Talk to Us? (Reader survey time!)

Reader surveyHi, friends! Today we want to invite you to take our reader survey. This is your opportunity to weigh in and help us learn more about who you are, why you read ABM, and what you would be interested in for the future. 

But first I want to open up to you about how we're doing and what our intentions are for the new year. 2014 was a weird, wonderful, and definitely challenging year. Our company has grown so much in such a short amount of time. And with that growth has come heavy responsibility. Emma and I individually became burned out in very different ways. We processed it differently, and recently we have been working out a game plan for the future. 

We continue to love our work and want to move forward as a team, but beyond that, we have had a difficult time envisioning what we really dream of for the long term. Several times we have set out to create a five year plan together, but to be honest, it is still unclear. We are still searching. 

We didn't start A Beautiful Mess with a business plan. We didn't know we needed one. And now that ABM is very much a real company on which families rely—it's just so different from when we started. There are many things about ABM that we consider fun, but it's definitely not "just for fun" anymore, and we take those responsibilities seriously.

At the same time, the heart of our content is homemade living. Decor, recipes, fashion, gift giving, and creating an inspired life. These things are fun. VERY fun. And so we're constantly trying to protect that side of things as well. I feel like it's very obvious when a writer loves the post they are working on. We desperately want to protect the passionate, hobby side of what we do. I'll be honest, it's a difficult balance. And I won't pretend that we have it all figured out. But after seven years of blogging, I do feel like there is always a way to evolve and keep the spark alive, if you will. So we're always looking for that. 

In addition to our personal feelings, there are undeniable changes happening in the blog world. When we started blogging there were absolutely no industry standards, no "blog trends". I feel like back then it would have been more funny than serious to even label blogging as an "industry". Things have changed. There are far more opportunities and with that comes more competition and more of a business world to learn and survive within. 

When Young House Love (one of our favorite blogs) decided to stop blogging this year, it shook us a little. Maybe not in the way you're thinking though. We're not thinking of quitting blogging at all. But we did empathize with them. Their choice caused us to begin to ask the bigger questions, like is this what we want to do long term? If not, how can we improve our choices to make it a long term career. How can we support and network with other bloggers? How can we help support healthy business practices within our growing industry? How can we stay inspired, grow, and evolve? What do blog readers even want to read? What should we cut out and move on from? Where should we invest more time, money, energy.  Etc., etc., etc… We've had many long conversations on these topics. 

I could talk about this all day, but I'll go ahead and skip to my point now. 

We want to evolve. We realize the importance of staying inspired and challenged. There is no room for "mailing it in" here. If we slack off and fall into a boring routine, it sucks for us, it sucks for you, and ultimately it will not achieve any of our goals. So we aren't going to do that. We're going to move forward, and we need your help! 

There are really two factors that determine where we go as a business. The first is our inspiration. We have to love what we blog about. We have to continue learning and feeling that challenge that pushes us to be better. The second factor is what you love. We want to write a blog that our readers enjoy and get a lot out of. We want ABM to be useful, encouraging, and inspiring. When it comes to DIY projects and recipes, we judge their success not by how many page views they get, but by how many of you actually MAKE the projects and recipes. That's why we do what we do. We want ABM to feel like a community, a place where you can make friends and learn things that make everyday life better. 

With that said, please take the time to complete our survey, linked below. Please be honest and candid with your answers. All surveys are anonymous because we want you to feel comfortable giving honest feedback. However, please also remember that Emma and I are humans with feelings. We will be reading the surveys, so please try to be constructive in how you word your critiques. It's so much easier to learn from a constructive critique. 

THANKS FOR ALL YOUR RESPONSES! (survey now closed)

Comments are closed on this post, because we built in a comments section on the survey and want to capture all your feedback in one place. Thanks so much! Elsie + Emma