April 9, 2021

How I Became a "Successful" Blogger (Spoiler: Finding Your Niche Not Included)

In this day and age where social media is (almost) everything, many people are now shifting to the world wide web to build their career to pursue the “dream." Among the most popular online careers are bloggers, vloggers, and social media influencers. But as many would have thought wrong, braving this world is not that easy because there’s really a huge and serious competition out there.

Speaking from experience, having passion is not enough to succeed in this world. Because with so many people who have the same passion and goals as yours, how do you make yours stand out? How do you increase visitor numbers and build a loyal following? One way is leveraging platforms like Tokmatik to buy followers. But increasing your following organically, that's the challenge. And how do you get people returning to you for more?

Cielo Fernando Rockwell Blue Dress Flowers

So in this article, I will share with you how I became a successful blogger. This is not the typical finding your niche blog tips. While it’s a factor as well, there’s more to blogging than that. 

How I started

Cielo Fernando at Rockwell Makati Blue Dress
Cielo Fernando Wearing Blue Dress with White Bag

The Girl Behind the Pen started nine years ago. I created this blog as a way to reach my dream of working in a popular teenage magazine in the Philippines. At first, I shared random things in my life and eventually, it became a fashion blog. I love mixing and matching pieces-that-don’t-work-well-together-but-somehow-I-managed-to-pull-off.

I didn’t have sponsors that time, I featured my old clothes from my closet and sometimes, I’ll spend my savings from my allowance to buy clothes to be featured. I asked my little sister who was 10 years old at that time to take a photo of me using our digital camera. I got several good comments telling me that I was able to help them fix their fashion dilemma, while some told me that they were really inspired by my posts to get through life’s challenges. As time passed, my blog grew and my reach became even wider. 

Back then, I really had no intentions of monetizing my blog nor becoming a famous blogger; one because I was really a shy person, and two is because I really didn’t know that it was possible. A few months passed and one international brand reached out to me and that was my very first paid collaboration. Eventually, it continued with both local and international brands. I got invited to events, asked to review products, wore pieces from a shop’s new collections, became a brand ambassador, and so on. That got me thinking, whoa, it’s really possible to make a living out of blogging. But I didn’t want to make it that way, I want my blog to remain a hobby because I don’t want to be pressured that I have to earn this amount of money or go to five places a week for an event to consider myself successful. I just let it be. Besides, what I really wanted was to become a writer.

My setbacks

Cielo Fernando at Rockwell Makati Wearing a Pastel Blue Dress

Though I told myself that I will not make this blog a living nor becoming a famous blogger, in the back of my mind, there’s a part of me that wants to because it’s the dream, right? You just have to go to events and get paid, you will get free clothes or skincare in exchange for one blog post, you meet a lot of people, and so on. These are really fun. 

If only I did the right thing at the right moment, blogging could have been my full-time career, and perhaps, I’ll be a popular blogger. But I didn’t because I was afraid and I wasn’t open to making use of the new platforms (Instagram). In short, I refused to adapt to the new trend and that was really one of my biggest regrets to this day. I’d be lying if I tell you that it was all okay. I had a hard time riding on the trend because, by the time I did, I thought I was too late. All the bloggers that started at the same time as I did were ahead of me already. I got unmotivated so I laid low and thought I lost my readers.

But instead of allowing that to bring me down, I used it as a motivation to work harder. 

How I got back in the game

Cielo Fernando Holding a Bouquet of Flowers
Cielo Fernando at Rockwell Wearing Blue Dress and White Bag

I was so close to giving up that time because I was pressured on the thought that I was too late and there are so many people, even younger than me, who are “making it” in the industry. While it’s really challenging, I told myself that I have to brave the road and get myself out there. And so I did.

I continued blogging. I’m not as active as I was before but this is a good restart. This time, I didn’t let the pressure of the numbers get in the way. I blog at my own pace and in my own terms just how it used to be. But in order for me to be a successful blogger, I have to be more creative than ever. This, I think, is how I will stand out. Thankfully, there are still people who read my blog and appreciate my articles. They may be less than it was before but what matters most is, someone still reads my blog.

I’ll continue to write about fashion and self-help tips to empower other people. Alongside these, I’ll also share some of my travel discoveries, food recommendations, and so much more. I’ll be the blogger that anyone could turn to whenever they have a dilemma. 

Key takeaways

To summarize everything, here are the things I learned from my setbacks for me to succeed in the industry.

  • Don’t let go of your passion.

  • Be open to changes.

  • Timing is key. It really is.

  • Don’t be pressured by society.

  • Be creative.

  • Build your network.

  • Know your worth.

  • Engage with your readers.

  • Have a clear goal.

  • Be consistent.

  • Always be humble.

Becoming a successful blogger does not mean you must have a huge following on social media. Sometimes, all it takes is one person who believes in what you do. There's not really an accurate answer as to what success is because we all have our own definitions of success. And as for me, this is success



  1. This is such a powerful post! I think it is so important to stop using numbers as a measure of success and really focus on putting something meaningful into the world. Great tips! <3
    the creation of beauty is art.

    1. I couldn't agree with you more. Numbers shouldn't dictate the measure of our success. Thanks for reading this :)

  2. Nice to meet you, Cielo - thanks for the hop over to my blog. I've been blogging for 13 years, since 2008 and I have a loyal, but very small following of people I consider my friends. The connection I've had with them - and people do come and go - has been the most worthwhile thing I've taken from blogging. Plus, I get to have fun with my clothes and share that with like-minded folks.

  3. Skvelý článok. Ja som tiež chcela skončiť ale teraz vidím že veľa ľudí sa presunulo práve na IG a na blog už nejak nemajú čas. A konečne po toľkých rokoch sa mi to začalo vyplácať.


  4. Me encantó el post, gracias por compartirlo.

  5. I still like blogging. I will very honest I hate IG all it is is people preening for the camera or hawking products. I like blogging and YT. Do you use YT? And yes it is more enjoyable asa hobby.

    Allie of

  6. You look so pretty!
    Thank you for sharing your achievement. Very interesting!

  7. Thanks for stopping by my blog! I'm your newest follower!
    Great post and love your pictures! I love the blogging community and have pretty much quit all other social media for the most part as blogging is my favorite.
    Ellibelle's Corner

  8. Thank you for sharing your blogging story:) It's inspiring to hear that you kept at it despite setbacks.

  9. Hola!! te vez genial, gracias por compartirnos un poco de ti, te sigo, espero, de ser posible, verte pronto por mi blog.

  10. Cool post! I like to much writen on my blog, but don't like to much using other medias.


    Kisses ;*

  11. Beautiful reflections and tips! Thanks for sharing your experience! You look lovely!

  12. I totally agree 🤩🤩 Lovely outfit!!

  13. Nice post!!!
    Amazing photos, and you look very cute
    Kisses ♥

  14. Hi! I love this post, and the photos. I wish I have take than beatiful picture to me.
    I am new in your blog, and I like if you visit the mine.

  15. So amazing that you have been blogging for so long and I loved reading your personal story. Thank you for sharing!


  16. This is such a great blog post! That's amazing that you've stuck to blogging for almost a decade. I definitely have trouble adapting to trends too. Thanks for sharing these great tips <3


  17. Hola n.n
    Muchas gracias por compartir tu historia, la verdad es que es muy motivante leer tus comienzos y a los retos que te enfrentaste.
    Y mil gracias por los consejos, me llevo sobre todo el estar abierta a los cambios porque eso es lo unico constante que tenemos en la vida n.n
    Sigue escribiendo y sigue tu pasión :D
    Nos leemos pronto, besos <3

  18. What pretty flowers! It's true I think everyone has different definitions for success! I make a little bit of income from my blog but it is and always will be a hobby for me - I like my day job too much to give it up and I know it would be a chore if I tried to make my blog more sucessful!

    Hope that your week is going well :)

    Away From The Blue

  19. This is a very nice one and gives in-depth information. Keep sharing such Womens hoodies-sweatshirts ideas in the future as well. Thanks for this nice article.