While it’s hard to believe, this April marks ELEVEN years of Atlantic-Pacific. Whew! It has been such an incredibly rewarding journey carving out my own little space online for fashion and style. I have learned an amazing amount over these past eleven years, and today, in honor of the anniversary, I am outlining eleven lessons that I have learned along the way. Of course, these notes are based on my own unique experiences. That being said, if you currently have a business that you are looking to grow, or have decided to start one of your own, hopefully you’ll find something that is helpful. I’d like to thank ShopStyle Collective for being such a valued business partner. You can read much more about their new Standard Program here as well as get more details in the post below!
This post is sponsored by ShopStyle Collective
HAVE GOALS, BUT REMAIN FLEXIBLE //
It is absolutely critical to have goals. Recognizing that this is a fast paced, ever changing landscape, and consistently reevaluating and adapting is a huge key to success. If you are too rigid and cannot accept the reality of change (and how it may affect your business) it will become difficult to grow and succeed. I have always kept goals, but have found it more important to have a mission statement that defines what you stand for. This will be your guiding principle upon which all decisions are made.
HONOR YOUR AUDIENCE //
Your influence is defined by your readers/followers and you should treat this as the most important relationship in your business. I am eternally grateful for all of those who choose to visit this site, hit like, purchase a product, send me a DM, share my content, and so much more. I hope that as I run my business, those who follow me will always feel recognized. I truly hope that any and all interactions that I have with readers will be a positive experience.
DIVERSIFY YOUR BUSINESS //
I have three main streams of income from Atlantic-Pacific: affiliate, paid partnerships, and revenue sharing (creating products and sharing the sales with a brand or retailer). I try to keep a healthy balance of each so that I am not relying too heavily on any one stream or partner over another. My longest standing revenue stream (and still a very important part of my business) is affiliate. I am proud to work with ShopStyle Collective on this part of my business. Scroll down to read more about how to join one of their programs – no matter how long you have been in the space or the number of followers you may have!
BUILD GREAT RELATIONSHIPS //
This rings true in all business. I have found that connecting directly with brands and retailers and building true relationships is invaluable. There is a lot of movement in this space and it is important to always be professional and respectful to every individual who has an inquiry. If it isn’t the right fit, that is okay, but remember that individual may land a new position down the road – perhaps working for your *dream partner* – and they will certainly remember you. So, how do you want to be remembered?
GUARD YOUR TIME AND ENERGY //
I have a hard time with this one, but ultimately to perform your best you need to be able to say no to people and to opportunities that aren’t right for you. It could be the partner, the scope, the location, or the timing. There are many different reasons why a project may not work. Always be honest and respectful to yourself and your commitments. That will show up in your interactions with others.
FIND MENTORS AND ALLIES //
Being a creator can be a lonely job at times, especially if you don’t have a large team or network, or may be just starting out. Taking the initiative and making the effort to connect with others in the space will help bring you perspective, sound advice, and even friendships. Plus, it gets you out of the house!
THIS IS A JOB, NOT YOUR LIFE //
Set clear boundaries about what you are comfortable putting online and make sure that if you are sharing more than yourself you receive explicit permission from others. I have found privacy to be one of the most important things to protect in order to keep my mental health. There can be a fine – and frankly scary – line between being relatable and opening up versus monetizing your privacy, your family, and your relationships.
OWN YOUR POINT OF VIEW //
Stay on top of what is relevant, but remember to be yourself. There are a lot of influencers and creators in the world, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for new talent and new points of view. Since the space is crowded, it is critical to be authentically yourself and provide something that is unique. Once you allow yourself to become too ‘influenced’ by what is trending, or what may be working for others, you can lose your way – and your authority. Stay true to you.
LEARN FROM OTHERS //
Hopefully no one is doing exactly what you are doing, so when seeking advice, search far and wide to figure out what works best for you. For me it is about identifying what certain creators do well and listening to their advice on that one specific part of their job. I also like to observe how they execute on particular skills or aspects of their business, and then try to apply that learning in unique and authentic ways to my business. I always strive to be individual and independent, but that doesn’t mean I operate in a vacuum.
BALANCE YOUR CONTENT //
Your unique point of view should always shine through each and every piece of your content. Don’t have every post, story, activation, etc. paid or sponsored. This should go without saying, but you should have a healthy mix of paid and unpaid content, and absolutely all sponsors should be on brand for you.
ALWAYS BE NICE //
This can be easier said than done when it comes to a difficult client, a nasty message, or an overly critical comment. I have found it best to always own your side of the street and approach everything with kindness. I try my best to always find ways to learn and grow from critical feedback.
ShopStyle Collective, my affiliate partner, wanted me to share a bit of what I have learned on my blogging journey and also to highlight the opportunity to grow your business with their new Standard Program. As I mentioned earlier, the affiliate bucket was my earliest and most consistent revenue channel, and eleven years later, thankfully, it is still going strong!
The Standard Program from ShopStyle Collective is open to anyone and is focused on providing the tools and resources to help micro and nano influencers grow their businesses. They also launched a new app, Collective LinkIt, which works on both iOS and Android devices! You can apply for their program directly in the app and begin creating affiliate links. Not only will you earn revenue when readers buy your recommendations via affiliate links, but the tools provided to you will also help to better understand your readers preferences needs, which can be invaluable. Beyond receiving commission via affiliate links, ShopStyle Collective also has amazing partnership opportunities for influencers and creators at every level. Some of my favorite campaigns to date have been managed through my partnership with ShopStyle Collective.
During my first full year of blogging my sole revenue stream was affiliate, but through my performance, data collection, and better understanding of my readers preferences, back in 2011, I landed my first paid partnership. Flash forward to ten years later and I am still so thankful that I started using the affiliate channel early and often to help kickstart my business. You can learn more about The Standard Program from ShopStyle Collective here and make sure to download the new app, Collective LinkIt, here!