Fashion Magazine

Throwback Thursday: Don’t Quit Before the Miracle

By Bridgetteraes @BridgetteRaes

Throwback ThursdayWelcome to Throwback Thursday on this blog, a weekly feature that showcases what I was blogging about a year ago this week.

This week’s post is particularly unique because a year ago this week I didn’t blog at all, and for good reason. I stopped everything to revamp my entire website.  This makeover of my site was, in some ways, a relaunch and rebirth.  Shortly before I did it I almost quit my career, if you can believe it?  Why did I almost pack it in?  Well, after spending over a decade growing my business I felt like I was working too hard for mediocre success.  Yes, I had blips of momentous moments, like writing a book, building a wonderful client base, doing a lot of media work, etc. but I also was struggling with horrible lows as a business owner. It was the inconsistency that was driving me nuts and, facing 40 at the time, I just didn’t know how much more I was willing to endure.  Ask any business owner and they’ll tell you, self-employment isn’t always a picnic.  Smartly, at this time I turned to mentors and experts for advice.  Should I close?  Would my skills be better used elsewhere?  Is the writing on the wall, do I need to get a (gasp) job, job?  I kept myself open to any advice and direction, even if it was to shut down and find another career.  I remember talking to my dear friend Peter Shankman about this and said, “Sometimes I feel like an American Idol contestant.  If I can’t sing, then tell me and I’ll move on with my life.”  His advice to me, “I’m sorry, you can’t quit.”  However, I knew I needed to make some changes and turned to experts, like Peter and others, for help in the areas of business that weren’t my strong suit.

As crazy as it sounds coming from me, one thing I needed was an image makeover, a website makeover, that is.  Ah, the irony of that.  I knew it had to be done but was putting it off because, well, my business is made up of a staff of one, me.  I really didn’t have enough knowledge on how to revamp a website and I certainly didn’t have the time.  I also didn’t have the resources to hire someone to do it for me. Plus, I am a control freak and knew that, if it was to be done right, I had to do it myself.   So, I made the time and I taught myself how to create a website.  I did it in a week.

A year later, I am not only surviving, but thriving, and this is why I titled this week’s post “Don’t Quit Before the Miracle.”

In the one year since I revamped my site, traffic to my blog has grown by 560%, which is unfathomable.    I can’t even wrap my brain around this percentage of growth.  My work is more fulfilling and rewarding than it ever was before and there are a few reasons for this, the most important being you, yes you!

With growth of a website and increased traffic you, obviously, reach more people.  Blogging can be a lonely existence, sometimes.  You put content out there and have no idea where it will end up, who is reading it, if anyone will find it helpful or if you are making any sort of a difference.  When nobody reads your blog you feel like you are talking to yourself.  However, in the past year, I have been amazed by the responses that I’ve gotten from people who read what I write.  Recently, a reader sent me a selfie of an outfit that she called very “Bridgette inspired”, a few months ago another woman sent me money because of all the value she has gotten from reading my blog (sidenote: I donated it to Dress for Success, which you can read about here), and when I read blog comments or emails from readers, filled with gratitude for what I do, it just gets me excited to do more.  However, the thing I am most grateful for is that my intention behind the information I share is exactly how it is being received by readers.  Although, I do sometimes forever just be known as the writer of the post that went viral, Tights Are Not Pants, Ya Hear?.

When I started my style consulting business back in 2002 my goal was simple, to become a filter between fashion and the real woman so that I could help her understand how to get dressed.  I never set out to be a celebrity or editorial stylist, I just wanted to help women.  I often compared my approach to having a cooking show.  A chef on TV doesn’t just throw savory looking dishes at you, they show you step-by-step, how you can do it yourself, realistically, no matter what your budget or how much time you have.  Unfortunately, much of fashion isn’t very instructive and there isn’t a lot of information at the fingertips of women to help them learn how to get dressed.  Yet, I knew that if I could answer the whys of fashion, and explain the concepts of putting a great look together, in a way that made practical sense and seemed achievable, getting style right would be more purposeful and less like a happy accident for women.   When I hear from readers this is exactly what they seem to get about my writing.

So, while I could just skip this week’s Throwback Thursday, because I have no old posts from a year ago to share, I felt it was the perfect opportunity to say thank you, to all of you, who read this blog, who comment, who email me and who take the time to make what I have to say a part of your life.  You all inspire me and make me grateful for what I do everyday.

Thank you.

With much love, Bridgette

Throwback Thursday: Don’t Quit Before the Miracle
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