Introducing Style Collective’s monthly Blogger Spotlight! We love our community, so each month, we’ll be bringing you an interview to shine a light on some of our incredible, inspiring SC Sisters. Our first feature is life and style blogger Tilden Brighton!

Tell us a bit about yourself!

I’m 30 years young, born/raised/currently living in NJ while having called NYC home for several years prior to moving back to the ‘burbs. I write the life and style blog To Be Bright, which covers a little bit of everything from lifestyle habits to home and garden to outfit and fitness inspiration – and strives to be a positive, reliable resource for those navigating similar circumstance(s) as myself.

What inspired you to start blogging?

I’ve always loved to write and got a job writing/editing/managing the blog for the student magazine (Garnet & Black) at The University of South Carolina my Junior Year (2012). I found the whole online space so exciting at the time and it led me toward the decision to create a blog of my own where I shared my published articles from the Magazine, along with some graphic design projects and DIY crafts I spent my down-time creating – all with the hope that it would serve as my “online resume/portfolio” and help position me in a place where I’d be able to get a great job right out of college. LOL well that didn’t turn out as planned…

Long story short – I received close to 70 rejections from social media position applications during that post-grad summer. At the time, I remember feeling so discouraged and behind compared to the trajectory of my friends and classmates living in NYC with real corporate jobs. But I also realized that maybe there’s a reason I have this “borrowed time” to focus entirely on my blog and work toward making it a profitable side-hustle.

So I went in that direction during the summer of 2014 and ultimately, got a job in recruiting that winter. I continued to keep up with my blog and balanced both responsibilities for the next three years until I found myself in the position to be able to quit my recruiting job and go with my blog full-time in 2017.

What motivates you?

Honestly, the 70 rejections of summer 2014 truly continue to motivate me today. Because if it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have discovered the potential I was meant to fulfill – be my own boss. When I have tough days or am on the cusp of burnout (which happens more often than you’d think) I look back at how far I’ve come and how much I’ve managed to do with this online space of my own for the last eight years and it reminds me to not let those with closed minds dictate what I’m capable of. Because there’s no stronger motivation than telling yourself, “I’ll show them.”

How do you stay true to yourself in the online space?

Well for starters, I’m a terrible liar hahah. But staying true to myself is the reason why my blog has managed to sustain itself for almost a decade now. The comparison game is very hard to navigate in this space, and I too am guilty of wishing I was able to get places quicker like those surpassing me after only one short year of working in this space. Yet I’ve never strayed away from my true self – who you see in the photos, read the words of on the blog and listen to on Stories is the person I am in real life. The biggest compliment I’ve ever received is hearing that I’m just like the person they see on my IG/Blog – I’m exactly who they thought I’d be in human form. There’s no better reassurance that you’re doing something right than hearing that.

Is your blog a hobby, a business, or somewhere in between?

It started as a hobby with a focus to help me get a job out of college. Ultimately, it became a business due to its organic growth rooted in passion. Every part of it has been and continues to be an extension of what I’ve always loved or been willing to share, to help and be a resource. I got incredibly lucky to have found a business in doing what I genuinely love every day.

What are your dreams/goals for the future of your blog?

In terms of future goals, I’d love to hire a team to help me manage the everyday tasks and ultimately help in the continued growth of my brand as a business. As for dreams, I only hope to continue sharing in this space as I continue to grow personally as a human being. I view my blog as a journaled time capsule of my young twenties and as I recently turned 30, there’s nothing I look forward to more than sharing all that’s to come in the next decade of my life with my audience.

What is your favorite thing about blogging?

Well pre-pandemic, I absolutely loved attending weekly events hosted by brands while meeting new people who share the same love for what we do in this blogging space. I’ve met some of my closest friends through blogging and made connections I’d otherwise not have the chance to otherwise. Blogging asks you to step out of your comfort zone a lot, especially if you want to see it through as a sustainable career. I’m so grateful for the opportunities that came my way and encouraged me to step into, for it wouldn’t have led me to the place I’m in now surrounded by the incredible inner circle of friends I’ve made in this blogger world.

What are your tips/words of advice for women who want to start blogging/break into the influencer space?

If you’ve been wanting to start something of your own for a while but felt like it wasn’t the right time, you have to quit that mindset and get out of your own way. There’s never going to be the right “moment” to begin and trust me, you’ll change your focus on what you want to do/share time and time again. Just do it and see what happens. Your online portfolio just might become a life and style platform that ultimately becomes a full-time career. The journey will present itself to you; all you have to do is start walking toward it.

Another piece of advice I can’t stress enough is not to start a blog for the perks/money that floods your newsfeed. Sure it’s exciting and a great bonus to receive, but it’s only a result of constant hard work filled with late nights, cancelled plans, and tons of sacrifice that rarely gets shown in the Influencer world. Brands and your audience KNOW what’s authentic vs what’s being done for the money – and those working toward the latter ultimately fall short. It’s hard to keep up with something you’re not truly passionate about.

Where can we find you?

You can find me on IG (@tobebright) & Pinterest (To Be Bright) as well as on ToBeBright.com

“The journey will present itself to you; all you have to do is start walking toward it.”

What do you love about SC?

I love the SC Community because it’s one of the very few places where bloggers can share their work and connect with others outside of social media. Plus, the resources are beyond helpful and the overall vibe of the SC space is very much a positive one I’m grateful to be a part of.

   

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