One of the things I knew I wanted to talk about after my relaunch was the how, why, and when. I've received several comments, emails, and inquiries over the past couple of days from eager gals seeking advice on how to push through a reinvention of their own, so hopefully this post will prove useful to some of you! I'm not a business expert, and I'll never claim to be, but I can obviously speak from my own experience. Sometimes that's exactly what we need: the experience of another average human rather than a robotic checklist of things to do. Hopefully I can pare this one down, because the first draft was about fifty paragraphs too long. Brevity isn't my strong suit!
In order to reinvent anything, you first have to determine what exactly isn't functioning at full capacity anymore. Whether you're looking to "rebrand" your blog, your business, your personal style, or your "life," you first have to get very honest with yourself. For me, I wasn't motivated by my blog anymore. I'm not sure when the switch flipped, but it did. I didn't really mind going several days without a post, when before you'd be hard pressed to find two days in a row that I didn't write. It was really really hard to pinpoint exactly what wasn't working for me any longer, and to be totally honest, I'm still not sure I've found it. Still, I knew that the name and the look no longer served me. I wanted to sort of free myself from those constricting elements, but that was a scary thought.
Little Chief Honeybee grew from nothing into something over the past five years. I've had products named after my blog, and countless interviews and features that will forever display the previous name. Walking away from that was like walking away from my childhood, ya know? I knew it had to be done, but I was terrified. My compromise: rebranding this blog on this platform. Rather than starting new (at zero!) on a new platform, I wanted to try and make this work. Will it be the best decision in the long run? Who knows. It's all trial and error anyway
Brainstorming for the new blog launch was exhausting. Some days it was so hard to write on Little Chief Honeybee because I just didn't want to. I wanted something new! Something fresh! But it just wasn't coming to me. I started my rebranding process the way many do - on Pinterest. I had a secret board that I built into a comprehensive moodboard, full of my favorite colors, photos that gave me a sense of what I was hoping to achieve, and type stylings that I really liked. I even pinned loads of great editorial layouts that I thought might serve me well. Ultimately 85% of the moodboard went out the window, but I was only able to get to that point because I spent an exhausting amount of time dreaming it up. Overthinking isn't necessarily a good thing, but you should make sure you invest enough time and energy into the thought process before you start actually building anything.
This rebrand has been in motion for nearly a year. I knew at the beginning of 2013 that I wanted something new and fresh, but I didn't know how to go about getting there. It's easy to know you want change, but it's hard to decide what you'd be willing to risk it all for. It wasn't until the Summer that I came up with the name. (Loads of you simply don't "get" the name, and that's okay! You'd think explaining something that makes total sense to you would be simple, but sometimes I find it hard to put into words.) When I came up with it, that was that. There was little to no discussion in my head... I just knew. The design? That didn't come so easily. In fact, I sat on my hands for months trying to dream up the design, but was left feeling frustrated and let down. One day I just had to sit down at my computer and start laying things out. Before too long, things started taking shape.
I'm really happy with the final outcome, and I think part of that is because I took my time doing it. Rebranding and reinventing something is not to be taken lightly. If you're putting forth the effort to do something, you want to do it right. And chances are highly likely that you are passionate about that thing you're redoing. Otherwise why waste your time? If you want to ensure you don't end up in the same space again, build it slowly. Be intentional with each and every piece of the puzzle.
Don't be offended when everyone doesn't "get it" - and don't be surprised. In fact, some people will lack the ability to grasp it so much that they'll be angry at you for the change. They'll chastise you and maybe even go as far to email you and tell you that you owe them something. They want the old you, the old blog, the old looks... whatever. Not everyone is as open to change as you are, and you also have to remember that your audience is on the outside looking in. They may not realize just how debilitating your current brand is to your creativity. They'll pick apart the pieces that don't make sense to them rather than see it as a whole. That's okay. It's natural. Don't let it discourage you.
Plenty of people have a hard time accepting change. When you take the first steps to drastically change something, folks are going to get restless. They'll get nervous that you're changing everything and they'd rather just abandon ship. Let them go. Just like we grow out of our look/style or "favorites" over time, our readers also grow out of us. I regularly drop blogs from my Bloglovin because I feel like they just don't resonate with me anymore. There's no animosity there... just different strokes. I went one way and they went another.
If it feels right to you, do it. I would never go as far to say we don't owe anything to our readers (obviously y'all are the reason I'm able to do this to a certain degree, so thank you), but sometimes we have to be okay with letting some readers go in order to gain new ones. Some simply won't get the rebrand, and they'll leave (with or without a fight). And you'll have plenty who will stick around but second guess your direction/motive/etc. Make them believers. Show them you're still someone who can be trusted. You're the you they have grown to know. We're all human, we all evolve. Show them the You 2.0. Make them realize they were missing something all along... something they never even knew existed. Be you, but better.
Don't second guess yourself. Move forward with what feels right to YOU. There will be naysayers who think your content is juvenile, or maybe too far out of your realm of expertise. Do you. Write what you know/like/love/want. Wear bows in you're hair if you want to (regardless of your age). Don't be afraid to make a statement, even if others disagree or try to call you on it.
Negative and neutral (and sometimes even positive) feedback doesn't need to be personal! It's not always about YOU. Especially when you're creating some kind of creative product to share with the public. (And yes, a blog is exactly that.,. A product you CREATE). If you find it particularly hard to digest the less than stellar reviews, ask a friend to moderate those sorts of things, and avoid places where they may be breeding. If at all possible, read your criticisms objectively! We can ALL improve. Some will be constructive, and we should always be eager and willing to learn something. Malicious criticism has no merit in any situation so try to let that roll off of you. Malicious crit is NEVER about you.
It's so easy to be overly protective of our creative work. Making a huge change isn't easy, and sometimes we can let our minds play tricks on us. We can psyche ourselves out and develop anxiety about following through with it. One of the most common things I see folks doing is trying to over-prepare themselves for the upcoming change. It's human nature to want to be ready, but we also have to acknowledge that we'll likely never be as prepared as we'd like. Rather than spend forever trying to psyche yourself up to hit "publish," just go for it. Jump!
Plan as much as you can, sure. But if you find yourself slightly stuck and bummed that your editorial plan didn't come as far as you had hoped, throw caution to the wind and go for it anyway. It's okay for the pieces to fall together later. In fact, bring a little but scrappy about it might actually help motivate you. (But I'm biased because this is me 99.9999% of the time). There's no shame in putting yourself in the position to get stuff done. Sometimes the comfort and security of our "secret" can hinder us from taking that very important step.
Above all, be genuine. Be authentic. If you feel nervous, talk about it! Just don't let the fear keep you from reaffirming your love for whatever it is you're doing. This goes so far beyond blogs. Maybe you're feeling the need to switch things up with your style of career or whatever. Big or small, the trick remains the same: be true to you.
Make your motives known. One key component to trust is transparency. What fueled your rebrand? Appealing to advertisers? Simply wanting a more honest space? What was it? For me, I felt stuck in a name/space I didn't resonate with. My blog name was my Myspace name when I was 19. While it had certain personal significance at the time, it was simply a poor reflection of me now. I didn't do it to attract sponsors or because I want to write a book. And I didn't do it because I want to be some small biz guru (Please! I have so much to learn.) I simply did it because it felt like it was time. 2014 will be a year of big decisions, I can already feel it. But I also wanted a space where I could share resourceful information. I don't want this space to go dead when I get tired of talking about my life (because I will. And you'll grow tired of reading about it, too). The name doesn't make sense to many of you, and that's okay. If that has to be the reason you stop following, I'll be sad to see you go, and I'll wave you off with a grateful grin (cheesy!). But the name makes sense to me. It feels good, and it felt perfect when I thought of it. I love to "teach" and share information/advice. I love to share what I've learned with others in hopes that it will inspire them to work harder, dream bigger, and be better. While I could certainly use a daily dose of all that myself, I like knowing I'm "helping" in some small way. What's the saying? "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle?" That's my hope for this blog. Maybe it's lofty and misguided, or maybe I'm putting too much stock in my abilities/reach, but I'm doing it anyway.
It's so easy to misinterpret things on the internet. I hate feeling like someone has simply missed my point or failed to understand my tone or intention. This blog post serves double duty: sharing my experience and advice for a potentially scary rebrand (of whatever!) and addressing concerns folks have had. Even if one person expresses their concern or confusion about something, there certainly have to be many more out there with the same thoughts, right?
With that, I thank not only those of you who have eagerly followed me into the new realm of this blog, but also those of you who have questioned me (even if indirectly). Those questions help me better understand how I'm delivering all of this information to you... Whether personal or professional. I can always stand to learn a thing or two!
Even if you only give me five minutes of your day... heck, five minutes of your week, it adds up. Just imagine five minutes for each and every reader, combined.., that's a big responsibility. I think it's so easy to miss just how big of a deal that is. That's why it frustrates me so much to see so many bloggers be blatantly lazy and dismissive with their time/instructions/advice. I'm certainly not trying to claim that I'm somehow better (I fail in many ways on many occasions, I'll be the first to admit), but I value you and your time. I don't want to give you shoddy advice or shoddy directions. So many blogs coast solely on their readers' loyalty, and it's not fair. I may not owe you a play by play of my private life, but I at least owe you the common courtesy of honesty. I think several blogs really miss out on that. Authenticity and transparency equal trust. No matter what your "rebrand" is... your life, your business, your blog, your style... be authentic!
LCH was hard to leave because of everything attached to it, but it just wasn't consistent. LCH, Honeybee in the City, KaelahBee, it was all too much. I needed one set name. The name held significance at one point but eventually became a parody if itself. So much so I couldn't even tell people my blog was called Little Chief Honeybee?! What the heck does that even mean?! By the end of it I would just say it was a silly myspace name rather than explain why it had much more significance. Still, even so, I'm glad it's retired.
This is the Me 2.0. And for the sake of transparency, I have no idea what I'm doing. I have a few features "planned" but nothing set in stone. My hope was to have the full first month finished by the time I launched... I didn't even have the first post. Sometimes things don't work out the way we had hoped, and that's alright. We adapt and move on. I'm hoping things will fall into place as the days pass. I guess we'll see!
If you're hoping to reinvent some area of your life, go for it! Life is far too short to be unhappy with any aspect of our lives. This very thought has spawned many important conversations in our house and I'm excited to see how 2014 pans out. If you'd ever like to chat about how to make your reinvention happen, I'm all ears! Happy Friday, friends. xo