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This month officially marks my FIVE year blogiversary! In five short years I’ve graduated school and dove in head first as a full time blogger. I’ve never felt more empowered or in control of my life. While being a full time blogger isn’t always easy (hello 50+ hour work weeks!) I can say I absolutely adore what I do for a living. It seems everyone wants to start a blog these days – and one of my number #1 questions I’m asked is how do I start a blog? I’ve outlined the process of starting your own blog in this post. It’s still one of my most popular posts to date! I thought I’d dive deeper into the topic today sharing 5 things I wish I knew before blogging. This information is unique to my blog of course, so take it with a grain of salt. Enjoy babes!
- Learn work/life balance
I could easily work over 12 hours a day, every day of the week. The majority of last year, I worked 7 days a week. That’s right, no weekends for me! I became addicted. I would work until 4am some days! Blogging isn’t like working at Starbucks (love you forever, Starbucks). You don’t work an 8 hour shift then completely shut off. Blogging is an all hours of the day kind of job. I receive urgent emails from clients at 9pm. My website will go haywire at 3am and I’ll be on the phone with Go Daddy for hours. I have business meetings on Saturdays. The thing is, some of what I do doesn’t feel like work. Creating Pinterest pins is very soothing to me, so I often do it at night while watching Netflix. The problem is, I’m not shutting off completely. I wish I would have created a healthy work schedule with strict hours of operation. I wish I would have given myself grace and not worked on the weekends, unless completely necessary. I wish I would have hired help earlier. I’m still working on a healthy work/life balance – but I’m getting there!
2. Spend more time/energy on Pinterest
When I began blogging, I spent way too much time on Instagram. Like, an unhealthy amount of time. Instagram seems to be the “it” platform for sharing content and connecting with followers. A quick view of my analytics says otherwise. Over 70% of my blog traffic comes from Pinterest. Why? Because Pinterest is a search engine. People are using Pinterest to learn things. To read. Ever search “best hairstyles for long hair”? I sure have. It’s a goldmine of resources. On the other hand, Instagram is a quick fix. I use Instagram to become inspired. I love seeing how to style a basic pair of jeans or your trip to Italy. You know what I almost never do? Click through to your blog. Instagram has trained us to scroll through our feeds as quickly as possible. We may hover on a photo that catches our eye for a few seconds, but then we keep scrolling. Don’t get me wrong, Instagram is super valuable. I’ve gained many readers from it and landed many brand deals. But Pinterest is what brings traffic to my blog. As opposed to my Instagram account that can be deleted at any time, I own my blog. It won’t go away. Want to know how to use Pinterest to grow your blog? Read this blog post. Join the party and follow me on Pinterest here.
3. Know Your Worth
If I were to advise my 2013 self I would have said: don’t let brands walk all over you. And they did. This will happen to any blogger who builds a following. It’s simple: brands want free exposure. And who could blame them! If you could get a blogger with 20,000 Instagram followers to advertise your product for free – sounds like a great deal to me! This is a sticky topic, as there is a time and place to work for free. If Louis Vuitton wants to send me a bag and re-gram me on their Instagram – sign me up! However, if a brand with a similar following as you asks for free promotion: it’s a no. They are taking advantage of you. A brand could never insert an advertisement into a magazine for free. That’s not how it works. Time and energy is spent on building a brand and it shouldn’t be taken advantage of. If a brand wants to gift you with products you already want and need – there is always room for negotiation. Ask them to feature you on their Instagram. Ask them to feature you in their newsletter. Make it a fair trade. Trust me, this will make you feeling empowered. One more thing, don’t let brands/PR reps intimidate you into receiving less money than you’re worth. Stick to your guns, the brands who respect your rates are those you want to work with anyways.
4. Don’t Be Afraid To Reach Out
The beauty of social media is it makes it super easy to connect with people. Don’t be afraid to message other bloggers, PR reps and brands to meet for coffee. That’s how I met my now real life bestie Marie! I simply send her an email asking if she’d want to meet up for coffee and she said yes! This is how I met my other blogger besties too – Teresa, Shannon and Kaley! My outreach to them led me to many business trips, brand collaborations and most importantly – lifelong friendships. I’ll even be attending Teresa‘s wedding next year! These girls are my core group who always lift me up. They constantly remind me of my worth, both professionally and personally. I’ve definitely met some bad apples in the blogging world, however it was all worth it to meet these babes. On the same token, don’t be afraid to reach out to brands and PR reps. Send over an email, introduce yourself and share how you’d like to work together. Attach your media kit. The worst thing that can say is no. I’ve landed some of my highest earning collaborations using this method!
5. Don’t Compare Yourself To Others
This one I still have to remind myself. It’s so hard to not be envious of other bloggers. All bloggers do it. Wishing you were as beautiful as another blogger. Wishing you had their massive following. Wishing you had an instagram hubby like them (LOL). Sometimes you have to out blinders on and remember you’re exactly where you need to be at this moment. Instead of being envious of others, use this time and energy and put it towards your blog. Make it the best damn thing you’ve ever seen. Interact with your followers and remind yourself why you’re doing it in the first place.
Hope you guys enjoyed my post. Please let me know if you’d like me to write more posts on the topic of blogging! For now, I’ll leave you with some other posts I’ve written on blogging.
Links to other blogging resources: