The story of The Dainty Squid // part two - The Dainty Squid

The story of The Dainty Squid // part two

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Finally! Part two of the story of The Dainty Squid! To be honest I had trouble writing this post hence why it took a few weeks. I think one part of it is I'm still living this. It was so much easier to write part one because it has an ending. You can find part one here.
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After seeing what a great help myspace and flickr were to my small but growing sewing business I figured starting a blog would be the next best step. I've always had an interest in photography, so not only would a blog be a place to promote my business, it would be somewhere I could share my photography.

For the first few years of The Dainty Squid it was purely for fun. I shared photos of what I was sewing, posted cat photos, showed off my thrift store finds, talked about my house hunt, and then how I was renovating and decorating that house. I was posting fairly regularly and getting what I felt was a lot of traffic for what it was. You know, I don't even think my mom read my blog in the beginning!

 part of a wholesale order for Shana Logic in 2010

It was never my intention to turn this little blog with silly pictures into my bread and butter. To be honest, I had no idea that I could even make money from blogging other than by directing traffic to my etsy shop. I eventually started accepting ads in my sidebar after receiving a few inquires. I wasn't making a ton, ten bucks here, twenty bucks there. To me it was just extra money for my collections and fabric (which I guess then could have also been considered a collection. SO. MUCH. FABRIC.) 

Blogging was a great excuse for me to take photos, and work on honing my photography skills. It gave me something to do besides sew. It gave me a place to share my work, my feelings, and my thoughts. It was a way for me to connect with people all over the world. I guess you could say it was true love right from the start.

 April of 2010

It's funny because there are actually two points in my blogging history where I think "okay, that's when it got serious" and to be fair they were both turning points. The first was in May of 2012.  I had had enough sewing. I burnt myself out. I didn't want to keep doing the same thing day in and day out. Although my life was anything but adventurous, I craved something other than that routine. It was then that I realized blogging was something I could do for a living. I had been barely sewing, barely selling anything and the majority of my income was coming from blogging. I guess I was young and a bit naive but I wasn't stressed about the transition from sewing business to blogger. It just happened so naturally.

At the time I already had a regular blogging schedule and quite a few awesome folks who advertised their small businesses and blogs month after month. But I realized I needed to find more ways to monetize the blog if this was actually something I wanted to do. I read tons and tons of post from other bloggers I found via google but honestly felt a lot of what I was reading wasn't relevant to the type of blog I wanted The Dainty Squid to be. I didn't want to really change what I was posting about or try to write a certain type of post just to draw in traffic and money. It took lots of trial and error before finding what clicked and discovering how I could make this all work for me.


The second time I felt like I really really started taking blogging seriously was when I moved to Cleveland. It was my first time living alone, and being responsible for every single bill and expense. Before I moved I told people I was a blogger, and I was, but the constant "that can't be", "there's no way you make enough money", and "that's not a real job" kind of tricked me into believing that maybe I really wasn't. Hearing that negativity from outside sources made me doubt myself. Moving to a new city alone was scary with these thoughts of "maybe this isn't a good enough job.", and "do I really make enough money?" swirling around in my head. I had to buckle down and prove to myself what I was doing was a legitimate job.

Nearly a year and half of living on my own and I'm finally 100% confident saying "I'm a full time blogger. This is my job". I mean, there's no two ways about it. My bills are getting paid, and I am paying them with the money I make blogging. That makes me a blogger and I really can't think of anything else I'd rather do for a living.
 
THE dainty Squid in her reading glasses...because how is she supposed to see without them?

Throughout this whole post I kept wanting to throw in something about what I was posting at certain times throughout the blog's history but even though things have changed so very much since my first post, it's still the same place. Browsing through my archives I found my collection of globes in a post from 2010, mushrooms in 2009, hints all throughout that urban exploration might be something I'd come to love, and of course, outfit posts have been a staple for a long time. The Dainty Squid will continue to evolve and grow just as it has over these last six years, just as I have as well. It is a business but it's also my story.

I'm so thankful to be able to do something I love so much day in and day out. Thank you all so much for reading and being a part of my life!
xoxo

Other posts in this series : 
Blogging - a real job | The Story of The Dainty Squid - Part One

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38 thoughts

  1. Loved hearing about this! <3 You're very blessed.

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  2. It's so good to hear inspirational stories like yours :)

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  3. Such a nice story, thank you for sharing! I just realized I have been reading you for quite a long time now :) 2010 I think. Your blog has evolved and so did you, I'm happy for you! You seem like a totally nice girl who I could be friends with (if we lived on the same continent hahah) :D
    Wish you many more posts <3

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    1. Thank you so much! That's crazy you've been reading so long. Thanks for sticking around all these years.

      PS. Definitely don't need to be on the same continent to be friends! <3

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  4. That was very interesting to read. I'm really happy for you that you are doing so well! :)

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  5. Beautiful and inspiring post. Congratulations! Great fabric collection and the buttons! :) This is what I hope to do someday for a Real GrownUp Job That Isn't Really— blogging, and running a shop. And taking care of chickens. Congratulations!

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    1. Thanks! Hehe, hope you get your chickens someday soon. :D

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  6. Happy to be a part of this blog-story, so far away, from the side of "your fan reeders"...

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  7. Wow!
    It is amazing to know the story behind TDS. I think probably I was one of those new followers from 2011 or 2012, but since then this has been one of my favourite blogs :)

    I'm happy you can make a living out of it!

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    1. 2011 or 2012 is still such a long time ago. Thank you for reading all these years. So many crazy life changes, it's neat to think that you've been through them all with me.
      :)

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  8. I'm so happy for you that you can make a living out of blogging and that it all went naturally.
    I really love reading this series :)

    And it's funny to me, because I only started blogging recently and I don't do it often, but I do write about the things you wrote about in your early days: little creative things I've made, thrifty finds, the renovating and decoration of our house and my kids (instead of cats ;-) ). And I'm thinking about posting outfit photo's and my collections (taxidermy and vintage stuff) but I don't know if I'm brave enough...
    When I first stumbled upon your blog (found it because I was looking up information about dying my whole head green instead of the few locks I had, just saying ;-) ) I was almost hysterical to see how much we had in common :p

    And I guess it's also a bit weird for you knowing there are a lot of people who read your blog and "know" this particular part of your life, while it doesn't always work backwards. Doesn't that sometimes scare you? I would immediatly talk to you if I met you in person, but writing down stuff (in another language) to someone I don't REALLY know does makes me change a threshold. Partly because it lacks the interaction and thence the equivalence in getting to know each other. And also because we probably will never meet in real life, so it somehow seems pointless to say: "Hi, I'm Daphne and I feel like we would be best friends when we lived in the same neighbourhood." Even though I'm sure you've met wonderfull people through blogging (I guess it's no coincidence there's also a picture of you and Elycia ;-) ) you just can't get to know everybody. And that's not even necessary so I guess it's the control freak in me that's struggling with this since I've started my own blog...



    Well, after reading my comment I'm about to post I'm like: that's exactly why I normally don't post comments, the girl wants nothing to do with weirdo's who think about stuff like this to much!
    I guess I should stop making a big deal out of it..

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    1. Hi, Daphne! Nice to meet you! :)

      It doesn't scare me that so many people know so much about me without me even knowing the slightest about them but I guess sometimes it can be a bit weird. On the other hand, it's actually super cool. It's fun to think about all the people that might be reading what I type, the fact that they might be leading a completely opposite life from mine but still enjoy escaping here is seriously so stinken cool.

      Don't be afraid to post about your collections. It was definitely scared about posting my all my interests (cemeteries, skulls, etc) but once I did it was such a relief. I was able to find so many more people interested in the same exact things!

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    2. Thanks for your comment :)

      I didn't look at it that way before, that a blog can be an escape for some people too. I guess I'm too used to be the stranger or weirdo in companies. So that's an interesting point of view.

      I always thought I would make myself vulnerable when I started blogging so that's the reason I didn't do it earlier, I'm pretty sensitive. I'm afraid that I won't find the border of what to share and what not. But I guess it's something you learn while doing it.

      Anyway, I don't have any readers yet so I'm worrying about nothing, actually! :D

      And in the meantime I'll keep on enjoying your wonderfull blog, thanks for sharing, Kaylah!

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  9. I love the back story of your blog. It gives us a glimpse into what makes it what it is. I am not a blogger, simply because I lack the confidence yet to make it a go, but your blog has always been my inspiration for what I would like to do in a blog. Keep it up, Kayla, your doing awesome at this whole 'grown-up-paying-bills' stuff!

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    1. Thanks so much!

      PS. Start your blog! Make it a goal. You got this, there's nothing to fear! :)

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  10. Good job! I have been a reader since 2010! I love it!

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  11. So... how do you make money from The Dainty Squid? I'm curious for myself; I just started a blog. Also, The Dainty Squid is super cute.

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    1. A handful of different ways including but not limited to ads, sponsored post, and affiliate programs.

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  12. It's great hearing a more in depth story of you, though I think a snapshot comes across in every post you make. I love it that you decided to stick to what is truly you instead of going down the route of money-making posts. I think people really love hearing about what makes make you unique!

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  13. I was waiting for this! I really love your blog so much, Kaylah. It is unlike any other on my reader and I'm always so excited to see a post from you come up! My favorite posts are the ones where you get personal, hard as it may be (with a second favorite being your urban exploration posts!), so this little mini series was awesome.

    Can't wait to see where blogging and life take you next! Thanks for sharing with us.

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  14. We love you! Thanks for sharing your ever unfolding story.

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  15. Thank you so much for sharing. I've tried starting a blog a few times and always ended up deleting it after a few months. But I've finally decided to commit and am really enjoying it. I'm trying to let it grow organically. I think I got fed up before because I tried forcing things. Now that I have no rules I'm having more fun.

    http://candidcerebrations.wordpress.com

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    1. Yep, that's exactly how to do it! No rules is definitely more fun.
      Best of luck with your new blog. :)

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  16. I loved to read the complete story,I have been following for years but I didn't have the complete picture until now :) I have already tell you this before but your blog was an inspiration to start blogging about our adventures and sharing our photography, I like how your world: the collections, the mushrooms, the abandoned places, everything you share is so personal and yet with the most impecable photography (ace!) and relatable experiences. I love how you can make the blog your job (you're a blogger and should be proud because you're a great one!) and at the same time keep so close with all of us whom are following you around. I have been excited for all the changes in your life, moving to a new city, new apartment, Jeff, the bike, Klaus, all the kitties stories, thanks for the inspiration sweet Kaylah, you're so much fun to virtually hang with! :)

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  17. Great post! Really inspiring! Gorgeous photos too, as always :)

    www.thegirlwithfieryhair.blogspot.com

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  18. I love this post and am proud to say I've been a reader + creative supporter of you+the Dainty Squid since... well, pretty much the beginning! <3 sending love from Chicago. - Alexz

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  19. I think I still remember the moment you posted pictures of your office/basement in your parent's house! From the first time I "knew" you (I can't remember how and when was) I find you the coolest person in the world! and thought your life was so cool and you were SO different from the other people.

    I'm glad you kept posting, blogging and inspiring people (a.k.a ME! aahhaha) for so many years. I hope you never stop doing this Kaylah <3 You're an amazing girl!

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