Molly O’Connor runs marathons, frequents SoulCycle, and documents it all on her blog, Molly On The Move, but her brand was built on more than just mile times and workout gear. Authenticity and balance are key for O’Connor, who intentionally created a space where donut photos have a place alongside salad snaps, and managed to build a community in Dallas and beyond.
Here are her tips for aspiring bloggers looking to set themselves apart from the masses.
Why did you start Molly on the Move?
I tried to start a blog twice before the one I have now. My first attempt was Ponies and Polka Dots during my sophomore year of college. Cupcakes and Cashmere was my favorite blog so I tried to mimic that style of name. Ponies because of SMU (my alma mater) and polka dots because I love that pattern. Why didn’t anyone stop me? That didn’t last long because I had no idea what I was doing. I had no purpose behind starting it. I made my first attempt at Molly on the Move when I studied abroad junior year. I wrote maybe three posts and then quit because I didn’t have the time to spend on it.
When I returned home from Europe that summer, I kept having ideas for posts. I searched online for others writing about what I wanted to be reading. I felt there was a big void in the blogging world for young women my age with a genuine voice who were passionate about life. I kept finding minimalistic fashion bloggers and crazy colorful DIY bloggers, but nothing in between (love them both, though!). With so much negative space online, I wanted to create a positive space where I could be myself. I wanted to encourage others to seek joy daily, whether in little celebrations or big adventures.
What was the process to get started like?
A lot of people asked how I knew what to do in order to start it — I didn’t. Don’t underestimate the power of Google! If you have the drive to start, the resources are there. My brother helped me with WordPress and my best friend helped with the logo. If you don’t have anyone to assist with those aspects, get online again. Etsy has people to help for affordable prices. There are plenty of helpful Facebook groups, too. Once you stop making excuses and decide to do it, you’ll realize it can be done.
Where do you gather inspiration for your content?
From my everyday life. I really strive to make my blog a relatable space. Training for a race, a travel guide, or a fun post about what I did over the weekend… I want it to be something that’s both entertaining to read and attainable. I have enough going on that there’s always something to draw inspiration from: travels, new workouts, figuring out a work-life balance, etc. Also, my Instagram is known for bright colors, and I’m very inspired by bright colors everywhere I go. I’m naturally drawn to color and it sparks my joy and inspires me.
What’s your favorite thing about what you do?
I’ve been able to touch the lives of others through an online space. I’ve reached far beyond what I ever thought was possible. I’m still floored when people recognize me in public. I love connecting with followers, whether I get to meet them in person or they slide into my DMs. I’ve learned that the way we do life can really change the way others live theirs. I think that’s really powerful.
What has been your biggest challenge?
I think social media will always be a struggle for me. You hear everyone talk about the comparison game and that is so real. I have to constantly remind myself that my worth does not come from likes, followers, or comments. I kept thinking a certain number would fulfill my happiness, but it never came. If you keep looking to analytics or social media to satisfy any type of need in the blogging world, it’ll never be enough. It’s tricky. Finding a solid community and knowing where my worth comes from has made a big difference.
What advice would you give to other aspiring female entrepreneurs?
Find a community. We weren’t meant to do this life alone. Having others around to lift you, push you, and challenge you is so important. When fear starts to creep in, your community can come in and remind you why you began.