I can’t believe it’s been one year since I wrote my very first blog post (recently updated - what to wear to your residency interviews)! Below, I've reflected on how my sweet "Love and the Sky" become real.
How I started my blog: I got the idea to start a blog towards the end of fourth year, but I didn't know what I wanted to blog about. I happened across Laura Lacquer's A little bit of Lacquer after graduation and that was a huge motivator to me that I could do it. I'd met her during dermatology residency interviews, but I had no idea that she was this internet celebrity. haha. I DMed her to tell her I was thinking about starting a blog, and she pushed me to do it. While exploring A little bit of Lacquer, I came across Franish the Blog. I told one of my really good friends about my plans and she referred me to Joyce's blog - Tea with MD.
Inspired by all of their blogs, I began to brainstorm what I wanted to blog about and who I wanted to blog to. It was my ultimate goal to create a website/resource. Once I figured out my what I wanted to blog about and who I wanted to blog to(see below), I had to come up with a name. This was very hard for me, but "Love and the Sky" came to me while I was falling asleep one night. My goal was to give a name a meaning and to have a name that was flexible in case I changed my mind on what I wanted to blog about. Love and the sky are my two biggest inspirations and motivators, so that was it (read more about my inspiration behind the blog name here). Once I had a name, I signed up for a squarespace account and started blogging. I'd done some research on different blogging platforms, and squarespace was the best option for my vision. Related: A little bit of Lacquer - How to start a successful blog
My very first blog posts were about residency interviews because it's a topic I felt very strongly and passionate about. I also put my focus into my instagram account to build an audience to read the blog. Read more about why I started my blog in the about me section here.
Career profile - Joyce Parks, MD
Dermatology resident and blogger behind Tea with MD
Career profile - Franziska
medical student and blogger behind Franish the blog
Who/what I wanted to blog about: I wanted to tell the stories of my peers. I wanted to showcase “millennials” who not only had jobs - but had careers. Millennial culture is dominated by the "creatives," and I wanted to profile young, professional millennials. Specifically, I wanted to profile the amazing group of people I am lucky enough to call my friends. At the core, my friends were my biggest inspiration for Love and the Sky.
Originally the blog was for all young, professional millenials but as I began to blog, I realized that I couldn't really speak to people outside of medicine like I could to those within medicine because our jobs are so incredibly different. I don't understand people who have job perks and/or make over $70,000 before the age of 30. So, about 6 months in, I officially narrowed my focus to twenty and thirty sometimes within medicine. If you look back at the original career profiles, I profiled two lawyers, two engineers, and a fashion assistant.
I also wanted the blog to be a place of practical and shared advice for twenty somethings - like how to maximize your credit score and choose a health insurance plan. I had a lot of ideas for the "how to adult" course but those posts never got much traction. So, instead I focused more on the how to be a strong medical school applicant, how to match a competitive specialty, how to choose your specialty, and how to make your rank order list posts because those were the questions my soon to be audience had.
In year two, I hope to expand the "life" portion of the blog.
my medical school best friends:
Who I wanted to blog to: I wanted to blog to that same young-professional millenial crowd. Initially, I wanted to only be the editor of the site. I wanted to create a platform to share the content of my peers. The problem with this is no one bought into my dream as much as I bought into my dream, and I realized that if I wanted Love and the Sky to fly - I would have to be the editor, blogger, graphic designer, and PR. One year in, I don't see that changing. It's incredibly time consuming to both organize and edit career profiles and write original content, but I love what I've created.
When I started the blog, I assumed that people would naturally care about what I was saying. haha not true. This was a tough lesson to learn. My blog traffic was very slow for months, and I am very excited to see it start to pick up in the start of the second year (although I'm very nervous that it will dive down again). To prepare for this current traffic, I created high-quality content for the hundred people who were tuning into my blog on a regular basis that would be relevant to a larger crowd if they ever tuned in.
What I still struggle with: Social media is very hard for me because at the end of the day, I am a very private person. I’m still pretty terrible at posing for pictures myself. I would much rather be behind the camera. I also struggle with knowing what my blog "niche" is and staying within in. Although, my current audience is pre-med students, medical students, and residents, I don't want to write about medicine all the time! So, I will be testing out a few beauty and fashion posts in the next few months. I think beauty is a big area of growth for me as it overlaps with my career as a dermatologist. It's funny because a year ago I refused to write about beauty.
Short term goals:
1. settle on a schedule that balances my new reality of being a dermatology resident (there is so much to learn), studying, being Alex's girlfriend, exploring NYC, friendships, blogging, staying in shape, and social media. Currently, I am still pretty overwhelmed with all of the things that need to get done.
2. Expand the “life” portion of the blog - more fitness, beauty, and fashion posts coming soon.
3. Start taking beautiful pictures with my real camera again.
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Long term goals: My long-term goal for 2017 is to make Love and the Sky a profitable venture. As I've mentioned above, the blog takes an incredible amount of time from my already very tight schedule. It's fun, but it is work. Also, my budget as a resident in NYC is very tight. Making money from the blog would allow me to continue my passion and relieve a little financial stress. It would also allow me to afford to outsource a lot of the mindless tasks like creating blog graphics so that I can focus my time on creating content.
One source of income from the blog will be consulting - both life and career consulting. I have already proof-read a couple of personal statements and it's a very rewarding experience for me because it allows me to work with my readers one on one. The consulting includes any question that would take more than 15 minutes for me to answer and wouldn't lend itself to a general blog post. This includes personal statement review and interview prep. Pricing ranges from $40 and up depending on the length of time required. I have also started to use affiliated links in preparation for upcoming beauty posts.
My second long-term goal is reach 10K followers on instagram and either consistently tweet or use facebook (which should I do? submit the survey below!).
Advise to anyone interested in starting a blog: Blogging is a lot of work, way more work that I ever imagined, but if you want to do it - go for it. Before you start, take time to figure out who you want to speak to and what you want to speak about and why people will be interested in what you have to say. Be patient. It will take time before an audience comes.
Thank you so much for joining me on this journey. Flipping through the blog content and the blog analytics, I am humbled at what we have created together. Thank you for continuing to give me feedback, encouragement, and ideas! Everything I create, I do so with you guys in mind.
What question do you want me to answer on the blog? What feedback do you have for me? Let me know in the form below! <3
elyse love, MD