So you want to start a blog huh? Chances are, you have thought about it…and thought about it. But have you ever really realized exactly how much work goes into running your own website? Some people run one, I run four and a few businesses on the side. The life of a blogger/freelance writer is truly that of a hustler indeed. You string together a bunch of jobs to get the income you want …just for the pleasure of saying that you work for yourself (which, is a great feeling by the way…).
It’s not easy, in fact it’s harder than you think. BUT the rewards are endless. Here are my top 10 tips for having (and keeping) a successful blog that you can turn into your own cottage industry.
- Always be authentic. This is a big one for me, because there are PLENTY of people running around trying to blog for freebies (which takes away from the legit outlets). Brands and brand managers are hip to that game and even if you do get some SWAG it won’t last long. Being yourself is what will translate to your core readers, in the end nobody cares if your wearing Louboutins if you can’t walk properly in them. If that’s not your style then just “do you”. Alternatively, if you find out about a skincare product on Tuesday, you can’t say how “incredible” it is on Wednesday. You need to take time to test it out.
- Never covet someone else’s success. Another big one. My Nana always said, “If your always looking at someone else’s bounty, you will always miss out on opportunities for your own.” This is so true and something I try to follow daily. It’s okay to be inspired by others, but you have to make your own successes.
- A goal without a plan is just a wish. What does this have to do with blogging you ask? Everything. You need to have a plan on how you plan to execute your blog. Who is your core audience? What is your voice? Make some lists and map it out.
- Work hard, stay humble. No matter how much success you achieve, it’s important to remain grounded and humble in everything you do. You have to work hard until you think you can’t work any harder. Then try to give back by helping others that are just starting out (which is one of the reasons I started C + C in the first place!)
- Network, network, network. Attend as many conferences as possible, make appointments for coffee with people that inspire you. You will be surprised at how willing they will be to help you.
- Don’t be demanding. I have heard WAY too many stories from brand managers/PR Execs about bloggers demanding a full line of this or that or other outrageous requests (oh yes honey, they talk and loudly. Plus they move jobs to other companies frequently and they ALL know each other) So just don’t do it. If press samples are available they will tell you. If the communication doesn’t state whether or not they are available you can ask, but never demand. Alternatively, never demand a car service. If it is offered to you, that’s one thing but don’t demand…you are not JLo. Which brings me to my next tip…
- Don’t ask for freebies on social media. It’s one thing if a brand offers something to you privately but replying to a tweet and saying, “Hey can I get one of those too?? LOL!” is offensive.
- Spell Check. Make sure you edit and edit and edit your posts again. Nothing worse than having something on the internet with spelling errors.
- Invest in equipment. If you find you are taking more photos you may want to invest in a camera, laptop etc. If you are serious about making this a career, investing is important.
- Start an LLC. If you find that you are incurring a lot of 1099 income, consider starting an LLC. This will help you out immensely at tax time.