字幕列表 影片播放 列印英文字幕 Hey, it’s Marie Forleo and you are watching MarieTV, the place to be to create a business and life you love. If you consider yourself an artist or a maker or an entrepreneur and you are really passionate and committed to creating and sharing great work in the world, even if life throws you a big, major curveball, then this episode is for you. Grace Bonney is the founder of Design Sponge, a daily website founded in 2004 that’s dedicated to the creative community and reaches nearly 2 million readers per day. She runs an annual scholarship contest for up and coming designers and is the host of a weekly radio show, After the Jump. After 12 years in Brooklyn, Grace now lives in the Hudson Valley with her wife Julia and their three pets. Her new book, In the Company of Women: Inspiration and Advice From Over 100 Makers, Artists, and Entrepreneurs is available now. Grace, thank you so much for coming back on the show. I’m so happy to be here. Thank you for having me. So you’ve been through a lot since our last conversation. Do you want to tell us about your journey and all the things that have happened since then? It’s been a long… the last year has been a particularly long year. So in January of this year, in 2016, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, which I didn't even know adults could get. So that was a big shocker and it turned my life upside down. It turned my personal life upside down, it turned my work life upside down, and it was a sort of crass… crash course in getting to know my body, changing every habit from the way I eat to my lack of exercise, which is now a total 180. And now that I look back on that moment, which was just so difficult to get through in January, I have such sort of perspective on what a gift that was because it has fundamentally changed the way I love and work and I’m actually quite thankful for that now. And so let’s dive into the granular bits of that because if anyone doesn't know of your site and know of your work, they now will. But you run one of the most popular design blogs in the world, so getting a diagnosis like this and having so many significant changes required pretty immediately had to have a big impact on let’s just talk about your work life for a moment. How did you start to decide what to either press pause on, what to delegate, and was there fear around, oh my goodness, is my business just gonna crumble? Yes to everything. There was fear everywhere. My life from January to March was just fear after fear after fear. And to be quite honest, I didn't make decisions at first. I just fell into a really dark hole that involved a lot of, like, laying on the ground crying. And I was really fortunate that my team was kind of there to pick me up and say, “Hey, we can tell you’re going through this. We’re gonna run things for a while. Take some time, you know, go to all of your appointments, figure out what life looks like now. When you come back, we’ll figure out what to do.” And so I did. I took about a month and a half not totally off of work, but mostly off of work and to just kind of figure out what my day to day life was going to look like now. And there were a ton of doctors appointments, a lot of going back and forth between our home upstate and to my doctors in the city and seeing specialists. And there just… there frankly wasn’t time to work. It was just… it was my health was my work for 2 months. And once that was settled, it really gave me no choice but to prioritize my health and to realize, ok, the way that I’ve worked for the last 12 years of sitting on a couch totally sedentary, mostly in front of a television, working, you know, sometimes 10, 12 hour days, that can’t happen anymore. It’s just… it’s not good for my health. I have to be up and moving and I have to really have moments of calmness in my life. Because stress for type 1 or type 2 diabetes, but particularly for type 1, is really difficult on your numbers. And so I needed to make sure that my day was a bit more minimalized and streamlined. So I really learned to delegate, which is, I’m sure you know, if you run your own show, it is so hard. Hardest thing in the world. It’s… to give your baby over to somebody else, even small parts of that, it’s just so difficult. And for me, the majority of my day is really done communicating whether it’s with staff members or readers. And to give small aspects of that away to another person was so scary because I pride myself on the voice of the site, the tone of the site, and the way in which we communicate with people, to be respectful, to be careful of them and their time. And that’s really hard to train somebody else to do. But it’s been done now and I’m so thankful. And I still interact with everybody and I still run all of our social channels, but I’m not the person who answers every email anymore. And it was a hard thing to let go of, but it gave me time in my day to just be quiet, to walk the dogs, to just have time to kind of be quiet and be centered and those moments are so crucial for me now. So you guys are really, really active. I mean, I follow you on Instagram and I love it. I love always seeing the stories and, you know, the posts. What are some of your other bigger social channels, and did you completely just go, like, hands off? I’m stepping away? I did. Well, just for social? Yeah. I mean, actually you can talk about anything, but I just… I’m so just innately curious because, again, you guys pump out incredible high quality, beautiful, meaningful content so much. So I know for our business, you know, for me to kind of step out for a month or 2, it makes my head want to explode. So I’m curious what your experience was particularly with social, because that’s how I know and follow you the most. It’s interesting. I think that any time I’ve gone through a big change in my life, and I’ve gone through a couple quite publicly over the last 5 or 6 years, and every time I sort of am ready to share that online I have to kind of go through the process of understanding it myself, being ready for whatever feedback is going to come on the internet. Which, as you know… A lot of it. ...is all over the place. Yeah. And so I really have to kind of feel safe in my own understanding of how that works into my identity and who I am and what I do now. And so I felt with diabetes in particular that the sooner I was ready to talk about it the better, because I knew how few resources there were online, especially for people my age who were diagnosed, and I just wanted somebody else who understood. And so I thought, ok, I’m gonna make this a part of our story very quickly because any time we’ve kind of made ourselves vulnerable whether it’s me or another team member discussing a health issue or life change or losing a house, something like that, it really kind of draws us in closer to the readers. So we cut back on the amount of posts we did across the board from I think we were at 5 posts a day and now we post 3 times a day. And I was updating obsessively on social before that and I really pulled back almost like, “If I open Instagram today? Cool. If not, no one’s gonna care. It’s not that big of a deal.” And it also was a good reminder that it’s so easy, I think social media kind of props up your ego in this way of everything you post someone says something about. So it can feel like all of that really is that important. And this was a good reminder for me to be like, you know, I love my dogs, some other people love my dogs, but no one’s gonna be upset if I don't write anything on Instagram about them or anything else for a few weeks. So I backed off of it and it was a great lesson that nothing happened. It was fine. Life went on. No one was angry at me. When I did come back, people were, it seemed, more excited to kind of check in because I had been gone for a bit, so I think that was a good reminder. And I’ve talked to a lot of other people in my community who have gone through big changes and disappeared for a little bit and they’ve all echoed the same idea, which is those moments are so crucial to remembering that your audience loves you and wants to hear from you, but they are not going to sort of be so demanding and, you know, expectant of your time that if you do need to take time away they’re not going to be angry. They typically will be respectful. I think that’s such an important part and it’s such an important part of this conversation. Because a lot of folks that I know that are pretty consistent content creators and have taken a lot of time and energy to build an audience and that is part of their business model, that’s part of how they put food on the table for their families, that’s part of how their employees are able to take care of their livelihoods and their children and their pets and everything, there’s such a fear. I think there’s two pieces to it. Right? There’s the actual nuts and bolts, is the business going to crumble? Is revenue gonna stop coming in? So I want to talk about that in the context of the internet’s evolution since our last conversation. But also I think from a more emotional and spiritual and perhaps egoic place, feeling like you’re going to be left behind or that everyone’s going to depart and you’re not going to matter anymore. That’s a hard feeling and I think it’s one that if you work on the internet, you have every day. Yeah. And I struggle with the idea of relevancy constantly. Like is it important that I still have a voice on the internet? Is it important to talk about the same things that I used to talk about? And you can look online and find someone to convince you of either end of that spectrum. That you should be talking, that you shouldn't be talking. And so that’s something that I’ve worked really hard is to tune out other people’s voices this year and just really focus on the things that matter to me, what doesn't matter to me anymore. And that’s a hard transition because for me, we’ve been transitioning Design Sponge in particular sort of away from the idea of designed goods like furniture and products to the people behind those things and their stories and their struggles and their business life and their work life. And for me, that’s where the fascinating story is, but that’s not the case with all of our readers who would love to just see more shopping. And so that transition has been a scary one. But sort of everything I went through at the beginning of the year reminded me that it’s ok to make these changes and you might lose some people along the way, but you’ll gain a different type of audience and a different level of engagement, which I’ve found so fulfilling. Let’s talk now about our last conversation. One of the things I thought was so fun, because you and I, I feel like we’re like OGs when it comes to the internet. We’ve been around it for a long time, we’ve been working online for a long time. I know Design Sponge started in 2004. And it’s just… we’ve seen so many evolutions and it feels like 2 years since our last conversation, one of the things that you shared with me that I was so grateful for your transparency because we’ll have a lot of folks in our audience who are like, “I just want to start a blog.” And I love that and I admire that and I’m always excited for people to express their creativity and if they want to start aiming it into a business, you know, it starts to become another conversation about what is the revenue model and, you know, how is this really going to become self-sustaining. And you were sharing that, at that time in 2014, advertising revenues, you were seeing a downward trend both for your own business and also just in terms of the entire landscape of friends and people that you know. I’m curious where you see things now whether it is in terms of advertising or other kind of trends in digital marketing from your point of view. It’s funny, things have completely changed again just in the last two years, which is just so… it’s difficult to process because just as you get your footing there’s a new expectation or a sort of new shift in the ad market that favors something that you had just sort of unlearned or have to relearn. So for us I think we’ve seen the same trend progress, which is scary but exciting. I think in general, blog traffic to just your home base blog, it continues to kind of slowly shift to other places. And we see our social traffic increasing very quickly, which is exciting, but that’s not where we sell most of our ads. So it’s a challenge. It’s really scary to sort of have our audience grow in these really interesting places and they’re very different audiences in each, you know, our Instagram community is very different from the commenters on the site. And the same thing with Twitter and Facebook. And so you have these communities of people and you want to engage them, but you have an ad market that keeps saying, “Well, unless you put the… an actual product in your post, we’re not gonna pay you.” And that’s the challenge we’re facing right now. Because as a brand, we really want to be careful about how often we kind of just put products in people’s faces. Absolutely. And that, I don't have an answer for that. I wish I did. I wish I knew the correct way to do that and the right amount of that to put in. So it’s been kind of trial and error for us to see what feels real, which feels like too much for our readers and what feels like just enough. So we’re testing it out. And then I think like always, I like having outside projects going because I think if the Internet has taught me anything in the last 2 years it’s that you just cannot put all your eggs in one basket. And definitely not the blog basket. It’s gotta be another basket. So whether it’s, you know, podcasting or books or event series, all these things to kind of have all these irons in the fire. Whether or not they all work out, it doesn't really matter.