This is a new post series I’m starting call Q&A Mondays where I answer questions from YOU. If you follow me on Instagram, you know I live for the Questions feature on Stories and I love answering your questions via IG Live as well. I figured this would be a great way to incorporate that same energy here on the blog. Plus, it’s easier to point you guys to a blog post than to an Instagram Story or Live that no longer exists after 24 hours.
This summer made it 3 years that I’ve been blogging full time. While the truth about blogging full time may come as a surprise, I wanted to answer the most common questions I get about my blogging journey and career.
How’d you get started blogging?
Most people don’t know this but I start blogging as a hobby in 2008. I had two blogs – one where I blogged about celebrity news (I was terrible at it) and one about fashion. Eventually I got semi serious about it enough to buy a domain. (The two blogs I just spoke of were on Blogger. Remember that?) Blogs were something I enjoyed reading and visiting daily so I wanted to start one myself. Because I was a journalism major, blogging wasn’t too much of a stretch for me. I love writing and blogging allowed me to do that on a regular basis.
How long have you been blogging?
I don’t count my hobby years. (Ha!) But since I bought my first domain that I blogged consistently on in 2010 – 8 years. I would say that I’ve only been good at it for about 4 of those years.
I didn’t get paid for any blogging until 2013, which is a long time. But I learned from ALL my mistakes. While my learning curve was wide, it was well worth it to be where I am now.
When did you know it was the right time to go full time?
When I had my first daughter in 2014, I knew I wanted to go full time. But it was such a scary thought. Leaving my “good job” seemed irresponsible when I mentioned it to other people. Hubs was supportive but I really sat on my hands. In June 2015, my “good job” let me go and I was forced to put my money where my mouth was. I hit the ground running and never looked back.
I was blessed because my blog had been making money – the same amount as my 9 to 5 – for a year before I was let go. My blog already being monetized allowed my full time dreams to become a reality.
How did you balance having a 9 to 5 and blogging?
I was really blessed because my boss was based in another city and my job required me to be alone throughout the majority of the year. So I was able to sneak in scheduling blog posts and phone calls with brands without someone looking over my shoulder. I also had an understanding boss who knew I blogged and was understanding when I asked for time off for a campaign. I was always upfront about my blog and that was my advantage.
Creating content ahead of time and batch processing was huge for me. I shot my content on Saturdays and scheduled it on Sunday. Rinse and repeat. Once I figured out the system that worked for me, I milked it. What I realize now is that systems and processes change when your blog does. And it will. Timing myself in each step of my process was huge because it allowed me to realistically schedule what needed to be done for my blog appropriately.
How do you blog about various things without seeming all over the place?
This is a question I get A LOT. It really is all about mastering storytelling. You want to be very clear of the story you want to tell your audience. If you’re a Mommy blogger, it should be your motherhood story. If you’re a fashion blogger, it should be your style story. The secret is that we all have more than one story even if we’re a niche blogger.
No matter the niche, people want to hear interesting stories. When a story is interesting, it can be about anything.
I consider myself a lifestyle blogger, so I tell the various stories of my life – as a wife, mom, influencer and entrepreneur. I also tell my shopping, beauty and style stories as well. My story – just like yours – is unlike anyone else’s. So as long as my content tells a good story (think beginning, middle and end!) it can really be about anything.
Narrowing down what your story is and why people are interested in it will create the secret sauce for you to talk about more than one thing on your blog.
What’s the secret to making my blog stand out and be different?
It’s not about being different, it’s about being good.
Think about it – there’s McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Hardee’s, Sonic, In N Out, Checkers and yet Five Guys still thrives. All of these places are very similar, but they’re all good.
The same applies to blogging. There is probably going to be someone (if not an entire group of folks) who blog about what you blog about. Blog anyway.
I’m not the only Black millennial female blogger in Atlanta married with children who works with brands. However, I still thrive. Because most people who blog don’t take the time to become good. So when you’re good, you ARE different.
Hopefully this gives you some insight about how I started blogging and how I made the transition full time. If you have any extra questions for me, don’t hesitate to ask me on Instagram Stories.
Love this series? Let me know what you’d like upcoming Q&A Monday series to be about in the comments below!