Today we’d like to introduce you to Mary Sia.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I am a blogger and photographer based in San Diego, California. I started my journey in high school when I got my first DSLR — a Canon t3. I’ve always had a love for photography and writing, so blending the two came naturally over the years.
Once I became better at taking photos, I started posting them on my blog and Instagram. People started to like it, and over time, I began to organically gain a following for people who like my style and the stuff I wrote.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Not always, no. I would often get stuck and have writer’s block. There would be times where I wouldn’t want to post because I lacked the energy to force myself to be creative. I remember a few years back when the algorithm changed from being chronological to what it is now, it really affected my motivation to post.
My engagement was getting lower, and I cultivated this negative mindset that people weren’t seeing my photos anyway. However, over time, I remembered why I started blogging, to begin with; it wasn’t for the attention or the likes or the followers. Of course not.
I started for the love of the art and the ability and freedom to share pieces of my life with others. I started because I wanted to use my art as a way to empower and inspire others, so they feel connected to someone without having to know them face to face.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
The name “Soyleaf” began as just a nice username. However, once I started writing longer and more personal posts, the brand “Soyleaf” embodied this message of self-love and growth, that even if you feel small in this world, you still have a voice and you need to use that voice to stand up for yourself and what you love. Eventually, I wasn’t just “Mary” anymore. The concept of growth felt relevant to the username, so it just stuck.
I’m most proud of my ability to connect with others, especially in a way that describes an emotion or feeling they were not able to put into words or believed no one else understood. Every time I get a personal message from a friend or a stranger thanking me for my words and sharing personal stories, I can’t help but feel so overwhelmed by the power words have.
What sets me apart from others is my willingness to be genuine and realistic about my goals and personal stories. While I cannot speak for everyone, there is a tendency to portray your “best life” on social media. Apart from the pretty pictures and extravagant vacations, everyone goes through shit.
Going into this, I wanted to make it absolutely sure that I was realistic about everything I put out and that I was never putting a facade of how perfect my life looked like to others.
What were you like growing up?
I was a nerd. I still am. I loved to read and spent a lot of time at the library or reading during recess or in-between breaks. I struggled fitting in. I was never quite fully this or that, but when I read or wrote, I was able to envision or create a world of my own, one where it didn’t matter if I fitted in or not.
- $50/hour photoshoot
- $0.10 a word for a blog post