Why I Started Blogging and How It’s Helped Me

Pam Hetlinger drinking a coffee and eating a croissant

I traveled to San Francisco last week and it was such a nostalgic experience. I shared a very personal anecdote on Instagram stories the other day about how this was a city of firsts for me. (You can check it out in my SF highlights here if you missed it.) But it just took me back to when I started The Girl From Panama and reminds me of why I’m here today! I wanted to open up even more on the blog and share with you why I started blogging and how it’s helped me grow as a person!

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Blazer / Pants / Necklace / Cartier Watch / Cartier Bracelet / Shoes


How I started blogging…

For as long as I could remember, I have always wanted to work in the fashion and beauty industry. I knew it was going to be a bit challenging back then to get a job in either of those industries in Panama so I decided to move to the U.S. to go to college here to increase my chances of landing a job in a more creative role. After college, I landed a traditional corporate job at a beauty brand and it has been so invaluable to me as a businesswoman today. Like I mentioned, I’ve always been interested in fashion and beauty and would give my friends and family style advice even when they didn’t ask for it, so starting a blog was a natural process with encouragement from the very same people. About a year later after lots of sleepless night a lot of hard work, I started gaining traction and global recognition until I finally took this gig full-time.

Why do I blog…

Since the very beginning, I always loved blogging because it was a way for me to express my interests in fashion and connect with a community of fashionistas. I still love it for the same reasons today because it gives me full creative freedom in so many ways. From my work schedule to my brand image and my voice, I really enjoy being able to steer my business in the direction I want it to go. I do have to mention that I always saw my blog as a business and I didn’t start it as a hobby.  My goal was always to turn my blog into a full-time job. I knew I was going to put my 100% in it so I didn’t want to settle for anything else. I didn’t want to risk giving up a steady income by leaving my corporate job, so I made sure to put my everything in it to accomplish my goal even if that meant working 24/7.

It’s been so rewarding to know that I can make something out of nothing and impact the lives of others. Blogging has also connected me with so many inspirational girls that have become my friends! But the one thing I love most about blogging is that I get to connect with a wider audience such as you guys. There’s nothing better than knowing I can inspire you to look chic all the time and to go out and pursue your dreams just as I did mine.

Why I get paid…

Being able to grow an engaged audience in a short time span has afforded me plenty of amazing opportunities that are paid and unpaid. For example, partnering with brands I have always loved and admired like Armani Beauty, Chanel, and now Cartier! (to mention a few!) I’ve also gone on some unbelievable trips to meet women I’ve looked up to for years such as Cindy Crawford! And though this is a pretty controversial topic, I personally believe that it’s ok to get paid as a blogger.

Everything that I put into my blog requires extensive time and effort. A lot of things happen behind-the-scenes that you guys don’t get to see. For example, every post that you see here requires research, a mood board, location scouting and more.  I also have expenses on my end to make things happen which isn’t often talked about. Those expenses could be paying for my assistant, a photographer or a videographer, getting a hotel room and buying props to stage a set up properly, and the list can go on and on. Blogging is essentially the same thing as advertising. Because traditional advertising methods are not as effective as they used to be, brands are able to allocate budget to social media marketing. And that’s where I come in. I can say proudly that I have never bought followers or used bots to increase my influence. I pride myself on authenticity and honesty, so if I can drive traffic to a brand’s website or influence some of my followers to make a purchase, I believe it’s totally ok to be compensated.

I will always disclose when a post here or on my Instagram is paid. I’m actually required by law to do so, so there are no surprises here! I’m always going to be transparent with you guys. I just felt the need to tell you these things so that you know that I’m not just going to partner with a brand just to get paid. If I don’t like the brand or if I don’t believe in the product I’m going to be sharing with you, I simply decline the offer.

How blogging has helped me…

I think blogging has helped me become more confident in who I am and in the decisions I make. Every opportunity is reinforcement that I’m more capable than I thought I was. It’s also made me learn how to become comfortable with the unknown. I said in my stories that you will go through rough patches in life, and in those moments, you won’t understand why. But through time, it will all make sense and you just have to trust the process. Overall, blogging has made me more grounded in my faith and helped me believe that if I’m being true to who I am, good things will come!

What are your thoughts on bloggers getting paid? Also, please let me know if you have any questions about my journey so far! Love sharing a personal side with you all!

Pam Hetlinger wearing a pastel set

Why I Started Blogging and How It’s Helped Me
  • Such an invaluable beautiful personal thoughts and journey of how you started and here you are today. The Universe has such a unique and magical way of how and when we all started out at some point, and ultimately ended up at a same destination just because of our passions. Very lovely post! 💗👍🏼💗

    🌸🍃LA BIJOUX BELLA 🌸🍃| By Mia | A Creative Lifestyle Blog

    • Thank you Mia! The universe has a magical way of working for sure! :)

  • Ivana Džidić

    I love how open you are about everything concerning blogging. Interesting to know that you saw your blog as business from the very first day. That shows you had a clear idea and plan in your head from the start. You think like a business woman and that’s great. I think it’s perfectly alright to make money as a blogger, as one as one is authentic. Congrats on your success!

    • Thank you so much Ivana! I’m so happy to hear that you think it’s ok and credible for bloggers who turn their platform into a business!

  • Thank you for sharing! As a blogger myself, I love to get a glimpse of the behind the scenes for other bloggers!

    xo, Carey

    • It’s def not as glamorizing as it seems, so I’m happy to shed some light on this!

  • Loved reading this post this morning! So relatable! Also obsessed with this chic blazer/pant look!!

    xx, Merritt
    The Style Scribe

    • Thank you Merritt! Would love to hear if there’s anything else you want to read about :)

  • Erik Doescher

    Great post.

    When I tried your Instagram link on my PC (https://www.instagram.com/pamhetlinger/) I get the following message:

    “Sorry, this page isn’t available.
    The link you followed may be broken, or the page may have been removed. Go back to Instagram.”

    It happened a whiles back as well. Is there another link, or a fix on my end?

    Keep up the great work!

    • Thanks for letting me know Erik! It should be fixed now! :)

      • Erik Doescher

        Nope, sorry :P

        https://www.instagram.com/pamhetlinger/?hl=en brings me to the same broken page and message on my home PC (USA).

        Weird. All your other links work fine.

        I tried loading from the website on my iphone and got “User not found” and “No Posts Yet”.

        Searched directly from the iphone instagram app and got “thegirlfrompanama” with 269 followers and no posts. Typed in ‘pamhetlinger’ and got another blank page “No Posts Yet” message.

        Maybe just be bad luck on my end..

  • Thanks for sharing your blogging journey, so inspiring!


    • Thanks Magda, would love to share more! Let me know if there’s anything specific you want to hear about.

  • Very interesting! Love your lavander suit! You look amazing!

    RitalifeStyle.comInsta: ritamaslova_

  • Love the post and the lavender look Pam! Exposing yourself to others and running a business by yourself will transform you in more ways than anything else. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks Natalie! Will try to post more frequently on this :)

  • Michelle Johnson

    I love this story! You are definitely an inspiration! I’m also loving that lavender coat!!

    • Thank you Michelle! And yes, Lavender is perfect for spring!

  • LOVEEE this post Pam! I hope to meet you one day!


  • This was a lovely post! I appreciate your honesty about wanting to monetize your site. You work hard to create this content and should absolutely be compensated. Mind you, what the brands pay are a drop in the bucket compared to traditional ad placements and honestly the roi with influencers is much higher and more authentic.

    Kudos to you