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2013 Making it Lovely Reader Survey

Thank you, everyone, for taking my 2013 reader survey recently. Below are the results. I would have had this information to share with you much sooner had I not insisted on attempting to make the charts and graphs pretty. (Silly me, trying to make it lovely.)

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Survey Results

I asked several questions about posting frequency, blog reading habits, and about your feelings on sponsored posts. I’m glad to see that so many of you are supportive, long-time readers — I really appreciate that.

Making it Lovely 2013 Reader Survey Results

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Why do you read Making it Lovely?

  • “I love your style , pretty and feminine- but somehow there’s an edge to it. Also I enjoy your writing style- its smart and to the point- with a healthy dose of sarcasm. Your level of transparency seems perfectly balanced to me, I know enough about you to understand your point of view- yet you are not living your entire life on your blog. I am also a young(ish) mother of two perfect darlings that rock my world and I just wanted to say from one momma to another that I think you do a really wonderful job of acknowledging and honoring motherhood, while still making plenty of thoughtful conversation about other things. I feel as though so many blogs are JUST about mothering or they’re about interior design exclusively and their children are just another prop to style. You are a rare gem, indeed. Cheers to your anniversary, dear! “

  • “I like your aesthetic, but also feel like yours is a more “grounded” blog — sometimes when I read a lot of blogs I get the feeling that I need to buy all of the things. I generally don’t have that feeling from reading yours — I get ideas, inspiration, etc. but don’t feel like if I only changed everything in my home/wardrobe I would be better. Hope that makes sense. “

  • “I’m inspired by your decorating posts. Whether or not we have the same style doesn’t really matter. I like to see the things you put together and try to think about how I might do something similar in my own home, with my own twist. That’s why I like “Making it Yours” so much. Of all the design blogs I follow, you’re the only one doing that. I love seeing how the same item can seem so different when accessories are switched. “

  • “I love your tone and the pictures you take are great. I also like that you seem down to earth and honest. You have a realistic price point for most of the stuff you share and you are able to mix the high with the low in such a fabulous manner. Your kids are adorable and it is fun to see them growing up plus you are from the Midwest, where I am originally from. “

  • “You grabbed me with the pink living room, held on tight with the Madeline Wienrib rug, and cinched the deal with the refreshing quirky personality. I return again and again to read your words and to be inspired that smart is cool and individuality is cooler, and that anyone can have a beautiful home that expresses their passions. (And not just the designers, though I do love them too :) “

What are a few of your favorite blogs?

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Topics

Looks like you love seeing photos of my home, makeovers for readers, and DIY projects, and you’d like to see those topics more often.

Topics

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Are there any other features or topics you'd like to see more of on Making it Lovely?

  • “I love hearing about products, services, apps, screen savers (I still have that flip clock screensaver on my iMac), etc. that you’re using. I know it’s hard to walk the line between a casual ‘I’m loving this’ post and an endorsement, but I really love hearing about the things you’re loving, using, crushing over, etc. And I miss your font crush posts!”

  • “I live in Chicago, close to Oak Park and I’d love to see more posted on neighborhood. I think it’s charming.”

  • “More before and afters. Remind us of your space, keep us in the loop about what has changed. Show the evolution of your style. Take more photos yourself (fewer mood boards and things pulled from the net).”

  • “I like posts that give me the feeling of going shopping with you– explaining how you select different items, why you reject others, how you think they work together. That can be accomplished with actual make-overs/purchases/projects (in either fashion or home stuff) but also with mood boards.”

  • “I’d love to see periodic photography tips and tricks. I know you say you’re still learning, but we can learn with you.”

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Demographics

The average reader is a married woman between the ages of 25-34, a homeowner, well-educated, with young children.

Making it Lovely 2013 Reader Survey Results: Demographics

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Is there anything else you'd like to say?

  • “I’d just like to say that, a while back you wrote how you’ve decided to remain the only writer/contributor to your blog & I LOVE that! I meant to comment that on that post but I never did. I don’t know why I don’t comment. Perhaps it’s because I think there’s no possible way you read them all? Do you? If you do, I’m sorry I haven’t been commenting & encouraging you in that way. I super love your blog & think you’re an inspiring lady!”

  • “I follow way too many blogs. I need to clear out my reader. However, I think – without cheating – you are a former bookstore employee? I think you love books. Anyway, our daughters are similar in age and I think it would be a cool feature for you and Eleanor to review a children’s book every week/month. Maybe? Random thought.”

  • “I love reading your blog for many reasons. I certainly love looking at pictures/projects of your home, as I feel my style is similar. There are things I would love to do in my own house. I also really like your writing. I always find it positive and encouraging. You are a person who I would spend time with in life! Down-to-earth. I find you inspiring, and look forward to reading new posts every day. I find myself at a point in life where I can’t decide what I need to do next. I come to Making-it-Lovely because it makes me feel happy. A lot of your personal posts make me feel like I tackle things calmly. In my job I do some online work already, and I’d love to take it a bit further. I read your posts and feel better about taking on challenges. Anyway, I really love this blog. THANK YOU FOR WRITING IT.”

  • “You do a great job, and have a unique style. I hope the feedback doesn’t make you change things too much. Hats off to you for being able to support your family from this!”

  • “Keep up the good work. I’m proud of the decisions you’ve made and appreciate your candidness, and your ability to not pontificate on your life. Your blog isn’t so much ME! ME! ME! as so many are prone to be. It’s thought provoking and minimal, as if you trust your readers’ ability to think and form their own opinions. You give us something to think about without shoving it down our throats. Thank you. “

What I’ve Learned From Blogging

Summed up in 3 images…

Be Like a Duck
Haters Gonna HatePicasso Quotesources: 1, 2, 3
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…and 5 sentences.

  1. You have to hustle.

  2. Push yourself.

  3. You can’t please everyone.

  4. Ask for what you want.

  5. Do it for love, but know your worth.

How My Blog Went From a Hobby to a Job

As I mentioned yesterday, there are several topics to not discuss in polite company: money, politics, and your stance on wood finishes. Since I have already, at various points, touched on the other two, why not go three for three and talk about finances?

I’ve held a job, self-employed or otherwise, since I was sixteen. I have been an amusement park ride-operator, a handy(wo)man, a telephone surveyor, a face painter, a babysitter, a record store clerk, a muralist, a bookseller, a web designer, a stationer, and a blogger. Most of those overlapped. For instance, I worked at the bookstore while also face painting for the village events in Oak Park, the combination of which somehow led to my being awarded Employee of the Year for Downtown Oak Park! I didn’t even know that was a possibility, but I gave a brief, awkward acceptance speech at the end of a TIF meeting, and was presented with a plaque. (It used to hang in our apartment bathroom, because that’s a pretty funny thing to see when you visit the loo.)

I’m sure you can tell from my résumé of odd jobs (literally) that I have been raking it in!

Brandon and I were married in 2004. I started my stationery shop in 2005, and I began offering web design in 2006. Making it Lovely began in 2007, and I had intended for it to be a complement to the shop and design business, but mostly just a fun place to chronicle what we were doing as we moved into our first house together. Over time, the blog became successful, and I was able to earn some advertising revenue. Each year, the balance of our finances changed a little (2008 took a hit from doing the National Stationery Show — ouch), but Brandon’s job was always the anchor.

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He and I had dreamed of the day he would be able to quit. Steadily, each year, we grew a little closer. Then, in January 2012, we were pushed over the cliff when he lost his job. We weren’t ready to make that leap, and we scrambled for a while. Slowly though, I began to find my footing with the blog and its potential to support us, and in September 2012, I wrote about our decision for Brandon to stay home and watch the kids while I worked full-time on the blog.

Though our income is now fully funded by Making it Lovely, I have tried to diversify the sources as much as possible. Keep reading for a breakdown of how this blog supported us in 2012.
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