2014-in-Review + Lessons from the Year

2014 has been an incredible year. Though I started V&V in late 2013, it took until April for me to start writing regularly, and mid-July (when I lost my full-time job unexpectedly) for me to really start to give this site the attention and love it deserves.

Since then, it’s been an incredible ride. I’ve made countless friends and professional connections, I’ve attended my first TBEX, and I’ve gotten to the point where I’m pretty sure there are a fair number of you out there reading (even if you aren’t commenting). There’s plenty of exciting content coming in 2015, but I’ve always been a fan of yearly (and monthly) reviews. Here’s an infographic – much like those I’ve shared for OctoberNovember, and December –, that gives you a quick rundown of my successes this year.

Read below the infographic for a few quick tips I’d recommend for anyone in their first year of serious travel blogging.

2014 Review Infographic

Lessons Learned Blogging in 2014

1. Your Brand Management Work is Never Done

When I first launched Valise Magazine in late 2013, I had a completely different plan than I do now. When I started writing a bit more in April, I thought I had it figured out. By July when I began to spend several hours per week writing and working on my blog, again I was convinced I knew where Valerie & Valise was going. Now in late December, things are always changing, and I’ve learned to embrace that my blog will grow and develop as long as I do.

2. Your Personal Network is Your First Fan-Base

Finding a way to leverage friends and family to support your passion is crucial to your success. If this doesn’t happen right away, keep shifting and trying new things until it works (see point #1). Once your friends and family are on board, ask for their feedback whenever you can. This is an uncomfortable process, but better to get the unpleasant feedback from those you trust than from the internet trolls (trust me, they’re out there).

3. Figure Out Your Right Reasons, and Write for Them

If you’re writing a travel blog to get to travel the world for free, go take a long look in the mirror and see how you feel.. This industry is already filled with so many leeches trying to get a free ride–what we need more of are passionate, committed people who share their perspectives to inspire others to see more of our beautiful world. Find your place in giving the world what it needs, and you’ll get all of the rewards of travel writing.

4. Being a Blogger/Writer is a Long Term Prospect

You will not receive overnight success, no matter how many articles titled such you read by ‘successful’ bloggers. You must set your own measures of success, and be prepared to work years to get there. Be prepared to write beautiful articles that it seems nobody ever reads. Leave lots of comments, write lots of tweets, share tons of stunning photos, and get comfortable living in the ‘echo chamber’ where nobody ever responds. Keep going. You, like me, have got this. Do it for your write/right reasons, and it’ll always be worth it.

Well, there you have it. It’s been a true pleasure to write for you in 2014, and I look forward to carrying on in 2015, sharing my world journey to inspire you on yours.

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Valerie has been blogging since 2001, and has been running her oldest travel blog for a decade. You can find her across the internet on her various niche sites, but she started Site School to help fellow bloggers grow and create better content.

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