Unconventional Can Still Work

4 min read

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Some blogging wins by The Side Blogger
Recently, a mobile magazine reached out to me to say they loved one of my articles and would be happy to republish on their magazine. I’ll have a feature/byline, a link back to my website, yada yada yada. It was rather tempting, to be honest, but I turned it down because of one simple reason: They asked for my photograph.

As many of you know, having my photograph splashed online is a bit of a pet peeve o’mine. I understand that one of these days I might have to break this no-photograph rule, but heck, I’ll do my best to hang onto this policy unless the friggin’ New York Times asks me to write something for them…

Kinda joking…

My point is, I have tried my best to curve a way forward for myself without compromising my way of life. It’s not always the conventional wisdom, but it’s something. And I’m happy with what’s come of it. I’m not as successful as many others. But I’m comfortable in my space. I don’t network, I don’t do events, and I don’t mind turning down a magazine with hundreds of thousands of audience because they’ll need my photograph to publish my work. That’s all just fine with me.

Anyway, all that aside, good things still do come my way sometimes, even with my self-imposed boundaries and quirks.

Here are some wins I wanted to share with you:

Canva Expert

I’ve been affiliated with Canva for almost as long as I’ve had this blog. I remember the day quite well. I was only a couple of months into my blogging journey when someone from Canva reached out to me and asked if I’d be one of their hand-picked Canva Certified Creatives and brand ambassadors. Of course, I said yes!

In the years that followed, the few Canva Certified Creatives grew into a few hundred.

And then, earlier this year, Canva scrapped the program and created something new: Verified global Canva Experts. The first cohort of experts are 25 handpicked former Canva Certified Creatives (out of a few hundred!) and I’m beyond grateful to say that I’m one of those 25.

That’s right, there are only 25 of us in the whole world!!! At least, as of writing this.

Oh, and also this! Canva recently made a website with all of us Experts’ info on it, and when the person in charge asked me for my photo, I sent him one where my face is behind the camera 🤭


I'm a Canva Expert
I’m one of the only 25 (as of writing this) Verified Global Canva Experts in the world!

He probably wasn’t super happy that I wouldn’t give him a better photo, but hey, I gotta try my best to do me, y’know?!

Featured by Elementor

Oh, and how can I forget when Elementor featured The Side Blogger as one of their inspirational websites back in September 2020? It came out of the blue and I was so surprised and excited and just, grateful!

I mean, there I was, telling everyone who’d listen how amazing Elementor is. And boom! There comes Elementor with a damn feature on their blog!!!

(In case you don’t know, Elementor is my favorite site-builder plugin for WordPress. In fact, I designed this blog using Elementor! Hence the feature, of course.)

Elementor featured my blog on their website back in 2020
Elementor featured The Side Blogger on their blog back in September 2020

Interviewed by My Favorite Blogger: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner of Making Sense of Cents

Way before I started this blog, I had found Michelle of Making Sense of Cents. In fact, she was one of my inspirations for starting The Side Blogger. Her story, her income reports, and her guides gave me the courage to start my own blog. And I can’t even tell you what a privilege it was to be on Michelle’s blog — the very blog that inspired this little blog!

She published an interview with me last year and I still feel a bit tickly every time I think about it :p

Almost 90K

I don’t usually share my earnings in detail, but here’s a number for ya:

Last year my earnings from this blog + template business came down to just a tad short of 90K 🙂

Not too shabby for a side-blogger, eh?

Anyway, my point is, I’m not a superstar, nor do I ever want to be one. But the fact that this weird, socially awkward, neurodivergent me was able to accomplish even this much is crazy to me.

I have turned down requests to be featured in podcasts and YouTube channels by reputable creators with hundreds of thousands of followers/viewers because I don’t want that kind of attention. I’d rather be the turtle and chip away in this cutthroat market. I’m satisfied with that. And I kinda sorta made it too! Maybe not by the standards of those who make 90K+ in a single month, instead of in a whole year, but I’m in my happy place. Truly!

But you, yes you, my readers, are way smarter, more sociable, and more apt at human interactions than I will ever be. So, if you’re wondering whether or not you can be a blogger and make it out there, then hopefully my little wins give you some motivation/inspiration, or whatever you need.

And, for the sake of total honesty and transparency, no, I didn’t write this blog post just to inspire you. It was a total and complete brag-fest 😉

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8 thoughts on “Unconventional Can Still Work”
  1. Renae Phillips

    Hi Maliha,
    I’m a big fan of your website, and I applaud you for your outstanding work.
    Thanks to you, I have learned how to create my designs in Canvapro. I didn’t take your course, but you encouraged me to try and figure it out myself……..thank you!

    Congratulations on your well-deserved success!

    Best wishes,

    1. Thanks, Nick 🙂 It was possible for me, and here’s to hoping for everyone else reading this too when they put in the work.

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