Being a blogger is hard but very rewarding work! It’s a far cry from the movie Julie and Julia or Sex in the City where people just type happily away on their laptops. Blogging is like running a one-man magazine. Pictures have to be taken and edited properly. If I’m making a video that is also going to take a LOT of time. I’m busy from the time I get up, to the time I go to bed making sure my blog represents me well.
So before you start up your blog here are some snippets from my own life and what it’s been like so far as a professional blogger.
This post contains affiliate links, if you click on one and buy something, I earn a small commission (thank you!).
My Routine: I am really fortunate to be able to do this full time. I think if you’re going to work for yourself you really need to be self-motivated and focussed. I treat this just like a job. I wake up at 5:00 because that’s when my husband gets up for his job. While I make and eat breakfast I like to listen to motivational talks on YouTube to get me pumped up (you can check out THIS article for some links!) I usually start work at 7 am because I know that’s when he reaches his job and starts work too. I might wear comfortable clothes if I’m writing or editing, but if I’m filming a YouTube video then I dress up and do my make up (which is different than my every day make up and can take an hour to do right). I usually take an hour for lunch and while I do try to get away from my desk I often don’t. My husband stops working at 3 so that’s usually when I stop and I go workout and take care of my life from there. While I’m at work I might have my TV on or whatever, but I am focused on what needs to be done.
How Do I Organize My Blog?: I’ll admit when I first started, I had no method to what I posted. When I restarted my blog this year, I sat down and wrote out 52 ideas for posts I wanted to write. At the moment that’s going well, but I’ve already written my schedule out for next year (2020) and it’s a LOT more organized. First let me say, if you don’t have an editorial calendar, YOU NEED ONE!!! I use to roll my eyes when I read that, but honestly, nothing is worse than knowing you have to post something in a few days and your mind goes blank and you have NO IDEA WHAT TO WRITE! This helps me consider things like holidays, and how my articles relate to one another. If you do have something like an editorial calendar, but find that it’s difficult to think up ideas, remember that blogs are the magazines of the future. So think about what topics you enjoy reading when you pick up your favorite magazine and organize it accordingly. For example, next year I plan to release a recipe or foodie post every Friday for Foodie Friday! That lets me know that I need to plan around 52 recipes that I want to cook for next year.
Also, I like to write my posts sometimes MONTHS AND MONTHS in advance and then schedule them with my social media to post! This helps so much because I’m not scrambling every Wednesday (like I use to) trying to do a massive release on all my social media. There have even been times where I completely forgot that it was Wednesday and then BOOM my social media is blowing up because “Oh that post I scheduled three months ago is up!” There is plenty of free schedule automation out there, and some are either included in your social media (like Facebook) so take a look at that!
My work also includes things like watching how my ads are for certain posts, how many hits posts got, and responding when people reach out to me on social media.
What do I LOVE about Being a Blogger and Working for Myself?: Truth is, it was a long time in coming. I was raised to believe that I would never make a living by being an artist and a writer. So I put it off and got a regular 9-5 job. I tried to pursue my dream on the side. I would paint and write in the evenings or on weekends, but my heart really wanted to do this full time.
It took a major mental shift. I remember telling my therapist how I loved blogging but that I always felt bad about it. She told me that I couldn’t allow how I was raised to dictate my career choices. I needed to stop thinking of it as a hobbie and take it seriously like a job because if I didn’t work on this blog, It would definately never earn me money and I’d be neglecting a part of me that really loved being expressed.
It wasn’t until December of 2018 when I was in Australia with my husband. Australia was extremely healing to me on a mental all kinds of levels. I developed a love for meditation while there, I saw all these beautiful people taking care of themselves and loving their lives and I started to really look at my life and my goals. I decided then and there I was going to do this right. I came up with a years worth of posts while sitting there watching the waves on Coogee beach. I promised myself that I was really going to commit to making these posts and investing in this part of me. So far it’s gone really well and while I am still not really making any money off of this site, I love it and it pushes me to go out and explore life, do the things I love and then write about it. I have a greater quality of living because I’m investing not only in myself as a person, but because I’m investing in something that was a dream.
I love blogging because it’s what I wanted to do as a child and it gives me the creative freedom to design something I would want to read. I love working for myself because I say what happens. I have control over what my business looks like and how it’s run. I have a say in what I wear, and how I interact with my clients, and if there’s something I don’t like about how my business is running or my schedule or anything, I have the power to think about it and make changes. At the end of the day, the only one I have to make happy is me. It’s hard work, but I love it.
Blog Theme: There are tons of free themes out there for WordPress, but a lot of them have locked features like social media buttons and design stuff. My advice is to try a free theme and if you find that you really love the layout and it feels like “you” make the investment to buy the full version.
I also paid for a logo which I designed myself but needed help making it something that could be used on multiple social media.
Instagram is my most popular social media, so if I’ve written an article I feel is going to get a lot of attention, I’ll promote it as an ad which can run around $10.
I’ve also invested in Lighting, backdrops for food photos, a camera, a ring light, and a microphone for my YouTube videos, and just high-quality pictures for my blog. I have to say that many phones take amazing pictures so you might not need to buy a separate camera if you’re going to just take pictures, but since I also do interviews (which you can see here) it was essential I have a proper high-quality camera, and several save chips and batteries.
Mail Chimp: Because my blog is small at the moment, I can use their free serves. It’s a great way to remind those who want to keep up with my blog whenever I have a new post.
I use a free version of Canva to quickly design the pictures you see on my site
I use Openshot which is a free video editor to get my videos just right for YouTube.
I make sure to take advantage of scheduling opportunities that are offered with my social media (like Facebook).
I became a member of Amazon Affiliates which allows me to post ads for products I personally chose on my blog. If anyone clicks them and buys from them I earn a small commission.
I use Google Analytics to track my followers which is also free.
I NEVER pay for followers on Instagram, though that means that I have to make sure I keep up with making posts and interacting with my followers.
Last but not least, reading and researching is the best thing you can do. So if you want to learn more about blogging and what it takes click HERE to visit my “Business and Blogging” board on Pinterest!
I hope this helps you understand all that goes into a blog! If it’s something you’ve always wanted to start then I suggest you go for it. Write twenty or so posts just to get a feel and start! It’s a bit scary, but it’s so empowering to know that you are in control and you get to write about the things that you love. I hope I’ve inspired you a bit. Going outside comfort zones to do something no one has done is scary….but it’s also incredibly rewarding and so very worth it.