EAT. PRAY. HUSTLE. The perfect motto for blogging every single day 🙂 Basically wake up… fuel my body… be thankful for getting to do what I love each day… work my ass off. Seems simple, right? Not exactly!
I’m not speaking for all bloggers out there, but I know a lot of people think our jobs are so glamorous, fun and easy. Wrong. If you have been following me for a while then you may know I’ve actually been an entrepreneur and run my own digital marketing agency for the last 8 years. I didn’t become a “full-time blogger” until the beginning of 2017. But, I still don’t really consider myself a true “full-time blogger”.
As my blog started to grow, I went from consulting for small businesses to consulting for other bloggers. I didn’t really quit my day job it just transformed into a different type of company and produced the “Blogger Boss Workshop“! So I guess what I’m really saying is I’ll never just do “full-time blogging”. I think I’d get to bored…definitely part of having an entrepreneurial spirit!
I really wanted to write this post to give you all some insight to what it’s like as a “full-time blogger” along with some advice on things I’ve overcome and learned along the way. My hope is to give you all some encouragement to follow your dreams like I did but also be realistic!
This is 100% not a job that’s going to happen over night. It took me almost 2 years before I wasn’t just breaking even from blogging (and shopping). I’m not a patient person so not getting instant gratification was really hard for me. Sometimes, I’d stress myself out so much I gave myself major stomach aches. It’s hard watching other bloggers fly by you with success when you started before they did… But guess what? The bloggers that do skyrocket to “insta-famous” status are very very very rare.
So say a prayer, and trust in the timing of your success! It will happen some day. And honestly, the absolute BEST part about blogging for me is when I get a DM from someone who has told me how much I’ve made their day or how much they love following me. *It’s not always about the MONEY. Sometimes it’s more about the IMPACT.
DEVELOP YOUR STORY
What do I mean by story? Basically, who are you and what in the world makes you different than any other blogger out there?! This took me a longggggggg time to figure out. I kinda had an idea about what “my story” was but it has evolved over the years. In a nutshell, my story is: A single 30-something professional woman inspiring young female entrepreneurs with simple, sophisticated, and chic style.
The best way to figure out your “story” is with a blank piece of paper. Just start writing anything and everything down that inspires you or has made you who you are today. Here are some of the things on my list:
- 32 years old
- insecure with relationships (aka… anxiety)
- loves neutral colors
- wine lover
There are a lot more things on my list, but my point is YOU DO YOU. People will like you for YOU. I remember the day last year when I finally asked myself, “Why are you trying to post a hot pink dress? You don’t wear hot pink Brooke!”. That was when I finally realized I need to stop posting things because I thought other people would like it, and start posting more things that I truly liked. Just go look at my Instagram feed… Notice any bright colors or big bold prints? No.
DON’T OVERDO IT
It’s so easy to get super excited when you start your blog. I mean it is fun, right?! However, please don’t try to do it all! You can’t and you won’t. You might be able to in the beginning, but 99% of the time you’ll burn out faster.
So what do I mean by “do it all”? Basically, talk about anything and everything in your life (aka: be a lifestyle blogger). Sure you can call yourself a lifestyle blogger, but if you look at any big time blogger they most likely started out talking about 1 specific topic. It’s better to create content for that 1 topic in the beginning so your posts are AMAZING (not average).
Example: I’m a fashion/style blogger at the core of my brand. Yes, I travel a lot now and bought a home so those are now topics on my blog. But, I don’t travel all the time and I don’t have the budget to re-decorate my house every season. Even when I travel, all of my posts are usually related to what I’m wearing on my vacation. Again, going back to my core brand.
This is one of the biggest reasons I created the Blogger Boss Workshop! Figuring out how to “blog” is a lot of work. I’ve had 4-5 years experience with my digital marketing company learning how to design a website, understand what SEO is, and all the other things. Along with not spending an arm and a leg to start a blog.
I’m a firm believer in learning how to do all parts of blogging on your own. Yes, it’s very easy to buy a cheap theme or have someone set up a website for you. But what happens when something goes wrong and the person who designed your site can’t fix it for a few days? I’ve helped a TON of clients in situations like this where they don’t know how to make a simple change to their navigation bar and end up paying someone $100 for a simple 2 minute fix. I’m sorry but I cannot stand companies that take advantage of people!!!
So bottom line… Learn alllll the things upfront. It’ll save you way more money in the long run. I promise!
PLAN, PLAN, PLAN
I am SO guilty of not planning ahead. Example… This blog post was supposed to be up at 9 AM and I started writing it at 2 PM… Oops. Do what I say not what I do 😉 But really, even if you are only posting 1-2 blog posts a week I highly recommend trying to plan your content out over an entire month. Why? Because eventually a brand may ask you for that content calendar or what ideas you have that are different from others to make them want to work with you.
The more “evergreen” content you can develop the more appeal you will have to a brand. This also goes back to “what’s your story?”. For example, I’ve been working out a ton and made some major changes to my lifestyle. I’m eating healthier and working out a ton because I felt like crap all the time and couldn’t figure out why? I created the “body reset” which has now become some of my most popular content. Anddddd…. Now I’m launching a new series from it!
Because I have been talking about the “body reset” quite a bit, I’ve had more fitness/health brands are reaching out to me. But it’s because I’ve created unique content. All of the “body reset” blog posts are fashion focused (i.e. fitness clothes). However, the topics are not just about the cute workout clothes I’m wearing. Each post touches on a different topic like: my clean eating diet, my workout routine, my struggles, etc.
Bottom line: make each post relatable to something happening in your life! The more personal you can be the better!
This job is all about sales. You are selling yourself to a brand or selling items to your followers. So if you aren’t out and about talking about yourself how do you expect to make money in the beginning? Nobody knows who you are yet… Sorry that might sound harsh!
Believe me I get that it’s awkward to talk about yourself. But, once again you are in sales and you are your best sales person. I’m not saying you have to walk into a room and and tell every single person about yourself. TRUTH: Even when I became a “full-time blogger” last year, I was still introducing myself as a digital marketing consultant. In my mind, it sounded more professional and legit. Rather than feeling like a dumb blonde when I would say, “Oh I’m a blogger!”.
Finally, I sat myself down and said, “Brooke, you are a smart, successful, girl boss. Own it.”. Guess what? People still give me crazy looks when I tell them I’m a blogger. But now, I just kinda laugh and say, “I know I take a lot of selfies.”. I guarantee whoever you are talking to will want to know more.
Also, I get asked a LOT about my hair. Instead of just saying “thank you” when I get a compliment guess what I say now? “Thank you so much! You have gorgeous hair too. I actually have a hair tutorial on my blog!”
KEYS TO INSERTING YOUR BLOG INTO CONVERSATION: Give them a compliment. Then insert a short comment about how that relates to something on your blog.
DON’T QUIT YOUR DAY JOB (HOW I MAKE MONEY)
Like I mentioned earlier, I didn’t make a profit on the blog for the first couple of years. I was basically just using that money to shop more ha. If I was really smart, I would have taken all of the blog money and put it aside into a separate account. Once I had 6 months saved up that would cover all of my expenses that’s when I’d try to go “full-time”.
Honestly, I’ll always have something else going on the side to make some extra money. Blogging can be very up and down when it comes to sales. Plus, it’s even more competitive these days since there are who knows how many bloggers out there now.
I make money 2 ways: affiliate marketing + brand collaborations.
I use RewardStyle and LiketoKnow.it for any and all of my blog links and Instagram posts. But as I mentioned above it can be super competitive. The thing with these affiliate links is you only make commission off a sale if that person clicked your link last. *It took me years to finally get my friends to understand how important it was to CLICK ON MY LINKS ON THE BLOG!!
Also, another problem with affiliate marketing sales is the brand determines how much commission they want to give you. They can change that % whenever they like too… For example, Nordstrom decided to lower their commission from 11-13% to 5% during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!
From a business standpoint, I totally understand why they decreased our commission so much. From a blogger standpoint, we were all pissed. I made 1/4 of what I made in sales last year during the sale… Let that sink in for a minute.
With technology constantly changing, like the Instagram issue and using LiketoKnow.it, I prefer to work directly with brands. It’s way less stressful and way more fun! I get complete creative control over almost all of my campaigns, but if I want to continue to work with a brand then I better do a darn good job. **Again, that goes back to creating unique content!!
There are tons of platforms you can use to try and work with brands. Here are a few: Tapinfluence / Whalar / Fohr / Collectively
NO DAYS OFF (burnout…)
Guess what… This is a 24/7 and 365 days a year job. If I don’t post, I don’t make money. But that’s why I mentioned not to try and do it all. I learned this the first few years I had my digital marketing company. I was trying to go over the moon to please my clients, but it ended up making my life miserable.
Over the last few months, I finally hit a wall and took a real break. The world didn’t end and I didn’t lose any followers. Shocking I know. And, I’ve been creating ideas and content better that I’m SO EXCITED ABOUT!!!!
Set a schedule. Take a day off each week. You’ll accomplish more than you know by doing so.
Okay I’ve talked enough… I don’t want this post to discourage anyone because clearly I’m proof that full-time blogging is attainable! YOU CAN BE A FULL-TIME BLOGGER 🙂 Each and every one of us have a voice so use it!!
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photos: Beckley Co.