret”
I remember my mom following all these blogs and instagrams and talking about ‘influencers’ and saying to me “you can do it too”. I thought she was crazy. There was no way I was doing that. But it sat with me and I remember one day before going to play a soccer game, I was sitting with Mason at a restaurant pondering the idea with him. But what would I talk about? What would my name be? I remember thinking I was so brilliant coming up with “jennyfromtheblog” LOL. Meanwhile, there was a million other people that had thought of that name before me, duh. I liked the idea of a play on words with my name and the idea of an alliteration, so finally “stuffwithsvet” was born. I remember not loving it at the time but thinking “I can always change it later” ha!
So I created an Instagram called StuffwithSvet. I already had a personal Instagram page at that time but this was a new account, strictly for blogging. I told nobody. I was terrified and embarrassed all at the same time. I started posting photos of anything and everything but didn’t include my face. I didn’t want anybody to know it was me.
I remember a few days later at the job I was working at, one of my co-workers approached me and said “Jenna i think somebody is trying to be you”. There was no way around it. I reluctantly told her it was in fact, me. And slowly people started finding out. The secret was out.
I actually didn’t end up making a real blog or website for almost two years after that. But I had realized if I was going to take this seriously, that’s what I needed to do. And if I was going to be competitive and make money from doing this, I was going all in. So the StuffwithSvet blog website that you’re reading currently, was born.
- fast forward to now
If you been following since the beginning, you’ll see there’s been a lot of changes, mistakes, and improvements since I first started. There was a lot of self doubt. A lot of “what the actual f am I doing”. A lot of uncertainty thinking what happens if this doesn’t work out. Everybody’s going to know I failed. And THEN what am I going to do.
But despite the scary times, there has also been a lot of happiness. Whenever I receive a comment like “your post inspired me to do this…” or “I went to this restaurant because of you..” or anything that touched somebody, makes my heart melt. I still do little happy dances all the time when people send me comments like that. Connecting with people is one of my favorite parts of blogging.
- how have I changed since 2018 (when I launched my blog)
Back when I started this blog, I was living with two girlfriends in a town house. I had a boyfriend. I was very social and had a lot of friends. I had just gotten a new job that I thought I was going to be in for a long time. I thought I had my life together.
But it wasn’t glamorous. There was a lot of growing pains. I definitely didn’t make much money at first with the blog. I was receiving free product or free services in exchange for my work. When I finally did start charging for my services, I had no idea what my value was or what my time was worth. I remember doing work for as little as $50-$100.
I found mostly all my business. I was doing a lot of cold calling, emailing. Not a lot of people were coming to me at this time. I worked on creating brand awareness.
I worked really hard (or at least I thought) at increasing my numbers on Instagram. Back then, I thought it was all a numbers game. Am I growing fast enough. How many followers can I get. What kind of number do I need so that I’m not embarrassed anymore and people will take me seriously.
I vividly remember struggling with what my “niche” was or what I wanted to do with my platform. I had a platform, but what was I doing with it? It was never a popularity contest to me. That didn’t matter to me. I wanted to do something with the opportunities I was given. But what that was, was what I was trying to figure out.
I then decided to change my Instagram title to my name, Jenna Swetlikoff. The blog was still StuffwithSvet but my social handles were all changed to my name. Which was scary. StuffwithSvet I could hide behind, but Jenna Swetlikoff I could not.
I dabbled into all types of things in my business. I met a lot of people. Talked to a lot of strangers on Instagram. Shot with a lot of photographers. Went to a lot of networking functions. Went to a lot of events. Met other bloggers doing the same thing. A lot of things that didn’t earn me any money. But I was building my brand.
I made a LOT of mistakes. Faced a lot of rejection. There were wins, but also a lot of losses.
Covid happened. I moved out of the townhouse with my friends and got my own place. Social, racial, and political issues surfaced on social media. The world changed. I was being really challenged for the first time. I really recognized what my true values were and how much I wanted to support my community. OUR community. It was no longer a numbers game to me anymore. It didn’t matter how many numbers I had if I didn’t have a sense of community. Everything shifted.
I started looking at who I was surrounding myself with and who my friend circles were. I looked inward at my family and boyfriend. They were the people I was leaning on the most at this time.
I realized I had changed. And with that, I was having success. And with those successes, came hardships. A lot of people that had been in my life for so long weren’t serving me anymore. They weren’t rooting for me, they were jealous. But I fought for them anyway. I was such a people pleaser. I wanted everybody’s approval and I worked so hard to keep those friendships.
- 2021 (present)
We’re still getting over the pandemic, but communities were coming together. Supporting local is where my mindset shifted. I was humbling myself so I could learn from others.
I mourned a lot of friendships that were still hurting me but finally realized it was for the best. I didn’t want to feel guilty anymore. Toxic environments were stunting my growth.
I finally realized that I’m never going to please everyone. One of my favorite quotes is: “you can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.”
So I made new friendships. I befriend people in my industry. Other entrepreneurs. Other females in my field. And it came so naturally. These friendships were easy. They are the ones that support me and lift me up and make me a better person. My mom always told me who you surround yourself with is who you will aspire to be. It is so true.
I’ve hired help. I realize if I want to take this business to the next level, I need to outsource. So I have but holy f is it scary! But making yourself uncomfortable is a good thing.
I’m right where I need to be. I’m going to unapologetically be me and commit to always bettering myself and those around me.
I’m continuing to learn to love myself. Embrace change. Recognize my flaws. And always be working on personal development. You’re never going to be “too good”, we can always be learning.
- A note to you
Thank you all for sticking around and being on this journey with me. I’m so thankful for all the beautiful souls that I’ve met and connected with over the years! I appreciate every single one of you and wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you.
Photo credit: @storycatcher_photography