It’s October, and that means it’s Growing Up Herbal’s anniversary. It’s 7th anniversary, in fact.
I’ll be honest with you, I’ve recently been struggling a bit with this space. There have been so many changes in how people interact online that I often find myself wondering if blogging is dead, at least in the way I do it. I mean, should I just focus on connecting via my letters and social media channels, or do people like coming into my online home where they can read my thoughts and find helpful information that’s archived here? I don’t know. You tell me? I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts on this.
To get an idea of what the future holds, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. I’ve even emailed other bloggers that I admire to get their thoughts on this topic. And after months of thinking about it, it seems like everyone is doing what works best for them at the moment. Some people are continuing to blog regularly while others have moved their focus to social media.
With all this “soul searching” about where I see this space headed, I thought it would be nice to share a quick post sharing where Growing Up Herbal has been, where it is now, and where I see it headed in the future. And, can I just say, if you’re new here, welcome. Thank you for stopping by, and I hope you find my little online home a warm and inspiring place to spend a bit of your time. If you’ve been here for a while, thank you for your continued support. You make this place what it is, and it would not be the same without you!
Growing Up Herbal: The Past
Seven years ago, I made the decision to go all in on this entrepreneur journey. I opened an Etsy shop under the name Growing Up Herbal, I purchased this domain and secured the social media pages, and I filled out all the paperwork to become a legitimate business in my state.
My focus was on making and selling organic herbal skin care products for babies and children. I sold shampoo and body wash, body oil, all-purpose salve, cradle cap oil, diaper creams, drawing clays, and more. I worked hard making my shop look nice, I learned to take good photos and write product descriptions, I dedicated myself to having good customer service, I networked with other shop owners and joined Etsy teams, and I learned a ton about how to run an online business selling natural skin care products.
Then, I started blogging and using social media as a way to further market my business. I wrote about my products, I shared behind-the-scenes of my business, and I taught about the importance of using non-toxic skin care products on children. Because my products were geared towards children (and my background as a nurse), my writing naturally progressed to more information about natural health for children. I wrote about nutrition, non-toxic living, using herbs for acute conditions, healthy sleep, getting outside in nature, real food recipes, and more.
I eventually started a newsletter list and gave everyone who joined a free digital product. I don’t even remember what the first one was! I started sharing my blog posts and other natural living information on my social media channels. Again, I networked with other bloggers, made some great connections and online friendships that I still have seven years later. People began to share my blog posts or link to them on their blogs. I began to write guest posts on other peoples blogs and opened this space up to guest posts as well. Slowly, but surely, my blog readership and social follower count began to grow.
As life circumstances changed, I eventually put my Etsy shop and skin care products on hold but kept blogging and teaching here in this space — learning more and more about how to grow a blog, make money with it, and make this more of my profession. My kids were still small, and I had the time to devote to learning all of this. It wasn’t easy, and it certainly didn’t happen overnight. It took a lot of work, many early mornings and late nights, lots of financial investments, and a lot of pushing myself out of my comfort zone (like making videos! ha, ha!).
All of this work eventually opened the doors for me becoming the Blog Editor for the Bulk Herb Store — an online herbal supply company, for a couple of years. During this time I had the opportunity to go to herbal school as they wanted to invest in my herbal education so I could do a better job for them (a really good sign of a great employer!). This brought me to the Herbal Academy where I completed their Intermediate Course (which was the only course they had at that time). While I had taken several great herbal courses in the past with some well-known herbalists of our time, this was my first taste of a focused, comprehensive type of herbal study. This course made such a difference in my home herbal practice as well as in how I taught about herbs here on the blog. It was as if my foundation was suddenly much stronger.
From there, the doors opened for me to work for the Herbal Academy as their Blog Coordinator. Very soon after that, the door closed over at Bulk Herb Store which meant I could commit myself all the more to Herbal Academy. Slowly, I took on more of a role as a core team member, and my focus here at Growing Up Herbal shifted, which brings us to the present.
(If you want to read more about how I make a living as an herbalist, you can find that in the following posts — How I Make A Living As An Herbalist: Part 1 and How I Make A Living As An Herbalist: Part 2.)
Growing Up Herbal: The Present
At this point, my work at the Herbal Academy takes up the majority of my online time. I love this company, I’m proud to be a part of their team, and I’m so excited for what the future holds. If you’ve not checked out their blog (it’s the best, but I’m a bit biased!) or their course offerings, do it! If you’re interested in learning how to incorporate herbs into your life, they can help.
Because of this and the fact that my kids are older and I homeschool them, I’ve had to become more intentional in how I spend my time. I’ve had to learn to say no to a lot of things, and when it comes to Growing up Herbal, I’ve had to learn how to simplify this side of my business in a very strategic way.
These days, you won’t find me putting as much effort into monetizing this space as I used to. If you’ve been a GUH reader for long, you may have noticed that I haven’t released any new ebooks or mini-course for a while, and I even put my herbal membership site, Herb Folk, on hold (although you can still sign up and go through a free month if you’re curious to know what it’s like). I’ve cut back on how often I publish new posts, and I’ve cut down on the number of contributors I hire. I even focus less on the “numbers” or analytics of blogging these days.
In spite of this shift, Growing Up Herbal is my baby. It’s my business — one that I’ve built from scratch, from the ground up, on my own, and I can’t see it not being a part of my life. I do my best to post here weekly, but there are times when life I busy and I don’t get to it (and it really bothers me when I don’t). I also try to be active on social media in an effort to build a community and connect with you all there, but I don’t do all of that on my own. I have a social media manager who helps me out (hi, Faith!!). My bi-weekly email letters are super important to me. They are THE PLACE where you’ll get the most up-to-date, personal information I share. If you’re not a subscriber, check out a sample letter here and learn more about the free gift I’ll send you when you sign up here.
I still stand for the same values I always have, and I’m still committed to bringing you high-quality information and resources to help you live life naturally. I’m just doing it, hopefully, in a more strategic way. I’m also trying to open up a bit more and bring more of a lifestyle vibe to this space. Growing Up Herbal is me. I’m not perfect, and I don’t do things correctly all the time. I have successes, and I have failures.
Ultimately, I think being open and honest with you in this space is the best way to create community and a movement towards living life naturally in a doable way. And now, to the future.
Growing Up Herbal: The Future
Honestly, I don’t know what the future holds. At this time, I see things staying the same as they have been for the time being, but I do have plans that I’d like to make happen.
I really need to buckle down and finish my Advanced Course studies at the Herbal Academy. Maybe I’ll take next year to focus on that and share my progress with you here on the blog like I did when I took the Intermediate Course. (You can find those posts here.)
I’d also like to do a bit more networking. Maybe writing some guest posts or magazine articles, collaborating with fellow herbalists (like this project), or even going to some herbal conferences. Who knows.
And then, of course, there’s teaching. I love teaching, especially to beginners. I love seeing their eyes light up as they learn how local plants can be used. I love seeing them feel empowered in using natural resources to care for their and their family’s health. So, maybe there will be a course or two, some local herb walks, a local Herb Folk workshop, or something else along those lines.
Again, I’m not sure what the future holds. I’ll plan for it, but plans change, so I’m not going to get too attached to anything just yet. That’s kind of the fun part though… no knowing. It certainly makes life more of an adventure!
Until next time,