Happy Monday, lovelies!
Today’s post is fairly long, but it’s worth it! Not only am I sharing this cute outfit, but this is the first part of the second installment of my blogging series, Business of Blogging. In the first post, I shared everything you need to know about how to start a blog. In this post, seventeen bloggers are opening up and sharing their best blogging advice along with specifics to their success. All of these ladies have been blogging for at least one year (many more for most!), are credible in their knowledge and have grown their businesses singlehandedly. They have all worked extremely hard to get to where here and are the very definition of a Girl Boss. 😉
Dress c/o (currently 50% off! – also available in navy and petite sizing) | Shoes (old – similar here and available in seven different colors!) | Kate Spade Bag ( old – exact here) | Necklace (love this!)| Ring (old – similar here)
This dress is the perfect workwear piece to start the week! Not only is it feminine and whimsical, but it’s chic and professional. I’m ready to tackle my Monday in style! Let’s get down to business 🙂
Blogging is a funny thing in that there really is no right way to do things. It really is a very different path for everyone and what works for you may not work for someone else but at the same time, learning things through trial and error is definitely something that you have to get accustomed to. Read on to see what lessons have been learned from this amazing group of blogger babes and what advice they would share to those just starting out (anddd for those that are more seasoned bloggers!).
What I Wish I Would Have Known Before I Started Blogging
When I first started blogging, I was trying to do everything myself. I found that once I finally started meeting other bloggers and sharing ideas and best practices, so many additional avenues opened for me! I wish I had reached out to those bloggers I looked up to sooner to collaborate!
Just exactly how much work it will take to grow your online presence, let alone monetize your blog. Let me tell you, it is a constant trial/error/ research type of job, so if you’re not determined enough, you will get discouraged rather quickly.
How much work it is!! You always look at bloggers‘ pretty photos and fun lives and think it looks so easy. Well, that’s the point. Bloggers work so hard to make everything look effortless. You are the CEO of your brand, which means you can be a photographer, lawyer, accountant, marketer, advertiser, consultant, customer service representative, and graphic designer all in one day.
When I started blogging I didn’t know what I was doing because I was alone in the game. I wish I had found out about different blogging communities like Style Collective. Unfortunately Style Collective didn’t exsist when I started blogging in 2014. My advice is don’t put all of your eggs in one basket and try to have fun! If you go into blogging because you want to make money and get free clothes you will be disappointed. You have to truly love it because it can take years to start seeing results.
Thinking that blogging is easy. It is not by any means. It takes a lot of research and time to set up your blog such as hosting, design, and content planning.
Blogging tips for beginners: Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see growth right away. Stay consistent, have fun, and connect with other bloggers if you can. The growth and opportunities will come to you! Another tip I have which is something I’m still dealing with is playing the comparison game.We’re human. It’s so easy for us to compare ourselves to other influencers and bloggers because they are getting certain opportunities. I would apply or have been reached out for an opportunity and wonder why this blogger got the opportunity over me and it would annoy me throughout my entire day. Everyone is unique in their own way.
I started blogging in 2007 while I working at a marketing agency. We were trying to learn more about “social media” and since I was one of the youngest there, I was the guinea pig for all things considered digital. I started off writing about various marketing campaigns I loved and I realized I enjoyed the art of writing about my opinion (which I didn’t really get to do much of at the time). I have changed my blog hosting several times (one because my ex boyfriend had access to my godaddy account and well, that ended poorly) and didn’t bring my old content to my new one. I wish I would have known not to let anyone else be in charge of something on MY website. Now I have broken links on Pinterest pins and 404 pages if you google things like “Vegetarian Bacon” and click on my blog.
I wish I would’ve known how much business savvy it takes! The ability to network, negotiate, and manage projects are key to making your blog a business.
I wish I would have known that it’s possible for it to be a full-time job. I had no idea how much work goes into a blog and I had no idea how much income someone could make from a blog!
I wish I would have been more consistent. I started my blog when I was in college, and although it had traction, I feel like it could have taken a different path if I would have taken it more seriously for the first two years. Now, my blog is my baby and I take such good care of it!
I wish I would have known way more about the blogging world before jumping into it. I had no idea the entire industry behind it because I merely started an Instagram profile about fashion that later on evolved into a brand & website. If I would have known of the world the excisted inside of blogging I would have done a ton of research on the back-end before creating an Instagram page. I basically had no idea what I was getting into and it took me way longer to grow a following because of that. Without knowing you “why” as a blogger it’s extremely hard to make a connection with followers and really understand the reasoning behind your content.
When just starting out, there’s a steep learning curve, or at least there was for me. It’s such a fun process in the beginning, learning new things literally every single day! What I wish I would have known before jumping in is that there are numerous ways to monetize your blog and brand. You don’t have to rely on one affiliate program as the end-all-be-all. Relationships are important. Cultivating relationships with brands you love can go along way with creating lasting partnerships that will end up being much more valuable to you and your readers than always pushing affiliate links through social media and your blog.
I started blogging in 2005 and didn’t know ANYTHING! But over the years the things I’ve found to be the most valuable is:
– know a bit of HTML (thank you Google) so you can do a bit of formatting when things look wonky on your site and so you don’t get taken advantage of by site designers.
– Quality not quantity. It’s better to have one great post a week than five mediocre ones. The internet never forgets, so take your time, use spellcheck, and put all your effort into one post versus many.
I didn’t realize blogging was going to be so tech-driven! I always thought that blogging was going to be 90% creative and 10% everything else. In reality, it is really only 20% creative and 80% business, tech, and marketing. I thought it would have been much easier because I had the style and creative piece down, but that’s such a small part of it. I also wish I would have set up a better system for accounting my earnings and expenses. I’m still kind of working on that!
I wish I would have known how to say no. I tried so incredibly hard to be noticed, as quick as possible, so I said yes to every collaboration that was presented to me. I didn’t read the fine lines of what the collaboration entailed, how many posts I was required to share, or anything. This left me exhausted and I ultimately sounded like a car salesman on my page. Not only did this lead to burn out, it also lead to me losing followers and having a difficult time gaining new followers. How could I possibly love EVERY product I was shoving down people’s throats? The truth is, I didn’t, but since I had said yes, I was required to pretend as if I did love the products I was advertising. I share this because I think it is so important to say no as a blogger. If you aren’t being compensated for the work you are doing and don’t believe in the products you are supposed to be advertising, simply say no.
You will spend more time working more than you can imagine unrelated to actually posting content on your blog. Planning your content, creating and updating media kits, scouting product and locations, replying to emails from brands and readers, pitching brands, considering social media content, book-keeping, learning new skills like photography and video. It’s easy to only focus on creating the content your readers will see. Be sure to consider everything else you will do. The bright side is to think of all of the incredible skills you are learning as an entrepreneur!
Focus on two things: amazing photography and being yourself.
I wish I would have known just how much time blogging takes! You are literally 15 professions in one and if you run it yourself, you have to be very good with time management (it is not unheard of to work 10-16 hour days…even on the weekends). There are so many facets to it, but I wouldn’t have it any other way 😉
Best Blogging Advice for Beginners
Stay true to yourself, follow your own path and meet and make friends with other bloggers!
Do your research and then connect with local bloggers to collaborate on projects you’re both passionate about. The best thing that can happen is that you both learn from each other/ build a friendship. The worse? You waste your time on someone who doesn’t value it, but there’s never a lesson that’s not worth learning. 😉
I know it sounds cliché, but do it because you truly have a passion for creating, writing, and connecting with your audience. The free stuff will come later but, if that’s all you’re in it for, it’s going to be a long road.
Don’t focus on what other bloggers are doing and try to stay true to yourself and your own personal style. It is an saturated market so it is important to be unique. There is no point is replicating someone else.
I definitely recommend YOU being in charge of your own site… Even if it is something you are unfamiliar with. Do a Google Search for “how to set up hosting.” etc and truly OWN your own site. Also, just write. You don’t have to spend time stressed out about your posts being too long, or too short. Just write and spend time finding your voice (aka what makes you special). With practice you will find your groove, and that is when others will notice also. Focus on the writing and the images.. Not the $$ in the beginning. Too many promoted posts looks unauthentic and that is the last thing you want to be seen as.
Pay someone to mentor you! You can go the affordable route and learn everything the hard way, or you can pay someone to help you fast-track the business!
Stay authentic and true to you. Readers follow bloggers because their passion shines through in their posts. No one wants to read something that isn’t true! So don’t just start a blog to make money – it should be a passion project!
Create a community. Whether it’s with your readers or with your fellow bloggers. Community is the only way I feel sane in this crazy (and fairly new) industry.
Figure out your “why”, think about what you want your focus to be and have a plan of action.
Just do it! I think a lot of stress in the beginning is due to feeling timid or embarrassed to put yourself out there. Honestly, it’s likely that not that many people are paying attention to you or your blog in the beginning so take that time to really put in the practice. Get comfortable putting yourself out there on social media, on your blog, and on video! Then, when you do eventually gain a following and traction, you’ll be great at what you do! You’re not going to be a master at all things when you first start out, but practice and persistence in the beginning will definitely pay off!
You can’t please everyone. The best way to stay on track with your voice, brand, and niche is create your audience. What is her name? How old is she? What does she order at Starbucks? Where does she live? What are her hobbies, her favorite clothing brands, what does she do on the weekend? Even print this out and put it up next to your computer. Every time you write a blog post or an Instagram caption think of that follower. Are you speaking her language? This will create consistency and maintain your brand.
Skip the on ramps and launch parties. You don’t need 3 months of content when your blog goes live. Just start and press “post!” right away! You will grow and learn as you go on.
Also, it is okay to struggle through some things yourself. When a new blogger emails me asking if they can “pick my brain” over coffee or asks for a contact for nothing in return, it is a huge turn off for me. Those of us who are successful have spent hours alone beating ourselves over the head with our laptops trying to figure out how to make a widget work, watching and reading tutorials on how to use lightroom/photoshop, and shed blood sweat and tears trying to find a press contact. Struggling through these tasks is what makes you grow and earn your little piece of the internet. If you can’t possibly find the answer yourself, then it is okay to ask.
My best blogging advice for beginners is to find a supportive group of like-minded bloggers. Blogging is difficult and I did not even imagine everything blogging entailed when I first started this journey. Having a supportive group of like-minded bloggers is what has pushed me through the difficult times. I turn to my blogger group when I have questions, when I’m unsure if a brand is being fair, or sometimes turn to my blogger group with inspirational quotes and funny memes. Like anything we do in life, we all need support and a community to turn to during both the good and bad times.
Don’t compare yourself. I say that with full transparency that of course I have compared myself to others but at the end of the day, you know what that does? It slows me down from winning my own race. Readers come to me for something different than they go to you, Lizze and other bloggers for. No one is like you or like your site because it’s your voice that people will come for. It’s a really crowded market compared to what it was when I started in 2010 (gasp, I know… I’m 38!). It’s necessary that your beauty shine through in your writing and your imagery.
Figure out what you are passionate about and write about that. If you start a blog about something you don’t truly love, you won’t be successful because your heart isn’t in it. Especially on Instagram these days, being authentic is SO important. Find your passion and follow it.
My best blogging advice is to be consistent, persistent and resilient. You likely won’t see results right away but if you are constantly producing content and putting out your best work, people WILL take notice. Always be growing and evolving with your brand. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Don’t discouraged when people say no because sometimes that opens the door for the right opportunity and an even more amazing “yes!” Above all, don’t give up. I’ve seen so many bloggers come and go because they weren’t patient enough to wait it out. If you truly have a passion for this and are willing to work HARD, then the success will come… you just have to believe it will.
Anything else to add?
Don’t feel discouraged there is always room for new bloggers, just have fun and be creative. If you love it success will come.
The blogging community for your niche is filled with many people who love to connect online. Just start connecting with those that share the same passion as you and you will slowly start building your influence online. Just remember, it has taken me 10 years to create my audience within marketing (and now food & wine), because I have focused on quality over quantity.
Be patient and consistent. Half the battle of starting out in the blogging world is just sticking with it. Persistence will pay off!
Although blogging can be difficult and it takes so much time and effort to gain an authentic following, it is so worth it! Be yourself and don’t let anyone tell you what you can and can’t do. You truly can do whatever you set your heart and mind to.
Focus on community over competition. Make friends to navigate this crazy career together. I’m so grateful to have met, virtually and in person, many other awesome bloggers (like Elizabeth!) who have supported me in so many ways. Blogging can be a bit isolating since many of my “real life” friends don’t understand things like algorithms, SEO or affiliate linking. There are more than enough sponsored posts to go around so don’t be afraid to work together!
I read through all of these prior to posting and found myself nodding repeatedly and exclaiming “yes, girl!” There is so much truth that these girls shared today and I definitely wish that I would have had some of this knowledge before diving full on in the blogging world.
If you loved this post, you’ll definitely want to check out part two
where these ladies share their take on social media and how they remain authentic in the digital space. Thank you so much to all of the amazing girl bosses that contributed their time into these posts! <3
What piece of advice would you add?
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