After reading through the thousands of survey responses that came in last week (and still are!), along with some serious thinking about what the future holds both for my life and this blog, I have a much clearer sense of what direction I want to go in.
There were so many great questions/concerns that were brought up in the survey results, and I’d love to address each of them. I am SO thankful for anonymous surveys because it gave you the opportunity to ask questions and give honest opinions that you normally wouldn’t have brought up. I have a much better idea of who you are, why you are here and what you are hoping to gain—and I am so ready to deliver. Your responses have been so insightful and I plan to keep the survey open and do a series of posts with my thoughts on those topics. Deep down I’ve been wanting to focus this blog more on honesty and clarity, and have it serve as a place where you could come to feel inspired, motivated and connected. Based on your responses, that’s what many of you are looking for too. Perfect. Let’s make it happen.
Here’s a summary of the most common feedback I received, along with my thoughts:
1. Money/budgeting is my biggest decorating roadblock.
No surprise there! And I get it. I totally get it. Neither Brad nor I come from wealth or privilege and it is honestly through hard work, determination and sacrifice that we’ve made it to where we are. We set goals, save for them, and pay for everything in cash as we go. This topic is actually very fascinating to me and something I strive to work on personally, so let me know if you’re interested and I’ll write some dedicated posts on this in the future.
Your second biggest concern was lack of time, followed by being able to commit to a style and overcoming your design paralysis/fear of making mistakes. While I can’t provide you with more time or money, I’m already brainstorming ways to approach these issues, help you overcome obstacles and work to maximize your current situation.
2. I read because you are real & honest.
That means a lot, and I’m so glad that’s reflected in my words. I share the same desires/goals/needs as many of you, so if I can come up with a great solution that saves money, time, functions well, and looks great, I am all about sharing! That is really the purpose of this blog. Your trust is super important to me so I couldn’t imagine publishing something that I didn’t believe in for ulterior motives and losing that trust.
I have no problems saying no or turning down something that doesn’t feel right or is forced. For years I resisted even putting ads on the blog because I didn’t want to “sell out” or feel obligated to post because I was dependent on that income. I realize now that it’s silly to not be compensated at all for something I put so much time and effort into, but I think most of you understand that (for what it’s worth, I don’t depend on this blog for an income at this point, so luckily I don’t really feel a ton of pressure to post). Everyone is different, but for me that pressure would make it not fun anymore, and that would lead to uninspired, forced posts, which would lead to burnout and the end of this blog. Not good!
I’m sharing this so you know that any decision I make regarding the blog has been thought out with the future in mind. And my interests/goals may very well change over time, but right now I’m doing what’s right for me.
3. Post more budget breakdowns + step by step tutorials (including learning how to use tools).
I know how helpful these can be—I love when other blogs share it too. I try to provide those details when I can, however they do take the most effort and time when putting a post together so I haven’t done it as much as I’d hoped. But I’ll work on that more.
4. Post more realistic projects that serve a real purpose/function.
I do try. As a designer I just can’t bring myself to put energy into something that I deem hideous to look at, but there are some projects like our subwoofer side table that are necessary. I’ve only worked on projects we personally needed/wanted, so keep in mind that we all don’t share these same needs. For example, we don’t live with a lot of “stuff” so extra storage isn’t a huge priority. We also have no children so child or dog friendly isn’t a factor. This is definitely something I’m looking forward to challenging myself on with client work. Bring it on, let’s get creative!
5. Post more about using what you have to decorate.
I don’t love the idea of acquiring and spending a lot on “stuff”, so I think I do pretty well here. If you’ve been here for a while you’ll know I buy most things at flea markets, thrift stores, inexpensively at places like Ikea, or DIY it if possible. And that’s only if I don’t already have something that will work. However, since we all don’t own or have access to the same things, this will be different for everyone. Our last home was half the size (and still pretty minimal) so we did have to invest (inexpensively!) in most of our furniture and basic decor, but that’s not going to be a regular occurrence.
6. Show some less rustic/farmhouse and more [insert style here].
That’s the beauty of e-design! Not all of my clients will share the exact same style I do, and that’s perfectly okay. Exciting, even. It will be nice to explore other styles and challenge myself in new ways, and of course I’ll share as much of it as I can with you all.
7. Share more personal posts so we can get to know you better.
To be honest, this is the direction I’m feeling compelled to go in anyway. I’ve kept the content pretty much “business” since I know that’s what a lot of you are here for. But there’s a lot going on behind the scenes. I have a lot of important things to say. A lot of intensely personal thoughts I haven’t shared with anyone—many are still forming and developing in my mind, some i haven’t even put into words to yet as I am still trying to sort everything out and haven’t had the courage to share. When the time is right I’ll share/publish those words (and if you think you know… there’s a lot more to it). I could fill a book with these thoughts, but I’m only beginning on this journey and there’s so much more to come. Just stick with me.
Aside from changes in content, the actual blog will undergo some much needed updates when the e-design portion of the site launches June 1st. The design will look pretty much identical, however I’m switching to WordPress and there will be a handful of differences:
1. The blog url will change from jennasuedesign.com/blog to blog.jennasuedesign.com
This is the only bummer if you’ll have to update your bookmarks, but Bloglovin readers shouldn’t have to do anything (I’ll have it auto-updated) and I’ll also update the email/RSS feed signup. All of the old posts and content will be automatically redirected so there won’t be any broken links, don’t worry!
2. The old jennasuedesign.blogspot.com blog will be imported into/merge with the new blog
I am SO relieved about this. It is such a hassle trying to direct people to two different blogs for different posts. All of the posts/content/comments will transfer over like it’s been one continuous blog all along. Whew!
3. There will be a list of archives and a separate search function within the blog
I know you guys will appreciate that! No more clunkily searching the entire site for post content.
4. Goodbye Disqus
I’ll be using the standard WordPress commenting system. Shouldn’t make much of a difference at all, except unfortunately all of the Disqus comments left on this current blog will be deleted.
That’s basically it. A new url and better functionality. Sorry to drag you guys through two blog switches in one year, but I’m pretty certain this one will stick.
I’ll end this post with this: your stories and words have made me realize that this is much bigger than just decorating/remodeling. I’ve never really understood, until reading your comments, how much I’ve been able to not just inspire, but impact so many of you. Powerful stuff, and it makes me take this more seriously. Because it was anonymous, I was expecting at least some harsh words and negativity, but everyone was surprisingly very civil and constructive. Thank you for that. I feel so fortunate to have you guys as readers. Group hug.
I know many of you are curious about the e-design details, and that’s coming in a separate post in a few days. Thank you for your patience 🙂