Several weeks ago I had the absolute pleasure of speaking with Jaclyn Carlson the Founder and Director of Blog Society, a “global community and resource for bloggers, creative business owners, and the endlessly curious to connect, collaborate and share.” In our interview Jaclyn speaks openly about fear, insecurity, self-doubt, and of course collaboration and there is so much to learn from this passionate young woman.
Jaclyn is also the creator of an amazing E-Course by the name of Digital Bravery which is currently taking July enrollments and I am lucky enough to be a proud official affiliate. This course is an amazing way to tackle fear and self-doubt head on and take a leap of faith for YOU and your business. Just click here to get involved.
Learning how to deal with the hurdles that pop up again and again when we are in business can be a daunting thing. Especially when we step out of our comfort zone and take on new challenges. Digital Bravery is a course designed to show you how to do this on a daily basis and in particular you will learn how to market your message, own social media like a boss and send your brand out into the world with style. Click here to find out more.
Interview by Tess Bartlett, Holistic Coaching
Words by Jaclyn Carlson, Blog Society
Tess: Can you tell us a little about Blog Society and how it came about?
Jaclyn: I moved to Australia in late 2007. I first started blogging way back in 2005. I’d been travelling in Europe at the time and had written my first blog on my adventures. In hindsight, I wish that I had kept that blog going because, of course, back then it was a really rare thing and if I had only known that the blogging world was just going to explode.
Then I found myself in Australia and reading popular blogs like Apartment 34 and The Fresh Exchange and finding myself pouring into those every single night thinking “One of these days I’m going to start my own personal blog.”
And so I did it and it was a wonderful way for me to connect with women in Australia that were also creative and shared the same thing. That sort of blossomed into a whole string of opportunities and doors that opened and finally in 2013 I decided that I wanted to expand upon that and create a business focused community called Blog Society and that was born from that as a way to connect and collaborate with other women. And it’s been going ever since.
Tess: I have heard you mention many, many times collaboration and how it is at the centre of Blog Society so do you have any insights you can impart on that?
Yeah absolutely, collaboration was always such a huge value for me when I was putting together Blog Society and I formed the company myself and launched it myself, but new that going into it one of my main priorities was going to be collaborating with as many different people as I could possibly squeeze in. Because I think when you’re in such a creative community everyone has such different talents and you know we can play off our own strengths and weaknesses.
That first year I made it my mission that for every event that we did, whether it be a photo shoot event, a kinfolk dinner or workshops, I teamed up with people at every single event. That was different co-partners, different stylists, different photographers, caterers and I think because it was like that I was able to take on and learn so much from that first year.
I expanded my own personal network and I was able to meet so many different bloggers that you know, when you collaborate you bring your own family of people to the table as well as they do and you’re able to share contacts and ideas. It was something that was really powerful for me and I’ve kept that going throughout the years and trying to make sure that that was really important.
It’s been a big learning curve and I think that collaboration is a tricky dance at some points.
They all don’t work. I think it’s really important to be able to go in and be really clear on what you have to offer as well as what your expectations are for that partnership.
A big part of that is knowing when to walk away as well.
I think we tend to like to say “Yes!” And try to make things work when sometimes even though you could be great friends or you both have really passionate ideas, sometimes it’s just not meant to be in that capacity – or that people’s working styles are different or their visions are different.
So you really need to know what you’re comfortable with and what feels right. I’ve approached a few different people for partnerships and it just started to go down a different direction and I knew it was either off brand or I just didn’t feel connected anymore to the project and I think I need to feel comfortable.
To know when to walk away from those relationships would be one of the best learning lessons I’ve had
Tess: As a creative entrepreneur I’m sure you’ve experienced fear and self-doubt and it’s something that I …
Jaclyn: Mmm hmm! Every day!
Tess: And it’s something that I definitely write about regularly. I was wondering if you could share any experiences you’ve had on overcoming it or what you do to deal with it on a daily basis?
Jaclyn: Absolutely, and I completely agree with you. It’s one of those topics that is so needed and so timely and I’m a huge advocate for talking about failure.
I think it’s really easy to talk about what we do well and all of our wins and nobody wants to talk about the things that go horribly wrong. Or the fact that we all feel like frauds at some point in our careers, or every week!
You have different moments. I think it’s sometimes really refreshing for people to go “I’m waiting for someone to tell me, to realise that I don’t know what I’m doing” and when you say that, people go “That’s exactly how I feel too!” And I think it’s important for us to talk about it and to go … social media and the culture that we live in, everything is so perfect and pristine and everyone is talking about how successful they are and while that’s absolutely fantastic, it is a really edited version of our lives.
You don’t see the moments when you’re up until two in the morning and your house is a mess and you’re having a tantrum because you’re websites broken. It’s those moments when you’re at your lowest that you think “If anyone could see me now.” And when you share that people go “Oh my god I have those moments.”
We had an event and we were all speaking about that topic of failure and one of the girls shared that until you’ve had that moment when you’re breaking down on the bathroom floor in tears that you haven’t really made it and the whole room was like “Yes!” A collective “Yes.” That everyone has those moments and I think self-doubt is an emotion that I feel all the time.
I think the more the that I take on and the more I step out of my comfort zone I’m continually faced with that lingering feeling of self-doubt that sits in the back of your head going “Should you be doing this? Step back into your comfort zone where you know you’re safe and comfortable.”
It’s a matter of acceptance and just allowing it to sit there and to become more comfortable with those feelings and know that the only way to move past them is to prove yourself wrong.
Tess: Yeah, and just to go out and do it.
Jaclyn: Yeah, just to do it. And to look back and go oh, and the next hurdle will come and the next obstacle will be in front of you and the self-doubt reappears.
To me failure and self-doubt come hand in hand and it’s just one of those topics that I encourage and embrace fully and I just think that we should be talking about it more. Every single woman that I have ever spoken to that has gone through any sort of journey whether it be personal or professional has experienced those emotions.
Tess: Yeah and it does. It has definitely come up with everyone I have talked to
Jaclyn: Don’t you agree?
Tess: Yeah, artists, and writers, and bloggers and everyone saying “How do I overcome that feeling?” And it’s like well you just learn to live with it.
Jaclyn: And it becomes just a part of the journey and the highs and lows that sit with you and you just shift thinking and know that well if I’m feeling that way, it tends to be because I’m trying something new and growing and experiencing, or I’m in a growth phase and putting myself out there and it’s a signal to me that you know, I’m probably moving in a good direction. I was at a conference in the U.S and we had a keynote speaker from Lisa Congdon she’s an artist who is extremely successful and the whole room was kind of awestruck and even she was saying “people tell me that I’ve arrived and I’m waiting for that feeling that I’ve arrived because I’m waiting for people to discover that I don’t know what I’m doing.” And it was then that I was like “If she feels like that …” It was so refreshing to hear, it was great it was really, really great. Finally, someone’s admitting it!
Tess: And so as someone that’s surrounded by creativity all the time, how do you get yourself in the creative zone?
Jaclyn: It’s almost kind of intuitive, I think because I spend all day long pretty much stuck on a computer. I have 8000 tabs open looking at social media and different blogs – that to me is when I find it really difficult to focus. I personally need to step away from my computer. I need to go for a walk. I need to get out of the city for the weekend. Read a book. Try to stay off my phone. And I find that once I allow my body to slow down, mentally even sometimes physically just to be able to relax those thoughts and that energy once you kind of refuel. I find myself really hungry for it again and the ideas, sitting down with a notebook and thinking “What do I want to do this week? How do I want to feel at the end of the week? What Kind of things do I want to accomplish?” And I think sometimes being able to do that in silence and to get the feelings flowing and then kind of allowing it and I’m ona roll and that sort of gets me to focus rather than immersing myself in blog reading or technology, I think you can get stuck in a rabbit hole sometimes and it can be counterproductive if you let it.
Tess: Allowing for that space for creativity to flow.
Jaclyn: And the shower! The shower tends to be, I get these incredible ideas in the shower and I think “I need to write these ideas down right now, or I’ll lose them.”
Tess: This might be somewhat similar, but where do you gain your inspiration from?
Jaclyn: To me it’s the women that I work, in all capacities whether it be my coaching clients or my students I have in my E-Course, I mean their passion fuels me. When I’m having a bad day or feeling kind of sluggish and I just want to close the laptop and you know binge watch Game of Thrones, I look back and see those stories and go if she can do it today then I’m going to keep going. Or so inspired by seeing some of my blogger friends just take off with huge huge wins and counter to that have really bad days and just see everyone pushing through and to me it’s about being inspired by their journeys and knowing that we’re all kind of in this together.
Tess: What would you tell people who are interested in blogging and have a story to tell, but who are not yet ready to take the plunge or who are held back by their own fears?
Jaclyn: To do it. Definitely and you just nailed it, totally because you are your own worst enemy and I’ve been there a million different times when you wait for the right time to feel ready to have more skills, more money, more resources, it will never happen. That moment of feeling 100% ready it’s never going to come around, it doesn’t even exist, and just write the first post. It doesn’t need to be a novel, it doesn’t need to be the most well-crafted witty prose, just push publish. And write every day, write for yourself.
I think people tend to over think it and I think in the beginning it’s going to be just for you and I think follow that passion and take that first step, the worst will figure itself out.
We’re so focused on getting the right banner design and the right template and everything needs to look perfect and while I think there’s an element to that this is 100% important, if you spend every single detail over thinking it, you’re always going to look back and go I wish I had just done it, six months ago.
Tess: Just started writing.
Jaclyn: Analysis paralysis keeps us back. Just do it. Write the first post and go from there.
Tess: If you could collaborate with anyone in the world who would it be?
That’s a really good question. It’s an endless list. For me, being from the U.S. I see so many collaborations happening in the U.S and it’s so refreshing to see between bloggers and even big brands and I don’t know if they’ve blossomed in the same way here in Australia just yet. I mean one that I absolutely adore is Anthropologie and I would love to do a collaboration with them at some point. And I mean with Blog Society we do have a global audience my goals is to increase and expand to be a much more global collaboration and to bring global collaboration opportunities to the community. But Anthropologie, it’s amazing and if you guys aren’t familiar with the brand, it’s amazing you should check it out.
To find out more about Jaclyn Carlson, Blog Society and her E-Course Digital Bravery head over here to the website
To connect with Jaclyn you can find her and Blog Society at the following links: